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caught from them the spirit which they caught from the times; and it was not to be expected under these circumstances that the march of society would be much obstructed by attachments to institutions because they were old. But this circumstance was not the chief security for the continuance of reformation and prosperity. In our judgment that security depended (leaving out of view the general diffusion of knowledge, without which nothing could be done) upon the substantial independence of every member of the community. We have no monopolies but those which are the incentives and the rewards of genius-premogeniture presents no obstacles to change of property, and provides no establish ments for indolent or surfeited wealth-we have no artificial systems by which hosts of officers, incumbents, and labourers, acquire a claim to the profits of unmeaning fiction, and useless labourwe suffer no embarrassment from prescriptive rights which in their origin are little else than barren forms, but in the progress of society, and with the increase of population, become engines of dreadful oppression. The tendency of all these things is to accumulate unnecessary power and artificial servility. Throughout nearly all Europe they have become incorporated almost with the very being of society. Nothing could have delivered and preserved us from their servitude but a revolution, and the simple condition of society in which it found us.
Notwithstanding all these advantages, and the valuable use we have made of them, there remains much room for reformation. The magnitude of the work we have had to accomplish has necessarily been the cause that many parts of it remain unfinished. After forming the structure of our general and state governments, it became necessary to provide a system of laws. A great many of those existing, required immediate amendment-many needed the test of experiment-and there were many which, though obviously susceptible of improvement, it thought necessary to adopt and retain as they were until there should be leisure for their modification.
Among those whose policy must then have been regarded as most doubtful, and of which the mischiefs have since been felt to be extensive and ruinous, are those concerning the poor. The most important parts of the mistaken system in relation to this important class of the community, were established in England during the reign of Elizabeth. In this State we have adopted almost literally the provisions of the British statutes; and we believe they have been treated with similar respect by the greatest part of the states in the union. The proper place for the reformation of the abuses to which they have led, are, we well know, the legislative chambers from which they have acquired their authority. Nevertheless it must be recollected, that however powerful may be the influence of the laws upon the state of society: the state of society in its turn has a paramount control over the laws. The extent and duration of the abuses of which we complain, present perhaps the greatest obstacle to a merely legislative remedy; and there seems but very little reason to hope that any remedy will be provided until private benevolence shall present an unquestionable experiment of some better plan for the relief of the poor than that which is established by law. It was not solely to indulge an inclination, which we confess amounts almost to a passion, to dwell upon the darling theme of our country's
history and its actual condition, that we have detained our readers with a generality of remark which may seem to have but little connexion with the subject under investigation-but it was for the purpose of showing that there never was any people whose institutions and character presented so few impediments to patriotism and philanthropy. Let this subject be considered in all its bearings; and in particular let it be remembered how few persons there are among us in so humble a condition as not to feel a strong. interest in the discussion of every topic which concerns the general welfare; and we are persuaded, there will not be many who will be inclined to interpose the cowardly objection that it is not now the time, or that it is now too late to reform, as a plea, either for procrastination, or despondency. Now, is almost always the ac cepted time; it is at this moment emphatically so. The attention of the Legislature has been lately invited to this subject by the Chief Magistrate of our state-that of the community, and parti ticularly of our own city, has been recently intreated by some of our most respectable citizens. Now is the time to decide what substitute, if any, shall be provided for our present cumbrous system of public charity. And most assuredly there are very few questions in which the community has so great an interest. If the expense of sup porting paupers, taking one with another, be not much less than the wages of common labour, and if every tenth person be a pauper-as was the case in our city the last winter-how formidable is that deduction from the annual product of the labour of the community, which is occasioned by pauperism? In estimating this amount we must consider the indolence, and consequent unproductiveness of the poor; and their charge upon the labour of others-and we must not forget how great a proportion of the whole population is to be rejected from the class of productive labourers, in the sense in which we are now considering that de scription of persons, on account of infancy, age, disease, indolence, the nature of their occupa tion, and their wealth.
In 1814 was formed the interesting Society whose first Report furnishes the occasion of these remarks. Their institution for the promotion of industry, has perhaps acquired more reputation than any other Charity-still we hardly know whether to rejoice or lament that its merits are so little known. Considering the comparatively scanty patronage which it has received, we should regard a just public sense of its excellence as the deepest reproach to the Community. The ladies who first published "The plan of the Society," are we believe entitled to, the exclusive honour of its origin, and we doubt not it will prove an impe rishable monument of their praise. To them, and to their companions, whose untiring benevolence has assisted in carrying this plan into successful practice; is secured a richer reward than any which human applause can bestow, in the good they have already done, and in that which they may be well assured will be the result of their efforts.
We shall now give a brief account of the na ture of this plan for the relief of the poor, by the promotion of industry-and shall afterward submit a few reasons for the opinion that it embraces the only salutary principles upon which extensive relief can ever be furnished to the indigent.
The first and the most important point is, to as certain who are to be the objects of the charity of this Society. These are, all those persons who are willing to work, "who cannot go to service or
otherwise earn a comfortable living, and who do not lead disorderly lives. It appears by one of the able and excellent Reports subjoined to the Constitution, that the construction put upon the clause respecting those "who cannot otherwise earn a comfortable living" furnishes a most salutary restriction of it; and we should have been pleased to have seen its words incorporated in that article of the constitution which we are considering. The construction we allude to, is expressed in terms less vague than those of the constitution, and is this, that the person applying for employment must be one who "cannot procure work elsewhere!" That the vicious may not be discouraged from reformation, for want of the means of subsistence, and that the Society may be enabled to substitute the salutary influences of industry, for the temptations and the depravity of idleness, a seasonable opportunity to return to habits of virtue and industry, is to be allowed to all, except those whose profligacy would make them offensive to others, or would furnish too strong an improbability of their amendment.
It will be taken for granted that all the persons employed by the Society, and all intended to be the immediate objects of its bounty, except the children who are allowed under certain circumstances to accompany their parents, are females. The Society having decided what persons shall be entitled to the benefits of their institution, goes on to appoint the mode in which these beneits shall be dispensed, or, in other words, the rules and regulations for the employment, government, and support of the poor who are in their service.
These regulations all show an uncommon degree of that good sense which adapts itself immediately to the business-concerns of life-but we have not time to notice any but the principal. The officers of the Society, whose services are gratuitous, are four Directresses, a Treasurer, a Secretary, and forty Managers. The 2nd. 3rd. and 4th. Directresses are to attend the House of Industry, (each of them a week in succession) one hour every morning. Their principal duty is to see what kind of employment is immediately needed, what kind of work is most profitable; to direct what purchases shall be made, and to keep memoranda of the conduct of the persons employed. The board of the Society meets once a month, and elects 12 of the managers for the ensuing mouth, eight of whom are to act as such in the house; two, to form a purchasing, and two an investigating Committee."
Four managers attend at a time. One manager superintends the knitting and sewing; keeps an account with each of the labourers, in which the articles they receive are charged when put out, and credited, when returned. It is her business also to see that the work is properly done, and to admonish the careless and unfaithful, or even punish them by reasonable deductions.
That it may be in her power to detect deficiencies that escape first examination, she is to furnish slips of paper, with numbers, of which she is to keep a register, and which are to be attached, by the persons who receive them, to their work when it is returned. The 2nd. manager has charge of the sales, fixes the prices of the articles; receives orders, attends to their execution; keeps an account of all moneys received, and collects all debts. The 3d. manager reads a chapter in the Bible every morning-superintends the spinners, carders, and winders as much as the first does; those who sew and knit attends to all applicauts. The fourth manager reads the rules, when ne
cessary, inspects the diligence of the seamstresses and knitters; has charge of all payments, and keeps an account of them. The purchasing committee attend, two days in the week, to consult with the visiting Directress, and receive and exe cute her directions for purchases. The name of the investigating Committee explains their duties -it is their business to ascertain the circumstances and character of all applicants who are unknown to any member of the Board. The duties of the Secretary and Treasurer will also be sufficiently understood by their name.
A house is provided, with apartinents appropriated to the varieties of work-where a great majority of those who are employed by the Society are assembled:-nevertheless, women who can furnish respectable recommendations, from housekeepers for whom they have laboured, are permitted to take work to their homes.
The Constitution, also, provides for the educa tion in sewing, knitting, reading, and writing, of the children of those who are employed in the House of Industry. This idea probably was first suggested for the sake of saving fuel to their parents during the time they should be from home. We are entirely convinced that there is no ground for regret that this part of the plan has not been carried into effect; because we think it is not desirable to unite objects, which are so entirely distinct, in themselves considered, as labour and education. It will, doubtless, be perceived that the duties of the different officers of the Society, in some particulars, trespass on each other--that they might be considerably simplified-and rendered less laborious. Nevertheless, it is impossible not to see that the plan of the Society is not the creature of fanciful or romantic benevolence; that it indicates great practical good sense; that it leaves very little room for retrenchment, and scarcely any for addition.
There are a few persons, who are fond of indulging the theory that charity should confine its aid, if not its compassions to the absolute helplessness of age, (denying it to that of infancy on account of its encouragement,) to population and to the bed of disease. But it should be remembered that we have been told that we shall always have the poor with us, and that no deafness to their petitions can exterminate them, or confine their number within these narrow limits. That charity, which has no tendency to multiply its objects, never can be wrong. There never can be any regulations, or any policy respecting the poor, which will put an end to the facinations of pleasure, or the seductions of passion -the prospect of future distress cannot always be successfully interposed between the mind and the present attraction-good fortune and ease, particularly when acting upon the excitableness of youth, will sometimes produce improvidenceand the delusions of hope will continue to be, with minds not sufficiently balanced, an overmatch for the warnings of experience. But there are other inevitable causes of pauperism, which are not attributable to the fault of the poor. principle of natural proportion between supply and demand, when applied to labour, is by no means so even in its operations as has been supposed. The transfers of property and capital, and consequently of employment, are often more easy than that of labour-the shiftings of fortune break up the connexions of business, and put an end to the influence of patronage-the failure of crops, the pressure of public calamity, the changes in foreign politics, and the opening and closing of foreign markets, diminish, and for a time, destroy the means of individual subsistence :-and besides
all this, there is an endless variety of individual misfortunes, and of domestic afflictions, which necessarily leave a large interval for charity to occupy, between a recovery from their visitation, and a return of the usual means of subsistence. The question then recurs, "how shall we provide for the poor?" There are a great many preventives of pauperism ably enumerated in the report accompanying the constitution of the NewYork Society for its prevention. The most important of those proposed in that report are, Savings Banks, Sunday Schools, the establishment of places of worship in the outer parts of the city, and the diminution of licensed shops for retailing spirituous liquors.
We are rejoiced that such men as Mr. Griscom, the chairman of the committee, who drafted that respectable report, have pledged their exertions for putting those preventives to the test of the fullest experiment. It is of the highest importance, however, that it should be understood that the prevention of pauperism is distinct from its relief; and that the relief of the poor naturally forms a separate and sufficiently extensive department of social charity. We do not perceive that they have any connexion whatever, in practice, except so far as the use or abuse of the means for the prevention of pauperism, may affect the inquiry as to the proper objects of relief.
duty to furnish the applicant with incentives to industry, or to direct him to the means of employment. Another evil of these laws, and which is partly the result of the one just mentioned is, to produce an overgrown, glutted population, and to cause a most unequal distribution of the burdens of pauperism. Any person may go where he pleases to gain a legal seulement, and if he afterward becomes a pauper he must be supported by the town where he has that settlement."
The constitution of the Society for the Promotion of Industry avoids, as far as is consistent with the desirable extent of its charity, both these evils. It holds out no certain expectation of mainte nance. That which is afforded, is to depend upon the character and ability, as well as the circumstances of the individual. It will not do to object that the minutest investigations cannot elude deception, for if this objection be admitted at all, it must abolish all obligations of charity until we can "look upon the heart" bare, as it is before its Maker.
There is no great danger that societies, like that for the promotion of industry, will ultimately tend to produce an excessive population, because they promise no certain support to the poor-because their charity depends upon character-and because the amount of it can always be graduated by the demand for labour.
give and those who receive; and there is nothing to obstruct the kindest affections that can exist be tween the indigent and their benefactors.
It is an important and necessary result of the principles of this society, and one which it is very important to notice, that the wages which it pays are not so high as their current rate. Were it act for this, it would be impossible to keep within the rule, that none are to be employed who can find work elsewhere. This regulation is also very important in another point of view which we shall notice in considering the main objection against the society.
The grand point in all schemes for the relief Again, it cannot be charged upon the institu of the poor, or at least, that which it has been tion we are considering, that it tends to diminish most difficult to attain, is so to regulate charity as the appropriate moral influences of charity. that it shall not multiply its objects. To make it There is not the espionage of a police, or the crusufficiently extensive, and yet to prevent this com- elty of task-masters on one side, nor is there, mon result, would leave scarcely any thing to be on the other, the impudence of legal claims, or accomplished, except to devise the mode in which the jealousy of incroachment. There is a friendthe relief administered would have the best morally and personal intercourse between those who effect. The most prolific source of our pauperism, next to intemperance, is in our judgment, to be found in our poor-laws. The prominent features of these laws are two. First they offer a certain relief, a sure asylum, a comfortable support, to all persons who belong to the state, or who entered it through the city of New-York, that is to say, did not come from some other state, and who are in indigent and necessitous circumstances. Second, the effect of setting apart a fund for public alms, and of establishing fixed and legal claims on it, is, to abolish the natural relation between those who give and those who receive, to give the character of jealous inquisitors to those who distribute, and of hungry insolent claimants to those who eat the bread of charity. We shall now endeavour to show that in neither of these respects, does there exist any resemblance between the plan of the Society for the Promotion of Industry, and the provisions of the poor-laws. It will be seen at once that the effect of those laws is to throw away all the salutary restraints upon improvidence, idleness, and vice, which are comprised in the apprehensions, and in all the uncertain images of want, of disgrace, and of starvation-and to throw wide open the doors of the alms-house, as an ultimate refuge to those who are too abandoned to find elsewhere either shelter or employment.
This monstrous result is the necessary effect of a certain provision for every individual who is, in the language of the statute, "in such indigent circumstances as to require relief," and to whom such allowance is to be made "as his necessities shall require." It is not practicable for the Justice or Justices who are to decide upon these circumstances and necessities, to inquire much farther than is necessary to ascertain the place of settlement of the pauper, and his actual indigence. It will never be considered a part of his official
This objection, and it is the most popular and the most philosophical that can be urged, is in substance this, that the only tendency of the socie ty is, to create artificial channels for labour which would otherwise be more profitably employed, and nearly as well paid. We have not time to enter at farge upon this extensive topic; but we would suggest in reply the following considerations. In the first place, this society tends to increase the demand for labour, and thus circulates wealth; because many purchases are made at the house of industry which would not be made elsewhere,-not because the articles are useless, for they are mostly of a substantial nature, but because the purchasers could do with out them. Second, there are many persons who have left one service, and expect soon to be engaged in another, who would employ the interva! in a house of industry, if there were one, and in idleness if there were not. Third, public and private calamities in all their varieties, of which we have before spoken, are constantly driving many from the service or employment to which they have been wonted, and compelling them to seek other, for the whole or perhaps only a part of their means of subsistence. Suppose there does exist a demand for the labour of these persons; many
will be discouraged from inquiring where it is, and all will find a more convenient and certain relief in a public institution. Fourth, a great many employers depending on immediate sales, are obliged in times of general depression to dismiss their labourers; then it is that the house of industry comes in, and divides the pressure between such gloomy periods and those which are more prosperous. Fifth, this diversion of labour from its natural channels, which is so much complained of, is more than compensated by the new character which it assumes, and the new school which it is placed in. Lastly, there cannot be much danger of such a forced diversion of labour so long as the wages paid by the society are less than those paid elsewhere.
We hope none will be disinclined to establish societies similar to this, on the ground of their heavy demand on the time of their officers. A very great portion of the business of the society might be transacted without loss to the poor by persons paid for that purpose.
It will naturally be asked what is to become of those objects of charity not provided for by this institution. They would diminish as rapidly as prudence would admit, and ultimately abolish all other institutions whatever, for the relief of pover ty or distress, except the hospital, the asylum for
orphan children, and one for the aged who are. without the means of support. The whole system of our poor-laws should as soon as possible be blotted from the statute book. Societies" for the promotion of industry" should be incorporated and munificently endowed; their officers should all be chosen by their members; and all services immediately affecting the character of the poor, or concerning their personal treatment, should be performed gratuitously.
We regret the want of time to show the success of the Society for the Promotion of Industry. Compared with their means, it has exceeded the most sanguine expectation. A statement of their accounts would show that their system finds one of its highest recommendations in its economy. We cannot conclude without recommending this society, and the plan of its institution to the most liberal patronage of individuals and of the public authorities, and we will not believe that it needs any other security for the support of either, than au acquaintance with its merits. It must depend upon the good sense and the liberality of the community to decide whether the society shall remain in its present reduced and embarrassed circumstances, or whether a fair and full experiment shall be made of the simplest and best institution that ever was contrived for the relief of the poor. R.
ART. 9. ORIGINAL COMMUNICATIONS.
Economical History of the Fishes sold in the Markets of the city of New-York. By Dr. Samuel Akerly.
FOR MARCH, 1818. 1. APODAL FISHES Anguilla vulgaris, Mitchill.
Gadus morhua Gadus aglefinus. Gadus tomcodus. Blennius ciliatus.
2. JUGULAR FISHES.
Labrus auritus. Mitch. Pond Fish.
Raja. Ray or Skate.
Common Eel. The markets in March were abundantly supplied with the common Eel. They were brought in great quantities in baskets, barrels, or other vehicles, and if the weather was favourable, their torpidity was followed by a return of suspended animation. They were taken as in the preceding months by spears thrust in the mud, where they were known to retire. The stalls were kept supplied by skinning and cleaning them VOL. II-No. VI.
as fast as the demand required. They were also sold prepared as stated in the preceding months, slit open partially, dried and tied up in bundles of two or three pounds. They would probably average six or seven cents per pound by retail from the stalls. The method of making a baked eel pye like chicken or bird pye, was mentioned in January. During the present month I purchased some eels for the purpose of making such a pye, but the cook by mistake made a pot-pye of them, and to the disappointment of all who ate them, they were found to afford, in this way, a savoury and substantial meal.
2. JUGULAR FISHES.
The common Cod and Haddock.-These fish continued to be exposed in great plenty, and found a ready sale at four cents per pound from the stalls just out of the pickle: Also sounds and tongues at eight cents. Pickled Codfish were offered by fishermen from Block Island at three cents the pound, or three dollars per hundred by the barrel.
There was an additional supply of fish in March beyond the months of January and February. In the early part of the month Long-Island sound was cleared of ice, and the fishing-smacks from the eastward had free access to New-York, and the numbers arriving with fresh Cod, reduced the price to four cents per pound. They are yet poor, though somewhat improved since last month. Dried Cod continued at five cents.
Tom Cods, or Frost fish, declined this month, though they were several times seen in market, in small bunches and in small quantities.
The Fringed Blenny.-My figure of this
fish is contained in the first plate of Dr. Mitchill's Memoir on the fishes of NewYork, as published with the transactions of the Literary and Philosophical Society of New-York. This fish appeared in market in March, taken off Sandy Hook with the Cod fish. It boils like the fresh cod, and tastes pretty much like it.
The Pond Fish, including both the Labrus auritus, and Labrus appendix, were offered in bunches. These fresh water fish were not in great plenty. They only served to increase the variety, and afford a choice for an excellent pan fish.
Striped Bass or Rock Fish. A plentiful supply of striped Bass was continued through March, and the weather was so fine during part of the month, that they were exposed alive on the fish stalls. They were in good order and well flavoured, certainly better than in the two preceding months, and rather cheaper.
Yellow and Red Perch. These fresh water fish are only fit for the pan or a chowder. They came from New-Jersey and Long Island, taken in the fresh water streams, or when they mingle with the salt water. They were offered in bunches, or those of the larger sizes singly, averaging about twelve and a half cents per pound. They are the bodianus flavescens and the bodianus rufus of the New-York fishes,
New-York Flat-Fish.-We have seen this fish, the pleuronectes planus, in January and February, in market in small numbers. But with the disappearance of ice and the approach of spring they have increased, and in March the stalls were well filled with
them, cheap, fresh, and good. They are only used as a pan fish.
Spring Mackerel.-Pickled Mackerel were in less demand in March, on account of the quantities of fresh fish which the markets afforded. This fish will not be in season till after the run of shad. It is the scomber vernalis of the New-York fish.
4. ABDOMINAL FISHES.
Common Salmon.-The salmo salar, or common salmon, continued to be offered in a pickled state at 10 and 12 cents per pound, by retail from the stalls, as early as the 20th of March. Fresh salmon was also in market at $1 per pound.
Trout. This fish is the Salmo fontinalis of Dr. Mitchill. It is one of the most delicious of our fishes, and formerly came to market throughout the year, but such small ones were offered for sale, and so poor at some seasons, that complaints were made to the Common Council, and they were prohibited to be offered for sale from 1st October to 15th March. Some of these excellent fish appeared in market immediately after the 15th, when the law allowed them to be brought. The subject of Trout and Shad was brought before the Corporation in 1817, and the Committee to whom that subject was referred, introduced a report which I offered
to the Committee. It is illustrative of the history of these fishes, and is as follows:
The Committee on the subject of probibiting the sale of certain fish at improper times reported.
That shad and fresh water trout are two of the most delicious fish that our markets afford, and are exposed for sale at improper seasons, when they are poor and unwholesome food, whereby the extinction of the race of these animals is threatened, and the health of those endangered who eat them at such times.
The Council beg to state some of the facts connected with the history of these fishes which will show the propriety of prohibiting the sale of them, when out of season. The shad is known to naturalists by the name of the Clupea alosa, and is sometimes seen on the coasts of Europe, but not in such im. mense shoals as on the coast of the United States. The shad pays an annual visit to the harbour of New-York, and descends the Hudson River to deposit its spawn, at which time it is very fat, and excellent eating. It generally appears in the beginning of April, and continues to ascend the river till the middle of May, when fat shad gradually decline, and by the end of the month totally disappear. After depositing their eggs they become thin and lean, and so altered in appearance as to look like a different fish. It is then they are known by the name of maugre or back-shad, and are taken coming back or descending the river in search of their accustomed haunts, in the recesses of the ocean, whither they go to feed and remain till the next spawning season. time need be fixed for the prohibition of the sale of shad that have spawned, but by pre
venting the sale of maugre or back-shad, the evils complained of may be remedied.
The fresh-water trout is the salmo fontinalis of the naturalists, and is taken in most of the streams in this state. Like most other fish it is a favourite food in the spawning season, and is poor and sickly at other times. The female is with roe in the spring and summer months, and in good condition from the middle of March to the beginning of October, and should not be brought to market during the rest of the year.
Wherefore the committee offer the following resolutions:
Resolved, that the market law be so amended that hereafter no maugre or backshad be offered for sale in this city under penalty of forfeiture.
Resolved, that no fresh water trout shall be offered for sale within the city from the 1st day of October to the 15th day of March, in any year, nor at any time weighing less than a half a pound, under penalty of forfeiture and that the Deputy Clerks of the markets be directed to attend to the execu tion of the provisions of the law. All which is respectfully submitted. SAML. AKERLY, JNO. B. COLES, JACOB LORILLARD.