Pigs' meat; or, lessons for the swinish multitude: Published in weekly penny numbers, collected by the poor man's advocate (an old veteran in the cause of freedom) in the course of his reading for more than twenty years. Intended to promote among the labouring part of mankind proper ideas of their situation, of their importance, and of their rights. And to convince them that their forlorn condition has not been entirely overlooked and forgotten, nor their just cause unpleaded, neither by their maker not by the best and most enlightened of men in all ages. [pt.1]
Spence, Thomas, 1750-1814.



THE augmentation of riches, in a country, either not capable of improvement as to the soil, or where precautions have not been taken for facilitating a multiplication of inhabitants, by the importation of subsistence, will be productive of the most calamitous circumstances.

On one side, this wealth will effectually dimi∣nish the mass of food before produced; and on the other, will encrease the number of useless con∣sumers. —The first of these circumstances will raise the demand for food; and the second will diminish the number of useful free hands, and consequently raise the price of manufactures; here are shortly the outlines of this progress.

Page  103The more rich and luxurious a people are, the more delicate they become in their manner of liv∣ing, if they fed on bread formerly, they will now feed on meat; if they fed on meat, they will now feed on fowl. The same ground which feeds an hundred with bread, and a proportionable quantity of animal food, will not maintain an equal number of delicate livers. Food must then become more scarce; demand for it rises: the rich are always the strongest in the market; they con∣sume the food, and the poor are forced to starve. Here the wide door to modern distress opens; to wit, a hurtful competition for subsistence. Farther when a people become rich, they think less of occonomy; a number of useless servants are hired, to become an additional dead weight on consump∣tion; and when their starving countrymen cannot supply the extravagance of the rich so cheaply as other nations, they either import instruments of foreign luxury, or seek to enjoy them out of their own country.


ASET of industrious and frugal people were assembled in a country (Holland) by nature subject to many inconveniencies, the removing of which necessarily employed abundance of hands. Their situation upon the continent, the power of their former masters, and the ambition of their neighbours, obliged them to keep great bodies of troops. These two articles, added to the numbers of the community, without either enriching the state by their labour exported, or producing food for themselves or countrymen.

The scheme of a commonwealth was calculated, to draw together the industrious; but it has been still more useful in subsisting them; the republi∣can form of government being there greatly sub∣divided, vests authority sufficient in every part of Page  104it, to make suitable provision for their own sub∣sistence; and the tie which unites them, regards only matters of public concern. Had the whole been governed by one sovereign, or by one coun∣cil, this important matter never could have been effectuated.

It would be impossible for the most able minis∣ter that ever lived, to provide nourishment for a country so extensive as France, or even as En∣gland, supposing those as fully peopled as Holland is: even though it should be admitted, that a suf∣ficient quantity of food might be found in other countries for their subsistence. The enterprize would be too great, abuses would multiply; the consequence would be, that the inhabitants would die for want. But in Holland the case is different; every little town takes care of its own inhabi∣tants; and this care being the object of applica∣tion and profit to so many persons, is accomplish∣ed with success.

Lesson III.—From Lady Montague's Letters.

IT is impossible not to observe the difference be∣tween the free towns, and those under the go∣vernment of absolute princes, as all the little sovereigns of Germany are. In the first there ap∣pears an air of commerce and plenty: The streets are well built, and full of people neatly and plainly dressed. The shops are loaded with mer∣chandize, and the commonality are clean and chear∣ful. In the other you see a fort of shabby finery, a number of dirty people of quality tawdred out: narrow nasty streets out of repair, wretchedly thin of inhabitants, and above half of the common sort asking alms. I cannot help fancying one under the figure of a clean Dutch Citizen's wife; and the other like a poor town lady of pleasure, painted and ribboned out in her head dress, with tarnished silver-laced shoes, a ragged under-petticoat, a mise∣rable mixture of vice and poverty.

Page  105We take care to make such short stages every day, that I rather fancy myself upon parties of pleasure, than upon the road; and sure nothing can be more agreeable than travelling in Holland. The whole country appears a large garden, the roads are all paved▪ shaded on each side with rows of trees, and bordered with large canals, full of boats passing and repassing. Every twenty paces gives you the prospect of some villa, and every four hours that of a large town, so surprisingly neat, I am sure you would be charmed with them.

My arrival at Rotterdam▪ presented me a new scene of pleasure. All the streets are paved with broad stones, and before many of the meanest arti∣ficer's doors, are placed seats of various coloured marbles, so neatly kept, that I assure you, I walk∣ed almost all over the town yesterday, incognito, in my slippers, without one spot of dirt; and you may see the Dutch maids washing the pavement of the street with more application than ours do our bed-chambers. The town seems so full of people, with such busy faces, and all in motion, that I can hardly fancy it is not some celebrated fair; but I see it every day the same. It is certain no town can be more advantageously situated for commerce. Here are seven large canals, on which the mer∣chants' ships come up to the very doors of their houses. The shops and warehouses are of a very surprizing neatness and magnificence, filled with an incredible quantity of fine merchandize, and so much cheaper than what we see in England, that I have much ado to persuade myself I am still so near it. Here is neither dirt nor beggary to be seen. One is not shocked with those loathsome cripples, so common in London, nor teazed with the importunity of idle fellows and wenches, that chuse to be nasty and lazy. The common servants and little shop-women here, are more nicely clean, than most of our ladies; and the great variety of Page  106neat dresses (every woman dressing her head after her own fashion) is an additional pleasure in see∣ing the towns.