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This growing evil of our country, like many others, has so far pursued its bold and onward course, presenting a bold front, pressed on by an accumulating rear. Relief has been the watchword with the benevolent; Causes and Remedy, have but recently been traced and proposed, and are now arresting the attention of the public mind in this city.
Prodigality is the great first cause—the others are secondary, and minor. By prodigality, I mean, a waste of Intellect, Time, and Money, the three great secondary causes of Pauperism. Intellect is wasted by ignorance or perversion; time is Avasted by idleness; and money, by an unnecessary and criminal expenditure. Darkened or perverted intellect, gives a wrong direction to the mind, poisons it with false principles, and often diverts the body from the path of rectitude and useful employment. Idleness is the teeming hotbed of vice, from grossness, up to refinement—every avenue of which, leads to Pauperism.
Useless and criminal expenditures of money lead to the same goal, from the unnecessary smoking of a cigar, drinking alcoholic poison, patronizing hells of blacklegs, or living and dressing beyond the income; up to the extravagant outlays of the rich, who pamper pride, by making a pompous show, to attract the admiring gaze of those of the multitude, who have more fancy than brains, and more vanity than common sense; retaining an infantile taste for glittering gewgaws, as long as they live; thinking every thing gold that shines.
In the abstract, idleness is the great producer of pauperism—the reservoir of vice and crime.
A minor secondary cause of Pauperism, is improvidence, or a want of judgment and experience in doing business, and using money. A system of education should be introduced, to remedy this evil.
Another minor cause may be found, in the liberal provision made by the benevolent, for paupers. In many persons, this has induced idleness, and an expenditure of money for articles not indispensably requisite, knowing, that some of the benevolent institutions would provide for their wants. If we had no almshouses, Dorcas Societies, or Soup Associations; there are many who would lay up a store for winter, that now depend upon them, and even speculate from them. I remember a case in point. A woman, a beneficiary of a Soup Society, called in the afternoon of a day, for four quarts of soup. She was reminded that she had been served in the morning—"True," said she-r-" but sure, haven't I taken four boarders since?"
Another cause of increasing Pauperism is, the large number imported from Europe. Congress should prevent this. I would not dispense with eleemosynary institutions, but I would recommend a more rigid discipline. We have long been devising and adopting plans of relief, but a remedy has but recently been suggested, that seemed to promise success—that remedy is the Bible, and the religion there inculcated. It is a fact worthy of notice, that more than ninety-nine out of a hundred of the paupers in this city, are not members of Bible churches. This fact has more force, than a volume of fine-spun arguments. Virtue and industry are the necessary results of pure Bible religion. St. Paul said, lie that will not work shall not eat. If all will work, who are able, and make a judicious use of their earnings, we should have but few paupers, and those, the really unfortunate. Bring all under the influence of the Bible, pauperism would be reduced ninety per cent., the day that is accomplished. Let the philanthropist look around in the churches where the Bible has free course, and he will be astonished to find scarcely a pauper there, and that pauper supported by the church of which he or she is a member, and not a beneficiary of any other institution.
A GLANCE AT HUMAN NATURE — SELECT AND ORIGINAL.
Some make large figures on a public subscription, who spurn the famishing poor from their door. Some enter zealously into laudable plans, if originated by themselves, not otherwise. Some are greatly moved by trifles, who bear heavy calamities with fortitude. Some preach virtue, but practise vice. Some censure pride in the devotees of fashion, and are themselves just as proud, in being out of fashion. Some husbands and wives are all love, dove, dear, and honey, when abroad; their ill-nature they keep for domestic use, and go abroad but seldom. Some are so uneven in their temper, that at one time, nothing can anger them, at other times, nothing can please them; others are like punk-wood, quick to take fire, and quick to go out; others are slow to anger—but when offended, usually stay so for life.
Some feel deeply their own misfortunes, but those of others, they view with calmness. Some are free to volunteer their own advice, but spurn the advice of others—being overwise in their own conceit—more hopeless cases than fools. Those who crouch and fawn to superiors, are usually tyrannical masters. Some change their friends often, and like the last ones best. Some practise affectation to appear large, and render themselves ridiculous. Some base their faith and opinions on some leading star, or the multitude, hot on their own judgment and reflection. Some create suspicions of dishonesty, by too great professions of honesty. Some mistake taciturnity for wisdom, and stupidity for gravity.
Some ladies of fashion affect extreme sensibility by their looks, manners, and tones of voice; and are so tender hearted, as to weep over high-life scenes of fiction, portrayed in a novel; but can view, with stoic indifference, the vulgar poor, objects of real distress, that have legitimate claims on their charity. Cosmopolite philosophers have a large fund of speculative benevolence, consisting in words—not deeds. They are true to their prototype, Seneca, who was very wealthy, wrote an admirable essay on charity, but never gave any thing to the necessitous.
We have another class of bipeds, who seek to ease their guilty consciences, by commuting for neglects and trespasses, hard dealing and close shaving, by a grave and punctilious attendance at church on Sunday. Distance, mud, and storm; are no barriers. The devil delights in such servants. Some have too much religion in theory, and too little in practice. Some will wrangle for it, others will write for it, some will fight for it, others will die for it; but there are too few who live for it; after the precepts and examples of its great Author. In two things, false professors of all religions have agreed—to persecute all other sects, and plunder their own.
The pillow is the throne of conscience, and the citadel of reflection. It is there, that the world is shut out; there, conscience will be heard; there, reflection enforces attention. There, the grand review of life, and especially of the past day, week or month, takes place. There, errors are corrected, or plans laid to increase them—there, resolutions are formed—good or bad; but there, more than any where, conscience corrects the bad, and enforces the good. On the pillow, we analyze our plans of business, our judgments are more settled, we discover what is wrong, and abandon it; and are more strongly confirmed in what is right. The good man buries his resentments in the pillow, and the wicked are often conquered by reflection, and, on the pillow, nobly resolve to forsake their wickedness, and return to the paths of virtue. The pillow often cools burning revenge, and drives anger from the heaving bosom.
On the pillow, the Christian delights to hold communion with Him who protects him by day, and guards him by night. He can there review the numerous blessings of which he is the happy recipient, reflect upon the immortality of the soul, offer up his silent and undisturbed prayers for himself, his relatives and friends, and the whole human family. The philanthropist can there devise and digest plans for the amelioration of the human family, undisturbed and in quiet. But, oh! the