« AnteriorContinuar »
THE LABOURING POOR, THE CLERGY, SELECT VESTRIES, AND OVERSEERS
PARISHES IN ENGLAND.
BY HENRY JOHN BOULTON, Esq.,
of the Hon. Society of the Middle Temple,
HIS MAJESTY'S SOLICITOR-GENERAL FOR THE
PROVINCE OF UPPER CANADA.
of my own suffering countrymen, I trust I shall experience the charitable consideration of those in the higher classes of society, who may chance to read what I have said on the subject of colonization.
OBSERVING the state of pauperism which exists in many parishes that I have visited since my return to England from Upper Canada, and reflecting upon the facility of the improvement of the poor in those parishes, if they knew how to improve and had the means of bettering their condition; I have thought that I could not better employ a few hours, than in opening to their view a country to which I have emigrated with advantage, in order that they might avail themselves of the great benefits which I have seen accrue to the poorest colonists, by pursuing the plan
here proposed. My observations exclusively apply to the case of able-bodied labourers, for whose labour no real demand exists, and who are consequently thrown upon the parish.
The love of one's country is certainly a virtue of the highest order, but the love of one's children and family is one of still greater value; and, therefore, I ask which is the more worthy an Englishman? to live with his family in the village in which he was born, dependent upon the necessarily parsimonious hand of a parish officer, or to emigrate to a healthy and flourishing Colony, under the same crown, where his usefulness will demand and ensure that respect which is due to his nature, and where he will command by his own exertions a much more plentiful supply of the necessaries of life.
The poor-laws have a demoralizing influence, and an able-bodied Englishman ought to be ashamed of taking advantage of them, if it be possible for him to maintain his own independence by his labour; but if no means of maintaining it exist, he is necessarily justified
in preferring the degradation which such a resort imposes on him, to the alternative of absolute want. It is stated that paupers have often times brought themselves within the law for the purpose of obtaining the usual relief. But how great a sacrifice of self. respect, and of every just and sound feeling, must be made before such a claim could be preferred !
In Upper Canada, the emigrant, if not so habituated to idleness as to neglect the advantages the country holds out to him, can in two or three years earn sufficient money to purchase fifty acres of freehold land. He then becomes a juror, an elector of his own representative in Parliament, whose vote is canvassed with as much care as that of the squire in the parish he left behind him; and finds himself respected and looked up to, as one of the yeomanry of the country. He sees his family growing up around him, all looking forward with a full assurance of equal independence when they arrive at man's estate. This is no picture of my own fancy,