Page:The parochial history of Cornwall.djvu/24

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work, I shall so far presume as to offer a few lines respecting myself, nearly in the words used by two among the most distinguished of modern writers.

Since it has pleased Almighty God so to constitute the world, that the human race should every where increase up to the very limit of subsistence, all countries must witness by far the greater portion of their inhabitants exposed to the dangers of privation, of poverty, and of distress, incapable of being mitigated in any way, except by the prudence, the care, and the general good conduct of the parties themselves; but easily and fatally susceptible of being augmented, almost to an unlimited degree, by the establishment of permanent charities, by distributions in the shape of largesses, and above all, by the greatest and most melancholy achievement of human weakness and short-sighted folly, the English system of poor laws, extending premiums to idleness and improvidence, on a basis of indefinite relief to claimants multiplying without end.

" My lot might have been thrown among these; it might have been that of a savage, or a slave: nor can I reflect without gratitude on the bounty of Nature, which has cast my birth in a free and civilized country, in a family decently endowed with the gifts of Fortune, in an age of science and of philosophy, where years outrun in discoveries and in improvements the advances of former centuries."

It is not for me to determine how far these advantages have been improved by myself; but at the age of threescore years and ten, I may justly say with the other writer alluded to—