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village has had the means of throwing off the superfluous hands as they appeared; the Irish village has not; when a child was born into the former, a youth of from ten to twenty left it; when à child was born into the latter, it generally formed a lasting addition to the population. If the Irish small farmer had several sons, he could not afford to give them learning to fit them for trade, he could not save money to establish them in trade, and he was therefore obliged to rear them as husbandry labourers. There were no village tradesmen to take the labourers' children as apprentices; there were no farmers' wives to hire the girls and qualify them for good town-situations. All were necessarily reared as labourers of the lowest description, and the towns could only employ very contemptible portion of their increase. In consequence, the occupier, whatever his inclination might be, was compelled to subdivide his land, as his only means of preserving his children from actual starvation; the labourer, whatever he might wish, was constrained to remain in the village. There were comparatively no country masters, therefore there was no circulation of the labouring population. In addition, rackrents were continually operating to dissipate capital, to narrow the extent of farms, and to overpeople the soil. While, therefore, the village population of England has remained nearly stationary, if we except the additional hands rendered necessary by the improved system of culture, that of Ireland has increased until it exceeds all bounds.
mate children to whom it has given birth.
Let us not be understood as speaking in favour of early marriages; we are no friends to them. Our object is to correct a very general, and, as we think, a very erroneous opinion touching the cause of the superabundance of the agricultural population of Ireland. But whatever our dislike to such marriages may be, we feel an equal dislike to the placing of any "checks," as they are called, upon them. They who attack the strongest laws of nature will rarely gain by it. Our villagers, we believe, have not in late years married at so early an age as they did formerly; and we are by no means sure that the good which this has yielded, has not been more than counterpoised by the number of illegitiVOL. XVII.
We must now look at one of the most gigantic evils which the subdivision, and the excess of population cause in the Irish village.
The English village of 300 souls, contains ten or twelve farmers possessed of gocd property, and six or eight decent tradesmen. Its population, therefore, is divided into classes having distinct interests, and is well balanced. The farmers and tradesmen are men of intelligence; their interests lie altogether on the side of peace and order
good morals and conduct, and they have the labourers under their tuition and control. In some of the northern counties of England, the farmers have hitherto been in the habit of boarding and lodging all their unmarried, and of boarding their married servants in their houses. A more invaluable system could not be imagined. In the first place, the servants, whatever their wages may be, are sure of abundance of good food. They have plenty of beef or bacon, three times per day; excellent milk, and good, though homely wheaten bread, pies, &c. In the second place, the farmer's house forms an admirable school for the labourers' children. These enter it at the age of ten or fourteen-they are constantly receiving excellent moral, as well as other instruction-they are constantly disciplined in habits of industry, and the practice of good principles and feelings-they have constantly excellent examples before them-and they are constantly under the most effectual and touching conduct-until they marry. None but the married men can spend their evenings and nights as they please; the unmarried ones, those who, if they were able, would often spend both in very pernicious practices, have an hour or two for recreation after the toils of the day are ended, but they are compelled to be in the farmer's house regularly by nine every evening. The bread of the labourer is wholly in the hands of the farmer, and bad moral conduct will insure the loss of it, as certainly as idleness and bad workmanship.
Attaching as we do, immense importance to the females of a community, we will say a word particularly on the benefits which this yields to the village females. The poor labourer's
daughter goes to the farmer's wife at the age of fourteen, and she is then under the most excellent instruction touching conduct, the management of a family, the rearing of children, &c.; and she is under very rigid surveillance until she marries. A great demand constantly exists in towns for female servants from the country, and this is in a large degree caused by their superiority in industry and conduct over the town-bred ones. This operates powerfully to carry off the surplus females of the villages. When the labouring man marries, he gets a wife that has been well instructed; one who can manage his affairs properly, and bring up his children in the best
The benefits which flow from this system to public order, are of the first class. We were for many years intimately acquainted with several villages in which it prevailed. These never saw a resident landlord, they had no resident clergyman, they had no stipendiary peace-officer, and a decent farmer, was the most exalted inhabitant. The farmers filled the office of constable by annual rotation, and when one of them entered upon the office, he gave himself no more concern about watching over the public peace than before. Yet we never knew any serious offence committed in these villages. The farmers not only had the labourers effectually under control, but the latter were filled with the best feelings against vicious and criminal conduct.
that they will not leave it. It enables the boys and single men to spend their evenings and nights as they please, and they in consequence contract many vicious habits. It keeps the labourers, young and old, in ignorance and penury, and it renders the control of the farmers over them exceedingly imperfect. We hold it to be largely accountable for the excessive population, the badness of wages, and the turbulence and crime which in late years have been found in several English counties.
If our great landholders would be governed by us, they should covenant with their tenants, to board and lodge all their unmarried, and to board their married servants in their houses. We hold it essential for the well-being of country society.
We will now turn to the Irish village. From the subdivision of the soil, there are, comparatively, no masters, and the inhabitants, instead of forming a duly organized, wellbalanced community, can only form a huge mob. Instead of a number of farmers, men of intelligence, and having a deep stake in peace and order, holding the whole of the labourers under their control, nearly all are in effect labourers of the lowest class, without masters. The inhabitants have scarcely any means of acquiring proper knowledge; they cannot be disciplined in habits of industry and general good conduct; they cannot perhaps perform more labour in twelve months than they ought to perform in two, and their bread depends in scarcely any degree on their good character. The English labourer is almost banished society, and is left to pine on parish allowance for bad conduct; the Irish one draws his subsistence from the land, and this he can generally keep, whatever his life may be. As there are no masters for the men, there are no mistresses for the women. The girls grow up in the huts in ignorance, rags, filth, sloth, and immodesty. We need not say what kind of wives and mothers they must make. We need not say what kind of parents the children of such people have to look to for instruction and example. Ignorance, want, idleness, absence of control,
This invaluable system is, we regret to say, declining in those counties in which it has so long been adhered to. The farmers are discovering that it is a more expensive one than to pay their servants a certain sum without providing them board and lodging. In the southern counties, we believe it prevails only very partially. The farmers in some cases provide their servants with lodgings without board, and often they provide them with neither. This operates most perniciously in various ways. It feeds the labourers much worse, and in consequence, they perform less labour. It tends to multiply the cottages beyond the proper number, and thereby to check removals and overpeople the villages. The labourer's children have often no other home than his dwelling, and they become so much attached to the place
almost everything that could be imagined-combines to give to the inhabitants of this village the worst character and conduct.
As we believe that the Poor Laws,
when properly administered, contribute mightily to the good character and circumstances of our husbandry labourers, we feel that what we have said on this momentous subject is very incomplete, without a description of the operation of these laws. This our limits will not allow us at present to give. The economists vituperate these laws so fearfully, that a short defence of them would not be sufficient; we shall therefore give one in a separate article, which our readers will regard as a continuation of the present one. A motion, we see, is about to be made in Parliament for the introduction of these laws into Ireland. Friendly as we are to them, we still cannot but know, that the Irish village is not yet in a fit state for their full operation. We, however, wish them to be immediately established there, for the benefit of the aged and impotent only. This would familiarize the people with their nature and working, and their operation might be extended as circumstances might permit. The Irish village cannot, we think, be raised to the level of the English one without the English poor laws, but then these laws, as a whole, must follow, and not precede, other great changes.
What we have said must not be understood to mean, that our village population is never superabundant. It must be so occasionally. When trade is bad in large places, the demand for new hands from the country is narrowed or suspended, and the village for a time cannot get rid of its surplus ones. The village contains as many labourers as the farmers can employ in good times; in bad times the farmers employ less labourers; and if ten of them employ fewer hands by five, this causes for a time considerable superabundance of labourers. Some villages contain too many cottages, and in consequence have generally more married labourers than they can employ; in others, the poor laws are viciously administered, or bad systems of hiring and managing servants prevail. But the superabundance is, in general, only occasional; it seldom reaches any pernicious height, or leads to subdivision, and other mischievous changes in the construction of society.
Upon the whole, we hold it to be among the most undeniable of all earthly things, that Ireland never can be tranquil, orderly, moral, prosperous, and happy, until a radical change is
made in the structure of its village society. The landlords must take the lead in effecting this change, but they must be largely assisted by the government. The owners of the soil ought to be induced by interest to undertake it; for, as far as we can discover, it would, before any long period of time elapsed, improve greatly their estates and incomes. In deciding upon what this change should be, let no one bewilder himself by looking at the agricultural population as a whole; let him place before him a single Irish village, and ascertain what alterations would cause it to resemble the English
The middle-men should be annihilated, and the rents which they exact should be left in the pockets of the cultivators. Capital never can be increased or preserved by these cultivators until this is done; without this it will be idle to speak of creating good-sized farms, and a yeomanry. A large part of the unnecessary inhabitants should be taken off by emigration, and in this the government should be a principal agent. Emigration, to do good, should, if possible, as we said several months ago, clear village after village, and not act at once upon the whole country. The reduction of rents, and the emigration, would enable the peasantry to become general consumers; this would give such an impulse to the home trade as would enable it to employ a large part of the remainder of the surplus hands. Capital is, no doubt, deplorably wanted, but if rents were properly reduced, those who now occupy fair portions of land, would gradually increase their capital, and the size of their farms. If the horrible system of assassinating, burning, and houghing, were put down, and if as good farms could be taken in Ireland as in England, we think that almost every Irish village might soon see an English or Scotch farmer, of good capital, settle in it. This would yield various benefits of the very first order. To encourage this, we think the government ought to do everything possible. The wretched peasant now dwells on the land because he is chained to it; he worships it, because he has nothing else to look to for his miserable potatoe; but these things would break his chains, and give him other objects to value; they would give him an interest in, and the means of, leaving it, whenever it would not afford him a decent maintenance. The po
pulation should be continually reduced, by all imaginable means, until brought to the proper number; and this can only be done by the most strenuous efforts of both landholders and the government. If this were accomplished, and the land were divided into good-sized farms of moderate rents, the interests of all would set against subdivision and overpeopling, and the agricultural population of Ireland might stand comparison with that of Britain.*
those who call themselves the exclusive friends of Ireland had their desert, they would be blasted by its curses. We, too, are the friends of Ireland, but we differ from the Irish priests and demagogues, and the Engfish party leaders. We are not its friends for personal profit; we seek not to extract wealth and dignity from the penury and guilt of its peasantry; we cant not over its miseries to inflame them, that we may fill our pockets with money, and raise ourselves to power. No; thank God! we are free from the damning infamy. We are the friends of the friendless; we are the friends of the distressed, the depraved, the deluded, and the enslaved. We are the friends of the people of Ireland, and not of the priests and demagogues. We therefore would FIRST direct our attention to those things in Ireland which call the most imperiously for remedy; we would look FIRST at the condition of the peasantry; we would FIRST remove the surplus village inhabitants, and give bread and comfort to the remainder; we would FIRST re-construct village society, and give the inhabitants proper means of instruction, and a deep stake in peace and order; we would FIRST render Ireland, as a whole, civilized, enlightened, peaceful, prosperous, and happy. After having thus satisfied the wants of nature, it would then be soon enough to look at those of ambition; after having thus given food and raiment to the many, it would then be soon enough to satisfy the political cravings of the contemptible few who now enjoy comfort and luxury, and who can only employ both to curse their country.
The emancipation-men speak of Ireland as though it was an immense loss, and a mighty sacrifice to it, to have any connexion with us; they speak of separation as a thing which would benefit that miserable country. Alas! for Ireland, that they should commit the wickedness. Ireland is at this moment kept alive by the heart's blood of Britain; if her miseries be not removed by Britain, they will never be removed; her present sustenance, and hopes for the future, rest solely upon Britain. What would become of her, were we to close our ports to her agri
Twelve months since, the British nation, we think, would have done almost anything to better the condition of Ireland; we believe it would cheerfully have given millions upon millions of its revenue for the purpose. Matters are now, we grieve to say, greatly changed. The conduct of the Popish priesthood, and the demagogues, and the agitation in Parliament of the Catholic question, have engendered a feeling in this country towards Ireland, which the pretended friends of that wretched nation ought to have made any sacrifice to have kept down. The unanimity and enthusiasm in favour of Ireland are gone; and, alas! they have been replaced by feelings of a far different nature. If the most bitter enemy of Ireland had wished to do it all the mischief in his power, he would first have acted as Doyle and O'Connell have done, and then he would have brought the Catholic bill into Parliament. Descriptions are given to Parliament of the misery and depravity of the Irish peasant, which freeze the blood; and yet, instead of attempting to remove this misery and depravity, Parliament is only endeavouring to aggrandize the Popish priesthood and gentry. The poor wretch who is starving is to be relieved by the removal of the Catholic disabilities; when money is imperiously called for to convey the surplus population to bread and comfort, a quarter of a million is to be annually lavished on the Popish priests; at a time when it is of the first importance to keep the good feelings of this country towards Ireland at the highest point, nothing is to be done save what will convert these feelings into jealousy, dislike, and indignation. If
• We are glad to perceive in the Irish papers, that several of the landlords have lately interested themselves greatly in improving the condition of their tenantry. The Marquis of Londonderry occupies a distinguished place among them.
cultural produce, and import the quantity from other countries? What would become of her, were we to close our shores to the multitudes of her labourers who continually arrive, to the grievous injury of our own? What but the wealth and influence of Britain can remove the surplus population, change her system of land-letting, and give her competence and prosperity? Every man in Ireland ought to be prepared to shed his heart's blood to maintain the connexion between the two nations. There is not a man in Ireland, whatever his rank and condition may be, who has not a mighty personal interest in teaching his countrymen to conciliate Britain by all imaginable means, and to
venerate her as his country's best friend. Why do we say this? Because those who call themselves the patriots of Ireland are goading Britain into a religious and political enemy, instead of making her a friend, to remove the sufferings of their country; because they are depriving the starving peasant of the food and raiment which Britain is anxious to give him; because they are converting this golden moment for removing the real miseries of their country into the means of perpetuating them. Whatever feelings Britain ought to entertain towards the Catholic Association, and the Catholic bill, we fear that the mass of the Irish people will have ample cause to execrate both to the last moments of their existence.
LETTERS ON THE PRESENT STATE OF INDIA.
THE principal object of my former letter was, to vindicate the moral character of the natives of Hindoostan from some of the many calumnies which have been gratuitously heaped upon it. In the pursuit of that object, I was led to anticipate various remarks, and to lay before you sundry quotations from parliamentary papers, and other official documents, which might have been, perhaps, more appropriately introduced elsewhere. But no great harm has been done. These quotations extracted, as you will perceive that they are extracted, from the reports of some of our ablest Indian statesmen, and from the public dispatches of the late Governor-general himself, abundantly justify me in asserting, that the writer in "The Friend of India," who represents the Hindoos as naturally the most depraved of human beings, and the establishment of our government among them, as manifestly the effect of divine interposition in their favour, is either the worst-informed, or the most perverse of all the instructors, to whom a credulous public has lately paid attention. That the inhabitants of British India, especially that portion of them who reside near the seat of government, and with whom alone Europeans have an opportunity of familiarly mixing, are very far from perfection, I readily admit. It is, indeed, a melancholy fact, that wherever Europeans
establish themselves, there the natives' character becomes rapidly depraved; whilst, as has already been shown, our whole system of regulating the country, has tended only to debase the people, and to corrupt their morals. "Drunkenness, prostitution, indecorum, profligacy of manners, must," says Sir Henry Strachey, "increase under a system, which, though it profess to administer the Mahomedan law, does not punish these immoralities;" and whether a government, whose operations have a tendency to produce such effects, deserves the unbounded praise bestowed upon it by the Missionaries; far more, whether its erection ought to be spoken of as a direct work of God, I leave you to judge.
It is not, however, my intention to enter into controversy, either with this "Friend of India," or with any other popular writer. You have requested me to state with candour my opinion of the Anglo-Indian government; whether I conceive that it has proved, and still continues to prove, beneficial to the natives themselves,and hence, whether we are justified in hoping that it will be permanent. From what has been already said, you will guess that my sentiments are very different on these heads from those of the public in general; but you shall have proofs, as well as sentiments. And they are but too abundant.