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care of fosterage, which the children of the rustic do not obtain: but is there not often deformity in the one contrasting with the beauty of the other ? Have not the most vigorous intellects, those which have distinguished a land and created an era, sprung from the humbler ranks of life? And is it to be borne that, in this country and beneath the shadow of its generous Constitution, any of our people shall be marked out as hopelessly, inexorably, doomed to menial toil ? Is it to be borne that some shall speak of others as created for their convenience and ease ? Is it not the franchise of every man, if he have the opportunity and the ability, to exchange grosser for intellectual labour, a lower for a higher sphere? Is one of our race to be kept down? The benevolent view of man is that which anticipates and attempts his mental and moral elevation. It mourns his present condition. It does not believe that he is always to traverse the same cycle of failure and disappointment. It cannot bear to think of whole portions of the human family endlessly employed, only as material forces and animal powers are regulated. And while the poor are surveyed by some as a refuse to be swept away, and by others as only the means of production, the Christian philanthropist would invest them with their true immunities of reason, of improvement, of immortality. He does not desire to exempt them from labour. He knows that the hands of Paul wrought: that of Him, who was infinitely greater, it was asked, “Is not this the Car
penter ?"* No kind of labour that is needed for the good of society can degrade those who are engaged in it. Yet it will occur to his prophetic hope, that some of the dire hazards, the exhausting hardships, the wearisome hours, of present occupation may be relieved. He will indulge the confident expectation, that a leisure may be granted hereafter to the busy and the toiling which now they cannot know. The cheapness of food, consequent upon a freer intercourse and closer neighbourhood of nations, may greatly facilitate this remission. Mechanism may lift up man from the galling exaction of some of his actual pursuits. Polytechnic science may invent the instruments which shall dive as his substitute into the bowels of the earth. Be these exemptions, however, what they may, man shall not always be retarded in his progress, nor defrauded of his hope. If it be still ordained of him that he eat his bread in the sweat of his brow, on that brow shall be more legibly written the characters of immortality. If he be still required to go forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening, he shall be the pilgrim of sweet meditation and heavenward step, while the outgoings of the morning and the evening shall rejoice over him. A knowledge of the duties of his station will not disqualify him for their performance; nor will the consciousness of their utility extinguish his capacity for any satisfaction which may grow out of their discharge.
* Mark vi. 3.
There are two views, which we may take of the poor, well calculated to raise towards them our esteem and even plaudits. It is difficult for us to imagine sufferings drawn through an entire life. The difficulty is on every hour. Yet they bear their load patiently and cheerfully. And it is, also, to be doubted, whether any class of society be so strictly moral. The statement may at first surprise. It is the lie to general prejudice. Look upon their industry, their love and pride of children, their conjugal fidelity, their longing after home, their truth, their simple welcome of hospitality, their keen anguish of bereavement, their patience in illness, their confiding and grateful susceptibility, -think of these as enduring virtues, virtues transmitted through ages and generations, virtues inhering in their state, and the conclusion cannot be withstood, that the morals of no class have been more rigidly proved, more honourably sustained, more characteristically indicated.
Are they ignorant ? They have been bound down in it. Are they vacillating ? So often have they been deceived, they know not whom to trust. But when have they been dignified by responsibility, and have not fulfilled it ? What had Athens been without its Demos, or Rome without its Plebs? If the one was wayward, was it not with the very sensitiveness of patriotism, and with the jealousy of any influence which might derange the balance of their social liberty? In the long exercise of the Tribunitial suffrage how
few mistakes did the other commit, and then not on the side of anarchy and misrule! The Ecclesiai of the Pnyx, and the Comitia of the Circus Flamininus, furnish numberless proofs that the popular mind may be sober, steadfast, and grave. The men who have looked upon the commonalty with a grudge of their power and a derision of their grossness, have often been smitten with involuntary admiration of their intelligence and virtue; recanting their prejudices and overpaying their errors, - like Machiavel, in a defence of despotism, pronouncing perfect panegyrics upon the people. *
If the Poor, by occasional restlessness and demand, excite the fears of the other orders of society, it is only fit to enquire, whether there be not sufficient ground for this dissatisfaction. General censures will not meet the case. True wisdom will see in every form of uneasiness and complaint only the indications of a great mental condition. It will seek those remedies which descend to the evil. It is vain policy to stave off any danger which lies in opinion or principle. What was Socialism but the loud want of the multitude excluded from great social advantages ? What is Chartism but the importunate resentment of the multitude proscribed as politically nought? It is far better, in all such crises, even in popular commotions, to heal the wrong than to punish the remonstrance. The authority of law is only a means to an end :
* On the First Decade of Livy. Lib. i. cap. 58.
terrible example may repress : it leaves but an aggravated jealousy. The true dignity of States is seen in their calm impartiality, their forbearance of the ignorant, their redress of the aggrieved. There is nothing so formidable in the feelings of our population but which kindly measures, timely adopted, may reconcile and adjust. Their heart still is sound. They are irritated, and there may be cause. Search out that cause, and let the remedy be as searching. The great error is to mistake as the ills, what are only the symptoms. The ulcer, under this superficial treatment, rankles on. This is the folly of all class legislation. It maddens the people. This is the empiricism of a mawkish sensibility, which takes the people's labour from them and sells it away, and proposes thus to soothe them, while it cheats them of every civil trust. This is the refinement of torture. It is not too late to save them. But they cannot any more be blinded. They must be indemnified and guaranteed. No more look upon the surface save to suspect what works beneath. The simmering and bubbling of the cauldron forewarns . us what may be its noxious vapours and fierce ebul. litions.
os upon us a better prospect, as to the treatment of popular wrongs. Not many years have fled since, upon every commotion and agitation arising from unjust and oppressive courses, law was only armed in its terrors, and the sternest examples of its ver geance were dealt. To suppress the tumult, to CTUS"