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THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
17795044 A ASTOR, LENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS
PRINTED BY THOMAS STANLEY,
17, Bartlett's Buildings, Holborn.
THE THIRD EDITION.
TWENTY years have passed away since the principle and details of a structure of society which the following work was intended to illustrate, were first publicly announced. During that period they have withstood the lighter missiles of ridieule and sarcasm, and the more powerful weapons of argument and angry denunciation. The more considerate in the learned professions preserved a discreet silence, while those who condemned the system as wild and visionary, were at length reduced to the admission that the world was not yet prepared for its reception. As to the objection of some, that its Author was not orthodox in his opinions, and therefore the good which he tendered should be rejected-it is as futile as that which would oppose the adoption of any discovery in the arts, before the religious tenets of the discoverer had been duly certified ; to put aside the art of printing itself, by which
the Scriptures have been circulated over the & world, because the inventor was of the Romish
Church. If there is one thing more than another that can tend to spread infidelity and weaken the
confidence of the people in the ministers of religion, it is, that they should be found in the ranks of the worldly opponents of a system which, so far as human means are concerned, can alone realize all the promises of the Gospel; by uniting the individual with the general interest, the causes of contention are removed, and there remains less obstruction to a voluntary obedience to Him who commanded us to love one another; so identified is the principle of combined exertion for the common good, with that of religion itself, that subscription to both may be justly deemed the surest, nay, almost the only, test of genuine charity and of true faith. Controversy hetween the Malthusians and their
opponents long kept a starving population in suspense ; it has now lighted upon education, and the people are to be debarred from intellectual and spiritual, as they were formerly from bodily nourishment, during the fierce and interminable debate !
But surely, neither the Word nor the Works of the Deity can be disregarded by him who aims at the highest degree of usefulness : an exclusive ad. herence either to the one or to the other involves us in perpetual difficulties with ourselves and with others. Under this conviction, a pamphlet was published in 1818, attempting to show the harmony of a better arrangement of Society with Christian principles : it was dedicated to Mr. Wilberforce, to whom a copy was sent, with a letter, urging the necessity of immediate attention to the inquiry, as at that period the greatest distress prevailed in many parts of the country. A reply was received, pleading inability at the moment to do more than acknowledge the work, of which no further notice was taken. The effect of this indifference upon the mind of the writer under the then existing circumstances, when the distress was alarming and increasing, and all other remedies had failed, was for a time injurious : it created a painful suspicion that there must be some discrepancy between science and religion, until more diligent investigation disclosed the discrepancy in the one-sided views of many votaries of each. In the interesting life of Mr Wilberforce, recently published, an account is given in his diary, of a visit from Mr. Owen, to read some of his documents; he had not read long, before “Grant, Henry Thornton, and I were fast asleep; but I kept his paper, and ran over it afterwards. Strange that the Quakers, even the sensible Allen, admires it!"* and in another part,
66 Allen's account of the comfort of Owen of Lanark's people is delightful, but not owing to his lessons; there are several good people there.” Thus, neither the favourable opinion of his friends nor the necessities of the people, could induce an attentive unprejudiced examination, and some of the serious consequences of a neglect too much participated in by the country at large, are described in Lord Lansdowne's observations on the Juvenile Offenders' Bill so recently as July, 1838.* When a sectarian triumph is anticipated, the large room at Exeter
* Vol. iv. p. 90.
*“ Their lordships must be aware that for many years past there had been a very great increase of juvenile offenders, that was, of offenders under twelve years of age. This, it had been remarked, was the case in every part of Europe, but to a greater degree in this country than in other states. A laborious inquiry had been instituted, in order, if possible, to ascertain the probable causes of this increase of crime. By some it was attributed to the rapid increase of the population and the growth of large manufacturing towns, while others found some peculiar circumstances in the state of society in England, which they were of opinion occasioned the evil. But whatever the cause might be, the increase of Juvenile depravity was most appalling, as by the result of an inquiry made in one great manufacturing town, that of Manchester, it was ascertained that in four years the number of children absolutely abandoned, or found lost in the streets, amounted to 8,610; in 1832, there were 1,954 ; in 1833, 2,104 ; in 1834, 2,117; and in 1835 they amounted to the enormous number of 2,435. With respect to the commitments of juvenile offenders throughout the country, the result had been, as taken from accounts lately made up, that in the last two years, 5,174 males, and 1,275 females, under the age of sixteen years, were committed for various crimes, the average of the two years being 2,587 males and 637 females. The ratio in London was still greater."Marquis of Lansdowne's Speech on Juvenile Offenders' Bill, July 17th, 1838.