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richer, and getting on in the woald. This last characteristic belongs chiefly to those who are in a condition superior to day laborers; but the absence of any taste for amusement, or enjoyment of repose, is common to all classes. Whether from this or any other cause, the national steadiness and persistency of labor extends to the most improvident of the English working classes—those who never think of saving, or improving their condition. It has become the habit of the country; and life in England is more governed by habit, and less by personal inclination and will, than in any other country, except perhaps China or Japan. The effect is, that where hard labor is the thing required, there are no laborers like the English; though in natural intelligence, and even in manual dexterity, they have many superiors.
Energy of labor, though not an unqualified good, nor one which it is desirable to nourish at the expense of other valuable attributes of human nature, is yet, in a certain measure, a necessary condition of any great improvement among mankind. To civilize a savage, he must be inspired with new wants and desires, even if not of a very elevated kind, provided that their gratification can be a motive to bodily and mental exertion. If the negroes of Jamaica and Demerara, after their emancipation, had contented themselves, as it was predicted they would do, with the necessaries of life, and abandoned all labor beyond the little which in a tropical climate, with a thin population and an abundance of the richest land, is sufficient to support existence, they would have sunk into a condition more barbarous, though less unhappy than their previous state of slavery. The motive which was most relied on for inducing them to work was their love of fine clothes and personal ornaments. No one will stand up for this taste as in itself worthy of being cultivated, and in most societies its indulgence tends to impoverish rather than to enrich ; but in the state of mind of the negroes it may have been the only incentive that could make them voluntarily undergo systematic labor, and so acquire or maintain habits of industry which may be converted to more valuable ends. As much as the industrial spirit required to be stimulated in their case, so much does it require to be moderated in such countries as England and the United States. There, it is not the desire of wealth that needs to be taught, but the use of wealth, and appreciation of the objects of desire which wealth cannot purchase, or for attaining which it is not required. Every real improvement in the character of the English or Americans, whether it consist in giving them higher aspirations, or only more numerous and better pleasures, must necessarily moderate the all-engrossing torment of their industrialism ; must diminish, therefore, so far as it depends on that cause alone, the aggregate productiveness of their labor. There is no need, however, that it should diminish that strenuous and business-like application to the matter in hand, which is one of their most precious characteristics. “Whoever” (says Mr. Laing*) "looks into the social economy of an English or Scotch manufacturing district, in which the population has become thoroughly imbued with the spirit of productiveness, will observe that it is not merely the expertness, despatch, and skill of the operative himself, that are concerned in the prodigious amount of his production in a given time, but the laborer who wheels coal to his fire, the girl who makes ready his breakfast, the whole population, in short, from the potboy who brings his beer, to the banker who keeps his employer's cash, are inspired with the same alert spirit, are in fact working to his hand with the same quickness and punctuality as he works himself. English workmen taken to the Continent always complain that they cannot get on with their
work as at home, because of the slow, unpunctual pipe-inmouth working habits of those who have to work to their hands, and on whom their own activity and productiveness mainly depend.”
Foreigners are generally quite unaware that to these qualities in English industry the wealth and power which they seek to emulate are in reality owing, and not to the "ships, colonies, and commerce” which these qualities have called into being, and which, even if annihilated, would leave England the richest country in the world. An Englishman, of almost every class, is the most efficient of all laborers, because, to use a common phrase, his heart is in his work. But it is surely quite possible to put heart into his work without being ipcapable of putting it into anything else. The desirable medium is one which mankind have not often known how to hit—when they do labor, to do it with all their might, and especially with all their mind; but to devote to labor for mere pecuniary gain, fewer hours in the day, fewer days in the year, and fewer years of life.
$ 4. The third element which determines the productiveness of the labor of a community is the skill and knowledge therein existing; whether it be the skill and knowledge of the laborers themselves, or of those who direct their labor. No illustration is requisite to show how the efficacy of industry is promoted by the manual dexterity of those who perform mere routine processes; by the intelligence of those engaged in operations in which the mind has a considerable part; and by the amount of knowledge of natural powers and of the properties of objects which is turned to the purposes of industry. That the productiveness of the labor of a people is limited by their knowledge of the arts of life, is self-evident; and that any progress in those arts, any improved application of the objects or powers of nature to industrial uses, enables the same quantity and intensity of labor to raise a greater produce.
One principal department of these improvements consists in the invention and use of tools and machinery. The manner in which these serve to increase production and to economize labor, needs not be specially detailed in a work like the present: it will be found explained and exemplified, in a manner at once scientific and popular, in Mr. Babbage's well-known “Economy of Machinery and Manufactures." An entire chapter of Mr. Babbage's book is composed of instances of the efficacy of machinery in “exerting forces too great for human power, and executing operations too delicate for human touch.” But to find examples of work which could not be performed at all by unassisted labor, we need not go so far. Without pumps, worked by steam-engines or otherwise, the water which collects in mines could not in many situations be got rid of at all, and the mines, after being worked to a little depth, must be abandoned; without ships or boats, the sea could never have been crossed; without tools of some sort, trees could not be cut down nor rocks excavated; a plough, or at least a spade, is necessary to any tillage of the ground. Very simple and rude instruments, however, are sufficient to render literally possible most works hitherto executed by man; and subsequent inventions have chiefly served to enable the work to be performed in greater perfection, and, above all, with a greatly diminished quantity of labor; the labor thus saved becoming disposable for other employment.
The use of machinery is far from being the only mode in which the effects of knowledge in aiding production are exemplified. In agriculture and horticulture, machinery has done little of importance beyond the invention and progressive improvement of the plough and a few other simple instruments. The greatest agricultural inventions have consisted in the direct application of more judicious processes to the land itself and the plants growing on it: such as rotation of crops, to avoid the necessity of leaving the land uncultivated for one season in every two or three; improved manures, to renovate its fertility when exhausted by cropping; conversion of bogs and marshes into cultivable land; such modes of pruning, and of training and propping up plants and trees, as experience has shown to deserve the preference; in the case of the more expensive cultures, planting the seeds or roots further apart, and more completely pulverizing the soil in which they are placed, &c. In manufactures and commerce, some of the most important improvements consist in economizing time; in making the return follow more speedily upon the labor and outlay. There are others of which the advantage consists in economy of material.
§ 5. But the effects of the increased knowledge of a community in increasing its wealth, need the less illustration as they have become familiar to the most uneducated, from such conspicuous instances as railways and steam ships. A thing not yet, perhaps, so well understood and recognized, is the economical value of the general diffusion of intelligence among the people. The number of persons fitted to direct and superintend any industrial enterprise, or even to execute any process which cannot be reduced almost to an affair of memory and routine, is always far short of the demand ; as is evident from the enormous difference between the salaries paid to such persons, and the wages of ordinary labor. The deficiency of practical good sense, which renders the majority of the laboring class, in this and many other countries, such bad calculators—which makes, for instance, their domestic economy so improvident, lax, and irregular—must disqualify them for any but a low grade of intelligent labor, and render their industry far less productive than with equal energy it otherwise might be.