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the full advantages of their success.” After indulging,
themselves is unquestionable. The earnings of health and the wages of labour are made to meet only the daily expenditure, and the poor man is not careful to lay up any small sum which might be easily saved after the supply of his daily wants. The economy of nature points out the salutary maximthat the season of plenty should provide for the season of want, and the gains of summer be laid up for the rigours of winter; for the abundant harvest of one year is intended to supply the deficient crop of another, and to be husbanded for the approaching season of scarcity. But this lesson of experience, though inculcated often with the most painful efficacy, is seldom duly appreciated till the calamity comes, and the season of preparation is past; so that the accidental occurrence of a rigorous season, or defective crop, with its constant attendant an increase in the price of the necessaries of life, is met without preparation, and must be endured without the mitigation which a little prudence might have effected. Even for the approaches of informity and old age, though long contemplated, provision is not always made; and against the cheerless helplessness of the union of these with poverty there is no remedy but in the casual relief of the public or the parish.
“ These habits of thoughtlessness and improvidence are not always the offspring of idleness or vice; they are as often the effects of ignorance or of accident, The want of a place of deposit for the small
the whole family, whereas the assistance offered by the Friendly Society extends only to the individual member, whose wife or children reap little collateral assistance. The formal demand is also a very useful condition; it implies deliberation before the savings are withdrawn; and few men will deliberately perform an imprudent or extravagant act. therefore will probably not be withdrawn without absolute and pressing necessity, and by no means upon so slight a temptation as would induce its disappearance from a deposit in the cottager's tabledrawer. The spirit of accumulation is also a growing principle, and the poor man who has saved five pounds will much more probably exercise industry, sobriety, and self-denial to add to it other five pounds, than he who has yet received no practical proof of his power of saving, or of the advantages attending it.
The moral consequences are equally important : but it is perhaps enough to say of them in general, that every association connected with the savings in the bank is directed towards the social enjoyments of the domestic circle, which I will venture to assert are at least a necessary condition of all the poor man's virtue and respectability. Whereas the associations connected with the Friendly Society all tend towards the ale-house. I will therefore take the liberty of applying the language used by the advocates of the latter, with some trifling alterations to the former. These institutions do not aim at perfection, but improvement. They are not intended to be " that faultless monster which the world ne'er saw ;" but it is a sufficient proof of their excellence, that they are congenial with the social virtues and domestic enjoyments of the labourer; and although they do
not prevent the inclination (often caused by hard labour) for occasional indulgencies in his family circle, they at least convert an innocent if not a virtuous propensity into an useful instrument of economy and industry, and secure to their members, (what can seldom be purchased at too dear a rate;) relief to their families under the pressure of difficulty, subsistence during sickness, and independence in old age.
The more I reflect upon the causes which tend both to demoralize and to deteriorate the temporal condition of the lower ranks in England, the more I am, disposed to think, that the general prevalence of savings' banks, together with a diminution of the malt-tax, and the shutting up of two thirds of the ale-houses and liquor-shops, would operate, under the influence of moral and religious instruction, and of our other public institutions, in securing to the country a permanent supply of honest, healthy, and contented peasantry.
In conclusion, I must notice one objection which I have heard against the banks for savings. It has been insinuated, that so strict an exercise of economy must necessarily introduce a stingy, sordid, and calculating spirit among the lower orders. That their thoughts will all be so completely absorbedin the means of saving, that they will be apt to forget the more generous and public spirited art of spending Now this apprehension is akin to those which some persons profess to entertain lest a tradesman should be too scrupulously honest, a clergyman too pious, a woman too modest, or a magistrate too firm; lest society, in short, should be cursed with too much of a good thing. And truly honesty, piety, modesty, and a strict execution of the laws, are not less adverse than
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 any thing," 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 in dividuals and the state, except where the obje 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
WRITERS, who have been in the habit of comparing 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 respec. tively 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 exer tion of any kind or quantity of labour meets with a high reward. Moral education, however, is here pe