Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

still above that sum with which a considerable part of our poor could make a shift to live.

* $9.

¿s' 31'n fi.

It was our determined principle to reduce this support lower than what any industrious man or woman in such circumstances could earn: for if the manner in which relief is given is not a spur to industry, it becomes undoubtedly a premium to sloth and profligacy.

Very little was still gained: for the poor might even with the bare pittance remain idle, or they might receive this support very undeservedly, if, in the mean time, a more lucrative employment had offered; the want of which was the cause or pretext of their claims.

24A

7.344,"

At this period of the business, that private society, which had successfully established a flax yarn spinning manufacture, gave over to our institution, the stock, the organization of the whole, the very able teachers and officers, and all the experience acquired in several years.

W

**

Six-sevenths of our poor being women and children, we fixed upon this kind of work; because,

1st. The material is cheap;

2nd. The sale always sure;

3d. No nice workmanship is required;

4th. It is easily learnt, and of use at all times to the instructed poor;

5th. It can be done by weak and robust, by old and young people, with a difference in the produce of labour proportionate to their capacity for work;

7%9

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

J

6th. Because the work can be exactly ascertained by measure; and by seeing a woman spin an hour, it is perfectly easy to say what she is capable of doing in a day.

2

*

A most essential point was, to regulate the spinning by the measure, and not by weight. We sold the clean flax to the poor at a certain low price, and bought a certain measure of yarn again from them at a high price: thus, to whatever fineness the yarn was spun, it was the profit of the poor. This price was 30 per cent. above the usual spinning price; so that we were sure that all the yarn would be brought into the office established for that purpose. Every pauper brought his book continually with him, wherein the quantity delivered was noted; thus he had always with him a certificate of his industry, and we, a continual average of the state of industry of our poor. But this establishment procured us many still more essential advantages: we could now safely offer relief to all sorts of poor, because we had it now in our power to make them comply with the only condition required, that they should use towards their support all the exertion they still were capable of. Accordingly the overseers went through their districts, and asked

in all such mansions as could be supposed to harbour want, if the inhabitants stood in need of support. The question to all such poor as wished for relief, and were able to spin, was, whether they did earn by their work 1s. 6d. a week? for experience had taught us, that many poor lived upon that sum; and we knew enough of our poor, to suppose that Is. 6d, avowed earning was something

more.

BYES")

*

* km 1 to ཨི... ཙྩཱ ནི

1.1*, 38

Were

If the answer was affirmative, the pauper stood not in need of weekly assistance, If it was negative, we gave him work, which, being paid 30 per cent. above its value, afforded him Is. 6d. a week easily, if he was, even an indifferent hand. The far more frequent cases partial inability by age, or weakness, or want of skill. For poor of the latter description a school was opened, and in three months' time the business was easily learnt. During that time, the pauper got first 2s. a week, and every week afterwards 2d. less, till in the twelfth week he got nothing at all but his own earnings, and was dismissed with a wheel and a pound of flax gratis.

The quantity of work which disabled poor were capaple of doing in a week, was easily and accurately ascertained by a week's trial in the spinning-school. The result was produced weekly before appointed members of the committee, and the sum, which the poor could earn, was noted down in their small books. The overseer was directed to pay them weekly what their earnings fell short of 1s. 6d. in every such week, when it appeared from their books that they had earned to the known extent of their abilities.

8

;

From that moment, applications became less frequent; and we had an infallible standard for distinguishing real want; for whenever the pauper, if in health, (if not he was peculiarly provided for,) had not earned what he could, then he had either been lazy, or had found more lucrative work in either case he was not entitled to a relief for that week, whatever he might be for the following This has constantly held good during these six years; and whenever, by some relaxation of regularity on the part of the overseers, the relief has been in some years larger, we always found, that the thermometer of industry had been lower, viz. less yarn spun; and that whenever, as in the summer 1792, the principle was enforced, the industry again increased accordingly.. 1 &w brutish

180

:6 103066 34.

+ MIC

I have been the more particular here, as I am convinced, that it is to this measure alone we owe our success.

101 #112

Itis obvious, why it was desirable to choose but one kind of work,

"

because in this way only the different degrees of industry in the different poor could be compared, and why such a kind of work was chosen, as could leave to no under office the smallest arbitrary power: a kind of work, lastly, where it was impossible to be cheated VOL. XI.

NO. XXII.

Pam.

2 G

either by the poor, the seller, the buyer, or the servant.

This gave a pivot to the whole superstructure, and a simplicity to our complicated machine, without which I do not think it could have stood one year.

This simplicity lost very little by our employing the men and boys in making rope yarn, picking oakum, or cleaning the streets and mending the roads at 4d. a day. All this work was calculated upon the same principle..

But want of employment for poor in tolerable health was one source of misery; old age and incurable diseases, sickness, and the difficulty of supporting a numerous family, were evils which also called for assistance.

For the first, we provided an hospital; and, in some cases, gave to individuals the money which the boarding in the hospital would have amounted to.

Five physicians, five surgeons, and as many midwives were appointed, one for each twelve districts; who, upon the request of the overseer, (a request which he was bound to make whenever applied to,) went immediately to the lodgings of the patient, if he was not able to appear at the appointed hour of the day at the physician's or surgeon's house, who was obliged to make an immedinte report, and to note down in a book, kept at the house of the directors of these twelve districts, how far the cure was advanced, and the moment when the patient was able to work again. Till that moment, the physician prescribed, not only the diet, which was obtained, according to previous contracts, from the traiteurs of that quarter of the town, and the medicines, which were made up at very low prices after a pharmacopoeia pauperum which we had carefully revised; but he informed the overseer of what money he thought necessary for supplying the want of labour, and the extraordinary expenses. This made a particular article of support, under the name of sick money, which was given with the greater liberality, as no bad effects could possibly arise from indulging here those feelings, which it is the hardest task of every

overseer to restrain.

A numerous family is too heavy a burden, not only for poor reduced to the lowest earnings, but even for many an industrious couple in a better way of employment; too heavy, in all cases, upon widows.

Two ways offered to provide for them; the one, to take such children into an hospital; the other, to give to the mother an allowance in money.

We were very averse to the first, and the poor mothers would have been still more so. May all the favourers of those houses, such as they are, seriously reflect, if the advantages they offer can compensate for the education of the heart which nature yields in

those huts of poverty, where both parties become so necessary to each other, and where heroic exertions of parental and filial piety, are not seldom become habitual. Could the humane and philosophical overseer look through the rags and the filth of pale misery; calculate the sacrifices daily made in many families, and amongst neighbours; and enjoy the rapture with which a mother embraces her son, whom she sees swallow the crumb of bread she refused to her own wants; the annals of the poor might reconcile him to human nature, when disgusted with the list of crimes which blacken the page of history.

11 1 }

On the other hand, it is but too true, that misery and drunkenness, particularly in the male poor, lead to the neglect of their unhapPy children nor can it be doubted, that in this manner many fall victims to wretchedness and immorality.

Wherever children under six years of age were in this unhappy situation, we intended to board them in the houses of the better sort of poor and many a good motherly woman we found, who became an excellent nurse..

:

In other cases, we allowed the mother from six to twelve pence a week for each child; and we are now busy in preparing in every parish a warm room, and bread, milk, and potatoes in plenty, where such parents as go out to work may deposit their children during the day, and thus prevent any obstacle to their own industry, or to that of their elder children.

We determined to oblige them to send all their children from six to sixteen to school, in which they shall work two thirds of the time, and the remainder of it be instructed in reading, writing, casting accounts, religion, and church music.

We determined, and this is the second hinge upon which the institution turns, that to no family any relief should be allowed for a child past six years; but that this child, being sent to school, should receive, not only the payment for his work, but also an allowance, in the compound ratio of his attendance at school, his behaviour, and his application to work; which amounted to an average of twelve or eighteen pence a week, exclusive of other premiums.

By this measure the number of children, far from being a burden, became a great convenience; for the greater number of individuals messing together at a certain rate, the better their fare, and cheaper.

By these means we as effectually excluded those parents who did not wish to send their children to school, as we had excluded those that did not choose to work; and children became accustomed to look from their infancy upon the means of subsistence, as the recompence of labour, or at least of exertion.

[ocr errors]

either by the poor, the seller, the buyer, or the servant.

This gave a pivot to the whole superstructure, and a simplicity to our complicated machine, without which I do not think it could have stood one year.

This simplicity lost very little by our employing the men and boys in making rope yarn, picking oakum, or cleaning the streets and mending the roads at 4d. a day. All this work was calculated upon the same principle..

But want of employment for poor in tolerable health was one source of misery; old age and incurable diseases, sickness, and the difficulty of supporting a numerous family, were evils which also called for assistance.

For the first, we provided an hospital; and, in some cases, gave to individuals the money which the boarding in the hospital would have amounted to.

x

Five physicians, five surgeons, and as many midwives were appointed, one for each twelve districts; who, upon the request of the overseer, (a request which he was bound to make whenever applied to,) went immediately to the lodgings of the patient, if he was not able to appear at the appointed hour of the day at the physician's or surgeon's house, who was obliged to make an immedinte report, and to note down in a book, kept at the house of the directors of these twelve districts, how far the cure was advanced, and the moment when the patient was able to work again. Till that moment, the physician prescribed, not only the diet, which was obtained, according to previous contracts, from the traiteurs of that quarter of the town, and the medicines, which were made up at very low prices after a pharmacopoeia pauperum which we had carefully revised; but he informed the overseer of what money he thought necessary for supplying the want of labour, and the extraordinary expenses. This made a particular article of support, under the name of sick money, which was given with the greater liberality, as no bad effects could possibly arise from indulging here those feelings, which it is the hardest task of every

overseer to restrain.

A numerous family is too heavy a burden, not only for poor reduced to the lowest earnings, but even for many an industrious couple in a better way of employment; too heavy, in all cases, upon widows.

Two ways offered to provide for them; the one, to take such children into an hospital; the other, to give to the mother an money.

allowance in

**

We were very averse to the first, and the poor mothers would have been still more so. May all the favourers of those houses, such as they are, seriously reflect, if the advantages they offer can compensate for the education of the heart which nature yields in

« EdellinenJatka »