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blishments for the relief of the indigent, replied, I will render my empire so rich, that there shall be no need for such establishments.” He ought to have said, “ I will commence by rendering my empire rich, and then I will found establishments of this kind*.” They are the consequence of riches.
It would be almost possible to reduce into a diagrammatic scale the following state of facts relating to those European nations whose customs and manners, as far as they have reference to their indigent population, have been cursorily reviewed in the former part of this Essay. It need scarcely be observed, that the order in which they are arranged is assumed as that of their civilization respectively.
England commenced with prædial servitude, progressed into charitable establishments which degenerated into superstitious uses, and settled, after their violent abolition, into compulsory assessments.
Scotland has gone through all these gradations ; but, owing to the longer continuance of feudal and prædial servitude, and licensed mendicity and emigration, has been later in the adoption of compulsory assessment, which is, however, the law of the land.
The Netherlands, where the principle of the right to relief is acknowledged, and where local
* Esprit des Loix, 1. xxiii. c. 19.
taxation and establishments for relief have long existed.
France, where compulsory local assessments have not yet been established by law; but the revenues of the State are applied directly, although insufficiently, to the relief of indigence; and consequently mendicity is permitted and licensed.
Italy, where the ecclesiastical establishments are combined with the municipal regulations to relieve indigence; and where the modified
prædial servitude, like actual slavery, encourages celibacy, but leaves the country poor, incapable of progressive amendment, and in times of scarcity subject to great distress.
Hungary, Poland, Russia,-In various degrees of prædial servitude, or imperfect emancipation from it; and where the charitable establishments are rather of a municipal than a religious nature.
Ireland !!! where there exists neither prædial servitude, nor licensed beggary, nor voluntary association, nor compulsory assessment, nor municipal charitable establishments to any great extent, and where those of a religious kind are prohibited by law ; where only is that minute division of the occupation of land which has reduced the indigent class to the most depressed and miserable state ; where men are born in numbers to perish by “ the diseases occasioned by squalid poverty, by damp and wretched cabins, by bad and insufficient clothing, by the filth of their persons, and occasional want.”—Malthus, book ii. c. 12. Do these evils arise from the want of religious establishments ? from the want of systematic colonization? from the want of the compulsory local assessment : But where the Church is not allowed to support the indigent, and the State will not sanction their claims upon property, can we be surprised, if the strong law of self-preservation disavows those creatures of artificial society, which have emanated from property only, whether in the hands of ecclesiastics' or the laity; and that even the right of property itself is protected only by the faint traces of humanity, which the occasional view of civilization has prevented from being eradicated from minds almost reduced to their pristine barbarity* ? How strong, too, must be the feelings which incite to a contest, of which those who engage in it know that the success is impossible !
* Captain Rock's summary of this doctrine is shorter : “ No Proctors, no Peelers, no Tithes, no Taxes; small rents, and Erin go bragh."-Cork Intelligencer, December.
“ The character of the outrages in Ireland was not political. They were stimulated by poverty, and directed against property generally. Tithes and taxes were no more the objects of the popular fury than rents. Taxes indeed had little to do with the question. The moving impulse was a dire famine, and the immediate cause was a failure of that produce by which the peasantry are sustained."- Administration of the Affairs of Great Britain, &c. at the Commencement of 1823. p. 180.
PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS.
The practical merits of the several modes applied to relieve indigence in civil society will be best considered in the order in which they stand arranged at the conclusion of the first part of this Essay.
Civil society in Europe is too far advanced to adopt the practice of simple migration as a remedy for superabundant population, and consequent indigence. Man cannot now say to man, as Abraham did to Lot,“ Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between thee and me, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me; if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left *."
By emigration may be understood more precisely the act of private persons forsaking the country which gave them birth, and settling in another. This should not meet with impediments : it should be permitted, but not encou
* Gencsis xiii, 9, 10.
raged. But colonization assumes a higher character. In antiquity it was the solemn act of nations: it is the process by which the as yet untrodden or thinly inhabited regions of the earth must be replenished; by which, in its widest extent, the great law of “ Increase and multiply" can be fulfilled; the work to which peaceful activity may be well directed; an inheritance thrown into the lap of England, as mistress of that sea which divides her from, and connects her with, every unowned and unsubdued soil; where she may raise the standard of civilization, and plant, whether in the genial South or the hardy North, the blessed scions of her language, her manners, her laws, and her religion, as a memorial of her name, and a possession for ever *.
To such views as these may the attention of the statesmen of that country in which Cooke and Penn, and Oglethorpe and Selkirk, were born, be wisely and proudly directed. For the objects of the colonizers of Pennsylvania, and Georgia, and Prince Edward's Island, were equally wise and honourable, although not equally successful. But that same country will reject with contempt the visions of those sciolists, or the plots of those designers, who propose
agrarian system, under any modification, as an ef
κτημα ες αιει. .