The Village should not be more than twelve miles from town; should be in a dry and healthy situation, and on a line of railway. It is not absolutely necessary that it should be near a station, seeing that the company would, for their own interests, immediately erect one.
The Cottages should be built of the best material and workmanship. This would be effected most satisfactorily by securing a contract for the labour only, the projectors of the Scheme purchasing the materials and supplying them direct from the manufacturers to the builders. The cottages would consist of three or four rooms, with a scullery, and out-building in the garden. The cottages should be built in terraces, each having a good garden attached. Arrangements should be made for the erection of from one thousand to two thousand houses at the onset. In the Village a Co-operative Goods Store should be established, supplying everything that was really necessary for the villagers at the most economic prices. The sale of intoxicating drink should be strictly forbidden on the Estate, and, if possible, the landowner from whom the land is obtained should be tied off from allowing any licences to be held on any other portion of the adjoining land. It is thought that the Railway Company, in consideration of the inconvenience and suffering they have inflicted on the poor, and in their own interests, might be induced to make the following advantageous arrangements: --
(1) The conveyance of each member actually living in the village to and from London at the rate of sixpence per week. Each pass should have on it the portrait of the owner, and be fastened to some article of the dress, and be available only by Workmen's Trains running early and late and during certain hours of the day, when the trains are almost empty.
(2) The conveyance of goods and parcels should be at half the ordinary rates. It is reasonable to suppose that large landowners would gladly give one hundred acres of land in view of the immensely advanced values of the surrounding property which would immediately follow, seeing that the erection of one thousand or two thousand cottages would constitute the nucleus of a much larger Settlement.
Lastly, the rent of a four-roomed cottage must not exceed 3s. per week. Add to this the sixpenny ticket to and from London, and you have 3s. 6d. and if the company should insist on 1s., it will make 4s., for which there would be all the advantages of a comfortable cottage--of which it would be possible for the tenant to become the owner--a good garden, pleasant surroundings, and other influences promotive of the health and happiness of the family. It is hardly necessary to remark that in connection with this Village there will be perfect freedom of opinion on all matters. A glance at the ordinary homes of the poor people of this great City will at once assure us that such a village would be a veritable Paradise to them, and that were four, five, or six settlements provided at once they would not contain a tithe of the people who would throng to occupy them.
SECTION 3.--THE POOR MAN'S BANK.
If the love of money is the root of all evil, the want of money is the cause of an immensity of evil and trouble. The moment you begin practically to alleviate the miseries of the people, you discover that the eternal want of pence is one of their greatest difficulties. In my most sanguine moments I have never dreamed of smoothing this difficulty out of the lot of man, but it is surely no unattainable ideal to establish a Poor Man's Bank, which will extend to the lower middle class and the working population the advantages of the credit system, which is the very foundation of our boasted commerce.
It might be better that there should be no such thing as credit, that no one should lend money, and that everyone should be compelled to rely solely upon whatever ready money he may possess from day to day. But if so, let us apply the principle all round; do not let us glory in our world-wide commerce and boast ourselves in our riches, obtained, in so many cases, by the ignoring of this principle. If it is right for a great merchant to have dealings with his banker, if it is indispensable for the due carrying on of the business of the rich men that they should have at their elbow a credit system which will from time to time accommodate them with needful advances and enable them to stand up against the pressure of sudden demands, which otherwise would wreck them, then surely the case is still stronger for providing a similar resource for the smaller men, the weaker men. At present Society is organised far too much on the principle of giving to him who hath so that he shall have more abundantly, and taking away from him who hath not even that which he hath.
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