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can be devised more safe, than reserving them rigorously for periods of extraordinary distress; and then bestowing them upon persons above the lowest classes, so as to prevent the ruin of housholders.
I am very far, however, from asserting, that any such strict limitation of the charitable funds already existing ought to be attempted. I only state the principle upon which the Legislature should proceed, wherever it is justified in interfering. What circumstances may authorize that interference, cannot be, with any advantage to the subject, described in general terms. But that no rights are in reality infringed by taking a fund destined to support the poor, in a way likely to increase their numbers, and using it so as to perform some act of charity, without increasing the numbers of charitable objects, seems abundantly evident. No man can be supposed to have desired the existence of paupers; every donor assumed that, independently of his bounty, there were such needy persons in being, and he intended to relieve them. Could he have foreseen that an alteration in the form of his gift must reduce their numbers, he would have adopted it. In like manner,
poor are not, with reference to this point, an existing body of persons, like the
Church, or any other Corporation, who have rights of property. They form a class into which no man enters voluntarily; and whatever restricts their numbers, by diminishing poverty, benefits the community. So that no violation of property will be committed, by using any fund given to the poor, in a manner different from its original destination, provided the result were infallibly to lessen their numbers, and still to employ it in works of charity. We both accurately and conveniently speak of the poor, as a body having rights, when we complain of those who have misapplied their property, by converting it to their own use. But the class of paupers cannot, with any correctness of speech, be said to be defrauded by an act which keeps others from entering into it. This injury can only be done to persons who were mani. festly never in the donor's view, persons voluntarily making themselves paupers, to take advantage of the gift.
EXTRACTS FROM A SPEECH
HOUSE OF LORDS,
AGAINST THE SECOND READING OF
THE BILL FOR INFLICTING
PAINS AND PENALTIES
See, my Lords, the unhappy fate of this illustrious woman! It has been her lot always to lose her surest stay, her best protector, when the dangers most thickened around her; and, by a coincidence almost miraculous, there has hardly been one of her defenders withdrawn from her, that his loss has not been the signal of an attack upon her existence. Mr. Pitt was her earliest defender and friend in this country. He died in 1806; and but a few weeks afterwards, the first inquiry into the conduct of Her Royal Highness began. He left her a legacy to Mr. Perceval, her firm, dauntless, most able advocate. -- And, no sooner had the hand of an
assassin laid Mr. Perceval low, than she felt the calamity of his death, in the renewal of the attacks which his gallantry, his skill, and his invariable constancy, had discomfited. Mr. Whitbread then undertook her defence; and when that catastrophe happened, which all good men lament, without any distinction of party or sect, again commenced the distant grumbling of the storm ; for it then, happily, was never allowed to approach her, because her daughter stood her friend, and there were who worshipped the rising sun. But, when she lost that amiable and beloved daughter, all which might have been expected here—all which might have been dreaded by her if she had not been innocent-all she did dread-because, who, innocent or guilty, loves persecution; who delights in trial, when character and honour are safe? All was, at once, allowed to burst upon her head; and the operations commenced by the Milan Commission. And, my Lords, as if there were no possibility of the Queen losing her protector, without some most important act being played in this drama against her, the day which saw the venerable remains of our revered Sovereign consigned to the tomb of that Sovereign, who, from the first outset of the Princess in English life, had been her constant and steady defender-that same
sun ushered the ringleader of the band of perjured witnesses into the palace of his illustrious
Why, my Lords, do I mention these things ? Not for the sake of making so trite a remark, as that trading politicians are selfish--that spite is twin-brother to ingratitude that nothing will bind base natures—that favours conferred, and the duty of gratitude neglected, only make those natures the more malignant. My Lords, the topic would be trite and general, and I should be ashamed to trouble your Lordships with it; but I say this once more, in order to express my deep sense of the unworthiness with which I now succeed such powerful defenders, and my alarm, lest my exertions should fail to do what theirs, had they been living, must have accomplished.
Such then, my Lords, is this case. And again let me call on your Lordships, even at the risk of repetition, never to dismiss for a moment from
minds the two great points upon which I rest my attack upon the evidence ; -first, that they have not proved the facts by the good witnesses who were within their reach, whom they have no shadow of pretext for not calling ;-and, secondly, that the witnesses whom they have ventured to call, are every one