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tore of money, and the sacrifice of so small a portion of time can produce what bids fair to have such great and important results upon the future happiness of hundreds, who that has the power when he has once seen, or been made sensible of the effect, would hold himself excusable in not adopting the plan? I have more pride and pleasure in this institution, than from any thing I possess, or ever accomplished in the whole course of my life. My only regret is, that I have began it so late.
Conceiving a statement of the probable expense as far as I am enabled to make it may contribute to promoting the establishment of schools upon the same plan, I have peculiar satisfaction in detailing it. Which will demonstrate at how small an expense so material a benefit may be rendered to the rising generation.
The splendid statements annually presented to Par• tiament of the flourishing state of the country, clothed and tricked out as they have been with all the pomp and fascination of commanding eloquence, whilst all was silence on the rapidly increasing progress of pauperism, have always impressed me with apprehension rather than with confidence; because that evil becomes doubly oppressive, and can scarce be avoided by any after care, against the approach of which we wilfully shut our eyes.
Within these last twenty years, (these years of commercial speculation and unbounded encouragement of manufactural industry,) the number of paupers has been, I believe, more than doubled, and the
increase increase "of rates proportionally advanced. A melancholy picture indeed, where one-tenth of the whole population subsists on charity? But may it not have been aggravated by injudicious measures? And is there no remedy that can be found to arrest its further inroads? We will inquire a little into the nature of this evil.
The overwhelming burden which a parish necessarily sustains from the failure or even temporary stoppage of a crowded manufactory situated within its precincts, is the strongest argument than can be offered for the introduction of societies of associated insurance among this numerous class of persons. The manufacturer and mechanic of almost every description, whose wages so greatly exceed (perhaps more than double) those of the labourer, should be compelled to appropriate a weekly portion of their wages as a common provision against the casualties of their situation; and to this fund, the proprietor ought, in all reason, to make a liberal contribution, for can it be just that one should be enriched at the expense of the health and the morals of many of his fellowcreatures ?—or can that principle be sound which produces in its application the unrestrained indulgence of every passion, and which leaves as a charge upon agricultural industry, the worn-out and enfeebled instruments of commercial avarice?
Where wages are from 18s. to 30s. the deduction of 1s. per week could not materially affect the individual or his family; and were the proprietor to contribute at as low a. rate as 3d. per week for every man
In his employ, a large collection would be raised ; and if the annual surplus were placed out at compound interest;, an adequate provision would be formed for their relief under the pressure of sickness or other misfortune.
I cannot but view the labourer as the natural inhabitant of the parish, and the manufacturer as a kind of interloper brought into it by the favourable local circumstances of a canal or a colliery, and therefore these latter should do something towards their support under the infirmities of life, or the untimely effects of vicious habits. I argue this point strongly, because such has always been my view of the subject; and such is the principle which gave rise to the first Societies established in Workington.
It may not be unimportant to offer a calculation of the numbers thus employed, and of the amount which a proportionate rate of contribution would produce:
Two millions of manufacturers, artificers, &c. at 7 5 050 000 a weekly payment of is. would give per ann. J ''
Proposed contiibution of proprietors - - 1,312,500
One million of agriculturists, at 6d. per week - 1,312,500 And one third of present poor cess - - 1,700,000
The gross total of which affords the immense sum of ^9,575,000
applicable to the alleviation and comforts of the poor, and which has hitherto been in a great degree squandered away in idle thoughtlessness, and at the resorts of intemperance, or lost as to its amount in the waste of valuable and productive time.
2 B There
There is one description of unfortunates who enterinto life with all the stigma of their parents' misconduct, and for whom the benefits of education are more especially requisite to preserve them in the paths of virtue, and in the principles of religious obedience, who are most commonly destitute of every care and attention, and for whose support no prospective provision can be made without its operating as an encouragement to vice. The laws compelling the parents to provide for illegitimate children, or punishing those who cannot, as far as they extend are salutary; but justice and policy call upon the public to interpose, and to discharge those duties of which they are bereft. I should propose that the nation should have the charge of their education, and that the boys should be brought up and instructed on a similar plan to the Marine Society, with a view to their being employed in the public service of their country.
I am happy to find government have signified their intention of taking children from the parishes, and bringing them up in the navy, and other public services. I am friendly to any plan that can emancipate them from being sent to manufactories. I never was more shocked or surprised than by seeing near a hundred children of both sexes, none of them above twelve years old, collected from the poor-houses in the metropolis, on their road to a new manufactory in the North, destitute of all friends, uneducated, nay worse, with for the most part bad examples before them. What must not be expected to be the issue? They cannot be expected to escape the baneful influence of vice arid worthlessness; and after having sacrificed fhe season of instruction, and arrived at maturity, they are to be found turned adrift, without a trade by which they can earn an honest livelihood. To be manufacturers for all the world, by such means, cannot produce lasting prosperity. The sooner we are confined to the supply of our own immediate wants the better j inasmuch as the evil will become so much the less con* siderable, if not wholly removed.
"£. s. d.
Salary to faster - . 52 10 0
Occasional presents . • 550
Mistress - - 31 0 0
House - » - 3 O O
Assistant - - • 550
Books, presents, &c. - 70 0 0
School-room • - 30 0 0
sS. 192 o 0
400 Scholars, at lid per
£.72 o o
An annual dinner is given to the children, when they are examined in public before their parents, ami the rewards due to merit bestowed: the whole expense cannot exceed a hundred pounds per annum. Let me ask those to whom this sum is no particular object, whether the like sum could produce equal pleasure and satisfaction to the donor, or afford so-fair a prospect of
2 B 2 increasing,