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an account given in to parliament, that the money beftow'd on that hofpital from its commencement till December 1757 a mounted to L. 166,000; and yet during that period, 105 perfons only were put out to do for themfelves. Down then with foundling-hofpitals, more noxious than peftilence or famine. An infant expofed at the door of a dwelling-houfe, must be taken up but in that cafe, which feldom happens, the infant has a better chance for life with a hired nurse than in a hos fpital; and a chance perhaps little worse, bad as it is, than with an unnatural mother. I approve not indeed of a quarterly payment to fuch a nurse: would it not do better to furnish her bare maintenance for three years; and if the child be alive at the end of that time, to give her a handfome addition?


A house of correction is neceffary for good order; but belongs not to the prefent effay, which concerns maintenance of the poor, not punishment of vagrants. fhall only by the way borrow a thought from Fielding, that fafting is the proper punishment of profligacy, not any punishment that is attended with fhame. Punishment,


nishment, he obferves, that deprives a man of all fenfe of honour, never will contribute to make him virtuous.

Charity-schools may have been proper, when few could read, and fewer write; but thefe arts are now fo common, that in most families children may be taught to read at home, and to write in a private school at little expence. Charity-schools at prefent are more hurtful than beneficial young perfons who continue there fo long as to read and write fluently, become too delicate for hard labour, and too proud for ordinary labour. Knowledge is a dangerous acquifition to the labouring poor: the more of it that is poffeffed by a fhepherd, a ploughman, or any drudge, the lefs fatisfaction he will have in labour. The only plaufible argument for a charity-fchool, is, "That children "of the labouring poor are taught there "the principles of religion and of mora"lity, which they cannot acquire at "home." The argument would be invincible, if without regular education we could have no knowledge of these principles. But Providence has not left man in a ftate fo imperfect: religion and mora

lity are stamped on his heart; and none can be ignorant of them, who attend to their own perceptions. Education is indeed of use to ripen fuch perceptions; and it is of fingular use to those who have time for reading and thinking: but education in a charity-fchool is fo flight, as to render it doubtful, whether it be not more hurtful by fostering laziness, than advantageous by conveying instruction. The natural impreffions of religion and morality, if not obscured by vitious habits, are fufficient for good conduct: preferve a man from vice by conftant labour, and he will not be deficient in his duty either. to God or to man. Hefiod, an ancient and refpectable poet, fays, that God hath placed labour as a guard to virtue. More integrity accordingly will be found among a number of induftrious poor, taken at random, than among the fame number in any other class.

I heartily approve every regulation that tends to prevent idleness. Chief Justice Hale fays, "That prevention of poverty "and idlenefs would do more good than "all the gibbets, whipping-posts, and

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gaols in the kingdom." In that view,


gaming-houfes ought to be heavily taxed, as well as horse-racing, cock-fighting, and all meetings that encourage idlenefs. The admitting low people to vote for members of parliament, is a fource of idleness, corruption, and poverty. The fame privilege is ruinous to every fmall parliament-borough. Nor have I any difficulty to pronounce, that the admitting the populace to vote in the election of a parish-minifter, a frequent practice in Scotland, is productive of the fame pernicious effects.

What then is to be the refult of the foregoing enquiry? Is it from defect of invention that a good legal establishment for the poor is not yet difcovered? or is it impracticable to make any legal establishment that is not fraught with corruption? I incline to the latter, for the following reafon, no lefs obvious than folid, Thatin a legal establishment for the poor, no diftinction can be made between virtue and vice; and confequently that every fuch establishment must be a premium for idlenefs. And where is the neceffity, after all, of any public establishment? By what unhappy prejudice have people been led to think, that the Author of our na



ture, fo beneficent to his favourite man in other respect, has abandoned the indigent to famine and death, if municipal law interpofe not? We need but infpect the human heart to be convinced, that perfons in distress are his peculiar care. Not only has he made it our duty to afford them relief, but has fuperadded the paffion of pity to enforce the performance of that duty. This branch of our nature fulfils in perfection all the falutary purposes of charity, without admitting any one of the evils that a legal provision is fraught with. The contrivance, at the fame time, is extremely fimple: it leaves to every man the objects as well as meafure of his charity. No man esteems it a duty to relieve wretches reduced to poverty by idlenefs and profligacy: they move not our pity; nor do they expect any good from us. Wifely therefore is it ordered by Providence, that charity should in every refpect be voluntary, to prevent the idle and profligate from depending on it for fupport.

This plan is in many refpects excellent. The exercise of charity, when free from compulfion, is highly pleafant. N


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