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large proprietor, who, receiving lodging and subsistence sufficient to be set off against so many days' labour, are obliged to work at their request for a very small determinate reward. These pigionanti are interested in the production so far as from a portion of the land assigned to them they obtain a proportion of the produce *.”
In comparing the two systems of England and Italy, with respect to the employment of labour, an intelligent traveller, who being a stranger to both countries may be considered as a disinterested evidence, considers the English poor-rates as conducing to the equal comfort of the labourer and to much greater public opulence p.
6. The effect of the poor-rate in England is, that the poor live better, and enjoy more of the comforts ( douceurs') of life, than half of those who are called in other countries people at their ease. The farmers or metayers in France, as well as the workmen and cultivators of every kind, eat meat very rarely, drink very little wine, and that wine very bad; are ill-clothed, illlodged: their ordinary food is a piece of black home-baked bread, of soft decaying cheese, very insipid; a vegetable soup, sometimes a little
* M. Gioia : Problema "quali sono i mezzi piu efficaci per alleviare l'attuale Miseria del Popolo in Europa. 1817. p. 99.
† Chateauvieux, Lettres sur l'Italie, vol, ii. 192—196.
bacon : whilst in all the workhouses in England and in America the bread is white and plentiful, the drink is excellent beer, and the soup is made with meat.
To what is it owing then that France is preserved from this curse (of the poors’-rate)? Is it owing to the plenty that reigns among the lower classes ? Alas! there are few countries where man suffers more, where he more truly gains his daily bread by the sweat of his brow, where he lives worse even when arrived at some degree of independence *.”
It has been erroneously supposed that the poorlaws emanated from the donations given for charitable purposes, to be administered by the priests, under the idea that the effect of such gifts would be the redemption from purgatory of the souls of the donors. But these ecclesiastical establishments had a nobler origin: the doctrine of purgatory is of a later date than their foundation p: and civilization, which owes so much to Christianity, was extended by those learned and religious men, who with the purest intentions retired among barbarians, to impart to them “ the benefits of knowledge and the blessings of religion.” Of that religion, charity formed an essential part; and the debt of charity, although due to the poor, was solicited by them in the name of Heaven *.
*L'Esprit d'Association dans tous les Interêts de la Communauté : par Le Comte Alexandre de la Borde. vol.ii. p.
Mr. Duncan, “ Collections," p. 60, brings conclusive evidence, that charitable establishments for the relief of indigence existed in the fourth century. We learn from Mosheim, (vol. ii. p. 417,) that the doctrine of purgatory was not introduced into the Church until the close of the tenth century.—Thomassin or Tomassin (Louis) “Vetus et Nova Ecclesiæ Disciplina, in tres tomos distributa.” Parisiis, 1688 : “De tuitione viduis, orphanis ab Episcopo impendenda quinque prioribus sæculis," lib. ii. 517—585.
These institutions, like all other human institutions, degenerated into abuse as they increased in riches ; but the tyrants, whether kings or republicans, who overthrew them, would have overlooked their corruptions, had they not been tempted by their wealth. But while the revenues were administered with discretion, their vices were at least concealed; the tribute of external homage was paid to virtue and religion ; and the Benedictine, who maintained decent hospitality in the mitred abbey, and the Franciscan, who begged the offal which fell from the rich man's table to feed the miserable lazar who laid at his door, supplied a link in the chain of benevolence, which seems now wanting in those states which have provided no substitute from their own funds. All nations and all religions experience the succour and the hospitality of the Monks of St. Bernard.
*" Quels secours derobés à les malheureux qui, errant autour les debris de ces pieux asiles, se souviennent en versant des larmes, qu'il fut un tems ou ils pouvaient y demander comme une dette au nom du Ciel un soulagement à leur infortune.". Bernardi sur la Legislation Française, page 127.
“ Monastic establishments have diffused in the equinoxial part of the New World as in the North of Europe, the first germs of social life. They still form a vast zone around the European possessions; and whatever abuses may have crept into institutions where all power is confounded in one, they would be with difficulty replaced by others, which, without producing more serious inconveniences, would be as little chargeable and as well adapted to the silent phlegm of the natives. . . . In both Americas the missionaries arrive every where first, because they find facilities which are wanting to every other traveller." Humboldt's Personal Narrative, vol. v. p. 579.
Even a Protestant traveller, however attached to his own form of faith and practice, may be reasonably allowed to doubt whether the soldier or the cotton-spinner, the present inhabitant of the forsaken monastery, converted into a barrack or a manufactory, contribute more to the happiness of the surrounding region, than the learned, hospitable, and charitable Religious. And when he considers the contemptible dissipation, the frivolous amusements, or at best the useless industry of a great proportion of those females in old-inhabited countries, whom the existing circumstances of society destine to a state of celibacy, he cannot refrain from a comparison with the Grey Sisters, (Sæurs de Charité,) who mix in the active walks of life, but with higher views, and for nobler purposes *.
Guilds and fraternities converted into corporations assume a higher rank in civilized society than at their first institution; and their successors, the benefit clubs and societies, would have more claim to encouragement, if the principles on which they are founded were derived from more accurate calculations, so as to prevent the injustice to which they lead; and if the debauchery and idleness with which they are generally accompanied did not render them the ready instruments of the seditious. They deserve no support from the opulent, unless confined within the pale of the wholesome laws which have been enacted for their regulation,
With respect to the relief of indigence from the revenues of the State, raised by direct or indirect taxation, that to which I consider the poor as having a right, and which I have placed last in the order of classification at the end of the first part of this Essay, although the funds them
* See Muller's “ Geschichte der Schweiz," I buch, 10 capitel, p. 119, 190, &c.