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1 J 1 I OTTAWA OUR CO UNTR Y H E R C 0 M MERC E A NO HER FREE INSTITUTIONS. VOL. IV. OTTAWA, ILLINOIS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 1844. NO. 33. "" mmmmm , ,. mmww I ii ' i i 'mi in ;, n' T V ' " ' ' JUL JU.wJL4JLi JL ILVki. lULfJiyjL -"a "' . - wr - -Vw--JS.-V? .. ........ it 1 IS- i i "i i - 0 From the Democratic Review, January No. A HECK.Vr UA.TIBI.lt Among the Peaaanlry of England. T IVDOt CAItLKTOX, Of L0VUA3A. Most books of travels in foreign conn tries abonni in details about kings and pal aces, lords and ladies, but say nothing of the condition of the pesantry ; the class of mankind by whose humble labors the rest are fed. Nor can just information be had from citizens casually met in Miblic vehicles, taverns, or steamers. To under stand the subject, I was, therefore, com pelled to enter their cottages and examine for myself, in all the states of Europe through which I passed, especially in England, where I resided, at intervals, . more than twenty months. When I first saw that beautiful Eng- . land, its roads, bridges, hedges, hills and valleys, fields and forests ; the green earth sprinkled with cottages, to which the still greener ivy clung; here, thought I, hapi ncss has fixed her earthly home. Yet. an occasional glance at the interior of their houses on the nearer approach of the ve hicle, and the aspect of the ragged child ren about the doors, filled mo with dis- . trust. Doing told that the peasantry, here called laborers, lived in great abundance and content in Somersetshire, ihiihcr I set out from London in November, in 1842, by the Southampton railway to , Winchester, where I took a seat, about sunset, in a coach for Wincrinton. The iuierior of an English coach is a prison-house, where a man of ordinaiy stature cannot stretch his limbs nor look out upon the country through its r.arrow, nd ill-contrived window. The French Diligence is greatly to be preferred ; though uncouth and clumsy, they are more comfortable and sale, and move with equal speed. The seats are all under cover ; whereas the English are perched on the outside upon naked wooden lu nch es, flanked with small iron rods that chafe lind cut the flush, exposed to the unceas- . ing rains and chilly winds of their re morseless climate. Their exaction, upon travellers are moreover, so enormous, that the third classes, as they are called, are glad to compound for mere transposition, like the cattle, in their steamers and rail cars, with whom they are often seen in clone alliance. Our progress was suddenly arrested by . a wagon sunk to the axle in the soft, chalky earth of newly-made road, through , wnicri we wailed on fool more ihan half a mile, leaving the empty vehicle to bo , dragged by the horses. One of the ladies, a pretty, fragile creature, was eo over come by exposure to the weather, that the guard, touched with compassion, transferred her to the inside, where a kind gentleman and myself restored her to speech by rubbing her hands and throw ing our cloaks about her half frozen limbs. We arrived at Wincanton at six o'clock in the morning, when the guard presented himself for his usual bonus. 1 followed the example of my neighbor and gave him a half-crown, and two shillings more to the driver, making altogether one dol lar and five cents tax upon each traveler, independently of the fare, which is lifty per cent, higher than in any other coun try of Europe. At ten o'clock, I hired a carriage, and accompanied by two gentlemen, went three miles to Stoney Stoke and Shepton Montagu, two villages in which the la borers are clustered in considerable num bars. I addressed myself to an elderly woman, one of the principal persons among them, who for eight pence which she said was a day's wages undertook to bo my guide. She was regarded with much consideration wherever she appear ed, for she was rich, having a better fur nished house than Iter neighbors, more ciips and saucers and plates of crockery, five or six chairs, a good deal table, two beds of eiW, that is, oat chaff, a cat and pig. She was the mother of three chil dren, whose labor brought something to the common stock Iter husband received nine shillings a week, and she tasted meal three days out of seven. In the second cottage we visited, there were six in the family, scantily fed upon potatoes and salt, with an occasional loaf of white bread. The mother's time being bestowed mostly npon her infant children that multiplied rapidly about her, they were maintained by the husband alone, whoso innrmitics prevented hint from earning more than six shilling a week. The floor was of broad ill-assorted atone ; the roof of straw ; the interior whitewashed and the exterior of a yellow h hue ; the waits, ns are those of most English cottages, being built of rough tone, having one room, below, twelve or fifteen fei t square, and another above stairs of the tame dimensions, but low and In convenient from the depression of the roof. The earth round about looked green and smiling in November, and the roof and sides were half conceded under the voluminous ivy. However beautiful it seemed at the approach, it was, within, iho abode of poverty and destitution. The children were huddled together in one comer of the chimney striving to kindle a fire with flicks picked up under the hedges, to boil a dinner of turnips; the entire plant being cut up root and top, and seasoned with lard. The mother spoke with some emotion when she allu ded to the wants of her children, which she could not relieve. I asked permis sion to go up stairs; the hesitated; my guide shook her head, and 1 desisted. She afterwards told me, that the tilth and stench were insupportahly offensive; but on explaining my motive, she made no op position to a similar request. Here, as everywhere else, I purchased a welcome by distributing a few pence among the children, and occasionally nut ting a piece of silver into the hand? of the mothers. I entered a third cabin. Hero the grern car th smiled again, as did the mod est furze and glossy holly,' that felt not the approach of winter, The floor was much like the firt. Near the middle sat the mother peeling potatoes, which she threw into a pot at her side half filled water. I introduced myself on eve ry occasion by saying, that I came from beyond the seas, and wished to inform mv countrymen how the laborers lived in England. Sixpence brought firth wil ing answers to interrogatories which 1 put without stint. 'How many children have you ?" "Eight." "What did they feed upon this morning? "Potatoes." "What will you give them for dinner ?" These po tatoes Von see me peeling." "Nothing else?" '-No; nothing else.' Have you no meat, no milk, no butler lor them ?" She made no reply, fixed her eyes upon them and robbed aloud. But her countenance suddenly brightened into a smile, and the said with a Hear voicp, Thank God salt is chean." lint her jy was a transient beam for her eyes again overflowed at she showed me her eldest daughter, fourteen years of ngr, whom she made riso to her feet. Her Littered garments scarcely concealed her sex ; it h-fi her bare to her knees behind, while it dangled to the ground in front. She blushed deeply, for want had not ex tinguished ihe modesty o( nature, as her mother drew aside the rags that covered her snowy skin. "These," said the, "are all the clothes my child has; she cannot go to school in them ; besides, she is obliged to stay at home to take care of the children." This was palpably true, for her wasted form tottered under a bur den that would soon add another inmate to this abode of misery. The other children were grouped near the elder sister, sitting on the naked hearth. Their little bauds and feet were red w ith cold : their features were eel in melancholy; they were not playful, as became their innocent years: no, it has been truly said, that the children of the English poor know no childhood' Sor row begins with life ; they are disciplined to privation from the cradle. From the cradle did I say? I saw no cradle, and I veiily believe that such a luxury was nev er known by the child of an English la borer. In the corner of the chimney was an old man, silting on his haunches, putting faggots to a fire intended to boil the po tatoes. "Who is that?" "It is old Mr. he has no home and we lets him stay with us." Ho was eighty-three years of age, and partook with the chil dren his portion of potatoes and salt. I asked one of the little girls, where was the cat ? The mother answered they had none, "for a cat must eat." "Have you a dog?" "No, we cannot keep a dog, besides ho disturbs the jramc." "Hut you have a cock to cftw for day V "No, we have none." I felt a sort of horror come over tnc at the absence of these animals, sacred to ev ery household the cat, the companion and pastime of little children ; the dog, the well-tried trusty friend of man ; the cock, whose joyous song hails the coming day yet poverty, that bitter, blighting curse, has expelled even these from the collages of the English peasant. "Can your husband read ?" "Yes, he can read llie easy parts of the Bible." Can you read ?" "No, I never went to school." 'How many apartments are there in your house t" "Two, one below and anothor above." "May I go upstairs?" She was evidently unwilling ; my guide gave me a discouraging look ; I persever ed, and ascended a dirty, ricketty flight of steps to a chamber where the whole family ilept. Near narrow, broken windaw stood a 'wooden frame on fou legs, on which were laid transverse laths that supported a bed of oat-chaff, sewei! up in a dirty, tattered sack, over which was spread a coarse woolen sheet almost black ; upon tliU lay two pillars of straw and a thick, striped coverlet worn into holes. Another sack of chaff lav on the floor in a cornpr, over which was stretch ed a sort ol blanket lorn to rags. Here slept all the children, except the two youngest who lay with their parents The fate of the old man at night was not made known to me, nor did I enquire, The furniture of the apartment below consisted of a stool, on which the mother sat; a box occupied as a seat by the el dest daughter; two broken chairs unsafi for either my guide or myself: fourteen or fifieen articles of crockery of fractured plates, saucers and cups; a tea-pot; two or l uce small iron vessels for eookiii" and a board table, sustained by diagona bars, fastened with nails. On the wall under a broken piece of plate glass, hung a wiiite nap!;in, Iringed at the bottom, the only testimonial of neatness that poverty could afford. The whole chattel estate, including the apparel of man, wife, am childien could not bo gold for ten dollars. No other building but the cottage in which ho lives, is allotted to the English laborer. In America, other houses of some sort appertain to the hum Blest dwel ling of man. The horse, mule, donkey or cow has its stable, whoso loft is well stored wilh provender. Hard by is a meat-house, where hangs, unprotected by bolt or bar, many a broadside of bacon, ham or shoulder, in reserve for a rainy day or ihe arrival of a friend, with other eatables of every name and nature, in pot, jnr, aiu! pan. Here the good housewife enters, on proper occasions, by a door not much larger than herself, and forth comes an abundance that would feed an enure village of English laborers. The fowls, loo, have their house, from whose broad beam the cock flings his joyous notes to the distant hills. Nor is the dog lorgotton ; being fed i,, repletion, he do zes all day in his kennel, vigorous and re- Ireshed lor the vigils of the night. Then: is aUo a contrivance) unknown to architec- lure, called a crib, whence the native maize may betaken without stint: nexi the mode.n milk-house, whose flour is dog out of the earth, watered by a foun tain and basins and crocks of milk and butter, sheltered and amply secured by a covering of boards, which hunger never drives men to break through and Meal. hast and least may be seen, just above the ground, a pyramid of straw and clay, be neath w hich is conceited a winter's store of that delicious plant, never tasted bv our English friends, the sweef potatoc. 1 lie dwelling-house, lor so the propri etor calls the cabin in the West, that shel ters his "family, is ofien built of loirs, be tween which the winds whistle, raisim clouds of ashes that sometimes expel the inmates; yet the walls are well garnished with wearing and bed apparrel : the table oaded with plenty, and in his ri"ln laud is a vote thai teils in Congress. He is the owner of ihe land he cultivates, down to the centre of the earth, and when le grows rich, as he certainly will, he may build his castle ad cuJu.m, as law yers say, lor lie is master also of all ibovc the surface. He sows his fields to eat the fruit thereof, and with the overplus ic would gladly Iced his hungry relations in England, il their oppressors would lermit him. He is a political economist, not according to McOullnugli or Say, but practically; for he knows when his in lustry jields more than he spends, and by applying the same rule to his neigh bors and the nation, he ascertains wii'i arithmetical certainty on which side the balances incline. His private interest be ing linked with the public good, he takes ihe same part in elections, and the enact ment of laws, that he does in the admin istration of his own household. He lives under institutions for which there is no precedent in history ; a social partnership not of money, but of cqtiafc rights, in which every one has share and (.hare alike. It is a contrivance altogether new in politics, and as truly American as is thu navigation of the seas by fire and steam. In England there are five millions that cultivate the earth, and six thai labor in the manufactories, who have no share in the government, or a hut to shelter them from the winds. Goaded almost to mad ness by privation and want, they ure id ways ready to overturn that government to which they can owe no allegiance. Every movement is towards revolution; whereas in America, ihe discontent of the people can never proceed to dangerous excesses ; men will not lay wasla their own possessions, or put violent hands on institution! which they can ametiJ or ab rugate at will. I visited eleven cottages whose condi tion differed only in the degree of wretch edness. Their wants seemed in every in stance, to be aggravated by the number of children. I he last I entered bore un im pression of comfort and neatness. The couple had not been long married ; the wife was at a wash-tub near the lire, on which was a pot containing flesh. She wore a while cap, stood slip-shod without stockings, though the weather was humid and cold. The walls were white-washed, and the jagged, uneven floor bore marks of good housewifery. Their cups and saucers, pots, chairs, and t:ible, were suffi cient for an humbb family of only two. Their bed was of chaff, but clean, and presented the only white sheet 1 saw. The fruits of their joint labor were spent upon themselves, yet they could f-ed on meat but four days in the week. They had a pig, the second I saw in the village; but neither cat nor dog. Her husband, she said, could rend ; and as 1 held out the prayer-bonk taken from the shelf, she said she read il often. The wages of the laborer in England are higher in ihe north, decreasing to wards the south until hey fall to seven shillings per week. Their writers mi statistics lix the average amount through out the realm, at tight-and-sixpence, of which oue-and-sixpeuco is weekly paid for cottage-rent, leving a shilling a day for tile maintenance, clothing, fuel and education of the entire family. Their destitution is, therefore, no matter of sur- risc ; for, wilh that sum, it is impossi ble they could subsist without the chari ties provided by the care and bounty of the rich. The appearance of a stranger and the nature of his visit brought mo to the ac quaintance of the farmers who rent the inds of the proprietors and employ la borers to cultivate them. They hold ihe middle Male, between lha lordly great and humbly poor. They received me with great kindness in their houses, which arc better supplied with the convenien ces, but not as many of the luxuries of tie, as are found in a log-cabin in Ken- lucky. On iheir table was usually a joint of mutton or swine's flesh, or sometimes a fowl, potatoes or cabbage, followed by bread and chees, accompanied throughout by l irge potations of beer. and. on one occasion, gooMicrrv wine. I heir educa tion seemed limited to the history of their own kings, and iho reading of news papers, which they obtain at second hand. At the return of the season, the strug le is so great among the farmers to ob tain lauds, that the price of rem is enhan ced beyond their ability to pay. One of them tub me there were foriv-two com- iclitors for those ho cultivated; that the proprietors oppressed the farmers, who, in turn, drove the laborers to ihe verge of starvation, and thai half the pop ulation would emigrate to America if they could pay their passage across the 6ca. A candidate for parliament staled that II the arable lands in Emland were vnied by thirty-three thousand proprie tors. I called on the officer's of the Sta- stical Society, in St. Martin's Jiue, in jondon, to ascertain the trulli of ibis statement. At the;r request. I committed ertaiu interrogatories lo writing, which icy said should be ansv.'cied when the results of the census, then in the press, ere known. I hreo months thereafter they told me the statistics of England did not a Herd the information required. A similar statement was afterwaids made by a member ot parliament ; and, as it was never contradicted, it may be regardeil as true, that the cultivable lands from which ihe English are fed belong mainly lo ihirty-lhrce thousand persons. The chief among them are the members of parlia ment and the hereditary nobility, born to power as well as lo riches. They have established a, code of laws for their own benefit, the most inhuman known in the annals of legislation. Not only are their own estates exempt from general taxa tion, but the cultivation of them is forced upon the people by prohibiting the im portaiiou of every article of food from abroad. The poor laborer is at their mercy ; fiom them he receives Ins bread ; and his wift) and children must be fed on terms as they prescribe. There i no escape; ignorant and destitute, ho cannot take refuge in foreign countries where his proud oppressor cannot pursue. He is starved to the lowest point of endurance ; yet life is spared. Sullieicnt strength lo till the earih is kept up by g-nil and po tatoes, provided by ihe poor-laws or the landlords themselves, as oats are given to horses that they may bear the burthens heaped upon their backs. There is poli cy in oppression; if iho cords were drawn too tight the poor peasant would die, and ihe greediness of iho rich would consume thennclvrs. All communications from lord to tenant aro received with the most degrading ser vility. The poor man is half annihilated; with cap in hand, body bent, and down cast eyes, he articulates unceasingly, my lord ; yes, my lord ; no, my lord ; your lords !:ip with an awe due to divinity rather t!:?.n man. The tlave ia the Carolina is not so humble in the presence of his master. He simply replies, yes, tir; no, sir; of ten indulges in the free expression of opinion ; and, in many families, his communications are on terms of equality. He is, indeed, the property of a master, but is well fed ; and even his dogs, Joler and Towser ofien devour more flesh in a day than an English laborer cats in a week. He cultivates a pach of sweet potatoes and other esculent plants for himself; keeps fowls in his yard, sells at market, and in the smoke of his chimney hangs a joint of a hog, from which he cuts u slice at the cans oi appetite, lie wears a smile on I, is countenance, is fat and saucy among his fellows, laughs with a vacant heart, can dance to a banjo, and freely in dulges in his talent for music. Slavery is a national evil which the Americans deeply deplore. It is against the t-piril of their institulinrs and must h ive an end. Dot there is no redemption lor the English peasantry ; they lie nt ihe bottom of the fabric of society whose pressure, like that of a pyramid, is in proportion to its bright. They have not ihe strength to throw off the incumbent mass, w hich, like the structure to w hich I have compared it, seems destined to outlive many generations of men. The nobility nfo intrenched behind hereditary wealth and piivilfged, and ure, moreover, ihe best educated class of men in Europe. More like potentates (ban subjects, they have much to lose anil no thing to gain by change. J'hey sire atl'a ble and condescending without the loss of dignity ; Hiuly to conciliate, and at the same time lo inspire a respect for them selves which forms ihe secret guaranty of iheir power There are always orators and statesmen among them, well read and practised in the mysteries of Irgislaiicn. Wisdom is power; am? il is the wisdom of parliament that has raised England lo such a pitch of greatness and upheld a constitution which, in any other coun try, would have long ago fallen into ruins. Learning in England is confined to a few; knowledge is taxed and cannot be bought by ihe poor. A tingle newspa per costs six pence, which would give bread to the hungry. The lih: of the press, unlike llie rays of the suit, shine not upon the collage (hatched w ith straw. There are millions of poor laborers, op eratives and iiiechanics, who feel the weight of government without compre hending its policy. Their rulers prac tise' upon the system ol Mandeville, and think il would be unsafe to instruct such formidable numbers who might become inquisitive, and ask why they were fed on potatoes and salt in sight id' a paik con taining three thousand deer to glut the ap petite ol a single man. Hence there are no public schools for the instruction ol the poor; this is ihe work of charity and the church; and not of the law. It was not until six. years ago, that parliament pp.'oprialcd thirty thousand pounds for ibis purpos but little more than is given by the state of Connecticut, wilh less than SOU, OUD inhabitants. In England the liberty of the press is a mere delusion. The people do, indeed, enjoy the right of complaining, am! bitter ly do they complain in every morning and evening prints, only to be laughed at and despised, lint complaining affords relief ns shedding tears assuage sorrow, and this is all ihey get for their pains. The naked houselcjj multitude, continue to live and die s their fathers did kr ages past. They were expelled from their homes by William ihe Conqueror, who divided up the island, as a loaf of bread, among his followers ; ami to this day they have never been restored. u il.e rightful possession of ihe soil. When I returned to London and spoke of ihe destitution 1 had witnessed anions the laborers, 1 was invariably told 1h.1t iheir condition was much better in some places 1 had not seen. Still trusting lo representation, I set out for Devonshire, where, in pursuance of mv plan, I passed a month in Exeter nod its vicinity. My lirsl visit was to a cluster of col lages, near tho confluence of the Exe with the sea. The principle personage 111 tho village) was a matron el hliv. whom I found culling up4ho flesh ef a pig, and converting every atom of it, in- lestines. f. ct, blood, and all, into food for the approaching winte r. In the health was the first comfortable cottage lire 1 had seen. , Neai it sat the children, the eldest ot whom wore shoes, atfti were nil, otherwise, comfortably cUd. The house was fornised in style becom ing tho opulent mistress of a pig ; five chairs with rush bottoms, two board ta bles, a iaia'1 looking-glass eel ia a frame, several little pictures afiixed lo the w:dl j a Bible, a prayer book. Goldsmith's abridged history of England, and flower pots in the window in which the geraoi-. um flourished. The whole wore an air of neatness a virtue always found sunocg too English, where extreme poverty does not forbid. t the sight of a shilling, she called in a neighbor to t:de her place, and set out as my guide among ihe oilier cottages", We entered nine in si cectsion, w here I beheld the same wretchedness and modes of lift that rtvailcd in Sum inerseishire, difuiiu tnily in the quality of food w hich was here cheaper and con sisted partly of fish. In one of them were three children, a daughter, eighteen, and two small girU under ten years of age ; iheir mother was dead. The father presently entered front his labor in the fields. lie was a small' man, as most of dm English laborers ore. His features were swarthy and withered, for he was near sixty ; I. is hands wrrd hard and lingers much contracted ; lie wore kneo breeches of fustian, patched and wore sleek wilh dirt and grease; sort of gaiters that covered his legs ; shoes of untainted leather wilh thick soles, stud ded with projecting nales tiat li ft their iinpicssioii ns liu walked ; a j.aket of coarse woollen fabric much (altered at the elbows and sleeves ; a shitt of cidiso, a strip of checked haiidktrcl.i, f liixml i.ii neck, and a small flat round hat ; his whole apparel as well us comj. lection' w ire colored with the red earth in which' he had be en at w oil;. His food was ready at 12 o'cloc k. He ate, seated on a stool upon the hearth,' with a white plate on his lap, on which w'rre potatoes and two ounces cf bcron.. His children rtood by the side cf a board table, and (l?nrd upon bt'ead mid the coIl- werts that had been boiled with the bacon. His wages w ere seven shilling- a week." out of w hich he paid cottage tent. He said he could not "aflord meat for his children, nor for himself every !uy ;" "that he look it all lo himself that ho' might have the strength to work." The eldest daughter wore shoes, but was meanly drcsM'd ; the others were bare-foot and in rags. The whole furni ture in the house, including cooking uten sils, would not have told for twenty shil lings. There were other cottages in which still greater wretchedness vas visable, and others again, in somew hat better con dition ; this may be regarded as an aver age specimen of ihe whole. I passed scwral days five miles frnni Exeter, at the beautiful mantion of Mr. , who derives his income from a su gar estate in South America. I was re ceived wiilr the most libtral and enlight ened hospitality, and when my object was made known, was accompanied bv his excellent and accomplished lady en 11 tisit lo mi hss than fifteen outages in tho' immediate neighborhood. The first we entered was comfortable ami aito;; fiber neat : but them were no children n Lo.l and I soon discovered that the inmate was inde bted to the bounty of Mrs. fur both food and rlmhing. The 11 next was in habited by a widower, an infirm old man, who received only I'm c shillings n w eck. Ilea was an object td' public as well as private charity, lie could neither read nor wiite.' His childien were dirty and hall'uaked, and though 11 was November, he was without fuel or lire. Tho upper ap.-irtimmt, which I approached by a.surlol" l.uhler, contain ed l wo lilthy beds of chaff, ia nieliacon ditiiin, thai tho blench elroic me back us I opened the door. We next visited a I rut! of cottages that stood immediately on tie margin nf a little stie im ihat had overflow ed its banks ami deposited mud on thu floors of the houses. In out! of ihein was a inoilur who had just been deliicred i f a child. Her f.'Cl were raised on a blocii lo protect them ftom the wtl, and theidiair in which . r 1 I . . ' I r . i.iu n.u as 11 ic oniy article in iiirnuuro 111 the wpiuiuient. The linen and garment about tlis child were furnished lo her br Mrs. . Here I learnt from this gooJ Ldy, that at the binh of every child among Iho laborers, sho sent tho mother a pair of sheets, a change of clothes, and two suits for the iufaiii to be retained for one inomh, ihcu lo bo cleansed and roluriu'd in a bug, ready for other Minilar eva sions. This cm? loin, which I found sf-' terward to prevail in Isleworth nnj other pans of England, bespeaks ntuuee tho charity i f the rich and the frightful dcsu tulion of the poor. Shn eomiminicak'il many particulars concerning tho ctmilition of the Uborrrs on her own extensive groumts and in 'tha neighboring country, ullirmiitg, from her own personal knowledge, that they couM" not subsist on the wages they received,' and were il not for relief derived frorn: other causes, they would "not htvt tha physical strength lo cultivate the earth.' , '. The parents were generally unable to"