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land of the young State of Ohio, is not as many bushels. The refuse of an acre of the one would fertilize the poorer acres round it; whereas, the refuse of the other, sent to the distant market, finds its place on the soil of England. Bring the consumer to the side of the producer, and the latter may then raise those commodities of which the earth yields by tons. Separate the two, and the farmer will find himself limited to the cultivation of those commodities of which the quantity is counted by bushels, even when not by pounds. Look where we may, we see that where local centres are created — mines are being opened — furnaces are being built—water-powers are improved, or mills established—land acquires value. Why it does so is, that where the consumer and the producer are brought together, it becomes freed from the exhausting tax of transportation, and its owner is enabled to devote his time, his mind, and all the capital that he now, for the first time, is enabled to accumulate, towards compelling the rich soils to give forth the vast supplies of food of which they are capable—paying them back the refuse, and thus maintaining his credit with the great bank upon which his drafts have become so large. To render rich meadow land worth the cost of clearing, the farmer must have a market in his neighborhood for his milk and cream, his veal and beef. To enable him to vary his culture, and thus improve his land, he must have facilities for the sale of potatoes and cabbages, as well as for that of rye and wheat. In the absence of that power—his rich lands not being worth the cost of clearing — he flies to the West, there to appropriate more land, to be in its turn exhausted. As a consequence of this it is, that thirty millions of people are now scattered over millions of square miles, and are forced to devote so large a portion of their time and mind to the effort to obtain roads, by aid of which they may economize a portion of the tax of transportion, by the payment of which they are now impoverished. The tendency of the American system is, as a rule, towards abstracting from nature's great bank all that it can be made to pay, and to give it nothing in return—that tendency being a direct consequence of its failure to protect the people against a system which has for its object the cheapening of land, labor, and the rude products of the earth.* Such prosperity as has been attained by the people of the United States has not been due to the abundance of the land over which they have been dispersed. In all other countries, men have been most poor, when land was most abundant, and when the inhabitants had, apparently, most the choice between the poorer and the richer soils. Fertile land, uncultivated, abounded in the days of the Edwards, yet food was then obtained with far more difficulty than now. It is more abundant, by far, in Mexico than in the United States, yet inferior food is there obtained at the cost of far more labor— the whole agricultural product of that country, with a population of eight millions, being less than that of a single American State. It is more abundant in Russia, Ceylon, Buenos Ayres, and Brazil, and yet they make but little progress. It was more abundant in France, in the days of Louis XV., than it now is, and yet, men perished then “like flies in the autumn;” whereas, they are now well fed and clothed. Prosperity comes with diversity in the demand for human efforts — with development of human powers — with growing power of association—with division of the land—with competition for the purchase of labor—each and every step in that direction, being accompanied by an increase in the power of the laborer to determine for himself whether to go abroad, or stay at home; with a diminution, too, in the necessity for seeking abroad the food and clothing denied to him at home. f Throughout the Union, that necessity increases—the power of association tending steadily to decrease. Hence it is, that the history of the past few years exhibits so rapid a growth of belief in the divine origin of human slavery, and in the demoralization of the people and the State.
* “The production of wheat is diminishing! and the production of potatoes is diminishing! Horses, and pigs, and sheep, are disappearing ! Of course, they are, because there is nobody to sow or reap, or tend cattle; because cultivators and herdsmen are wanting; and because nefarious legislation has for many years done all it can to cover our fields with desolation, in order that one or two hundred mill-owners may fill their pockets. Give us labor first, and we will then talk of colleges.”—New York Evening Post.
Eleven years since, the quantity of food exported reached the large amount of $68,000,000, and then the production of cloth and iron was rapidly increasing. Since then, the policy of the country has been directed by persons holding the same opinions with the writer of this paragraph. In that time, the population has increased not less than 8,000,000; the number of persons employed in all the great departments of manufactures has diminished; the product of cloth and iron has much declined; and the exhausted farms and farmers are now but furnishing new evidence of the great fact, that there can be no real agriculture in the absence of manufactures.
# “It has been a matter of great surprise to me that some one has not, before this, given a true account of the condition of the people and the state of things in California. I have been in this State twelve weeks, and, during that time, have seen more misery, more vice, more immorality, more blasted hopes and withering disappointment, more utter wretchedness and impotent regrets, than I have ever witnessed before in my whole life; and it is astonishing— it is amazing—that some philanthropist has not taken upon himself the task, ere this, of exposing to the world the state of affairs here, and the almost universal fate of the great majority of California emigrants. All who leave home for this supposed land of gold, do so with high hopes and brilliant expectations; but did they know the almost certain destiny which awaits them here, they would sooner dig potatoes for fifty cents a day, than undertake this expedition.” This would be equally true, if written in reference to a large portion of the people who find themselves compelled to seek the frontier States. See ante, vol. ii., p. 267, note. * “Crowds of miserable Irish darken all our towns. The wild Milesian features, looking false ingenuity, restlessness, unreason, misery, and mockery, salute you on all highways and byways. The English coachman, as he whirls past, lashes the Milesian with his whip, curses him with his tongue; the Milesian is holding out his hat to beg. He is the sorest evil this country has to strive with. In his rags and laughing savagery, he is there to undertake all work that can be done by mere strength of hand and back, for wages that will purchase him potatoes. He needs only salt for condiment; he lodges to his mind in any pig-hutch or dog-hutch, roosts in out-houses; and wears a suit of tatters, the getting off and on of which is said to be a difficult operation, transacted only on festivals and the high tides of the calendar. The Saxon man, if he cannot work on these terms, finds no work. - - And yet these poor Celtiberian Irish brothers, what can they help it. They cannot stay at home and starve. It is just and natural that they come hither as a curse to us. Alas! for them too it is not a luxury. The time has come when the Irish population must either be improved a little, or else exterminated. . . . . Every man who will take the statistic spectacles off his nose, and look, may discern in town and country, that the condition of the lower multitude of English laborers approximates more and more to that of the Irish competing with them in all markets; that whatsoever labor, to which mere strength with little skill will suffice, is to be done, will be done, not at the English price, but at an approximation to the Irish price; at a price superior as yet to the Irish, that is, superior to scarcity of third-rate potatoes for thirty weeks yearly; superior—yet hourly, with the arrival of every new steamboat, sinking nearly to an equality with that.”—CARLYLE: Chartism. See also ante, vol. i., p. 240, notes.
§ 5. There being in all the real and permanent interests of mankind a perfect harmony, error in one community must tend to the production of error every where; and that such is certainly the case, is fully proved by what we see to be now occurring in the great centre of this injurious system. The annihilation of the power of association throughout Ireland, tended to compel the emigration of Irishmen to England—there, of course, cheapening labor, to the great disadvantage of the English laborer.”
The long-continued “warfare” upon the industry of other nations, described in a former chapter, carried on under the mistaken idea, that the prosperity of the British people was to be promoted by “stifling in the cradle” all the manufactures of the world outside of Britain, was attended necessarily by the destruction of the smaller manufacturers of Britain herself—the result being seen in the facts, that there is now no place for the little capitalist in any department of manufacture, and that the proportion of society engaged in trade—obtaining a living by “snatching the bread out of other people's mouths”—is a constantly-increasing one. The necessity for emigration, among this class, grows, therefore, daily—the higher and lower classes becoming divided by a constantly-deepening and widening gulf.”
Consolidation of the land driving the laborer to the cities, and consolidation of capital diminishing the competition for the purchase of labor in towns and cities, the power of the laborer to determine for whom he would work, and at what he would work, necessarily declined — the effect being seen in a growing increase in that competition for the sale of labor, now regarded as so indispensable to the progress of British manufactures, but which is only another name for slavery.* The wider the gulf which divides the great proprietors from the laborer on the land, the greater is the space to be occupied by the middlemen, and the smaller is the proportion retained by those who own the land, or those who do the work.f. The larger the space between the great manufacturer and the regiment of hands employed in his mill, the more numerous will be the intermediate agents—each and all anxious to obtain the largest prices
* “The actual operative in Great Britain has no prospect before him. He may save a few hundred pounds by unceasing industry and sobriety; but why should he save it? This little saved capital—call it thousands instead of hundreds of pounds sterling—can do nothing in the present state of our trade and manufactures, in competition with the vast capitals, accumulated by long inheritance, pre-occupying every branch of industry and manufacture, and producing far cheaper than he can do with his trifling means. Land, by the effect of the privileges accorded to that kind of property, and of the expense of title deeds, is out of his reach as much as trade and manufacture; there being no small estates in Britain, generally speaking, which a laboring or middle-class man could purchase, and sit down upon with his family to live as a working yeoman or peasant proprietor; and thus small capitals, when they are accumulated, are forced into trade and manufacture, although every branch is over-supplied with the means of producing. What can a man turn to, who has a little capital of three or four thousand pounds? What can he enter into, with any reasonable prospect of not losing his little capital in his most honest and prudent efforts? And what can the workingman do, but spend his earnings, drink, and fall into a reckless, improvident way of living, when he sees clearly that every avenue to an independent condition is, by the power of great capital, shut against him A vassalage in manufacture and trade is succeeding the vassalage in land, and the serf of the loom is in a lower and more helpless condition than the serf of the glebe, because his condition appears to be not merely the effect of an artificial and faulty social economy, like the feudal, which may be remedied, but to be the unavoidable effect of natural causes.”—LAING: Notes of a Traveller, p. 177.
“Those who themselves are at present above want or poverty, nevertheless are still looking down at that abyss of misery and destitution beneath them, and, while congratulating themselves at their own escape, they do not, and dare not, complain of evils of a less terrible character. They are silent on that anxiety which besets their own position, and robs every household of its peace; they are silent on that perpetual contest and strife of commerce which sow the seed of hatred so abundantly through every town and village. Is not the wolf still at the door?”—Thornd ALE; or, the Conflict of Opinions.
* See ante, vol. i., pp. 239, 456, 457.
“If the silken curtain be held up, it may be seen from two points of view —from the sunny and brilliant side of Shoolbred's, or from the dark and dreary side of Spitalfields. When worn, the dress is a proof of the increased means of society; when made, it is a testimony to the decreasing means of society. The weaver who wove such silks as that, used, in former days, to earn 2s. 5d., where, in our day, he only earns 8d. Free trade shines no luxury to him; does not give him the promised big loaf; because, whereas he could have afforded two shillings for a loaf in the dearest days, he has more difficulty now in mustering sixpence. If at one time he made his miserable cottage tolerably comfortable with good cheer in the cupboard, plenty of clothes, and a certain kind of huggermugger amusement, now his cupboard is bare; the neighborhood has become more populous, without being better drained; and, while his misery has constantly increased, he has been made doubly aware of it by the light of day which has been thrown in upon his condition.”—Spectator, March 27, 1858.
# “From Barnard Castle, I rode on the highways twenty-three miles from High Force, a fall of the Tees, towards Darlington, past Raby Castle, through the estate of the Duke of Cleveland. The Marquis of Breadalbane rides out of his house a hundred miles in a straight line to the sea, on his own property. The Duke of Sutherland owns the county of Sutherland, stretching across Scotland from sea to sea. The Duke of Devonshire, besides his other estates, owns 96,000 acres in the county of Derby. The Duke of Richmond has 40,000 acres at Goodwood, and 300,000 at Gordon Castle. The Duke of Norfolk's park, in Sussex, is fifteen miles in circuit. An agriculturist bought lately the island of Lewes, in Hebrides, containing 500,000 acres. The possessions of the Earl of Lonsdale gave him eight seats in Parliament.” —EMERson : English Traits.
Two thousand persons are said to own two-thirds of the land of England. There are forty-six who have incomes of £450,000 a year, equal to two millions and a quarter of dollars, while four hundred and forty-four persons have incomes ranging from fifty to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year, and eight hundred and eleven from twenty-five to fifty thousand. Here are thirteen hundred persons who have princely fortunes; but the number is trifling in comparison to the total population.