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OBSERVATIONS ON PAUPERISM,
to all parties. Arduous, however, as In the opinion of your committee, the task may appear, of settling a and in the opinion, we believe, of the serious dispute between man and wife, greater number of the best writers, of their mutual friend undertook it, and the wisest economists, and of the most happily succeeded in the following experienced philanthopists, which the
It seems to me that you interesting subject of Pauperism has are both right. If the cheese was recently called into action; the bamade simply in Parma, then generally lance of good and evil is unfavourable speaking I should say it was Par- to the existence of societies for gramusan; but if it was made in the city tuitous relief :-that efforts of this naof Parma, I see no reason why it ture, with whatever zeal they may be should not be called Parma-city.” conducted, never can effect the reThis fortunate expedient cleared the moval of poverty, nor lessen its general matrimonial horizon: the gathering amount; but that indigence and helptempest subsided; and after a little lessness will multiply nearly in the time the sun began to shine.
ratio of those measures which are ostensibly taken to prevent them.
Such are the consequences of every avowal, on the part of the public, of a
determination to support the indigent [Concluded from Col. 46.]
by the administration of alms. And in 9th. The numerous Charitable Institu- no cases are measures of this kind tions of the City.—The committee by more prolific in evil, than where they no means intend to cast an indiscrimi- are accompanied by the display of nate censure upon these institutions, large funds for the purposes of charity; nor to implicate the motives, nor even
or where the poor are conscious of the to deny the usefulness, in a certain existence of such funds, raised by taxdegree, of any one of them. They ation, and of course, as they will allege, have unquestionably had their founda- drawn chiefly from the coffers of the tion in motives of true philanthropy; rich. they have contributed to cultivate the How far these evils are remediable, feelings of Christian charity, and to without an entire dereliction of the keep alive its salutary influence upon great Christian duty of charity, is a the minds of our fellow-citizens; and problem of difficult solution. The they have doubtless relieved thousands principle of taxation is so interwoven from the pressure of the most pinch- with our habits and customs, it would, ing want, from cold, from hunger, and perhaps, in the present state of things, probably, in many cases, from un- be impossible to dispense with it. But timely death.
while our poor continue to be thus But, in relation to these societies, a supported, to prevent the misapplicaquestion of no ordinary moment pre- tion and abuse of the public charity, sents itself to the considerate and real demands the utmost vigilance, the philanthropist. Is not the partial and wisest precaution, and the most elatemporary good which they accom- borate system of inspection and overplish, how acute soever the miseries sight. they relieve, and whatever number To what extent abuses upon our prethey may rescue from sufferings or sent system of alms are practised, and death, more than counterbalanced by how far the evils which accompany it the evils that flow from the expecta- are susceptible of remedy, we should tions they necessarily excite ? by the not at present feel warranted in atrelaxation of industry, which such a tempting to state. The pauperism of display of benevolence tends to pro- the city is under the management of duce ? by that reliance upon charitable five Commissioners, who, we doubt aid, in case of unfavourable times, not, are well qualified to fulfil the trust which must unavoidably tend to dimi- reposed in them, and altogether disnish, in the minds of the labouring posed to discharge it with fidelity. classes, that wholesome anxiety to But we cannot withhold the opinion, provide for the wants of a distant day, that without a far more extended, which alone can save them from a minute, and energetic scheme of mastate of absolute dependence, and nagement, than it is possible for any from becoming a burden to the com- five men to keep in constant operamunity?
tion, abuses will be practised, and to a
great extent, upon the public bounty ; become established upon a basis as taxes must be increased, and vice and firm as a law of legislative enactsuffering perpetuated.
ment. And in matters of private Lastly. — Your Committee would practice, reformation which positive mention war, during its prevalence, statute could never accomplish, social as one of the most abundant sources and moral influence may thoroughly of poverty and vice, which the list of effect. human corruptions comprehends. But The present tranquil state of the as this evil lies out of the immediate public mind, and the almost total abreach of local regulation, and as we sence of political jealousy, indicate a are now happily blest with a peace period peculiarly favourable to interwhich we hope will be durable, it is nal improvement and reformation. deemed unnecessary further to no- We therefore proceed to point out tice it.
the means which we consider best calSuch are the causes which are con- culated to meliorate the condition of sidered as the more prominent and the poorer classes, and to strike at the operative in producing that amount of root of those evils which go to the inindigence and suffering, which awakens crease of poverty and its attendant the charity of this city, and which has miseries. occasioned the erection of buildings We hold it to be a plain fundamental for eleemosynary purposes, at an ex- truth, that one of the most powerful pense of half a million of dollars, and incitements to an honest and honourwhich calls for the annual distribution able course of conduct, is a regard to of 90,000 dollars - more. But if the reputation, or a desire of securing the payment of this sum were the only in-approbation of our friends and assoconvenience to be endured, trifling in- ciates. To encourage this sentiment deed, in comparison, would be the among the poor, to inspire them with evils which claim our attention. Of the feelings of self-respect and a rethe mass of affliction and wretched- gard to character, will be to introduce ness actually sustained, how small a the very elements of reform. In the portion is thus relieved! Of the quan- constitution which we shall offer for tity of misery and vice which the the government of this society, the
we have enumerated, with means will be provided for effecting, others we have not named, bring upon or endeavouring to effect, the following the city, how trifling the portion actually regulations, as soon as the society removed by public or private benevo- shall become sufficiently large and lence! Nor do we conceive it possible weighty to proceed therein. But we to remove this load of distress, by all wish expressly to state, that in whatthe alms-doings of which the city is ever measures the society shall engage, capable, while the causes remain in it will be proper, in our opinion, that full and active operation.
the managers endeavour to obtain the Effectually to relieve the poor, is sanction of the corporation of the city, therefore a task far more comprehen- and, in every case which requires it, sive in its nature than simply to clothe the authority and co-operation of that the naked and to feed the hungry. It body. is, to erect barriers against the en- 1št. To divide the city into very croachments of moral degeneracy,-it small districts, and to appoint, from is, to heal the diseases of the mind,-it the members of the society, two or is, to furnish that aliment to the intel three visitors for each district, whose lectual system which will tend to pre- duty it shall be to become acquainted serve it in healthful operation.
with the inhabitants of the district, to But can a task of this nature come visit frequently the families of those within the reach of any public or any who are in indigent circumstances, to social regulation ? We answer, that advise them with respect to their busito a certain, and to a very valuable ness, the education of their children, extent, we believe it can.
the economy of their houses, to ad measure for the promotion of public minister encouragement or admonigood, or the prevention of public evil, tion, as they may find occasion ; and founded upon equitable principles, is in general, by, preserving an open, supported by a sufficient weight of candid, and friendly intercourse with social authority, it may gradually pass them, to gain their confidence, and, by into full and complete operation, and a suitable and well-timed counsel,
excite them to such a course of con- expedient, in furnishing employment duct as will best promote their physical to those who cannot procure it, either and moral welfare. The visitors to by the establishment of houses of inkeep an accurate register of the names dustry, or by supplying materials for of all those who reside within their domestic labour. respective districts, to notice every Although this mode of relieving the change of residence, whether of single necessitous, may appear to be enor of married persons, and to annex tirely exempt from the evils arising such observations to the names of those from gratuitous aid, it will undoubtwho claim their particular attention, as edly require a judicious course of mawill enable them to give every needful nagement, lest it produce a relaxation information with respect to their cha- of concern on the part of the poor to racter, reputation, habits, &c.
depend on their own foresight and It may fairly be presumed, that if industry, and the same consequent this scheme of inspection can be car- increase of helplessness and poverty. ried into full effect; if visitors can be Yet it must be expected, that numefound who will undertake the charge, rous cases will occur, in which employfrom the pure motive of philanthropy; ment will furnish by far the most eligiand if, on the principles of active con- ble kind of relief. Among the female cert, a reference be always had to the poor, these cases will be most numebooks of the visitors, before charitable rous. Women have fewer resources relief is extended to any individual by than men; they are less able to seek for any of the institutions already esta- employment; they are more exposed to blished, and due notice taken of the a sudden reverse of circumstances. Of information they afford, a change will the wants and sufferings of this class, soon be perceived in the aspect of the their own sex are the best judges. poor. Finding that they have real Hence, we are of opinion, that the friends, that their conduct is an object Society for the Promotion of Indusof solicitude, that their characters will try” deserves the thanks of the combe the subject of remark; a sense of de- munity; and that the disinterested and cency, and a spirit of independence, well-directed efforts of that society, will be gradually awakened, the effects ought to receive an adequate and exof which must eventually be perceived tended support. in the diminution of the poor-rates of 6th. To advise and promote the
opening of places of worship in the 2d. To encourage and assist the la- outer wards of the city, especially in bouring classes to make the most of situations where licentiousness is the their earnings, by promoting the esta- most prevalent. This subject is conblishment of a Savings Bank, or of sidered as one of vital importance. Benefit Societies, Life Insurances, &c. If, as we believe, nine-tenths of the The good effects of such associations wretchedness which the city exhibits, have been abundantly proved in Eu- proceeds directly or indirectly from the rope and in America ; Boston, Phila- want of correct moral principle; and delphia, and Baltimore, have each a if religion is the basis of morality, Savings Bank.
then it will be admitted, that to extend 3d. To prevent, by all legal means, the benefits of religious instruction, the access of paupers who are not en- will be to strike at the root of that titled to a residence in the city. The corrupt tree, which sheds dreariness plan of inspection before described, and penury from all its branches. will furnish the means of entirely pre- That there is a lamentable deficiency venting those disgraceful encroach- of religious observance, is extremely ments upon the charity of the city obvious. It is questionable, whether which it is believed have been prac- one man or woman in fifty, of the intised to no inconsiderable extent. digent, enters a place of worship three
4th. To unite with the corporate au- times in a year. The means are not thorities in the entire inhibition of provided for them, and they are unstreet begging. There can be no rea- able to provide for themselves. Now, sonable excuse whatever for this prac- it has been remarked, that in the imtice, more especially if the course of mediate vicinity of a church, it is rare inspection, now recommended, be kept to find a house devoted to lewdness or in operation.
depravity. One half of the sum an5th. To aid, if it shall be deemed nally expended in the maintenance of
the poor, would be sufficient to build greater number of shops, in which spithree houses for public worship. rituous liquors are sold by license.
Further, if wretchedness proceed We trust that four-fifths, if not the from vice, and vice, among the poor, whole, of the intelligent portion of our be generally the offspring of moral and fellow-citizens, will unite in opinion, intellectual darkness, is it not a most that the present extension of licensed reasonable, social duty, which the en- retailers is equivalent, or very nearly lightened portions of society owe to so, as it respects the morals of the the ignorant, to instruct before they city, to the entire abrogation of the condemn? to teach before they punish? law which requires a dealer in liquors Can there be a more painful reflection to take out a license. While the in the mind of a humane juror, than number of places in the city remains the thought of consigning to death, or so excessively great, which afford to to perpetual exclusion from the enjoy- the poor and ignorant not only so ments of virtuous society, a fellow- many facilities, but so many invitacreature, for crimes that have evidently tions and temptations, to spend their resulted from that condition of vicious money over the maddening bowl,” ignorance, to which he has ever been reformation will be greatly impeded; exposed, without any attempts on the poverty and ruin must increase and part of the community to rescue him abound. from it?
If each of the 1600 retailers in the The committee would, therefore, sub- city, sell, upon an average, to the mit to the society, the proposition of amount of 250 cents. per day, an endeavouring to effect, as the means estimate which, we presume, all will may accrue, the gradual erection of consider within the truth, the aggrebuildings for public worship, in those gate amount for the year is 1,460,000 parts of the city where they are most dollars. This enormous sum, needed, until every citizen may have torted from the sweat of labour, and an opportunity of attending divine the tears and groans of suffering worship.
wives and children, would be sufficient 7th. To promote the advancement to build annually 50 houses of worship, of First-day or Sunday School Instruc- at 20,000 dollars each; and leave a tion, both of children and adults. We surplus that would be more than sufcannot but regard this kind of instruc- ficient to erect school-houses, and tion as one of the most powerful en- amply provide for the education of gines of social reform, that the wisdom every child in the city. When, with and benevolence of men have ever a single glance of the mind, we conbrought into operation.
trast the difference in moral effect, 8th. To contrive a plan, if possible, between the appropriation of this sum by which all the spontaneous charities to the support of the buyers and sellers of the town may flow into one channel, of strong drink, and its appropriation and be distributed in conformity to to the support of honest and industria well-regulated system, by which de- ous mechanics, employed in the erecception may be prevented, and other tion of buildings, which would improve indirect evils, arising from numerous and ornament the city, and to the difindependent associations, be fairly ob- fusion of religion and useful learning; viated.
who will not rise and exert his strength It appears highly probable, that if against the encroachment of so mighty the administration of the charities of an evil ? the city were so conducted, as to ob- Various other subjects and modes of viate all danger of misapplication and relief, tending to the same great object, deception; those charities would flow might be enumerated; but we forbear with greater freedom, and that funds any further to enlarge our report by might occasionally be obtained, which the recital of them. would afford the means of erecting In the Constitution which we herehouses for worship, opening schools, with submit for the organization and and employing teachers, and thus di- government of the society, a door is rect, with greater efficacy, those mate- opened for the adoption of any mearials, which alone can ensure, to the sure which the society may deem it great fabric of society, its fairest pro- expedient to pursue, in conformity to portions, and its longest duration. the principal design of its institution. 9th, To obtain the abolition of the To conclude: The committee has by
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF
no means intended, in the freedom Article 4.-The business shall be with which it has thus examined the conducted by a Board of Managers, causes of pauperism, and suggested consisting of thirty members, to be remedies, to encourage the expecta- chosen at the annual meeting of the tion that the whole of these remedies society, to be held on the last Tuesday can be speedily brought within the in October, in each year, and nine of power and control of the society. A whom shall constitute a quorum. work of so much importance to the Article 5.-Its officers shall be a prepublic welfare, cannot be the business sident, two vice-presidents, a treaof a day; but we nevertheless enter- surer, and secretary, to be appointed tain the hope, that if the principles by the board of managers. and design of this society shall, upon Article 6.-The corporation of this mature examination and reflection, city shall be entitled to appoint any receive the approbation of the great five members of their body, who, when body of our intelligent fellow-citizens, appointed, shall, ex-officio, be memand the number of its members be bers of this board of managers. augmented accordingly, it will be able Article 7.- This constitution shall gradually to bring within its operation not be altered, except at an annual all the important measures suggested meeting of the society, and by twoin this Report. By what particular thirds of the members present. mode these measures shall be encountered, whether through the agency of large and efficient committees, of this society, or by auxiliary societies, each
ASTRONOMY. established for a specific purpose, un
ASTRONOMY is a science, which, in all der the patronage of the parent insti- ages and countries flourishing in arts tution, and subordinate to its general and politeness, has engaged the attenprinciples, we leave to the wisdom and tion of the speculative and contemplafuture decision of the society.
tive mind. It has not only employed On behalf of the committee, the tongues of the most eloquent ora
John Griscom, Chairman. tors, and embellished the writings of New York, second month, 4th, 1818. men of the most elevated genius; but
has also been cultivated by the great
est princes, the ablest statesmen, and Proposed Constitution.
the wisest philosophers, whose names Article 1.- This society shall be have been recorded in history, and known by the name of The New whose studies have enriched mankind. York Society for the Prevention of The Astronomer has for the subject Pauperism."
of his speculations, the whole universe Article 2.-Its objects shall be, to of material being. He considers the investigate the circumstances and ha- nature of matter in general ; and inbits of the poor ; to devise means for quires by what laws its several parts improving their situation, both in a act upon one another. But his thoughts physical and moral point of views to are more particularly employed about suggest plans for calling into exercise those vast bodies, which compose the their own endeavours, and afford the visible phenomena of the heavens, and means for giving them increased effect; which, in common speech, are compreto hold out inducements to economy hended under the appellation of the and saving from the fruits of their own Sun, Moon, and Stars. He finds the industry, in the seasons of greater magnitude of these to be vastly greater abundance; to discountenance, and than is commonly supposed. He is as far as possible prevent, mendicity able to demonstrate, that very few of and street-begging; and, in fine, to do them are so small in bulk as the earth every thing which may tend to melio- on which we live ; and that the greater rate their condition, by stimulating number far exceed it in dimensions. their industry, and exciting their own He is assured, that, in point of real energies.
magnitude, the Sun is equal to a Article 3. — Any person signing this million of our globe; and that his apconstitution, paying one dollar at the parently diminutive bulk arises solely time of signing, and one dollar annu- from that amazing distance which ally, shall become a member of this separates him from our planetary habisociety.
tation. He discovers that there are