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trial. In particular, it would afford great facilities for the adoption (which I consider as highly important) of the system of task-work.
"Convicts should never be allowed, as in New South Wales, to be employed and paid by farmers: but the superintendents might contract for the levelling, draining, or trenching, &c. of a piece of ground, and would then set the convicts to work under their own inspection. And though the payment for this, and indeed any other labour of convicts, could seldom be expected to cover the cost of their maintenance and other expenses, it might still be regarded as so much clear gain, since they must be maintained at any rate.
"An experiment has, I understand, been begun on a small scale on the Sussex coast, in the neighbourhood of Pevensey; which, whether successful or not as a matter of speculation, may be well worthy of attention in reference to our present object. There is, in that neighbourhood, an enormous extent of sea-beach forsaken by the sea, und presenting an expanse of seemingly hopeless sterility. It has been found, however, that the shingle, when covered over to the depth of a few inches with good soil, will produce good crops, and may be permanently reclaimed. And the immediate vicinity presents an inexhaustible supply of such soil. The marshy meadows which are immediately bounded by this barren region, contain a vast depth of rich alluvial soil. The method, accordingly, which I have alluded to as in a course of trial, consists in digging up this soil to a considerable depth, and spreading it over the shingle: the pit thus dug is filled up again with shingle from the beach, to within about a foot of the surface; and these pebbles, being then covered with a sufficient depth of the soil dug out, and the turf replaced, the meadow is so far from being damaged by the removal of the soil, that it is even benefited, by the substratum of gravel acting as an underdrain. The process is, of course, expensive; but it is important to observe, that the whole of the expense consists of the labour employed. Whether it will, in any case, answer as a profitable speculation, must probably depend on the existing rate of wages and it has come to my knowledge, that in many parishes in that part of Sussex, labourers will, at all times of the year, refuse to work except at the highest wages, because they receive a parish allowance whenever they are out of work. This system, I hope and trust, will not be allowed to continue much longer. But at any rate, though it may be doubtful whether this undertaking will in any case answer, i. e. more than replace the expense of maintaining the labourers, especially when these are convicts, it must at least repay a part of the expense; and every acre of land thus brought into a productive state by the labour of those who, whether employed or unemployed, must have been maintained at the public expense, may, as I have before observed, be regarded as so much clear gain to the community."-p. 37-42.
"Nor, again, do I conceive that this suggestion could be properly acted on, except by persons not only selected for their intelligence, experience, or habit of attention to the subject, but also able to devote the principal part of their time and thoughts to the business. For this reason, parliament, or the members of the administration, would be
unable, without calling in other assistance, to do justice to an inquiry so multifarious and so important.
"I will take the liberty, therefore, of most earnestly recommending the appointment of a Board of Commissioners, analogous to that which is now occupied with the no less important subject of the poor-laws, and from whose labours every one, who is acquainted with the character of the individuals composing it, must hope for the most favourable results.
"Whether the legislature is constituted in one way or in another, it is clearly impossible that it should be capable of going through, with proper care, all the necessary details of that vast and heterogeneous mass of business which belongs to its decision. And those who are at all acquainted with parliamentary proceedings, have no need to be reminded how much slovenly legislation has resulted from the nonadoption, or very slight and imperfect adoption, in the highest department of all, of that important principle, division of labour; but for which, even the humblest arts could never have been brought to any degree of perfection. Let the task of minute investigation, and uninterrupted reflection, on each subject separately, be entrusted to a small number of competent persons, expressly selected for the purpose; and let the legislature examine and judge of the result of their labours; adopting, rejecting, or modifying their suggestions, as it may see best; and I am much mistaken if a striking effect will not be produced in the increased wisdom of its enactments, in all departments in which such a procedure shall have been adopted.
"I will not presume to point out in full detail what should be the points, relative to the present subject, to be laid before such a Board of Commissioners as I have proposed; but I would suggest that they should not be too strictly confined to their own proper subject of secondary punishment; because, in respect of, first, capital punishments, and secondly, police regulations, it is possible that many facts might be ascertained, and many improvements in our present practice suggested, which might, in various ways, materially modify our practical conclusions in respect of secondary punishments. Every thing, for example, that in any way conduces to the increase or diminution of crime, must have an important bearing on the question as to the more or less extensive scale, on which it may be requisite that penitentiaries should be established.”—pp. 43—45.
Some measure of this kind is indispensable, not only in the department of the poor laws and of criminal justice, but in every other into which it is intended to introduce necessary and safe reform. The great obstacle to improvement in the church, the law, and several other branches of government, has been the want of a very efficient and responsible body of men, with whom it might originate. It was altogether impossible that an Archbishop of Canterbury, a Lord Chancellor, or a Home Secretary, should alone undertake the responsibility and labour of devising and recommending what ought to be done in their respective
departments; the readiness which is now manifested to appoint commissioners on essential subjects of inquiry, may be regarded as one of the best symptoms of the times.
We alluded some time back to the suggestions for the improvement of our system of colonization, which are subjoined to the volume before us. The truth of the following statement, which is extracted from it, will, we think, be universally admitted.
"We send out colonies of the limbs, without the belly and head;— of needy persons, many of them mere paupers, or even criminals; colonies made up of a single class of persons in the community, and that the most helpless, and the most unfit to perpetuate our national character, and to become the fathers of a race whose habits of thinking and feeling shall correspond to those which, in the mean time, we are cherishing at home. The ancients, on the contrary, sent out a representation of the parent state-colonists from all ranks. We stock the farm with creeping and climbing plants, without any trees of firmer growth for them to entwine round. A hop-ground left without poles, the plants matted confusedly together, and scrambling on the ground in tangled heaps, with here and there some clinging to rank thistles and hemlocks, would be an apt emblem of a modern colony. They began by nominating to the honourable office of captain or leader of the colony, one of the chief men, if not the chief man of the state,— like the queen bee leading the workers. Monarchies provided a prince of the blood royal; an aristocracy its choicest nobleman; a democracy its most influential citizen. These naturally carried along with them some of their own station in life, their companions and friends; some of their immediate dependents also-of those between themselves and the lowest class; and were encouraged in various ways to do so. The lowest class again followed with alacrity, because they found themselves moving with, and not away from the state of society in which they had been living. It was the same social and political union under which they had been born and bred; and to prevent any contrary impression being made, the utmost solemnity was observed in transferring the rites of Pagan superstition. They carried with them their gods-their festivals--their games; all, in short, that held together, and kept entire the fabric of society as it existed in the parent state. Nothing was left behind that could be moved,—of all that the heart or eye of an exile misses. The new colony was made to appear as if time or chance had reduced the whole community to smaller dimensions, leaving it still essentially the same home and country to its surviving members. It consisted of a general contribution of members from all classes, and so became, on its first settlement, a mature state, with all the component parts of that which sent it forth. It was a transfer of population, therefore, which gave rise to no sense of degradation, as if the colonist were thrust out from a higher to a lower description of community.
"Let us look now at the contrast which a modern colony presents, in all these important features, and consider the natural results.
Want presses a part of the population of an old-established community such as ours. Those who are suffering under this pressure are encouraged to go and settle themselves elsewhere, in a country whose soil, perhaps, has been ascertained to be fertile, its climate healthy, and its other circumstances favourable for the enterprize. The protection of our arms, and the benefit of free commercial intercourse with us and with other nations, are held out as inducements to emigrate. We are liberal, perhaps profuse, in our grants of pecuniary aid from the public purse. We moreover furnish for our helpless community a government, and perhaps laws; and appoint over them some tried civil or military servant of the state, to be succeeded by others of the same high character. Our newspapers are full of glowing pictures of this land of milk and honey. All who are needy or discontented-all who seek in vain at home for independence and comfort, and future wealth, are called on seize the golden moment, and repair to it.
'Quid statis? Nolint.
Those who do go, have, for the most part, made a reluctant choice between starvation and exile. They go, often indeed with their imaginations full of vague notions of future riches, for which they are nothing the better; but they go, with a consciousness of being exiled; and when they arrive at their destination, it is an exile. I am not now alluding to the morbid sensibilities of a refined mind: I am speaking of the uneducated clown, the drudging mechanic. His eye and his heart miss in all directions objects of social interest, on the influence of which he never speculated; but which he nevertheless felt, and must crave after. He has been accustomed, perhaps, to see the squire's house and park; and he misses this object, not only when his wants, which found relief there, recur; but simply because he, from a child, has been accustomed to see gentry in the land. He has been used to go to his church; if the settlement be new, there is no place of worship. He has children old enough for school; but there is no schoolmaster. He needs religious comfort or instruction, or advice in the conduct of his life; there is no parson, and no parson's wife. His very pastimes and modes of relaxation have been so associated with the state of society, in which he learnt to enjoy them, that they are no longer the same to him. In short, no care has been taken, as was the custom formerly, to make especial provision for the cravings of his moral nature; no forethought to carry away some of the natural soil about the roots of the tree that has been transplanted. We have thought of our colonist, only as of so much flesh and blood requiring to be renewed by food, and protected by clothing and shelter; but as for that food of the heart, which the poor man requires as much as the more refined, although of a different quality, it has not been thought of.
"Nor is this defect in our system of colonization, one that merely affects the happiness of the emigrant-colonist, by adding to the strangeness of his condition, and keeping alive a mischievous regret for his old country. He was a member of a community made up of various
orders; he was a wheel in a machine of a totally different construction; it is a chance if he answers under circumstances so different. He must adapt his habits of thinking and acting to the change; and in doing this he ceases to be an Englishman. He has no longer, probably, his superior in wealth to ask for pecuniary assistance; his superior in education to ask for instruction and advice. His wits are doubtless sharpened by the necessity of doing without these accustomed supports; but whilst he learns to be independently sacrificing some objects, or by otherwise supplying some, he finds himself and those around him gradually coalescing into a community of a totally different character from that which they left at home. Witness the United States of America. Let any thoughtful observer consider the traits of character that distinguish these children of our fathers from Englishmen of the present day; and the probable causes of the difference. We are apt enough, indeed, to ridicule as foibles, or to censure as faults, their national peculiarities—their deviations from our habits. But it would be wiser and worthier of us to trace them to their causes, and to add the result of our inquiry to our stock of legislative experience. We sent them forth poor and struggling only for the means of subsistence. Is it we that should taunt them with becoming a money-making, trafficking people? We severed the humble from the nobles of our land, and formed the embryo of a plebeian nation. Is it we that should find fault with their extravagant abhorrence of rank, or their want of the high breeding and gentle blood which we so sparingly bestowed on them? We gave for the new community only some of the ingredients that enter into our own. Can we wonder at the want of resemblance and of congenial feeling, which has been the result ?"-pp. 191–195.
The scheme which this anonymous but able author suggests for the formation of new colonies is thus described :
"Much has been said lately about enlarging our colonies, or establishing new ones, in order to relieve Great Britain of a portion of its needy population. Our success, experience shows, must be purchased, if at all, at an enormous rate, and the final result must be the rise of states, which, like those in America, may be destined to influence the character and manners of the whole world, and to form important portions of civilized society, without deriving from us any of that national character on which we so much congratulate ourselves, owing their national character, in fact, to chance, and that chance a very unpromising one.
"But what is to be done? Are we to force our nobles and gentry to join the herd of emigrants? They have no need to go,-no inclination to go; and why should they go? What inducement can we hold out sufficient to allure them? Can we afford to bribe them? They may, I conceive, be bribed to go; but not by pounds, shillings, and pence. Honour, and rank, and power, are less ruinous bribes than money, and yet are more to the purpose, inasmuch as they influence more generous minds. Offer an English gentleman of influence and compe