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culiarly 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
nature, 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 admi. nistration 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 brthodox 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
ber of persons upon whom the duty of charity is imposed, and their power of amply fulfilling that duty, are therefore augmented in full proportion to the increase of the legitimate objects of charity; and the onus upon the country, though increased in absolute amount, is perhaps lightened with respect to its comparative power of bearing it. This may be illustrated by a dry arithmetical calculation,
Let us suppose the nominal capital of an agricul. tural country to be 5,000,0001., and the sums expended in charity to be 50,0001., or 1 per cent. ; that in its progress to the mixed agricultural and commercial state its nominal capital is increased to 20,000,000l., and its charitable expenses to 150,0001., or three fourths per cent; it is evident that the sum expended, ihough thrice in amount, is a fourth less burthensome to the country, provided the expense is fairly apportioned.
Again, at its arrival in the highly manufacturing and commercial state, its nominal capital may be increased to 200,000,0001., and its expenditure in charity to 1,350,0001., and yet the country, and each individual in it, may expend a smaller portion of its means in the exercise of that virtue than when only 150,000l. was laid out. Nor would it be fair to es timate the comparative distress at the two periods, or the number of persons receiving relief, according to the difference in the two sums; for it is well known that, as wealth accumulates, the real value of money decreases as compared with its nominal amount, and a larger sum is necessary to purchase an equal quantity of the necessaries of life. If we suppose this difference between the last two of the above mentioned periods to amount to one fourth, we must of course deduct that
proportion from the increase of distressed persons, which the difference between the two sums would otherwise indicate. The same allowances must of course be made in comparing the charitable expenditure of two separate countries in different conditions of society. In England the nominal increase of the poor's rate, from 1783 to 1803, was from 2,130,0001. to 4,200,0001., or 2,070,0001., which is apparently near double. But the price in the necessaries of life during the same period had increased one third. That proportion therefore, or 1,400,0001., must be deducted from 4,200,0001., in order to ascertain the real increase of persons supported by charity during the period; which, instead of being nearly double, as appears upon the face of the account, will then turn out to be something less than one third ; for the increase of expense, if money had continued of the same nominal value, would only have been from 2,130,0001. to 2,800,0001., as will be evident to any one who will take the trouble to arrange the figures on the back of a letter. The increase in the number of persons to be supported, must of course have been in the same proportion, viz. less than one third: but the revenue of England, or the power of supporting them if the expense were fairly apportioned, had considerably more than doubled in the same period.
If the reasoning contained in this chapter be at all just, there surely cannot well be inore idle declamation, than what we frequently hear concerning the extravagance of the expenditure in charity in some countries, grounded upon - a comparison with the trifling sums paid in others, where the bulk of the people, apparently enjoys equal comfort and