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if we add our pauperism to our criminals, we shall find out exactly how costly this fringe of society is ; namely, we, the tax-payers of England, those who will work and mind their business, pay for the twelve months of this ragged, draggled fringe around the rich robe of their comfort, £11,327,991 ; and if we were to take into consideration the actual loss to the nation of so many strong bodies and active minds, deducted from the productive industry of the country, we should be putting the amount at a low figure if we were to say that our crime and our poverty cost us some hundred of millions of pounds sterling a year !
This is certainly not a very cheerful contemplation ; nevertheless, it must be looked at. We do not wish to exaggerate the blackness of the look-out. In all ages we have had crime, folly, knaves, and fools; and very expensive have they always been to us. But the law of society, under a Christian dispensation, should be progress; and to keep up this progress should be the endeavour of all good men.
Now, our present progress has, it seems to us, suffered some check. Society has become more callous and heartless. The non-success of the ideal French Republic, the success of general tyranny and despotism, and the seeming helplessness of those advanced patriots who struggle openly in Poland, Hungary, and France for the good and the true, have all aided the natural indolence of man in its love of ease. Englishmen, with few exceptions, have good wishes, but they are daily persuaded to let things continue as they
There are the police to look after the thieves, and the thieves to look after the plunder, and the housekeepers to look to their safety-bolts, unforgeable notes, and thief-proof cases; and the clergy to look after us all. But, unhappily, we have not done too well in this state. We must look after police, locks, thieves, clergy, and all, if we want to keep up to our status. The well-being of the poor concerns us all. We do not preach any maudlin sympathy with thieves and robbers; we do not believe in the heroism of Tom King; and we utterly abhor the writers of highwaymen's novels; but we do believe that half the evil that exists may be attributed to bad teaching and bad example. Remove this example and this teaching, and the evil will cure itself.
The nation has made great progress in establishing Ragged Schools and Industrial Homes. To these we may add Reformatories, wherein are deposited those who have been tempted and have fallen, but whose youth pleads for them, and enables them to be taken up from amongst the castaway children of crime. The good done by these three institutions has not been exaggerated, and a large extension of the system could not fail to prevent the commission of many crimes.
The homes of the poor should also be much improved. In London our railway system has knocked down and moved out of the way hundreds of poor dwellings, for the line of a railway is very naturally driven through the poorest and least expensive neighbourhoods. An excellent method of employing spare capital, much better than investing it in foreign securities or speculations, which are always more hazardous
than those at home, would be to use it in raising large buildings, in which the families of the poor could live in health and comfort. There is not the slightest reason why companies should not be formed for this object : plenty of money can be found to build a vast hotel, or to raise a music-hall. If luxury and amusement pay so well, will not utility and necessity
pay also ?
Numbers of energetic young men should also be pressed by the clergy into use as lay teachers and instructors. If we find that the schoolmasters of the sixteen thousand children who are trained to crime find a scope for their wicked energies, why may they not be met by other schoolmasters who can demonstrate to the young and the untaught the folly and misery of crime? Government would be wise if it extended the provisions of the Act which punishes those who live by pandering to the grosser passions of the unreflecting and
The field, as we have shown, is indeed very vast; and every well-meaning man can at once enlist himself as a worker. Let each of us try to reform or help one unfortunate person in our knowledge. We cannot all raise hospitals, or build almshouses; but if we try earnestly to help those who are thus nobly occupied, and each spend a few shillings on some unfortunate and outcast boy or girl, we should be doing ourselves, our neighbours, and the State, excellent service.
ON A NEW REGIME FOR WORKING
MEN AND THEIR WIVES.
N the midst of great noise and tumult, the noise of the captains and the neighings of the horses, the shoutings of victory or the grievous weepings
for the dead ; in the midst, too, of European préparations for war-Socialism seems advancing amongst us, very noiselessly, but surely. Whether this be a fact to be deplored, or not, is a question. To the rich, Socialism has always been represented as a pillaging enemy; to the poor, as the most beneficent of friends. So at one time it was said, “ Here is a Radical ! take care of your pockets !” but when men came to understand that the best of men wished for a reform from the root of the evil, and that “radical” really did not mean anything poisonous, its professors were allowed to be respectable. There is an immense dread of Social. ism, perhaps because people do not understand the word. Charles Kingsley, and other great and good men, who are to-day very much like moderate Conservatives, started as “ Christian Socialists,” and their idea of Christian Socialism was beneficent and beautiful. It was very much the same as Coleridge's, Cottle's, and Southey's Pantisocracy-a government of everybody: where there should be no Autocracy, or one government; Pla acy, or money government; Bureaucracy, or red-tape government; Democracy, or mob government; or select Oligarchy, the government of a few chosen (perhaps self-chosen) people. Everybody was to do good, and to avoid evil. There were to be no soldiers, no police, no robbers, and nobody but he who was good, in the commonwealth. What a very pleasant place it would have been to live in! What a pity it was that Coleridge could not raise money to go out to America to found this ! and if he had founded his Pantisocracy, and it had been“ located” in Virginia, between the armies of Lee and Grant, with what Auttering white garments and green olive-branches would these Pantisocrats have marched forward and have endeavoured to have made peace !
Nevertheless, with all our failures—and every earnest, good man has had his dream of peace, and would have wiped every little tear, and filled every empty mouth-Socialism is coming ; that is, we are growing more and more into bands, brotherhoods, clubs, and societies; and individuality is dying out. Here, in our very stronghold of domesticity and patriarchal government, our leading philanthropists are setting up“Working Men's Clubs” and “Dining Rooms," and doing away with the necessity for a working man's wife at all. The direst Socialist who ever preached inflated wickedness could do no more harm to the family than these good men will do.
There can be, however, without dreaming of impossible