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little girl, her daughter, was her only nurse, and for three weeks the poor woman and her child lived on nothing but rye flour. She had strived, and is still striving to earn enough to buy bread by making SHIRTS AT TEN CENTS PER PIECE ! a poor pittance for labor. I procured her wood, left her some money, and, for the purpose of turning her thoughts heavenward, to that Being who watches over all his creatures, I prayed with her. She felt grateful, and I left her comforted."
REMARKS.-- This is one of the evils of the reduced price of labor. The human heart shudders when it is impressed with a truth so painful. A society in this city bearing the name of “ Provident,” as far back as 1823, set the example of grinding the poor to raise money for those who were really unable to labor, and that was by giving out work to those who were alike destitute, and were seeking some honest way of living, rather than resort to begging, and came into the measures of the society as do the lambs to the sacrifice. That the reader may understand one of their humane labor secrets, here is an extract from their first report. “ The board purposely fixed the rate of wages at the lowest prices, to prevent application from any one who could procure it elsewhere." This in itself is equal to any torture ever inflicted by the manufacturers of England upon their serfs, or the worst torture of the Inquisition. The one inflicts pain upon the body, the other on the heart. Picture No. 2 illustrates the last.
PICTURE No. 3.
“ I also visited a man and his wife, both very old, who were actually living in a stable in Spring Garden. This is a scene of real and heart-rending distress. Of course they
were destitute of every thing. The wind whistled through the loose boards of their strange dwelling, and as I gazed upon the poor aged couple, I could not but feel, as all Christians should feel, how pleasant it is to be able to administer to their wants, and pour a soothing balm into their lacerated bosoms. I prayed for and with them, for they are Christians; and thus it is many of the righteous suffer. The old lady remarked that she 'had at least got where our Saviour was born a stable ! No doubt the reflection soothed the heart in its
and the association of that eventful page in the history of our blessed Redeemer, made her feel the pangs of poverty far less than if the Christian feeling had not dwelt in her heart. May the star of charity conduct the righteous and benevolent to their humble abode !"
REMARKS.—This aged couple were abundantly relieved. Several humane ladies having read the sketch, called to see the subjects. Even in their wretchedness this aged couple were happy, for the spirit of divine truth, like a dove, lay nestling in their hearts; by them it was there cherished, through all the storms and tempests of life, and the cold and the long dreary winter nights, when all around and about them was cheerless poverty. And did not the good old woman cheer up the drooping spirits of her aged partner? and with a smile upon her countenance repeat the wellknown nursery hymn
- Tho’ soft and easy is thy cradle,
Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay,
If the poor ever go to heaven for their poverty, these two aged creatures are now,
if dead, among the blessed in paradise.*
* See Leaf Ninth.
The following story founded upon facts, is introduced for the purpose of carrying out the design of the work, viz., “ The creating a sympathy for the suffering poor, by placing before the reader scenes which, unless painted truthfully, fail to have the effect, and only injure, what they are, or were intended to benefit. As two of the characters alluded to in the tale, are still living, and who have acknowledged the likenesses sketched, no other apology is deemed necessary
for its introduction here.
AGNES ST. CLAIRVILLE; OR THE REVERSES
A DOMESTIC TALE.
6. This noiseless sorrow tells the fate,
J. 0. BROOKES.
Mrs. St. Clairville was the widow of a once eminent merchant of that name, whose misfortunes were the result of a great commercial revulsion, which laid prostrate the whole country, and so completely established an agrarian system, that the followers, and advocates of the doctrine, universally rejoiced at the cause, however much it may have affected the whole community. It may not be out of place to remark here, that if all the distress, whether it be of an individual, or communities, and which at all times, and periods of the world's history, could be traced, its origin would be found among that class of men who look upon labor, we mean the labor of the mechanic, and the husbandman, as beneath their notice; and whose system it is to live upon the ingenuity of the one, and the production of the other. It is from such men, and bodies of men, that the spirit of the levelling system arose, and from which the agrarian doctrine sprung Pallas-like, fully armed to contend against the honest industry, and enterprise of the thinking and intellectual portion of mankind. In this country particularly, all such communities should be frowned down, and yet, as we shall have occasion to show, the spirit of them exists in our midst, and many of our institutions, established for one purpose, have been basely perverted, and used for another.
Mr. St. Clairville experienced sadly the effects of a wild speculation, into which he had entered at a time when the country presented an appearance of wealth, and its accumulation was so easy, that reasonable men-men of age and experience, were alike deceived. This venture failed, the consequence of which was, that it left the once opulent merchant a beggar! The event so affected his health, that he shortly afterwards died, leaving his wife and daughter to contend alone upon the ocean of life, with virtue for a pilot, and true religion their-anchor.
After the sale of all their effects, which were seized upon by relentless creditors, the widow took a small house in Federal street, and sought the means of support for herself and child from the needle. Our readers, and there are many of them, no doubt, can bear witness to the truth of the remark, that "constantly must the needle ply" upon the fruits of which depend the means of supplying the demands of
even so small a family as the widow St. Clairville. Even this failed, business became so dull that the “slop shops" discharged their hands, and the regular tailors lessened the number of theirs more than two-thirds. Once more thrown ipon the world, her means of support cut off, Mrs. St. Clairville looked anxiously about her, and as she watched the motions of her daughter, tears trickled down her cheeks, and the widow's heart came near bursting with grief. The sorrows of a widow are great. Winter was now setting in, the cold wind whistled around their humble dwelling, and gave the surest indication that nature did not intend to postpone the operations of her works, but that seasons should succeed seasons, and so on, until the great mass composing the fabric of the world should melt and pass away, and like the baseless texture of a vision, leave not a wreck behind.
About this time several societies existed in the city, purporting to be of a charitable order, many of them had grown
а rich, and the managers were among the wealthiest in the land. These institutions, established exclusively for the poor, and to promote their interests,--paradoxical as it may appear, actually swelled up their stock of worldly goods, bought real estate, give splendid dinners, and were looked upon as the sources of all comfort and relief to the widow and the orphan,
while in fact, the dependants upon the supposed bounty, became still poorer, more miserable and wretched, and many who trusted to their mode of relief, died under the task, actually from starvation! Reader, this is no overdrawn picture. The system adopted by these selfstyled benevolent societies, was to put labor down to the lowest price, so as none but the most needy might apply, and for the making of a shirt, these Howards gave the enormous sum of ten cents! Many of the evils, which exist in all large cities, arise from the extreme low price of