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THE

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE,

AND

LITERARY MISCELLANY.

JUNE 1818.

ORIGINAL COMMUNICATIONS.

ACCOUNT

OF

THE

REPORT

MADE

THE MANAGEMENT OF THE POOR IN SCOT

mendment of the English mode of TO PARLIAMENT BY THE GENERAL supportin; the poor, was naturally ASSEMBLY RESPECTING

struck by the comparatively cheap and

atisfactory manner in which this LAND.

great object is fulfilled in Scotland.

During the sitting therefore of the AsNo subject in political economy ex- sembly 1817, a communication was cites at present so deep and just an made from both houses of Parliament interest, as that which regards the to that reverend body, requesting para mode of making a provision for the ticular information upon this subject. poor. To relieve those wants of our The wishes of the House of Lords fellow-creatures, which are inevitably were communicated by Lord Hardcaused by age or infirmity, is a duty wicke, those of the Commons by Mr imperiously dictated by religion and Sturges Bourne. The latter expresa humanity. Yet how to eftoet this, sed a particular wish to know the conwithout impairing the sense of honest sideration given to character in the independence, and slackening the sti- distribution of relief; and also how mulus to industry, forms a problem, fur the personal property of the pauper the solution of which is extremely was claimed by the managers for the difficult. We do not mean to enter poor. Lord Hardwicke's letter was at present upon a discussion which read to the Assembly on the 23d May, has employed the pens of the ablest and a Committee was immediately apa writers of the age. Our object in this pointed, consisting of Dr Gibb the article is, to introduce to the notice of moderator, Principal Baird, Sir Henry our readers the Report upon this sub- Moncreiff, and others of the most res ject made by the Committee of the spectable members, to prepare a report General Assembly for the information which might afford the requisite inforof the British Legislature. Of this re mation to the Legislature. The commitport it was stated by Mr Sturges tee proceeded in their functions with Bourne, when he presented it to the such activity, that, on the 2d of June, House of Commons on the 28th May they presented a report, which aflast, " that a more valuable document, forded to the two houses a general for the information of all classes of view of the mode in which the Scottish persons, had never been laid before poor were managed ; and they at the Parliament." We shall begin, by same time intimated, that a set of giving a short sketch of the process queries were in preparation, for the by which this mass of valuable infor- purpose of being circulated among the mation was brought together. different members of the church, and

The British Legislature having from which it was expected, that a turned its serious attention to the a full view of all the details of the sys

tem would be hereafter drawn up. 18. Friendly societies. This report was forth with transmitted 19. Sunday schools. to Parliament, and, on the same day, 20. Mortifications for the support the committee met and appointed a and education of the poor. sub-committee to prepare and circulate 21. Means of common and religious the queries, to receive the answers, and education. arrange the information. On the 23d It is highly creditable to this learnJune, the sub-committee met, and ed boly, that, before next Assembly, Principal Baird, the convener, sub- out of more than nine hundred pamitted to them a sketch of queries to rishes, a report had been received be circulated for the purpose of ob- from about 750. Much, however, taining the desired information. These remained to be done before the rebeing examined and approved of, were ports of so great a number of indiprinted on a large sheet, with blank viduals, whose views, talents, and inspaces opposite sufficient for contain- formation were so various, could be ing the answers. On the 29th June formed into a system, or could afford 1817, a copy which we have seen was a complete and connected view of the sent to all the clergymen of the Church subject. Here it would be impossible of Scotland, with a letter, soliciting to appreciate too highly the exertions their immediate attention to these of Principal Baird, whose activity in queries. We regret that our limits every sphere of public beneficence, render it impossible to copy them ful- eminently entitles him to the gratitude ly, but the leading points embraced by of his country: By his unremitting them were the following:

and judicious labour, these heteroge1. Annual collections at the church neous materials were methodized and doors.

arranged; the whole was brought in2. Contributions by heritors. to a business-like shape, and general 3. Expence of managing the funds results were exhibited upon every of the kirk-sessions.

point which could be the object of 4. Assessments, including their an enlightened curiosity. A mere total amount, the rate or rule of levy- mention of the contents as printed, ing them,—the authority by which and of the tables which compose the they are levied, -their commencement appendix, will afford sufficient proof and increase in number,--their rise of what we have stated. and amount-and the expence of ma “ Table I. consists of seventy-eight nagement.

leaves, each leaf containing a view, are 5. Reluctance of the poor to apply ranged in nine columns, of the whole for charity to the parish funds. reported parishes in one presbytery,

6. Number of the poor, and the in respect to the following particulars, rate of relief given to them.

viz. the amount of the population, of 7. Consideration paid to the cha- contributions by heritors, of the anracter of a pauper on aclmission to the nual collections, of the general session roll and fixing the allowance.

funds, of the assessments, and of the 8. Removal of paupers from pa- total parish funds for the poor, as rishes.

made up of the preceding items. It 9. Litigations betwixt parishes as contains a view also of the number of to paupers, and the expence of them. poor regularly and permanently on the

io. The claim by kirk-sessions to the roll-of those only occasionally on effects of paupers at their death. the roll--and of the total number of

11. The enforcement by paupers of the poor. This table shews farther, higher allowances than kirk-sessions a separate abridged view of the above fix.

particulars, and of some others, as to 12. The poor of the different religi. the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. ous sects.

“ Table II. contains a state of all 13. The practice of begging by the assessed parishes reported, and of stranger and parish poor.

their assessments in the different sy14. Extraordinary collections for in- nods. It shews, in nine columns, the dividual cases of distress.

total number of parishes in each sy15. Number of the deaf and dumb. nod—the number of these parishes

16. Relief to the industrious poor in that are assessed their population, 1817.

and the proportion of the poor to the 17. Savings banks.

100 of the population. It shews, far.

ther, the amount of the assessments, compose the Appendix. This Report the amount of the general session was read before the Assembly on the funds the sum total of parish funds, 28th May, and transmitted to Parlia(as consisting of the two preceding ment, where we have seen that it has items,) and the average allowance paid been so highly appreciated. It has not to each pauper per annum. T'his yet been printed, but it was publicly table shews, also, the dates of the read in the Assembly, and from notes commencement of the respective as taken at that time, and subsequent sessments in the different synods, their inquiries made by us, we shall endeaprogressive increase in number, and vour to give our readers some foretaste their total present number in each of what they will find, we apprehend, synod; and, consequently, their whole in this truly valuable Report. number in Scotland, so far as reported. Church Collections. These amount,

“ Table III. It contains a state of in the 750 parishes from which rethe parishes in each synod that are turns have been received, to ...21,700, not assessed. There are seven columns being an average of about L. 30 in in it, shewing the total number of pa- each parish. It is observed, that, rishes in each synod--the number of wherever assessments prevail, a great parishes in each that are not assessed diminution takes place in the amount --their population--the proportion of of the collections. The assessed pera poor in the 100 of population--the sons consider themselves as having whole amount of the parish funds for paid sufficiently in another shape; the poor-and the average allowance while the others, conceiving the fors paid to each pauper per annum.

mer class bound to support the poor, “ Table IV. There are eleven co- suppose themselves no longer to lie lumns in this table, which contains a under the same obligation to contrisummary of all the parishes reported bute. in all the synods as to the following Voluntary Contributions by Heritors, particulars, viz. the total population - These may be considered as an apof each synod-the total amount of proach towards assessment. There is contributions by heritors—of the an no regular meeting called, nor legal nual collections of general session proceedings held. The kirk-session funds-of assessments of the whole having acquainted the heritors with parish funds for the poor jointly--of the amount of their wants, the latter the total number of poor in each sy- agree to make up the sum among theme nod, either regularly or permanently, selves, by a rateable proportion on or occasionally only on the roll—the their valued rents respectively. The total number of poor of both these sum raised by these voluntary conclasses—the proportion of poor to the tributions is about L. 35,400. They 100 of population, and the average ale take place more or less in every part lowance paid to each pauper per an- of Scotland. num-and, by the summation of the Assessments. This mode of supitems for all the synods, this table porting, the poor bears a close reshews the same particulars for the semblance to the English system. A whole of the parishes of Scotland from regular meeting is announced from the which reports have been sent by the pulpit, and held with legal formaliclergy."

ties. The sum is apportioned according From these copious materials, thus to the rental, one half being paid by systematically arranged, a Report was the proprietor, and the other by the tedrawn up, which began with explain- nant. In generalit is laid entirely upon ing the object of the committee,-- gave land, though, in considerable towns, a summary of Scottish statutes relative house-rents are made liable; and to the poor,-a sketch of their practi- there are a few instances, of which cal management,--and a detail of the Glasgow is one, where property of proceedings of the committee. It then every kind is attached. The authoproceeded to give a general summary rity of the Sheriff is sometimes called of the information obtained on all the in to enforce these assessments. In subjects to which its attention had been the synods of Aberdeen, Moray, Ross, directed, being the same, and taken Sutherland, Caithness, Argyli, Glenin the same order, as the queries above elg, and Orkney, assessments are quite quoted. The four tables, of which unknown; and the clergymen from the contents have now been given, all these quarters express the strong

!

est determination to guard againsi greater, or about 3} in the 100. Of their introduction. The great pre- the whole number 745 are blind, and valence of assessments is in the 542 deaf and dumb. It is generally counties bordering on England, from stated, that the character of the poor the example of which country it is much considered in receiving them appears evident that they were on the roll, and in fixing the allowfirst introduced. The synod of Merse ance to be given to them. Some and Tiviotdale is entirely assess- clergymen, however, say, that they ed, and contains more than a third have no parishioners whose character of the parishes in that situation. In is so bad as to make it necessary to Dumfries, Glasgow, and Ayr, these take this circumstance into consideraare also numerous. The synods of tion. The session, on the death ot' : Lothian and Tweeddale may be consi- pauper, claims a right to all the prodered as divided between assessed and periy he may have possessed ; but unassessed parishes. In the middle this is often waved in favour of reise synodls of Perth, Fife, Angus, Mearns, tions, or of those who have distin&c. assessments are trifling. In Perth, guished themselves by humanity to for instance, not more than L. 500 is him during his lifetime. In som of thus raised. The amount levied by as the assessed parishes it is stated, that sessment may be L. 50,000.

the enforcement of this right is found Expence of Management. - The salutary in preventing persons from church offerings and voluntary contris applying who would otherwise bave butions are collected and distributed done so. The reluctance to recure without any expence whatever. The assistance from the poor's fund, which duties are gratuitously and cheerfully was once so honourable a characterisperformed by the clergymen and el- tic of the Scottish peasantry, is said ders. The session-clerk, indeed, re to be much worn off, and often altoceives a small salary, but he performs gether obliterated, in the assessed paother functions, for which it is, per- rishes; but, in the northern and northhaps, no more than an adequate re western districts, where assessidents muneration. In levying assessments, are yet unknown, it is said not to be an expence is incurred of 5 per cent. materially diminished, and, in many on the sum raised, which, consequent- instances, it is needful to employ artily, will amount throughout Scotland fice, and the pretext of a loan, to make to L. 2500 per annum. The exo' them accept what is necessary to prepence of litigation for ten years has vent them from starving. mounted to L. 1640, (L. 164 per an Expence of Maintenance.-This vanum.). Of this L. 1230 has been in- ries remarkably through the different curred in assessed parishes. It is also districts. In general it is higher in observed, that much of this has arisen the assessed parishes. It has been in litigation with the neighbouring calculated, that, in these, the average English parishes.

rate is L. 5, 14s. for each individual, Occasional Contributions.-Without while, in those not assessed, it is L. 3, mentioning those made for the relief 6s. 8d. In the synod of Merse it is of individuals in cases of accident or L. 5, 15s. ; in Glasgow and Ayr, L. 5, misfortune, large contributions have 3s. ; in Fife, L. 5, lls. ; in Angus, abeen raised over the country in years bout L. 4; but in Aberdeen it is so of peculiar distress. In 1817-18 there low as L. 2, 2s., and in Argyle so low was raised in Edinburgh L. 7139, as L. 1, 10s. ; while in Orkney it is which kept 23,000 persons in employ- only 198., and in Ross, Sutherland, ment for several months. In Glas- and Glenelg, not quite 175. The gow there was raised L. 9658, and clergymen in these latter districts acover the rest of the country L. 18,653 count for this extreme lowness by the in money, besides large distributions industrious habits of the people, their of meal. These contributions were reluctance to apply for charity, their all voluntary.

kindness for each other, and by so inuch The number of poor hitherto return- being done for them by neighbours ed amounts in all to about 30,000, and relations. which, calculated upon the total popu Begging:-Notwithstanding thesuclation of the parishes, makes 2! in the cessful efforts made in some of the 100. In the assessed parishes, the great towns to put a stop to this prac

portion is found to be considerably tice, it continues to be almost univer

a

NOTICES IN NATURAL HISTORY.

of the pa

worn.

may be

sal over the country. In some cases it is believed, that the stranger poor

No. IV. carry away by begging, as inuch as would maintain all the

poor

Discovery of Celestine in the Calton rish. In general, a strong wish is ex

Hill. pressed for the extirpation of begging; but some clergymen, particularly in

The numerous quarries daily openthe Synod of Aberdeen, conceive that ing all around Edinburgh, afford mait could not be effected without lead- ny interesting objects of curiosity to ing to what they suppose to be the the mineralogist. Of late, in partigreater evil of assessments. Attempts cular, these artificial excavations have are made to limit it, by allowing pau

been very abundant in remarkable pers to beg only in their own parish, geological phenomena ; and we rejoice sometimes only one day in the week. to learn that they are carefully reIn a very few parishes, bailges are

corded as they occur, and will, in

due time, be laid before the public. Appeal to the Sheriff.—Of this last It may not be amiss to remark, that and fatal crisis in the progress of pau

the Calton Hill has disclosed numeperism, some symptoms are beginning volcanic notion of its formation, but

rous appearances, subversive of the to appear in the counties of Roxburgh illustrative of its crystallization from and Berwick, iminediately bordering on England; and in trading and ma

a state of aqueous solution. Indeed, nufacturing districts. There

all the mineralogical arrangements doubts as to the competence of such around Edinburgh are so completely appeals in particular circumstances,

at variance with the igneous hypothebut the fact mentioned deserves the sis of the formation of rocks, that we attention of all concerned in the case,

are not surprised to observe the increase We shall conclude with a statement ing disbelief in the doctrines of the of the management of the poor in

Huttonian Theory in the very city Edinburgh and Glasgow, which has

where it took its rise. But the Calton long differed materially from that in Hill is not only remarkable for its the collections amount to L. 1914; been long well known; and its glance the country districts. In Edinburgh, rocks, * but also for its simple miner

Its zeolites and felspars have while mortifications, city funds, and casual donations, afford 1.1667.' The coal and diallage have more lately assessment is L. 1809, which is raised excited our curiosity. Lately, an inby a tax of 5 per cent. on the real rent. telligent gentleman, Mr Sievright of

The number of poor in the Charity Meggetland, discovered, in the porWorkhouse is 710; that of the indus- phyry of this hill, that rare and beau. trious poor about 2140. The expence

tiful mineral, the Celestine, or sulof each in the workhouse is L. 7, 15s.; phat of strontian, It was reported in out-pensions from L. 2 to 1. 5. some time ago to have been found in In Glasgow, thecollections are L.1652;

the hill of Kinnoul, also in a trap occasional sources L. 330, while the rock; and these are the only instanassessment is L. 10,550, which is ces we know of the occurrence of ceraised by a tax on all property, heri- lestine in trap rocks in Great Bri. table and personal. The number of

tain. poor is 515 in the workhouse, and 1215 out of it; and of industrious poor, Zircon found near Fort Augustus. at an average of 10 years, 1215. Those in the workhouse cost L. 9, 3s. each;

We understand that this gem was those out of it L.4. 10s.; and the in- discovered last summer imbedded in dustrious poor from Is. 6d. to 4s. 6d. the granite beds or veins that occur a month.

in the neighbourhood of Fort Augus. This Report contains much valua- tus. It is worthy of remark, that this ble information relative to Education, geognostical position of the Highland Saving Banks, Friendly Societies, zircon agrees with that of the varieties &c. but our limits have induced us found by Dr Davy in the island of to reserve these subjects for another Ceylon. article, and to confine ourselves here strictly to what concerns the main Vide a valuable paper on the Calton tenance of the poor.

Hill, in our Number for August 1817.

*

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