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opportunities of labour ; that no one has the right of hindering another from work.
And the properly which proceeds from it. That is to say we do not believe that the institution of private property is inevitably a nuisance. Our complaint is not that there is too much individual property, but that there is too little; not that the few have, but that the many have not. Property, wherever it is the real result of work-its sign and its fruit'-we deem inviolable, sacred as individual right.
On a piece of wild land, unclaimed by any, I build a log hut; I clear a portion of the ground; I plant potatoes or sow wheat: with my own hands labouring unaided. The wheat or potatoes there grown are just sufficient to feed me and my family. They are my property. They (not the land) are my work, a growth which is the result, the sign and fruit of my toil. If the title is not absolutely mine, at least none other can show so good a title. I have created at least the overplus of wheat or potatoes that remains after subtracting an amount of seed cqual to that sown (if there is any question how I came by that). I, only I, bave the right to my own creation.
I have a rose-tree, -one I budded on a wild stock. I have cared for it, tended it, nursed it through severe winters. It is mine. What right have you to it? Will the State intervene and appoint what is mine and what thine ? Giving me perhaps some other rose-tree and you this. It can only do so ignorantly. The Stato knows nothing of the value of my rose,-its peculiar value to me. Its flowers have been gathered for my sick children; the Beloved has shed her last smilo upon its bloom. It is a sacred thing to me. To all tbe world else it is only a common rose-bush. How can the world's title to it equal mine?
I have a dog which I have reared from a puppy. He knows me, loves me. Ilo might be useful to others : he would be to none what he is to me; none can be to him what I have been and am. Have not I the best title to him?
If my superior taste or ingenuity-perhaps working extra hours--can, without taking from others, adorn the walls of my house, improve its furniture, and make my home a palace in comparison with my neighbour's-is there any reason why ho should share with me, take my pictures or my sofas into his rooms,-take even one of them? Or rather, why I should be deprived of these enjoyments of may enn cruition until others, either through their own labour or mine, could acquire the same enjoyments ?
All these things fairly produced by me are mine; they are as it were an atmosphere of my own with which I have surrounded myself, a radiance from my own light of life, an emanation from myself. No Government, State, or Commonweal, lins any right here, to trench upon my personal, private, individual right, to rob me for even the world's benefit
But suppose I produce more than sufficient, while others need! Has the State no right then? No, it has not. Let it try its right! I x ided by it pand I hus power, and it will confiscate. What focows! This:- I will 11. M an be foul enough to produce ferrutia. I care nothing for your cruispia of Decessity for the general mod. I will no produce, if I cannot be secure my rosessen. S ome sarsRut rou bretold us of a duty towand v. To true B hume we have been taking of the
d, Los of the tree, I schautake the duty. I esteen the
blessedness of being able to give; esteem it too much to bear patiently the being robbed of it. I would be of my own free-will the dutiful servant of Humanity. I will not be its slave. Or am I dull, brutish, selfish, caring only to have, to be a rich inan,' not anxious to give my substance to those who need ? Then educate me; enlighten me; better me by precept and example ; if I mend noi, point at me as a monster : but dare not to cross my threshold, to touch the veriest trifle that I have honestly earned or obtained, to profane my household gods, to violate my individual right, which stands sovereignly, however savagely, defying the world.
Property is that which is a man's own, what he may properly own, that which is justly his,-his work, or his work's worth or purchase, or a free gift from another whose it fairly was.
Work is the doing of worth,—something of value madle, creuted, or produced, or help toward that. Stealing is not work. Swindling is a shabbier sort of stealing. Overreaching is swindling.
Since property is definable as the sign and the fruit of work, clearly that which is neither the sign nor the fruit of work is not property. A pedlar takes eyeless needles to a tribe of ignorant savages, and sells them,' bartering his needles for things of worth. He produces the worth, but not fairly. The things of worth are not fairly his. They are not legitimately property. He has stolen them. The profit of a swindling trade is not property. Is it not swindling when a young child is taken in at a factory, and receives-in exchange for childhood's beauty, youth's hope, manhood's glorious strength, and the calm sunset of a well-aged life,-some paltry shillings a week? Nay, we will not wrong you, Trader! that ' is not all’ you give him. You also give him ignorance, and vice, and suffering, and emaciation, a crippled beggarly life and a miserable death, in exchange for tbe bealth and joy of which God had made him capable. Why, man! selling egeless needles to savages is Christian honesty compared with that. And one cannot but repeat that we dare not so abuse language as to call the profit of a swindling trade your property. It is stolen. A thief is not a proprietor. The words cannot be synonymous. Where is the title-deed showing work done and value created ? WORK DONE? The paving of your palace-floors with children's faces! Moses and Son,--and some who think themselves honester",-have no right to a pennyworth of their dishonest gains. If the State should confiscato their fortunes and distribute it among distressed needle-women and the like, I, for my part, should think no wrong done, but be thankful for so much retributive justice. When the usurer (we call him capitalist now) takes advantage of his fellow's need to over reach the common ground of human brotherhood upon which they originally stood, and to steal a profit out of that need,—this is not work, or toorth-doing, toil he never so toilsomely. His profit is not his property. Or when a landlord' claims possession of God's earth, I do not say of certain produce, but absoluto possession of the land itself,—because his ancestor, some duke (thieves' leader) of by-gone times, stole that land, or because he bought it of some degenerate thief (not a leader), well knowing it to be stolen,—can we allow that to be property, properly his ? God's earth and ocean, God's mountains, plains, seas, and rivers, are not property,—no more than his sky. They are his work, not man's. Let the fisherman make a property of the fish he catches. 'Why? he does not create them. Yet he does in some sense produce them. Their worth to man is nothing in the sea. It is their being caught, which is the result of his work, that gives them value. The possession of them is the sign of that work. Let the husbandman till the ground, and what he produces shall be his. That produce is the fruit of his toil. But the earth is not his. Would I 'parcel the land out among all the dwellers on the earth'? No, certainly. For the fisher cares not for his proportion ;-neither does the merchant, who brings goods from the far land, giving honest toil in their bringing, and justly possessing them as the sign and fruit thereof. Let who will occupy the land. But recollect that the fisher's and the merchant's shares are there also. It is a common property, which cannot be parcelled out : because every minute a new co-inheritor is born, and every birth would necessitate a new division. But I see no reason, therefore, why any should not hold any amount of land (only limited by the needs of others) in undisturbed and perpetual tenure, paying to the State a rent for the same. What has the State to do with appointing to each landholder his limits, or assigning to him liis locality ? Here again would be an interference with individual right. It might give me my acres in the plain, and my brother his upon the mountain side; and he loves the level ground, while to me flood and fell are dear, and I dislike the monotony of the plain. Or why should the State refuse land to individuals, and compel it to be held in common? All these things may best adjust themselves: the business of Government not being to intermeddle with individual right, but to have that respected, and to maintain order, caring that none encroach upon the rights of others, and that all are organized harmoniously together. The one is for the prevention of evil, the other the preparation for good; the one involves the questions of property and credit, the other the question of education.
Of property we have already spoken. The duty of Government here may be thus summed up. It has to see that every one holds inviolate his right to enjoy or to bestow the fruits of his oven honest labour ; and also that none shall, by endeavouring to appropriate common property, prevent another from producing to the utmost of his capacity. Its business is to care that common property shall never be appropriated by individuals, nor private property meddled with by any.
The questions of credit and education are the necessary concomitants of this.
'We believe in the duty of society to furnish the element of material work by credit, of intellectual and moral work by education.'
CREDIT. The right to one's share, or one's share's worth, in the common heritage-the land, and the right to the produce of one's own honest toil : if the State guaran. tees these, it is enough. For what do these rights imply?
The worth of one's share in the land is not an exact numerical proportion of all that is done in or on that land, nor yet a certain sum of money or amount of material wealth apportioned to each in exchange for giving up the land ;-but simply one's share in the rental of the land, which, accruing to the State treasury, is a fund for common assurance, and for the use of all the members of the State.
For the 'inviolability' of work, the sacredness of it and of property as its fruit, means something more than that we shall have all we can earn under our present take-who-can system, the system of 'free trade’ in men and other commodities. The 'inviolability' of work implies that there shall be no artificial hinderances in the way of work. The right to the produce of one's honest toil is a mere cheat, if that toil by any tyranny, constitutional enactment, or subterfuge, can be hindered from producing to the utmost of its natural ability, aided by the interest of the common heritage-the rental of the land. Such a hinderance is the present tyranny of capital.
Say you give a man free access to the land. What use is that when he has no money for implements, stock, manure, or seed ? when he has no means of living even to the first harvest ? To throw the whole land open, giving to each man, for himself and family, their proportion of measured value (some two acres a head), what use would that be to the millions whose existence depends upon their having wages next Saturday night? «They could sell it, perhaps.' Yes, for whatever the capitalist might choose to give them for it, when he had kept off the purchase till the sellers should be at starvation point. Something more is evidently wanted to make the land available.
Or say that the State guarantees to every man the produce of his honest toil. Well, it does that now, if that means only such produce as the capitalist, who rules the market will allow him to have. No mere enactment of that sort could benefit the wages slave. But, he shall have his share of all he earns,' says such a law. Shall he not also be free to sell that share ? To give the factory slave his share of what he has earned-so many bales of cotton, what would it avail him ? Could lie take it into the market ? Or, rather, could he afford to warehouse it when the market is glutted and none will buy? He must sell it; for Saturday night sees him starving. And so his master will have it at the present pricema wage.
Besides there is good in the division of employments, and only loss of time to accrue from every man being both producer and seller.
The inviolability of work implies free access at all times to the means of work. For this purpose the State must be the capitalist, the banker, the moneylender.
Look at things as they are. A poor man is out of work. Illness has come upon him, or his trade is slack. He must needs lie by. His little savings (if he has any) are exhausted. He sells his clothes, his furniture, all he can spare,
-no not spare, but realize anything upon. At last he sells his tools. He recovers; trade is brisk again. He could find work readily enough, but he has no tools. How fares he now? Why, unless private charity helps him to new tools, he may starve,-hc and his. The case is common. So much Society' does now for its able members.
So many hundred weavers are thrown out of employ by a new invention. They are anfit for other work. They have no means of living while they might learn another craft. They may starve. Nay, not that; 'Government' gives them a poorhouse, and grudgingly keeps life’ in their bodies, caring neither for their well-being, nor for any interest the State has in them. They are simply so much refuse of the capitalist, which the State insists shall be carted away with some show of decency.
Every year in this free Britain' how many thousand men wander about our streets and lanes, wishing for work and finding none, haggardly wasting, starving, because no private speculator cares to employ them,---starving idly, worthlessly (not even turned to account as manure), not because they will not work, nor because food is scanty or work not wanting doing, but because under our present system there is no getting work to do, unless it subserves the pleasure or profit of certain monied individuals,–because the State does not protect the sacred right of every human being to work and to enjoy the fruit thereof.
The rental of the land is the proper capital of the whole nation. Why should I go to a pawnbroker, or usurer, when my own money lies in the Treasury ? Why should I starve, lacking means while I learn a new trade, my own failing, when my money is in the Treasury? Why should so many thousands of us, O my brothers, so well-disposed to work, be idle, famished, and unprofitable, while our money lies in the Treasury: with the use of which we would reclaim waste lands (some fifteen millions of acres at this present lying 'uncultivated but reclaimable, as the political economist knows,) better cultivate lands even now reclaimed, and build homes for the houseless, and improve the hovels where human creatures now lie waiting for the plague, and weave clothes for the naked, and feed the hungry, and educate the ignorant. Good God! what work awaits the doing, -and our capital every day pours into the public Treasury, and there lies idle, (unless, indeed, thieves take it thence,) and we may not help either ourselves or the helpless, unless we can get our tools from the pawnbroker, and leave to be made tools of from some private speculator.
It is one business of Government (not Tory ruffianism or Whig rascality, neither of which is Government) to be the Nation's Banker, to furnish each individual with the material means—the capital—for work, at all times and under all circumstances. Else one's right to property as the fruit of one's work is a mere mockery. As the just appropriation of the land would sweep away all those useless middlemen called landlords (not cultivators of land), so a sound system of national credit-a mutual assurance of the Nation-would rid us of all those mischievous middlemen called capitalists, who stand now between the work and the worker (no matter whether the worker be a 'captain of industry'-who has not always capital-or only its lowest soldier), not helping but hindering the one, and so ever robbing, and but too often murdering, the other.
Through what special provisions, or under what guarantees Government should exercise this function of supplying capital, is a matter not to be prescribed by any theorist (though the researcbes of such may indicate the method): it can be determined only by the Nation, whensoever it may please the People to constitute themselves a Nation, and to appoint their Government.
EDUCATION. The land is the common inheritance of man; but he has yet another heritagehis share in the result of all experience, research, and achievement, since the beginning of Humanity. And as it is the business of Government to secure to