12 OCTOBER 1850, Page 1

The importance of this last subject is illustrated by the

agricul- tural ferment which is still going on in Ireland. It will be re- membered that at the recent adjustment of the rules for assessing poor-rates and rates in aid, much of the discussion turned upon the excessive difficulty- of doing justice to the intelligent and con- scientious landlord who should do his utmost to employ labour, while a reckless and foolish landlord, to serve his own imme- diate interest, at whatever cost to his neighbours and to the com- munity in whose ultimate welfare or misfortune he must share, might drive the ablebodied poor oft' his land ; and it was to check that social misconduct that it was proposed to levy the rates by by means of township districts—or, as we should phrase it, by forming all Ireland into close parishes. The rate in aid was in it- self a violation of such a plan ; and on the whole the township arrangement would prove as impracticable as it would be mis- chievous. We always thought that the remedy for the particular difficulty should be much more direct, and that it should be sought in a positive improvement of the poor-law. Here was felt in a grave practical form the want of that information which was passed over by the Inquiry Commissioners in 1833, on industrial employ- ment for paupers. Of course a period of actual famine was not the time to expect the coolest judgment or the most inventive spirit. But the continued drain on the Cork ratepayers drew the attention of the Guardians to the subject of industrial eniployment ; and their experiment, even at this early stage, has been very suggestive. The idea has been seized in other quarters, and we now. learn that many of the distressed electoral districts have appointed industrial committees to set the ablebodied poor " on work "—as the Forty- third of Elizabeth pro .sed. If this attempt be successful, it would go far to solve the • I. cult question agitated at the time when the electoral districts were adjusted. The doubt which at once suggests itself to us arises from the intimation that the industry of the paupers is to be limited to the culture and preparation of flax; which would seem a very impolitic resolve. It would tend to draw a particular trade into pauper industry ; it would make employment of paupers wholly dependent on the fortunes of a particular trade, with all the vicissitudes of the commercial world; and it would prevent pauper industry, from being so far self-sup- porting as it would be if it were in the first instance devoted to the raising and preparation of articles needed for the food and ac- tual wants of the paupers themselves. In this respect the Cork example is far beyond its imitators.