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He cannot bear the same quantity of
fatigue as at an earlier period. He begins to earn less, and is
less capable of enduring wind and weather; and in those more retired
employments where much sight is required, he fails apace, and sees
himself, like an old horse, beginning to be turned adrift.

At sixty his labour ought to be over, at least from direct necessity.
It is painful to see old age working itself to death, in what are called
civilised countries, for daily bread.

To form some judgment of the number of those above fifty years of age,
I have several times counted the persons I met in the streets of London,
men, women, and children, and have generally found that the average is
about one in sixteen or seventeen. If it be said that aged persons
do not come much into the streets, so neither do infants; and a great
proportion of grown children are in schools and in work-shops as
apprentices. Taking, then, sixteen for a divisor, the whole number of
persons in England of fifty years and upwards, of both sexes, rich and
poor, will be four hundred and twenty thousand.

The persons to be provided for out of this gross number will be
husbandmen, common labourers, journeymen of every trade and their wives,
sailors, and disbanded soldiers, worn out servants of both sexes, and
poor widows.

There will be also a considerable number of middling tradesmen,
who having lived decently in the former part of life, begin, as age
approaches, to lose their business, and at last fall to decay.

Besides these there will be constantly thrown off from the revolutions
of that wheel which no man can stop nor regulate, a number from every
class of life connected with commerce and adventure.

To provide for all those accidents, and whatever else may befall, I take
the number of persons who, at one time or other of their lives, after
fifty years of age, may feel it necessary or comfortable to be better
supported, than they can support themselves, and that not as a matter of
grace and favour, but of right, at one-third of the whole number, which
is one hundred and forty thousand, as stated in a previous page, and
for whom a distinct provision was proposed to be made. If there be more,
society, notwithstanding the show and pomposity of government, is in a
deplorable condition in England.

Of this one hundred and forty thousand, I take one half, seventy
thousand, to be of the age of fifty and under sixty, and the other half
to be sixty years and upwards. Having thus ascertained the probable
proportion of the number of aged persons, I proceed to the mode of
rendering their condition comfortable, which is:

To pay to every such person of the age of fifty years, and until he
shall arrive at the age of sixty, the sum of six pounds per annum out of
the surplus taxes, and ten pounds per annum during life after the age of
sixty. The expense of which will be,

Seventy thousand persons, at L6 per annum L 420,000
Seventy thousand persons, at L10 per annum 700,000
-------
L1,120,000

This support, as already remarked, is not of the nature of a charity but
of a right. Every person in England, male and female, pays on an average
in taxes two pounds eight shillings and sixpence per annum from the day
of his (or her) birth; and, if the expense of collection be added, he
pays two pounds eleven shillings and sixpence; consequently, at the end
of fifty years he has paid one hundred and twenty-eight pounds fifteen
shillings; and at sixty one hundred and fifty-four pounds ten shillings.
Converting, therefore, his (or her) individual tax in a tontine, the
money he shall receive after fifty years is but little more than the
legal interest of the net money he has paid; the rest is made up from
those whose circumstances do not require them to draw such support, and
the capital in both cases defrays the expenses of government. It is on
this ground that I have extended the probable claims to one-third of
the number of aged persons in the nation.--Is it, then, better that
the lives of one hundred and forty thousand aged persons be rendered
comfortable, or that a million a year of public money be expended on
any one individual, and him often of the most worthless or insignificant
character? Let reason and justice, let honour and humanity, let even
hypocrisy, sycophancy and Mr. Burke, let George, let Louis,
Leopold, Frederic, Catherine, Cornwallis, or Tippoo Saib, answer the
question.*[35]

The sum thus remitted to the poor will be,

To two hundred and fifty-two thousand poor families,
containing six hundred and thirty thousand children L2,520,000
To one hundred and forty thousand aged persons 1,120,000
----------
L3,640,000

There will then remain three hundred and sixty thousand pounds out of
the four millions, part of which may be applied as follows:--

After all the above cases are provided for there will still be a number
of families who, though not properly of the class of poor, yet find it
difficult to give education to their children; and such children, under
such a case, would be in a worse condition than if their parents were
actually poor. A nation under a well-regulated government should permit
none to remain uninstructed. It is monarchical and aristocratical
government only that requires ignorance for its support.

Suppose, then, four hundred thousand children to be in this condition,
which is a greater number than ought to be supposed after the provisions
already made, the method will be:

To allow for each of those children ten shillings a year for the
expense of schooling for six years each, which will give them six months
schooling each year, and half a crown a year for paper and spelling
books.

The expense of this will be annually L250,000.*[36]

There will then remain one hundred and ten thousand pounds.

Notwithstanding the great modes of relief which the best instituted and
best principled government may devise, there will be a number of smaller
cases, which it is good policy as well as beneficence in a nation to
consider.

Were twenty shillings to be given immediately on the birth of a child,
to every woman who should make the demand, and none will make it whose
circumstances do not require it, it might relieve a great deal of
instant distress.

There are about two hundred thousand births yearly in England; and if
claimed by one fourth,

The amount would be L50,000

And twenty shillings to every new-married couple who should claim in
like manner. This would not exceed the sum of L20,000.

Also twenty thousand pounds to be appropriated to defray the funeral
expenses of persons, who, travelling for work, may die at a distance
from their friends. By relieving parishes from this charge, the sick
stranger will be better treated.

I shall finish this part of the subject with a plan adapted to the
particular condition of a metropolis, such as London.

Cases are continually occurring in a metropolis, different from those
which occur in the country, and for which a different, or rather an
additional, mode of relief is necessary. In the country, even in large
towns, people have a knowledge of each other, and distress never rises
to that extreme height it sometimes does in a metropolis. There is no
such thing in the country as persons, in the literal sense of the word,
starved to death, or dying with cold from the want of a lodging. Yet
such cases, and others equally as miserable, happen in London.

Many a youth comes up to London full of expectations, and with little
or no money, and unless he get immediate employment he is already half
undone; and boys bred up in London without any means of a livelihood,
and as it often happens of dissolute parents, are in a still worse
condition; and servants long out of place are not much better off. In
short, a world of little cases is continually arising, which busy or
affluent life knows not of, to open the first door to distress. Hunger
is not among the postponable wants, and a day, even a few hours, in such
a condition is often the crisis of a life of ruin.

These circumstances which are the general cause of the little thefts
and pilferings that lead to greater, may be prevented. There yet remain
twenty thousand pounds out of the four millions of surplus taxes, which
with another fund hereafter to be mentioned, amounting to about twenty
thousand pounds more, cannot be better applied than to this purpose. The
plan will then be:

First, To erect two or more buildings, or take some already erected,
capable of containing at least six thousand persons, and to have in each
of these places as many kinds of employment as can be contrived, so that
every person who shall come may find something which he or she can do.

Secondly, To receive all who shall come, without enquiring who or what
they are. The only condition to be, that for so much, or so many hours'
work, each person shall receive so many meals of wholesome food, and a
warm lodging, at least as good as a barrack. That a certain portion of
what each person's work shall be worth shall be reserved, and given to
him or her, on their going away; and that each person shall stay as long
or as short a time, or come as often as he choose, on these conditions.

If each person stayed three months, it would assist by rotation
twenty-four thousand persons annually, though the real number, at all
times, would be but six thousand. By establishing an asylum of this
kind, such persons to whom temporary distresses occur, would have an
opportunity to recruit themselves, and be enabled to look out for better
employment.

Allowing that their labour paid but one half the expense of supporting
them, after reserving a portion of their earnings for themselves, the
sum of forty thousand pounds additional would defray all other charges
for even a greater number than six thousand.

The fund very properly convertible to this purpose, in addition to
the twenty thousand pounds, remaining of the former fund, will be the
produce of the tax upon coals, so iniquitously and wantonly applied to
the support of the Duke of Richmond.



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