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investigation, that there were eighty-four instances in which four persons slept in a bed, thirty-Dve in which more than five so slept, three in which seven, and one in which eight slept in the same bed. Well might Mr. Chadwick say that he had seen in the wyuds of Glasgow and Edinburgh infinitely worse scenes than those horrible dens described by Howard as existing in the prisons of his day; and Mr. Hawes, that having visited, witli Dr. Alison, some of the worst quarters of the city of Edinburgh, he could bear personal testimony to the fact that in the wyuds, narrow streets, and courts of tiiat city, are dwellings, if they deserve the name, rather fit for brutes than human beings. Anything so degrading, so humiliating as the sights he saw on that occasion no language could describe. Darkness, filth, disease, an atmosphere scarcely endurable, numbers huddled together in a space that even for brutes would be thought too small, characterised the numberless abodes of misery he had visited with Dr. Alison.
As might have been expected, the sickness and mortality among the inhabitants of these wretched dwellings is frightfully great. Malignant fever, the frightful scourge and fell destroyer of manhood in its prime, the fertile source of widowhood and orphanage, of pauperism and crime, is never absent from these crowded streets and lanes. In a house-to-house visitation made by an eminent medical practitioner, it was found that in the first 100 families of the labouring poor visited by him, there were no less than 212 of the members suffering under disease, manifest in various stages; they had already had 251 deaths, and a corresponding amount of sickness. "They are emaciated, pale, and thin," says Dr. Aldis, "and in a low condition. They complain of sinking, depression of the strength, loss of spirits, loss of appetite, accompanied by pains in different parts of the body, with disturbed sleep." "The depressed and low condition of health in which these people are always found induces habits of intemperance, unfortunately too common among them." In Liverpool the average age at death from 1784 to 1S10 among the gentry was 43 years, and among the operatives 18^ years. In 1841-42, while among the former the average duration remained stationary, among the latter it had diminished to 16 years. At the beginning of the present century, the deaths in Manchester were one in fifty-eight; the mortality there now is about one in twenty-eight. In Glasgow, the deaths in 1847 were one in eighteen. Dr. Grey states that the loss of life in Manchester alone from fevers and other contagious disorders, which might be averted, will fall little short of 2,000 a-ycar. In Liverpool, the annual waste of human life considerably exceeds 3,000. The same mode of calculation will give for the metropolis an annual sacrifice of 10,000 lives, and for the United Kingdom no less than 00,000, from diseases which might be prevented by the erection of well-aired, well-drained, comfortable dwellings for the labouring classes of the community.
But this is not all. It is not every attack of disease which proves fatal, and Dr. Lyon Playfair
states that for every unnecessary death there are twenty-eight eases of equally unnecessary sickness, which do not terminate fatally; so that the esses oi preventable sickness occurring every year in lie United Kingdom will amount to the enormous number of 1,680,000. A very large proportion of the subjects of this frightful sickness and mortality are persons in the prime of life, between the ages of twentt and forty, the period when life is of the greates: value to the individual and to society; when the poor have the largest number of children dependem on their labour for support; when sickness plunges entire families into temporary, and death into per manent, destitution. The returns obtained duritr the Poor Law Commission show that there are this way produced and pauperized yearly in Englsi! and Wales alone upwards of 47,000 widows, and more than 120,000 orphans; and from calculations basei on the Registration Returns it appears, that the lfcs in money on the year's deaths is, in round numben, —from the loss of the productive power of tit labourer, thirteen millions; from sickness, a Bullitt and a half; and from funerals, nearly three hundrea thousand pounds,—making a total loss to the coui'rj every year of nearly fifteen millions of money, bj tar the greater part of which might and would be Htm under proper sanatory regulations; fully bearing o;t the remark of Dr. Southwood Smith, that of all law the heaviest is the fever tax.
The moral evils which either spring from or re inseparably connected with this physical wretchedres are most appalling. It is manifestly impossible tbi! persons sunk in such abject degradation and miser; can possess elevated moral feelings and pure domestic affections, or be actuated by sound religious principle! spending their lives, as they are compelled to do, from the moment of birth to that of death, in > poisoned atmosphere, in which the destruction of tbe body and the corruption of the mind have alike recome inevitable. No wonder that working met cs their return from their daily toil shonld so genera-; abandon their miserable dwellings with all their £companiments of dirt, darkness, and noise, and repairw the gin-palace in search of a more comfortable kior and more cheerful company, and seek to drown in tk intoxicating cup, all recollection of the wretched wtt and the hungry children, they have left behind in the: miserable high-rented hovels, which it would bt s mockery to call a home. All experience shows ts intimate connexion between physical wretcbeto and moral degradation; and in all our large to»» ignorance, poverty, and crime, are invariably fonad to prevail in those districts which filth, fever, i£ cholera have marked for their prey. It cannot te denied that the waters of bitterness have lo»« in upon our industrious classes by many differs channels, and that it is our duty to set oarstirr vigorously to stop up all the outlets of nischKBut it is the want of a home which, beyond all cd*"causes, makes thieves, drunkards, and vagabond peoples our jails and bridewells, and crowds our P& settlements. It is the want of a home that sends thousands to a premature grave, and leaves their wretched widows to the workhouse, and their miserable offspring to the streets.
The first step, then, towards the improvement of the social condition of the poor, is to furnish them with healthy and comfortable homes. So long as this is left undone, it will be found almost impossible to train up the labouring classes to that self-respect which is the best preservative against moral contagion, or even to teach them to practise the common decencies of life "Talk about the schoolmaster as we may," it has been justly said, *' we must begin with the mason. It is of little use to be able to read books, if we have not a house to read them in. It little matters whether we are dealing with farm-labourers in the rural provinces, with artisans in the manufacturing districts, or with soldiers in the barracks; no social or moral reformation can be brought about until we i give men fit places to live in." Great improvements have no doubt taken place of late years in London aid other large towns. New streets have been opened li up. Old streets and lanes have been widened, 'cleaned, and paved. Extensive clusters of dilapidated buildings, which were a nuisance and a standing reproach to their owners and to the public, have been removed, and splendid shops and dwelling-houses erected in their room. But it appears to have been completely forgotten, that these very improvements, while they minister to the social and domestic comforts of the middle and upper classes of society, have helped to deteriorate the physical condition, and consequently to retard the moral and intellectual advancement, of the humble and labouring portion of the community. The bad old dwellings of the poor hate been destroyed, and their places supplied, not by good new ones, affording to the working classes comfortable homes at a moderate charge, but by highrented shops, and "places," and squares, and crescents. Hence the removal of every street or lane inhabited by the working portion of the population serves only to make their crowded, ill-ventilited, and insalubrious dwellings more crowded and pestiferous than before. It is owing to this cause, as well as to the rapidity with which our town population is augmenting, that the working classes find the difficulty of obtaining comfortable dwelling-houses at a moderate rent increasing year oy year. And hence in nearly all our large towns, every improvement effected by the removal of dilapidated buildings, or by the widening or total destruction of narrow streets and lanes, has only served to increase the difficulties, and to deteriorate the condition, of the humbler portion of society. The well-fed, well-clad, comfortably housed, have had their comforts and enjoyments greatly increased, but the poor and degraded have been made poorer and more degraded itilL Our "improvements" must be conducted on vcrj different principles if we wish to free the workin? man from those injurious influences which are dmost irresistibly dragging him down to the lowest
level. If we would raise up a healthy, vigorous population, "their country's pride," exemplary in all the relations of life, temperate in their habits and provident in their arrangements, frequenting the church, the school, the mechanic's institute and the lecture room, instead of the pawnbroker's office and the gin-shop,—living like immortal beings conscious of their high destinies, not herding together like the beasts that perish,—we must sweep away those closes and wynds where filth, disease, misery and crime exist in every variety of form,—
"Where flags the noontide air, and.a3 wc pass Wc fear to breathe the putrefying mass."
We must erase those houses, where " dirt, damp and decay reign triumphant," and replace them, not as heretofore by spacious shops and costly dwellings for the rich, but by well-aired, well-drained, comfortable and moderately-rented habitations for the poor.
The experiment of providing comfortable houses for the working-classes at a moderate rent has been tried in various places, and has proved not merely a humane project, but also a profitable speculation. The Society for the Improvement of the Labouring Classes have turned their attention to this important point, and have been most successful in their exertions. They have already provided excellent accommodation both for the migratory and the stationary poor. Eor the latter they have erected a large weekly lodging-house in George Street, St. Giles, accommodating 101 male inmates, and a similar house in Hatton Garden capable of containing 57 single women. For the more migratory order of lodgers, they have provided a nightly lodging-house in Charles Street, Drury Lane, with a supplementary one—arising out of the overflow of demand for accommodation in the former—in the next street, King Street. They have also erected a scries of buildings near Bagnigge Wells, consisting of nine small houses for one family each, seven for two families each, and one large house for thirty aged females. Their most important, undertaking is the erection of a large building in Streatham Street, Bloomsbury, to accommodate forty-eight families in such a manner as that each tenement shall be so distinct from the other, as to preserve the domestic privacy and independence of each family.
The capital subscribed by this Society is purely donative,for although, as a commercial speculation, the buildings would pay five per cent, and upwards, yet the profits are laid by for further investment in such new buildings as may be required.
Another Society, "The Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes," was incorporated in 1815. The capital of the Association was raised by shares, on what we consider the only sound principlein such undertakings, the profitable investment of money. They have erected several piles of buildings in various parts of London, and their object of providing decent and comfortable hoir.es for the industrious classes has been satisfactorily realized. The Report of the Association read at the annual meeting in 1S49, states that all the dwellings have been occupied, and almost without intermission, from the date of their completion, and several applicants have been and are still waiting for vacancies. Not only have the tenants expressed themselves pleased with the superior comforts and accommodation afforded them, but they have also proved, by regularly paying theirrents, and by their general strict observance of the rules laid down for the management of the building, that they arc desirous of assisting the directors in preserving a high character for respectability in its occupants. Out of 1,390/. of rents, only 11. remained in arrears, the whole of which was expected to be ultimately received.
On the same occasion the Earl of Carlisle observea, that "even in a commercial point of view, the success of the Association could no longer be doubted; but were they to look at the case in a moral point of view, all doubts and misgivings as to success must vanish from their minds, and their language and feelings must be those of congratulation and assurance. When they saw the neatness and cleanliness of the apartments in those dwellings, and thought of the miserable hovels in which tiro majority of the industrious classes had been hitherto crammed, and from which those who inhabited those apartments had been transferred—in dnmp cellars surrounded with foul air and filth of all kinds, or mounted up in attics, under the broiling tiles exposed to the summer sun—when they thought of that, and contrasted the pleasant apartments they were now placed in, certainly no one could but feci that a more rational mode of exercising their benevolence could not be devised."
The mortality among tlic adult residents in these dwellings is only one-half of the mortality of the metropolis generally, and among the children it is lower still. In Holborn, St. Giles's, St. Saviour's, and Whitechapel, the mortality among children under five years of age is so high as ten per cent.; in other parts of the metropolis it is eight per cent.; while in the model dwellings it is only one and four-tenths per cent.
At the seventh annual meeting of this Society, which was held on the 2d of July last, the chairman, Lord Ashley, (now Earl of Shaftesbury,) stated that the return of interest on their capital was four per cent, from their land, and six and a-half per cent, from their buildings and fixtures, &c. All their houses were full, and occupied by decent, orderly, and well-behaved tenants, and their rents are paid with remarkable regularity. The health of the inmates had fully answered the expectations of the founders. In the lodging-houses for single men, containing 957 persons, not a single case of typhus had occurred since they were opened. In the time of the cholera there were 500 persons under one rouf in the model dwelling houses in St. Tancras; in a small court called Peahen Court in Bishopsgate Street, there resided 150 persons. In the model dwellings not a single person died of cholera; in Peahen Court there were seven deaths,
and in one day twelve orphans were thrown on the workhouse. The model lodging honse in George Street, Bloomsbury, is within a stone'sthrow of Church Lane. The ravages of cholera in Church Lane were dreadful, while in the model buildings, in its immediate vicinity, not one person died.
It is worthy of special notice, that these comfortable and salubrious dwellings are provided, and with an adequate profit, at a rent even lower than is charged for the wretched hovels in which the great mass of the industrious classes are still compelled to reside. Lord Ashley states, that the average rent paid m Snow's Rents, Westminster—" a vile place"— was in 1844, 2s. ±\d. per week per room; that the labourers in the London Docks pay from 2*. to 4». per week for single rooms, which for filth and disgusting appearance defy description, and that the single men pay in the lodging-houses l.». 6c?. per week for half a bed, and 2s. for single beds, several sleeping in the same room—the apartments often crowded to the greatest excess. On the other hand, in the model lodging house, George Street, Bloomsbury, every man had a compartment to himself, with a bed, chair, and ample space to walk about, for 4rf. a-night,—exactly the same payment demanded from him in the worst and mos'. disgusting place, and yet that house yields six and a-half per cent, on the money invested. Houses of three rooms, with every accommodation, and a constaii: supply of water, arc provided at the rent which is exacted for one room elsewhere.
Lord Ashley has throughout been the mainspring , of this praiseworthy attempt to provide comfortable and moderately-rented dwellings for the labouring classes; and he has recently introduced into Parliament a bill to encourage the formation of associations for this object, and to facilitate their operations. This measure has been most favourably received by both Houses of Parliament, and will, in all probability, become law in the course of a few days. The bid, which is as nearly as possible a traascript of the Baths and Washhouses Act, is permissive only, and is bas<d upon the principle, that the institutions established under it shall be remunerative and self-supporting. It gives power to town-councils and commissioners in those towns which shall adopt the act, to erect lodginghouses for the accommodation of the industries* classes, and to make iye-laws for their management. There can be no doubt that the adoption of this measure by Parliament is a decided step in the right direction. Till very lately, the legislature has done almost everything that it could do, to render the home of the working man unhealthy, uncomfortable, and even immoral. Very heavy taxes have been laid on nearly all the materials of building—on bricks, on limber, and on glass. Besides a house-tax, a very heavy duty has been laid on that which iu this climate is the most indispensable requisite of a dwelling,—the salutary light of heaven; and though the smaller ete of houses has been professedly exempted, the accumulative operation of the window-tax, which regards all dwellings under one roof as forming only one house,
lias almost totally precluded clusters of lodgings for the labouring class in one large building, and has thus virtually prohibited that arrangement of dwellings which gives the greatest capabilities for lodging a large number with comfort, decency, and health. The repeal of the taxes on bricks, timber, and glass, and more recently the abolition of the pernicious windowtas, has undoubtedly done much to promote economical arrangements for housing the labouring classes. But the cost of charters and the law of partnerships are a fatal discouragement to the association of private persons with limited responsibility for the construction of such edifices as we have described. The expense of obtaining the charter for the Metropolitan Association for establishing Model Lodging Houses, amounted to the scandalous sum of LiOOl. We trust that thin important matter will not be lost sight of now that it has been brought under the notice of the public. It is surely the very least that ought to be expected of the legislature, that it should remove every artificial impediment in the way of working men seeking to provide house-accommodition at their own expense, in the cheapest, most decent, and most comfortable manner.
THE ISTHMUS OF PANAMA.
BY I. M. W.
Amid a constellation of bluc-ligltts, rockets, aud other combustibles, we anchored in the roadstead of Chagres at eleven P.m. October 23, too late to think of landing that, night.. Early on the morrow we bade farewell to the gallant ship that had carried us safely, notwithstanding our Friday departure; and full of hope and breakfast, armed with resolution and steeled to pull the Elephant by his "preposteriors," wc lauded at Chagres. There was one universal exclamation of astonishment, all bearing a striking similarity to the most strictly pious expression of Placide's Dutchman in Ireland: "Mine Got, vat a bcobles!" 1'hc old town on the south side of the river is composed of some fifty huts, built of bamboo and thatched 'J with palmetto leaves, in which, (without flooring,) roiling in mud, are seen women, children, dogs, pigs, wd other miscellaneous vermin, promiscuously mixed up, "lout-exscramble," as the French say. 'Tis most devoutly to be hoped that their food is not as scanty M their raiment. Dry-goods are scarce in that market. The female attire most in vogue, was apparently after the style of grandmother Eve, or what the French call "TMe-Musion;" that of the children was still more primitive, and is best defined as being ok-Cupid. Occasionally a lord of the dominion was •wn strutting about in the superfluous luxury of a 'nirt, which I am told is a recent innovation of fashion. "n the left bank of the river have lately been erected a few frame-buildings, occupied as gambling-houses "groggcrics," denominated, "as per shingle," •snfectiouaries and coffee-houses; the aptitude of
which cognomens I have never been enabled to solve, as neither coffee nor candies are among the vendibles. Some three hundred of the genus homo; species Negro, Mulatto, Indian, and Caucasian; are seen bartering, gambling, drinking, and quarrelling; the later miserable, sickly-looking wretches, bearing the outward signs of dissipation, and suffering from the withering effects of a poisonous atmosphere, where the entire .amount of population has been swept away by death in the last six weeks. If there is a prototype of Hell on earth, or his Satanic Majesty holds any mundane dominion, I know of no place half so likely to elect him as Chagres. There is scarcely a crime, disease, or pestilence that stalks not in its precincts. But yesterday a friendless man was dying on a table while they were gambling in the same room; and before his eyes were closed they had robbed him of his dearbought wealth, six thousand dollars, (in dust.) His kindred -will probably never know his fate, or when or how he died. Here it was that I first saw a leper. How truly fortunate we are to be freed from that terrible scourge! Horrible! horrible!
After making divers bargains, from which they felt privileged to " fly" at pleasure, I finally effected the charter of a boat and four men to convey myself and party of two thence to Cruces, sixty-four miles, for one hundred and forty dollars; and at three o'clock P.m., when our stock of patience was exhausted, and we were growing dangerous, we succeeded in shipping our crew, weighed anchor, and started. The current is extremely rapid even at Chagres, increasing as you ascend. With four oars we performed tcu miles by seven o'clock, reaching a place called Gatoon, having passed every boat we saw bound up. Here we " lay by," awaiting the moon. Some dozen sheds were located on the river bank, occupied by Indians, with one exception, where two black-looking white men affected to keep a hotel, flourishing under the imposing title of the "Astor House." Two roughsawed and smooth-greased filthy boards, placed across sticks driven in the ground, served for bar and table; some rancid matter that might once have been butter; a fearful looking compound, denominated by our host "peach-saas," sour black bread, suspicious looking cheese, and a grim mixture, slanderously termed "coffee," constituted the tempting repast. The larder of the " Astor House" was innocent of milk, biscuit, or meat of any kiud. By some accident we were without provisions, save what was stowed away in our baggage. We had eaten nothing since breakfast; but hunger or starvation appeared preferable to any such indulgence, until wc finally obtained a piece; of ham, to which a philanthropic traveller charitably added a biscuit. Thus fortified, we had recourse for comfort to our well-filled flasks, and felt grateful for "smallest favours." I am bound in justice to state that the "Astor House" was distinguished from some of the surrounding edifices, in having one gablcend " fenced up." The ground where the floor should have been was wet and.muddy, and no possible place offering, I abandoned all hope of sleep, and occupied myself iu speculating on the rough and uncouth characters about mc.
"In a country were laws are scarcely known and never feared, where each resents his own injuries and maintains his own cause, every man carries his weapons in his belt as his ready reference in dispute, his only recourse for justice. It was easy to distinguish those accustomed to a wild life from those to whom such scenes were a novelty, although each individual garb was "aelon" the fancy of the wearer. My own cousistcd of a drab shooting-coat, short pantaloons, boots reaching to the knee, a slouched hat, and leather belt, decorated by a large hunting-knife and a pair of pistols. If there was any fashion claiming supremacy, it was in favour of red shirts. Finding no quarrel likely to occur for the evening's diversion, 1 strolled away to ferret out nu unmistakeable Ethiopian laugh, and soon found two wenches with as many buck negroes of my own crew, dancing for life. There's something positive in a Negro-dance; it has a wouderfully infectious and exhilarating effect ou spectators. I've always found it impossible to keep my feet still duriug its performance. They never lose a note of the music, and you feel firmly convinced that an accidental false note must inevitably result in a broken leg. I spent an hour enjoying their abandon and light-hearted gaiety, and walked away, continued in my belief that the acm6 of happiness is to be found among those " dingy denizens of a weary world."
The night was hot and sultry. We had had two heavy showers since leaving Chagres, and everything was wtt and muddy. I, however, lay down on my luggage in the boat and soon (forgetful of the wide space that intervened) in spirit I was at home!
It was three o'clock when I awoke, saturated by the heavy dews. The moon rode high in the heavens, and shone forth with the same calm and holy aspect that had so often thrilled mc in boyhood. The loud deep bark of the baboon, and the shrill scream of an owl, was all that broke the deep stillness of the night. After more than an hour's search through the various sheds, by which I incurred no little risk in waking up wrong passengers, I mustered my crew, and we pursued our toilsome way. When the sun rose, the rich tropical foliage was a source of lively curiosity. The thick and decp-green verdure of an eternal summer, whose shade is night at noon; the slim, smooth trunks, whose branches towered high in the heavens; while far above us, extending its broad arms over our heads, was the majestic sycamore, amid whose boughs we could discern the active little monkey peeping down upon us; the cocoa-tree; the huge leaf of the plantain; and last, though fairest of them all, so strikingly resembling the graceful form of a " coronet" of feathers, the ill-named cabbage-tree: with these exceptions, the Chagres river is very similar to all our southern streams: perhaps it may best be likened to the Chattahoochee.
It was near eleven o'clock before we reached a "ranchc," fifteen miles from the place of our morning's
departure, where we hoped to breakfast. Hope was ever delusive, and so we found it. We could only add to our stock a cup of coffee, without milk, aiui some miserable biscuit. We soon hurried on, uniil the intense heat obliged us to " lie by " under the trees for two hours, when it commenced raining, and we resumed our journey. Now, when it rains in this region, it raint. I never saw anything so terribly in earnest. It comes down like a shower-bath, and fairly takes away your breath. Sheltering ourselves as well as we could in our ponches for three hours, we sat cheerless and forlorn, the monuments of misery. By six o'clock P.M., having made but eight miles since breakfast, we came to a wretched-looking hovel, where we must needs pass the night. Our fare here was is foul as usual, (without meaning a pun, for a chicken would have been a luxury.) Coffee, black bread, and some ham, the frying of which must have been effected at a fearful sacrifice of life, was all that could be had, until a gentleman succeeded in purchasing four eggs at a dollar, and generously divided lib prize with me. For ten dimes I bargained for the privilege of lying on a mat. It was the dryest place to be found; and as fatigue and privations made it dowuy ami sweet, my slumbers were sound and refreshing. At •three o'clock, by the moon's clear light, wc resumed our way. Soon after day-break the boat shot round a point in the river, when, as I turned her bows across the current, she struck hard on a snag, and despite every exertion of the crew, swung round and nearly filled. In an instant the chance of saving our baggacv seemed hopeless. The water was deep; the current far too rapid for a swimmer to gain the point; and a glance sufficed to show that it required no iuean effort: for life to reach the opposite bank, encumbered as «c were with clothing, for it was some hundred and fifty yards distant. As the boat vibrated ou the sunken log, we had time to divest ourselves of superfluous t weights, our boots aud weapons. The water fairly boiled around us, while only by rapid transits from side to side could we keep from being capsized. A heavy box of castings, stowed in the bottom, proved our salvation. 1 ordered the crew to jump overboard and sustain themselves on either side; this so lightened her, that after a few convulsions, as if sensiule of the wound, she broke away from iicr sudden foe, and was rapidly swept far out into the stream.
All personal danger was now past; but our baggage still remained in imminent jeopardy. The snag had penetrated the bottom of the boat, and she was fast settliug. The steep banks on both sides rendered it difficult even to climb; so that it wis obvious we could save nothing but ourselves. Coasting along, determined to rescue our "plunder" if possible, we cheered the crew on, while our efforts were employed in " bailing out" with every available utensil. After more than an hour's excrtiou and suspense, the water gaining rapidly, and the deeplyladen "gig" half full, wc reached a little mud-flat, discharged cargo, and hauled out for repairs. Such incidents arc of too frequent occurrence for the crew