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exile, for no parent will be so irreligious as, with great expenses, to bring up his child at once to misery and sin.'
The condition of the inferior clergy, though it still requires improvement, has been greatly improved during the last century; but the effects of this long continued evil are still felt. For while the means of religious instruction were thought insufficient, the population has doubled upon those means, and the consequence has been that the populace in England are more ignorant of their religious duties than they are in any other Christian country.
It would make any true Christian's heart bleed to think,' says Bishop Croft, “how many thousand poor souls there are in this land that have no more knowledge of God than heathens; thousands of the mendicant condition never come to church, and are never looked after by any; likewise thousands of mean husbandry-men that do come to church, understand no more of the sermon than brutes. Perchance in their infancy some of them learnt a little of their Catechism, that is, they could, like parrots, say some broken pieces, but never understand the meaning of one line; but afterwards, as they grow up to be men, grow more babes in religion, so ignorant as scarce to know their Heavenly Father; and are admitted to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, before they are able to give account of the sacrament of baptism. Thus it is generally in the country, and in the city as bad; partly for the reason before specified, and partly by reason the number in many parishes is far greater than any one pastor can have a due care of; he cannot know half the names or faces of them, much less their faults and behaviour, which is requisite that he may both instruct and reprove when there is need. At this day the case is worse than when the good Bishop of Hereford thus represented it; the increase of popula tion, were there no other cause, would unavoidably have made it
But we must also regard the growth of large towns during the last threescore years; the progress of manufactures, and the vices which unhappily both the one and the other generate, feed, and foster. Thus, even in the natural course of things, darkness has in this respect been gaining upon light, just as weeds and brambles spread themselves, where cultivation is neglected. And what is to be looked for, if, while we have been remiss in sowing good seed, the enemy has continued to sow tares, with that pestilent activity by which mischievous and malignant natures are distinguished, what indeed but such an increase of pauperism, profligacy, and crimes of every kind, as that to which the poor-rates and the courts of law at this time bear frightful and formidable testimony!
It has been well argued by Stillingfleet, that God exercises a particular providence with respect to the condition of kingdoms and nations, making it better or worse according to the moral and
religious condition of the people. For the moral order of the world is not less immutable than its physical laws. The seasons are not linked together in more inevitable sequence than human actions and their consequences; and trees do not more certainly bring forth fruit after their kind thau good and evil are attendant upon virtue and vice. For individuals, indeed, the day of reckoning may not always be in this world--the greater their misery when it is deferred: but communities, existing only in time, cannot escape from their temporal account. There can be no permanent prosperity unless it be founded upon industry, virtue and religion; the public weal, as well as the welfare and happiness of individuals rests upon these and rests upon them wholly; in proportion as the people become idle, immoral, and irreligious, the state becomes insecure, its base is undermined, and it is well observed by Mr. Walpole, that “ in policy, as in architecture, the ruin is greatest when it begins with the foundation.'
In the miserably misgoverned Turkish empire men are at this time retrograding from the settled to the nomadic state of life; the wandering population is continually increased by those who desert to it from the oppression which they endure; and thus the last remaining wrecks of civilization, in what was once the most civilized, the most intellectual and the most flourishing part of the whole habitable earth, would one day be destroyed, if it were not reasonable to believe that Providence will bring about a great and beneficial change in its own good time. Those who thus prefer the wilderness to the city, and the tent to the fixed habitation, are in some respects bettered by the exchange; they are less in danger of the plaguie, and if they leave none of their vices behind them, they acquire at least manly habits to which they were strangers before. The change which has been going on among us has none of these qualifying circumstances for the individual, while it tends to the direct and immediate detriment of the commonweal. With us, they who withdraw themselves from the service of society are enlisted instantly against it. As soon as they cease to support themselves by their own earnings, they begin to consume the property of others. Hobbes, in the frontispiece to his Leviathan, has delineated his commonwealth as a crowned and armed human image, whose body is composed of individuals; the magistrates form the breast, the military are its arms, and if the figure had been given at full length, the peasantry and mechanics would have been seen constituting the feet and legs. We have had occasion to notice elsewhere the apt similitude which he has found for the libellous and seditious members of the community. If he had contemplated the present effect of the Poor Laws, he might have devised one not less appropriate for the paupers of the state, and the body of his
sonified Commonwealth would have appeared as much infested with extraneous and injurious life as that of a beetle with its annoying parasites, being of all creatures the one which is most tormented by such attendants.
The remedies for this great evil are what King Edward indicated, good education; the due administration of good laws; coercion for the idle, the profligate, and the wicked; encouragement for the well-disposed.
Much has, undoubtedly, been done for educating the children of the poor in these latter years, but it wants a firm and permanent foundation. The schools which have hitherto been established are supported wholly by voluntary subscriptions. It may be hoped that the liberality, which proceeds from a sense of duty towards God and man, will not abate, though it should no longer be provoked by the excitement of hostile views and interests : but it would be unreasonable to expect that the funds which are thus raised shall be considerably increased; and it is impossible that they should be commensurate with the necessity that exists. At this time it is stated, upon the best authority, that there are in London from one hundred
and twenty to one hundred and thirty thousand children, between t the ages of six and sixteen, without the means of education ; and
that from two to four thousand of these are hired out to beggars and employed in thieving.
The prodigious increase of youthful criminals is an effect of the enormous increase of the metropolis, though so direct and obvious a cause seems to be overlooked by those who have written
upon the subject. Great cities do not with more certainty generate foul air, and condense contagion, than they assist the propagation of moral diseases. And yet, under a good police, medical and moral, the means, both of prevention and remedy, may be applied with far greater celerity, and therefore with more likelihood of success, than in places where the population is scattered. Accordingly, in all Utopian romances, the perfect model of policy, according to the author's notion of this wide subject, is always exhibited in the capital of his ideal commonwealth ; and in the only attempt which has ever been made for exhibiting such schemes in practice, the people were all collected into inclosed towns. Here, it may be observed, that in all ideal schemes of government a greater superintendence is supposed on the part of the magistrates, and a greater interference with the actions of individuals and the occupations of private life, than has ever been exercised under the most despotic monarchies. And so surely is this passion for interference found in those persons who seat themselves in imagination, or in reality, in the seat of the lawgivers, without having any legal pretensions or natural qualification for the place, that both in our own history,
and in that of France, the men who were loudest in demanding the most unlimited liberty for themselves, in thought, word, and deed, have no sooner been in possession of power, than they have laid the severest restrictions upon the thoughts, words, and deeds of all except themselves and their own party.
There is no danger of our tending toward the same extreme; but we shall err wickedly and perilously on the other side, if we allow the evil, or any evil which we possess the means of controlling, to take its course uncontrolled. Children are daily to be seen, in hundreds and thousands, about the streets of London, brought up in misery and mendicity, first to every kind of suffering, afterwards to every kind of guilt, the boys to theft, the girls to prostitution, and this not from accidental causes, but from an obvious defect in our institutions ! Throughout all our great cities, throughout all our manufacturing counties, the case is the same as in the capital. And this public and notorious evil, this intolerable reproach, has been going on year after year, increasing as our prosperity has increased, but in an accelerated ratio. If this were regarded by itself alone, distinct from all other evils and causes of evil, it might well excite shame for the past, astonishment for the present, and apprehension for the future; but if it be regarded in connection with the increase of pauperism, the condition of the manufacturing populace, and the indefatigable zeal with which the most pernicious principles of every kind are openly disserpinated, in contempt and defiance of the law and of all things sacred, the whole would seem to form a fund of vice, misery, and wickedness, by which not only our wealth, power, and prosperity, but all that constitutes the pride, all that constitutes the happiness of the British nation is in danger of being absorbed and lost.
The sternest republican that ever Scotland produced was so struck by this reflection, that he did not hesitate to wish for the reestablishment, of domestic slavery, as a remedy for the squalid wretchedness and audacious guilt with which his country was at that time overrun.
No sooner was a system of parochial education established there, than a change began to operate. The roots of that huge overspreading evil were cut, and Scotland, which was then as lawless and barbarous as Ireland is now, became the most orderly part of the British dominions. The growth of manufactures, the abuse of distillation, and the infidelity with which some of the Scotch schools have spawned during the last half century are great counteracting principles, whose influence must be lamentably felt. These principles are common to both countries; and the striking advantages which Scotland possesses on the score of general morals can be ascribed only to two causes, its parochial education and the management of its poor. We have before us a Table of the pro
portion of persons committed for criminal offences in different parts of Great Britain to the population of those parts, formed upon an average of the five years from 1805 to 1809. In London and Middlesex it was 1 in 854; in the midland circuit 1 in 5414; in Scotland 1 in 19,967. That there is any thing better in the Scotch character than in our own, we should not acknowledge, nor would they pretend; the difference can only be caused by the care with which the people are trained up in moral and religious habits, --this being, perhaps, the most important part of policy, and without which all other measures of good government are imperfect and insecure. The Utopians understood this well :- summam adhibent industriam, ut bonas protenus opiniones, et conservanda ipsorum Reipublicæ utiles, teneris adhuc et sequucibus puerorum animis instillent ; quæ ubi pueris penitus insederint, viros per totam vitum comitantur, magnamque ad tuendum publice rei statum (qui non nisi vitiis dilabitur, quæ ex perversis nascuntur opinionibus) afferunt utilitatem.'
The quack in politics, like the quack in medicine, prescribes one remedy for all the maladies of the commonweal: it is a sure criterion of quackery to do so. Education alone will not do every thing, but it is the base upon which every thing must rest, and unless we lay the foundation here, we are building upon sand. Are we contented with our institutions, civil and religious ? have we risen and thriven under them, with God's blessing, and by their means ? have they been tried and sifted in controversy, proved and approved by experience, purified, and matured and sanctified by time? why then do we omit any possible means of engrafting them upon the hearts of every succeeding generation, of amalgamating them with their inoral and intellectual being,
'That generations yet to come might to their unborn heirs
Religiously transmit the same, and they again to theirs !' So well are the Jesuits aware how much depends upon laying the foundation deep, that they insist upon having their pupils left wholly to their care during the whole time of their education :
progress and happiness of the young student, not less than the discipline of collegiate life, require that he should not be removed, even at the times of vacation.'--So it is said in the terms of the college which the Jesuits have established in Ireland. The same principle was laid down by the founder of the Methodists as a fundamental law for his school of the prophets. A catechism was prepared by Buonaparte's orders, to be generally used throughout his extensive empire, wherein the chief principle inculcated was the duty of a devoted obedience to the Emperor. "Wherefore should we be less wise in our generation, when the means required for accomplishing a better end are as unexceptionable as the object ? Little more than the due