Зображення сторінки

Freedom and peace come with the growing power of a gorernment to rely upon direct and honest application to the people, for the means required for its support. Declining freedom among the people, and war among the nations, are the companions of growing centralization and indirect taxation. How far the truth of this is proved by American experience, is seen in the facts, that, thirty years since, when the policy of the country tended towards the creation of domestic markets for the farmertowards increasing the value of labor and land — towards entire freedom of intercourse, abroad and at home, as a consequence of protection — and towards the ultimate substitution of direct for indirect taxation - the public expenditures but little exceeded $10,000,000. Fleets and armies then required only $6,000,000

peace with all nations, as a consequence of respect for the rights of all, being then the habitual condition of the country. Ten years later — trade having, meantime, been adopted as the policy of the country - the expenditures for fleets and armies had been, already, tripled. Five years later, the policy of peace and cominerce having, for the moment, been re-adopted, the expenditure for military purposes fell to $12,000,000. Since then — trade having been, to all appearance, finally adopted as the policy of the country — the cost of army and navy has risen to $30,000,000; and the results are

a perpetual succession of foreign and domestic wars. The sister republic of Mexico has been invaded and dismembered. Cuba has been attempted. Greytown has been destroyed. Japan has been visited and threatened. Chinese forts have been destroyed. Indian tribes have been annihilated. Civil war has raged in Kansas, and vigilance committees have governed California. Preparatory to further wars, expeditions have been fitted out for the exploration of African and South American rivers, while expensive missions have been sent to Persia, China, and other countries.

seen in

Concentration would, at an expense of less than two millions of dollars, render the Ohio and Mississippi navigable throughout the year — thus relieving the country of an annual tax of none so much abounding in rash and unfounded assertions, as those which emanated from the author of this Report—none displaying a more thorough incapacity for comprehending the importance, to the farmer, of being relieved from the grinding and oppressive tax of transportation.

Vol. III.-.] 5

twenty millions. Centralization neglects the rivers at home, that it may open up those abroad. Trade becomes, from year to year, more and more master of the country's fortunes; and hence it is, that while the highest judicial authority of the country decides that freedom is sectional and slavery national, the private trader employs his ships in the transportation of coolies, and the planter seeks the re-opening of the trade in negro men. Look where we may, the people become less free, as the trader grows in power.

$ 9. Concentration tending, as it does, towards the ultimate freedom of commerce, and the substitution of direct for indirect taxation, brings with it that application of the public revenues which looks to the general development of the potential energies of man and matter - thus placing those who are weak of arm on a lerel with the strong. Centralization, on the contrary, looking to obtaining indirectly the means of supplying fleets and armies, tends towards strengthening the already strong, at the expense of those who are weak. Massachusetts relies almost wholly on direct taxation; and therefore it is, that, while she expends little on her governor, she raises millions for the support of common schools. The Federal Government, on the contrary, having now adopted a system looking to the perpetual maintenance of indirect taxation, doubles the salaries of secretaries and ministers, at a time when the artisan finds a daily increasing difficulty of obtaining food and clothing for his children; and trading cities treble their expenditures, while pauperism advances with giant strides. *

Prussia pays her ministers of State 10,000 rix-dollars=$7500, and educates her people; but her policy tends towards commerce and direct taxation. England rewards chancellors and bishops by salaries of ten and twenty thousand pounds; but her policy tends towards trade and indirection. Generals are rewarded with estates whose cost is counted by hundreds of thousands, while the mass of the people can neither read nor write. India is required to pay her officials at a higher rate than almost any

* The expenditures of New York city have risen, in seven years, from three to nine millions of dollars, and the fees of the city attorney have advanced, from the moderate amount at which they stood a few years since, to $71,296 for a single year!

[ocr errors]

country of the world; while those who pay, perish for want of food and clothing. France taxes the poor man's salt, and requires his son to serve for years, at nominal wages — while enabling ministers, generals, and financiers, to accumulate enormous fortunes.

Turning, now, to the France of the last century, we find the same difference between the pays d'états and pays d'électionthose which bad, and those which had not, retained the right of taxing themselves — that now are found in passing from those counties whose policy tends to the extension of commerce, to those in which it looks towards trade. In Languedoc, one of the former — the taille bearing wholly on landed property - not only did every one know beforehand what he had to pay, but he had, also, the "right of demanding a comparison of his quota with that of any other resident of the parish he chose to select”. "being,” says M. de Tocqueville, “precisely the process that is now pursued.

The effects of this were seen in the vast expenditures for works of public utility — the annual appropriations therefor, just prior to the Revolution, having been no less than 7,000,000 livres = $1,400,000. The central government being shocked at this large expenditure, the province pointed proudly to its roads, all of which had been made without resorting to the corvée, or system of forced labor, then usual throughout the kingdom adding, that, “if the king will grant permission, the estates will do get more-improving the local roads, which affect so many other interests." “Further," said the memorialists, "the king need be at no expense for the establishment of workhouses in Languedoc, such as have been required in the rest of France. We ask no favors of the kind — the works of public utility we ourselves undertake, standing us in the stead of workhouses, and furnishing a remunerative demand for all our labor." +

Directly the reverse of this, was what was witnessed throughout most of the other provinces -- the taille having there becn“ arbitrarily distributed and levied," and having “varied constantly with the fluctuations in the means of those who paid it.” | As a consequence of this, those provinces made no roads, fixed property was trivial in quantity, and the people were unemployed.

* L'Ancien Régime, chap. xii.

+ Ibid, appendix.

| Ibid, chap. xii.

Concentration looks towards the development of the faculties of all — thereby enabling each and all to become competitors for the purchase of the services of those around them. Centralization looks to increasing the power of the already rich, at the expense of those who are poor — thereby diminishing, instead of increasing, the competition for the laborer's services. The one tends, therefore, as naturally towards peace and freedom, as does the other towards slavery and war.

§ 10. Concentration tends towards promoting the rapidity of circulation, and thus developing the potential energies of man. Therefore is it, that it everywhere leads to development of the latent powers of the earth - the localization of capital — the creation of a scientific agriculture — the establishment of local schools — and the creation, throughout a whole country, of smaller societies, in the bosom of which each and every man may find all the appliances required for enabling him to add to his means of production and enjoyment. More than any other countries of the world, Germany and Denmark are moving in this direction — the results being seen in a growth of wealth and freedom not exceeded any where. *

Centralization, on the contrary, tends towards destroying the circulation, and thus dwarfing the communities subjected to it. Trading centralization seeks the extension of these effects throughout the world. Therefore is it, that it everywhere tends towards rendering latent the powers of the earth — towards the centralization of capital — the destruction of agriculture — the annihilation of local schools and colleges -- and the creation of large cities, in which, alone, instruction or amusement can be found. Absenteeism is its necessary conseqnence.

The Athenians, lords of a thousand cities, were, in effect, great absentee proprietors — disposing, at their pleasure, of their subjects' revenues. Temples were built, and theatres were supported, out of contributions thus obtained ; but the larger the one, and the more attractive the other, the more pauperised were the people, and the weaker became the State.

* See ante, vol. i. chaps. xxii, and xxiv.

“By far the largest number of the great men of Germany, especially in art and science, have sprung from the smaller cities, or have come from the country. The concentration of mind to one point, is what makes the great man; and this it will be difficult to find in the encyclopedial spirit of the grent city.”- Riehl: Land und Leute.

This is equally true of all countries — large cities being the graves, and not the nurseries, of intellect.

In the early days of Roman history, absenteeism was a thing unknown. Cincinnatus left his little farm to take command of the forces of the State — returning to his work, when his public duties had been performed. Later, the banker becomes the ally of the warrior — the Rothschilds and Barings of their day, supplying the means by which the sovereignty of the world may be obtained. Land becoming consolidated, local attraction gradually ceases, and all who seek instruction or amusement - all who hare fortunes to make or to spend — are forced to resort to Rome itself; and thus do absenteeism, pauperism, and weakness, grow together.

More than any other countries of the world, Great Britain and the United States devote themselves to the advancement of trade, at the expense of commerce. Centralization, therefore, grows with them; while concentration steadily advances in the despotic countries of Northern Europe. Annihilating the local legislatures of Scotland and of Ireland, the British Parliament now centralizes within itself those duties of legislation that should be performed by local bodies — the consequences being seen in the fact, that parliamentary agency has become one of the surest roads to fortune. The bank centralizes the money power in London ; and there it is, that picture galleries are created, and parks laid out- every step in that direction, tending to lessen the attraction of the other towns and cities of the empire, while increasing that of the great central city. Absenteeism, therefore, increases daily, with constantly growing necessity for substituting governmental commissions for that local action by which England was once so much distinguished.

So, too, is it in the United States - centralization and absenteeism growing there in the direct ratio of the dispersion of the people. Five-and-twenty years since, the public lands passed, almost without exception, directly from the government to the men who sought to cultivate it, free from charge for intermediate agency. Five years later, in the free-trade period of 1837, dispersion became the order of the day. Speculators

« НазадПродовжити »