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circumstances may authorise that interference, cannot be, with any advantage to the subject, described in general terms. But that no rights are in reality infringed by taking a fund destined to support the poor in a way likely to increase their numbers, and using it so as to perform some act of charity without increasing the numbers of charitable objects, seems abundantly evident. No man can be supposed to have desired the existence of paupers; every donor assumed that, independently of his bounty, there were such needy persons in being, and he intended to relieve them. Could he have foreseen that an alteration in the form of his gift must reduce their numbers, he would have adopted it. In like manner, the poor are not, with reference to this point, an existing body of persons, like the church or any other corporation, who have rights of property. They form a class into which no man enters voluntarily, and whatever restricts their numbers by diminishing poverty, benefits the community. So that no violation of property would be committed by using any fund given to the poor, in a manner different from its original destination, provided the result were infallibly to lessen their numbers, and still to employ it in works of charity. We both accurately and conveniently speak of the poor as a body having rights, when we complain of those who have misapplied their property by converting it to their
But the class of paupers cannot with any correctness of speech be said to be defrauded by an act which keeps others from entering into it. This injury can only be done to persons who were manifestly never in the donor's view, persons voluntarily making themselves paupers, to take advantage of the gift.
"But let it not be imagined that the general recovery of charitable funds from the hands by which they are mismanaged, would afford no direct relief to the country. Even if applied rigorously, according to the principles which I have stated, they would produce an almost immediate diminution in the numbers of the poor, and would support many who at present are left to parochial relief. The effects of a course of treatment tending to raise the character of the lowest classes, are very generally underrated. The experiments which have been made in Switzerland, and of which an account will be found in my evidence before the committee, sufficiently show how much
may be expected from a system at once rational and benevolent. There is no necessity for carrying it so far as has there been done, but the principles are the same in every degree to which they may be adopted. We have also uniformly found in the committee, that the improvement of children, produces an immediate effect upon the parents who have been brought up in rude and dissolute habits, inspiring them with better sentiments, and graduVOL. XIII. Pam.
ally meliorating their condition." If all the proper measures were adopted for thus striking at the root of the evil, it would obviously be much safer than it now is to apply part of the funds already disposable, or which may be regained, to the ordinary purposes of charity; and they might thus afford an important relief to the landowner, during the period that must be consumed in the transition from the present unnatural state of the system, to a more healthful and happy condition.
I must, however, forbear to enter further into this wide field of discussion. Our subject is confined within narrower limits. The point to which the attention of the country should first be directed, is the rescue of charitable funds from mismanagement, and their restoration to the purposes for which they were created. Upon the justice of this course there 'can exist no difference of opinion. Upon its expediency as compared with the abandonment of them to thriftless or selfish hands, the decision seems equally clear. What further steps may be advisable, is a question that may be reserved for a later stage of the inquiry. But I should have acted unfairly, if I had omitted here to bring forward, though very generally and imperfectly, the principles which in my humble opinion should guide us in resolving that question also; because false expectations might have been raised on the one hand, or equally groundless despondence been produced on the other.
I ever am,
H. BROUGHAM. Temple, Aug. 20, 1818.
TO THE ENGLISH EDITION.
The contest between the provinces of South America and Spain has, from the beginning, been viewed with no ordinary interest in this country. It is impossible, indeed, to exaggerate the importance of the stake for which the parties are contending. The provinces in question, in spite of the narrow and illiberal policy of Spain, have now attained a sufficient degree of strength to vindicate their right to the uncontrolled enjoyment of the blessings which nature has scattered with so lavish a hand on their country. If they succeed in this great object, a boundless field will be opened to domestic improvement and foreign commerce; if they fail, the power which reduced them to subjection, can never for a moment forget, that every addition to their resources and prosperity must add to the insecurity of her tenure. On the issue of this contest, therefore, will depend the prosperity or devastation of South America.
In the independence and prosperity of South America, two nations are particularly interested--the United States and Great Britain. The United States and Great Britain are the countries which possess the most extensive commerce, and therefore they are the most interested in any extension of the field of commercial activity. Great Britain, however, is also the greatest manufacturing country in the world, and the opening of a continent, abounding in all sorts of raw produce, to her manufacturing industry, gives her a much deeper interest in the issue than the United States, of which the manufacturers will long be unable to stand in competition with the British.
The inhabitants of the nite States are not blind to the advantages which the independence of South America will ensure to them. They allow that the chief benefit will be derived by
Britain ; but they think that the share which will remain to them will be far from inconsiderable. We are not to wonder then that the inhabitants of the United States, independently of all sympathy which a people engaged in a struggle similar to their own, should take a warm interest in the contest. From their proximity to the countries which are the theatre of hostilities, they have many opportunities of obtaining information with respect to the situation and prospects of the contending parties, that are denied to us. The judgment therefore which that people (who are generally allowed to be no less alive to their interest, than good judges of the best means of advancing it) form on a question like that between Spain and her colonies, ought deservedly to have great weight in this country
The following pamphlet is the production of an American, and is understood to speak the sentiments, not merely of the people of America in general, but also of the American government. The author of it is, a Mr. Brackenridge, the son of the late Judge. Brackenridge, an individual of considerable consequence in America. Mr. Brackenridge is now employed by the American government, in the capacity of secretary in the commission recently appointed to proceed to South America in the Congress frigate. This pame phlet must therefore be viewed as in some degree official, for the American government would never have selected to the important office of secretary to this commission, a man who had espoused so warmly the cause of the South Americans, if his sentiments had, not been shared by themselves. Though the name of the author is not affixed to the American edition, yet in the several news papers of that country, he is alluded to without any reserve ; and we think it but justice to the merits of the publication, and the intention which gave rise to it, that the friends of this cause should
he person to whom they are indebted for it. Feb. 6, 1818.