Front Page Titles (by Subject) Book IV.: Pauper Comforts. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs)
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Book IV.: Pauper Comforts. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). In 11 vols. Volume 8.
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We now stand upon proud ground. Having elsewhere plucked the mask from the visage of false charity, the arch enemy no less of comfort than of industry, let us take up true charity and seat her on her throne.
Economy too shall have her day. But her place is but in the second rank. Charity is the end; economy but the means.
Comforts destined for our pauper-community have already presented themselves as occasion served; comforts not despicable either in weight or number. With a few added articles, let us here bind them up into a wreath—an offering not to be disdained by the altar of Beneficence.
Reader, observe and judge, how little comfort depends on money, and how much on the attention and felicity with which it is bestowed.
Comforts of Course,extended to all Classes:—together with the several Points of Management from which, as from theirefficient Causes,they may respectively be expected.
Comforts of Course,extended to all Classes:—together with the several Points of Management from which, as from theirefficient Causes,they may respectively be expected.
1. Extraordinary security in respect of health—the first of all blessings, and without which all others put together are as nothing—better security not only than is to be found in a poor-house under the existing order of things, but than can ordinarily be found within the circle of a private family, even in a high sphere, not to say the highest.
2. Consciousness of a superior probability of long life and health.
3. Security against want of every kind. } 4. Consciousness of security against want. }
5. Constant cleanliness and tidiness.
6. Employment favourable to health and recreation.
7. Nights comfortable.
8. Security against annoyance, as from fellow paupers.—See below, under Apprentices.
9. Security against oppression from officers.—See below, under Apprentices.
10. Entertainment of various kinds, a day in a week.
11. A clear conscience, brightened by religious hopes.
12. Occasional faculty of visiting and being visited by friends and relatives wheresoever situated, and howsoever dispersed.
13. Prospect of melioration of fare.
14. Tranquillity—the result of security against that deterioration of condition, which, in the existing order of things, is liable to take place in all manner of ways and degrees, in consequence of changes in the parochial government.
15. To those who have remains of property, preservation of the use of that property in kind, where the nature of it allows of its admission into the poor-house.
1.Diet—Species of it regulated with an express view to health. Goodness of it, in its kind, secured by official examination, checked by right of complaint. Book ii. Ch. iv. vi. and x.—No fermented liquors. Book ii. Ch. iv.—No excesses of any kind: quantity of food not stimuating enough to invite to excess Irregularities of the impure class excluded by the inspection-architecture, and the separation and aggregation principle. Book ii. Ch. ii. and iii.—Ventilation constant, and regulated upon scientific principles. Book ii. Ch. iii.—Temperature regulated with a view to comfort as well as health. Book iii. Ch. xii.—Constant and universal cleanliness. See below.—The state of the whole community, in this respect, incessantly exposed to the view of the whole official establishment, the manager, chaplain, medical curator, &c. as well as of the visiters provided for the inspection of their management.—All causes of disease systematically guarded against. Sickness provided against in the way of prevention as well as cure.—Every attack from disease combated at its commencement.—No unhealthy occupation, no excessive labour, prescribed, or so much as permitted. The healthiest of all employments, agriculture, the principal one; but the violence of its exertions tempered by a frequent intermixture of domestic and slight-work employments.—No disorder capable of happening, or at least of continuing, for want of attention, the state of health in every house being regularly reported and made public.
2. Premiums to the amount of some thousands a-year annually distributed among the medical curators, &c. of such of the industry-houses (say 10) in which the degree of vitality (all classes included) shall have been highest, and the superiority evidently the result of attention and good conduct bestowed on this part of the management. Book ii. Ch. iv.—Could the idea of a regulation such as this ever present itself to the mind of a pauper, without producing a confidence in the exertions of which it cannot but be productive for his benefit, as well as gratitude towards the fountain from which they flow?
3. and 4. Peculiar, as compared with the condition of the self-maintaining classes, though not in general, as compared with such of the burdensome poor as are maintained in the way of community-maintenance in poor-houses.
5. Facility given to the enforcing of regulations to this purpose, by the central position and omnipresence of the official establishment, the result of the inspection-architecture principle. Book ii. Ch. iii.—Interest given to the governor, governess, chaplain, and medical curator, in the enforcing as well as instituting regulations to this effect, by the centrality of their position, and their omnipresence, as before: and by the attention in the plan of management to promote a concourse of visiters. Book ii. Ch. iv. and v.
6. No unhealthy occupations, no excessive labour, so much as permitted—Employments of different kinds, out-door and in-door, hard work and slight work, sitting work, and moving work, alternating—and operating, with reference to each other, in the way of recreation. Book ii. Ch. iv. and viii.
7. Beds separate. Book ii. Ch. vii.* —Temperature regulated, as before—Vermin, of course, extirpated. See No. 2. and 5. Health and Cleanliness.
8. Centrality of position, and omnipresence of the official establishment, as before. Appropriate aggregation, as between class and class among the paupers themselves. Book ii. Ch. ii.—Right and facility of complaint. Book ii. Ch. x. (p. 393.)
9. Centrality and omnipresence, as before. The officers constantly in the presence of each other—Incapacity on the part of each to exercise any act of oppression without the immediate knowledge of the rest. Right, facility, and publicity of complaint to the public at large—from the institution of the complaint-books. Book iv. Ch. x.—Influence of the concourse of travellers and other visiters, and the regular publication of the conduct observed in the management under every head.
10. Psalmody and other suitable music. Concourse drawn by the music, physico-theological lectures, and other exhibitions. Book ii. Ch. iv. and xii. Book iii. Ch. xii.
11. Seclusion from incentives to sin, and opportunities of sinning—the result of the sobriety of the regimen, the omnipresence of the rulers, and the aggregation and mixture of the guardian classes of the paupers themselves with the susceptible classes.—Uninterrupted benefit of divine service.†
12. Consolidation of the burden of maintenance, and assessment of it on one fund:—thence the local situation of the pauper a matter of indifference in point of interest to those on whom the nomination of his place of residence depends. Book i. Sect. i. ii.—System of cheap conveyance attached to each industry-house. Book iii. Ch. vii.—Equality of distance between industry-house and industry-house. Book. ii. Ch. iii.—Disposition to indulgence, in relation to this comfort, maintained by a clause in the director’s oath of office. Book i. Sect. xi.
13. Prospect of success from the undertakings for catching and curing fish, from the maritime industry-houses. Book ii. Ch. vi. (p. 388.) Meat in additional quantity, in the event of a certain degree of profit resulting from the agricultural labour of the pauper population of the house.
14. Unity and permanence of the body possessing the government in chief.—Determinateness, fixity, and consistency of the fundamental principles of management. Book vi. Ch. i. ii.—In this subordinate community, steadiness of management will be what security for property is in the community at large.*
15. Establishment of the all-employing principle, and principle of sobriety.—Hence no fear that persons possessed of property will come to the Company to be maintained in idleness, as they would be apt to do, spending their property in strong liquors, if the opposite rule were not established in the existing poor-houses.†
Appropriate Comforts;extended by special Care to Classes ordinarily bereft of them.
Feeble hands, incapable of self-conveyance.
1. Faculty of partaking of the benefits of divine service.
2. Opportunities of air and exercise.
3. Opportunities of constant occupation, suited to their remaining faculties.
1. Centrality of the chapel part—thence the paupers, in the several divisions all round, within sight and hearing of the minister without quitting their seats. Book ii. Ch. iii.‡
2. Faculty of being stationed for the purpose of superintendence in the moveable watch-houses, adding at night to the number of peculium abodes. Book ii. Ch. iii.—Opportunities of being sent on errands to the circumjacent parishes, or industry-houses, by means of the system of cheap conveyance. Book iii. Ch. vii.—Means of air and exercise, even in rainy weather, in the corridor. Book ii. Ch. iii.
3. Largeness of the scale of management, thence faculty of finding suitable employment for every remnant of ability, however circumstanced. Book ii. Ch. iv. Book vi. Ch. i.
Infirm and sick persons labouring under cases of peculiar difficulty.
4. Superior chance of medical relief.
4. Publicity of the management in a medical as well as all other points of view—hence the attention and beneficence for which the medical faculty are so peculiarly conspicuous, attracted to all such cases. Book iii. Ch. xii.* (p. 427.)
III. and IV.
Persons deaf and dumb.—Persons born blind, or stricken with blindness while unmarried.
5. Facility in regard to obtaining the comforts of matrimony.
5. Advantages of being educated or associated with persons of the opposite sex, partakers of the same infirmity. Book ii. Ch. xi.—A value, scarce yielding to that of ordinary labour, being moreover given to the labour of persons thus circumstanced, the difficulties which stand in the way of matrimonial union among persons thus circumstanced, especially in the case of the poor, whether charity-fed, or of self-maintaining families, are thus removed.
Extra Comforts:—to be imparted to more or fewer, according to Claims, Means, and Opportunities.
1. Peculium habitations—occupiable at all hours but working hours: viz. infirmary huts, when not occupied as such. Book ii. Ch. iii.—2. Moveable inspection-houses, or field watch-houses—when not occupied as such.—3. Out-lying cottages. Book ii. Ch. iii.—4. Peculium garden-plots:—with or without the use of the huts or cottages.—5. Power of choosing a partner for the peculium habitations or garden-plots.† —6. Faculty of being chosen as a fellow-occupant of a peculium habitation or garden-plot.—7. Extra allowance in the way of clothing.—8. Bedding.—9. Diet.—10. Pocket-money.—11. Holiday times, in the manner of school-holidays, for a temporary residence in the circle of a man’s friends.
The number of out-lying cottages may come to be extended—and that to an indefinite amount—by a demand created by persons able and willing to pay an adequate rent. The industry-house management affording on the one hand employment to hands of all descriptions—to many, who through one accident or another, could no longer get employment, or at least adequate employment, at their respective homes—and, on the other hand, affording maintenance cheaper than it can be obtained in a private cottage, many persons so circumstanced would be disposed to settle under the wing of the Company, could they enjoy the privileges of a separate abode.—So, of two near relations, one of them incapable, the other capable of self-maintenance out of the house; the self-maintaining one, rather than part company, might be happy to accompany the other to an industry-house, where the faculty of self-maintenance, coupled with the comforts of a common residence, separate from that of the multitude, might still be enjoyed by both. Taking ten per cent. in the way of rent for capital thus invested—taking 20s. a-year, for instance, for a cottage that cost £10—the Company would, in little more than ten years, have reimbursed itself for the expense: at that period it could very well afford to add one out of every two of these rented cottages to the list of peculium habitations allowed rent-free. The place of out-houses being supplied by the industry-house itself, ten pounds would be sufficient for a cottage capable of lodging two persons without inconvenience. (See Book ii. Ch. iii.) This is according to the London prices. But where brick and lime were to be had upon the spot, or at no greater distance than that of one of the immediately circumjacent industry-houses, and by means of a competent portion of the apprentice strength of each house, bricklayers and other building hands come to be had for 3d. or 4d. a-day, it may be conceived to what an expanse this capital source of pauper-comforts may easily be extended. Is not this rather more eligible than the all-devouring and everlastingly-increasing and encroaching system of pensioned idleness, in a private cottage?
By original property—by savings—by donations, or by earnings while in the house, a man might, after the extinction of his capacity of self-maintenance, possess an income sufficient to maintain him out of the house for a part of the year—for so many weeks or for so many months—though not for the whole of it. Property being preserved to him, as above, a correspondent portion of the summer, which (besides being the pleasantest time, and the best adapted for travelling) is the least expensive, might thus be enjoyed by him in the bosom of his family: the winter part, which is the most expensive, being the part spent by preference in the industry-house.
Funds and Grounds of Title in regard to Extra-comforts.
Funds for the Expense of Extra-comforts.
1. Remains of property.
2. Money earnt by this or that individual in the way of encouragement-money, in the nature of a per centage on the value of work done for the Company.
3. Poor’s share in forfeitures, as by the existing law. }
4. Existing foundations, and other benefactions for the benefit of parish poor. }
5. Benefactions by visiters admitted on Sundays and other celebrities.* Book ii. Ch. iv. Book iii. Ch. xii. xiii. }
6. Extra-establishment, instituted by the Company, at its own expense. }
7. Foundation in favour of this or that class of paupers, by private benefactors. Book iii. Ch. xiii.
8. Private bounty bestowed on this or that individual, in the way of foundation, or casual donation, by an individual friend.*
Correspondent Grounds, or efficient Causes of Title.
1. Legal title, confirmed by the indulgence of the Company.
2. Legal title, created by the allowance of the Company.
Grounds of title, or claims to the funds 3, 4, 5, and 6.
a.Past prosperity:—especially if accompanied with,
c. Infirmity particularly severe.
d. Extraordinary age.
e. Exemplary character before admission.
f. Exemplary conduct since admission.
g. Seniority—claims grounded as above being satisfied, and the general fund not exhausted.†
7. Donation, confirmed by the allowance of the Company.
8. Donation, confirmed by the allowance of the Company.
Necessaries, together with the stock of comforts of course, ingrafted on them, as it were, by the system of management, being afforded as above, to all without distinction, and provision made for the specific claims just now enumerated, these extra-comforts, and whatever else is beyond necessaries—everything that comes under the head of superfluity and luxury—however innocent, and how much soever the utmost possible extension of such benefits be to be wished—may be left, it should seem, not only with strict propriety, but with very tolerable security, to rest upon no firmer nor broader basis than that of contingent and spontaneous beneficence. Every indulgence a man is witness to, will either in possession or prospect be his own: and when the difference between prospect and possession is the only difference, inequality, though it were much greater than here, can scarcely be looked upon as a grievance. The real grievance would be, if here, as in other countries, existence itself were to be left to the choice of others, and to chance.
Company’s Apprentices—their Condition in Point of Comfort.
The comforts of course, which the apprentice class will possess in common with the rest of the population, but to the value of which they cannot, for the want of experience, be expected to be in every instance equally sensible, may be passed over almost without notice.—Of this kind are, 1. Security in point of health. 2. Consciousness of superior probability of long life and health. 3 and 4. Security against want of every kind, and consciousness of that security. 5. Constant cleanliness and tidiness. 6. System of employment favourable to health and recreation. 7. Nights rendered comfortable by separation and cleanliness. 8. Security against annoyance and oppression from fellow-paupers, and especially from fellow-apprentices. 9. Security against oppression from officers.† 10. Sunday entertainments suitable to the day. 11. The comfort of a clear conscience, brightened by religious hopes, the result of remoteness from temptation. 12. Prospect of melioration of fare. 13. Tranquillity as against the apprehension of change.*
Of the several articles classed under the head of extra comforts, (unless perhaps it be such an article as that of a peculium garden-plot,) scarce any account need be taken in the case of the present class; partly because they cannot be afforded; partly because, through want of contrary experiences, they would be little relished; partly because, for the same reason, they would be not at all desired.
The comforts of which a distinct mention will be made under this head, accompanied with an indication of their respective efficient causes, as discoverable in the plan of management, are such the value of which, to render it particularly apparent, requires a comparison to be made under the same heads between the condition of these children of the Company, and that of their fellows in age, whether in their own, or in ever so much higher ranks of life.
1.Diet.—No deficiency—no want of the means of health and strength at the ages most apt to be stinted in the economy of the self-maintaining poor: viz. all the ages prior to the self-maintaining age.
2. No sense of privation: none of the pains attendant on the emotions of regret, discontent, and envy, on that score.
3. Recreation in the way of bathing (to both sexes.)
4. Security against danger of drowning—by practice and instruction in the art of swimming.
5. Exemption from intellectual exertions of the most painful kind.
6. Comforts of matrimony allowed at the earliest period compatible with health.*
7. Ulterior prospects—chance of rising to superior stations, by the cultivation of any natural talents that may happen to display themselves—hence hope and emulation.
1. That part of the system of management, which proposes that the allotments made of quantity according to age, should lean to the safe, that is, to the superabundant side; and that which proposes that allotments differing from one another in quantity, shall be made to different assemblages of children of the same age, for the purpose of ascertaining by experiment the most advantageous quantity for each age. Book ii. Ch. vi.
2. Inexperience and ignorance of any fare more palatable than what they possess—the result of that part of the plan of management which prescribes the separation of the apprentice-stock, especially the indigenous, and quasi-indigenous branches of it, from the world at large. Book ii. Ch. ii.
3 and 4. Bath proposed to be made, if possible, in the land attached to each industry house—secluded from the access of strangers; and, by being allotted to the different sexes at different times, and by the constant presence of guardian elders of the same sex, clear of objection on the score of decency.†
5. Exemption from the obligation of learning languages (especially dead languages) by grammatical rules.
6. Removal of all difficulties and uncertainties with regard to subsistence:—the result of the frugality of the plan of maintenance, coupled with the certainty of giving to the labour of each individual a value secured against depreciation and want of employ, by the principle of self-supply, with a sufficient stock of land for it to operate upon. Book i. Section 6. Book ii. Ch. iii. iv. Book v. Ch. ii. Continuance of the married apprentices under equal subjection before as after marriage, until the age of emancipation—thence removal of the difficulties attendant on self-government at that early period. Right possessed by the non-adult parents of having their children taken care of in the same way they themselves had been, and at the same time in the same house, and under their own eyes.
7. Universal publicity of the conduct of the whole system.—General concourse of strangers expected to each house.—On the part of the officers and their subordinates, opportunities easy, perpetual, and universal, of remarking anything extraordinary that may present itself in the way of natural talent on the part of the apprentices. Appropriate culture of extraordinary talents, should it be thought advisable: and even a system of experiment, for the purpose of bringing latent talents and capacities into light. Book iii. Ch. xii.
Comforts, or other Advantages, applying exclusively to the Female Part of the Apprentice Stock.
1. Security against seduction, and its attendant miseries.—Opportunities of conversation with the other sex, as in well-regulated families, in a safe manner, and at safe times: the degree of safety even superior to anything which commonly is, or easily can be, afforded in the best regulated, and even the highest families.
2. Preparation for the married state. Instruction and experience in the duties of the house-maid, the kitchen-maid, the nursery-maid, and the sick-nurse, by alternate employment in the performance of the family business of the house, and in attendance on the infant part of the society, and on the sick. Lessons of economy in every branch of domestic management—cooking—warming—lighting—clothing, &c., drawn from the most approved sources of instruction—digested into general rules—and illustrated and inculcated by practice.*
Efficient Causes of the several Advantages.
1. Uninterrupted presence of the governess and her subordinates; also of guardian elders of the proper sex—as before.
2. Proposed regulations of the house. Manner in which the population of the house is composed—comprising a numerous stock of infants, as well as of the sick and infirm of all descriptions.
This important point duly attended to and provided for (as it easily might, and, after warning such as this, and suitable regulations deduced from it, naturally would be) an inspection industry-house would add to its list of collateral uses that of serving as a school of domestic economy for the use of all classes, but more especially for that of the self-maintaining poor.
Works are already in existence, among which Count Rumford’s Essays relative to the Poor, are entitled to a distinguished place, in which these principles have been carried to a state very little, if anything, short of perfection, in relation to some of the most important points:—works, and, what is more, practice according to these works,† and these, in exhibiting the improvements that have been devised, show how great the room for improvement is under the current practice.
Compare now the lot of the Company’s apprentices with that of any other class of the same age, the very highest not excepted—survey it in its whole extent—probe it to the bottom—and judge whether they are so much to be pitied as to be envied.
Against pains of all sorts, better security than is to be found in any existing situation, without exception.
Desires not crossed, but prevented:—obstacles not moral, but physical;—not terror, but ignorance.
Among enjoyments, the coarser, though more indispensable—(those which attend the satisfaction of the appetities of hunger and thirst)—purified—I mean from pains: the more exquisite—(for I speak of nothing that is not common to the species—nothing that is the peculiar fruit of extra culture in particular minds being to the purpose here:)—the more exquisite, not only in like manner purified, but accelerated:—increased at the earliest and best stage,—at the stage at which their intensity is at the highest:—increased in the only way in which the mass of them is susceptible of being increased.
In the article of diet, no unsatisfied longings, no repinings:—nothing within knowledge that is not within reach.—That he who has been habituated to poignancy and variety of diet, suffers on being reduced to simple and insipid fare, is not to be doubted; but that the enjoyment of him who has never known any sort but one, though it were the most insipid sort, does not yield in anything to that of the most luxurious feeder, seems equally out of doubt:—in this way all the efforts of art are but a vain struggle to pass the limits set to enjoyment by the hand of nature.
*∗* In the original there is an intimation that the communications are “to be continued;” but though the matter of Books v. and vi. is unsupplied, there are no farther papers on the subject in the Annals of Agriculture by the author. The last of this unfinished series, containing Section 6 of Book iv., as above, is in vol. xxxi. of the Annals, p. 273 to 288.—Ed.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE POOR BILL, INTRODUCED BY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE WILLIAM PITT (WRITTEN, FEBRUARY, 1797.)
NOTE BY THE EDITOR OF AN EDITION PRINTED FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION IN 1838.
The “Observations” were written forty years ago, and were recently found amongst Mr Bentham’s manuscripts. They have never been printed; but from some correspondence it appears that he was in communication with some of the influential members of the Legislature, and that the “Observations” powerfully contributed to the abandonment of the measure in question.
The provisions of the Bill, as compared with the principles set forth in the “Observations,” may be adduced as a specimen of empiric as compared with scientific legislation. To those who may be masters of the principles of the New Poor Law it will be manifest that, had the measures embodied in Mr Pitt’s Bill been brought into general operation for any length of time, the effects would have been more disastrous to property, and, through property, to the ultimate welfare of the labouring classes, than the most disastrous revolution in modern times. The New Poor Law is, perhaps, the first piece of legislation based upon scientific or economical principles; the main principle for the administration of the law being, however, a principle which neither Mr Ricardo nor Mr Malthus had seen when they gave the weight of their opinions against the institution of a legal provision for the compulsory relief of the poor. The preparation of the new measure by laborious inductions from a large mass of facts specially examined may be recommended for imitation where safe legislation is required for large subjects.
To those who are unacquainted with Mr Bentham’s works, as the greater number even of his professed followers undoubtedly are, (since the best refutation of some of their favourite doctrines are to be found in his writings,) the “Observations” will furnish a fair specimen of his mode of treating such subjects. Another of numerous instances of his great perspicuity for practical purposes is to be found in his plan of frugality banks, published during the year 1798. [See above, p. 409.] In this plan will be found the anticipation of the improvements which some years of trial have suggested in the institution of savings’ banks, particularly the addition of the provisions for annuities to the labouring classes, made by the act of 3 Will. IV. c. 14.
7th May 1838.
Though no determinate system of arrangement presents itself as having been adopted for the purpose of this Bill, or at least as having been steadily pursued throughout the course of it, the whole matter of it at least may be conceived as distributable under four heads or compartments: one part taking up the out-allowance or home-provision system, and opening new sources of relief in that shape; a second, taking up the home-provision system and the small*establishment system jointly and in a system of working places under the names of Schools of Industry, establishing throughout the southern division of the united kingdoms a system of employment and industrial education, of which the scene is to shift in a manner between the public school-room and the private home; a third occupied in establishing a system of superintendence to watch over the management of these schools of industry; and the fourth taken up with a set of regulations in the way of procedure and a few other arrangements of a technical nature, such as it is commonly deemed necessary to tack to the end of statutes creative of new powers to be exercised by particular authorities.
On looking into the portion of matter relative to the subject of home provision, we shall find it distinguishable into two main divisions: the one occupied in the distribution of occasional or temporary allowances; the other in giving commencement or security to a system of what may be termed superannuation annuities, humanely destined to diffuse a gleam of comfort over the evening of life.
On looking into the amendments applied by the Bill to the plan of relief afforded by the home-provision system in the present state of the law, we shall find them introductive of the following extensions.
In Section 2, a supplement is meant to be provided for whatever deficiency, in point of earnings, may result from any deficiency in point of ability with reference to work. This clause I shall take the liberty of distinguishing by the name of the under-ability, or supplemental-wages clause.
In Section 1, another supplement for whatever deficiency, in respect to the means of maintenance, may be produced in families by an overcharge of helpless children. This may be termed the family-relief, or extra-children clause.
In Section 3, power is given (to whom not mentioned) to administer relief in the shape of capital, to be employed in the purchase of “a cow, or other animal yielding profit.” This may be termed the cow-money clause.
In Section 4, a provision is made that property, “visible property,” though it amount to £30, or perhaps more, shall not operate in exclusion of relief. This may be termed the relief-extension, or opulence-relief clause.
And in Section 23, provision is made for conferring on the scholars of these schools, in certain cases, the benefit of apprenticeship at the public expense. This I shall term the apprenticeship clause.
I shall now consider the several clauses in the order in which they have just been brought to view.†
[* ] Not two, three, or even four, jammed together in the same bed, as in some of the existing poor-houses, in a manner equally repugnant to comfort and decency.
[† ] “Blessed are the poor,” says the gospel, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”—Of all descriptions of the poor, surely none that would possess a more promising claim to the benefit of this beatitude.
[* ] The perpetual revolutions to which the affairs of the pauper-community are subject, in the existing order of things, are not among the least distressing features of it. Change of persons, incessant, periodical, annual:—change of plans, and measures, frequent—from the working system, to the no-employment system—from the small establishment, or workhouse system, to the large establishment, or industry-house system—from the uninterested-management system, to the interested-management, or farming system, and (unless in the few places where the industry-house system is established) back again, with alterations continually liable to be repeated. In these obscure and partial, but always disastrous revolutions, every change brings suffering in its train: changes for the worse, immediately; even changes for the better, remotely; the deterioration, that sooner or later never fails to succeed it, being rendered in the latter case the more bitter, by the contrast it makes with the less uncomfortable state that went before it.
One revolution the proposed system (it must be confessed) supposes and proposes, and this too an universal one. But it is meant at least to be, and (may I not add) holds out a tolerably promising prospect of proving, a final one: and it ensures the community against annual, besides contingent ones.
[† ] Nothing is in fact lost by this indulgence: since the Company, were they to claim the money, would never reap any advantage from their claim. A man who, when the distress for subsistence came upon him, had property, such as a cottage, or its furniture, or both, would sell it and spend the money, before he came into the house. If his property came to him after his betaking himself to the house, he would go out, and live upon the money till it was gone.
Past-prosperity hands will frequently be in possession of some little article or two, of ancient, perhaps family property, the saleable value of which, bears no proportion to the value set upon it by the proprietor; were it confiscated and sold, the difference between the saleable value and this relative value, this value of affection, would be so much lost. As far as room could be spared, it should be among the standing orders, to afford to a pauper of this class houseroom for such articles. A person of this description would naturally be indulged with the use of a peculium abode of some sort or other. In that case there would be a quantity of room, such as in the common apartments could not be spared.
Where property thus reserved as a peculium happens to be in the shape of income, (the rent for example of a cottage,) there will be some who would wish to live upon it for a proportionable part of the year, in the circle of their friends. This indulgence might likewise be afforded.—See farther on, Extra-comforts.
[‡ ] To those who, regarding the salvation of souls as an object, regard the habit of devotion as a means, this single advantage, unenjoyed under the existing community-provision system, uncommunicable to the house-provision system, or to the self-maintaining poor, not to mention the rich, should seem enough to command their approbation and assistance.
A regulation one meets with in poor-houses having chapels within themselves is, that all that are well enough to quit their rooms shall pay attendance on divine service:—the benefit being thus sought to be imparted to all—except those whose case stands most in need of it, and among whom are likely to be found those who are most desirous of it.
[* ] Cases of peculiar difficulty are apt to be cases of peculiar affliction. To obtain a consultation of three or four physicians, is regarded as no small effort among the most opulent. Among our poor, cases of this description will naturally enjoy the benefit of a sort of general consultation, calling forth the united powers of the whole faculty.
[† ] Making the habitations to hold two persons, doubles the quantity of accommodation, with little or no addition to the expense. Taking one of the two for the principal person, and giving him the choice of his fellow-inmate, doubles the value of the habitation, besides the power it confers: an article capable of constituting a valuable item in the catalogue of rewards: naming each without consideration of the other, would be little less than destructive of that value.—An aged married couple—a pair of sisters—an aunt and niece—might thus find the principal comforts of home-maintenance, transplanted for their benefit into the Company’s demesnes.
The benefit of all this mass of comfort will far outstretch the expense. Hope will multiply it. Each possession in hand will draw a numerous knot of expectancies in its train.
[* ] Necessary admission price very low, that the number admitted may be the greater; but increasable, of course, at the pleasure of the guest.
[† ] All these grounds of claim agree in this, viz. in reducing the number of the claimants, and thereby the expense. Elsewhere, gratuitous bounty would operate, and does operate, and with irremediable efficacy, in relaxation of industry: persons whose cases proved thus distinguished not being excepted. Here, no such consequence can ensue. Work, such as a man’s faculties are equal to and suitable to, being secured by the regimen of the house:—by the application of the all-employing and earnt-first principles. Book. ii. Ch. iv.
In the cases of past prosperity and decayed gentility, (the latter an aggravated modification of the former,) the demand for extra-allowance is the greater, inasmuch as money, or money’s worth, bestowed to equal amount on this class as on another, would not be productive of equal comfort: opinion having here joined with habit, in adding to the mass of wants created by nature.
In the case of infirmity particularly severe, the demand stands upon a similar, and commonly a still higher footing: the mass of comfort being more depressed by the infirmity, than, generally speaking, it is even in the power of charity to raise it.
Extraordinary age, besides a title similar in kind, though inferior in degree, to what exists in the two preceding cases, possesses this recommendation, that, being independent of human will, it is not capable of being either counterfeited or fabricated; either by study or neglect.
In the case of exemplary conduct, whether before or after admission, the operation of the bounty is better than simply innocent: without doors, as well as in the house, its direct tendency is, to increase the stock of virtue. But to obviate injustice, and the imputation of injustice, and that the quality promoted may not be idleness in the name of virtue, the description of the efficient cause of title in this case should not float in the air, if possible, but ground itself in some specific act or habit: examples of which may be found in the transactions of some of the societies expressly formed for this amongst other laudable purposes.
Where seniority is the leading ground, goodness of character should to a certain degree be combined with it. In the instance of a man who stood first in point of age, anything particularly objectionable in his character might be admitted as a ground for his losing his claim to the species of promotion in question, either altogether, or for a certain number of turns: or even without any specific assignable objection, a man might be set aside in favour of another, who, being in point of character decidedly superior, should happen to stand next in age.
It might operate as an additional security for quiet and respectful behaviour on the part of the paupers towards the officers, individually considered as well as collectively, if a recommendation from an officer (the privilege to be shared by turns) were to be received as a ground of appointment, to such lots of extra-comfort as remained unoccupied by the prior titles above-mentioned.
[* ] The separate possession of one of the outlying cottages, with or without the addition of other articles in the list of extra-comforts, would, when mounted, as it were, upon the ordinary plan of maintenance, form a comfortable provision for a man to make for a superannuated servant, or other dependant, in a similar line of life. Many a master and mistress would at once be able and glad to do thus much, who, now that there is no other alternative than between the leaving a servant to share in the undistinguishing provision of a common poor-house, and giving him a complete maintenance, does nothing.
[† ] In regard to all these particulars, the lot of the Company’s apprentices will show to advantage, not only when compared to the lot of a pauper youth under the existing order of things, but when compared to the lot of a youth of the same age among the superior classes.
In a school, private or public, the quantity as well as species of correction administered, depends—not upon the real demand for correction, but upon the habits and temper of the master and his subordinates. Even in a private family, the mildness or harshness, reasonableness or unreasonableness, steadiness or unsteadiness, of the treatment given to the child, depends in every point on the temper and humour of the parents, or those who stand in the place of parents; on whose part every degree of caprice and tyranny, so long as it keeps clear of injuries threatening danger to life and limb, may vent itself without control. And as to what depends upon the conduct of the youths themselves towards one another, that is, of the stronger towards the weaker, even those great schools which bear the name of public schools, are known, perhaps without exception, to enclose an enormous and never-ceasing mass of unobserved and undivulged oppression one of the first lessons practised in these seminaries being that of enduring tyranny—one of the last, that of inflicting it:—both together conspiring to instil into the susceptible mind an insensibility and indifference to justice. Here no instance of any act of authority, or exercise of coercion, on the part of anybody towards anybody, but what will be immediately and universally known;—therefore, humanly speaking, no possibility of abuse.
As to punishments, no act of that kind but will be entered, of course, in the book called the Punishment-book, (see Book ii. Ch. x. Book-keeping,) and by that means forwarded to the cognizance of the General Board. On comparing the books of the several industry-houses, observation will be made which exhibits the greatest number of instances of punishment, which the least. Compare then the state of these two industry-houses in other respects: observe which upon the whole exhibits the fairest picture. If, in that which has afforded the least punishment, the result should happen to be fairer than in that which has afforded the most punishment, this circumstance alone, without further inquiry, would afford a strong ground for suspicion, that in this abundance of punishment there has been more or less that might have been spared.
I speak of punishment, because punishment is, in the existing order of things, a thing of course. Here, however, how can punishment gain admittance?—for from what occasion can it arise? No cessation of inspection, no transgression;—no transgression, no punishment.
If security against everything that savours of tyranny be liberty, liberty, in the instance of this hitherto luckless class of human beings, can scarcely ever have yet existed in anything near so perfect a shape.
But liberty, in a favourite sense of it, means lawless power: in this sense, it must be confessed, there will not only be little liberty, but in plain truth there will be none.
[* ] In the instance of St James’s, Westminster, a pattern of such good management as is compatible with the existing order of things, observe the expense of boarding the pauper children of the metropolis in the circumjacent villages; 3s. 3d. a-week, besides contingencies. What does all this expense terminate in?—what, in the account that has been published by the institutors of this management, is very justly termed “a dreadful period:”—“The time when these children were to be brought home (six or seven years of age) was a dreadful period to the children, and to the feeling mind.”—[Annals, xxviii. 167.]—The Company’s children have no such period. With them it is all country:—no transition from rural liberty to town confinement.
[† ] Swimming is to most young people a most delightful as well as healthful exercise: whenever it is in their power, they are in general ready enough to avail themselves of it. But for the most part they are debarred from it:—in many instances by the want of water;—in other instances by the anxiety of parents on the score of danger;—in others, by the repugnance of the elder part of the community at large, on the score of decency.
Females are, by the latter consideration, universally debarred from it;—unless it be in very few instances indeed, among the most opulent classes, in which the inducements happen to be strong enough to counterbalance the expense of a retired or covered bath, with suitable attendance.
Removed to a sufficient distance from the house, and secluded from view by proper fences, one bath, used at different times might serve for both the sexes.
The advantage of bathing, with comfort and convenience, is among the attractions that draw the higher classes to what are called the watering-places; and such is the activity of charity in this country, that it has even found out a means of displaying itself by facilitating the access to these places in favour of the inferior classes. Against particular diseases, fresh-water bathing is not, it is true, looked upon as standing upon a par with sea bathing; yet even against diseases—to say nothing of general health and strength,—fresh-bathing is not altogether without its use.
The existing charity gives sea-bathing to a few score perhaps in a year; the proposed charity gives fresh-water bathing to some hundreds of thousands of the pauper-community all the year round; and for the benefit of the self-maintaining poor all round, every one of the two hundred and fifty industry-houses may be a watering-place.
[* ] The maximum of clear happiness is the object, and the sole object, of every rational plan of conduct, public or private.
In this line, as in every other—concomitant and consequent inconveniences out of the question—the maximum of enjoyment gives the maximum of clear happiness. But the longer the duration of any source of enjoyment, nothing being lost in other respects, the greater the sum of enjoyment: and the duration is the longer, nothing being lost in other respects, the earlier the commencement.
Pecuniary difficulties being removed (as they are here) the inconveniences to be considered and guarded against are—1. Physical—the danger to health and strength from a too early indulgence, of which, amongst other ill consequences, premature termination might be one:—2. Moral—such, if any, as may be to be apprehended from the entering into a state of power, as well as independence, before the intellectual faculties have attained a growth commensurate to that state. Whatever may be the period suggested by a due consideration of the delay necessary to the avoidance of these inconveniences, thus much will not be liable to dispute—viz. that every portion of time, which, without incurring them, might have been passed in the social state, and yet is suffered to pass away in celibacy, is so much lost to happiness.
In the world at large, what may be the average amount of this loss, in the instance of the class in question, is one of the many interesting objects observable in the political line, of which no account, and scarcely so much as any notice, hath as yet been taken. A great comfort is—that owing to causes sufficiently obvious, and which are not to the present purpose—this loss is not quite so high in this lowest and most numerous, as in the higher classes. Yet, even in this class, and in this country, the number of years thus lost, must, upon any calculation, or rather without any calculation, leave a blank much to be regretted in the book of life.
In the proposed order of things, among our apprentices—there need be no such loss at all. Regard to health—this one prudential consideration, and this alone, will, in this privileged situation, draw the line. In private life, considerations of the intellectual and moral kind conspire to keep back the period of social happiness. Faculties, moral as well as intellectual, must be ripe for the business of government:—the business not of self-government only, but of family-government. At one-and-twenty, a youth will be allowed to be, in general, alike fit for self-government and for the government of the little family empire: and, whether married or single, it is at this age, and not before, according to the proposed plan, as under the existing order of things, that the management of his conduct will be in his own hands.
In regard to health, at what precise point the line shall be drawn, will be matter of consideration.—It being a point not capable of being determined otherwise than by experiment, it ought to be—it must be—committed to experiment. Nature shows the commencement of the ability—nature shows the commencement of the desire.—How long must the ability continue useless? How long must the desire be a source of vexation, instead of enjoyment?—Questions, surely, not uninteresting—surely, not undeserving of solution!—To give the solution, I see but one course:—to take the visible commencement of physical maturity in each individual for the standard and basis of experiment: from this starting-post to mark out periods of delay—three months—six months—nine months—and so on, for a small—it surely need not be a large—number of years—twenty-one in the male might be the utmost. From thenceforward observe the condition of the classes—see whether there be any and what perceptible differences in point of health and strength, as between class and class.
Fiat lux, were the words of the Almighty:—Fiat experimentum, were the words of the brightest genius he ever made. O chemists!—much have your crucibles shown us of dead matter;—but our industry-house is a crucible for men!
“The Chinese (says Sir George Staunton, vol. ii. p. 194, 8vo.) are, perhaps, upon an average, better able to support moderate labour, with little intermission, than many of the lower classes in Europe. They are bred in better and sounder habits, and continue longer under the direction of their parents. They are for the most part sober: they marry early: they are less exposed to the temptations of debauchery: they are less liable to contract diseases which corrupt the springs of life: their lives are more regular and uniform.”
And, in another place, (vol. ii. p. 385,) “The marriages in China are, in fact, observed to be prolific, as well as early.”
In France,—when France was France,—among the first families in the nation, and in others, as far as economy was supposed to permit, regard to health as well as happiness fixed for the period of matrimonial union the earliest age to which health, regarded in another point of view, was supposed to give a permit for that purpose. Sixteen scarce an early one;—fourteen not an uncommon one. What, under the French monarchy, was the best privilege of the Prince, is in our Utopia the universal lot of the whole community. And to what would they be indebted for this gentlest of all revolutions?—To what, but to economy? Which dreads no longer the multiplication of man, now that she has shown by what secure and unperishable means infant man, a drug at present so much worse than worthless, may be endowed with an indubitable and universal value.
Turn now to the palace, and behold what a fund it affords for pity, when confronted with our industry-house. Princes unmatched, or late matched, or unprosperously matched, or incongruously matched.—Princesses—five remaining—all ripe, but all too high, for happiness.
[* ] Partly for want of subjects to practise upon—in some measure, perhaps, from the want of the species of forecast here insisted on—in some very expensive retreats that have been prepared by private munificence for female innocence, the condition of these nurselings, in point of suitable acquirements, at the period of their emersion into the world at large, has been observed (I have been assured) to exhibit but an indifferent result. Pampered, unexercised, and uninstructed in the arts assorted to their subsequent destinations and resources, they make (it is said) but indifferent servants, nurses, or mothers.—A female course of education—a female apprenticeship, excluding from its exercises the characteristic and appropriate functions of the sex, must be a sad education—a sad apprenticeship indeed!
[† ] See Reports of the Society for bettering the Condition of the Poor.
[* ] Before I engage in the discussion of particular clauses, I find it indispensably necessary to state an apprehension I have throughout been labouring under; the apprehension of doing an unintentional injustice to the Bill by mis-stating from time to time the intended import of it. The truth is, the degree of difficulty I have experienced in the course of my endeavours to comprehend that import, has been as extreme as those endeavours have been sincere. Whatever, therefore, is herein advanced as conveying my own sense of the import of the Bill, must be understood to be submitted all along to correction—to whatever correction may be thought fit to be administered by stronger minds.
[* ] So termed here, in contradistinction to the large-establishment system, by which is meant that branch of the public-establishment system as contradistinguished from the system of out-allowances, according to which the establishments would separately considered be upon a large scale, such as that of a country workhouse, or even a system of workhouses, of which four, suppose, should be allowed to a county upon an average.
[† ] In the Bill itself the sections are not numbered; it is not the usage: sections are never numbered either in an Act (I speak of the authentic manuscript) or in a Bill; I have taken upon me to number them at a venture, knowing no other means of distinguishing them in the way of reference. My principle of distribution has been the recurrence of the introductory surplusage, “and be it further enacted,” coupled with the consideration of those discontinuances or breaks in the line of text, which are the mechanical result of the operations of the press.
This privation of the physical possibility of becoming the subject-matter of reference; this prolific cause and certain pledge of uncertainty, disorder, and inconsistency, each in the extreme; this privation of one of the many helps to intellection, the exclusion of which is peculiar to that species of composition in which the importance of the qualities of order, precision, and conciseness, stands at the very highest pitch; this deficiency, if it be a fault, is not the particular fault of this Bill or of any one concerned in it. It is the fault of everybody, and thence of nobody. [See Nomography, vol. iii. p. 233. It has of late become the practice to number the sections of Bills.—Ed.