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it is what I have seen delineated a hundred times in real life.
If paupers had no means of improving their condition, and were bound by misfortune to endure these ills, I trust I should be the last man, who would wantonly insult suffering humanity; but when people in this state will absurdly talk of the hardships attending emigration, and the violence which the thought does to their feelings, I must confess I can feel little compassion for such folly.
I must, however, do the majority of those to whom I have spoken, the justice to say, that they have manifested a strong desire to go to Upper Canada, or anywhere else, were a ray of hope was held out to them of bettering either themselves or their families by the change, and have complained of the want of means to remove themselves to any of the colonies.
And this brings me to say a word or two to the vestries, clergy, and overseers of the poor in the different parishes.
“ Increase and multiply and replenish the earth," says the great Author of the Uni
verse; but the crowded state of the population of this part of the Island, has induced a state of society incompatible with this great command.
People in moderate circumstances are deterred from marrying, for fear of bringing both themselves and their offspring to penury and want. And those of better fortunes are more solicitous to form a sort of matrimonial partnership, founded upon pecuniary equality, than an alliance cemented by mutual love and affection, which are the only sure guarantees of future felicity.
Among the lower classes matrimony is discouraged by the more opulent, lest they should in the end be called upon to maintain their progeny. And though I am no enemy to “ love in a cottage,” yet I must confess, that love under a hedge is but a chilly dalliance; and therefore I cannot blame those who discourage marriage amongst persons who have no visible means of supporting their families.
This state of society is not a matter of astonishment, it is the natural consequence of the wealth and prosperity of the nation, combined with our insular situation. That it exists there can be no doubt, and that a remedy for the evils arising out of it is loudly called for, is equally obvious, and what that remedy must be, I consider equally apparent, namely, emigration. To replenish the earth is to emigrate from those portions of it where the inhabitants have already increased and multiplied, and, therefore, instead of enacting poor-laws, to support a superfluous population, which, in spite of all the miseries attendant upon the prospective pauperism of the offspring of indigent marriages, still continues to increase, means should be adopted to give vent to that part of our population which otherwise will become burthensome.
This I consider to be not merely essential in a political point of view to the well-being and prosperity of the nation, but in a moral and religious sense, to be the duty of those who have the management of the poor confided to them.
When Abram and Lot returned out of Egypt, and found, from the strifes among their herdsmen, that their flocks and herds were so great, that the land was not able to bear them, “ Abram said unto Lot, let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee ? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me.
And Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld all the Plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere. Then Lot chose him all the Plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east; and they separated themselves one from the other."
And this practice has been adopted in all succeeding ages of the world to the present time, and by no nation more successfully, either in a political, moral, or religious sense, than our own
But though we have done much, I think we have not done any thing like enough.
When a strife arose among the herdsmen of Abram and Lot, we do not find penal laws enacted, to repress and punish evils, arising, as a natural consequence, from the land not being able to bear them, that they might dwell together," but we find that the great patriarch proposed the natural remedy for the natural disorder, viz., to remove the cause by a friendly separation ; and Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan, and journeyed eastward."
The same crisis has long ago arisen in England. The population is so great, “ that the land is not able to bear them ;” and with a view to alleviate the consequent distress which has followed, I humbly but strenuously recommend the poor of this country to choose them the fertile valley of the St. Lawrence, which they will find “ well watered everywhere."
No man, I apprehend, will venture to deny that nine-tenths of the crime which we see daily punished in this kingdom arises from the delinquents having no visible means of obtaining an honest livelihood; and therefore it is the duty of those, who have it in their