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A DAY IN A PAUPER PALACE.

IN some states of English existence Ruin is
the road to Fortune. Falstaff threatened to
make a commodity of his wounds; the well
attested disaster of a begging letter writer
confers upon him an income; the misfortune
of a thief––that of being captured––
occasionally ends in a colonial estate, and a
carriage and pair; both the better assured if
he can tell a good story of misfortunes, and is
hypocrite enough to commence as a Pentonville
"model." In Manchester the high road
to fortune is to be born a pauper; should
especially orphanhood, either by death or
desertion, ensue.

At the easy distance of five miles from the
great Cotton Capital, on the road to the
great Cotton Port, through shady lanes and
across verdant meadows, is the village of
Swinton. At its entrance, on a pleasing
elevation, stands a building which is generally
mistaken for a wealthy nobleman's residence.
The structure is not only elegant but extensive;
it is in the Tudor style of architecture,
with a frontage of four-hundred and fifty feet.
It is studded with more than a hundred
windows, each tier so differing in shape and
size from the others as to prevent monotonous
uniformity. Two winding flights of
steps in the centre lead to a handsome
entrance hall, above which rise two lofty turrets
to break the outline of the extensive roof.
The depth of the edifice is great––its whole
proportions massive. Pleasure-gardens and
play-grounds surround it. In front an acre
and a half of flower-beds and grass-plots are
intersected by broad gravel-walks and a
carriage-drive. Some more of the land is laid
out for vegetables. Beyond is a meadow, and
the whole domain is about twenty-two acres
in extent; all in good, some in picturesque,
cultivation.

The stranger gazing upon the splendid brick
edifice, with its surrounding territory, is
surprised when he is told that it is not the seat
of an ancient Dukedom; but that it is a
modern palace for pauper children. He is not
surprised when he hears that it cost £60,000.

The contemplation of sumptuous arrangements
of this nature for the benefit of helpless
penury, naturally engenders an argument:—
is it quite fair to the industrious
poor that the offspring of paupers should be
placed in a better position than that of his
own?––that these should have better instruction,
be better fed, and better clothed?––that
a premium should thus be put upon the
neglect of their children by vicious parents;
while, there is no helping hand held out to
the industrious and virtuous for the proper
training of their children: so that the care
of their offspring by the latter is, by
comparison, a misfortune; while desertion or
neglect by the former is a blessing to theirs,
to whom Garrick's paradox can be justly
applied, that Their Ruin is the Making of them.

That is one side of the argument. The
other stands thus; ought the misdeeds of
parents to be visited on their innocent
children? should pauper and outcast infants
be neglected so as to become pests to Society,
or shall they be so trained as to escape the
pauper-spirit, and make amends to Society for
the bad citizenship of their parents, by their
own persevering industry, economy, and
prudence in mature life? Common sense
asks, does the State desire good citizens or
bad? If good ones, let her manufacture
them; and if she can do so by the agency of
such establishments as that of Swinton, at
not too great a cost, let us not be too critical
as to her choice of the raw material.

In order to see whether the Swinton
establishment fulfils this mission we solicited
a gentleman qualified for the task to visit it;
and from his information we have drawn up
the following account:––

Having, he says, passed through the
entrance hall, we chatted for a time with the
chaplain, who is at the head of the establishment.
From him we learnt that there are in
the institution six hundred and thirty
children, of whom three hundred and five are
orphans, and one hundred and twenty-four
deserted by their parents. Besides the chaplain
there is a head master, a medical officer,
a Roman Catholic priest, a governor and
matron, six schoolmasters and four
schoolmistresses, with a numerous staff of subordinate
officials, male and female, including six
nurses, and teachers of divers trades. The
salaries and wages of the various officers and
servants amount to about £1800 a year,
exclusive of the cost of their board which the
greater number enjoy also.

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