We have often had occasion to deplore the feeble support given by the wealthy classes to the philanthropic efforts of those who have made it their special mission to provide homes and employment in the western States for the worthy and industrious artizans, boys and girls of our commercial and manufacturing towns, who have been thrown out of work by the late financial crisis. There are many in this city now languishing upon the bounty of the public, or barely supporting a miserable existence on wages totally inadequate to the supply of the most pressing demands of nature, whose labor is wanted in healthy and flourishing villages, towns and farms in the West, where their presence would be welcomed, and a liberal return made for their labor, but who are prevented from going by the want of means. There.is again another class, whose friends would advance the necessary means for their deportation, and who would willingly go, did they have the proper assurances of success after reaching there. Why then cannot the societies already in existence be increased and backed by the necessary means to establish agencies at the points where labor is required, and advance to the deserving, upon proper security, the necessary means to transfer them to the scene of their labors ? The security of this advance would be mainly upon the individual responsibility of the recipient, it is true, and in many cases would be worthless ; but we believe that such an understanding could be generally had with the employers and employes as would insure its return at a future period. If such a system were properly carried out, a large amount oi misery would be relieved, and a proper encouragement given to the commendable efforts of many a worthy and industrious person. Although the late distresses and sufferings have experienced some diminution, our trade and manufactures are yet suffering under the most grievous losses and embarassments; and anxiety, dejection and want are depicted upon the countenances of many of the unemployed in our midst. We shudder to think of the large number that have been diverted from the true path by grim want and sorrow. Want of employment by the head and other members of a family, too often involves the neglecl and total ruin of the younger dependent members of the household ; and a heavy responsibility presses upon us all, in view of the sore afflictions and enticing temptations daily experienced by this class of fellow creatures. There are many females among them possessing the sterling virtue, industry, and charms of person and mind, to beautify and make sacred any western home in which theii sphere of action may be cast, who simply need a helping hand to assist them in fulfillingjthis. their legitimate mission, and prevent them from entering the golden gate of misery and ruin ever glittering before them in large cities. It is indeed to be regretted that the delightful risions of youth—the days mad( sacred by truth and virtue—should be embittered by such means, when the accomplishment of the most ardent virtuous aspirations are almost within the grasp. We sincerelj trust that the praiseworthy disinterested zeal of those good men and women who have embarked in this noble enterprise will be increased, until all the worthy poor children o: both sexes, and many of the adults, shall b( transferred to the picturesque and healthj portions of the great West, where their industry will be rewarded and appreciated, anc principles of virtue and wisdom will be pro- pounded, away from scenes whose contaminating influence is but too evident from the fatal consequences which have attended their dire-liction.
This article was originally published with the title "Employment for our Poor in the West" in Scientific American 13, 35, 277 (May 1858)