Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

course, or sink into insignificance, to the great blessing of the country.

In the election of the heads of districts I should be inclined to give a vote to every man of competent age, having any thing like a settled inhabitancy, and I should make the elections annual. The elected should be the representatives of their districts, to all intents and purposes; the inhabitants delegating to them for the year the whole of their political power. Here would be the first step in a graduated system of representation—a principle absolutely necessary for the well-ordered government of a population so numerous as that of this country. The artificial system of electing electors is a false one; but here the soundest test is applied, The head of a district, besides being its representative in the parish, and its delegate everywhere, should be a peace officer with others under him elected like himself; should superintend the collection of rates; and should see to the enforcement of all laws relating to his charge-so that his attention to his duties, or his neglect or vexatious execution of them, would be felt by all within his jurisdiction. The evils arising from the present deficiencies of government might then be expected to vanish, and the effects of moral influence, the most powerful of all, would appear in their place. Division into organized districts would afford practicable fields for the well-disposed to work in, instead of the unmanageable and hopeless masses at present continually exposed to confusion and misrule. The consideration of the inducements to the most fitting persons to give up time sufficient to superintend the affairs of their respective communities, I shall defer till my next number. I will just add an observation of Dr. Johnson's as applicable to my doctrines. “I am a friend to subordination, as most conducive to the happiness of society. There is a reciprocal pleasure in governing and being governed."

OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH.

The following Letter, addressed to the Bishop of London in my own name, appeared in the Times of January 26th, 1833. It has been since so often mentioned to me in terms of approbation, it is so much connected with parish government, and the subject is so applicable to the present conjuncture, that I am induced to republish it without any alteration.

66

My Lord,-Your Lordship's position, as Bishop of this metropolis, your zeal and energy, and your particular attention to the subject of this letter, make me decide at once to whom to address it.

"The means of accomplishing a better observance of the Sabbath have long occupied my thoughts, and were intended to form a principal topic in a second part to my pamphlet on pauperism, of which work your Lordship has been pleased to express your approbation. I am induced to write at this conjuncture by my conviction, from constant experience as a magistrate, of the rapidly increasing demoralization of the lower classes, and by the painful number I am obliged to witness of cases of vice and misery, utterly remediless in the present very inadequate state of our civil and ecclesiastical local polity. I shall confine myself on this occasion to only one suggestion, which I believe would be the best practical beginning of a more effective system.

"To your Lordship, and all those by whom any sound and far-reaching improvement is to be accomplished, it would be quite superfluous to enlarge upon the advantages of a due observance of Sunday in a religious point of view; but I wish to make an observation on the uses of bringing the whole population one day in the week upon parade, if I may so express myself. The consequences would be, a more general solicitude" to provide things honest in the sight of all men,"

and a greater carefulness to avoid whatever was individually lowering in the general eye. Here is a forcible and constantly-recurring check on the evil doings of men, and on the indiscretions of the other sex,-here is a most powerful inducement to decency of appearance and behaviour; and if we contrast what must be the condition of a universally church-going people with that of our present population, tainted, preyed upon, and deranged by an untrained and unobserved refuse, we shall come to the conclusion that no pains and no expense would be too great, if only for our own sakes, to bring about the change. I could enlarge much upon this subject, and illustrate my observations by many facts, but a desire to be concise prevents me from adding more than that I believe the proper observance of a day of rest, even in a temporal view, is of much greater importance to the well-being of society than is generally conceived. I will take occasion here to avow my conviction that a national church is an institution essential to a well-disciplined state, and that it is for the general interest that that state should provide accommodation for religious worship, with every inducement to attend it, for those who otherwise would be unprovided. A position has lately been taken that Dissenters from the church ought not to be called on to contribute towards its maintenance, on the ground that they pay for themselves, and derive no benefit from the establishment. As well might a dissenter from gas lights, who should choose to carry his own lantern, protest against being rated, on the ground that, as he lighted himself, he derived no benefit from living in a lighted community. The argument is founded on false premises, and goes to the dissolution of society.

"Of the mass of persons who have lost the habit of going to a place of worship, or have never been there, it is probable most, if not all, have at times an inclination to change their course, either from some flash of good feeling, from curiosity, from the influence of remorse or calamity, or from some

other temporary excitement; but the difficulties that will ordinarily present themselves to such must generally be too strong for their diffidence or want of energy to overcome; the favourable moment passes, and multitudes are lost, or, being lost, lose all chance of being reclaimed. At present the harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.

“The plan I would propose is, that the incumbent of each parish in the metropolis, with the churchwardens, and a competent number of respectable inhabitants to be approved of by the clergyman, should divide their parish into convenient districts, and should by personal inquiry ascertain how many in each district, at present unprovided, would wish to attend a place of worship,--that first, the utmost accommodation and facilities should be afforded so far as the existing churches or chapels would allow ;-secondly, that rooms should be licensed where clergymen could be procured and remunerated ;—and, lastly, the two resources failing, that discreet persons, not in orders, should be appointed by the incumbent to read in sufficient and convenient places, prayers, and a short plain sermon to be chosen each week by the clergyman. The duties of the persons co-operating with the churchwardens should be to receive and point out accommodation to those presenting themselves at each place of worship, and to go round their respective districts from time to time, to induce, by a judicious manifestation of interest, an increasing attendance. I think such a process would be productive of excellent effects to both classes, and if any objection is made to rooms, or officiators not in orders, my answer is, that in the earliest ages of Christianity rooms preceded churches, and would now lead to them, and that if respectable laymen may not officiate to the extent proposed, a large mass must be left destitute, or fall into less desirable hands.

With respect to the expense, I apprehend it would be comparatively trifling. The services of the laymen would

of course be gratuitous, and rooms, no doubt, would often be offered on the same terms, or at most for a moderate consideration. I have myself had much experience amongst the lower classes, and I should be willing to give all the assistance in my power in the furtherance of the plan, which I am convinced would lead to a variety of beneficial results, greater than could at the outset be calculated.

I have the honour to be your Lordship's faithful servant.

THE ART OF ATTAINING HIGH HEALTH.

(Continued.)

AFTER making many blunders in my endeavours to improve my health, I discovered that I had fallen into the great, but, I believe, common error of thinking how much food I could take in order to make myself strong, rather than how much I could digest to make myself well. I found that my vessels were overcharged, and my whole frame encumbered with superfluities, in consequence of which I was liable to be out of order from the slightest exciting causes. I began to take less sleep and more exercise, particularly before breakfast, at which meal I confined myself to half a cup of tea and a very moderate quantity of eatables. I dined at one o'clock from one dish of meat and one of vegetables, abstaining from every thing else, and I drank no wine, and only half a pint of table-beer. At seven I had tea, observing the same moderation as at breakfast, and at half-past nine a very light supper. If I was ever hungry during any other part of the day, I took a crust of bread or some fruit. My care was neither to anticipate my appetite, nor to overload it, nor to disappoint itin fact, to keep it in the best possible humour. I continued this course almost invariably for several months. It was now

« ElőzőTovább »