II. That the poor when farmed out or sold were fre quently treated with barbarity and neglect.
III. That the education and morals of the children of paupers — except in almshouses —were almost wholly neglected. They grew up in filth, idleness, ignorance, and disease, and many became early candidates for the prison or the grave. The evidence on this head was regarded as too voluminous even for reference.
IV. That there was no adequate provision for the em ployment of the poor throughout the state. Idleness very generally generates vice, dissipation, disease, and crime.
V. That the poor laws had come to encourage the sturdy beggar and profligate vagrant. Overseers not un frequently granted relief without sufficient examination into the circumstances or the ability of the party claim ing it.
VI. That the laws also held out encouragement to the successful practice of street begging.
VII. That idiots and lunatics did not receive sufficient care and attention in towns where no suitable asylums for their reception were established.
In general, there was shown to be an evident want of economy in the disbursement of the public funds ; and it was demonstrated that the law of settlement was a fruitful source of litigation and difficulty.
The report aimed at specific reforms which, in a word, were to be accomplished by restricting outdoor relief and establishing houses of industry. The worthy poor were to be relieved in an almshouse, where children were to be received and properly educated, and, in a workhouse or house of correction conducted in cooperation with the alms house, compulsory employment was to be given to the idle.
A bill was prepared embodying these aims to accompany the report. Two of its prominent features were held to be entitled to much consideration : I. It would relieve the poor with greater humanity and emphatically with more economy than under the existing poor laws.
II. It would provide employment for the idle and com pel them to labor, and in consequence put an end to the practice of street begging.
The plan submitted proposed : I. That one or more houses of employment in each county, with a farm of sufficient extent be connected with each institution ; the paupers there to be maintained and II employed at the expense of the respective counties in some helpful labor, chiefly agricultural, their children to be carefully instructed and at suitable ages to be put out at some useful business or trade.
II. That each house of employment be connected with a workhouse or penitentiary for the reception and discipline of sturdy beggars and vagrants.
III. That the excise duties be increased and a tax laid upon the owners of distilleries of whiskey and other ardent spirits to compose a fund for the relief of the poor.
IV. That one year's residence in a county constitute a settlement except in certain specified cases.
V. That no male person in health with the use of all his faculties and between the ages of eighteen and fifty years be placed upon the pauper list or be maintained at the public expense.
VI. That severe penalties be inflicted upon those who bring to or leave in a county paupers not legally charge able to it.
VII. That street begging be entirely prohibited, beg gars of this description to be instantly sent to the work house ; and that magistrates be subject to indictment and punishment for any neglect of this duty, and grand juries specially charged to inquire into such neglects and to pre sent such offenders.
Referring to comparative statistics of the bureau of pauperism in different states, some of which we have al ready quoted, it is pointed out that in Rhode Island and Vir ginia the number of paupers is less than in New York and in Pennsylvania, and that in Delaware, Rhode Island, and Virginia, where the poorhouse system has prevailed for the greatest length of time and to the greatest extent, the burden of pauperism and the expense which it entails are less than in any state in which that system has been more recently or partially introduced.
A few additional items of information may profitably be culled from the appendices : the total expense of the city and county of New York for relief to the outdoor poor for the year preceding the report was $10,000, while the amount expended for paupers in the almshouse was $50,908.27 ; for maniacs in the asylum, $3332 ; and for vagrants in the Bridewell and penitentiary, $5321.26, making a total of $74,561.53.