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A LABOURER? We are all labourers,

"For every worm beneath the moon
  Draws different threads, and late
  and soon
  Spins, toiling out his own cocoon."

well, a Wiltshire farm-labourer, died not
many weeks ago, bowed down with toil,
decrepid and rheumatic, at the age of fifty-five.
During the last thirty-three years of his life
there had been added to the bodily work proper,
to the toiling out of his particular cocoon, an
unnecessary walk of eighty-two thousand,
three hundred, and sixty-eight miles. If he
had walked straight on, instead of to and fro,
from home to work and from work home
again, and if there had been a pavement laid
down for him on the surface of the sea, this
man could have walked three times round
the world, and made a trip to the North Pole
and back, out of the waste exertion added to
his daily work upon a farm with hand and
foot and body.

Why then did this absurd man make a
victim of himself by fixing his home at so
great a distance from his place of labour ? The
man was not at all absurd. He was the victim
of absurdityintended to be shrewdness
in other men. There are certain laws upon
a matter that sounds very unattractive:
Settlement and Poor Removal. There are certain
tactics consequent upon those laws, and there
are a great many miserable consequences of
those tactics which depress the condition not
only of the labourer, but of the working
farmer also: which by no means contribute
profit to the landlord-interest, and very seriously
tend to retard the progress of the country.
They belong to a part of our glorious institutions
that will have, at a convenient season,
to follow some of their glorious predecessors
to the limbo of obsolete folly and selfishness.

Agricultural labour does not, as it is
commonly conducted, occupy at all seasons of the
year the same number of hands. Labourers
formerly eked out their scanty subsistence
by work on lace pillows, at spinning-wheels, at
looms, or otherwise by undertaking simple
cottage manufactures for which now there is
no demand. Manchester, Leeds, and Nottingham
have altered all that; and now, men and
women out of employ must be maintained
by the parish in which they have a legal
settlement, that is to say, in which they
have been born, in which they fall sick, or in
which they may have lived five years. It
becomes therefore an object with the rural
parish of A, in which a few rich men would
have to maintain all the poor settled among
them, to prevent people likely to require
such maintenanceeven their own labourers
from acquiring a settlement among them;
and so by refusing to build labourers' cottages,
such a parish will compel the men who work
for it to pitch their tents with the distant
parishioners of B.

Many landlords believe that a small poor-
rate enables them to command a higher rent,
and therefore refuse to build for the farm-
labourers, that no one additional person may
acquire a settlement within their parish. The
tenant-farmer in such a case pays, perhaps, in
rent what is saved in poor-rate, but suffers
grievously by inability to make free use of
labour. That is a brief statement of one
part of the case. The Wiltshire farm- labourer
of whose death we have spoken is only one man
among many whose strength and health have
for some time been wasted in precisely the same
way. We should not care to specify his case
if there were any individual to blame in the
matter; but as the story is connected with
a Charity which we know by experience to
be thick-skinned, a Charity that, in a very
ugly sense, covers a multitude of sins, there
can be no reason why we should not
add it to the corresponding narratives on record.

The Charterhouse Charity has excellent
estates in Wiltshire, and in gathering the
produce of them it would seem to be very careful
that no crumbs shall fall among the poor. The
farm of Blagrove, in Wiltshire, held under the
Charterhouse Charity, is thus kept clear of
cottages. The tenant is a man greatly
respected by his neighbours, whose men are
nearly all old servants, and regard him as a
friend from whom they would unwillingly be
parted; but the Charity will not have mercy
upon them by relaxing from its principle of
ordering the poor to keep their distance. It
was to this farm that a labourer, named
Embling, went daily to and fro in all seasons
and weather for three-and-thirty years, three
miles to his work and three miles from it.
Sunday was not a day of rest, he went over