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trivial, that the average consumption might be more than supplied by means of the proper application of the waste labor of a single city. Why is it so ? Because they follow in the train of teachers from whom they learn, that the road to prosperity lies in the direction of cheap raw materials, and cheap labor. Slavery, therefore, grows-gradually taking the place of freedom.
France, Germany, and Northern Europe generally, are becoming competitors for nature's services; and therefore it is, that, in all those countries, the prices of raw materials steadily approximate — that land acquires value — and that the true MAN tends, more and more, to make his appearance on the stage.
§ 13. The more the competition for control of nature's powers, the greater is the demand for human service — the higher is the quality of service needed — and the greater is the development of human faculties. The more complete the power of the farmer to obtain command of the force of steam, to be used in converting wheat into flour, and flour and wool into cloth, the more does he find demand for those of his faculties required for the development of a scientific agriculture; and the greater is his power to make demand for the skill and taste required for the production of cloth and cotton, books and pictures. In that direction the countries of Northern Europe now move, and hence the steady advance of agriculture, and of the finer manufactures -- producing demand for the higher qualities of man, and aiding in the development of scientific, literary, and artistic power.
Great Britain moves in a contrary direction — becoming more and more a mere carrier and trader, and thus increasing the competition for the purchase of those of the human powers that are held by man in common with the brute. Destruction of competition, at home, for the higher qualities of the men of Ireland, was accompanied by foreign competition for the purchase of the mere brute force required in the soldier, and in the canal and railroad laborers, by whom the public works of Britain have been constructed. * Annihilation of competition, in India, for the higher qualities of man, is accompanied by competition for the sale of the lower ones, to be employed in carrying arms and
* See ante, vol. i. p. 240.
making war. Diminution of such competition, in England, produces cmigration, and thus makes demand for sailors, the class of men that, as a rule, occupies the lowest of all positions in communities claiming to be civilised - that class which, in common with the soldier, is obliged to bear the lash. The more that men are enabled to associate, and to combine with each other, the larger is the demand for mental power, and the less for that which is purely physical ; yet British writers rejoice in the dispersion of British and Irish people, because of the demand it makes for ships and sailors !
Following in the lead of England, the United States pursue a policy tending to limit competition for the higher faculties, while making demand for ships and sailors, and thus increasing the cost of transportation. Turning to the diagram, we see that civilization advances as men are more and more enabled to dispense with the transporter's services - while becoming more and more enslaved as competition for those services is increased. From year to year, the nation is congratulated upon the increased demand for ships; yet each successive year witnesses a growing tendency towards the enslavement of the men by whom the ships are managed. Here, however, as everywhere, folly and injustice tend to produce their own reward — the character of American ships and seamen tending steadily to decline, as the desire for ships leads to exaggeration of the tax of transportation imposed upon the farmer. The larger that tax, the greater must be the power of those who live by profits, and the more perfect the slavery of those who need to sell their labor. *
* “ It is to the interest of masters and owners, and even of the mates, to oblige a crew to desert on reaching the other side; and to this end they make the ship too hot to hold them. Good sailors, who ship for the round voyage, and mean to do their duty well and thoroughly, are driven ashore penniless, to shift for themselves, as soon as the ship is made fast to the wharf. This is done in a variety of ways; but most frequently by the savage treatment of the men while at sea. And why is it the interest of masters, mates, and owners, to make their crews desert on the other side ? Because they would have to pay and feed their crew while in port, the same as at sea; and further, because plenty of sailors can always be procured in Liverpool, at £2 108. a month. Thus, it will be seen, the owners save about fifty per cent. every voyage, on the wages of their crew; and the captain, being himself an owner, is of course interested in the saving, to the extent of his ownership The mate is interested in it, because, by collusion with the • American Shipping Agents,' he receives five to ten shillings sterling for every man that he can succeed in driving out of the ship, on condition that he will employ the briber to ship the new crew, when they are required. Nor are these the only parties interested in inciting desertion. Our consuls receive a fee of one dollar for every new man shipped on an American vessel at their port; and it is not improbable, that these fees may sometimes have caused consuls to lend a deaf ear to the tales of outrage and oppression of the humble sailor against his officers. * * * Not only in the way we have mentioned, but also by purchasing inferior food, do shipmasters contrive to turn a dishonest penny. It is well known that many shipmasters buy beef and pork for their crews which is scarcely better than carrion. Where men are on a long voyage, say to San Francisco, China, London, and New York, and when they have a good round sum due them for wages, captains of New York clippers have been known to so maltreat their crews, before reaching London, that the men were forced to desert, and thus lose their wages. * * * The captains who return to New York with the same crew they took out with them, are so few, as to be looked upon as exceptions to the rule.”—New York Tribune.
Man becomes more free, as the prices of rude products and finished commodities approximate — each step in that directior being accompanied by diminished competition for the services of the middleman, whether acting in the capacity of soldier ou sailor, slave-driver or trader, admiral, general, or minister of state. The policy of Great Britain and the United States, being based on the idea of increasing the demand for ships and sailors, soldiers and traders, tends, and necessarily, towards the enslavement of man, in full accordance with the teachings of the RicardoMalthusian school.
§ 14. "Competition," says Mr. Mill, "has only become in any considerable degree the governing principle of contracts, at a comparatively modern period. The farther we look back into history, the more we see all transactions and engagements under the influence of fixed customs. The reason is evident. Custom is the most powerful protector of the weak against the strong: their sole protector, where there are no laws or government adequate to the purpose. Custom is a barrier which, even in the most oppressed condition of mankind, tyranny is forced in some degree to respect. To the industrious population, in a turbulent military community, freedom of competition is a vain phrase : they are never in a condition to make terms for themselves by it: there is always a master who throws his sword into the scale, and the terms are such as he imposes. But though the law of the strongest decides, it is not the interest, nor in general the practice, of the strongest to strain that law to the utmost, and every relaxation of it has a tendency to become a custom, and every custom to become a right. Rights thus originating, and not competition in any shape, determine, in a rude state of society, the share of the produce enjoyed by those who produce it. The relations, more especially, between the land owner and the cultivator, and the payments made by the latter to the former, are, in all states of society but the most modern, determined by the usage of the country. Never, until late times, have the conditions of the occupancy of land been (as a general rule) an affair of competition. The occupier for the time has very commonly been considered to have a right to retain his holding, while he fulfils the customary requirements; and has thus become, in a certain sense, a co-proprietor of the soil. Even where the holder has not acquired this fixity of tenure, the terms of occupation have often been fixed and invariable."*
The effect of this is seen in the fact, that the charge for insurance on American ships is steadily advancing - being now, on an average, at least a third greater than it was twenty years since. Look to what quarter we may, security is gradually diminishing, while the cost at which it is obtained, is steadily increasing. That is the road towards slavery and barbarism.
Custom is “a powerful protector;" and whether men shall advance towards freedom, or decline towards slavery, is wholly dependent upon the decision of the question, whether custom shall be strengthened into law, or shall pass away — leaving the weak wholly at the mercy of the strong. In the early days of Attica—those of growing commerce-custom gradually strengthened, until, at length, under the institutions of Solon, it became the law, that thousands of people who had heretofore been deprived of the benefits of competition for the purchase of their labor, should, for the future, be entitled to dispose of it, as freely as did those who had been their masters. War and trade, however, becoming, at a later period, the established policy of Athens, competition for the purchase of labor gradually died away, until, at length, it became the established rule, that the man who labored should be limited to a single purchaser -- the latter, too, being authorised to determine for himself the mode of distribution.
In France, the laborer retained his customary rights, and gradually acquired more, until, at length, the land became
* J. S. Mill: Principles of Political Economy, vol. i. p. 285, & 2.
divided among a mass of free proprietors — holding their little properties free from all claims, but those of the persons who direct the State. In Germany, Denmark, and Northern Europe generally, such has been, everywhere, the tendency - custom having become law, and the little and prosperous proprietor having taken the place of the wretched serf. In all those countries, the circulation of society becomes more rapid from year to year, with constant increase in the competition for the purchase of lahor, and in the proportion of the product going to the laborer. In all of them, the policy pursued is based upon the idea of approximating the prices of raw materials and finished commodities; and thus, as far as possible, lessening the trader's power.
Turning thence, towards the countries which follow in the train of England, we find, in Scotland, a total abolition of customary rights — hundreds of thousands of people, whose title to the land has been equal with that of their lords, having been expelled from their little holdings, with a savage cruelty nowhere else exceeded. *
Passing into Ireland, we find custom gradually giving way, until the whole people become enslaved by a middleman class - living by the plunder of the men who own the land, and the wretched people by whom it is occupied.
* The terrible clearance of the county of Sutherland, is too well known to require to be here repeated. That the same system has been since continued, is shown in the following statement of facts, given in a Canadian journal:
“A Colonel Gordon, the owner of estates in South Uist and Barra, in the Highlands of Scotland, has sent off over 1100 destitute tenants and cotters, under the most cruel and delusive temptations; assuring them that they would be taken care of immediately on their arrival at Quebec, by the emigrant agent — receiving a free passage to Upper Canada, where they would be provided with work by the government agents, and receive grants of land on certain imaginary conditions. Seventy-one of the last cargo of four hundred and fifty, have signed a statement that some of them fled to the mountains, when an attempt was made to force them to emigrate. •Whereupon,' they add, • Mr. Fleming gave orders to a policeman, who was accompanied by the ground-officer of the estate in Barra, and some constables, to pursue the people who had run away among the mountains, which they did, and succeeded in capturing about twenty from the mountains, and from other islands in the neighborhood; but only came with the officers on an attempi being made to handcuff them, and that some who ran away were not brought back: in consequence of which four families, at least, have been divided — some having come in the ships to Quebec, while other members of the same families are left in the Highlands.'"