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To the Editor of the Christian Observer.

My best thanks are due to you for your excellent remarks on Cottage Allotments, in reply to correspondents, which appeared in the Appendix to the last volume of the Christian Observer. Nothing so good has been offered to my notice, amidst all the various publications on the subject which I have read. My only regret is, that you have expressed a wish not to carry the discussion into a new volume; for I can assure you that the office of a Christian observer is intimately connected with the discussion of means for the improvement of the temporal condition of the poor; and that you are specially called upon to inculcate just views on this subject, at a time when so much is said and written in opposition to those views, and when so many persons have been induced by fallacious arguments to enter upon a scheme which will ultimately involve the poor, and with them the country at large. in difficulties inextricable.

Allow me, then, to request that you will not lay aside that topic which you have so well and ably handled; but that you will still admit the letters of your correspondents, and occasionally yourself introduce such remarks as may be necessary to expose error, and, if possible, to allay the existing mania for cottage allotments. I have taken up my pen chiefly for the purpose of persuading you to adopt this course; but I am desirous also to write a few lines, in answer to J. W. D. on the question of population. He seems aware that the system of cottage allotments will really tend to increase the number of people in places where it is tried; but he entertains no difficulties on that account, and imagines that, without any anxiety or care of ours, population will regulate itself according to the demand for it,

differently. But it appears clear from the papers which we have inserted, that the answer of different persons to those who abuse "the sentence of God's predestination" will be affected by their views of the doctrine itself; and that those who differ in their sentiments on that doctrine cannot concur in one common reply, except generally, that if the end be predestinated the means are predestinated also. R. D.'s view is, that predestination is connected with fore-knowledge. He does not indeed say that the decrees of God are the result of fore-knowledge; but his argument glances that way: thus then we are landed in the very midst of the controversy between the Arminian and the Calvinist. A. C. thinks that good use may be made of the argument of baptismal regeneration; and Archbishop Usher, who embraced both the doctrine of election and the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, reconciled them by saying, if we recollect rightly, that the elected only were truly baptised, and that in their case the spiritual life in the soul commenced in baptism.

If after the thousands of publications which have treated of this subject, we saw the slightest prospect that any new light would be shed upon it in our pages, we should, even at this late hour gladly open them for that purpose; but as we indulge no such hope, we think it better not to enter upon a fruitless controversy. The case supposed in the hypothesis is grounded upon an alleged abuse of the Calvinistic view of the question, to which any reply grounded on the Arminian view would not be accepted by the objector an answer. The real question was, how may a person who holds the doctrine abused refute the abuser; not, how may another person refute him upon other principles, and by shewing him that the Calvinistic view is incorrect. The person supposed grounds his recklessness upon the notion of unconditional election; an answer, therefore, which takes for granted that election is conditional would not satisfy him, unless it led him to consider as untenable not only his own inference, but his first teacher's statements from which it was derived. The Seventeenth Article alludes to the abuse, but does not go into the question of the way in which it is to be met. The danger appears to us to spring from quoting one half of Scripture, and omitting the other; and the remedy consists in giving a consistent view of the whole. Man's responsibility is quite as clear as God's predestination, whatever that predestination may be; and the declared will, not the unknown counsel, of the Omniscient, is the guide of human conduct.

increasing or diminishing as circumstances arise. "The demand for people will create a supply, and the redundancy will soon be got off." So writes your correspondent; and he writes truly, that a demand for labourers will create a supply: but is it also true, that a redundancy will so easily be disposed of? Far from it; want, misery, and death in every variety of affliction will attend a redundancy; and it is by way of remedy for the manifold evils necessarily attendant on it, that Poor Laws were originally framed, and all the various plans and contrivances resorted to from the first enactment of those laws down to the cottage system of the present day. This redundancy is in fact the fruitful source of all the pauperism and wretchedness which we are continually called upon to witness and lament in our country. Why, for instance, are wages depreciated to so distressing an extent, but because too many people are offering themselves in the market for labour? Why, again, are many able hands totally destitute of employment, but because no profitable employment can be found for their increasing number? Why, besides, do many well-meaning persons in the present day resort to the spade-husbandry system, but because they find themselves involved in difficulties as to the means of setting all hands to work? Is it not redundancy that puts the very scheme into their minds, and leads them to give it effect? Is it not, moreover, redundancy which has raised a spirit of discontent among the labouring classes, and driven many to acts of desperation? Does not the hard pressure of population on the means of subsistence force numbers continually into the paths of dishonesty and villainy; and occasion vagrancies, thefts, burglaries, burnings, and other deeds of darkness? And in fine, has not a most grievous disproportion between the means of employment, and the suitors for it, been notoriously the great crying evil of our day, even though those means have been advancing with a rapid pace? How then can it be maintained that a redundancy will soon be got rid of? A more palpable misconception of the true state of the case cannot well be conceived. Redundancy is in truth an evil which all the diligence and ingenuity of man appear never able to surmount. It is felt, and bitterly felt, in almost every portion of the wide world. The savage Indian roving in quest of prey over lands wholly uncultivated, and the civilized European extracting the produce of a well-tilled soil, both feel its inconveniencies, and suffer from its pressure. A population, subsisting on the precarious products of hunting or fishing, and thinly scattered over a wide extent of territory, is no less exposed to its evils than one of a different description densely crowded on a rich cultivated region. The redundancy arises not from actual numbers, but from the disproportion between the numbers of people, and the means of their subsistence. Just as its pressure bears with more or less force on the circumstances of the country, so are its inhabitants more or less at ease. In the United States of America and Canada, labouring people enjoy plenty, and obtain good wages, over and above the supply of their necessary wants, because their numbers have not yet come up to the demand for labour. There the natural tendency of population to exceed the means of subsistence, has not yet reached its limit; and hence there is, and will be for a long period of time, abundance for all. In England, wonderful improvements in commerce, manufactures, and agriculture have during past years given an extraordinary impulse to the population; and for a long period the large demand for labour produced high wages, and imparted many comforts to the labouring classes; so that until the conclusion of the last war the evils of redundancy were little felt or complained of. Though the population was rapidly augmenting its numbers, the increasing demand gave large employment; and few murmurs were heard. If any partial redundancy did prevail, and operated favourably in keeping wages at a fair level, thus enabling the employers to derive a

sufficient profit from their outlay of capital without injury to their workmen. This one good effect is indeed found to result from a redundancy when not carried to a great extent; that it keeps up a useful competition for work in the market, and induces a necessity for exertion. Many needful but disagreeable employments would otherwise be relinquished. Who, for instance, would submit, to toil underneath the earth in coal pits, or to take a loathsome and unhealthy part in manufacturing many articles of value, were he not compelled thereto by the necessity of earning subsistence? And if no competitors in quest of work were to be found, who would not choose rather to engage himself in offices of a less dangerous and irksome kind? Thus far, therefore, a population may to a certain extent be tending to excess with benefit rather than injury to society; that is, when the proportion between demand and supply is so regulated, as to ensure the performance of work for the employer, at remunerating prices, with adequate compensation also to the employed. But when, as in the present circumstances of our country, the population is become so disproportionately numerous, that wages are insufficient for the support of a family; and many hands are almost wholly unemployed, then the evils of redundancy become manifest, and it is a problem yet to be solved how this redundancy shall be got rid of.

The plan of J. W. D. is certainly not calculated to effect this riddance. Its tendency, indeed, is to multiply in a rapidly increasing ratio the very evil complained of, and to introduce all the worst evils of the Irish system into England. I do not mean to say that this will be its immediate or primary effect. The system may apparently work well for some years, and promise fair to realize the best hopes of its advocates as to its permanent adoption; besides that, it will, with the cultivators of the ground, be certainly a most popular measure. But you, Mr. Editor, have well shewn that it cannot answer in the end, and on a national scale; that it must be propped up by charitable aid to keep it from falling; and that spade labour can no more compete with the plough than the handcrank with the steam engine. All this, and much more that you have written on this subject, is excellent; but, in addition to this, I think that the evils of redundancy to which the system will inevitably lead, and with which the resources of the nation will be dried up, cannot be too strongly represented. My own opinion, not lightly formed on this subject, is, that the excessive and rapid increase of population occasioned by the spade-labour system, will eventually pauperize our whole land, if unchecked, and that every vestige of its former wealth and prosperity will be lost. Our system of husbandry, as at present constituted, (I mean the large farm system,) yields annually a large surplus over and above the wants of the country for the great towns. There is a rich stream continually flowing from our farms to the manufacturing places, which is returned back again in abundance from the latter to the former. The country and the town reciprocally benefit each other, and remunerate each other's industry. But if the spade system is to be introduced into full operation, the whole produce of the land will ere long be eaten up in the country; and the towns will be left either to fall into decay, or to depend wholly on foreign supplies. Nothing can then be purchased for country use. The spade husbandmen, having no surplus above family wants, can send nothing to market, and of course bring nothing home in exchange. They must therefore manufacture for themselves. Articles once cheaply supplied from the manufacturing districts must now be made, if made at all, at home. The cultivation of the ground, and the manufacture of goods necessary for household purposes, must be performed by the same hands; for when nothing remains to be sold, nothing certainly can be bought. Each householder will then be placed in nearly the same situation as CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 374.

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Robinson Crusoe in his uninhabited isle; that is, as to the supply of his wants, not as to his social state: for of society he will have abundance. Such being the condition of the country, the great towns can no longer be maintained in their wonted opulence. Trade cannot exist without customers. A failure of corn from the usual sources of supply must be attended by a failure of those shopkeepers who used to supply the corn growers; and it is hence abundantly clear, that if the cultivators of the land exist in such numbers as to eat up the whole of its produce, all our numerous towns must dwindle into poor miserable hamlets, and ultimately fall into ruin. It is vain to say that the system of spade husbandry is intended only to be adopted on a limited scale. When once put into operation it cannot be suspended. A dense population, once planted on the soil, cannot be removed but by the harshest means. It will unavoidably go on increasing so long as any land can be obtained, and as any means of subsistence can be eked out. One universal aspect of poverty will overspread the land. England's boasted wealth and glory will disappear, its aristocracy will fade away, and all remains of former wealth and grandeur will perish.

May we then, through the mercy of God, be restrained from adopting this hazardous system ere it be too late. I cannot think of the consequences to which it will lead without extreme apprehension; and I feel convinced that there is no plan which can tend to the real and permanent welfare of the poorer classes, but that of setting forth to them the necessary results of vicious and imprudent conduct. It is only by being made better and wiser that they can become happier. Providence has ordained that they who sin shall suffer for it. So long as the younger members of society become the authors of a numerous progeny, for whom no provision is made, and on whose education no pains are bestowed, so long will misery predominate in the land. Happiness in later life cannot reasonably be expected, unless a good foundation be laid at the beginning. If any man," said our Lord, "will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me." Self-denial is therefore necessary to constitute the Christian character, and without it no fair prospects of improvement can be entertained. Deficiency in this particular is the great source from which the miseries of the poor arise. Hence comes redundancy with all its accompanying evils, and hence proceed the plans and schemes which have been of late tried as remedies. Of these, the best yet resorted to is that of voluntary emigration. As a temporary expedient for relieving present difficulties it is advisable, and has in many cases afforded much benefit both to the emigrant families and to the parishes which have paid their expenses. But, as a permanent measure, no good effects will flow from its adoption. The natural tendency of population to outstrip the means of subsistence would effectually counteract any benefits to be expected from it. The only sure preventive againt redundancy results from the practice of religious precepts. In the words of an illustrious senator, the eloquent Burke, "Patience, labour, frugality, sobriety, prudence, and religion should be recommended to them; all the rest is downright fraud."


A word or two with our correspondent. We concur with him in the importance of the question of cottage allotments; but so much has been written upon it in our pages, not only in our last volume but during thirty years, that we scarcely think it necessary to renew the discussion, notwithstanding the very obliging views which our correspondent is pleased to take of our labours. We wish, however, that our readers should remember the exact ground which we have always assumed: because it would be truly painful to us, even to seem to advocate the harsh notions which are sometimes unjustly attributed to sound political economy, as if it were hostile to charity, to marriage, and to the comforts of the poor; in short, to every thing good; and in league



The Works of Robert Hall, A. M. with a brief Memoir of his Life, by Dr. Gregory, and Observations on his Character as a Preacher, by John Foster. Edited by Dr. OLYNTHUS GREGORY. Six Vols. 8vo. London. 1832.

We have asked ourselves, as we have looked through the contents of these six large volumes, what is it that has gained for the name of Robert Hall a celebrity which extends far beyond the pale of his own limited communion, or of the dissenting body generally? Why is it that his publications have found their way to high places; and that thousands of persons who utterly disapprove both of his political notions and of his peculiarities as a Dissenter and a Baptist, should yet admit his works among their most favoured authors? Mr. Hall's extraordinary talents and eloquence, and his inimitably felicitous powers of language, doubtless account in a great measure for the phenomenon; so that men read his works as standard English classics, and are enchanted with a religious discussion because it is served up in the form of a literary banquet.

But even genius does not of necessity lead to fame; and had Robert Hall lived in many a remote village or country town, he might very probably have gained nothing more than a local celebrity, and the occasional discourses which have been rapturously applauded by the highest tribunals of criticism, and been eagerly devoured by statesmen, philosophers, and

with all that is hard-hearted and unjust. Charity is a religious duty far too scantily practised; and most earnestly would we urge it by every motive of tender sympathy and the constraining love of Christ; but it does not follow that we ought therefore to espouse the cause of poor laws, which we do not believe to be true charity, but opposed to it. Again, of marriage; we think that the labouring classes of society ought to be trained to cherish those provident views which are generally prevalent among the more educated classes; and not to look to the parish to support their family for them, and in this hope to plunge with utter thoughtlessness and inexperience into domestic life, before they have the slightest prospect of maintaining a household. Such being our views, we cannot but regard it as ill-advised and contrary to true charity, to offer a bonus upon improvident marriages, as is done by the English poor laws: but in this opinion there is nothing harsh, or hostile to the virtue or happiness of the poor; and to our minds it is not the least evil of the present state of pauperism, that, instead of the poor being left, as they ought to be, to their own volitions, they are perpetually harassed either to marry, or to refrain from marriage, by parochial and interested interference. The whole matter should be left where God has left it, and not be interfered with on either side by the tampering of human legislation.

With regard to small cottage gardens, we have always urged the value of them; and no cottage ought to be without one; and even with regard to husbandry allotments, our object was chiefly to moderate those over-sanguine expectations which could not but lead to disappointment; and we purposely abstained from entering upon the discussion of some of the topics to which our present correspondent has alluded. We wished to guard our readers against supposing that the allotment system would work the wonders popularly attributed to it; and to shew that, in order effectually to relieve the poor, two classes of measures must be provided: First, we must get rid of the immediate pressure, by opening new channels to trade, removing the restrictions on the importation of food, facilitating emigration where desirable, and lastly it may be by employing this very system of cottage allotments and spade husbandry to a certain extent, and as a temporary measure, where circumstances render such a species of labour profitable. Consistently with this first class of measures for procuring immediate relief, we must in the second place guard against the recurrence of the evil, which can be effected only by the abolition of poor laws, and the moral, intellectual, and, above all, religious training of the people.

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