Page:The Lull before Dorking.djvu/19

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13
THE LULL BEFORE DORKING

bodiment of 250,000 men (from which may be subtracted present cost of militia), say

500,000
£2,270,000

But this is just about the sum at present going in discharge of the terminable annuities, which Mr. Gladstone once pointed out might at any time be diverted, if necessary, for some great occasion. Therefore some such scheme might be carried out without the addition of any further taxation, if the country and the House of Commons are of opinion that the great occasion has already arisen.

This is but a meagre outline of what such a report might be; but to it might be added another consideration which might go far to compensate any disturbance in the labour market, or any expense incurred under it. It is this:—

English statesmen are at this moment considering a mighty question called Pauperism; some few have even got to a further point, namely Pauperization, which is a mightier question still. By education, by organization, by voluntary and individual efforts, too complicated to enter into here, an endeavour is being made to "cut off the main," that is to stop the supply of paupers from that class not quite identified with the "Proletariat," but living In half idleness, in vagrancy, in casual wards and elsewise. Any one conversant with human nature and the lower orders, any one who has studied practically the annals of