« PreviousContinue »
joying a monopoly, and the adoption of the two meals on different occasions would furnish opportunities for an agreeable variety. One frequently hears people object to dining early, on the ground that they feel themselves disinclined to do anything after dinner ; but this is a false mode of reasoning. After a late dinner there is a disinclination to action, especially if it is an overloaded repast; but the reason of this is, that the powers have become exhausted, which is a solid argument against late dining with reference to health and spirits. But a moderate dinner in the middle of the day, when the digestive powers are the strongest, instead of unfitting for action, has the very contrary effect, and a person rises from table refreshed, and more actively inclined than before. No one, whose digestion is in good order, complains of the incapacitating effects of luncheon, which is in reality a dinner without its pleasures. Luncheon may be said to be a joyless dinner, and dinner a cumbrous supper, and between the two, they utterly exclude that refreshing little meal, tea. We live in a strange state of perversion, from which many emancipate themselves as much as they can, when the eye of the world is not upon them; and if everybody dared to do as everybody would like, strange changes would soon appear. If the state prisons were thrown open, and the fetters of fashion cast off, what inward rejoicing there would be among rich and poor, male and female ! What struggles, what pangs, what restraints would be avoided! What enjoyments, what pleasures would present themselves, and what elasticity would be given to the different bents of the human mind! If reason and virtue alone dictated the rules of life, how much more of real freedom would be enjoyed than under the present worn-out dynasty of fashion !
Published also monthly with the Periodicals, stitched in a wrapper.
IBUTSON AND PALMER, PRINTERS, SAVOY STREET, STRAND.
BY THOMAS WALKER, M.A.
TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,
BARRISTER AT LAW, AND ONE OF THE POLICE MAGISTRATES OF THE METROPOLIS.
PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 12 O'CLOCK, BY H. RENSHAW,
356, STRAND, NEARLY OPPOSITE WELLINGTON STREET.
No. XXV.] WEDNESDAY, NOV. 4, 1835. [Price 3d.
In consequence of the articles on the habits and treatment of
terest in its success. At my desire he has furnished me with a few observations, which I shall make the ground-work of the following article, in many instances using his own words.
Of all the plans devised for bettering the condition of the labouring classes, not one has so successfully promoted that object as the establishment of savings-banks. This marked success has been the natural result of the application of a sound principle, namely, that the bettering the condition of the lower classes rests mainly with themselves, and that all attempts to accomplish this desirable object by means of bounties and premiums has an indirect tendency to make their condition worse, inasmuch as bounties and premiums teach them rather to lean upon others, than to depend upon their own exertions for support. The Society for bettering the Condition of the Poor seems to have come to this conclusion after many years of experience; for upon the establishment of savings-banks in the metropolis, it immediately applied its funds to the support of these institutions, and materially as. sisted in permanently establishing them. Although the numerous savings-banks in the metropolis would seem to meet the convenience of all persons desirous of availing themselves of them, there is yet one class, whose peculiar situation and habits require that an institution should be especially established for their benefit. The seamen frequenting the port of London make little use of the savings-banks now existing. They are not in any particular manner brought to their notice. The rules and regulations have no particular relation to their peculiar exigencies and way of life. They have no friends to put them in the right way; whilst they are beset on every side by the most voracious and profligate of both sexes, whose interest it is to decoy them into habits of the most senseless improvidence. From the moment they arrive in port, and before they can set foot on shore, till they are not only pennyless, but have utterly exhausted their credit on the most ruinous terms, they are made victims of a regularly
organized gang of land-sharks who haunt them wherever they go. Calumniated and unprotected whilst they might be able to secure their independence, they become objects of sympathy only when sickness, accident, or old age has reduced them and their families to destitution. A sailor's reception on his return to land is ordinarily a sorry recompense for the dangers and hardships of a long voyage; and in a few days he often finds himself shamelessly stripped of the earnings of as many months. When on the ocean he must make up his mind to be cut off from domestic enjoyment, but when on land it is too often embittered or destroyed by the profligate system to which he is exposed. It is a mistake to suppose that seamen are naturally more improvident than landsmen ; they are made so by the circumstance of receiving their wages in accumulated sums, and other men in the same rank of life, when exposed to the like temptation, seldom resist to a less extent, except in so far as they are not equally beset by villany. In how many trades do the majority of workmen cease to labour as long as they have a shilling in their pockets ! But this failing is not an incurable one, if all possible facilities and allurements were afforded to habits of saving; and the sailor has then an advantage over all other classes of labourers, in that, whilst he is earning his wages, he has not only no temptation to waste them, but he has seldom the possibility. Once instil into a seaman a desire for accumulation, and it is easier to him than to any other individual; he puts a lump in store, and on his return finds it not only safe, but increased, He has the means in his hands to double it. Is he not likely to apply them so, and to go to sea again as soon, and a better sailor, than the spendthrift ? A desire of saving having taken root in a sailor's mind, it has more time and opportunity to grow there than under any other circumstances; and as a certain similarity of habits must ever characterise the class, a partial change for the better would most probably lead to an universal one.
The establishment of a seamen's savings-bank in the most central situation, and under rules and regulations having solely in view the habits and convenience of the class, would in all probability confer invaluable benefits upon them, if patronized and supported by the shipping interest. Here the produce of their labour might be safely housed until wanted for beneficial purposes, instead of being dissipated in profligacy and folly, or made a prey to others. What a benefit it would be to a sailor to have his wages placed in security, if only till, upon getting another ship, he might be enabled to purchase his outfit with his own money, instead of being driven to procure it on the most extortionate terms! But if a permanent habit of saving could be produced, it would, by raising himn in his own estimation, make him a more valuable servant, and eventually be productive of great national benefit. Experience has shown, that when a depositor in a savingsbank has succeeded in accumulating a few pounds, a most extraordinary stimulus is frequently given to the formation of habits of industry and economy, and every nerve appears to be strained to increase his fund. At the same time the very bearing and manner of the individual is altered, and he seems to have acquired a proper feeling of self-respect, the spread of which must produce the most beneficial results to society at large. The British seaman has many noble qualities, which, as is often visible, make him the more keenly feel the de. basement of some of his habits, and which would doubtless induce him to enter more willingly into any better course that might be opened to him. There seems no mode of offering him a better course, in principle so sound, or in operation so easy, as by the establishment of a savings-bank, having for its sole object the encouragement of provident habits among the seafaring class, by affording them every possible facility to place whatever part of their hard earnings they may have to spare, out of the reach of imposition and robbery, for their own benefit and for that of their families. The prin