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pleasure, and alleviate the disappointments, however few, which may find their way even into the breast of royalty! The royal notice is, therefore, solicited to this tangible, simple mode of getting rid of the bulk of the distress of the country, by reducing the various disorders and crimes, which are the germ of distress. If this could be realized, mutual benefits would greatly take the place of mutual injuries; hatred, mistrust, and revenge, where they happen to exist, would yield to love and respect; children would not, as is now too frequently, the case, exceed their parents in wickedness; nor the besotted husband starve the wife and children, while the cruel, calculating publican allowed him to spend or gamble away his last shilling.
The writer has long viewed with conflicting feelings the anomalous circumstances of his country. With a government superior, perhaps, to any other on record, and exhibiting at the present time the best period
of it ;-with an extent of intellectual acquirements throughout the nation, which have not merely never been equalled, but to which the history of the world exhibits no near approach ;—with individual benevolence, incorporated with vital religion, which distributes perhaps a greater amount than all the rest of the world collectively; and which appears to be even more valuable for the extensive possession of the good principle on the part of the contributors, than for the extensive comfort which it produces to hundreds of thousands of the destitute; with these, and great and interesting advantages, both moral and physical, we appear to possess also, in no ordinary degree, the germs of every crime of men and of nations; so that scarcely a benefit we have but is counterbalanced. Now, although no human government can abstractedly produce a state of religion and morality, yet both may be, and have been much served, by the wisdom and honour of ours, both
physically and through the medium of example; yet why not frame a code of laws, dictated by common sense and common honesty, with a view to the practical benefit of man, and the honour of that Power who is the source, sum and substance of all goodness, purity, and truth? Would not such a code be effective in its application, and rationally useful in its results ? and would it not do ten times more towards rooting out crime, and destroying its seeds and its food, in two years, than has been effected in the last forty ? Shall it be said, that honest straight-forward legislation must necessarily prove inadequate to grapple with the contrivances and crimes of the idle and profligate ? that in a country like this, scores of thousands of thieves, and receivers of stolen goods, shall be known as such by the subordinate authorities, and that laws must needs be so constructed, that it shall, in most cases, prove impossible to bring the laws and offenders in effective contact ? that we must needs
barricade our houses like castles, before we can venture to go to sleep? Has it not always been found, that honest objects are best compassed by honest means? Shall it be said, that honest legislation is not befitting the wants and the conduct of a great nation ?
But we are about equally remarkable for the number of escapements we provide for offenders as we are for the offenders themselves. Does it require extraordinary perception to know that the first must needs increase the second ? Yet, however checkered the appearances of English society, there exist such abundant and buoyant materials for great minds to work on, that the views, present and prospective, are sufficient to arrest and employ all the excitive powers of the mind. Do we look at the causes of distress, how they threaten by increase of drunkenness, and its various concomitant crimes, to sink society, the working classes more particularly, to a low grade of destitution; yet how easy to frame and to apply laws which would immediately work beneficially, and gradually become perhaps almost universally effective. Do we look at the teeming population, never perhaps in this country so much as now on the increase, they are in very many instances half starving; yet how easily might they be put in train for each helping the community, as well as the community helping each of them, until pecuniary distress were even more rare than profligacy is now common; and for those who do not, or will not, see a remedy in the improvement of society, there surely needs some other remedy; for it is generally considered that there is, and has for years been, an increasing pecuniary distress among the bulk of the nation, by no means confined to the working classes; that many parishes would give several pounds à piece for the removal of nearly half their population; yet this goes on still faster every year, if one may judge, either by personal observation or the returns of population to legislative directions.