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reasonings of Dr Smith. There was none more hostile than he to any positive interference of the Legislature in matters of trade; and yet none more strenuous than he in contending, that, for the interest of trade, there was nothing more indispensable than the pure and ready administration of justice. And yet the object of a Court of Justice is not to lay any artificial regulation upon trade: It looks to a distinct and a higher object altogether-even the protection of society from such moral injuries as it might otherwise sustain from the passions or the selfishness of its members. But in the fulfilment of this object, it confers a most important benefit upon commerce--not by fettering its active and essential principles, but by spreading the mantle of security over their operation—not by thwarting Nature, but by removing the impediments and disturbances which lie in the way of her salutary processes—by securing to every labourer the fruit of his own industry, and to every merchant the fruit of his own speculations, and to every customer the fruit of his own purchases, and thus encouraging the full play of all those individual activities by which the great interests of commerce are sustained.
For the attainment of this object, courts of justice should be multiplied so as to meet the wants of the country, and be readily accessible to all its population. And churches and religion appear to us to occupy a similar place in relation to pauperisni. Their great and primary design is, not that they should be linked in the way of direct subserviency with any of its ministrations: It is to moralize the people, and make them meet for eternityan object which would remain as indispensable as ever, though there was no such thing as poverty in the land. But in the fulfilment of this object, the teachers of righteousness necessarily shed a most abundant blessing over this department in the concerns of human society. They liberalize the wealthy, and they dignify the poor ; and they call forth the slumbering sym. pathies of the former, and the slumbering delicacies of the latter; and they, each in his own district of moral superintend. ence, draw into a closer acquaintanceship the people who live in it; and they give strength to the maxims of prudence, and the habits of economy, and the ties of neighbourhood, and the duties of relationship, and thus, on the one hand, diminish the number of the receivers of charity, and, on the other hand, augment the zeal and inclination of its dispensers. And it is by such an operation as this, and not by any direct or artificial agency, which has for its formal and assigned object the relief of human want, that they in fact mitigate or prevent the sufferings of want, greatly beyond what any such agency can possibly
accomplish. It is not by the adaptation of a piece of skilful mechanism to the relief of poverty, as its immediate object, that this great problem in political economy is ever to be resolved. It is by leaving the whole matter to the operation of the mechanism of Nature, and by keeping in their right tone and action the principles which reside, or which may be implanted in the constitution of individual men :-And the use of churches is to foster these principles, and to supersede that system by which they have been checked and overborne.
It so happens, at the same time, that to each church in Scotland there is attached an organ of parochial distribution for the relief of the necessities of the poor; and in many parishes there will be discharged from it a yearly sum of from ten to fifty pounds upon a population consisting of a thousand members. * Whereas, in such of the English parishes as we have had access to, the distribution amounts to from five hundred to fifteen hundred pounds per annum, on an equal population. +
* The following are some examples of the population and expenditure in Scottish parishes, where there is no assessment.
Parish. County. Population. Total Yearly Fund. Fraserburgh Aberdeen
2271 L. 100 0 0 New Deer
86 10 0 Lonmay
25 0 0
46 0 0 Jura Do. 1157
6 0 0 Redgorton Perth
99 0 0 Bathgate Linlithgow
124 0 0 Reay Sutherland
13 0 0
18 17 0
5 0 0 Of some of these parishes, it is reported, that the inhabitants are 80 connected as to provide for each other, or are assisted by private families ; and that there are none absolutely poor in them.
+ Population and expenditure on the poor of some English pae rishes in Leicestershire.
1143 L. 1868 17 0
803 7 43 Countesthorpe
901 7 0 Lileby
1764 0 0 Hathirn
1015 0 0 Blaby
1391 5 0 These sums are expended on the poor only, being separated from the general summ, which includes church-rate, county-rate, and highways.
Now, to what shall we ascribe the fact, that, in the former parishes, with all this parsimony of formal aid, there is greatly less of the complaint of indigence, and fully as little of the actual suffering of indigence as in the latter parishes ? Wherein lies the mystery of these striking phenomena? Can any man be so absurd as to believe, that it lies in the superior skill or wisdom of administration, practised in the one country, and utterly incommunicable to the understanding or the habits of the other country? The English are always looking to the way in which we deal out our supplies, to the operation of the. visible and positive mechanism of our public charities, for the solution of the difficulty. But this is not the quarter in which they will ever find it. If one of their own parishes shall ever be so assimilated to one of ours, as to reduce its expenditure on the poor from fifteen hundred to twenty pounds a year, and yet, to uphold the population in as great comfort and sufficiency as before-it will not be by any notable sagacity in the disposal of this paltry sum, that a result so wonderful will have been accomplished. The truth is, that if a parish could stand the great reduction from.15001. to 201., it could dispense with the 201. altogether. And yet, superficial inquirers will always be lcoking to the way in which we conduct the ministration of our funds, and expect to find, in that way, the secret principle they are so anxious to obtain. We even think that we perceive the traces of such a misconception in the Report before us, enlightened as it is in its general spirit, and nearly as it has approximated to the truth in many of its valuable suggestions. * Let it be understood, once for all, that we look upon this as a wrong track of observation. It is not by changing the character or the method of administration that this great reform is to be brought about. It is by changing the character of the fund that is administered ; it is by detaching from
* « The efficacy however of this, as well as of any other experiment which can be suggested, must depend upon some of those who are most interested in the welfare of a parish, taking an active share in the administration of its concerns. Without this, the Committee are convinced no benefit will be derived from any amendment that ean be made in the details of the system ; and with it, even under the existing law, much may be effected, as it has been both in single and incorporated parishes, where such superintendence prevails; and they think no means are so likely to tend to this desirable praca tice as giving to such a part of the vestry as may bear some analogy to the heritors and kirk-session of Scotland, &c. The heritors and kirk-session continue to perform the duty of adjusting the list of the poor, ' &c.— Report, p. 42, 43.
this fund its present attributes of certainty and legality, and apparent capability of indefinite augmentation; it is by stripping it altogether of its pernicious influence in the way of undermin ing or of deadening the activity of those principles, to which the case of pauperism must ultimately in its main strength and magnitude be abandoned. And the apparatus of churches which we propose, is not so much for the sake of the organ that is attached to each of them, as for the purpose of recommitting this case to its proper and original securities :- Not so much for the advantage of an ingenious management on the part of the New Kirk-sessions, as for the purpose of restoring to its unshackled efficacy the management of Nature :- Not so much for the sake of setting up a cunningly devised system, with the power and the emanating influence of which we are to go forth among the people, as for the purpose of leaving the people to themselves; and warding off from them that soporific, which, in the shape of a legal provision, has been so unwisely and so cruelly dealt out to them; and awakening from their state of dormancy all those sympathies of neighbourhood, and all those sobrieties of individual conduct which are the only unfailing guarantees of a happy and prosperous population.
And here we cannot but advert to the way in which this plan of church-building has been most happily characterized, by one of its sagacious objectors, as being no plan at all. That very feature in it which recommends it to us, is the thing which makes it look so simple and silly and inefficient to the whole host of committeeship. The slow dissemination of a moral influence de mong the people, and their gradual return to the habits and arrangements of their forefathers, form a prospect of which they cannot at all see the effect or the reality, because they do not see the parade or the penmanship of a great civic institution going along with it. To satisfy them, there must be placed before their eyes a piece of curious organic structure, with many turns and many complications ;-and unless there be a goodly provison of schedules and clerkships and accomptantships, with such various agencies and manipulations of office as in the routine of their own chamber-experience they have ever been accustomed to behold, any plan stript of such dear and such loved accompaniments, will ever appear to them to be no plan at all.
But, one word more about the plan in question. It is worthy of remark, that if a compulsory provision for the poor had never been resorted to, the people of an increasing town would have gone on in greater comfort without one, even though the number of its people had been suffered greatly to outstrip the ecclesiastical accommodations of the place. The Gorbals of Glasgow,
for the population and for the parochial expenditure of which parish, we refer our readers to a subsequent page, furnishes & most splendid example of this observation. The mere absences it would appear, of a system which turns away the eyes of the people from the true sources of their independence and their com, fort, will suffice to keep that people in the noble and respectable attitude in which every lover of the species must rejoice to behold them, and that, though the number of the clergy and of the churches be most wofully inadequate to the extent of the population. But the case is totally altered after such a system has obtained a footing—and after a mighty annual contribution has gradually arisen out of it--and after a population has been turned into the habit of leaning on this deceitful foundation and after the object has become, not the continuance of a pre. sent system, but the retracement of our path up to the state of matters which took place at its commencement. The simple abolition of the method, in these circumstances, would carry &• long with it the grossest cruelty and injustice to the present ge. neration of paupers. They must be seen out-and in as great sufficiency too as they were led to expect under the present arrangement. Every expectation countenanced by the present state of things to the present race of people, ought, in all equi. ty and humanity, to be realized. And the great practical diffi. culty is, how to combine this object with that of conducting the management of this city concern back again to its old footing, and the population of the city to their old habits and their old expectations. Had matters from the first been left to themselves, there might have been no necessity for a more extended ecclesiastical provision, in as far as pauperism is concerned; how: ever imperiously such an extension might be called for on higher grounds, both political and moral. But, as the matter now stands in the larger towns of Scotland, and with the remainder that still exists of Scottish habit and of Scottish feeling amongst their population, we know not a single expedient so practicable and so efficacious, and into which all who are concerned will pass so easily as that, for the details of which we refer to a former Number of this Journal. Let the new cases be met ex: clusively by the method of collections. As old cases die outy let this method be extended by the building of churches. Let the fields of superintendence, ever narrowing, and ever becoining more and more manageble, be left to the pure operation of gratuitous benevolence, flowing in one great and public channel through the Kirk-session, but flowiny, we will venture to say, in a degree of tenfold abundance, through the numerous
VOL. XXIX, NO. 59.