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For these accommodations, wretched as vantage of all parties. Secondly, the they are, the most exorbitant rents, exor- threshing-machine has, as far as possible, bitant in reference to what they are worth dispensed with a great part of the winter (that is often, literally speaking, nothing) or employment of the labourers, and, all the for the little patch of garden ground when incidental expenses duly considered, withthey have any, are exacted; a fact which out, as far as I have been able to calculate, has been fully verified both by agricul- any advantage whatever to the farmer, or tural reports and surveys, and by witnesses to the public. I speak not thus as an before your own Committees, and is fully apologist for the attacks that have been known and undisputed. Indeed, it has made upon this description of property; necessarily happened, that the more the far otherwise; but with the hope of incottages have been diminished in number, ducing the agriculturists to count well the more have their rents been increased (a the costs before they sanction (where it is consequence which the economists them- unnecessary) that which will inevitably selves will allow to have been inevitable) till distress and pauperise the poor. Lastly, they have, at length, compared with every and to this particular I would draw the other species of property, become exorbit- attention of the House, as of infinite imant, compelling the wretched tenant to re-portance in any view of the causes of the sort to the parish for the means of paying distress of our rural poor-the improvethem; leaving him, therefore, the disgrace ments of the machinery of this country, of being a pauper, but depriving him. at and the consequent transference of the the same time of the relief he should simplest processes of manufacture to the receive as such. I now come to another large towns of England, have had the inprincipal branch of the subject-namely, evitable result of depriving the female part that which concerns the wages and em- of the cottagers' family of that profitable ployment of the poor. But on this point, employment which presented itself, inimportant as it plainly is, time will com- deed, at every vacant hour throughout the pel me to be short. When the improve-year, but which secured to them a constant ments, as they have been called (and occupation in the winter season. A late might have been rendered), in the agricul- Flemish writer exults in the circumstance tural system took place, and the labouring of the winter cottage labour in that country classes were deprived of their little hold- being still preserved in great measure; ings, their commonage, and often their and he attributes to that fact the comfort good gardens, they were told, that the de- of their rural population. That is no mand for their labour would be so greatly longer the case in England, nor perhaps increased, and its wages, consequently, so can ever be again. Let us, then, be the much advanced, that they would be infi- more anxious to consider how we may nitely better off under the new plan. But, compensate this great and necessary class Sir, it no longer admits of a dispute, that of the community for this connected series while they have thus been deprived of of deprivations and misfortunes, which have their independant labour, that which they occasioned the misery which now overyield to others is rendered, as far as possi-whelms them. Thus, then, have our rural ble less necessary and worse remunerated. poor been successively deprived of every In summer or harvest, as I have before advantage which they formerly possessed, shown, their work is indeed demanded; and of every chance of improvement which but it is to the winter, the trying season to they once were so eager to avail themselves the poor, that I am now about to advert. of. But I will no longer fatigue the First, Sir, the altered practice of hiring House by these details. I may, however, servants by the week, instead of, as was be, perhaps, permitted to present in a formerly the case, by the year, has had a single instance, and that not a selected pernicious effect on the winter employ- one, the state to which I would draw the ment of the poor. The report I have so attention of the House. I have personally often alluded to, when referring to the inspected the condition of the agricultural northern counties as those in which the poor in some of the districts I have alluded condition of the poor is still comparatively to. I remember the last cottage I entered, comfortable, should have stated (had the and it was by no means the deepest picture Committee known it), that this practice of distress that might have been selected, still prevails in the border counties of on the contrary, there was nothing in it England, to the equal comfort and ad- of peculiar disease, calamity, or sorrow,

In this I witnessed a fair but instructive example of the general state of many of the agricultural poor in that neighbourhood. All the furniture consisted of a few utensils for cooking, and a few threelegged stools, evidently of home make, and a large one of the same description, which answered the purpose of a table, and from which they took their meal. That meal was cooking, and it consisted of a few potatoes boiling over a handful of sticks. I went into the remaining apartment-I was about to call it a bed-room -but there was no bed; a few rags were lying upon a little straw in one corner, and there the whole family, several of whom were nearly grown up, rested without taking off their clothes. The wretched parent had no work, but the threshingmachine was resounding close at hand. I remarked, however, that he had a garden, though a small one; but I was soon told, that what I saw belonged to three cottages, and that his share was marked by a row of sticks, and it was certainly not the size of this floor. But I will not recapitulate the sad, but true complaints of this wretched peasant: his want of a garden and a pig. His father had a cow. There was no winter labour for either himself or family. His wife and his daughters (two females nearly full-grown) no longer wove lace, or knitted, or spun, as his mother and sisters had done. All was wretchedness and despair. On inquiry, I found his rent was 31. 6s. per annum-one shilling was taken weekly, and the rest made up in the harvest months. He was, of course, like the rest of his poor neighbours, a pauper. The parish, however, employed him, but so as to insult him. He and others had to carry stones of a certain size backwards and forwards, a distance of about three miles, twice a-day. The land was evidently deteriorating for want of due cultivation; but, in the mean time, neither by the proprietors, nor by the farmers, could he be spared so much as a rood for a garden plot. He was perfectly stupified by his condition, and if he did not proceed to outrages which many others were committing in that neighbourhood, I speedily found that it was not because he was insensible to his sufferings, or at all afraid of the consequences of resenting their infliction. But I will not dwell upon the melancholy subject; this deplorable and desperate condition was that of the neigh

bourhood-I fear, of the district; nor would I have alluded to the subject at all, but that I am firmly persuaded there are easy and effectual remedies for this strange and alarming state of things. What, then, are those remedies? Sir, the measure I am about to propose, is not, if I may so express myself, a tentative one, a plan of mere experiment: it is founded upon no new discoveries in human nature or policy; no novel or untried expedients; no distant or doubtful remedies. It does not contemplate to send off the thews and sinews of the country to the antipodes, the equator, or the pole, in search of relief, Nor does it include the locating of our labouring poor upon our waste lands, though that scheme, carried into practice to a certain extent, I hold to be a much wiser and patriotic scheme than many usually recommended regarding them. As a general plan of relief, I think it is, however, liable to some objections, which I shall not now state. The plan I propose contemplates to repair the injuries which our labouring poor have sustained in the scenes where they have been inflicted, to the equal advantage of every class of the community; and by means, as I hope to show, perfectly simple and practicable, and imposing, permanently considered, no burthen whatsoever upon us in its execution. Sir, there will be no novelty in any of my propositions, except that of requiring that Legislature, which has been, in some measure, an accessory to the injuries of the poor, to afford those facilities which shall render them universal, and the miseries of your agricultural poor, and the insubordination which they occasion, are at an end. First,


propose that a certain number of cottages should be rebuilt in those parts of the country where they are most wanted; which being the only part of the measure demanding an outlay worth a thought, I had for some time meant to have postponed, but after due consideration of the subject myself, and having had numerous communications with others most impressed with the present condition of the poor, I came to the conclusion that no plan whatever, for the relief of our agricultural poor, has the least chance of affording them any adequate relief, if this proposition be omitted. A cottage, according to a calculation I have made, might be erected, and have, at least, its rood of ground around it as a garden, and let to the cottager at 50s. per annum, and still pay a

higher interest than any other description | wonders in their behalf; the revival of of real, or even funded property among cottage horticulture would yield additional us. Still less would be the cost, were employment to the peasant, and especially Government, without sacrificing any real at those seasons of the year when he is income, to facilitate the measure as I shall now often without it; it would increase hereafter suggest. Here there is accom- his comforts, and go far to restore to him modation of an infinitely superior kind to plenty at all seasons. By gardens, I that now usually enjoyed, affording a rent mean not the barren and overshadowed which would allow ample reservations for patch that may be still sometimes left at repairs or other purposes, at one half, nay, the back or in front of some of the ruinous one third, of the sum usually paid to the cottages of the country, sufficient, perhaps, thoughtless sub-landlord, or griping spe- to grow a shrub or two on which the culator, whom the present system allows wretched inmates can hang a few rags to to live upon the poor-rates, rather than dry-such, Sir, only mock and tantalize the pauper labourer whom he makes his the industry which they can neither excite agent for that purpose. The erection of nor reward. Such will, and ought to be, even a very few of these cottages, where neglected. I mean by a garden, a good they are most needed, would not, I am and sufficient garden. The circumstance hardly required to say, merely afford so of any of the cottagers of England being many additional and improved accommo- devoid of these, especially in the present dations to the degraded poor, and even in condition of the country, would not be doing that, the benefit would be incal- credited, were it not so notorious a fact as culable-but, Sir, these would inevitably no longer to excite curiosity or remark. have a most surprising and gratifying effect Certainly, such a circumstance, were we upon the rest, in improving the accom- unacquainted with the real cause, would modations, and consequently, morals and be attributed at once to the disinclination comforts, of the poor; secondly, in greatly-nay, refusal of the poor to avail themlessening their extortionate rents; and selves of the employment and advantages thirdly, in proportionally reducing the which horticulture affords. And, Sir, poor rates, a large part of which, in when we consider the state of the poor, many places, goes to make good these in- their involuntary idleness and wretchedfamous exactions. The difficulty of rais-ness, and the moral and political conseing means, in this land of wealth and quences of their condition, and know that humanity, for so humble an effort, I will this one pursuit would relieve them and not for one moment regard. Four methods the country of many of the evils under I have contemplated, all of which, I am which both now labour-were the poor confident, would be available, and any one destitute of any wish to avail themselves of which would amply suffice for the pur- of it, no national sacrifice could be too pose; but should these all fail, where great, hardly any sum (burthened as the would be the difficulty of Government country is) too vast, could a decided taste granting a small loan, secured by the re- for horticulture be purchased for our agrispective parishes at the usual interest, cultural poor. Sir, the poor of England which parishes would possess the property, have this taste-passion, I may even call to their own great and obvious advantage, it, in them, for gardening, beyond any as well as to that of the poor? For this other people upon earth. Sir, what will plan, so important to the poor in every they not do to gratify it, even now, when possible point of view, not one farthing the inclosures in every part of the country then would be given, not one farthing have rendered it almost impossible for risked by either the parish or the country. them to find the means of gratification? The second feature of my measure, Sir, Who has not seen the thousands of little is still more easy; it is this-the giving, strips which the poor labourers have taken or rather restoring, by the means, and in in by the road sides in this country, the the manner I shall speedily point out, to labour of inclosing which, estimated at the the labouring poor, at least to those de- lowest wages, is often many times the serving and desirous of an advantage amount of the worth of the narrow plot gardens, not gratuitously, indeed, but at thus obtained; though the industrious peathe full value at which the lands are let sants know that they are at any time liable where they are situate, and no more. Sir, to have their plot seized, and are certain this simple restitution would effect of itself that, at some time or other, it will be so?

Few of the poor, however, have the opportunity, or would have the permission, to obtain even this little advantage; it is true, the great farmer may allow them occasionally the temporary possession of a distant headland, on which to plant a few potatoes. But, Sir, this, wherever situated, is not the advantage I ask for this class; it is the garden, properly so called, which the husbandman can call his own, in which he can display his taste and cultivate as he pleases; and where, surrounded by his family, he labours not only for present but prospective advantages; where the feelings of hope and the consciousness of prosperity are alive within him, rendering him as happy as his master-feelings which, alas! are seldom gratified. But I will proceed upon this subject no further. The poor, every one must know, have the taste in question. They are fully aware of the pleasures and advantages attending its gratification; and they bitterly complain of having been dispossessed of the possibility of obtaining small spots of ground for cultivation. They have, in thousands of instances, besought their superiors to restore to them their garden, as in other days. They have constantly prayed for this great favour. It has been denied! "6 They mourn in their prayer and are vexed." Sir, I have here a calculation, made by one of the ablest of our agricultural writers, of the advantages, estimated in the most moderate way possible, of a good garden to the industrious labourer: but I have not time to enumerate them, interesting and important as they are. But I would not rest here. No advantages, however valuable, if indiscriminately extended, would fully answer the ends we ought to have in view regarding this class: nor, indeed, can any rank of society, no, nor any individual, whatever be his pursuit, be incited to those becoming exertions, on which human prosperity, individual and national, depends, without holding forth further adequate inducements and rewards to success-cultural districts of this country; and this ful efforts. I would then propose, as a most important consequence, I proceed to reward and distinction to the deserving shew, would take place, from instances in poor, what would indeed be to them no which a similar plan has been put into empty honour, but the highest possible operation by means of private benevolence. advantage, though still it would involve The instance I shall first adduce is that no pecuniary sacrifices whatever, I would which occurred in the parish of Long propose to restore to such the opportunity Newton, in the county of Gloucester, of keeping a cow, on customary terms. where the excellent and benevolent father These cottagers would have to be selected of the present member for the University for their good conduct, industrious habits, of Oxford, the late Mr. Estcourt, stated

and honest endeavours to bring up their families without parochial relief. They would have to be admitted tenants of little intakes, or to depasture upon a general allotment, and they must have a meadow appropriated for the purpose of providing them with hay. Either of these plans might be adopted, and both of them have been so with great success; that, however, which gives the cottager his own share in severalty is undoubtedly to be preferred. I have contemplated the difficulty which, in certain instances, the most deserving and industrious of our labourers would have in raising sufficient money for this purpose. This difficulty, however, is more apparent than real, and may be obviated, as I will on another occasion show, when I hope to enter more into the details, and less into the principle, of the measure, with equal advantage to all parties. A point far more material to mention is, that the measure contemplates securing the advantages proposed, whether for keeping the cow or the garden, at the current and usual terms of land of equal quality in the same district, and let by the same owners. And I am ashamed of acknowledging how necessary is this provision; otherwise that extortion to which the poor are now exposed would pursue them again. I have ascertained beyond all doubt, that in those few instances where the poor now obtain, or have been suffered to retain, the advantages in question, they too frequently pay for them, on the average, more than double what is demanded from the larger tenants in the immediate neighbourhood. If these advantages be secured to the little cultivator, I will engage for the effects. Happiness will be conferred upon the class in question, and their superiors will also be rewarded; for to the arguments which justice and generosity suggest, those which self-interest supplies may be fairly added. This plan would diminish the burthen of the poor-rates, now so heavily felt in many of the agri


that, out of 196 persons, thirty-two fami- | the valuation of 1815, rather more than lies, consisting of 140 persons, were poor, 41d. in the pound; or perhaps Id. in the and indeed in the depth of extreme po- pound on the value of the whole produce verty, to use his own words. The poor- of the parish. Would the most parsimorates amounted to 3241. 13s. 6d. In order nious manager of the poor require a less to extricate them from this state of misery demand upon the national or parochial and wretchedness, he adopted a plan in funds than this? In two other instances, some respects similar to the one I now one a village in Lincolnshire, and another propose; and what have been the conse- in Worcestershire, the same management quences? An immediate abatement in the has produced equally beneficial results. misery of the poor; the most gratifying I had meant to have given some equally improvement in their character and morals; authentic proofs of the individual happiand a progressive diminution in the poor- ness this system creates wherever it has rates down to 1357., in 1829 (the last year been partially introduced; but time will reported), amounting to 10d. in the pound not admit. To the poor in particular, to only, on the valuation of the parish in use the language of a most intelligent cor1815. In Skipton-moyne, an adjoining respondent of the Board of Agriculture, parish, where the same course is pursued, the advantage is so great, as to baffle all I find the poor-rates have diminished be- description. May it be the business of tween 1813 and 1829, from 3671. to little this House, as it is its evident duty, to more than 2097. on the average of the last make that happiness universal! One other three years. In the small parish of Ash- provision I would propose in favour of the ley, where the present excellent member poor in districts where it would be needed. for Oxford University has also pursued the I have said much of the want of winter same course since 1812, I find that the labour for the poor, and of the depression poor-rates, which then stood at 897. in the of wages, and consequent pauperism and year 1813, have now dropped to 55l., or degradation which exists in consequence 104d. in the pound. In other parishes of this state of things in several parts of the same effect is taking place under the the country. Gardens for the whole, and same auspicious direction. But, perhaps, homesteads for a part, of the labouring it may be said, that every plan of benevo- poor, would, I am convinced, do much, lence, of whatever character or description, very much, to remedy these evils at once; is found to answer under the warm and perhaps, however, not enough to protect enthusiastic management of its patron. those from the pernicious custom, which To show that this system of benevolence degrades, in certain parts, the labouring does not depend upon mere superintend- poor, to whom work, after all, is bread. ence, I will, lastly, give another instance Employment might, therefore, in certain where the cottagers have been allowed cases be still wanted, and, in far more, these privileges for at least 200 years; adequate remuneration for the employed, for at that time an inclosure took place, and these are objects, as I take it, very and the then owners had the good sense easy to be accomplished. The celebrated and humanity to reserve a small allotment law of Elizabeth, I need not say, prescribed for the purpose of letting it to the cottagers that labour should be furnished for the at moderate rates. A gentleman who com- able but unemployed poor; and to effectmunicated this fact to the Board of Agricul- uate this, it contemplated the establishing ture, above thirty years ago, through Lord parochial manufactures on the domestic Winchilsea, says, as a natural consequence system. And this was then a wise and of such a system-'We can, therefore, practicable plan, as most of the manufac'hardly say that there are any industrious tures of the country, at least in their initial 'persons here who are really poor, as there stage, were then pursued in the cottage. in places where they have not this And see, Sir, what a vast and expensive ' advantage.' This communication was task our ancestors undertook in their meamade in 1796, and I have been anxious to sure of providing employment for the poor. see the effect of this system, imperfect as They contemplated the general advance it is in some respects, on the poor-rates. of capital, the purchase of stocks whereon I find that, on the average of the last se- to employ the numerous unemployed poor, venteen years, namely, during the period and that superintendence which was nein which we have had annual returns, the cessary for realising such a scheme. Comamount averaged 251. 4s. 8d. only; or, on │pared with all this, the plan I should pro


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