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Mr. URBAN, Aug. 17. have lately seen some painful ac counts of the protraction of misery to men condemned to the Gal lows, by the extension of the rope in such a manner that their legs have reached the ground. Immediately the mob have rushed in to lift up the pendent man, while the executioner has contracted the rope. To prevent the confusion and distress hence aris ing, I beg to propose a simple plan, by which the sufferer may be immediately put out of pain. Let a spare rope be provided and thrown over the top of the gallows, so long as to reach the ground on each side; let one end have a noose, and if the man's legs should touch the ground, this noose may be immediately slipped round his ancles, and by pulling at the other end, his legs would be lifted from the ground, so that the body would swing: the rope should be put with the noose on the side of the gallows to which the back of the sufferer is turned, so that the legs would bend up as in the posture of kneeling upon pulling the rope. This would be done in a quarter of a minute, and I cannot see any objection to its being adopted.
Sept. 4. OLITICAL Economy has been justly deemed a subject of the highest importance in all ages and countries of the world, and still deserves the most serious consideration. From the great difference in the mental and physical powers of individuals, it is evident, that some are formed by nature to rule, and others to serve. In the art of governing and being go. verned, the great difficulty consists in forming the arrangements so, that all parts may harmonize together; and this cannot be affected, unless the minds of all, or at least the far greater number be satisfied, that the methods pursued are those calculated to produce the largest portion of happiness with the least of evil or misery. The present state of the United Kingdom presses the subject closely on the mind of every man susceptible of feeling; and, as truth is most likely to be eli cited by discussion, the humblest individual may contribute something toward it.
To devise means by which the pri
vations of the poor may be diminished, and their sufferings alleviated, has long occupied the attention of several persons of true benevolence, though their number has been comparatively small. The pressure and increasing weight of the poor-rates bear so hard on the middling and higher classes, that the relief of the poor has for some time become a fashionable topic of conversation; and any one who should attempt to discuss the general subject, when some pathetic sentiment on the miserable state of the poor, or apparently earnest wish for its amendment is uttered, runs the risk of being branded as a monster, or at least a stupid, unfeeling sot. But if we examine these effusions of fashion by their effects, they will ge nerally be found deficient of any real principle; certain sentiments being expressed, or actions done, merely because others do or utter them. This is strictly applicable to the present cant phrase relief of the poor; for on investigation it will unquestionably be found, that not one per son of many thousands has ever ac tually thought on the subject.
It is true, the general pressure of the poor-rates has engaged the serious attention of many; and that they, on whom these rates are levied, are anxious to have the poor placed in such situations, as to be able to support themselves, is abundantly evident; but it is not the relief of the poor, that is their object; it is to devise means, by which they themselves may be relieved from the payment of the rates; while every effort to attain this desirable purpose is clogged by the futile attempt to couple with it abjectly mean and slavish submission. These, however, are things, which it is absolutely impossible to unite in one person. Not that rendering the poor comfortable will make them rebellious or refractory; quite the reverse. Only let them see that their relief is the real object, and that they are considered as human beings by their superiors, they will yield willing obedience, and rely with confidence on those whom they see fulfilling their promises: but while it is evident that their benefit is not the purpose in view, their minds cannot be expected to be pliant. Were the relief of the poor the object in reality sought, it could not fail to be accom
plished; for the means of affecting it are as ample, as the wills of many of those who possess these means are stubborn, despotic, and hypocritical; which they attempt to cover by the grimace of voluminous legislation, in name for the relief of the poor, but in fact for the relief of the rich. Hence every session of parliament graces the statute-book with many additional acts of plunder, otherwise called enclosing bills. Of these, in a hundred and fifteen years we have had no less than 3646, for enclosing 6,450,104 acres *, in England only. It is not, however, the enclosing simply, that is the evil, for this is calculated to be highly advantageous to both poor and rich, but the construction of these Bills, and the manner of enclosing, which render them a system of plundering the poor, by depriving them of the privilege of common, that previously contributed to the support of many families, who are now maintained in the workhouse. This, forsooth, is relieving the by robbing them of what little they have, and for no other reason but because they are poor; while those who are rich, or comparatively so, have more given to them, or in other words the portions of the poor divided among them. If, instead of this, when an enclosure takes place, the poor man, who had the privilege of common for a few geese, a cow, or an ass, were to have a small portion of the enclosed common allotted to him, in proportion to the number of animals for which he had the privilege of common, the condition of the poor would in fact be improved, not injured by it. The poor, it is true, could not pay any part of the expense of the enclosure: this, therefore, ought to be paid either by the persons introducing the Bill, or by sale of part of the enclosed land: if the former, the poor man would be entitled to a larger portion of the land; but for this he should be charged with a yearly rent, equal to the interest of the money, which the portion of land allotted him should have paid.
The reverse of this, however, has been the plan pursued for several years. Removing the cottages and the little farmers has proceeded to an
* See McWilliam's Essay on Dry Rot, Appendix, p. 293.
alarming extent. Taking the parish where I was born, and the four adjoining parishes, at their computed population, rent-roll, and number of acres; supposing these to be a fair sample of the United Kingdom, which from a cursory personal view of almost every county in England, and several counties in Scotland, I am inclined to think them; it would require a sum of fifty millions sterling at least, to rebuild the small farmhouses and cottages, exclusive of their fences, that have been thrown down and removed between the years abovementioned. The persons who inhabited these have gone into villages and manufacturing towns, or into the army or navy. Those of the latter who survive are now returned to their native land; which, added to the failure of employment for the former, may be well supposed to create the great distress at present felt in almost every part of the country. Where many small farms have been thrown into one, the houses, farmbuildings, and cottages, have been demolished, their foundations razed, many of the fences and drains ploughed up, and the manure from the old houses, &c. spread over the ground. Owing to this abundant manure and fresh soil, the land has yielded for two or three years very luxuriant crops of corn, &c.: but, this manure being exhausted; the situation being originally on the skirts of the larger farms, or inferior ground, as many little farms and most cottages generally are; the land now unsheltered, and at a distance from the farm-yard so that little manure can be obtained for it, does not in most cases yield corn adequate to the expense of tillage. Hence it is left waste, and affords but a very scanty produce of grass.
There are many situations where but a few years ago several families lived in comfort, and a certain degree of respectability, by their industry, many of whom are now inmates of workhouses, while the seat of their old residence yields not one shilling an acre annually. A very great number, if not the larger proportion of these in sterile situations yield not one tenth of what their old tenants now cost the parish in the workhouse. This has been the state of the progressive improvement of the country for
for above thirty years in England: and in Scotland it appears to be worse; as there parish workhouses are generally wanting, yet we hear of the tenantry of many parishes being turned out of doors, their houses burnt to the ground, and the district laid waste as far as the eye can reach, or the property of the despot extends, that he may boast how many thousand acres feed his sheep! Here lonely silence spreads her wings, magnificently, it is true, in the grandeur of repose, around his castle; which is like "the far-famed pyramids of Egypt, pompous amid the desert, the abode of rottenness and death, at once a trophy and a tomb." Such proprietors possess, not enjoy, their estates, in the way, no doubt, that is most congenial to their dispositions; for the vulture and the hyena, ravenous wolves and birds of prey, are fond of seclusion, and generally found in solitudes. Here, all is terror, all is fear: domestics are eye-servants to such a lord; and their lord, a slave to his passions, carries a tormentor in his own bosom, from whom he cannot fly.
That there are ample means in the United Kingdom for the relief of the poor and the labouring classes must be evident, when it is known to contain above thirteen millions of acres of waste land capable of cultivation. There have appeared in print, since the year 1810, publications in the shape of books, pamphlets, paragraphs in newspapers, essays in magazines and other periodical works, to the number of twenty-two thou. sand and upwards, all recommending culture of the soil by small farms, and cottages with small patches of ground annexed to them, as the best means of alleviating the distress of the nation. Most of these mention one and some of them several experiments of this nature, not one of which has failed of its desired effect. If this mass of opinions and facts, all bearing on the same point, be not conclusive evidence, it would be a waste of words to attempt to prove it: more particularly, as there is not a tittle of evidence on the other side opposed to these facts. This point then may be considered as completely established. Thus there seems no other way of attempting to justify the neglect of the cottage agricultural system, but
with the blind follower of a party to reject the evidence of our sight and other senses, and so deny that there is any distress; or be a little more fashionable, and join in the hue and cry," The Government! the Government! the Ministers and the Prince should do every thing!" This however is blinking the question, in order to get rid of it. That there is distress sufficient to shake the nerves of the greatest stoic in the kingdom is clear: but opposed to this distress the Prince, his Ministers, and the Legislature, are mere phantoms, considered abstractedly in their official capacity. They have done more already, than all the other Governments of Europe together: and what does it amount to? not the weight of a feather in retarding the evil, still less in removing it.
What indeed can Government do? Is it to interfere with private property, and to tell its owner, whether he ought to let his few acres to one individual, or to many? I apprehend Lord
, or any other great landed proprietor, may throw down every house on his vast domain, if he think proper. He has only to conform to the rules prescribed by the laws of the land, and Government cannot justly interfere in any way whatever. It is true, the Prince, his Ministers, and the Members of the Legislative Body, may do much in their individual capacity. As land or fund holders, and as men of exalted rank, others may be induced to follow their example. The united endeavours of a few benevolent persons may for a short time alleviate the present distress; but the ultimate success will depend on the impulse being brought home to every bosom individually, without regard to rank. Each should say to himself: "have I done what is in my power? if I have not, I have no right to ask what my neighbour has done, till I set him such an example as my duty requires." Many plans have been devised, and methods suggested, by various persons, almost every one of which is within the reach of the small landholder, while they are at the same time sufficiently capacious to embrace the whole empire. Even Mr. Owen's plan is practicable on a very small scale: although in its present mag nitude, as proposed for an experi
ment in the vicinity of the metropolis, it appears best fitted to grapple with the hydra, that now menaces our political existence. However visionary the scheme may appear to those who have not considered either the plan or the object of its benevolent projector; yet all who duly examine it will find, that the brightness of the evidence which surrounds it is a sufficient guarantee of its success; and that its failure is absolutely impossible, provided the managers act with a tolerable degree of prudence. It may, indeed, and most probably will, fall far short of Mr. Owen's anticipations; yet I again assert, without fear of contradiction, that it is impossible for it, if carried into execution, to fail of being highly advantageous to the publick at large, as well as honourable to the projector and his supporters.
Notwithstanding what may properly be called the general apathy to col tage agriculture, the exceptions to which are comparatively few, the real number of these honourable exceptions is so great, that it would take up too much room to enumerate even all who have come to my own knowledge. Two or three, however, it may be proper to adduce as examples.
The first I shall mention is, the Lord Bishop of Chester, who, previous to his being appointed to that See, let part of the glebe land of the rectory he then held, in small lots to poor people, by which they have been raised from a state of abject misery and indolence, to one of comfort and industry. The satisfaction of mind his Lordship must have derived from this would alone have amply rewarded him, yet it has proved advantageous even in a pecuniary point of view.
The Marchioness of Exeter, on the Burleigh estates in Lincolnshire; and the Hon. Lady Evans, on the estates of Laxton-hall in Rutlandshire, by building and repairing cottages, and allotting small patches of land to them, according to the ability of the tenants, have done honour to their sex.
The Duke of Athol adds lustre to his rank by the improvements on his estates, and employment of the peasantry, giving the poor patches of land at small and sometimes peppercorn rents, and employing them a great part of the year in planting
forest trees on the waste ground of his extensive estates of Blair and Athol.
The last, though not the least, to be mentioned, is the Earl of Fife, on his estates in the counties of Banff, Aberdeen, and Moray. This nobleman, since his return from the Peninsula, has been singularly attentive to the people on his estates, by letting the land at rents beneficial to the Lenants for improvement, dividing it into small farms, and reletting scarcely any without some part being appro priated to cottages with little patches of ground attached to them. Several new villages have been planned out, and begun to be built on his estates, always allotting some land to each tenement. In the vicinity of one of these a valuable mine of antimony has been discovered, and great encouragement given to working it. Ample buildings have likewise been erected, with expensive machinery for mills for grinding wheat and other grain, dressing flax, &c. at his Lordship's own cost. A large and capacious harbour is now constructing, where, in the course of next year several hundred vessels of four or five hundred tons burden may find perfect safety; as well as smaller harbours for the fisheries. Fishing-boats are procured, and sold to some at prime cost, to others at reduced prices; while those who are very poor have boats and tackle given to them, until they are able and think proper to repay the cost, but this is never demanded of them. The whole of the several family mansions on the estates have been embellished, or are embellishing, in order to give employment to the people, several hundred of whom are thus constantly occupied. Even old ruins are kept up for the same reason.
In the late bad seasons seed has been procured from distant counties for the tenantry; many of the poorest class have had both seed and meal gratis, others at a reduced price, and none were charged more than the prime cost. None were permitted to sell stock in the bad seasons for the payment of rent, but were allowed time, and the arrears on such occasions have generally been remitted. The fairs have likewise been encou raged by taking off all the tolls formerly levied. Timber for using on
the Earl's own estates is sold at reduced prices, and in many instances, for cottages or building in the villages, furnished gratis. Many persons are employed at the proper seasons *in enclosing waste ground, planting forest trees, draining marshes and wet lands, making roads from the High
lands or interior of the country to the sea, and to intersect the different districts, &c.; so that amid these general improvements employment is wanting to none; all is activity and industry. By these means the landlord, the stewards, and the tenants are all united in true confidence and friendship with one another, as social beings in civilized society ought to be.
How delightful and gratifying to the benevolent mind, to be surrounded by an industrious peasantry, every one labouring with the conscious approbation of his superiors, and the knowledge that his reputation, his reward, and the support of his family, depend on his own industry and exertions! All is hope, all is activity. The sea is speckled with sails yielding to the breeze: the land covered with the gorgeous mantle of successful agriculture, studded with the gems of cottage industry, and sparkling with the virtues naturally resulting from it, "fair as the morn, and blooming as the rose." Who would not envy the feelings arising from such application of a little wealth? And it ought to be remembered, to the Earl's honour, that, in doing these things, he had little more than the half of his late uncle's estates; but having now recovered the whole, he will be enabled more effectually to carry on his benevolent designs. The past may be presumed to be a guarantee of the fu ture; for the Noble Lord has not only provided for the immediate exigencies of the times, but has likewise gone to the very bottom of civilization, in forming new schools, giving encouragement to the teachers of the old parochial schools, and employing the greatest care in selecting proper persons for the church-minis try under his patronage. How highly gratifying to the mind of the noble proprietor must be the benefits arising from such measures!
Mac Duff," for Caledonia is neither wild nor stern: she will cherish the memory of your plumed crest, when monuments of stone shall have moul
ON THE CLERICAL DRESS.
Sept. 4. and good order was the motive S a desire to promote uniformity
A which actuated me in sending you my paper on the Clerical Dress, I trust I shall not now be deemed fond of controversy, if I beg the favour of replying as briefly as possible to the remarks of A. H. in your Magazine for July, p. 20. The manner in which your Correspondent has there endeavoured to remove the conclusions arising from the arguments which I have adduced, leads me to suppose that he has either not attentively considered them, or else hath raised his series of objections against them in order to mislead his readers, and give me the trouble of again calling his and their attention to the place where they had been before answered.
Sigismund is happy in stating that he is not a Clergyman, and as such cannot be censured for having written his paper from personal motives. As A. H. appears not to understand the drift of my plan of clerical distinction in dress, I think the best answer I can give to his supposition, that ridicule would follow an adoption of the whole (which never was in my thoughts) or part of the Clerical habit; will be found in the elaborate and well-digested observations of your able and learned Correspondent, S. T. B. in your last Supplement, p. 593. With regard to A. H.'s objection, as to the expence of adopting the distinctive dress which I have suggested, I am not aware that the difference in the shape of the Clericalhat, or the adoption of the shortcassock and linen band, would subject the wearer to any particular additional charge. Perhaps A. H. may still continue to object to the band, which would partly form a very significant distinction, on account of its supposed affinity to the surplice, against which such writers as A. H. have always been particularly inimical; but in what manner A. H. hath discovered
that " nothing could be so preposterous as the common use of the band," I am quite at a loss to conjecture. Again, it is urged that I do