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"locked up in gaols and Bridewells. If we were to make a progrefs through the outskirts of the metropolis, and look into the "habitations of the poor, we should there behold fuch pictures "of human mifery, as must move the compaffion of every heart "that deferves the name of human. What indeed must be his compofition, who could fee whole families in want of every "neceffary of life, oppreffed with hunger, cold, nakednefs, "and filth; and with diseases, the certain confequence of all "these! The sufferings indeed of the poor are less known than "their misdeeds; and therefore we are lefs apt to pity them. "They starve, and freeze, and rot, among themselves; but they "beg, and steal, and rob, among their betters. There is not a parish in the liberty of Westminster, which doth not raise "thousands annually for the poor; and there is not a street in "that liberty, which doth not fwarm all day with beggars, and all night with thieves."


There is not a fingle beggar to be seen in Penfylvania. Luxury and idleness have got no footing in that happy country; and those who fuffer by misfortune, have their maintenance out of the public treasury. But luxury and idlenefs cannot for ever be excluded; and when they take place, this regulation will be aș pernicious in Penfylvania, as the poor-rates are in Britain.

Of the many proposals that have been published for reforming the poor-laws, not one has pierced to the root of the evil. None of the authors entertain the flighteft doubt, of a legal provifion being neceffary, tho' all our diftreffes arife evidently, from that very caufe. Travellers complain, of being infefted with an endlefs number of beggars in every English town; a very different fcene from what they meet with in Holland or Switzerland. How would it surprise them to be told, that this proceeds from an overflow of charity in the good people of England!

Few inftitutions are more ticklish than thofe of charity. In Lon

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don, common prostitutes are treated with fingular humanity: a hofpital for them when pregnant, difburdens them of their load, and nurses them till they be again fit for business: another hofpi→ tal cures them of the venereal disease: and a third receives them with open arms, when, instead of defire, they become objects of averfion. Would not one imagine, that these hofpitals have been erected for encouraging prostitution? They undoubtedly have that effect, tho' far from being intended. Mr Stirling, fuperintendant of the Edinburgh poor-house, deferves to be kept in perpetual remembrance, for a scheme he contrived to reform common prostitutes. A number of them were confined in a house of correction, on a daily allowance of three pence; and even part of that small pittance was embezzled by the fervants of the house. Pinching hunger did not reform their manners; for being absolutely idle, they encouraged each other in vice, waiting impatiently for the hour of deliverance. Mr Stirling, with confent of the magiftrates, removed them to a clean house; and instead of money, which is which is apt to be fquandered, appointed for each a pound of oat-meal daily, with falt, water, and fire for cooking. Relieved now from diftrefs, they longed for comfort: what would they not give for milk or ale? Work, fays he, will procure you plenty. To fome who offered to fpin, he gave flax and wheels, engaging to pay them half the price of their yarn, retaining the other half for the materials furnished. The spinners earned about nine pence weekly, a comfortable addition to what they had before. The reft undertook to fpin, one after another; and before the end of the first quarter, they were all of them intent upon work. It was a branch of his plan, to fet free fuch as merited that favour; and fome of them appeared fo thoroughly reformed, as to be in no danger of a relapse.

The ingenious author of The Police of France, who wrote in the year 1753, obferves, that notwithstanding the plentiful provifion


for the poor in that kingdom, mentioned above, there was a general complaint, of the increase of beggars and vagrants; and adds, that the French political writers, diffatisfied with their own plan, had presented several memorials to the ministry, propofing to adopt the English parochial affeffments, as greatly preferable. This is a curious fact; for at the very fame time people in London, no lefs diffatisfied with these affeffments, were writing pamphlets in praise of the French hofpitals. One thing is certain, that no plan hitherto invented has given fatisfaction. Whether an unexceptionable plan is at all poffible, feems extremely doubtful.

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In every plan for the poor that I have feen, workhoufes make one article; to provide work for those who are willing, and to make those work who are unwilling. With refpect to the former, men need never be idle in England for want of employment; and they always fucceed the best at the employment they chufe for themselves. With refpect to the latter, punishment will not compel a man to labour seriously: he may affume the appearance, but will make no progrefs; and the pretext of ficknefs or weaknefs is ever at hand for an excufe. The only compulfion to make a man work seriously, is fear of want.

A hofpital for the fick, for the wounded, and for the maimed, is an excellent establishment; being productive of good, without doing any harm. Such a hospital should depend partly on voluntary charity; to procure which a general conviction of its being well managed, is neceffary. Hofpitals that have a fufficient fund of their own, and that have no dependence on the good will of others, are commonly ill managed.

Lies there any objection against a workhouse, for training to labour deftitute orphans, and begging children? It is an article in Mr Hay's plan, that the workhouse should relieve poor families of all their children above three. This has an enticing appearance,


but is unfound at bottom. Children require the tendernefs of a mother, during the period of infantine difeafes; and even after that period, they are far from being fafe in the hands of mercenaries, who study nothing but their own eafe and intereft. Would it not be better, to diftribute finall fums from time to time among poor families overburdened with children, fo as to relieve them from famine, not from labour? And with refpect to orphans and begging children, I incline to think, that it would be a more falutary meafure, to encourage mechanicks, manufacturers, and farmers above all, to educate fuch children. A premium for each, the half in hand, and the other half when they can work for themfelves, would be a proper encouragement. The best-regulated orphan-hofpital I am acquainted with, is that of Edinburgh, Orphans are taken in from every corner, provided only they be not under the age of seven, nor above that of twelve: under feven, they are too, tender for a hofpital; above twelve, their relations can find employment for them. Befide, the being taught to read and write, they are carefully inftructed in some art, that may afford them comfortable fubfiftence..

No man ever called in queftion the utility of the marine fociety; which will reflect honour on the members as long as we have a navy to protect us: they deferve a rank above that of gartered knights. That inftitution is the nobleft exertion of charity and patriotism, that ever was known in any country.

A fort of hofpital for fervants who for twenty years have faithfully adhered to the fame mafter, would be much to my taste; with a few adjoining acres for a kitchen-garden. The fund for purchafing, building, and maintenance, must be raised by contribution; and none but the contributors fhould be entitled to offer fervants to the houfe. By fuch encouragement, a malady would be remedied, that of wandering from mafter, to mafter for better wages, or easier fervice, which feldom fails to corrupt fer


vants. They ought to be comfortably provided for, adding to the allowance of the house what pot-herbs are raised by their own labour. A number of virtuous men thus affociated, would end their days in comfort; and the prospect of attaining a settlement fo agreeable, would form excellent fervants. How advantageous would fuch a hospital prove to husbandry in particular!

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Of all the mischiefs that have been engendered by over-anxiety about the poor, none have proved more fatal than foundling-hofpitals. They tend to cool affection for children, ftill more effectually than the English parish-charity. At every occafional pinch for food, away goes a child to the hofpital; and parental affection among the lower fort turns fo languid, that many who are in no pinch, relieve themselves of trouble by the fame means. It is affirmed, that of the children born annually in Paris, about a third part are fent to the foundling-hofpital. The Paris almanack for the year 1768, mentions, that there were baptized 18,576 infants, of whom the foundling-hofpital received 6025. The proportion originally was much lefs; but vice creeps on with a swift pace. How enormous must be the degeneracy of the Parifian populace, and their want of parental affection!

Let us next turn to infants fhut up in this hofpital. Of all animals, infants of the human race are the weakest: they require a mother's affection to guard them against numberless diseases and accidents; a wife appointment of Providence to connect parents and children in the ftricteft union. In a foundling-hofpital, there is no fond mother to watch over her tender babe; and the hireling nurse has no fondnefs but for her own little profit. Need we any other caufe for the destruction of infants in a foundling-hofpital, much greater in proportion than of those under the care of a mother? And yet there is another caufe equally potent, which is corrupted air. What Hanway obferves upon parifh-workhouses, is equally applicable to a foundling-hofpital. - VOL. II. G


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