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scarce summers, between, as it is empha- pig, eat, drink, and sleep together with tically called, the old and the new crop, little of furniture, and, in scarce seawages are so low as four pence or five sons, without even a bed of straw-and pence per day ; and the great majority of a quarter or an half acre of ground, are wholly unemployed their own on which the dunghill is manufactured stock of provisions exhausted, and the into potatoes. As to clothes, even market high in prices, if at all supplied such as they have, how these are prowith their staple, indeed only, food, cured, we are wholly at a loss to potatoes and oatmeal. Thus are they answer. reduced to such a state of wretched- This, we are satisfied, will not be ness, that able labourers are anxious to considered an exaggerated statement work for their food, without any other of their misery, by any one acquainted wages ; while their wives and children with the condition of the great mass of stroll through the country, as beggars agricultural labourers ; and, we may or petty thieves ; and in seasons of safely base upon it this conclusion, that extreme scarcity, as avowed and un- on an average of prices and employblushing plunderers. Justifying their ment, three days in the week, at eight deeds by their necessities. By an in- pence to nine pence per day, that is, stinct of the philosophy of nature, re- from two shillings to two and six pence solving society into its primary ele- a week, or from five to six pounds a ments, and appealing to first principles, year, is about the product of a man's lodging a protest, which, true or false, labour, exclusive of what he does in it is hard to answer, that their “poverty the potato garden which he rents at and not their will consents."
nearly this sum, and which is scarcely But there is one fact, on the very ever sufficient to supply him with this face of this statement, which may seem essential article of his food throughout to contradict it. How, it will naturally the year. be inquired, can such hopeless wretch- In this division, we have, intentionedness, not only maintain existence, ally, passed over a class of labourers, but propagate and extend itself in so small and so insignificant, as scarcely all the wide-spread ramifications, and to be missed from a general statement. rank luxuriance of unheeded desolation? And yet, strange as it may seem, it is this Few, we believe, know any thing of class, which on an improved and more our poor, who have not often asked extended scale, and on more liberal themselves this question, with respect principles, we would propose as a to particular families, “ How do they model of the plan which we are about contrive to live?" Leaving an inter- to suggest. position of divine providence, little Most holders of small farms, exshort of miraculous, to fill the awful ceeding six or eight acres, and who chasın between the means and the end, have neither sons nor brothers residwe will simply state the means. A ing with them, diet and lodge a sort dunghill, standing close by the cabin- of farm servant, who attends to the more door, and purchased at the cost of filth, menial occupations of the farm yard, stench, and disease, supplies potatoes and when unemployed there, labours until the scarce season of the year. in the field. This is the lowest grade
To say how they contrive to live of agricultural labourer, and his wages during this season, you should live we believe, never exceed from three with them, and watch the hand of that to five pounds a year. Might not this gracious providence, who clothes the plan be new modelled; and thus adopted lilies of the field, and feeds the young by the gentry, the station and liberality ravens which cry unto him, daily in- of the employer, imparting proporterposing between themand famine. A tionate respectability and comfort to pig, of which it is scarcely exaggeration the
situation of the servant. to say, that it eats, drinks, and sleeps, But to explain this more fully, let with the family, ekes out the deficient each resident proprietor estimate the produce of manual labour, and thus number of labourers, which the ordipays the rent of their dear and mise- nary business of his farm requires. And rable holding. This consists of four let him rather exceed, than fall short narrow, damp, unplastered, and un- of the number requisite, since any surdivided, mud walls ; within which the plus labour may always be profitably whole inmates, males, females, and expended in draining, fencing, planting, and other permanent and valuable lay by from three to four pounds a year. improvements. Let him select this We do not, however, take upon us to number from the mass; and let his prin- fix precisely the wages; we would ciple of selection be moral character leave this to persons who may be betand habits. If the number exceed six, ter acquainted with the practical detail, let it be divided into companies six in and local circumstances of each neigheach. Of these, let five be unmarried bourhood. The principle by which men ; and the younger the better, as they should be regulated is, that they their bad habits will be less inveterate, would enable a man to clothe himself and their character more plastic. Let decently, and then to lay by, at least, the sixth be a married man ; and as two or three pounds each year. very much will depend upon him and If this system were carried into his wife, in carrying this plan into operation, there can be no doubt that effect, particular care should be taken it would produce,so far as they deserved in selecting them. They should be, well in other respects, a decided preto say the least, steady, honest, sober, ference of Protestants. Because where industrious, and of good moral prin- you were purchasing a man's whole ciples. The man, of sufficient moral disposable Tabour, you would certainly weight, to maintain his authority over prefer him, who had less fear of workthe young men ; and able to instructing than of drinking, on the many them in the ordinary processes of Roman Catholic holidays, which, even agriculture. And as nothing is re- under the present system of daily quired in this man and his wife but engagements, the farmer often finds so good morals and intelligence, they inconvenient. It will not, we trust, be may, if carefully sought after, be found denied, that the religious improvement in the class of common labourers; and of his dependents should always be an therefore, though the man is to possess object of deep interest to a Christian the authority of a steward over the landlord ; and where no hostile prefive of his company, yet he should not judices interpose a barrier, of practical be exempted from labouring with them. attention. În furtherance of this obA comfortable farm-house should then ject, it should be a standing rule, at
erected, consisting of a kitchen east among the Protestant inmates with sleeping apartments at one end, of these establishments, to assemble for this man and his family, at the daily to family prayer, at which the other end for the five young men, over sub-steward, as head of the family, whom he is to be placed in the of- should officiate ; and if he were fice of sub-steward. The house should pious man, which, of course, would be be supplied with the necessary furniture, a main object with every pious landcheap and solid, and just such as is calcu- lord, a system of religious training lated to form decent habits in the in- might be superadded to his other ofmates. Let this sub-steward be supplied fices, which would be, in the highest at convenient intervals by the steward, sense, a blessing, not only to the estate, with potatoes, milk, oatmeal, butter, but to the surrounding neighbourhood. in fact with the usual fare, or somewhat He should make regular reports of his better, of this class, in a farmer's em- household, and any man incorrigibly ployment. All the inmates should diet idle, immoral, or insubordinate, should together ; the husband should act as be expelled. Of course, from the conhead of the family ; the wife should stitution of these establishments no cook, wash, mend, and discharge the man who married could continue in other household duties for all. From his situation. But as, on the other what has been already remarked, as to hand, no advantages could compensate the product of labour, it would appear the ill effects which must result from that five or six pounds a year wages to an undue restriction of marriage; and each of the five labourers, and some- as the prospect of marriage, not as the thing more to the sub-steward, for his thoughtless or desperate plunge of own labour and superintendence, and recklessness, or of sensual appetite, his wife's domestic services, with plain, but as the avenue to domestic rest and but plentiful diet, and comfortable enjoyment, and the privilege and reJodging to all, would render their con- ward of honest industry, is a stimulus dition enviable to the majority of their to much that is excellent, and a check own class, and enable each of them to upon much that is evil ; any man who had saved a sum-say not less than least as three to one. Not one out of twenty pounds, which, with prudence, every four professed labourers is emand the aid of the savings bank, he ployed. And as all, who are accusInight easily do before he arrived at tomed to observe the movements of the the age of thirty, if he were disposed human mind, well know its propensity to marry, should be made a sub-steward, to overcalculate resources ; this chance did a vacancy occur, or should receive of an occasional day's work, creates a a cottage and farm, in no instance less human swarm, halflabourers, half begthan five acres, at a fair rent ; this, gars, and petty plunderers ; totally dehis money, skill, and experience, would void of foresight and prudence, because enable him to stock and farm to ad- prudence has never, for them, had any vantage. But we need not encumber treasure to guard, any field for exerourselves with the consideration, how cise. Reckless of, because inured are they to be disposed of? The fact to, misery. If employed, rioting in is, that such persons would be sought drunkenness. If unemployed, famishfor from every quarter, as stewards ing. And, as the latter is the lesser and as tenants.
evil, there is no one who takes the moIt may be objected, if this plan were rals of the people into account, and universally adopted, where could you who passes through one of our villages look for that extra supply of labourers, on a Sunday, who can hesitate for a requisite for the harvest work? Wepre- single moment in deciding, that a plenface our reply to this, by saying, that tiful harvest, general employment, and whatever means may be devised, cer- good wages, are not a blessing, but a tainly none could wish to keep up, curse, to the people. throughout the year, a number of men, If any one is unwilling to attach the dependant upon agricultural labour same importance that we here do, to alone for their livelihood, and for whom this effect of the proposed system on there was no adequate employment, the labour market ; let him look at our except in seasons of hurry. And then manufactures, and see there the evils we answer, supposing the plan univer- which result from the propensity of sally adopted, which, perhaps, were overcalculating, when combined with impossible-first, from the unhurried the indefinite demands of an uncertain labourers of other trades ; and next, market, fully exemplified. from mutual co-operation. It is no- Over-population necessarily produces torious, that there is a spirit of ac- a competition for the necessaries of life. commodation among the agricultural The industrious and successful earn classes, greater than subsists among them, by the labours of their hands, in the members of any other trade or honest independence. Others obbusiness ; so that among them, in their tain them—when they do obtain them present state of ignorance as to the as the boon of charity, or the spoil of first table of the divine law, “a good plunder ; and thus, are either morally neighbour," is the sum and expression debased or perish. When some move of all excellence. Now, this spirit in the great game of politics has would be still more powerfully elicited opened an avenue for the introduction under the proposed system. In fact, of our manufactures to a new market, each neighbourhood would be, as if the each manufacturer is, at once, as busily property of an individual ; and the engaged, as if he enjoyed a monopoly field which called most loudly for them, of the article which he can supply. would assemble the requisite number of Labourers are all employed. The lanlabourers, from whatever quarter they guishing manufactures appear to recould be best spared.
vive. And, speedily, a supply is creThe great advantage, in a political ated—not proportioned to the demands view, attending the system is, that it of the market, but to the number of would remove, as far as is possible, the competitors for supplying it. Those uncertainty of the labour market; and whose outlay of capital in machinery, thus diminish the awful number of un- labour, and stock of raw inaterial, has successful speculators, in this lottery for enabled them to come first into the employment and food. The labour mar- market, sell their goods at remunerating ket, under the present system, is a mere prices ; and perhaps realize a fortune, lottery : where, except in seasons of which serves to allure future speculahurry, the blanks are to the prizes at tors, when the memory of the bankruptcy, ruin, and wretchedness, which the moral, the religious—in a word, of fell to the lot of the vast majority, has the protestant. We are convinced, passed away. The later supplies serve that no system will ever keep down an but to glut the market to satiety, lie on overpopulation. Promote moral and hands, are returned, perhaps damaged, prudent habits. Impart a sense of deand unsaleable. The employers be- cency ; of wants, and of comforts to come bankrupt. The operatives are the people, which does not, in every thrown out of employment. The panic department of society, restrain, within stops even the steady, though small, due limits, that reckless, gambling spiemployment, which a due supply of the rit, which lives, as the phrase has it, home market demands. And thus, from hand to mouth : and which does this swelling wave of commerce, which not give certainty
and steadiness to the gently wafted from our shores, on its labour market. The means here prosmooth and sunny bosom, a gay vessel, posed are principally conservative; and rich in merchandise, and buoyant in of course, principally contemplate a hopes, returns a breaker, bearing upon healthful state of the country. It canits treacherous surface a shattered not, certainly, be carried into full and wreck-carries desolation and bank- general operation, until the present exruptcy into our manufactories, and fa- cess of population has been disposed mine, wretchedness, and discontent of. This too, we admit, cannot in justhroughout the land.
tice be rashly or hastily done. We But it will be said, “ This over-sup- say, in justice. A few commercial adply, with all its evil consequences, has venturers who have long since failed been, you admit, but the effect of that and disappeared, have created the paucompetition, which an over-population, pers of England. But in Ireland, the necessarily produced. Nothing can landlords are, as to all moral obligation, put down that competition, which does their fathers. Their electioneering annot provide employment and food, in bition and rack-rents have virtually besome other quarter, for the excess of gotten them ; and in justice, no les competitors above the demand. How than in prudence and benevolence, they do you provide for these?" We do must not throw them off, until they see not at all propose it. Perhaps emigra- them, in some way or other, provided tion alone can relieve the country of for. But let them now deliberate on this political dropsy. If, indeed, the the means, which, when this evil is reswellings of popular turbulence were moved, may prevent its recurrence. to subside. If English capital, and And let those, whose estates are alskill, and enterprise, could explore our ready clear, and who are, therefore, at mines, and work our manufactories, liberty to keep them so, iminediately without fear of conflagration and ruin. adopt the means best suited to this efIf absentee proprietors could improve fect. Let them do so, not only for and reside upon their estates, without their own benefit and comfort ; but risk to property or person, then, per- also, that their estates may furnish, as it haps, emigration might not be neces- were, model schools, tested and apsary. But is it the object of the agita- proved by experience, to instruct the tor that the country should be peaceful country in general, should our long and prosperous ? Will priests and de- provoked, but long-suffering and gramagogues permit this ? 'Will a feeble, cious God, ever bring it again to a timid, truckling administration, selling healthful condition, in the best and the country to repealers, that they may most effectual means, under the divine as the purchase money, keep, a little blessing, of preserving it moral, proslonger, their own places, compel them perous, and happy. to permit it? We say, “ No," to all. Of the two causes to which we have And therefore, we believe emigration alluded, as giving birth to our agriculnecessary. We merely propose means tural paupers, namely, electioneering anof preventing the recurrence of this bition, and rack-rents, the priests have plethoric habit, when the country has already removed the former. Few been thus relieved. And, under the landlords, we believe, will again stock operation, we would save the patient their lands with freeholders. How from being drained of the heart's blood, soon these spiritual rulers of Ireland instead of the corrupt humours, by may deem it prudent to dispose of the staying the emigration of the decent, latter cause, let the landlords of Ireland
calculate. And among the data of this of its sanctions is based upon their problem, let them place the following fears ; and that they need but boldly facts—tithe, and composition for tithe, approach, to lay this spectre. If from effectually extinguished-cattle dis- these data, it appear probable, that the trained, but no purchasers-parsons re- same spirit, and the same machinery, duced to beggary, and if they murmur, which raised from off their tenantry stoned-proctors, and process-servers the comparatively light burden of tithe fleeing or concealing themselves, to composition, will be still more zealously evade a crown summons, which they and effectively employed, in flinging view as a sentence of death ; shudder- from them the comparatively heavy ing at this peaceful messenger of a fee- burden of rent also—we would exhort ble government, which, in its imbecility, the landlords of Ireland to anticipate can but persecute, and not protect, the the rough hand of the radical reformer, loyal and submissive, as his abject slave by lopping off every withered branch would shudder at the bowl and bow- upon which his heavy axe might reastring of an eastern despot. Add to sonably fall. We would exhort them, these, the magisterial bench deserted, not to increase our agricultural pauwhen some unpopular cause is to come pers, by rack-rents, but to let their on-gentlemen of rank and property lands to those alone, upon whom they feeing from their duty as grand and can depend, that is, to Protestants; and petit jurors-juries confessedly per- to them, on fair and equitable terms. jured, some through terror, “some also The truth is, that the landlords of of good will”—Attorney-generals, to the Ireland have acted, neither liberally, utter contempt of all law, and subver- nor prudently, in this matter. They sion of all government, defeated, in have intruded into the avetioneer's session's courts, by hedge attorneys; office, and virtually, if not avowedly, to-day, Proh pudor! for informality- let their lands by auction.
The we ask not, for it matters not, whether highest bidder, with little, if any disunintentional or designed ; to-morrow, count, for character, capital, and other from want of evidence, which any man resources, is almost uniformly declared in court could give, but none dare; the tenant. But two years have even beneath the thunderbolts of an elapsed since we looked, for the last Attorney-general's ex officio frown, or time, upon a beautiful dairy farm, of the shelter of an Attorney-general's from two to three hundred acres, whose wing. “I might as well hang myself ivied tower, and peaceful secluded out of the elm tree," was the short re- grave-yard, seated upon its highest ply of a process-server to his employer, eminence, have often been our waywhen asked for evidence of duty per- mark in a dreary ride ; and upon whose formed and paid for. And that short green hillocks, and wide-spreading luxreply from a menial of the courts, pas- uriant meadows, the eye loved to resed a sentence upon his employer's pose ; when it turned, distracted and year's income, which the twelve judges disgusted, from the quarters, and concannot reverse. Unless, indeed, by acres, the naked brawling children, the first convincing him, that an honest and hovels and dung pits, which fringed it. energetic government, is willing and The lease of the occupying tenant was able to protect him ; and that in this determinable, and within a few years of now ungoverned land, death and duty its expiration, he divided, and subdiare to be no longer identical. In fact, vided this ferme orneè, among some let them consider law a dead letter, dozen cottiers, at enormous rents. whenever the people will have it so; These, they could, by possibility, pay or rather by its tedious movement, and but for a few years, while they were punctilious technicalities, shielding the converting, by mercilessly switching plunderer and assassin from the arm of crops, its hitherto unbroken and luxurijustice, and protecting them in the en- ant soil, into a caput mortuum. We joyment of their unlawful spoil. So saw it, for the last time, in its native that, from the feebleness of its adminis- loveliness, lawns, and herds, and trees, tration, the people have more than sus- and tower, burnished with living gold, pected, they have discovered, and sub- by the western beams of an autumnal jected to the test of experience, the sky. Another year, and this soothing dangerous secret, that law is but a bug- landscape was cut up into shreds and bear to scare the timid, that the power patchwork, intersected with bare dikes Vol. I.