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Art. X.

Essays, Political, Economical, and
Philosophical. By
Benjamin Count
Rumford. The first American, from
the third London Edition

(Continued from page 134.)

THE second essay in this work
is designed to investigate the
first principles of establishments for
the cure of poverty. Money to
supply the poor with materials and
accommodations, is an indispensi-
ble, but not the only or most im-
portant requisite. Idleness cannot
be removed, profligacy reclaimed,
or misery effectually relieved by
force. The means useful to this
end, cannot be purchased. They
consist in voluntary and benevolent
exertions. The management of all
such institutions must, therefore, be
consigned to men contributing their
aid without pecuniary recompense,
and who are incited by no motive
but the desire of doing good. Zeal
and integrity in the managers are
the only means of effecting the end
of such establishments, and of se-
curing the concurrence of the pub-
lic. To this may be added the no-
toriety of their proceedings, and
their rendering to the public perio-
dical accounts of receipts and dis-

The expense of such institutions
is much less than is commonly sup-
posed. Economical regulations; the
bringing of all donations into one
fund; the concentring of industry,

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and simplifying the objects of atten-
tion, possess obvious advantages.—
Half the money, contributed at
random and by chance to beggars,
will effectually extirpate beggary,
when collected into one fund and
subjected to methodical manage-
ment; whereas, in a different way,
instead of correcting, it only aggra-
vates the evil. Assistance to beg-
gars, where such an establishment
exists, is highly injurious; and cha-
rity can only be effectual by throw-
ing its mite into the funds of that

In cities, whatever be their size,
one establishment only should exist.
Subdivisions into districts should
be numerous in proportion to the
population, but they should form
only parts of one system. All es-
sential power should be vested in a
supreme committee, and subordi-
nate departments should be merely
ministerial; but this supreme com-
mittee should consist, in part, of
the members of subordinate depart-

Mildness and lenity in the treat-
ment of the poor and vicious, can-
not be too much insisted on. Hence
zeal and benevolence in the admi-
nistrators, are absolutely necessary.
Men opulent and noble, magis-
trates and ecclesiastics are, by all
means, to be prompted to concur
as a supreme committee. Their
province will be chiefly that of su-
perintendance, and to authorize the
supplying of wants which are cer-
tified, by subordinate officers, to be
real. This aid will consist in
weekly presents of money, provi-
sions, and clothing, or fuel, or sup-
plies of necessary articles at the
prime cost of these articles. Busi-
ness of this kind cannot be simpli-
fied and expedited by any means so
much as by the use of printed forms.

To relieve immediate wants is in-
sufficient. To impart food to the
hungry is a trifling and endless
task. It is requisite that temper-

ance and industry should be given.
Any other boon is, perhaps, more
injurious than beneficial. How are
the vicious and idle to be reform-
ed? no undertaking is more deli-
cate and more momentous.

Conciliation and kindness are
the chief means. Punishments may
sometimes, though rarely, be ne-
cessary; but they should be admini-
stered without any attendant pas-
sion but pity. Rewards, on the
contrary, should be plenteously con-
ferred. It is needless to add, that,
though a less equivocal instrument
than punishment, a vigilant in-
spection and cautious judgment are
requisite to make them beneficial.

Having described an establish-
ment of this kind, it is next con-
sidered how it may be introduced
in given circumstances; how the
curiosity of the public and their
zeal may be awakened by the exer-
tions of a single individual in this
cause. That individual must be
indefatigable and wise: he must
possess no mean skill in human na-
ture and knowledge of local cir-
cumstances: he must circulate his
scheme as widely as possible, by
means of printed proposals gratuit-
ously distributed, in which the
particulars of his scheme are copi-
ously and perspicuously detailed.

It must be a scheme for feeding
and employing the poor, on the
principles already explained and re-
duced to practice in the establish-
ment at Munich. He must begin
with protesting the distinterestedness
of his own motives; he must enu-
merate the steps that will be taken
when the requisite sums are sub-
scribed. Twenty-five of those high-
est in the list shall be convened by
letter: these shall name, by ballot,
five subscribers to collect contribu-
tions and superintend the execu-
tion of the plan. The author of
the plan will settle all details in the
arrangement of the establishment.
The place selected will be as central,

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as cheap, and as healthfully situated
as possible.

A public kitchen will first be
erected, to furnish food at the re-
commendation of subscribers, of
four kinds, differing in goodness
and in price. Eating rooms will
be built, in which this food will be
served. Additional rooms, cleanly,
spacious, well lighted, and well
warmed, will be opened for the
use of the poor, to which they will
be invited to bring their work.
Utensils and raw materials will be
gradually furnished, decorum main-
tained, and rewards judiciously con-

In fitting up the kitchen, and in
lighting, warming, and purifying
the edifice, every economical, cheap,
and elegant invention will be intro-
duced. The success that will
crown this scheme, will stimulate
benevolence and incite imitation.
Similar plans may be formed and
executed in other parts of the city;
and poor rates, being no longer of
use, may universally give place to
voluntary subscription.

Original subscriptions will be all-
sufficient. The establishment, once
carried into effect, will, ever after-
wards, support itself. Relief of
poverty is the great scope of this
design, but other ends may be com-
prised in it. Apartments may be
opened for the reception and exhi-
bition of new inventions, particu-
larly such as are conducive to do-
mestic comfort and frugality: mo-
dels of kitchens may be exhibited
for the inspection of the public, and
their practical utility shown by en-
gaging cooks, and furnishing din-
ners to customers.

Orders for food, on the public
kitchen, shall be furnished to all
applicants; preferring, first, fre-
quenters of the working rooms,
and, secondly, those recommend-
ed by subscribers. Subscribers
shall receive semi-annually, tickets
amounting to ten per cent. on their

subscriptions, till one half of the
subscriptions be in this manner re-
paid. But food being fifty per
cent. cheaper than elsewhere, the
whole subscription will thus be, in
two years and an half, fully refund-
ed; and the establishment will
thenceforth subsist on its own in-
come. All property, however, will
still be vested in the original con-
tributors. Such will be the scheme
delineated, and concurrence cannot
fail of being obtained, if judicious-
ly and powerfully solicited.

Relief to the poor will be more
cheaply, extensively, and benefi-
cially administered by the means
just described, than by any other.
Affluent persons may confer consi-
derable, though inferior benefit, by
as close an imitation of this model
as possible, and by supplying the
indigent, to the extent which their
revenue admits, with incitements
and materials of industry.

One species of charity which
consists not in giving money, but
merely in lending or refraining
from increasing our store, may be
practised with great effect. Let
provisions, and especially fuel, be
purchased at the cheapest rate.
Advantage for this end, may be
taken of the season, of the circum-
stances of the vender, of the quan-
tity to be purchased, and of other
particulars which influence the
price of a commodity. They may
be sold to the poor in portions, and
at times suitable to their wants, and
at prime cost. In articles whose
price is variable, the relief imparti-
ble by this method, can scarcely be
estimated. If we sell that for fifty
cents, whose common price is an
hundred and fifty, we confer what
is equivalent to an alms of one hun-
dred cents, and in a way far less
liable to abuse. Another who shall
give an hundred cents in money, is
poorer by so much, and has proba-
bly injured and not benefited the
receiver; whereas our gift is equal

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to his, without being any deduction
from our original stock, and has
probably operated to advantage.

Our charity may likewise consist,
not in giving money or money's
worth, but in imparting knowledge.
The poor are ignorant, negligent,
and wasteful. Fire, which they use
to warm themselves, serves com-
monly to increase the cold. Slight
and cheap improvements in the
structure of their chimneys, will
obviate this inconvenience. Fuel,
for the purpose of cooking, is at
present a subject of enormous waste.
Portable earthen pots, formed on
simple and obvious principles, com-
prising a tin vessel and a receptacle
for fuel, will greatly abridge expense.
The gift of one of these would fre-
quently remove the distresses of

Cookery is an art hitherto em-
ployed to augment expense, and to
stimulate the palate at the price of
health. No art is of more impor-
tance, when unperverted from its
genuine purposes, which consist in
enhancing the nutritious and sa-
voury qualities of food, and econo-
mizing labour, time, and expense.
No one can tell to what extent this

art might be made subservient to
these purposes. How greatly would
the condition of the poor be im-
proved if persuaded to adopt various
modes that might be mentioned of
preparing cheap and savoury soups!

The remainder of this essay is
employed in repeating and enforcing
various considerations that had be-
fore occurred. Some useful re-
marks are made as to the best me-
thod of disposing of the product of
the labour of the poor, and the
equity that ought to be observed in
the regulation of their wages.

The utility of this treatise is
practical. We live in a country
where poverty subsists and where
establishments for the relief of po-
verty are maintained. What use
might be made of this writer's spe-
culations, it is of importance to
discover. If his ideas be just, and
those ideas have been neglected in
our own system, it is time to be-
stir ourselves in the work of refor-
mation. If they be erroneous, no
inconsiderable service will be done
to the cause of general happiness by
demonstrating their fallacy, and ex-
hibiting a better system in their


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