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108

LABOUR CONDITIONS

bushels to sift. — Do you think the boys retain one quarter of that given them for their own use? No." — Lords' Minutes, p. 35.

We have been thus particular in stating the case of the chimney sweepers, and in founding it upon the basis of facts, that we may make an answer to those profligate persons who are always ready to fling an air of ridicule upon the labours of humanity, because they are desirous that what they have not virtue to do themselves, should appear to be foolish and romantic when done by others. A still higher degree of depravity than this, is to want1) every sort of compassion for human misery, when it is accompanied by filth,poverty, and ignorance, — to regulate humanity by the income tax, and to deern the bodily wretchedness and the dirty tears of the poor a fit subject for pleasantry and contempt. We should have been loth *) to believe, that such deep-seated and disgusting immorality existed in these days; but the notice of it is forced upon us. Nor must we pass over a set of marvellously weak gentlemen, who discover democracy and revolution in every effort to improve the condition of the lower orders, and to take off a little of the load of misery from those points where it presses the hardest. Such are the men into whose heart Mrs. Fry3) has struck the deepest terror, — who abhor Mr. Bentham and

1. to want: to be without.

2. loth [ioub]: unwilüng.

3. Mrs. Fry, like the more famous John Howard, was one of the philanthropists of the early nineteenth century. She also interested herself in the improvement of prisons. It is now hardly intelligible that they could ever have been looked upon as revolutionaries.

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