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poor numerous, ignorant, most prolific, and most thoughtless ;-mendicity universal : all the helpless, infirm, and destitute, seek subsistence from casual charity.” “Wretches who cannot walk abroad to beg, are carried by their idle neighbours from door to door, and set down to obstruct the entrance, until they obtain a pittance of meal or money! Police in Dublin, and industry in Belfast, however, preserve their streets in some degree from such exhibitions.”—Collections, p. 116.
“ The cultivator of the land seldom holds from the inheritor ; between them stand a series of sub-landlords and tenants, each receiving a profit from his lessee, but having no further interest or connexion with the soil. The last in the series must provide for the profit of all : he therefore parcels out, at rack-rents, the land to his miserable tenantry. Here is no yeomanry, no agricultural capitalist, no degree between the landlord and labourer, and the words “peasantry” and “ poor” are synonymous
The peasant's wishes have no scope : he is habituated to derive from his land and his labour only his daily potatoes ; and we know that competitors offer the whole value of the produce, minus that daily potatoes
For fifty years past Ireland has been disturbed and disgraced by a constant warfare between the landlords and their tenants."-State of Ireland: London, 1822: p. 34, 46, 47.
Hitherto, in speaking of the state of the poor I have been describing man as in a state of civil society, with fixed property in land; a few extracts will suffice to show the state of the helpless, old, and indigent, in the savage state :
“Old age is the greatest calamity that can befall a Northern Indian: for when he is past labour he is neglected and treated with great disrespect even by his own children. They not only serve him last at meals, but generally give him the coarsest and worst of the victuals; and such of the skins as they do not choose to wear, are made up into the clumsiest clothing for their aged parents, who, as they had in all probability treated their fathers and mothers with the same neglect, in their turns submitted patiently to their lot, even without a murmur, knowing it to be the common misfortune attendant on old age; so that they may be said to wait patiently for the melancholy hour when, being no longer capable of walking, they are to be left alone to starve and perish for want. This, however shocking and unnatural it may appear, is nevertheless so common, that among those people one half at least of the aged persons of both sexes absolutely die in this miserable condition.”—Heame's Journey, 346.
“ Among tribes who subsist by hunting, the labours of the chase and the wandering existence
to which that occupation condemns them, necessarily throws the burthen of procuring provisions on the active young men. As soon, therefore, as a man is unable to pursue the chase, he begins to withdraw something from the precarious supplies of the tribe. Still, however, his counsels may compensate his want of activity ; but in the next stage of infirmity, when he can no longer travel from camp to camp, as the tribe roams about for subsistence, he is then found to be a heavy burthen. In this situation they are abandoned among the Siorix, Assiniboins, and the hunting tribes on the Missouri. As they are setting out for some new excursion where the old man is unable to follow, his children or nearest relations place before him a piece of meat and some water, and telling him that he has lived long enough, that it is now time for him to go home to his relations, who could take better care of him than his friends on earth, leave him without remorse to perish when his little supply is exhausted. The same custom is said to prevail among the Minnetarees, Abnahawes, and Ricaras, when they are attended by old men on their hunting excursions. Yet in their villages we saw no want of kindness to old men. On the contrary, probably because in villages the means of more abundant subsistence renders such cruelty unnecessary, the old people appear to be treated with attention, and some of their feasts, particularly the buffalo dances, were intended chiefly as a contribution for the old and infirm.”—Lewis and Clarke's Travels, vol. ii.
There have existed too, in all the countries in civilized Europe which have ever been subjected to the feudal system, after emancipation from subjection, and in the absence and defect of
support and subsistence from the feudal and superior lord, associations of equals founded on the principles of mutual assistance. To this we owe the Guilds, and the Fraternities of Artists and Tradesmen, united for the occasional relief and constant defence of their members. From hence arose Companies and Corporations, and in more modern days, Benefit Societies, common to most nations in Europe under different denominations. There is good reason for believing that similar societies were of ancient date and contributed essentially to civilization*
From the foregoing historical view, which, if further extended, would present only the recurrence of similar features differently modified, it appears that the modes of relief, which have been applied to indigence in various ages and states of civil society, exclusive of the ever-acting principle of direct voluntary charity, and the concurrence of unlicensed mendicity, resolve themselves into a classification, which has taken place nearly in the following order:
* See Aristot. de Republica, vol. 1-10. quoted by Micali. Italia avaute il dominio dei Romani. I. 204, in speaking of the Ænotrians.
Prædial Servitude, in its absolute and its modified state:
Ecclesiastical and Lay Establishments, supported by fixed and appropriated revenues, or occasional voluntary donations :
Licensed Mendicity :
The Revenues of the State, derived from various external and internal sources, or raised by direct or indirect taxation, and applied in the defect of voluntary charity, or in aid of it.