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men consisted of one scanty meal of dry potatoes daily.” “To keep the bodies and souls of these miserable creatures together, many a humane citizen contributes more than the noble owner of all the property.” Yet all this happens in a Christian land 1 where thousands are wallowing amidst overflowing wealth ! In the city of Naples, there are above 30,000 persons, distinguished by the appellation Lazzaroni, the greater part of whom, have no other home than the earth for a floor, and the sky for a ceiling, who sleep every night under porticos, piazzas, or any other kind of shelter they can find. Although they are the object of detestation to travellers, yet they are in fact merely the poorer class of laborers, who, attached to no particular trade, are yet willing to work, and to take any job that is offered. If they are idle, it is not their own fault; since they are continually running about the streets begging for employment. If they are ignorant and debased, and frequently addicted to pilfering, it is more their misfortune than their crime; for no provision has been made for their instruction, nor arrangements for supplying them with the work they are willing to perform; although they are surrounded with 12,000 ecclesiastics living in opulence and splendor, and with numerous nobility rioting in extravagance' upon princely fortunes. Those of them who have wives and families live in the suburbs of Naples, near Pensilippo, in huts, or in caverns or chambers dug out of that mountain. These people, however, wretched as they are, have had a certain degree of moral influence. In opposition to the measures of the court, they prevented the establishment of the inquisition; and such was their disinterested patriotism, that they generously offered their services to save their sinking country from the French invasion, while the nobles had meanly abandoned the breach and forsaken their sovereign; and, it was merely owing to the want of leaders, that they reluctantly submitted to inaction. To what causes, then, but to criminal apathy and avarice, are to be imputed the destitute and miserable state of these Lazzaroni, since
the surrounding country is fertile and delightful; since wealth is flowing in streams around them, and the glitter of pomp and equipage, is continually before their eves.* - * *
*Even in the British metropolis, and other cities of the empire, scenes not altogether dissimilar to the above, are frequently to be found. According to the satements of Dr. Colquhoun, there are in London, upwards of 20,000 persons, who rise every morning without employument, and rely for maintenance on the accidents of the day.
Were we to inspect all the narrow lanes, the cellars, garrets, and hovels, connected with Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Newcastle, Dublin, Cork, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, and other British towns and cities, we should find the most appalling scenes of destitution and wretchedness, of which three fourths of our population, and especially the higher ranks, can form no conception. Indeed, wherever we turn our eyes, whether in the country, the village, or the crowded city, we never fail to behold multitudes of the blind, the lame, the diseased, and even the healthy, in a state of penury and destitution—many of them only half-covered with rags, and exposed, houseless and forlorn, to the nipping frosts, and to all the inclemencies of the season. Many of these wretched creatures are immoral and depraved; but the cause of this is not so much to be attributed to the individuals themselves, as to the arrangements of general society. Society has never yet provided for such, the means of education, of moral training, of employment, or what is necessary for their comfortable subsistence; and general society is, therefore, accountable in part, both for the misery they suffer, and the crimes they occasionally commit.
An American writer, who very lately visited Italy, and other countries in Europe, makes the following statements in reference to the city of Naples. “I have been struck repeatedly with the little value attached
* It is a proverbial saying among the other Italians, that “Naples is a paradise inhabited by devils.”
to human life in Italy. -- I have seen several of these houseless Lazzaroni literally dying in the streets, and no one curious enough to look at them. The most dreadful sufferings, the most despairing cries, in the open squares, are passed as unnoticed as the howling of a dog. The day before yesterday, a woman fell, in the Toledo, in a fit, frothing at the mouth, and livid with pain; and though the street was so crowded that one could make his way with difficulty, three or four ragged children were the only persons seen looking at her.” - * - It is easy, therefore, to perceive, that were covetousness undermined, and a godlike generosity substituted in its place—no such miserable and revolting scenes would disgrace our world. We should no longer behold the houseless and benighted wanderer hung with rags, shivering amidst the blasts of winter, and reposing under a hedge, or in the streets under the open canopy of heaven, nor the blind and the dumb, the halt and the maimed, wandering along our streets and highways friendless, and forlorn, and destitute of the comforts which every human being ought to enjoy. But, on the other hand, those whom God has blessed with abundance, would, like Job, be “eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, and a father to the poor. The blessing of them who are ready to perish would come upon them, and they would cause the widow’s heart to sing with joy.” . . . - . . . . . . . It is not, however, by bestowing money directly on the poor, except in certain urgent cases, nor even by endowing alms-houses, or asylums, except for the blind,t the aged, and the infirm, who are unable to
* “Pencillings by the way.” By N. P. Willis, Esq., 1835. -
t Even the blind may, in many cases, be usefully employed. We have had several celebrated lecturers and teachers of science, who had been either blind from their birth, or had lost their sight at a very early period, such as Professor Saunderson, Dr. Moyes, Mr. Davidson, Mr. Gough, and others, who were the means of communicating popular instruction in science, to many thousands in different countries. Such persons, among the lower ranks, have been usefully employed in basket making, weaving, and other occupations; and in such exercises, have felt enjoyments which they could not otherwise have experienced.
work; but by affording employment, and a proper remuneration for labor, to all who enjoy health and vigor of body and mind. For every human being ought to be actively employed in something which contributes to his own benefit, and the good of others. An absolutely idle person, is both a burden to himself, and a nuisance in society; and he never can feel the sweets of true enjoyment. It is contrary to the evident design of the Creator, in bestowing upon us both physical and moral powers, that any class of these powers should remain dormant or unemployed. And, therefore, the plan of cooping up hundreds of healthy persons in hospitals and poor houses, without being employed in regular mental and bodily exercises, is evidently contrary to nature, and consequently, subversive of true happineSS. - The true method of promoting the comfort of the poor, is to furnish them with the means of instruction and employment, to provide them with comfortable habitations, to teach them the rules of economy, temperance, and moral order, and to see that their children be properly educated in the different branches of useful knowledge, and in the doctrines and duties of religion. There are many ways by which such objects o be accomplished, either by opulent individuals, or by society at large. In the building of churches, schools, lecture-rooms, and work-shops, throughout the country, wherever they are required; in the cultivation of waste grounds, the draining of land, the formation of roads, and comfortable foot paths throughout every part of the country; in forming public walks around villages and towns; in erecting new towns and villages on spacious and improved plans; in erecting work-shops and manufactories for all kinds of clothing and furniture; in distributing gas-pipes throughout villages, and along the high ways, for illuminating the country, and cheering the traveller under the cloud of night;-in these, and many other operations, all the poor who now infest our streets, and burden our public charities, and pass a miserable and useless existence, might be comfortably employed. And, while misery would, thus be prevented, and happiness diffused, improvements might be carried on to an indefinite extent, the physical aspect of our globe, might be transformed into a scene of beauty and fertility, and “the desert made to rejoice and blossom as the rose.” ... In the cases now alluded to, and in many other respects, much requires to be effected, before society be thoroughly improved, and before the scene of external nature be decorated with all the beauties and conveniences of which it is susceptible. But such improvements ought not to be engaged in, merely from the sordid views of deriving pecuniary profits; but from a desire to do good to our fellow-men; to remove nuisances both from the physical and moral world, to embellish the city, and the country, and to promote the general advancement of society, in knowledge and V11’tue. - - - - It is evident, then, that were such views of the application of wealth to pervade general society, or were even a few opulent individuals to act in accordance with them, an important change would soon take place in the aspect, both of the physical and the moral world. Those scenes of squalid misery and destitution, which are now to be seen in every city, town, and village; those pitiable objects that swarm in our markets and fairs, in our streets and high ways; and those wretched cellars and hovels, unfit for the abodes even of the lower animals, now inhabited by human beings, would ere long disappear from the world. The cries of misery, and the voice of mourning and sorrow, would be changed into the voice of cheerfulness, and into songs of thanksgiving and joy. Every returning year, new beauties, conveniences, and improvements, would be seen rising to view, in every corner of the land, and harmony, and moral order would gradually pervade the various ranks of society. - .' And, is hoarding up wealth in bags or coffers, or wasting it in vain show and extravagance, to be set in competition with such scenes of beauty and general enjoyment? Surely every philanthropic heart, and every sincere Christian possessed of riches, in contribu