Зображення сторінки

enough; that they can gain an independent position by industry and economy; that they are not cut off by an insurmountable barrier from the next step in the social scale; that it is possible to purchase a house and farm of their own; and that the more industrious and prudent they are, the better will be the position of their families'' — this consciousness giving "the laborers of those countries, where the land is not tied up in the hands of a few, an elasticity of feeling, a hopefulness, an energy, a pleasure in economy and labor, a distaste for expenditure upon gross sensual enjoyments, — which would only diminish the gradually increasing store, - and an independence of character, which the dependent and helpless laborers of the other country [England] can never experience. In short, the life of a peasant in those countries where the land is not kept from subdividing by the laws is one of the highest moral education. His unfettered position stimulates him to better his condition, to economize, to be industrious, to husband his powers, to acquire moral habits, to use foresight, to gain knowledge about agriculture, and to give his children a good education, so that they may improve the patrimony and social position he will bequeath to them." *

Hope is the mother of industry, - industry, in turn, begetting self-respect, and temperance and moderation in all the acts of life. “In the German and Swiss towns," says Mr. Kay, “there are no places to be compared to those sources of the demoralization of our town poor — the gin-palaces." | Temperance is general — its existence being ascribed by this most intelligent traveller, “to the civilizing effects of their education," and to the “careful habits which the possibility to purchase land, and the longing to purchase it, nourish in their minds." I

In all those countries, the power of association is steadily growing, as a consequence of that development of individuality, which results from diversification of the demand for human faculties. In all, society is gradually taking a more natural form — agriculture is becoming a science — and the prices of rude products and finished commodities, are steadily approximating to each other. In all, life tends to become more prolonged, as man becomes more free. * In all, increase in the feeling of responsibility is being manifested by extension of the provisions for the education of children - for the higher instruction required by those who are more advanced in life — and for the gradual development of the various individualities of all the members of the community. In all, the policy for which France and Europe were indebted to Colbert, has been preserved — that policy which looks to the condensation of food and wool into cloth, in accordance with the ideas of Adam Smith. In all, consequently, commerce steadily grows, with constant tendency towards the emancipation of the land and its owner from the exhausting tax of transportation.

* Kay: Social Condition and Education of the People of England and of Europe, vol. i. p. 200. † Ibid. p. 247.

| Ibid. p. 261.


$ 5. Turning now to Turkey, Portugal, and Jamaica - conntries in which the tax of transportation is an increasing one, and in which the power of association has almost passed awayfind the population gradually but steadily diminishing - land becoming more and more consolidated — and man, as a necessary consequence, declining in his power, and becoming less fitted for occupying the responsible places intended for the being to whom was given the power to direct the natural forces to his service. Looking next to India, we find a community in which local centres once abounded - the feeling of responsibility then manifesting itself in a universal care for so instructing the children of the country, as to qualify them for worthily performing their duties to themselves, and to all around them. Those centres having

* Of all the problems in social science, there is none in which more numerous allowances are required for the action of disturbing causes, than in that which looks to the determination of the actual chances of life. In the following figures, derived from the Statistique Humuine of Mons. Guillard, Paris, 1855, an effort has been made to correct the errors of official statements, but to what extent that has been accomplished, it would be difficult to say. In some cases, as the reader will observe, the duration of life, in recent years, appears smaller than in earlier ones — a state of things that may, perhaps, be attributed to the political disturbances of the time: France 1831-35 33.18 Bavaria 1831-35 28.35 1846-50 36:20

1846-50 28.70 Denmark 1835-44 31.65 Prussia

1831-35 26.80 1845-49

1846-50 25.75 Sweden 1816-25 29. Saxony 1836-40 25.10 1826-35 30.40

1846–50 24.25 Belgium 1831-35 30.70 Wurtemburg ... 1832–37 22.65 1846–53 33.60

1846-50 25.75 † “ Education has always, from the earliest period of their history, been an object of public care and of public interest to the Hindoo governments,


...... 31.21


now disappeared, the land becomes exhausted ; famines and pestilences are numerous and severe; schools are few and poor; the population becomes more and more divided into the very rich and the miserably poor; society tends hourly towards dissolution ; and the power of self-preservation declines from day to day.*

The countries above referred to have been permanently sub

in the peninsula of India. Every well-regulated village under those governments had a public school and a public schoolmaster. The system of instruction in them was that which, in consequence of its efficiency, simplicity, and cheapness, was, a few years ago, introduced from Madras into England, and from England into the rest of Europe. Every Hindoo parent looked upon the education of his child as a solemn duty, which ho owed to God and his country, and placed him under the schoolmaster of his village as soon as he had obtained his fifth year. The ceremony of introducing him for the first time to the schoolmaster and his scholars was publicly recorded, and was attended with all the solemnity of a religious observance; a prayer being publicly offered up on the occasion, to the figure of Ganesa, the Hindoo God of wisdom, which was at the head of every Hindoo school, imploring him to aid the scholar in his endeavors to learn and become wise."-SIR ALEXANDER Johnston: Letter to the President of the Board of Control.

In striking contrast with this, was even the recent state of things Madras, with a population of 13,000,000, having 355,000 male, and 8000 female scholars, and Bengal, with 6,500,000, having less than 40,000 children in all her schools. What can have become of even these few schools and scholars in the last two years? What can be their present condition?

* “ The day following, I gathered equally unmistakable proof of the misery prevailing amongst the ryots — of wretchedness and poverty, which is a bar to any attempt at improvement amongst them, and blights every bud of hope for the future. We had halted in a cool and shady dell, near which stood a small mud hut, such as one meets by scores through the cultivated districts of Bengal. I wanted a draught of water, and, preferring to take it from a rippling stream close by, left my palanquin, as did my companion. When nearer the little cabin, we perceived the owner seated by the door, staring vacantly upon the wide green fields before him. He was clad as miserably as ryots usually are; if, indeed, a narrow slip of dirty cotton rag wound round their loins, can be called clothing. He was emaciated in the extreme, and his grim gaunt visage was rendered even more ghastly by a profusion of thickly-matted beard and hair. A few sickly, rickety-looking children were amusing themselves under the shade of some trees near the patch of rice. To our inquiry as to why he was not at work at that hour of the day, he replied that it was useless for him to work; the more he toiled the poorer he became. How so? we asked. He looked around, as if fearful of being overheard, and then said in a low voice-. Mahajun takes all. We inquired why that was allowed ; to which he answered, “He is rich ; I am poor; what can I do?!

“Whilst the bulk of the Indian population remain thus degraded and helpless, it is worse than idle to expect them to undertake new agricultural projects. Why should those poor wretches grow cotton for our factories? What would they gain? It is a mockery to talk of giving them railroads to Bombay and Calcutta, when they have no footpath to common justice. What is steam to them, who dare not eat the very food they grow, lest the great zemindar should find one grain the less within his ample store? What need have they of cotton cloths from Manchester, or wares from Birmingham ?”. HOUSEHOLD WORDS : Article, l'easants of British India.

jected to the system which looked to the separation of the consumer from the producer, and the resolution of the whole population into needy cultivators on the one hand, and grasping middlemen on the other. With Ireland, the case has been somewhat different - the closing portion of the last century having been spent under a regime analogous to that which now exists throughout central and northern Europe. Commerce then grew steadily

the demand for labor increasing - land and man acquiring value, and finished commodities losing it - and the community at large advancing with a rapidity not then excelled in any portion of continental Europe.*

By the act of Union, all was changed — manufactures being, in virtue of its provisions, banished from the land — and the demand for human powers being limited to that for the mere brute force required for the lowest order of the labors of the field. Land at any rent, on one hand, or starvation on the other, being the only choice that was left to them, need we wonder that hope fled, or that education, books, libraries, and all the appliances of intellectual derelopment disappeared - leaving in their place the recklessness and improvidence that since have led to so great an increase of population? Famine socceeded famine, pestilence succeeded pestilence, and still the numbers grew — the reason for all this being found in the one great fact, that the real MAN was gradually disappearing, and the merely animal man as steadily coming to occupy his place. I

“ The Irish cotter-tenant,” the wretched starver on potatoes and water - to quote again from the distinguished British traveller, to whom we have before referred “has no property to begin with, in the land or in anything else. He is, and his whole class, in consequence of the working of the law of primogeniture in society, pauper ab initio ; and all that is spared by his inferior condition, in respect of the comforts and necessaries of life, goes into his landlord's pocket, in the shape of rent, not into his own as the savings of his own prudence and frugality. He is also placed in a false position by the landholders of Ireland, even as compared to the cotter-tenantry which existed formerly, all over Scotland, and still continue in the northern counties. The latter were generally charged a rent in kind, that is, in a proportion of the crops produced, or with a reference to the average crops of the land. The peasant could understand the simple data before him, knew at once whether the land could produce enough to feed his family and leave a surplus such as was demanded for rent, and, if not, he sought a living in some other employment. His standard of living was not deteriorated by his rent in kind, because he had a clearly seen surplus of the best as well as of the worst of the products of his farm for family consumption, after paying the portion of these products that were his rent. The Irish small tenantry, on the contrary, have to pay for their land

* See ante, vol. i., p. 323, for the extraordinary demand for books that existed throughout Ireland, prior to the passage of the act of Union.

† Seeking to prove the wonderful strength of the procreative tendency always existing in Ireland, advocates of the Malthasian theory furnish the world with tables exhibiting an increase of more than 40 per cent. in tho three years, from 1785 to 1788 — the 2,845,932 of the first being represented by 4,640,000 in the last. The last may present some approach to accuracy, and if it be admitted, the subsequent duplication requires about half a centory. It is only, however, within the present century that we have any accounts that are at all reliable — the first census having been made in 1813, giving nearly 6,000,000 as the total population. Twenty-eight years later, in 1811, it was 8,175,794 — having increased in that period about 35 per cent. See ante, vol. i. p. 331.

It would be just as reasonable to make them pay for their land in French wines for the squire, or Parisian dresses for the lady. Their land produces neither gold, nor silver, nor Irish bank-notes. It is not reasonable to make the peasant, the ignorant man, pay in those commodities — they are but commodities like wines and silks — and to make men simple, inexperienced in trade, and a prey to market-jobbers, to run the double mercantile risk of selling their own commodities, and buying those in which their landlords choose to be paid their rents."*

How the system of cotter-tenantry and money-rent tends to the production of recklessness and improvidence, is well exhibited in the following passage :

Money-rent deteriorates the condition of a small tenant in two ways. The more honestly he is inclined, the more poorly and meanly he must live. He must sell all his best produce, his grain, his butter, his fax, his pig, and subsist upon the meanest of food, his worst potatoes and water, to make sure of money for his rent. It thus deteriorates his standard of living. He is also tempted by money-rent out of the path of certainty into that of

* Notes and Recollections, p. 30.

in money.

« НазадПродовжити »