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or to those who are sick, or infirm, or old, or who are unable to get work, or who have large families. But you will say, are destitute children, are the sick, the infirm, the old, or those who cannot get work, or who have more children than they can keep-are all these to be left without assistance? Certainly not; there they are, and as long as they are there must be assisted but I tell you, it is the Poor Laws, it is having a parish to look to that makes destitute children, by making improvident parents. It is the same cause that makes the greatest part of sickness and infirmity in a class of men, who, of all others, might be most easily strong and healthy-I mean farming labourers. It is the want of steadiness on the one hand, and the want of means on the other, both produced by the Poor Laws; it is to these causes that we may trace almost all the sickness and infirmity which unfortunately are so common amongst you. It is to the Poor Laws, that we may attribute so many labourers without work, and such large families without sufficient provision. Improvident marriages are the cause of both these evils, and the Poor Laws are decidedly the chief cause of improvident marriages. In other countries there are other causes, which produce these bad effects; but in England, which possesses so many advantages, it is to the Poor Laws almost alone that we may attribute the evils of pauperism. I do not mean to say, that with the best plan and the best management, there would not be particular cases of distress; now and then a destitute childan individual reduced to poverty by long sickness or unexpected infirmity-an extreme old age, not sufficiently provided for-a partial scarcity of work, or a family larger than common prudence could maintain. Such accidents must happen more or less frequently; but where the generality are well provided for, what would a few instances the other way signify? Is there not private charity enough?-Would not you yourselves, if you were well off, be willing to contribute to the assistance of the few unfortunate persons about you! I am
sure you would: I am sure there would be no need of laws to provide for distress, if there were no laws to produce it Now, do not forget, that the poors' rates are a tax upon you wages, of which the most hard-working and prudent pay the most, and receive the least; and the most idle and spendthrift pay the least, and receive the most.
If any of you still think that the poors' rates are not principally raised out of your wages, I will explain it to you in another way. Suppose two farmers to hire five labourers each--and suppose one of the farmers to say to his labourers, "I shall only pay you wages when you work, and you must take care of your money, and provide for yourselves." And suppose the other farmer to say, "I will allow you pay when I have no work for you, or when you are sick, or old, or if you have large families." Would not he pay lower wages It is by a species of rivalry in well-doing that zeal is kept than the farmer who only paid according to the work done?— Just so it is in parishes; the farmers tre obliged by law to pay those who cannot work; and so they are obliged to give less wages to those who can. I do not mean to say that all the money which is paid in poor's rates; but a great part of it would; perhaps, all that is now paid to the poor; and the rest, such as the expenses of the overseers, and law expenses, would remain in the pockets of the farmers and the landlords; besides which, steady labourers, well paid, would do more work and do it better, and be altogether better servants. for the last seventy years what has been paid in poors' rates in this parish had been paid in wages, and the labourers had been as careful as they ought to have been, the old would now be living comfortably on their own savings, instead of being dependent on the parish; those who have larger families than they can keep, would have most likely waited a little before they had married, and there would be less sickness, and less infirmity. The best part of 1000/. a year which is paid in poors' rates would be paid in wages; the farmer would be
better served, and the labourer better off; but remember, that to bring about this change depends upon yourselves. High wages would bring ruin upon the farmers, unless the labourers were prudent; they cannot now pay you when you work, as if they were not obliged to keep you when you cannot work; but it would be better for them and better for you, if there were no such laws as the Poor Laws, and the sooner they can be done without, the better for all parties.
LETTERS FROM THE CONTINENT.
Florence, June 2, 1822.
The weather is un
We returned from Rome May 30th. usually hot. Every thing is in florid beauty. which is better governed than any other part of ill-fated Italy, is cultivated every inch, and now presents one brilliant green. The corn grows in fields planted with figs, mulberries, and vines—the latter most delicately fragrant; though, in general, I do not think the flowers are quite so sweet as with us, but of brighter colours. In coming from Rome we passed through a wild and mountainous district near Radicofani, large tracts of which were entirely covered with high broom, loaded with flowers as thickly as any branch of laburnum you ever saw. The flowers are larger, and of a more golden hue than ours, and, when waved by the wind and heightened by a glowing Italian sky, they presented a softer, richer scene than I could have conceived. The scent too was delightful. By the way,
you wish to spend winter comfortably, you cannot do better than stay in England. If you wish to enjoy spring, come to fair Italy. We think of being in Paris by September. Nothing like Paris after all, for a residence abroad. You may thank your stars you have lived there.
We are obliged here to sit down always to two courses of five dishes each, besides soup. Our only resource is, now and then to order one dish by way of luncheon, and to pretend to dine out. I objected at first to the mode of dinner; but the
only answer I could ever get was, "It is the same price." Foreigners, at least of the lower order, have somewhat a propensity to attribute base motives on all occasions. Mine was always supposed to be parsimony. If you refuse to ascend a tower, or to cross a bridge, they assure you there is no danger, and beg you not to be afraid. When at Rome, my companion made a shooting excursion of a few days to Ostia; in the mean time I was obliged to submit to the two courses, four wax lights, and two attendants—one on each side, with a plate ready, rivalling each other in zeal to change mine, often before I had half done, pushing each dish at me in its turn, and supposing, if I did not eat of it, it was from dislike. Thus they made me as great a slave as themselves. In answer to your inquiry, the style of beauty at Prince Borghese's ball was, beautiful foreheads and eyebrows, dark eyes, good teeth, and clear complexion, rather dark. The handsomest women were from Sienna. At Rome the women are good-looking; at Naples not-but give me English beauty ten times over. The party at the Countess of Albany's (the Pretender's widow) was not so dull as I expected. She has no remains of beauty, but has a very long face, with, I think, a cast in her eyes. She does not appear to me to have been ever either beautiful or interesting, and I suspect much of what Alfieri says of her to be fiction. Her party was well managed. She sits in state, and the ladies in two or three rows round the room. The gentlemen walk about, and in the ante-room you may talk at your ease. Ices and lemonade were handed round, and there was a handsome tea-service on a table in the middle of the room, at which the company helped themselves very conveniently. She is of the German house of Stolberg, and has a pension from our government of £1,500 or £2,000 a-year, which, I believe, is all, or nearly all she has, The Grand Duke has just passed, as is his daily custom, on his way to the Cascine, with his two carriages and six, all thoroughly appointed. But in this country they never can avoid something shabby; for, after followed a carriage, and pair of untrimmed
horses, with one dirty footman out of livery, and here they far excel the Romans and Neapolitans in approach to English propriety. I have seen the King of Naples driving with rope harness. We staid at the Cascine till nine o'olock-a delicious evening. Many people were there, and very respectable all. They put me in mind of England-no soldiers, as at Naples. After dark the moon shone beautifully through the trees, and thousands of fire-flies sparkled under them, with the air as soft as balm. Thence we went to the fashionable café to eat ice it was full of people inside and out, sitting on benches. But O, how inferior to the Boulevards at Paris! On one of the bridges the people sit till late, without hats, on seats brought out for the occasion. The delights of the climate seem to suffice without any other aids.
I wrote you a long letter yesterday, and now proceed to fill up the chasms in my travels. Between Montargis and Lyons we passed through some very fine country, especially on the Loire and the Allier. Though it was the middle of December, I have seen nothing brighter even in this bright country, at this bright season, than the two days, between Cône and St. Simphorien, which Arthur Young, I found from his works at Naples, calls the finest climate in France, or perhaps in Europe. The road down the Rhone is interesting. The ruins at Nismes are very fine, and I think, generally, that the ruins in the south of France are, with some exceptions, better worth seeing than those of Italy. There may be enumerated the beautiful triumphal arch at Orange, the amphitheatre and maison carrée, at Nismes, the mausoleum and triumphal arch at St. Remi, and last and greatest, the Pont du Gard, some miles from Nismes, which is an aqueduct consisting of three ranges of arches one upon another, over a wide bed of a river and part of a valley. It is nearly perfect, very massive, and comes upon you suddenly, in a wild and desolate country, without a visible habitation, and surrounded by rocks covered with evergreens. It struck us more than any Italian antiquity