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tressed men, ought most carefully to be guarded against. It con veys an idea that relief is impracticable, or the evil (as surely it is) too fast rivetted to be altered on the old foundation. The failure of success hitherto in the many cordial attempts by Committees, together with the various motions in the House of Commons, must have chiefly arisen from the subject being always treated as a deep legislative business rather than, as it appears to the suggester of these Hints, of a simple nature (excepting the authority to procure the means, and application of them) and rather as a large household family regulation subject to a Committee of such description. In this view of it there would be no need of extraordinary abilities or exertions of individuals to support it when formed (secured, as in the first instance it ought to be, from degeneracy or neglect by the legislative authority) and thus enabling these children of the state rather than of charity, to go alone, free from the vexatious uncertainty, as well as insufficiency of the present mode of parish relief: which relief has been attempted to be improved by temporary expedients " for bettering the condition of the poor;" but which, though most judiciously planned, would probably, from the very nature of them, terminate with the lives of the patriotic and benevolent projectors.
A trial only is here proposed, in one, two, or three parishes at most, a general change however rational and promising, (viewed as a whole) ever justly involving the mind in apprehensions of danger, which in a small compass would be practicable, easy, and safc. This mode of providing for the poor would be desirable to themselves; a circumstance of no small moment. It would give a decent elevation to the native peasant's own mind, and prompt him to enkindle the same in his children, when he found himself master of a House and Land, his own; put into the possession of a substantial, undisputed property in surrounding acres, with respect to the Leaven Freeholds, which Freeholds are to be of a peculiar tenure, the property of them being subjected, and confined to the 3d generation of each possessor, male and female and farther to Collaterals of the 2d generation, to brothers, sisters, nephews, and nieces, but there to stop in failure of children, to prevent disputes and litigations.
As these Freeholds are expressly designed for the poor, and by no means for a higher class of subjects, should the possessor of any one of them and his family he represents acquire such addition of property, as to be no longer a poor man, he would not be allowed to retain it and probably would willingly quit it, for the good of others: rather than continue to be considered a Pauper. And this opening would operate as an encouragement to a successor, to be chosen from among the village Leaven Society of tenants, being the worthiest and fittest member
of it, and recommended by the visitor, to be confirmed by the
Besides these freehold, it is a part of this plan that there should be also two thirds, TENANT-COTTAGERS, at a very low rent, with similar, though smaller lands and aids than the freehold, and no otherwise liable to be removed but by the final authority in every case, of the Sessions confirming any great complaint. Hereby every occasion of reasonable dissatisfaction being removed, the Leaven plan would become the desire of the poor, their own choice,-a feeling so congenial to human nature, as to detach from the customary parish aid the unthinking, equally with the provident man, and though not conferring equal benefits, which in every situation will depend upon respective private exertions and prudent conduct, freeing them both from the mortification of present parish scanty relief. Considering that the love, the desire, the pride of property, often prove means of virtue, and a preservation at least from the deeper shades of vice, it is this view of the human mind more than any other, which has led to the idea of assisting and encouraging the poor by LEAVEN FARMS. A trial thus made would ascertain perhaps many, besides the following benefits.-To landlords and landholders, and tenants of every description. To parishes universally. -To morals negatively, as they concern individuals. To morals positively as they affect society at large, and lastly, to the state ultimately in revenue.
1. To landlords, landholders, tenants, (and even lords of manors, from finding more than an equivalent for what may be resigned) but especially to every party here referred to in the reduction of parish rates, &c. a burden at present I consider as a weight, ruinous to the few moderate farmers left, and dangerous almost to
2. To parishes universally," by cutting up by the roots all occasions of vexatious removals of the poor, expensive litigations of a parochial nature, the person to be settled not being chargeable to the private purses of individuals, and thus making it of little consequence where the residence was fixed. It would also prevent great dissatisfaction with the present mode of relief from parish officers and the final consignment to a workhouse, ending in disgust and disaffection to the government itself, from which the oppressed and ill-instructed sufferers imagine it to spring. And it would moreover destroy much of that selfish anger and ill-will, engendered by vestry-meetings and levy-making.
3. To morals negatively to the individual," by lessening the number of ale-houses, those well known nurseries of vice, the bane of health and industry in all the lower orders of workmen and parochial poor. The objection to this part of the plan as perhaps
affecting the revenue will be considered farther on. In the mean time it is to be understood that the inhabitants of each parish adopting the proposed plan, would provide wholesome malt liquor either at their dwellings, or from public village breweries. There would be besides an asylum to shelter for a night or two accidental distressed travellers, and thereby prevent much robbery from knowing of such a comfortable shelter, and remove the pretended causes of vagrant helplessness, or the real danger of perishing for
4. To morals positively, operating on society at large,”—by the tendency of the plan to restore simplicity of manners and local attachment, especially depending upon or arising from rural economy, which can only be practised with effect in fixed situations, from habits of industry and family attachments; fostering respect for aged parents from their interest being preserved in the freeholds as long as they live to the third generation, &c.-by producing also useful rivalry in productions of all kinds, and diffusing a spirit of frugality, an essential virtue in the lower classes, by teaching children to imitate the minuter instances of housewifery, in preserving stores and other good management of their parents. These virtues humble, though they are, rise to ease and happiness, and thence flow out into general good-will to man, and expanding as they go swell into gratitude and homage to the great Creator, the fountain of all good.
Thus would stability be afforded to society, by inducing a religious trust and dependence; and joined to what has been before observed, cut off at least future occasions, and decrease, if not cure the degraded and disgraceful present state of the parish poor, which it must be allowed is little better than systematic beggary.
The plan here suggested would farther be beneficial, by preventing or reducing excessive dearness, felt as it is throughout the kingdom after two such abundant harvests at the period the plan was written. The evil here so justly complained of, arising from the like mode of speculation being adopted in the smaller articles of subsistence, by little traders, which the merchant practises in the wider and more luminous range of commerce, operates in the former case silently indeed, but fatally to the internal ruin of the country. This it effects by producing partial want, and its attendant discontent. Not that it is here pretended, that speculation in the present state of things ought to feel any other check than by counter-action; as prohibition and restraint might wound the root of industry itself: the great stimulus to which through all its shades and ramifications is gain.
It is hoped that in another respect the Leaven farms might ope
rate thus, by balancing the large ones now in cultivation, and which from the mutual gain of the landlord and the tenant, will very seldom be relinquished for the ease of the community, however plainly proved to be a chief cause of excessive and cruel dearness, upheld and strengthened as they are by paper currency through country banks: fatal alliance of two modern evils, springing from wealth and liberty, and weakening, alas! like the luxuriant tumnal shoots, the parent stem! The remedy here recommended, to prune but not to destroy, would be to counteract the ill effects of both, by rendering articles of provision and necessary use cheaper, and putting them within the reach of indigence at least throughout the kingdom. The produce of the leaven farms being restricted from being sold in distant markets, or monopolizers in villages, but together with the surplus of the cottage acres would be made the salutary means of internal plenty in all districts. These being in a measure thus self-supplied, would influence, as it ought, moderately and gradually the distant larger markets, in the price of all the common articles of life,-leaving articles of luxurious com, merce (and even grain under the legal restrictions of Mark Lane, &c.) to the chance of exports and imports, their best and safest regulators.1
The waste lands thus permanently appropriated in aid of the poor, and cultivated in the manner proposed, would furnish all those comfortable though lesser accommodations and supplies, which great farmers either overlook or cultivate no farther than as luxuries for their own families; and thus helping greatly to cause dearness, not to be credited, if not universally felt, of the most agreeable, as well as nutritious food of mankind, viz. milk, buter, cheese, eggs, poultry in all its varieties, suckling animals, together with the produce of gardens, in addition to winter-crops, for store of culinary vegetables from the fields, turnips, carrots, potatoes. Nor must we omit fruits of unnumbered kinds, delicious, nutritious, medicinal, bending to the hand of the labourer, but often withheld from his parched lips. Honey too, the poor man's substitute for sugar and butter, making a beverage also wholesome, dulcet and sparkling; the wife's becoming useful pride being skilfully exercised to refine her husband's sunday fire
I This would be best effected by exclusive authorised markets in convenient villages or hamlets for the sale of the produce of the Leaven plan society, and to balance the supposed disadvantage of neighbouring farms or individuals, not being allowed the privilege. The Leaven farm society to be restricted from selling their coinmodities at the old established markets-a reasonable restriction, as designed for aiding internal plenty, as well as the comfortable subsistence of the parish poor.
side safe-treat; cement of cottage friendship, and neighbourly kind offices, &c. &c.
5. "To the state ultimately in revenue." And great indeed must in a more private view be the benefit of any plan that excited such a temper and conduct in the lower orders of society, as recalled them to a proper sense of duty and contentment with their lot; deprived as they now are, by the general dissipation of the times, of bright examples they formerly enjoyed, in the domestic prudence of their then justly termed superiors; and who dwelling near them and around them, gained by a sweet yet dignified attention their love, respect, attachment, and alluring them at once, to virtue, to loyalty, to happiness. The reverse of this pleasing picture is now held up to general view. The same description of people are now abandoned to chance or some other guidance inexpressibly worse. This shows itself under a multitude of denominations equally strange and frightful-ruined spendthrifts, bankrupt little speculating traders, liveried profligates, aged, debauched, disabled mechanics, though but ill-sorted to mix with such com pany; infirm and even healthful labourers with families, compelled from dearness of each requisite of life to seek parish aid, as well as peasantry, strictly so called. To these must be added a number that cannot be counted, of deceived, unhappy, loose females, cast on the public purse, sadly neglected in childhood, yet strange to say, almost within the sound of wisdom's voice. And lastly, that pitiable crowd of unrestrained and pampered youth, easily conducted to seducing company, to mirth, unsatisfying, contagious, fatal!
But to avoid repetition of the aid this plan might contribute to public morals, the great advantages of it in a financial view may here be calculated (should this plan be generally adopted) from an accession of taxes never fluctuating; arising from land, malt, &c. when prepared for that accession by high cultivation, and in some degree even in its progress towards it. A great and beneficial acquisition to the Nation it is presumed would arise from the overbalance of this vast estate, outweighing every temporary inconvenience in the opposite scale, and secured too from all hurtful appropriation to the most distant periods.
Having, however, no ground of confidence in his own abilities or talents, the suggester submits this "Plan," with all deference to those who are qualified to appreciate them justly. He assumes no merit from (he has every reason to think) a quite new view of the subject as a whole; which subject he was led to consider from a deep solicitude that great increasing evils, the more dangerous from growing out of national wealth and prosperity,' may be
* See the Advertisement at the beginning, with respect to the period, 14 years ago, when these suggestions were first written.