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raising the entire body to a state of tolerable comfort, and maintaining them in it until a new generation grows up.
Towards effecting this object there are two resources available, without wrong to any one, without any of the liabilities of mischief attendant on voluntary or legal charity, and not only without weakening, but on the contrary strengthening, every incentive to industry and every motive to forethought.
§ 4. The first is, a great national measure of colonization. I mean, a grant of public money, sufficient to remove at once, and establish in the colonies, a considerable fraction of the youthful agricultural population. By giving the preference, as Mr. Wakefield proposes, to young couples, or when these cannot be obtained, to families with children nearly grown up, the expenditure would be made to go the farthest possible towards accomplishing the end, while the colonies would be supplied with the greatest amount of what is there in deficiency, and here in superfluity, present and prospective labor. It has been shown by others, and the grounds of the opinion will be exhibited in a subse quent chapter of the present work, that colonization on an adequate scale might be so conducted as to cost the country nothing, or nothing that would not be certainly repaid; and that the funds required, even by way of advance, would not be drawn from the capital employed in maintaining labor, but from that surplus which cannot find employment at such profit as constitutes an adequate remuneration for the abstinence of the possessor, and which is therefore sent abroad for investment, or wasted at home in reckless speculations. That portion of the income of the country which is habitually ineffective for any purpose of benefit to the laboring class, would bear any draught which it could be necessary to make on it for the amount of emi gration which is here in view.
To the case of Ireland, in her present crisis of transition, colonization, as the exclusive remedy, is, I conceive, unsuitable. The Irish are nearly the worst adapted people in Europe for settlers in the wilderness; nor should the founders of nations destined perhaps to be the most powerful in the world, be drawn principally from the least civilized and least improved inhabitants of old countries. It is most fortunate, therefore, that the unoccupied lands of Ireland herself afford a resource so nearly adequate to the emergency, as reduces emigration to a rank merely subsidiary. In England and Scotland, with a population much less excessive, and better adapted to a settler's life, colonization must be the chief resource for easing the labor market, and improving the condition of the existing generation of laborers so materially as to raise the permanent standard of habits in the generation following. But England too has waste lands, though less extensive than those of Ireland; and the second resource would be, to devote all common land, hereafter brought into cultivation, to raising up a class of small proprietors: It has long enough been the practice to take these lands from public use, for the mere purpose of adding to the domains of the rich. It is time that what is left of them should be retained as an estate sacred to the benefit of the poor. The machinery for administering it already exists, having been created by the General Inclosure Act. What I would propose (though, I confess, with small hope of its being soon adopted) is, that in all future cases in which common land is permitted to be inclosed, such portion should first be sold or assigned as is sufficient to compensate the owners of manorial or common rights, and that the remainder should be divided into sections of five acres or thereabouts, to be conferred in absolute property on families of the laboring class who would reclaim and bring them into cultivation by their own labor.
The preference should be given to such
families, and there are many of them, as had saved enough to maintain them until their first crop was got in, or whose character was such as to induce some responsible person to advance them the requisite amount on their personal security. The tools, the manure, and in some cases the subsistence also, might be supplied by the parish, or by the state ; interest for the advance, at the rate yielded by the public funds, being laid on as a perpetual quit-rent, with power to the peasant to redeem it at any time for a moderate number of years' purchase. These little landed estates might, if it were thought necessary, be made indivisible by law; though, if the plan worked in the manner designed, I should not apprehend any objectionable degree of subdivision, In case of intestacy, and in default of amicable arrangement among the heirs, they might be bought by government at their value, and regranted to some other laboring family which could give security for the price. The desire to possess one of these small properties would probably become, as on the continent, an inducement to prudence and economy pervading the whole laboring population; and that great desideratum among a people of hired laborers would be provided, an intermediate class between them and their employers; affording them the double advantage, of an object for their hopes, and, as there would be good reason to anticipate, an example for their imitation.
It would, however, be of little avail that either or both of these measures of relief should be adopted, unless on such a scale as would enable the whole body of hired laborers remaining on the soil to obtain not merely employment, but a large addition to the present wages—such an addition as would enable them to live and bring up their children in a degree of comfort and independence to which they have hitherto been strangers. When the object is to raise the permanent condition of a people,
small means do not merely produce small effects—they produce no effect at all. Unless comfort can be made as habitual to a whole generation as indigence is now, nothing is accomplished, and feeble half-measures do but fritter away resources, far better reserved until the improvement of public opinion and of education shall raise up politicians who will not think that merely because a scheme promises much, the part of statesmanship is to have nothing to do with it.
OF THE DIFFERENCES OF WAGES IN DIFFERENT EMPLOYMENTS.
sl. In treating of wages, we have hitherto confined ourselves to the causes which operate on them generally, and en masse; the laws which govern the remuneration of ordinary or average labor; without reference to the existence of different kinds of work which are habitually paid at different rates, depending in some degree on different laws. We will now take into consideration these differences, and examine in what manner they affect or are affected by the conclusions already established.
A well-known and very popular chapter of Adam Smith* contains the best exposition yet given of this portion of the subject. I cannot indeed think his treatment so complete and exhaustive as it has sometimes been considered ; but as far as it goes, his analysis is on the whole successful.
The differences, he says, arise partly from the policy of Europe, which nowhere leaves things at perfect liberty, and partly “from certain circumstances in the employments themselves, which either really, or at least in the imaginations of men, make up for a small pecuniary gain in some, and counterbalance a great one in others. These circumstances he considers to be: “First, the agreeableness or disagreeableness of the employments themselves; secondly, the easiness and cheapness, or the difficulty and expense of learning them; thirdly, the constancy or inconstancy of employment in them; fourthly, the small or great trust which must be reposed in those who exercise them ; and fifthly, the probability or improbability of success in them."
* Wealth of Nations, book i. ch. 10.
Several of these points he has very copiously illustrated ; though his examples are sometimes drawn from a state of facts now no longer existing. " The wages of labor vary with the ease or hardship, the cleanliness or dirtiness, the honorableness or dishonorableness of the employment. Thus, in most places, take the year round, a journeyman tailor earns less than a journeyman weaver. His work is much easier." Things have much altered, as to a weaver's remuneration, since Adam Smith's time; and the artisan whose work was more difficult than that of a tailor, can never, I think, have been the common weaver. " A journeyman weaver earns less than a journeyman smith. His work is not always easier, but it is much cleanlier.” A more probable explanation is, that it requires less bodily strength. "A journeyman blacksmith, though an artificer, seldom earns so much in twelve hours as a collier, who is only a laborer, does in eight. His work is not quite so dirty, is less dangerous, and is carried on in daylight, and above ground. Honor makes a great part of the reward of all houorable professions. In point of pecuniary gain, all things considered,” their recompense is, in his opinion, below the average. "Disgrace has the contrary effect. The trade of a butcher is a brutal and an odious business; but