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• has proposed a sort of combination between the Parish rate, and the box of the Friendly society. This is a good deal like giving every labourer indiscriminately a penny roll in lieu of half a peck loaf. When the flavour of the roll has become familiar, the loaf will presently follow; when the labourer and the Overseer are once formally introduced to each other; when the mauvaise honte of the first interview is over, I see no sufficient cause in future to break off the inti. macy.

• This plan implies a general dependance of the labourer on his Parish; all the usual barriers, shame, pride, timidity-are broken down; a habit of looking up to the rate is solicited. At present many an honest man encumbered by difficulties, reluctantly asks for relief, feels himself degraded whilst he receives it, and presses forward with eagerness to the moment, when, once more supported by his own exertions, he can look round with confidence amongst his neighbours, and say, I am again your equal.” But if the weekly contribution placed in the Friendly Society's box, is met with a proportional sum from the Parish; if out of every half-guinea advanced in sickness, it is obvious half-a-crown is the produce of the Poor rate, does not every member become an initiatory pauper, when he subscribes to the box, and a completed one, when he receives from it? I see nothing to prevent the man who has to-day received half-a-crown in sickness, tomorrow demanding five shillings on any other occasion of need. The shame of pauperism is stifled; the pride of independence and self support, subdued : cvery man who looks round in this case, sees himself amidst a group all like himself, followers of the rate ; and where there is no degrading comparison, there will be little sense of debasement.

- Where there is any thing of a prudential forethought, parochial addition to the Society's box will be wholly needless ; and where there is no forethought, it will be vain : a very small contribution produces an adequate payment in sickness. In large payments there is considerable danger ; where the allowances in sickness are high, the poor man will always be sick; at least a temptation difficult to be withstood is thrown in his way.”

We confess that we do not quite agree with Mr. Nicoll in the view he has taken of the necessary tendency of such societies. 'The plan professes only to be a compromise adapted to the present situation of the country, as affording a facility for

effecting the desired transition from the present system of • relief, to one founded upon better principles.' And when the bonus afforded by the parish bears so small a proportion as is proposed, to the spontaneous contributions of the individual, we do not see why the pride of self-support' must needs be destroyed by the arrangement. Such a contributor must feel hiinself in a situation very different from the pauper, to say nothing of the good effect which the habit of voluntary contribution will have had upon his feelings and character. The Schedule A attached to the Bill as amended by the Committee, contains, among other rules for the government of such societies, the ex

press provision that 'No allowance on account of sickness will

be made, except upon a certificate from the apothecary :' this seems to obviate one of the above objections. The Bill must be viewed as having a twofold object, the encouragement, and the security of Benefit Societies; institutions which all allow to be adapted, if they can be guarded from abuse, to be highly useful. The Preamble states that • Whereas the habitual reliance of poor persons upon

Parochial Relief, rather than upon their own industry, tends to the moral de. terioration of the people, and to the accumulation of heavy burthens upon the parishes; and it is desirable, with a view as well to the reduction of the assessments made for the relief of the poor, as to the gradual introduction of a better feeling among the people, that special encouragement and facility should be afforded to meritorious and industrious persons, for rescuing themselves from the necessity of a resort to parochial relief; and for this purpose it is adviseable that such persons should be invited and assisted to make provision, while young and healthy, for their own maintenance, when visited with sickness or infirm old age.'

• And whereas by the contributions of the Savings of many industri. ous persons to one common fund, the most effectual provision may be made for the casualties affecting all the contributors; and if parishes be impowered to afford security to such fund, and to make a small addition thereto, the sums now expended by parishes upon the sick and aged may be greatly reduced, at the same time that industrious and frugal habits would be encouraged and rewarded.

Be it therefore enacted, &c.'

If, however, instead of instituting Parochial Benefit Societies upon this plan, a few respectable individuals would combine to form a voluntary association for the district or province, holding out the simple advantage of guarantee, every objection would be obviated.* 'Mr. Courtenay gives his opinion in favour of such a

* Upon this subject, Mr. Barton's pamphlet (noticed in our September Number) contains some very valuable information and some judicious remarks. Sir F. Eden has stated that in 1797, no instance

had been known of a member of a Friendly Society becoming bur• densome to his parish.' Such instances are even now proved to be rare, the proportion, in each county, between the number of paupers and the number of persons members of Friendly Societies, being, as shewn in evidence before the Select Committee, in most cases, in an inverse ratio. Mr. Barton deprecates the bad effects to be apprehended from legislative interference with such societies, and he shews that they possess advantages quite distinct from those of Savings' Banks, by the admirers of which they are too often depreciated. The number of persons belonging to Friendly Societies appears to be, on the average of the last three years, nearly 8ļ in each hundred of the population : the number relieved from the Poor's rate is 94 in each hundred.

plan, in preference to the proposed Parliamentary enactment. The following remarks appear to us highly deserving of attention : ; . The measures which I would propose would be, simply measures for giving the same sort of protection and encouragement to Friendly Societies, which have been afforded by Saving Banks; so that the frugal poor might have the opportunity of availing themselves of the principle of insurance, if they shall think fit to prefer it to that of accumulation. It is known, that sickness and old age may be provided for by a rate of contribution, which nearly a million of individuals are in the habit of applying to those purposes. I would not suggest any , interference with these clubs, but I would encourage the formation of provincial societies, under the patronage of respectable individuals, and with the security of responsible trustees. The tables of these societies should be formed according to the best calculations, without any additional benefit, unless any should be provided by the benefac. tions of the rich.' Any parish, sufficiently large, might form such an establishment parochially, in which case, it would of course have the porcer of gnaranteeing to each individual the benefit engaged for ; or of making an addition to the fund, so as to increase its benefits, in which parishioners only would participate. And if the establishment be not parochial, a parish should have the power of taking upon itself any share of the contribution, or of the fine, of any of its parishioners. The management must be in Committees, in the same manner as it is with respect to the Saving Banks ; but it would be for those Committees, at their discretion, to associate with themselves, any trustworthy contributors. It would be very easy, so to arrange the benefits allowed by the society, as to leave a fund wherefrom to grant an occasional bonus,—by which means the contributors would have a direct interest in the good administration of the fund.

• It is the opinion of many, that the poor would not enter into any scheme, under which the management and distribution of the funds would be in other hands than their own. I should say,- Very well, let them make their option. A man who secures himself from want, through one of the private clubs, is equally praiseworthy: But if a man, whose means have been sufficient, and who has neglected to make this provision, solicits relief, he will, at the least, be an object for the application of that restrictive clause, respecting advances by way of loan only, which will impel him to be more careful in future.

• Nearly the same observations will apply to the institutions which I wish to see formed, for granting allowances on account of children; there is, however, this difference, that no such institutions exist at present; and that the whole arrangement being therefore entirely new, it would be more within the power of Parliament, and persons of local authority or influence, to frame it according to their own opinion. The prevalence of Saving Banks, so far from being injuriously affected by these new establishments, would be almost essential to their success. It is proposed, that a stipulated contribution, for a given number of years, should entitle a subscriber to a certain allowance on account of his chi:dren; now, it is hardly to be expected, that many individuals would commence at a sufficiently early period before marriage, the saving necessary to entitle them to an allowance, dependent upon a contingency which, perhaps at that period, it may not be in their contemplation to incur :—but the same individual may be sufficiently provident to place his savings in a Bank of Deposit. And if he should afterwards be inclined to marry, the accumulated deposits will enable him to pay the fine, by which he will be placed, as to the benefits of the Friendly Society, more nearly in the situation in which he would have placed himself, if his savings had in the first instance been applied to the purpose of that society.

• I shall not enlarge further upon this subject, than to repeat that my proposition extends only to a perfectly voluntary arrangement, calculated to give facilities and powers, of which it is by no means intended to compel either parishes or individuals to avail themselves.' pp. 142–145.

The importance of Saving Banks, as a collateral measure, needs not be insisted upon. The success of these institutions, so far as can be ascertained by the amount of the deposites, bas, we believe, in almost every instance, exceeded the most sanguine expectation, and much may certainly be hoped for as the result of their gradual influence on the morals and habits of the Poor. • Next to the road to church,' says Mr. Nicoll, “I would teach 'the young the road to the Saving Bank.'

We are now for the present to take our leave of this most interesting subject. Our end will be answered if, by the hasty remarks we have offered on the suggestions now before the public, we shall have at all contributed to promote better information and more distinct ideas upon the important principles which are included in the discussion. There remain, however, one or two points on which we beg to trespass a few minutes longer on the reader's attention.

In the Circular issued by the Committee of the General As. sembly, one of the queries transmitted to the ministers of parishes, is the following:

* 25. What are the names (and the numbers as nearly as you can compute,) of the religious sects in your parish ; are there any (and if so, how many) of their poor on the poor's roll of the parish, and what is the annual sum total of relief given to them?'

The Report itself states that

• In many of the parishes, all the poor of the Dissenters are on the poor's roll; in others they are partially relieved; they draw in one case { and in another case of the whole assessment, which is of very large amount, Some classes of the Dissenters support their own poor, others contribute to the parish funds by occasional collections, or a stated annual sum paid, but in most cases they do not contribute at all.'

It is not with the intention of making any remark on this statement, that we have extracted it. Our information respecting the Dissenters of Scotland, does not enable us to come to any other than general conclusions; but it is probable that the cases in which the poor of the Dissenters draw so largely upon the poor's fund, (which appears to be only in districts where the assessment has been resorted to,) are where they are employed in manufactures. In Scotland, the Episcopalians come under the description of Dissenters: we kpow not what is their proportion of paupers. In this country, a large part of the capital employed in manufactures, is in the hands of the Dissenters, and this circumstance must tend greatly to increase the proportion of their poor, that is, if the labourers in their employ are to be referred to the same sect, which will often, though not necessarily, bé the case.

Two sects, however, among us, it is well known, entirely support their own poor : the Society of Friends, and the Jews; we believe we may add, the United Brethren. The term, Dissenters, is however so vague, that we scarcely know what it intends. If it is meant to comprize all the poor who do not actually attend the parish church, the proportion of the pauper population which will be comprehended in this description, will be obviously very considerable. But if the poor of the Dissenters be taken as applying only to those who are in actual attendance at Dissenting meeting-houses, this proportion will be greatly reduced.

In strict justice, however, those only should be considered as the poor of the Dissenters, who are members of their religious societies, or acknowledged to belong to their congregations ; and of those, a very inconsiderable number are, we apprehend, in the receipt of parochial relief. We speak now in reference to the three denominations among whom the practice of making monthly collections for the support of their own poor, has been immemorially prevalent. In addition to these collections, there are attached to their places of Worship, in numerous instances, endowments for this express purpose. Nine dissenting meetinghouses in the metropolis, were, by the legacy of one individual, endowed with 501. a year, to be distributed among the poor members of the respective churches. Many others both in town and in the country, have similar endowments; but the stated collection of alms, is, we believe, universal.

When we had occasion to remark upon the attempt made to subject Dissenting places of worship to the Poor's rate,* we submitted whether the Visiting Societies for the relief of the sick poor, the Sunday Schools, and other benevolent institutions con

* Eclectic Review, N. S. Vol. V. p. 4.95.

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