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gure in the government of a state, whether as a judge, a general, or a minister, whose education is rigidly confined to one science *. Senfible am I that the foregoing plan is in several respects imperfect; but if it be found at bottom, polish and improvement are easy operations. My capital aim has been, to obviate the objections that press hard against every military plan, hitherto embraced or proposed. A standing army in its present form, is dangerous to liberty; and but a feeble bulwark against fuperior force. On the other hand, a nation in which every fubject is a foldier, must not indulge any hopes of becoming powerful by manufactures and commerce: it is indeed vigorously defended, but is fcarce worthy of being defended. The golden mean of rotation and conftant labour in a standing army, would difcipline multitudes for peace as well as for war. And a nation fo defended would be invincible.

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* Phocion is praised by ancient writers, for ftruggling against an abufe that had. crept into his country of Attica, that of making war and politics different profefSons. In imitation of Ariftides and of Pericles, he studied both equally.

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PUBLIC POLICE with refpect to the Poor.


Mong those nations of Europe where government is a science,

that part of public police which concerns the poor, makes now a confiderable branch of statute-law. The poor-laws are fo multiplied, and fo anxiously framed, as to move one to think, that there cannot remain a fingle perfon wanting bread. It is however a fad truth, that the disease of poverty, instead of being eradicated, has become more and more inveterate. England in particu25 lar overflows with beggars, tho' in no other country are the indigent fo amply provided for. Some radical defect there must be in these laws, when, after endless attempts to perfect them, they all prove abortive. Every writer, diffatisfied with former plans, fails not to produce one of his own; which, in its turn, meets with as little approbation as any of the foregoing.

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The first regulation of the states of Holland concerning the poor, was in the year 1614, prohibiting all begging. The next was in the year 1649. It is enacted, That every town, village, or parish, fhall maintain its poor out of the income of "its charitable foundations and collections; and in cafe thefe means fall fhort, the magiftrates fhall maintain them at the general expence of the inhabitants, as can most conveniently be "done: Provided always, that the poor be obliged to work ei"ther for merchants, farmers, or others, for reafonable wages,


"in order that they may, as far as poffible, be supported that way; provided alfo, that they be indulged in no idleness nor "infolence." The advice or inftruction here given to magistrates, is fenfible; but falls fhort greatly of what may be termed a law, the execution of which can be enforc'd in a court of juftice.

In France, the precarious charity of monafteries proving ineffectual, a hospital was erected in the city of Paris anno 1656, having different apartments; one for the innocent poor, one for putting vagabonds to hard labour, one for foundlings, and one for the fick and maimed; with certain funds for defraying the expence of each, which produce annually much about the fame fum. In imitation of Paris, hospitals of the fame kind were erected in every great town of the kingdom.

The English began more early to think of their poor; and in a country without industry, the neceffity probably arose more early. The first English statute bears date in the year 1496, directing, "That every beggar unable to work, fhall refort to the hun"dred where he last dwelt or was born; and there fhall remain,

upon' pain of being fet in the stocks three days and three nights, "with only bread and water, and then shall be put out of town." This was a law against vagrants, for the fake of order. There was little occafion, at that period, to provide for the innocent poor; their maintenance being a burden upon monafteries. But monafteries being put down by Henry VIII. there was a ftatute, 22d year of his reign, cap. 12. impowering the juftices of every county, to grant licences to poor aged and impotent perfons, to beg within a certain district; those who beg without it, to be whipt, or fet in the stocks. In the first year of Edward VI. cap. 3. a ftatute was made in favour of impotent, maimed, and aged perfons, that they shall have convenient houfes provided for them, in the cities or towns where they were born, or where they refided for


three years, to be relieved by the willing and charitable difpofition of the parishioners. By 2d and 3d Philip and Mary, cap. 5. thẻ former statutes of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. were confirmed, of gathering weekly relief for the poor by charitable collections. A man licenced to beg, fhall wear a badge on his breast and "back openly."

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The first compulsory statute was 5° Elifab. cap. 3. empowering juftices of peace to raise a weekly fum for the poor, by taxing, fuch perfons as obftinately refufe to contribute, after repeated admonitions from the pulpit. In the next statute, 14° Elifab.. cap. 5. à bolder step was made, empowering justices to tax, the inhabitants of every parish, in a weekly fum for their poor. And taxations for the poor being now in fome degree familiar, the remarkable statutes, 39° Elifab. cap. 3. and 43° Elifab. cap. 2. were enacted, which make the ground-work of all the fubfequent ftatutes concerning the poor. By thefe ftatutes, certain houfeholders, named by the juftices, are, in conjunction with the church-wardens, appointed overseers for the poor; and these overfeers, with confent of two juftices, are empowered to tax the parish in what fums they think proper, for maintaining the poor.

Among a people fo tenacious of liberty as the English are, and fo impatient of oppreffion, is it not surprising, to find a law, that, without ceremony, fubjects individuals to the arbitrary will of men, who feldom either by birth or education deferve that important trust; and without even providing any effectual check against embezzlement? At prefent, a British parliament would reject with feorn such an abfurd plan; and yet, being familiarized to it, they never feriously have attempted a repeal. We have been always on the watch to prevent the fovereign's encroachments, efpecially with regard to taxes: but as parish-officers are low perfons who infpire no dread, we fubmit to have our pockets pick'd by them, almost without repining. There is provided, it is true,


an appeal to the general feffions for redreffing inequalities in taxing the parishioners: but it is no effectual remedy; artful overfeers will not over-rate any man fo grofsly as to make it his intereft to complain, confidering that these overseers have the poor's money to defend themfelves with. Nor will the general feffions readily listen to a complaint, that cannot be verified but with much time and trouble. If the appeal have any effect, it will make а still greater inequality, by relieving men of figure at the expence of their inferiors; who must fubmit, having little interest to obtain redrefs.

The English plan, befide being oppreffive, is grofsly unjust. If it fhould be reported of fome diftant nation, that the burden of maintaining the idle and profligate, is laid upon the frugal and industrious, who work hard for a maintenance to themfelves; what would one think of fuch a nation? Yet this is literally the case of England. I fay more: the plan is not only oppreffive and unjuft, but miferably defective in the checking of maladministration. In fact, great fums are levied beyond what the poor receive it requires briguing to be named a church-warden: the nomination, in London especially, gives him credit at once; and however meagre at the commencement of his office, he is round and plump before it ends. To wax fat and rich by robbing the poor! Let us turn our eyes from a fcene fo horrid *.

*In the parish of St George, Hanover Square, a great reform was made fome years ago. Inhabitants of figure, not excepting men of the highest rank, take it in turn to be church-wardens; which has reduced the poor-rates in that parifh to a trifle. But people, after acquiring a name, foon tire of drudging for others. The drudgery will be left to low people as formerly, and the tax will again rife as high in that parish as in others. The poor-rates, in Dr Davenant's time, were about L. 700,000 yearly at prefent they amount to between two and three · millions.


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