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lubly ; and the narrow strait at Donaghadee, is the boundary of a district, but not of a nation.
The weaver of linen at Belfast soon learns to apply his skill to the weaving of cotton at Glasgow. His habits and his occupation assimilate him to the Scotch inhabitant; and three years residence makes him, when his strength is gone by age or sickness, “the creditor of the fund of the charity of the kingdom," and entitles him to the same right of relief as a native. In England it is difficult for either a Scotchman or an Irishman to acquire that right; and in Ireland there exists at present no right to acquire. Is · the remedy for this evil to be by exclusions and restrictions, or by equalization and universalization of rights ?
Our observations of the actual state of society insensibly lead us to theory. That Great Being who, by means inscrutable to our weak understandings, created and maintains the natural and moral world, has been pleased so to arrange them, that the physical powers and the intellectual faculties of man, are constantly in activity and progression. If they are exercised in obedience to his will, and agreeably to his nature (of which he has made ourselves the judges by the monitor within us), such exercise cannot be wrong;
and if it appears to be so, the cause must be sought for in human institutions.
The tendency of population to increase and thereby add to the number of labourers, and the tendency of the human mind to invent means whereby the labour of man may be diminished, are undeniable facts; and it is our duty rather to devise means to direct them, than, reasoning from a cold and selfish philosophy, in counteracting those tendencies, oppose ourselves to the course and constitution of nature as settled by its Great Author, who neither does nor suffers evil to be done ; for he himself is goodness and perfection*.
The sun shines, and all but the blind can see : shall we say that it shines too brightly, and that its light will be injurious to the eyes of half mankind, and therefore we ought to bandage them? Such assertors never wish to include themselves among the bandaged half. But it is a mental blindness which has led to the doctrines and the practices of exclusion, prohibition, protecting duties, preventive systems, and all that “ brood of folly without father bred” which leads bodies of men, partial and prejudiced, to set up as judges in their own cause; or, by attempting to excite a false idea of national vanity, is operating in some degree at this moment to prevent England
* Παντων μεν ηγεμων αγαθων, παντων δε πατηρ καλων, εκεινος εστι, και φαυλον ουδεν ποιειν αυτω θεμις ωσπερ ουδεν πασχειν ΑΓΑΘΟΣ ΓΑΡ ΕΣΤΙ. .
Plutarch : “Ne suaviter quidem vivi posse secundum Epicteti decreta."
and Ireland becoming countries really united by feeling as they are by law. The metaphor of a golden bridge would be much more applicable to the ready intercourse with a friend, than the repulsion of an enemy. Let that intercourse which would amalgamate the interest of the poor laborious Irishman with that of the wealthy capitalists of England be as easy as it is desirable; and the introduction of the Poor Laws into the country of the former be treated not as a measure of defensive war, but of conciliation and of peace: and although England, like the warlike assertor of its claims on France,
“ is not the shadow of itself,"
yet it knows that Ireland is no mean part of the “substance, sinews, arms, and strength.”
Let England recollect how much it owes to Ireland, and Ireland how much it has received, and how much it may expect, from the kindness and friendship of England.
Under what modification of the English system are the Poor Laws to be introduced into Ireland:
To what divisions, provincial, baronial, or parochial, are the claims of the poor to be confined ?
Are the simple facts of birth and industrious residence, as in Scotland; or the artificial modes of apprenticeship, servitude, renting, &c. as in England, to entitle them to those claims ?
Is the nature of the administration to be ecclesiastical or civil ?
All these are questions difficult to be solved without minute and perhaps Parliamentary inquiry. But on the nature of the administration perhaps there exists the least difficulty; for we have the course of the improved English practice to lead and direct us.
When the relief of the poor was transferred from ecclesiastical to municipal institutions, the churchwarden was retained, and the overseer added. But the first was virtually inefficient in English parishes long before the overseer was made subservient to the select vestries, as he now is by the stat. 59 Geo. III. cap. 12, which established them.
With divided sentiments on the doctrines of religion, the direction must take entirely the municipal form : and although there can be no charity without religion as its base, yet the common principles of all religions, and not the peculiar doctrines of a sect, must regulate a system which is to embrace all human beings. I have assisted for several years in a select vestry amongst whose members difference of religious opinions prevail ; but never have I seen that difference interfere with the administration of its concerns. And although when I was in Ireland, eminent persons in the Catholic Church disclaimed on the part of their clergy any direction of the funds derived from legal assessment, of which they almost universally advocated the necessity, yet it must be seen that unless they do exert themselves, that general knowledge of individual cases, which is the thing of all others most to be desired, could not be obtained. The system of administering the relief traced out by one of the most eminent dignitaries of that church, and which has my fullest approbation, implies the necessity of their exertion and co-operation. It is as follows :
“The appointment of a committee in each parish, who would be legally entitled to ascertain the number and condition of paupers, and to distribute for their relief such collections as would be made on Sundays at the several places of worship, and such donations as they could obtain either from absent gentlemen or the resident gentry, in cases of more than ordinary distress. I would be almost afraid to give them any power of assessment. But from my knowledge of the state of the poor in seasons of scarcity, and the many impositions practised upon the benevolent,—I think great misery prevails now which would be effectually removed if there were in each parish a legal and standing committee, who would ascertain who were the poor in reality and who were not, and who would be entitled to appropriate to their relief collections to be made at