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duty which would often be neglected, if no such motive for its
performance were held out. While good offices were thus rendered by the clergyman on his part, a feeling of good-will and gratitude towards him would spriug up, and that sense of individual importance would be gratified in its proper place, which is not one of the weakest inducements whereby so many are led to separate from the church in which they were born, and enrol themselves among the Methodists.
We are supposing a possible case, such as in part already exists in some places, and such as a zealous clergyman, with the assistance of a few worthy and intelligent parishioners, might realize anywhere, except in those places where the diseases of crowded civilization require a stronger interference. The next and final step in that religious education, which the establishment is called upon to provide, is the rite of confirmation. When the church of England was purified from all superstitious or superfluous ordinances this ceremony was wisely retained, as being well adapted to make a lasting impression upon young minds properly prepared for it. Yet there are great numbers who never receive the rite, because it is performed only in the larger towns, and persons in humble life are deterred by considerations of expense and inconvenience, from sending their children, if the distance (as it often is) be such, that the journey there and back cannot be performed in a single day. That this is the case we know, and in pointing it out, we are assured, that when it is known, it will be remedied. If indeed the bishops were occasionally to visit the smaller towns for this purpose, and even the larger villages, their presence might produce a beneficial effect, operating silently, and unseen, yet such, that it would be felt by individuals, and perceived hereafter in the amended state of public morals.
The apprehension of ridicule, and the certainty of slanderous misrepresentation, will not deter us from again and again repeating that religion is the one thing needful for young and old, and all intermediate
for individuals and for communities. It is more than ever needful to proclaim this at a time when profane and impious ribaldry (to use no harsher term) is protected by juries, huzzaed by mobs even in the very seat and sanctuary of the laws, and rewarded by public subscriptions. At such a time, it is more than ever needful to proclaim that neither the virtue nor the bappiness of individuals can rest upon any other sure foundation,-all else is fleeting, all else is mutable, all else is insecure. This is the only permanent good, a good which will endure through life, and in death, and after it. This it is which should be the Alpha and Omega of our existence. Here is the right basis of education; here we have an unerring principle of conduct; here we have
safety in temptation, consolation in sorrow, support in infirmity, and hope and joy in death. Weak and frail and fallen as we are, here we have our strength and our salvation. And not only the welfare, but the very existence of the stațe depends upon
It was truly remarked by Lord Clarendon that there can be no possible defection in the hearts of the people, whilst due reverence is paid to the church :' aud it has been with equal truth observed by Burke, that a predominant inclination toward Jacobinism appears in all those who have no religion, when otherwise their disposition leads them to be advocates even for despotismn.
Let us pursue the picture of what might be the condition of a parish, well regulated under the existing laws. The maintenance and education of the poor children, and the religious instruction of all the rising race, has been provided ;-there remains the more difficult task of correcting and improving the existing generation, which is to be effected by the steady adninistration of good laws. And here the proper means would be to bring the public-houses into good order, and reduce their numbers wherever it can be done ; to repair the stocks; and to put an end to those babits of Sabbath breaking, such as gambling in public places, which are offensive to public decency, and disgraceful to the magistrates wherever they are suffered to prevail. A notice that these offences would be punished would prevent the greater part of such assemblages; a reprimand on the second Sunday to those who were found offending, would probably preclude the necessity of ordering any person to the stocks on the third; but if an offender should afterwards be apprehended, one such exhibition would be an effectual cure.
Mr. Vivian was asked by the Poor Law Committee, whether he thought that limiting the number of public-houses in parishes generally, would be a measure that would tend to diminish the poorrates. This gentleman, whose opinion is entitled to great weight, replied,
I think very much. I think the difference between three publichouses and six would turn many drunken men into sober. When pubJicans are poor, from being numerous, they are supposed to do anything to get men into their houses. Cockfights, and other riotous and barbarous amusements, often originute in such motives, a cause of corruption which was long since pointed out by the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor.'
In the Reports of that meritorious Society, it is observed, that a law which should give to the women the complete disposal of the earnings of their own labour, would add a considerable increase to the industry of the kingdom.
It is an ancient maxim," says the old author of“ England's Wants," 'interest Reipublicæ ut re suâ quisque bene utatur; it is the interest of the commonwealth that every subject should make a right use of his own
estate. Wherefore, amongst the fundamental laws of the ancient Romans, (those laws of the Twelve Tables, observed by them almost as sacredly as the Two Tables or Ten Commandments of the Jews,) it is especially provided, that a guardian should be set over the person and estate, not only of idiots and madmen, but of all prodigal persons. This law hath been derived from them to all our neighbouring nations, and enjoyed by them ever since they enjoyed civility, even to this very day. To England only this law is wanting ; not that England is without such unreasonable creatures, for it hath been observed, that the English nation is naturally as much or more addicted to prodigality than
any nation in Europe, the sad effects whereof are every day before our eyes,-wives that bave brought great estates left poor needy widows; children of noble illustrious families, brought to a morsel of bread, and to do base ignominious things, unworthy of their noble ancestors, and dishonourable to the very degrees of honour which their fathers purchased by their merit, and maintained by their laudable frugality. Where this forementioned law is in use, the prodigal person is thus defined—is qui neque modum neque finem habet in expensis—one that spends without limits or bounds. Any man being proved to be such, is declared uncapable of managing his own estate, or of making a will, or of entering into bond, or of being a witness, &c.; and thereupon a guardian is put over him and his estate, to allow him necessaries out of his own estate, and to preserve the rest to his next kindred. Now the king of England hath his breve de inquirendo de idiotá, and his breve de inquirendo de furioso; and can any solid reason be produced why his inajesty should not have also his breve de inquirendo de prodigo, directed in like manner to the escheator of the county, to be tried by a jury of twelve men?'
Blackstone, when he notices this provision of the Roman law, says that the propriety of the practice seems very questionable, . for although it is doubtless an excellent method of benefiting the individual, and of preserving estates in families, it hardly seems calculated for the genius of a free nation,* who claim and exercise the liberty of using their own property as they please. Sic utere tuo ut alienum non lædas, is the only restriction our laws have given with regard to economical prudence. Perhaps Blackstone has not regarded the provision in its true light; it is not designed for the benefit of an individual, whom it treats in some degree as a criminal, and on whom it fixes a mark of reproach and public shame, but for the protection of his helpless family, who are dependent upon
mercy; and if in consideration of them the maxim of our own law which he cites had been extended to em
* While we are writing this, the newspapers copy from the American paper a proof that such a law is not tbought · inconsistent with the genius of a free nation' in republican America.— Notice is hereby given, that the subscribers have been duly appointed guardians of Hezekiah Allen, yeoman and a spendthrift—and all persons are hereby forbidden from trusting or dealing with the said Hezekiah. -Josiah Sandford, Robert Wilson, Guardians.'
brace such a restriction, there are instances enough in the common practice of our courts, which would have justified a more violent strain of its construction. The law which the Society requires for the purpose of protecting the earnings of industrious women from their wasteful busbands, is precisely in the spirit of the Roman law, to which Blackstone objects. The most obvious objection is, that it would occasion domestic discord, and introduce into a family two independent wills where on the one side obedience has been declared a duty ;-but this is greatly or wholly invalidated by the circumstances under which alone it would be applicable. Whether the evil be sufficiently frequent to require a correcting law, may perhaps be justly questioned; though few persons can have been conversant with the lower classes without having observed some cruel examples. There is, however, this argument to be urged in its favour, that the legal condition of those women for whom this relief is desired, is at present worse than that of their superiors; and certainly it appears a hard injustice, that while the fortune of a portioned wife is secured by marriage settlement from the husband, the earnings of one whose whole means of support are derived from her own industry, should not have an equivalent protection. On the other hand it is to be remembered that no laws can protect us against our own imprudence; and that they who make an ill choice in marriage, hastily entering into an engagement which is to last till it be dissolved by death, must take the consequence of their election for better for worse, and know that they nust do so, for it is in the bond.
But the establishment of Saving Banks will create frugal habits, as well as encourage them. Opportunity may be expected to make economists,—not perhaps as often as it makes a spendthrift,-yet more readily than it makes a thief, though it be proverbially noted for teaching larceny.
• The grand object,' says Mr. Colquhoun in his evidence before the Committee upon Mendicity, is to prop up poverty, and to prevent persons falling into indigence. Indigence is a state wherein a person is unable to maintain himself by his labour: poverty is that state where a man's manual labour supports him, but no more; the other is when there is a surplus from his labour. But I conceive the Provident Banks would give the community at large what would be most invaluable in society, provident habits ;--that the pride of having money in the bank, and the advantage arising from having their interest, would induce many persons to put in small sums, that would otherwise spend them. This has been found to be the practical effect; and a very slight knowledge of human nature will shew, that when a man gets on a little in the world, he is desirous of getting on a little farther. This is an object of the first consideration for ameliorating the condition of the poor.' So certain indeed is the growth of provident habits, that it has
been said, if a journeyman lays by the first five shillings, his fortune is made. Mr. Willian Hale, one of those persons who have bestowed most attention upon the state of the labouring classes, and exerted themselves most for their benefit, declares that he never knew an instance of any one coming to the parish who had ever saved money.
• Those individuals,' he says, . who save money are better workmen : if they do not do the work better, they behave better, and are more respectable; and I would sooner have a hundred men who save money in my trade, than two hundred who would spend every shilling they get. In proportion as individuals save a little money, their morals are much better; they husband that little, and there is a superior tone given to their morals, and they behave better from knowing they have a little stake in society.'
In agricultural parishes, where the children of the indigent should be properly educated and instructed in their duties, the publichouses strictly superintended, the dissolute corrected, and the best encouragement given to industry, by affording it ready and safe means of placing its earnings to account, it would seldom happen that those who are able and willing to work would be in want of employment. A remarkable example of the effect that one of these remedial means is by itself capable of producing was stated in evidence to the Committee. A school was established a few years ago at Hoxton, where there were a great number of very depraved poor; since that time, the moral improvement in the neighbourhood has been visible to all the inhabitants, and it is asserted that many instances have been pointed out of the most complete reformation in the morals and conduct of the parents, arising from the circumstance of the children having been introduced into the school ;some of these children have actually taught their parents to read, a fact, which if it be less picturesque than the story of the Grecian Daughter, is not less affecting. As a branch from this school, another was established at Haggerstone, a place inhabited chiefly by bricklayers of the very lowest class of society, and some of them, it is said, perhaps of the very worst character. So proverbial was this place for depravity, that no man or woman in the dusk of evening would walk across to Hackney that way, though it was the nearer path; and if a thief was pursued and ran to Haggerstone, no constable or runner would go beyond a certain line ;-so that with reference to ruffians and criminals of every description, it was called the city of refuge. It is affirmed, that the face of this neighbourhood has been completely changed in the last year or two, and the change is ascribed by all to the establishment of the school there. The benevoleut persons by whom these schools have been instituted have formed societies for visiting children that are sick,