The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment XxxIII. Extracted From The Report On Sherringham Bower, In Norfolk, A Seat Of Abbot Upcher, Esq. Situation.

Villages and poor villagers

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The vicinity of a village is very differently marked in different parks. In some, I see lame and blind beggars moving sorrowfully towards the hall-house, where I know, and they fear, no relief will be given; in others, I see women and children, with cheerful faces, bearing their jugs, and milk, and provisions, at stated periods: and I know, before I enter the house, which are the happiest families. In some places, I hear complaints, that the neighbours are all idle thieves and poachers; in others, that all the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages would rise at night to serve their liberal patron: and I have been often led to consider the source of this difference. Formerly, the poor labourers on an estate looked for assistance, in age or sickness, to the hand that paid for their work when they could work; now, they are turned over to the parish-officer, and prisons are erected, under the name of workhouses, for those who are past all work. A common farmer, who works as hard as his labourers, and with them, is considered as one of themselves; but, when a very opulent gentleman farmer told me that, by rising at four o'clock every day, and watching his men all day, he could get more work done, I thought he paid dearly for it; and whether the poor slave is urged on by the lash of the negro-driver, or the dread of confinement in a workhouse, he must feel that man is not equal, though he may be taught to read that he is so.