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This is indeed a very heavy part of their burden, and there are cases in which they must be assisted to bear it. It has therefore been asked, would it not even be a good investment of money, to build a number of houses expressly for the poor, which shall be rented to them for half, or two thirds the sum, which they must now pay for rooms, far inferior to those that might be thus provided for them ? This, without doubt, would be to the families which should be so accommodated, a great good. But it must be considered, that the high rents required of the poor arise from the excess in the number of the poor among us. If, then, we build more habitations for them, shall we lessen, or increase this excess ? Ought we not rather to do what we may, to induce those who can well be spared, to leave the city, and to seek in the country for the employment which they cannot find here? I believe that an enlarged christian kindness strongly requires of us, in this way to seek a diminution of the number of our poor. And let the number be diminished of those who want the rooms occupied by the poor, and the rents of these rooms will soon find their proper level. This is the only way in which I think that this evil is to be effectually remedied.

Another inquiry, which has often been proposed, is, may not some new modes be found of employing the poor? Or, may we not do something for the female poor, by establishing another house for employing those who cannot elsewhere find employment ?

Here the same difficulty again occurs. We shall thus ultimately increase that very excess, which we should endeavor to lessen. We shall thus offer a most effectual encouragement to the

poor of the country, to come here for the labor, with which we thus offer to supply them. And having thus kept those among us, who might other. wise have left us, and even increased their number, it will be found, after all, that we have relieved but a very few, in comparison with the whole; that we have given a re

lief, for which but little gratitude will be felt,--for there will be more complaints of the lowness of wages under such circumstances, than of thanks for wages received ; and if, in the work thus given, we shall have lessened the demand for similar work a few months hence,-and this will be almost a necessary consequence


considerable establishment for the purpose,-we shall but have deferred their sufferings for a few months, perhaps then to have increased them. This is therefore a measure,

the adoption of which, it seems to me, would be unwise. Unnecessary and useless work 1. ust occasion ultimate loss somewhere ; and, indirectly ai least, even to the laborers employed upon it; for it so far disenables their employers to continue to employ them. And the work, in any department even of useful labor, which has furnished a supply beyond demand, must equally, if not still more, check the operations of employers; and thus bring distress on those, who depend for the means of subsistence on daily labor.

A third inquiry which has been made is, would it not be advisable to establish two or three soup-houses, and perhaps two or three depositories of vegetables, to which the greatly suffering part of the poor might go two or three times in a week, for the small supplies which{might there be dealt out to them ?

Establishments of this kind are well known in Europe, and they have been adopted in some cities of our own country, in times of great distress among


And they are, without doubt, means of relieving the necessities of many, who should in some way be assisted. But I have as little doubt whether they are means of increasing the pauperism of a city. It must be seen, at once, how direct will be their tendency to bring idlers and vagrants from the country, who would much rather, in this way be supplied with food at their own homes, however mean and miserable those homes might be, than

live in subjection to the discipline of a country alms house. It will be impossible, too, in these establishments, to maintain a principle of discrimination. The indolent and intemperate will therefore not only obtain their full share of this bounty, but they will sell that which you give them for food, for the very means of indulging the intemperance, which is, perhaps, above all others, the cause of their poverty and sufferings. Nor is it an unimportant consideration, that these establishments, having once begun, it will be believed by those for whom they are intended, will be continued ; and they will be looked to for the means of living in the winter. The excitement to personal effort for provision for the future will therefore be proportionally checked.

There are not many who will put forth all their energies for their families, if they can look with confidence to a foreign supply of their wants. This is as true indeed, of those in the more favored classes of society, as among the poor; and it would be happier for many of the young in these classes, if they were reared under a stronger sense of the dependence of their condition through life, upon their personal exertions for respectability and for fortune. We are not knowingly to entrench on the law of God's providence, that every man shall do what he can for himself, and for those of his own household. In a century or two hence, if we are to go in the unchristian course in which other cities have gone, establishments of this kind may be necessary here. But it is hoped, before they shall be resorted to, that due inquiry will be made respecting their tendencies, and their consequences, where they have been adopted,

Is it asked, then, how should we act, or what is it our duty to do, in this very difficult work of provision for the poor of our city?

Before I give my opinion upon this question, I may be allowed to exonerate myself from a suspicion, to which

I feel that I may be exposed, by the precautions which I have suggested, in relation to the exercise of our charity. It may be said, that I have learned to look upon the poor, rather in the light in which they are seen by the political economist, than as a Christian. But I answer, that I should esteem that to be a false and injurious principle in political economy, which is not in perfect consistency with Christian morality. I would, however, consider the Christian precepts, in regard to the poor, as I would the language of the New Testament respecting the rich, in connexion with those qualifications, which other precepts of our religion, as well as good common sense, require us to employ in the practical interpretation of them. While, therefore, I would understand and feel, that the poorest of human beings, equally as the richest, is a child of God ; that every human being, however poor, and however degraded, has a common nature with him who is the most favoured, and is his brother; that for our means and opportunities of instructing the ignorant, of supplying the wants of the destitute, and of recovering the most debased to virtue and to God, we are finally to give account to him who has made us to differ, and who has entrusted us with these means, that we might be the instruments of his benevolence to our fellow creatures ; and while I would feel all the power of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the blessedness of the privilege to which we may be advanced by them, “inasmuch as ye have fed the hungry, and clothed the naked, and visited the sick and the prisoner, ye have shown this kindness unto me;" I would yet remember also, that our religion, with equal distinctness, teaches us, if not in its letter, yet in its spirit, that we are not by our charity to encourage

idleness and vice, and thus to increase and perpetuate pauperism and misery. As we are not to do evil that good may come, so neither are we to mistake that for goodness, which a little judgment and foresight might

teach us would inevitably lead to evil. As, therefore, I think it to be the christian duty of parishes in the country to take the charge of their own poor, and faithfully to provide for their own, who cannot provide for themselves, I would say, let us act upon this sentiment. And I think that the inhabitants of a city are acting for the best good of that part of the very poor among them, who belong to the country, by using all fair and christian means of inducing them to return, or of sending them, to the places from which they came, where they will be far less exposed to vice, and where their wants may at least be equally well supplied. And let us do what we thus may for the relief of the city, as long as our social institutions exist, and human nature remains as it is, we shall always have a great number of poor among us, to whom it will not be more our duty, than it should be our happiness, to do good as far as God shall enable us. Nor is it desirable that we should have no poor among us. Nay, it is even desirable to awaken more of the spirit of Christian charity, than now exists among us.

I have spoken of the fame of our benevolence. But, in truth, the more favored classes of our society are very far behind the requisitions of our religion, in regard to their duties towards the poor. But I comprehend in the term charity, as does our religion, far more than almsgiving. I shall have occasion, however, again to refer to this subject. I would now only say, that as Christians, we may, and should aim, not alone at the greatest immediate, but at the greatest ultimate good. We should do good at the expense, and even at the hazard, of the least possible evil. We should make alms-giving, as far as possible, to minister not only to comfort, but to piety and virtue. This will be found at once to be the truest economy, as well as a just exposition of Christian duty. And in proportion as we can rise to this benevolence, it will doubly bless both him that gives, and him that receives.

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