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TABLE Shewing the Produce of Weekly Sums, at
Compound Interest, at £4 per Cent.
520 0104 0 0l156 0 0 208 0 0\260.0 0312 0 of
Taken from Mr. Morgan's Calculations.
CHIMNEY-SWEEPERS. To the Editor of the Cottager's Monthly Visitor.
In the neighbourhood of London, during the cold: season of January, I was disturbed about four o'clock
in the morning by the shrill cry of a chimneysweeper's boy at a neighbouring door. I could not help, from my heart, pitying the poor lad, who was obliged to leave bis hed for his miserable employ. ment at so early an hour, and at so cold a season. And I was still more disturbed at this, because I had understood, that, from compassion to these poor children, an Act of Parliament had forbidden their masters to set them to work at an earlier hour than seven in the morning. These boys are generally either orphans, or the children of very poor and miserable parents ; and, having nobody to protect them, are left at the mercy of their employers ; and, besides the dangerous and wretched nature of their employment, are set to work at so early an bour, that they are deprived of that portion of rest, which is needful for children of their tender age. The poor boy, who began to raise his voice at four o'clock, continued crying “ sweep" 'till nearly five, I confess that I was annoyed at being disturbed myself, and so must all the neighbourhood ; but the poor boy was the worst off of us all, shimering in ibe cold, badly clad, and enduring all the disappointment of suspense besides. He could make nobody hear. The servants, who had ordered him to come, were sleeping soundly, probably at the back part of the house, and there appeared no chance of awaking them. Soon, bowever, a neighbour, who was disturbed by the noise, opened bis window, and spoke to the boy. I suppose he ordered him to cease bis “ cries,” and not to disturb the neighbourhood, for I then heard no more of the noise for some time ; but I could not sleep, and, in about half an hour the poor boy came again. His chance then seemed worse than before, for his cry was much weaker, being afraid, I concluded, of again disturbing the gentleman, who had scolded him. After about half an hour, however, the cry ceased, and I conclude that lie was admitted into the house,
after having been about two hours shivering in the cold ; for during the half hour when the cry ceased, I am afraid he was not likely to have gone home, for fear of encountering the anger of his master, who would probably have blamed him for returning without having completed his job, and brought home the money.
The next day, I saw a master chimney-sweeper passing by, and I called him to me, and enquired whether it was not unlawful to send those poor boys out at so early an hour, for I did not perfectly know what the Act of Parliament did really require. He told me, that they were allowed to begin to seek for employment by crying “ sweep". at seven o'clock in winter, and at five in summer; but that, if they had got a job, they might go as early as they pleased. Yes, said I, but the boy was crying "sweep."-Oh, yes, Sir, to "wake the people.” Now tbis seemed to me perfectly in opposition to the spirit of the Act of Parliament, which was evidently intended to prevent these poor children from being deprived of their needful rest. Besides this, it is a real nuisance to a whole neighbourhood. I was greatly annoyed by it myself; what then must it be to any sick person, to whom sleep is almost life? The man told me, too, that they were frequently kept shivering at a door as long as this poor boy, was, and that it was not only “ perisbing work,” but that, during this time, they lost many shillings, which they could have been earning at other places. * The truth is, that servants very naturally wish to have this dirty sort of work done at an early hour, that the house may be cleaned again before the family comes down. They might, perhaps, be satisfied with five o'clock in summer, and seven in winter ; but the sweeper cannot be with them all at the same time; so that an earlier hour is fixed for some, and then an earlier still for others, and so on, till these poor boys are often obliged to be up at three o'clock, and sometimes even earlier. Then the servant, perhaps, forgets what hour was fixed, lays no plan for being ready to let the sweeper in, and sleeps at such a distance, and so soundly, that the poor boy has no chance of being heard, and he is afraid of ringing or knocking loudly at the door for fear of alarming the family, who would not be able to guess who was coming at so unseasonable an hour.
Now, I am perfectly aware of the advantage of having this dirty work done at an early hour; but surely this convenience ought to give way when it is the cause of so much misery, and suffering to any one; and a tender-hearted master or mistress of a family would be very glad to prevent this eril, and to give directions to their servants accordingly. The trade of a chimney-sweeper is in itself a very distressing and dangerous one, and many 'attempts have been made by Parliament to better their condition, or encourage some machinery, which should prevent the necessity of sending little children up narrow chimnies and flues, where they often stick fast, and sometimes even lose their lives. Some children have such a dread of this, that great cruelty is often obliged to be used at first to persuade them to undertake their miserable task. Their skin is frequently rubbed off their flesh by climbing the chimnies, and the soot, getting into the wound, produces a very grievous sore. It would really be a charitable deed to invent some method which should lessen the miseries of these unfortu. nate people. There is already a machine in use, to prevent the necessity of sending boys up the chimnies ; but there are some chimnies and flues, where this machine cannot be used with proper effect. Certainly, however, we should try all we can to prevent these poor children from suffering unnecessarily; and it ought to be the rule of every family, to see that they shall not be taken from
their beds in the dead of the night, or be kept for hours together at their doors, shivering with cold.
A CALCULATION. The difference between rising every morning at six or at eigbt o'clock, in the course of fifty years, (supposing a person to go to bed at the same time in either case), amounts to 36,500 hours, or FOUR YEARS AND TWO MONTHS. It is, therefore, just the same as if so much tince were to be added to a man's life! " Oh !” but (the sluggard will perhaps say) “ I do not go to bed so early as I must do, if I should rise at six o'clock.” Very likely; but are you quite sure, that in the time you tbus gain at pight, you are as capable of attending to your own improvement, and to all those active duties, which your situation in life may require, as you would bave been in the early hours of the morning, after a pight of rest? If you cannot say, with sincerity of heart, “ Yes, I am;" recollect before it be leo late, that your time is the talent * entrusted to your care, and that you will be called upon to answer for the use you have made of it.
The servant, who bid his Lord's talent in a napkin, did not actually waste that which was entrusted to his care; but he failed to make the best possible use of it. He had been slothful, and therefore wicked, and received this dreadful sentence:“ Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness ; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matt. sXY.
* A talent was a sum of money, the value differing according to the different ages and countries. Dr. Johnson.