This book was written nearly twelve years ago; and so many things have changed since then, that it is hardly fair to send it into the world afresh, without some notice of the improvement if such there be which has taken place meanwhile in those southern counties of England, with which alone this book deals. I believe that things are improved. Twelve years more of the new Poor Law have taught the labouring men greater self help and independence; I hope that those virtues may not be destroyed in them once more, by the boundless and indiscriminate almsgiving which has become the fashion of the day, in most parishes where there are resident gentry. If half the money which is now given away in different forms to the agricultural poor could be spent in making their dwellings fit for honest men to live in, then life, morals, and poor rates, would be saved to an immense amount. But as I do not see how to carry out such a plan, I have no right to complain of others for not seeing.