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the substance of the evidence received ; the third, on a compulsory provision for the Poor, as established by the existing laws, which are considered by the Committee as hav. ing a tendency “ to create the poverty they were meant to relieve, and impose an intolerable and augmenting burden on one portion of society, without materially adding to the comforts of the other.” From this conclusion Mr. Nicoll dissents, and observes, “That there is no radical and progressive evil inherent in the Poor Laws may probably be establi:hed as a fact, as well as inferred from a course of reasoning. The compulsory provision complained of, has been in force above 200 years. It has therefore bad full time to operate to bring its inherent influences, be they what they may, into full action. If, then, at the close of the war, the country was populous and rich, overflowing with capital and with prodnctive industry, this inherent influence can either have operated with trivial effect for two centuries, or must have been coupteracted by some very vigorous check.”
He then proceeds more particularly to establish his argument, by showing that Poorrates are not generally so high as we are taught to believe ; that were the poor becoming more dependant on the parish, and less so on their own exertions, “the quantity of productive industry in the kingdom must have decreased in the same degree in which this evil has augmented ;” which he shows not to be the case. But that the Poor-rates, considering the increasing population and advanced price of the necessaries of life, were pot greater in 1815 than in 1776.
Respecting mendicity, he says, “ The Poor Laws have unquestionably checked the system of Vagrancy in a very great degree. If they do not hereafter extirpate it, the fault lies with the Constable and the Magistrate. When every man has a sure subsistence at his own home, it is a culpable indolence, and not a feeling of humauity, which permits him to wander as a vagrant elsewhere. Though the vagrant, when stationary, adds somewhat to the burden of his particular parish, do not the united theft and extortion to which his vagrancy gives rise, add ten times more to the burden of the kingdom at large!
“ The Poor Laws, in supporting the health of “a bold peasantry, their country's pride,” and in checking the principle of itinerant mendicity, have fully redeemed their oredit, were the evils inherent in them as great as they are depicted. We have very florid descriptions of the mischief introduced by these laws; I would, equally striking ones were given of those they have removed or palliated ; of the wretchedness of a great. part of the Poor where they do not prevail. The Poor of Scotland are frequently mentioned; hear what is said by Fletcher of Salton :- There are at this day in Scotland, besides a great many poor families very meanly provided for by the church-boxes, with others who by living upon bad food fall into various diseases, 200,000 people begging from door to door.? What a proportion of the population of Scotland a century ago."
The fourth section refers to the “ propositions of the committee, select vestries, limitation of rates, friendly societies, maintenance of children.” The fifth, “ support of the poor-statute of Elizabeth.” The sixth,“ settlement of the poor.” Seventh," means of supporting the poor.” Eighth,“ present state of the poor, and of the execution of the poor-laws, enquiries suggested.” Ninth and last, “ further suggestions."
Our limits not allowing us to notice Mr. Nicoll's arguments on all the foregoing heads, we must content ourselves with offering such extracts as are likely to be most interesting to our readers, and at the same time serve as specimens of the style and manner in which his reasoning is conducted.
« The comparison between a home and a workhoude education, is in every respect in favor of the former. Where the whole pauper offspring of the kiugdom is to be provided for, on a fixed principle, the expense of that principle is a very primary point ; tbe expense of the workhouse system on this extensive scale must exceed any thing yet kaown; the buildings to be erected for the young poor of 10,000 parishes, could never be paid for out of rates ; and would, if wade a concern of the whole kingdom, materi. ally add to the national debt. The annual interest of the money so to be expended, would, under due regulations, nearly support all our Poor. The expense of each child in the workhouse would be at least double, of what would wholly maintain it with its parents ; and in the workhouse there is no partial relief. The father may sapa port his family with half maintenance for each from the parish ; in the workhonse every species of expense falls exclusively on the parish fund.
" Where a rate exceeds so much in the pound rack-rent in any place, ali further as: sessment migbt be portioned out between the plaee itself and the revenue of the country. Before the revenue is called in aid, the pressure ought to be felt ; it should be such as for its own sake the place will have great anxiety to avoid. Sappose 5s. in the pound rack-rent was to be assessed on the place before and could be called for ; till the rate amounted to 10s, the place should raise half beyond five, Government pay the other half ; so that if the assessment were 108. in the pound, the place would pay 7s. 6d., Government %s. 60. Beyond 10s. Governmnt might pay two-thirds, the place onethird. The actual rack-rent, and the necessity of the intended rate, should be proved before magistrates in the general sessions, specially called.
“ I should be very glad to see the statute of Elizabeth superseded by a new one, which should at once enact what was to be law, and declare the principles on which the law was grounded. The first principle would be, that necessity, and nothing but necessity, should be relieved ; and that the relief should be exactly proportioned to the necessity. After stating that to attempt to provide work,was in reality to encourage idleness, and interfere with the regular trader, it should be enacted, that the special mode of relief must still be left to the Overseer, on considering all the circumstances of the case before him.
“ However temporary in its origin may be the present distress, it is by no means certain that it may not be permanent in its effects. There is a double habit forming, if not formed; that of giving, and that of receiving. It has been already said, that “where many receive relief and few do not, the receivers of relief become the ordinary class of labourers; degradation is at an end ; the few may feel a little pride, but the many feel no disgrace." The kingdom is very much in this situation ;--the shame of being a burden on the public, is nearly extinct ; that is one evil, and a great one.
The habit of seeing the rate doled out in all directions, and increasing daily as demands upon it itcrease, has raised a sort of feeling, that it is not the proper source of relief to indience, but the proper means of support to the Poor; their lawful inheritance ; no more than the charity which christianity ordains, sanctioned and regulated by civil establishment! This is a still greater evil.
“ The consequence of these two principles is, that every clamour, trick, and artifice is adopted, which may extort from the Overseer this poor man's right; and into this poor man's right, the whole of the rich man's rental may be ultimately converted, unless the country is roused into active measures of prevention.
“ This part of the general snbject, more important probably in its consequences than any other, calls for particular discussions; and by tracing it up step by step, to its present point, we shall best discern the retrograde path we are called on to prrgue.
“ The fluctuations of commerce incident to a state of war, and the repeated failures of crops, have laid the foundation of the evil. In years of extreme scarcity, the ordinary wages of the agricultural labourer, being unequal to his subsistence, two modes of remedy were adopted':-- In many places fartners supplied their own labourers with corn at a moderate rate. This was accepted with gratitude as a bounty; and with the necessity for it, the bounty ceased.
“ In other places the method was adopted of giving rations of corn, according to the size of the family ; or what was equivalent, of making up what was earned a certain sum, out of the parish-rates. These two modes of relief have already been discussed; they did not cease with the necessity which caused them, but became the habit of the parish somewhat modified no doubt from time to time, but under every shape and size and colour pregnant with evil.
“ It is quite clear that, under this management, the labourer would soon become content with dependance on the parish; and in time discontented with every thing but what was received without trouble and exertion on his own part. The overseer on his part presently grew familiar with high rates, unlimited claims, and relief grounded on no apparent necessity. There was no longer a sufficient cause to deter any poor man from asking, or any overseer from giving ; shame was wholly removed from the one, a habit of discriminating from the other. And this is now more or less the state of the agricultural part of the kingdom.
“ A similar process took place in the commercial districts: necessity urged some to claim relief, and the contagion of example others ; till iu towos as in the country, to be a parish-pauper incurred no disgrace; and in towns as well as in the country, the overseer became so used to give, that he never thought of denying.”
“ As carelessness in distributing the rate is the latest mischief, it ought also to be the first remedied. We can never begin by lessening claims ; it must be by rendering them ineffectual.
“ There are even now very many parishes, where the spirit of the times has made no great progress; and where, consequently, there is not much to undo. Notwithstanding this, I would recommend a universal district enquiry into the state of the poor ; into their wants and conduct; the means of supplying their necessities, and of repres sing their frauds. A select committee should prepare the case of each parish ; and the whole should be laid before a general committee of the town or hundred. Much usefal information may hence be diffused, and many desirable regulations framed. would be struck by a plan of this sort, and would shrink from unfounded claims, knowing the eye of the public to be upon them.”
“ In less than a year and a half, the York Saving Bank has obtained so powerful an interest, that the receipts for the last four weeks have exceeded 20001. and this wholly from the class of persons for whom the Bank was designed. The contributions from servants have formed a considerable part of the receipts; and though the pressure of the times bas precluded the deposits of labourers with families from being numerous, it is quite clear the Bank is firmly established in the opinion of the public. There is nothing peculiar in this institution; nothing which will not be foand in nearly every other. From tbis experience it may therefore be confidently asserted, that the Saving Bank system is certain of the most extensive success. The operation of this system, as connected with the present subject, may probably be thus detailed :VOL. II.
“That there is a public office known and much talked of, for the receipts of small sums, where the labourer can deposit them without apprehension, is of itself a circumstance of the highest importance. The mind of the poor man has something to work on, an image before it, a point to which his thoughts are directed. Heretofore the labourer has had little ioducement to lay by his money; he was at a loss what to do with it; nobody he durst trust would take the two or three pounds be had saved ; or any person would, he knew not how to set about finding him; he had no guide-post; the way was not open before him.
“ So difficult a point has the safe loan of his money been, that the cottager has very commonly hid his savings: and an old stocking foot, or the tester of a bed, has comprised the hoard of a whole life's æconomy. A hundred and ten pounds passed through my hands some time ago, which had been accumulating for above twenty years; and had laid in a cottage without any other protection than the apparent poverty of its owner : amongst this, was more gold than I had before seen together for a very long time.
“In every new disciple of the Saving Bank, I see at least two apostates from the poor-rate; and in fifteen or twenty years, there is no reason to doubt that the inherent and progressive principle of the Saving Bank, will bave not only stopped the progress, but will have entirely routed the influence, of its antagonist, the parish-rate.”
A History of Whitby and Streonsbalh Abbey; with a Statistical Survey
of the Vicinity to the distance of twenty-five miles. By the Rev. George Young, with the assistance of some papers left by the late Mr. R. Winter, and some materials furnished by Mr. J. Bird. 2 vols. 8vo. 218. pp. 954. Longman and Co. London; Clark and Medd, Whitby. 1817.
THE publication which we now announce to our readers is one which, we think, will be perused with an almost equal satisfaction by the student of general literature and the lovers of antiquity.
We cannot present a better introduction than the following extract from the author's preface :
“The advantages of local history are generally acknowledged. Correct views of a 'country are not to be gained from the basty remarks of the tourist, who skims over its surface in a few days ; but from the patient researches and mature observations of local writers, each of whom, devoting his attention to objects within his reach, and collecting what is interesting in his own vicinity, furnishes his quota to the common fond of statistical knowledge. In general, topographical works will be more or less correct, in proportion as the field of view is contracted or enlarged: and he who attempts to take in too much, endangers the whole. What is gained in exient, is lost in accuracy. The fore-ground of the landscape is distinctly perceived, while the distant objects are involved in shades.
« To serve the interests of science, the subject of a local history should be judiciously chosen, as well as patiently investigated: the place, or district, must afford an adequate proportion of interesting materials; and the central point, on which they are made to bear, must possess sufficient respectability to entitie it to that distinction. In these respects , few places present a more legitimate subject for the pen of the topographer, than WHITBY AND THE VICINITY. The vestiges of ancient British towns and sepulchres, forts and entrenchments, found in this district; the remains of Roman camps, roads,
and stations, which it exbibits; its connection with the affairs of the Roman provinces and Saxon kingdoms, 'a connection wbich may be found in this work to be more intimate than has hitherto been supposed; its singular natural productions; the early fame of the abbey of STREONSHALA, as a seat of religion and learning ; the splendour of Whitby Abbey that sncceeded it, after the Conquest ; the number and respectability of the otber religious houses in the district ; the antiquity of Whitby as a town and port; the rapid progress of its commerce and manufactures, and vast increase of its wealth and population, in modern times; with its importance as the chief town of Wbitby-Strand; -all concur in pointing out this town and neighbourhood as a fit object for historical research."
The first part of the work contains a general history of the district, divided into three distinct periods ;-the first commencing with an account of the original inhahitants of Britajn, and leading us through the period of its government by the Romans to their final departure ;-—the second is the history of the Saxon period to the landing of William the Norman with his victorious army; and the third aud last contains the history of the district from the Anglo-Norman or English period to the present time.
The character of the Saxons, given us in the commencement of their period of history, is not an unfair specimen of the style in this department of the work.
“ The Saxons are described as one of the bravest nations presented to us in the whole compass of ancient history. Strength of body, patience in warlike labonrs, a ferocious courage, and a formidable activity, are the qualities by which they have been commemorated. Such is the character giver of that people who were ultimately doomed to have the dominion of Britain, who were to gire laws and manners to a degenerate race, a people depressed into pusillanimity under the slavish government of the Romans, whose imbecility was such, from continued oppression, that they could not defend themselves without the iotervention of a foreign aid. Accustomed to a predatory and piratical life, the Saxons braved every element; neither the stormy ocean of the Germans, nor the dangerous shores of Britain, could depress their ardour for plunder and conquest. The frowning clouds of winter darting the lightning's flash amid the howling of the midnight storm, sheltered their designs from the view of an unsuspecting foe. But while we display, a gleam of the brightest part of their character, let us not overlook one of the most horrible traits that can degrade the reputation of a people, a crime tbat casts the most odious shade over every minor virtue, that of sacrificing the whole or a part of the unfortunate captives who fell a prey to their vindictive rage. Had their objects been merely confined to the acquisition of territory or amassing plunder from their fellow-creatures, we might have passed them with the same negative disgust which we entertain for conquerors in general; but when we are informed that they dragged off the inoffensive part of the inhabitants into bondage, and decimated their captives to be sacrificed as victims to an abominable deity of disgusting attributes, our admiration must sink into abhorrence.”
In the chapter containing the English period, the author gives us an account of the survey called Doomsday, and concludes it with the followings remarks :
“ It may be remarked, that the richest manor in this quarter in the time of Edward the Confessor, was that of Whitby, which, with its dependencies, was valued at £112. The next in value was Pickering, which was estimated at £13. Walsgrave was valued at £56; and Loft us at £48. Most of the other manors are entered at a very low rate. Lyth, Malgrave, Hutton-Molgrave, Egton, Mickleby, and Brotton, were valued at only ten'