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The politicians are, for the most part, men who consider the application of science to the systematizing of society as chimerical, and generally spend their time in the advocacy of means to effect an object, when at the same time, the object is more easily obtained than the means they propose, and in many instances the means they propose are really calculated to have a very opposite tendency to that they suppose.
One party cries out “ let us remove the Corn Laws and we shall all be happy.” Now that these laws are very unjust, every honest man must admit, but still their removal would be very slightly beneficial to the working people, for this reason, that if the bread is reduced in price, the competition of labourers will soon bring down their wages in a proportional degree; indeed the consequent cheapness of labour is commonly advanced as a reason for the repeal.
Another party cry out, “let us deluge the country with paper money, so that all may be prosperous and grow rich;” to this party I beg to say, that society is divided into two classes, producers and non-producers, and the more the latter is increased in proportion to the former, the more burdensome is the load of the labourer, and consequently the more discontented and predisposed to revolution will he be. Each would, in the prosperous
paper money” times, struggle hard to get a fortune; what would those gain who were successful? a power of living idly on the industry of others. The main tendency of prosperity, then, is to create a burden for the operative, which increases till thrown off by revolutionary convulsion.
Another party says, “let us have universal suffrage, and all will be right." I not merely grant, but shouldcontend for the principle, that every sane man and woman has a natural right to vote in the election of the legislators, who should be delegated from the whole, and should represent the whole, and not a mere part of society; and nothing but their own ignorance can keep the people from possessing this power : but still I contend that universal suffrage does not remove the causes of evil, and is not that in which the people's attention should be absorbed, it is not a proper ultimate object; the Americans have nearly a universal suffrage, and they have much less crime, and more happiness than Europeans; but still the elements of discord are among them, and in their social organization exist the causes of numerous moral afflictions. There is a higher object than Republicanism, a step beyond it, namely, Rationalization!
Republicanism does not prevent the miseries resultant from individual accumulation. The capitalist, under it, as under other governments, directs his busy efforts to the absorption of wealth, in the creation of which he has had no hand, and he and his class, in the attainment of wealth, are gaining social influence and political power, and they become accustomed to command, and are thus made aristocratic and haughty; they obtain the powers of government, and very naturally beap situations, sinecures, and pensions on those they love, and their families are nurtured in indolent refinement, in a helplessness which makes them dependent on servants for all their comforts, in the most profound ignorance of the dependency of society on the operative, in veneration of the non-producer, in contempt of the producer; and this superstructure of society is increased with the most frantic blindness, until the foundation is being crushed with the weight; then comes the mad effort of the lowest grade to save itself from destruction; that lowest
grade that has been enslaved, degraded, barbarized, * treated with contumely, whipped and lashed, now turns
on the oppressors with the burning fierceness of hungered wolves; the poor ideot victims are terrified, and wonder what it is all about; and as they are torn from their wretched families, and led to the slaughtering place by the barbarity they have produced, they are so ignorant as to be unable to account for what they see: they have always been looking upwards at the clouds, and when they turn their dazzled eyes downwards, all looks dark, mysterious, and unmeaning. Their poor unhappy families, that never had conceived that such events would take place, if they had previously been told of
the probability of such a calamity, would have been informed at once, by their parents, that all was secured, by the agency of police and soldiery! Where are these to be found in the hour of need ? in the leaders of the mob, in the foremost of the plunderers; they have been educated to the trade of blood, and are qualified to set the bloodiest example. Such moral phenomena have been exhibited in France, and the weight of a non-productive class may produce them in America.
The Irish politicians exclaim,“let us have the Repeal of the Union Bill, and make our rich landlords stop at home and spend their money with us.” Before the Irish people can have any claim to political wisdom, they must learn how to do without landlords, and every other kind of lords, and before they can be a free
people, they must get rid of their serf-like dependency on nobility, and know how to support themselves in affluence and comfort, instead of being in beggary and starvation, by adopting means for keeping their wealth to themselves, instead of giving it to a multitude of idlers to be squandered for them.
That great, but mistaken philosopher, Adam Smith, expresses the opinion, that “Every species of animals naturally multiplies in proportion to the means of their subsistence,” and this hasty, inconsiderate expression has been seized on by a member of the sacerdotal profession, and swelled into a book; the which is intended to shew that there is a tendency in society to increase more rapidly than the means of subsistence; and hence it is argued there is a necessity for a “check to poprilation." This doctrine is impiously sacraligious, and is fit to be associated with the others advocated by the priestly profession. It is a gross, a scandalous misrepresentation of the Deity, inasmuch as that, if it were true, the Great Cause has so constituted the animate creation that all species are prone to starvation, and continually pressing against the means of subsistence. If it were true, then the Deity would no longer be an object of love: but I contend, and can easily shew, that it is Cutterly false ; all that need be done to disprove this un
true and irreligious aspersion, is to refer to the realities of nature. Wherever a species of animal is placed in nutritious circumstances, its generative power decreases: if the Malthusian will refer to a practical farmer, he will find that this is a fact; he will find that if the cows and other domestic animals be well fed and fattened, they do not breed: and this holds good with vegetables; for if they be placed in very nutritious soil, they become luxurious, or, as the gardeners call it, "rank,” and do not produce seed. On the contrary when animals or vegetables are placed in circumstances adverse to their welfare, an effort is made by nature for the perpetuation of the species; a half-starved cow breeds better than a well-fed one, and a badly nutrified vegetable produces abundance of seed. The ill-fed population of Ireland multiply much faster than the better fed population of England. Luxurious aristocratic families often become extinct in a few generations, or at most are barely able to keep up a line of descendents; while the labourer who can scarcely gain food for himself and family, leaves behind him a number of children and grandchildren. If population increased proportionally to the means of subsistence, then the richer classes would multiply faster han the poorer, their means of subsistence being so much greater; whereas the contrary is the fact.
In addition to what has been advanced, I may further add, that the powers of production in England increase much faster than the powers of consumption ; the cotton manufacture is a striking illustration of this fact. Such have been the improvements in machinery that a few people can now by the agency of the mule, get through as much work in a week, as would formerly have employed a multitude of people during a similar time. Almost
branch of trade is influenced by the acquirements of knowledge in mechanical and chemical science, and the real popular complaint is, not as the Malthusian asserts, resultant from an over population, but, from over production. Labour being a marketable commodity, as soon as the produce of that labour has
increased so as to stock the market, the labourer is turned adrift to starve, or find another trade; thus in this system of society, the very men who produce the wealth, when they have created a store sufficient for the support of the society for a period, are for doing so, turned out of employment and starved; and if in the moment of starvation one of these unfortunates seizes some of the
property he has produced, immediately the society comes down on him with its vengeance, and he is thrust into a prison.
Improvements in agriculture, have within the last few years, enabled land that formerly yielded nothing, now to grow good crops, and also to multiply the number of crops that may be drawn from superior soils. The lands in Great Britain and Ireland are not all cultivated, some are wilds, some are wasted in parks, &c. We have no reason then to apprehend an over population, when the powers of producing wealth increase faster than the ability to consume it, and when so much land is yet to be brought into use; how inadequate to the task are those who hold the reins of government, and permit a combination of circumstances, such as at present exist, to continue. Thousands are eager to produce wealth, and cannot get work; land and all the means of setting them to work are abundant, yet the people are left in their wretchedness; and, indeed, sometimes told by the political economists” with that murderous impertinence which distinguishes these theorists, " that the unemployed are very much to be pitied, but nothing can be done for them, and they must go out of the labour market for a time, until their services be needed!” According to this sapient sect, the people may be starving for want of wealth, yet the labourer is not required to produce it; for, say these economists, it is not demanded in the market, and is therefore not needed.
PRINTED BY E. C. AND W. OSBORNE, BENNETT'S-HILL, BIRMINGHAM.