« AnteriorContinuar »
leave the political distractions of the times to those whom they concerned, &c. I went to reside in London, when in my 22nd year; continued there 9 years; bad not a days illness the whole time; my folly increased; I took in magazines ; and many precious hours I stood in all weathers at the News shops under the Change, where we saw whatever paper we chose for one halfpenny. Thus I watched the progress of liberty as 'lis called, but I forgot to lay hy a shilling to improve my condition or increase my comforts ;-egregious folly !! When I returned to this country, I married, without a shilling to begin the world with. Of what benefit was my much reading to me? I had not led an immoral life, and had endeavoured to do no harm to any. Providence was pleased to send me 10 children, with many wants and cares. Instead of finding apy comfort in the reflection that I bad read much, and knew something of politics, had read all the poetry I could get hold of, and read much religious controversy, &c., I bitterly lamented my folly for the loss of precious time, and the golden opportunity of youth. To this I trace my troubles; hence I have often trembled at a parish officer's door, and am now a pauper. - When I assert that my native country is the best on earth for the poor, I mean because here the poor are provided by the laws not with the comforts of life, but with clothes and food such as are absolutely necessary. In América, it is proudly boasted that perfect liberty is established. If a near view be taken, their Government is much worse than ours for the unportioned poor. The rich are free, who govern the laws, but the laws govern the poor. I copied the following from the New York papers :-" James Bell, under Sheriff, &c. do hereby certify on my oath of office, that between the first of January 1816, and the first of January 1817, there were com
mitted to New York prison, seven hundred and fifty nine debtors, and all must have starved if they had not been supplied by the Humane Society, or individual charity, and I do farther certify, that, in cold weather, the prisoners are desti. tute of fuel, and dependant for the same wholly on charity, and that I am compelled to beg for fuel sometimes of the Commissioners of the Poor, some times of individuals ; and that to keep the prisoners from freezing. Signed, Ruggles Hubbord, Sheriff. .: I certify that in 1816, upwards of 1100 debtors in gaol were fed by the Humane Society.
Signed, Henry M. Francis, Secretary. The poor ought to be thankful to God, for implanting in the hearts of the rich, that charity which sustains them in prisons, in age, and in sickness; but the unportioned poor in America have not the same to thank their Government for. On the 24th of March, 1823, the parliament of Old England past a vote of £62,405 for supporting convicts at bome. Thus doing that for thieves which the boasted republicans will not do for unfortunate debtors !! In the United States, the Slave population in the year 1820, was 1,531,431, those poor blacks are driven with the whip in free America!! If a black man sets foot on English ground, our laws declare him free.
My idea that it is our numbers that cause our distresses, is strengthened by the Table of the population lately published by Parliament. For the Year Population | For the Year Population 1700 . .. 5,475,000 1770, . . 7,428,000 1710 .. 5,240,000 1780 . . 7,953,000
5,565,000 1790 . . 8,675,000 1730.. . 5,796,000 | 1801 . ..9,168,000 1740 .. . 6,064,000 1811 . . 10,502,500 1750 . . 6,467,000 1821 . . . 12, 218,500 1760 . 6,736,0001
Still, if my notions or prejudices, call them what you please, should be right, I can see nothing to make a poor man despair, or seek his own destruc. tion by a breach of his country's laws. . .
When I assert that old England is the best country on earth for the poor, I could bring fifty reasons for my thinking so, but the testimony of a gentleman who is much esteemed here, has more weight than any thing I could advance, Gage Rookwood, Esq. at our County Meeting, though he is dissatisfied with the state of the representation of the people in Parliament, in his speech to the freeholders, made this confession in favour of England and her laws, “ Having been long a wanderer from England ever since the peace, I return again to this HAPPY country, I say HAPPY in comparison with others, &c." Now I think this confession from a rational reformer is proof positive of my position. I call Mr. Rookwood a rational reformer by way of contradistinction to the wild radicals. Mr. Rookwood guarded the unportioned poor from thinking that they (the poor,) have any business with the quarrels amongst the rich about the distribution of power, by broadly stating that power or liberty or whatever name we give it, should be, and in the nature of things must be, confined to persons of property. His words are, " A new body of constituents is wanting ; and, in their appointment, two things are to be considered, one, that they should be numerous enough, because numbers are necessary to the spirit of liberty; the other that they should have a competent degree of property, because that is conducive to the spirit of order, &c." It is evident that the poor who waste their precious time in reading politics are much to blame. The Scriptures are open to them, from thence they may learn to be patient under trials, and to look on the bright side of occurrences. Universal Suffrage would end here, as it did in France, in military despotism, or something worse. Let every. bonest man, in the labouring classes, protect and revere the laws of Old England,--not break the laws and ruin themselves here and hereafter. Not long since, almost every night witnessed the destruction of stacks and barns by fire. Thank heaven that this has ceased! I was greatly alarmed last year, and I wrote some lines to stack burners, &c. Mr. Dutton, our printer, gave me the printing, gratis. They brought me some profit, and many friends. Our poachers, like the stack burners, will come to their senses soon. The moral and religious habits of my oountrymen are I hope deeply laid, and will prevail over their temporary madness. I enclose a handful of my printed hints. If of no other use they will make famous pipe lights; but I beg pardon for supposing you addicted to the habit of burning to. bacco, though it is certainly more harmless than burning cornstacks, but a silly habit enough it is, and I am sorry to say, so powerful is habit, that I declare from personal experience it seems incilrable, till we get into our last home (the workhouse,) where none is allowed. By the bye, an essay to the youth of the day setting forth the dangers of smoaking, chewing, snuffing, &c. would be useful; I mean the danger of acquiring such habits. I much fear, Sir, my hints will be of no use to you; but they cost me nothing, as I write when I have no work, and as I am making up a little packet to my son, who lives at 94, Curtain Road, he will deliver this, so they will cost you nothing. Could I be certain you would not deign to wade through this long scrawl, it would give me no pain. I sincerely beg pardon for the intrusion, and it is extremely improbable that I shall trespass on your patience again.
FRIENDLY HINTS, . Affectionately addressed, by an Old Man, to the
Labouring Poor of Suffolk und Norfolk: occa:sioned by reading the Accounts of the poor de
luded Men who have suffered at Norwich and Ipswich, for burning Corn Stacks, &c.
HARK ! the dread cry of “ fire!" floats on the wind,
The lonely trav'ler, far away, descries
How grateful is the task the mind t'cmploy;
Is the diffusion of the sacred page!
WEALTH, like all human good, has its alloy:
But wealtl's uncertain as an April day;