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a sober, moral, and independent race of people to the wishes of those whose principal object in life is centred in irregular indulgence. Doubtless the prevalence of that generous spirit among the lower orders which has been immortalized by the saying of Mr. Hobson, who, when accused of stinginess, defied any body to prove that he had “ever denied himself anything,” is much more favourable to the views of such persons. But with respect to any other species of generosity, no reasonable philanthropist can well doubt that a poor man must practise economy before he has the power of being generous to others: and even a superficial observer of the operations of the human mind, in any rank of life, will soon be aware, that the prudent, the patient, and the selfdenying, are not only more accessible than the thoughtless and extravagant to the claims of misery, but that it is almost exclusively from them that acts of real and unmixed charity do at any time proceed. In a word, if, according to the old proverb, generosity be a vice unless it be preceded by justice, the poor man has too many claims arising out of the one to be enabled to practise the other, without a strict adherence to sobriety and economy. With respect to a calculating spirit among the lower orders, it can never be otherwise than convenient, both to individuals and the state, except where the object is to make them perform acts, or acquiesce in proceedings from which, upon fair calculation, they ought to abstain. But this is a principle of deceit; it is not that upon which it is the interest of a free and moral government to conduct its operations, nor, in truth, is it that upon which the prosperity of any government can permanently endure.
General Conclusions with respect to the Exercise of Charity.
WRITERs, who have been in the habit of com. paring the sums expended in charity in different countries, have too frequently forgotten to compare also the state of society prevalent in each, and the comparative means which they in consequence possess of meeting the demands made upon their charity. There are some conclusions upon this subject that appear to be just, but which I do not recollect to have hitherto seen submitted to the public. Charity, in the sense in which it is now under discussion, may be said to consist of such pecuniary relief as individuals, notwithstanding the fair exertion of their industry, may stand in need of to relieve their necessities, and of such pecuniary expenditure as may be found useful in promoting moral instruction, and habits of industry among those who want either the will or the power to obtain them by their own exertions. It follows then, that the objects of charity vary in number and differ in degree in different countries, as the several states of society are respectively prevalent in their different gradations. In the agricultural state of society, the necessity for donations in money to support existence must be very small indeed; for food is plentiful; and the exertion of any kind or quantity of labour meets with a high reward. Moral education, however, is here peculiarly necessary, in consequence of the insulated manner in which a race of cultivators must necessarily live, whereby that restraint which the opinion of the vicinage imposes upon moral conduct, is scarcely at all prevalent. -In the mixed agricultural and commercial state of society, individual distress will be more prevalent, from the partial fluctuations of employment, among the commercial part of the community; objects of charity, positively in want of food, will therefore occasionally present themselves. But as the price of provisions must still be low, as the commercial employments will be principally of a durable nature for the supply of the domestic population, and the real wages of labour will still be high, the necessary expenditure in charity to persons in want of food will not yet be great. Hospitals for the relief of casualties, and public institutions affording employment to those who suffer a temporary interruption in their own pursuits, will, in ordinary times, be probably sufficient to maintain the comfort and happiness of the people. But as augmented commerce attracts the people into towns, and increases their temptations to licentious indulgence, while the high remuneration of labour affords them opportunities of gratifying it, both moral education and moral precautions of a charitable nature should scrupulously attend every step in their progress. Public schools, a rational provision for a church establishment, gaols so constituted as to promote the reformation of offenders and be really a terror to the evil-minded, (which may strictly be called national charities,) now become indispensable to the public welfare. As a country proceeds from the mixed agricul
tural and commercial state towards the highly manufacturing and commercial, every department of charity must necessarily be enlarged. We have seen that the produce of the soil can only be increased at an augmented expense from inferior land, as a previous demand elicits it; that fluctuations in the price of food are the necessary consequence; that a continually increasing proportion of the people comes to reside in towns, to be employed in manufactures for exportation, and in pursuits which prosper or decline according to fortuitous circumstances, and most of which are not very favourable to the general health of the persons engaged in them. It is evident therefore that a much larger number of individuals must occasionally be exposed to the pressure of want, under circumstances which render it much less easy to relieve them. Occupations are comparatively full; food is comparatively scarce; the operations of society become more complicated; and it requires the charitable exertions, both of the state and of the superior orders of society, to prevent the comfort and happiness of the people from declining. Liberal provision for temporary distress, the support of the children of industrious parents, private societies combining industrious employment with pecuniary aid, and assisting the poor in laying up a provision for future difficulties, are absolutely necessary for the purpose. It is obvious also that dangers of a moral nature increase in the same proportion. Almost every circumstance I have mentioned as attending this condition of society adds to the temptations of the people, without diminishing their power of resisting them. In addition, therefore, to the moral precautions of a charitable mature, applicable to the former conditions of society, an increase of the established clergy in proportion to that of the population, especially in large towns, a provision of the same nature for national schools, the means of putting a speedy end to the trifling disputes and bitter contentions of a people in the constant collision of interests, by the cheap or gratuitous admimistration of justice in cases of minor importance, fall within the public department of moral charity at this period. Private societies for the distribution of the Scriptures, for the circulation of sound and orthodox tracts, calculated to keep the spirit of pure religion and morals alive among the lower orders, and personal attention to the moral wants and habits of their respective neighbourhoods, are requisite from such of the superior orders as wish to make the due return to society for the augmented comforts and enjoyments which its progress has afforded them. I think, too, that I may add, that a view to the diffusion of these blessings among the foreign dependencies of a state, is both a positive duty, and a becoming tribute to Providence, where it has favoured their successful establishment at home. It appears, then, that every step in the progress of society imposes a corresponding necessity for the enlargement of every description of charity which is promoted by pecuniary expenditure. But it may also be observed, that means of meeting the demand are increased at least in an equal proportion. The accumulation of capital, and the elevation of a larger portion of the people into the superior walks of life, are indispensable concomitants of all progress in commercial and manufacturing industry. The num