Page images
PDF
EPUB

and therefore endeavour to settle themselves in those parishes where is the best stock, the largest commons and wastes to build cottages, and the most woods for them to burn and destroy; and when they have consumed it, then to another parish, and at last become rogues and vagabonds, to great discouragement of parishes to provide stock, when it might be destroyed by strangers.” By the 1st of James II. c. 17. forty days were to be accounted after notice given. By the 3d and 4th of William and Mary, c. 11. it was further required that notice should be had at the church, and a statute of the 8th and 9th of the same reign enacted the machinery of certificates, that has since in a great measure been done away. The recent act of Mr. East, or the 35th of George III. restrains removal till the party becomes actually chargeable. Extending the power of requiring settlements was calculated at the moment to benefit both individuals and the public. Ineonveniencies have arisen from it that were not foreseen, so true is it that political wisdom changes with the state of society. This is now become one of the most prominent evils of the system. I should propose to bring back settlements to their original simplicity, that of birth and residence; and in case of marriage the husband's settlement to become that of the wife. Nothing surely can be more reasonable, that a life spent

in active labor should convey a right of settlement: it is to be supposed his services have contributed to the wealth and prosperity of the spot. At the close of life to separate him from all his connexions and acquaintances, and transport him to a place where all memory of time is lost, is an act of unjustifiable cruelty.

In order to remedy a great evil arising out of the present system of settlements, I would propose a power should be given to parishes to purchase settlements for their supernumerary hands, so that when from a change of circumstances they were incapable of finding work for all their labourers, they should be at liberty to look out and transfer them to such quarters as they could be employed in with advantage. The public and the individuals would be mutually gainers by the exchange.

The effect of establishing parish funds would undoubteda ly be to raise the wages of the labourer in those districts, where an advance on the poor rates constitutes a part of the payment: this would, in the view I have taken of the subject, be for the advantage of all parties. It is to be hoped that the price of the necessaries of life will, when once fairly settled, be less subject to those variations which bear so hard on the working classes.

I have some doubts whether I may not have estimated the produce of agricultural labor too high, in supposing the gains of each family calculated, as consisting of six persons, to amount to thirty shillings. I have, however, premised, that I would in no instance take more than 4d. and that sum not to exceed a thirtieth part of the earnings of the party. That the difficulties which will attend this, or any other material change of system, are great, cannot be denied : I do not anticipate opposition from the quarter where many look for it, I mean on the part of the laboring poor. The comforts the plan holds out to them will be felt and appreciated; it will afford them many solid consolations, and exempt them from sufferings which can only be tolerated from the oppressive burdens now imposed, the benefit of which reaches not the poor.

Grateful to the House for the indulgence they have shown me, I shall not trespass longer on their time. I am fully sensible of the importance of the subject, I again repeat

the apologies I offered at the outset : I am sensible the plan I have suggested, under the most favorable construction, will require much amendment to adapt it to practice. In one point I believe there is a general concurrence of opinion, that a remedy must be sought for to put a stop to an evil that cannot much longer be endured. A due regard to the happiness and comfort of the laboring classes demands this of us, not less than the indispensable necessity of relieving a great part of the community from burdens destructive of their industry and comforts. On these grounds, sir, I shall move that a select committee be appointed, to take into their consideration the laws relative to the maintenance and support of the poor. From their labors I anticipate such suggestions as may aid the House in adopting a system that will restore the laboring people their independence, and with it an increase of happiness; and at the same time augment industry, and thereby promote the general prosperity of the empire.

A

DISSERTATION

ON THE

ELEUSINIAN AND BACCHIC

MYSTERIES.

Εν ταις ΤΕΛΕΤΑΙΣ καθαρσεις ηγούνται και περιρραντηρια και αγνισμοι,

α των εν απορρητοις δρωμενων, και της του θειου μετουσιας γυμνασ ματα εισιν.

Procli MS, Com. in Plat. Alcib. I.

BY THOMAS TAYLOR,

TRANSLATOR OF ARISTOTLE, PLATO, &c.

SECOND EDITION, WITH ALTERATIONS.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

ADVERTISEMENT,

As there is nothing more celebrated than the mysteries of the antients, so there is perhaps nothing which has hitherto been less solidly known. Of the truth of this observation, the liberal reader will, 1 persuade myself, be fully convinced from an attentive perusal of the following sheets; in which the secret meaning of the Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries is unfolded, from authority the most respectable, and from a philosophy of all others the most venerable and august, The authority, indeed, is principally derived from manuscript writings, which are of course in the possession of but a few; but its respectability is no more lessened by its con, cealment, than the value of a diamond when secluded from the light. And as to the philosophy, by whose assistance these mysteries are developed, it is coeval with the universe itself; and however its continuity may be broken by opposing systems, it will make its appearance at different periods of time, as long as the sun himself shall continue to illuminate the world. It has, indeed, and may hereafter, be violently assaulted by delusive opinions ; but the opposition will be just as imbecil as that of the waves of the sea against a temple built on a rock, which majestically pours them back,

Broken and vanquished foaming to the main,

« PreviousContinue »