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The Topic.

OUGHT THE COTTON DISTRICTS TO DEPEND FOR RELIEF ON

PRIVATE ALMS OR NATIONAL BOUNTY?

PRIVATE ALMS.

upon the community, if it were to be If the Government of this country in reality a bounty, we should still were in a position to afford sufficient object to its adoption, because it would and substantial aid to the distressed have a tendency to stay voluntary alms, sufferers in Lancashire, without taking and perhaps cause them to be altogether the money out of the pockets of the withdrawn—the public thinking they people again in the form of new and were not called upon to interfere further increased taxation, there are many very | in the matter-besides furnishing a good reasons why they should do so; · dangerous precedent in similar cases for it is partially owing to the line of where the distress may be as severe but policy they are pursuing, and have all not as extensive. In these cases, the along followed, that the present distress sufferers and the public generally would is so severe as it is; and as the people look to the Government for aid, and on are unwilling idlers and innocent suf & refusal, discontent and riot would ferers in the matter, it seems only probably arise in the distressed districts. jast and fair that the Government should The tendency to lean on the Governcontribute to their support. But this ment for aid would be increased at is not at all probable. Our revenue is every grant, till the people would come far from flourishing, and instead of a to regard the Government not only as sarplas we may expect a deficit. To the proper and just reliever, but also as grant a subsidy to Lancashire would, the real cause of their necessities and in fact, augment our taxation, and this troubles. Voluntary alms, sympathy, would fall over all the country alike, so and charity, would neither make any that, though many might easily bear || attempt to mitigate distress, nor would it, the poor would be the greatest they be desired. Lastly, in the present sufferers. It is an ascertained fact case, the organization employed in the that there are in Lancashire and the distribution of relief is working effineighbourhood many hundreds of fami ciently and economically: to displace lies contributing to the rates who are the present executive would neither be therselves on the very brink of pau prudent nor just ; the donations and perism. Any attempt to increase the subscriptions continually pouring in to rates, or augment their burden in the it proves that it possesses the confiway of taxes, would involve them in | dence of the contributors. The zeal and ruin; less money would be raised than energy displayed by the people at home was anticipated; and this, having to be and abroad, and the ready and able distributed over a more extended area, manner in which the committee has would be very limited, and almost nul been organized, show that the people lified in its effects. Again, the distress look upon the matter as a duty that is limited in extent. It is confined they, and not the Government, are to portions of two or three counties. called upon to perform. Were the It seems, then, hardly fair to tax the Government to interfere, this spirit of whole for the sapport of a part. And independence and mutual sympathy even if the Government grant should and benevolence would be considerably not inmediately or prospectively fall lessened-R. S.

The relief of the distressed operatives the human species. The above assemin the cotton districts of England has blage of sentiments constitutes the basis a claim upon the bounty of the liberal upon which we pronounce against any throughout the land. When we look niggardly practices in dealing out at the calamity in its grimmest phasis, private alms to so meritorious a branch we behold the sufferings, not of single of industry, and we opine the majority individuals, but of prodigious multi of our friends and readers will coincide tudes, chargeable with no misdemeanour, with us in that decision.-S. F. T. dissipation, or sloth as the harbinger of I incline to the opinion that they the calamity we now so deeply deplore. ought to depend for relief on private Reviewing the causes of distress, and alms. It is hoped that the distress is gauging them with the wand of im of a temporary nature; and, in volunpartiality, our conclusions do not direct tarily assisting those who require our us to any indications of its being a aid, we do far better, and show a much recompence for the practice of anything more christian spirit, than would be unbecoming their position. We all the case if the national bounty were to know the ardent flame of independence be bestowed on the distressed. At all that is an inseparable ingredient of the events, it appears to me to be quite compound of an Englishman's heart; full clear that private alms should first be well we appreciate the worth of theopera given to as great an extent as possible, tives as the most powerful of the sinews and when the public “ have bad enough of England's admitted superiority over of it” to become tired of giving more, the other nations of Europe. Whilst then the national bounty might, with in the midst of these profound con some show of reason, be made available. templations, we are led, in the midst of | Although the distress is very lamentso many works of magnificence-which able, an opportunity is thus afforded for we cannot behold without admiration the grand and poble sight which is now to exclaim, Who sank those channels exhibited, of “ all sorts and conditions through which the numerous crafts of men," and women too, rushing forconvey their freights? Who constructed ward and putting their hands in their those tramways over which pass the pockets liberally; and I cannot help rapid car with its contents with the thinking that to do anything to stop speed of the dove? Need I say the that flow of charity would be an undue necessity for the conveyance of the interference with “good deeds." productions of tbe shuttle and loom, R. D. R. other works of the diligent opera The relief required will be more actives ? Upon a review of the above ceptable to those in distress if it come facts, we conceive it to be no more by way of private benevolence rather than an act of justice and duty to than by Government grant. Many of supply to the utmost of our means the the poor have a great objection to receive starving populations from the stores of any assistance of the nature of parish our wealth. This bountiful recognition

relief, which a national contribution of their services will have a salutary

would assume.-R. R. effect upon their minds, and a corre The public has now an opportunity sponding gratitude will vibrate in them of displaying the better side of its and operate as a stimulant to their nature, by responding to the cry for future exertions for our comforts, help wbich Lancashire makes to those Whereas, were we to leave them to the who fortunately are not affected, or sole care of the poor-law board and its only partially, by the civil strife now auxiliary machinery, it would be con- | raging in America, So far the subtrary to the dictates of humanity, and scriptions have been given with a liberal we might be justly traduced as wanting | hand, and they have sufficed to meet one of the finest attributes that beautify the necessities of the case. Until the

public is weary of contributing, why 1 of little moment. A small grant to damp its ardour in the good work by Cottonia in distress would be of but even mentioning having recourse to the little service, and, in fact, all those public treasury?-H. R.

persons, from Cobden downwards, who The alacrity with which the workmen are calling for Government assistance, of England are giving out of their hard insist on grants for heavy amounts. earned wages for the relief of their Now every penny of the amount granted brethren in the cotton districts, excites comes out of some one's pocket; most of the admiration of the country. They our taxation rests on articles consumed appear to vie with the middle classes in in larger quantities in proportion to their the amount of their subscriptions to income by the operative and struggling mitigate, as far as possible, the unde middle classes, than by the higher served calamity which has fallen upon middle and upper classes, who subsist the industry of so large a portion of our on the produce of realized capital, either population. The adoption of the volun alone or combined with their own labour. tary principle in this emergency will It follows, then, that a grant amounts raise our country in the estimation of really to an involuntary national subthe whole world.-H. S.

scription, paid by those who are least There is no lovelier action than that able to afford it. 2. National bounty of making a free, spontaneous gift. means national waste. There is just Iudeed, no actions more develop the such an amount of uncertainty about the noble qualities of a man than those of flow of private benevolence as leads to free-will giving. Voluntaryisin is better strict economy on the parto f dispensers than compulsion. Law should step in of the same, and to an hones: endeavour when duty fails. Men first-law next. on every one's part to make a penny Far better that some should give do a penny's work. Many of the lowest because it is right to give, even though class of cotton operatives, mostly imothers do not, than that all should give portations from Ireland and other parts because such is the law. Public of England during the recent expansion opinion, too, is a mighty power, and of the trade, need to be carefully dealt often works wonders. A tax would | with, and to have relief sparsely dealt not affect any but ratepayers, unless it ont, lest they should sink into that helpbe injuriously to affect those below less, indolent state so fully expressed them in freeing them from the feeling by the one word-pauperism. (I am that it is necessary that they should careful to distinguish between the two give. Moreover, a tax would in the classes of cotton workers, the one careful, degree of their means) place ratepayers saving, intellectual; the other thriftless, on a level, and thus, to a great extent, spendthrift, and dissipated: newspaper shut out that generous emulation in writers have run the two classes towell-doing so desirable in a Christian gether.) 3. National bounty will dry community. So long, then, as private up the stream of private benevolence. alms suffice, let not national bounty be The owners of many mills are running called in.-ARTHUR.

them two, three, four, and some six Dry reasons against national bounty, days per week, at a heavy loss, as their in the shape of a parliamentary money contribution to the relief fund; others grant, are as follows:-1. Admitted are paying two, three, four, up to six that John Bull's purse is long, it is day wages to their hands, while the yet not so inexhaustible as applicants spindle looms remain still. Honour to for his bounty would fain persuade him. them! Many other manufacturers of So many millions sterling are annually smaller means are preparing to resume raised for imperial purposes, that taxx work as soon as cotton falls sufficiently tion, to the tune of a few millions more, to render the loss on working up a is treated of by some writers as a matter bearable burden. Government bounty will deprive masters of all induce- , much affect the personal conscience. ments to such sacrifices. Per con- We think the Lancashire distress ought trà, my reasons in favour of relying to be relieved by the national bounty, on private benevolence are:-1. No because it is the result of the national governmental machinery for the distri- will.-G. N. bution of relief could be constructed The aid of the Lancashire distress which would be equal to the agency of | by private alms is, in reality, making many thousand educated and intelligent the poor, out of their poverty, support Christians who are employed many their brethren. Reckon the poor seamhours per day, not in hope of gain, stress's penny with a lordling's thoubut for love of a common Redeemer, sand, and compare its relation to her and in remembrance of a common hu income and to his, and it will be found manity. 2. The generous response of that the loud-resounding sum bruited manufacturers, landowners, merchants, abroad pom pously in the advertising and the country at large, has contri. columns of the newspapers near which buted, and will contribute, to lessen the the lordly estates lie, is but a paltry gulf, which some feared was widening, mite compared to the sacrifice of that between the hand-workers and head one penny by the long-houred sitter at workers. All those resident now in the needle. The real charity shown in Cottonia must have frequently heard the case is not the be-puffed aristocrat's expressions of heartfelt gratitude and large sum, advertised in the daily kindness used by operatives towards records, but in the small, difficultythose wbo previously were regarded earned, sweat-wet pence of the fellow. with suspicious hatred. 3. If we operative-registered only in heaven. believe the Gospel at all, we should Private alms is, in reality, a tax on believe (how few of us really do!) that the poor to save the rich, while the “it is more blessed to give than to latter get all the credit, renown, and receive." We may depend upon it, buttered talk. Tax all alike, and how that no contribution, given in a chris different would be the sum payable by tian spirit, will lose its reward. the noble and wealthy from that which N. E.

shows so largely in the county paper!

Tom SENSIBLE.
NATIONAL BOUNTY.

Given, the task to ease the revenue The distress which the cotton dis- of a burden which has usually been tricts at present suffer is admittedly cast upon it-call the tax charity, and imputable to our national policy. It is it is accomplished. How much more the result of the legislative wisdom or cleverly we can financier nowadays unwisdom of the nation's represen than in those of our great-grandfathers! tatives. It is therefore the duty of the How much better, even, than twenty workers of the woe to devise and set iu years ago! Then, Ireland endured sad operation the remedy. The evil is privations, and the nation's millions wrought by the advisers of the Crown, went down into every Irish hat and acquiesced in by the entire community; cabin in blessing and plenty. Since, and that community which approves of the Indian mutiny called for excessive and supports the policy of Lancashire taxation, and when all was wrung out starvation, ought undoubtedly to have that could be by the taxman's heavy their share of i he evil hrought distinctly hand, some bright genius devised the home to them by the tap of the tax sounding brass and tinkling cymbal of gatherer at their doors. This is the charity, and pockets opened, and gold only way of making them feel their flowed, and the national exchequer was responsibility for the ongoings of the materially eased thereby; and now Government. Only when a national wretchedness is at our doors, and the policy toucles men's pockets does it exchequer ri' ires to have any pressure upon it repressed, and the same cry for the subventions of charity to save itself “ good Samaritanism" is got up. The from the unpopularity of “high estiLancashire people paid nobly when they mates.” The cowardice of Government had; why not let them now reap the is trusting in the bravery of christian tithe of a ten-thousandth part of that | philanthropy, and is using the public which in their prosperity they gave? feeling as an excuse for its own inaction. Public bounty is their dae.--BOLTON Let us have the responsibility fastened OLDHAM.

on the right place and persons, and let If the question were, How to in. the sacred lives of British subjects at stitute a tax which would fall least home get a small share of the vast heavily on those most bound to pay? revenues of Britain expended so freely no plan could possibly be devised better in the protection of British life and than to proceed in the present distress property abroad.—T. GOODMAN. to trust to private alms. The niggardly, A Government grant would meet the selfish, soulless wretch whose fortune has exigencies of this calamity better than been secured to him by dint of avaricious trusting to the uncertain offerings of the pinching of the toiling millions, or by public; for in this case, if sufficient were the accident of birth, totally escapes, not placed at the disposal of the various or flourishes as a noble benefactor by a committees who dispense relief, the donation of-say £15, when it is known consequences would be disease and death that that is scarcely an hour's income to thousands of men who are willing to to him; while the poor labourer, who work for their living; and the guilt of counts his hour's wage by pence, gives this happening would lie at the door of his weekly shilling ungrudgingly all no one in particular. But if Parliament through the hard weeks of winter; or voted a sum of money, the responsibility the schoolgirl gives her doll-money would then rest on the shoulders of the and relinquishes her weekly sweets to Government.-R. T. bay a bit of bread for some hungry The amount of relief bestowed by the Lancashire maiden. Conscience can committee to each person is so small, apportion well; but when the selfish that it is barely sufficient to keep soul soul begins to truckle with conscience, and body together; and the cause of the proportion has a small chance of this insignificant dole is owing to the being rightly wrought out. An Inland fear that the public will grow tired of Revenue officer would do it far more giving in sufficiently large donations as to impartially.-JACOB.

justify them in increasing the present Government aid would have many allowance. The London Committee, advantages over private help. If the consequently, do not pay out at the same public bounty were granted, it would rate as they receive money, but have be given in such a form as to insure invested a large amount in consols, to Enfficient and efficient support to the provide for the time when much smaller sufferers; it would be systematically amounts will flow into their coffers.-distribated, carefully looked after, and S. S. well guarded. Government is at present The relief would be more fairly disshirking its true responsibilities, and tributed, and the work more systematicthrowing upon the general philanthropy ally performed, if the Government took of the pablic, the duty of protecting the the superintendence. For by the present vast mass of life at risk in the districts plan of divided authority, some receive of Cottondom. It is now taxing the aid from two funds, whilst others fail generous, to relieve itself from the em in attracting the attention of any disbarrassments of the times. It is using up pensers of the public alms.-ALPHA.

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