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the soil, I procured from my friend a that, upon perceiving his situation, he quantity of the mould, taken fresh undressed himself, and plunged into from under the sand, and carefully the sea ; seemingly with the intention avoiding any mixture of the latter. of attempting to drag the boat with This was instantly put into a jar, his clothes to land. Finding that, which was stopped up close, by means however, impracticable, he next atof a piece of bladder tied tightly over tempted returning to the boat, but its mouth. Having prepared a couple failed in getting into it, and with his of flower-pot flats, by drilling small struggling upset it; and there is not holes in the bottom of them, so as to a doubt but he must have perished, admit of the ascent of water, I filled had not some salinon fishers been most the flats with some of the mould, and providentially employed within sight placing them in a very wide and shal- of him, and rowed to his assistance. low tub made on purpose, I covered By the time they reached him, he was each of them with a large glass receiver. nearly exhausted by his exertions; and Each receiver, however, was provided having been repeatedly completely unwith a brass rim, having little brass der water, was so benumbed with cold, knobs on it, so as to raise its edge from that they were obliged to strip themthe bottom of the tub, and leave a small selves of what clothes they could spare, opening for the admission of air. The and put on him his own being quite whole apparatus was placed in my wet from the upsetting of the boat. library, of which the door and win- They then very humanely brought dows were kept constantly shut. him home, carrying him great part of • This was done on the 17th of Feb- the way, until he recovered strength ruary last. It is now the 6th of May; and warmth sufficient to enable him and, on examining the flats, I find to walk. “ It is curious enough,” says about forty-six plants in them, ap- his intelligent sister, “ to observe the parently of four different kinds; but, sagacity displayed in some of his acas they are yet very young, I cannot tions. His shoes were found with a determine their species with any de- stocking and garter stuffed into each gree of accuracy. The final result of of them, and his tobacco-pipe in his the experiment I shall not fail to com- coat-pocket, rolled up in his neckcloth. municate to you."
The shoes (having got them on new that morning) were the only articles he discovered any anxiety to recover,
and these he seemed much delighted NARROW ESCAPE OF THE BLIND AND
with when restored to him, they havDEAF BOY, JAMES MITCHELL, FROM
ing been found when the tide ebbed. DROWNING.
His first action, when I met him, upon Dr Gordon has lately read to the being brought home, was to pull off a Royal Society of Edinburgh, a letter worsted night-cap, and give it to me, from Miss Mitchell, giving an ac- with rather an odd expression of councount of the conduct of her brother, tenance. The men had been obliged the blind and deaf boy, some time ago, to put it on him, his hat having sharwhen in imminent danger of being ed the fate of his clothes in the boat; drowned.
and he certainly made a most grotesque There is a point of land leading appearance altogether, which he seeinfrom Nairn (the town where he lives), ed to be in some degree aware of, as, along the side and to the mouth of the after getting on a dry suit of his own river, and which, with high tides, is clothes, he frequently burst out aoverflowed by the sca, where there are laughing during the evening ; alboats frequently left fastened to some though, upon the whole, he appeared thing for the purpose. He had been graver, and more thoughtful than uin the habit, it seems, of going down sual. He has not suffered any injury to these boats; and had that day gone from this accident, which had so neardown and stepped into one of them as ly proved fatal to him.” His family usual. Before he was aware, how are in hopes that he has got a fright ever, he was afloat, and completely that will prevent his returning to the surrounded with water. Had he re- same amusement again, although they mained quietly there until the tide have not yet recovered their former ebbed, he probably would not have confidence in his safety when absent been in any danger; but instead of from them.
v by the use of animal power, of machinEXTRACTS FROM A COMMUNICATION by
ery, and of capital, are often insuffiTO J. C. CURWEN, ESQ. CHAIRMAN
eient to make the earth repay the exOF THE COMMITTEE ON THE POOR
penses of cultivating, sowing, and LAWS.
manuring it. How vain, then, must
appear the hope, that that object will Two errors, it seems to me, less be effected, if the expense be increasdifferent in their result than in their ed more than fivefold! Gardens are nature, may be committed in legis indeed cultivated profitably by the lating for our Poor: the one, the seek- spade ; but the system of gardening ing to patch up and amend a system
has narrow limits, being bounded by which is defective in its very princi
the demand for the produce, and still ple; and the other, the too rashly more by the means and cost of procurembracing of visionary schemes. By ing manures. If we will calculate, the first, we may give permanency to too, how little of the time of Mr evils which a firmer policy could re- Owen's poor could be spared from the move; by the second, we may be so
labours of tillage, we must suppose entangled in costly and unavailing
the profits of manufactures to be great projects, as to be forced, after a time, indeed, to support, even on the scanto retrace our steps.
tiest fare, such a numerous society. Of those plans of provision for the But even if we can believe that such poor which have been made known,
an establishment could repay its exthat of Mr Owen seems to be treated penses, and support its members; and by the public with the greatest favour. if all the objections could be obviated The favour, however, is perhaps more which arise from the vast numbers of due to the benevolence of the author, those institutions which would need than to the merits of his design. To to be formed, to maintain our excresme, at least, it appears, that though cent population, and from the turnMr Owen may have succeeded in a ing of so many thousand acres from partial experiment, his system, as the profitable cultivation into the most permanent one of a great and popu- wasteful system of management that lous nation, would be impracticable can be devised ; still I maintain, that in the ultimate execution, and would the system is founded on principles lead, in the attempt, to innumerable very different from those which will evils.
ever enable us to better the condition, In the opinion of this gentleman, and eradicate the vices, of the labourso great has been the lessening of the ing poor. need of human labour by the use of The argument for resorting to this machinery, and so diminished will be system is founded upon an assumption the demand for the products of our unsupported by experience, and withindustry by the cessation of war, that out evidence or probability to support we shall never be able to employ our it-namely, that the simplification of whole people as in the times that are labour by mechanism, and the ceasing past : we must now afford them em- of the demand for warlike stores, will ployment for no other purpose than render it impossible for us to employ, to keep them from vice and idleness. as hitherto, our manufacturing popuTo this end it is proposed, that we lation. That many thousand labourshall form societies of 1200 or 1500 ers, artisans, and traders, derived their persons, and purchase an equal num- chief or entire subsistence from the ber of acres of land, to be cultivated preparation and sale of those commoentirely by human labour. The time dities which the demands of war callthat can be spared from this occupa- ed forth, is true: but shall we believe tion by the men, and a part of the that the opening of so many markets time of the women and children, are formerly closed against us, and that to be employed in certain manufac- the prosperity which we may reasontures, from the profits of which the ably hope from a commerce interruptwhole expens of the establishment ed only by the rivalship of less skilful are to be defrayed, and the inhabitants and less wealthy nations, will not insupported in a little Utopian common- demnify us for the loss of our warlike wealth.
manufactures ? -The cheapness with Now it is known, that all the en- which the objects of luxury and use ergy and frugality of a farmer, aided can be supplicd, have never yet failed
to increase the demand in a corres- structive lesson-that is, in its origin, ponding ratio. At this time, depress- and before it has degenerated into de ed and impoverished as the nations a- buse ; for in this state it may still be round us are, there is no such decay of said to be in most parts of Scotland : our exports, as to justify an opinion, and I have observed, that nothing is that we shall not be able to export as more hurtful to the morals and usemuch of the products of our industry fulness of the poor, than removing as ever. The most important of all from them, in the least, the shame of our markets, that of the home con- dependence. Even the slight provi. numer, will still be open to us; and, sion which we make in Scotland, i as before, we shall have the markets universally admitted to produce, on the of colonies, which are themselves an manners of the lower classes; a result empire. Surely, from the mere ap- that is to be deplored. This is mani. prehension of an improbable event, it fested in many ways; but in nothing were a rash policy to establish amongst more than in the change of treatment us a new and permanent system of de- to which it exposes the old and infirm, pendence on public support, and in- from those who are bound by the ties stead of cherishing sentiments of in- of nature to support them. Formerly, dependence amongst the poor, to in the poorest person who was blessed vite them to live on alms and a com- 'with health would have held it scanmon; to relinquish, on some hundred dalous to have suffered a parent or a thousand acres, all the benefits we de near friend to depend on the public rive from the improvements in the arts for support. But every parish meetof tillage ; and to make it better for a ing, now, furnishes evidence that this man to live on a public provision, than honourable feeling decays with the into offer his services where they could crease of the public bounty. be most useful.- No political evil will In short, sir, it seems to me, that more certainly work its own cure than we cannot commit a greater error, in that over-cheapness of labour, which legislating on this subject, than to we are advised to prevent by artificial make it better for the poor to depend regulations. The cheapness of labour, on the public than on themselves for as of most things besides, increases the the means of life, or in any way to demand for it, by rendering the em- train them to dependence by removployment of it more profitable. In ing the shame of it. Mr Owen, howour country, from 20 to 30 millions ever, by the tempting allurement of sterling have been annually lent by comforts, invites his poor to depend individuals to the state, and thence, upon a public provision. He does inby the purchase of warlike stores, and deed propose to make them work, and the various expenditure of govern- he hopes to make them virtuous; but ment, sent again, by innummerable their labour will be useless to the ramifications, into the general circula- commonwealth; the manner of employtion. A great part of this vast sum, ing it will have all the effects of a by being now employed directly in charity; and their virtues will not be objects of private or public utility, those of men trained to an honest rew in new manufactures, canals, harbours, liance on their own industry. railways, buildings, the embellishment of the two classes of people who, or improvement of landed property, by usage or the law, are the subjects &c. &c.—will give employment to our of parish support, the one consists of population, and raise the rate of la- those who are disabled by age or natü. bour, in like manner, as the former ral infirmity from earning to themexpenditure of the state. Emigration, selves a subsistence; the other, of too, will relieve us of part of our un- those who possess the physical power, employed poor, and that assuredly to but who are supposed to be destitute no trivial extent, if the rate of labour of the means to obtain that return for shall be very low.
their labour which will afford them a
livelihood. The first deserves all the You, sir, have had an opportunity sympathy which is due to age and mis of marking the effects of a public pro- fortune ; and though it would be well vision for the poor, in the fullness of that the task of relieving their wants the abuse of the system. I have had were exercised by those on whom nathe means of marking its effects at a ture imposes it as a duty, yet, in the time when it affords a hardly less inpresent corrupt state of this part of society, we cannot always intrust those who was capable of labour, the means unhappy persons to kinsmen, who of finding employment, we should go may be unjust and cruel, and whom far to lay the axe to the root of all this custom has long released from a natu- monstrous system of abuse and error. ral obligation.
'Tis then the two classes of poor would But of those whose claim for public be entirely separated ; no one whom support is founded on their inability nature had not unfitted for toil could to procure a return for that industry be held to have a claim for public which they are able to exert, every support; and the whole object of the reasonable claim will be satisfied, if laws would be confined to a part of they are presented with an object for the poor which does not perhaps extheir industry, and a return for its ceed one-fifth of those to whom assis exercise. It were well that they them- tance is now afforded. selves were forced to seek for the one, These things are necessary, if we and, like the inhabitants of every other would accomplish this great work: country, to take the market value of the labouring poor must be contented the other. But the greatness of our to receive the market value of their manufacturing population, the sudden labour, as they would be forced to do variations of commerce, the increase in every country but their own; and of our numbers, long use, and the dis- if the community shall supply them missal from the service of the state of with objects of industry, they must thousands who were formerly main- look for no better return for it than tained by it-render a return to this will afford them food and raiment, natural state impracticable for the which we may consider as the minipresent, and will probably render it so mum rate of labour in a prosperous for as long a time as any of this gene- country. The community, again, in ration has to live. Necessity, there affording the materials of industry, fore, will impose on the community and in placing them within the reach the burden of affording support to of every person, must be careful to those who are destitute of the means hold out no boon for the people to of obtaining employment; but neither labour for the public rather than for necessity nor humanity call upon the themselves, or for those who can empublic to minister, as hitherto, to ha- ploy them. bits of vice and excess, and to cherish By adopting a plan founded on these idleness by an indiscreet profusion. principles, we should enable every perIt were idle to descant on the evils son to procure to himself a maintenof such a course. Our present system ance, without being beholden to any has, for more than a century, been a species of degrading charity; we should source of vexation and abuse. The not interfere injuriously with the price laws of settlement, to which it has of labour, but should suffer it to rise given birth, are, perhaps, beyond all or fall, as it ever ought, with the delaws that ever were devised, perplexed mand for it, and the profits of it, we and confused, are the source of innu- should teach the labouring classes to merable frauds and never-ending liti resort to the frugal habits becoming gation, and subject the poor of Eng. their condition in life, and most suited land to a tyranny and controul unsuit to their own happiness and virtue; able to the spirit of a free people. Our and we should wonderfully simplify fatal desire to promote the comfort of the business of legislating for the poor, the poor has rendered every eighth by rendering none but the really helpperson a beggar, in a country where less the objects of parish support. All the demand and reward for industry but these unfortunate persons might have been greater than in any other have employment, if they chose to acin Europe ; has removed from many cept of such an equivalent as the prohundred thousand souls the shame of fits of it could afford: if they would dependence on a public charity; and, not if they would renounce none of in rendering the old degraded and de- their luxuries when the rate of labour praved, has contaminated the young was low-not even the dear delights of to future times.
the gin shop the folly and the pun . I presume to think, that if a method ishment would be all their own. If could be devised, cheap, simple, and the poor of England shall be able to of easy execution, to afford to every indulge in habits unknown to the poot person, of either sex and of every age, of any nation in Europe, it will };
well; but it is time that the means duce, and the means of procuring mawere supplied from the profits of their nures. own labour, and not from the bounty Every person, male or female, young of the community.
or old, should be entitled to demand In suggesting a plan for effecting work in these establishments, and to the object in question, I take it for be immediately accommodated with a granted that it is possible to employ lodging. Every family should obtain our population in objects of useful in one apartment; and all the children dustry, the contrary supposition ap- above the age of three should be repearing to me to be a mere opinion, ceived into lodging-houses fitted for without proof or likelihood to support their reception. The number of un
married grown-up persons to be put I propose, that in every county (or into one apartment should not exceed district of two or more counties, where three. these are small, or not populous), The rate of labour should be fixed one or more large manufactories, of by statute at a sum which should be that sort which will give the greatest merely sufficient to procure the neces. employment to human labour, be saries of life : but a cheap and regular erected at the public expense, and that supply of those necessaries should be these be surrounded by buildings fit secured, proper market-places being to accommodate, on a medium, from provided, and contracts entered into 2000 to 1000 persons, besides children; with butchers, bakers, dairymen, and and that in these establishments every others, for the supply of the requisite proper measure be taken to separate provisions : these provisions the inhathe young from the old, that the for- bitants should be suffered to purchase mer may be kept from the contamina- for themselves, no farther interference tion of vicious habits, and carefully being made with their manner of living instructed.
than would be, were they living in I apprehend that fifty-two for Eng- towns, and employed in the manufacland and Wales (or at the rate of one tories of individuals. In short, the for each county), and three for Scot- inhabitants should be freeinen, and land, will be sufficient. These, at the not slaves,-labourers for their own medium rate of 3000 persons for each, support, and not dependents on alms. will accommodate 165,000 persons, They should live as they might at besides, children,-a number which, home, subject only to such regulations there is reason to believe, will exceed as should be necessary to secure the the whole working poor of the king- peace of the society, and to preserve, dom, who, in ordinary times, cannot as far as possible, their own morals, otherwise be employed. But to ac- and those of their children. commodate any increase of number, In order that every one might be cheap temporary buildings of wood paid in proportion to the time his could be erected, as occasion required. strength or his wishes kept him at
Without entering into details, I work, the rate of labour should be compute that the whole expense of fixed by the hour. If that of the men each of these establishments would were fixed at 14d., of the women at not exceed £160,000, or £8,800,000 1 d., of boys and girls below a certain in all ; and that temporary buildings, age at id. --each, by labouring a suffi. with the necessary furniture, to ac- cient number of hours, might earn a commodate 100,000 persons more, support. The man who worked ten could be erected for £1,200,000; hours a-day would receive 15d. ; his making a total expense of ten millions wife might earn in proportion to the sterling.
time she could spare from her domestic Thus far might the suggestion of duties; and the children would conMr Owen be adopted. Land in the tribute to their own maintenance. neighbourhood might be rented, and They should be paid weekly, and laid out for garden-ground, to be cul should be at entire liberty, with their tivated, according to certain rules, by families, to quit the society when they the members of the establishment, and chose, and to seek elsewhere for more the produce sold to defray the rent profitable or more agreeable employe. and expenses. This system, however, ment. as I have said, would need to be limited All care should be employed in by the extent of the mart for the pro- watching over the conduct of the