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turn, produces a habit of reflection, leading to economy of his powers and facilitating the accumulation of machinery, by means of which he obtains power to guide and direct the forces of nature to his service—thus accumulating wealth, by aid of which he draws larger supplies of food from the same surface, and is thereby enabled more perfectly to combine his efforts with those of his neighbor man, and more and more to develop his own individuality, and that of those with whom he thus associates. The power of progress is, as we have already seen, in the ratio of these conditions. The savage is nature's slave, driven by want to the commission of acts that, abstractly considered, are highly criminal. To what extent, however, is he so, disposed, as he probably would be, to be humane and honest, if he could be so, and still preserve his life. The civilized man, nature's master, feels that his responsibility grows with the growth of power—demanding careful study of every act. The one wanders on extensive surfaces, seeking almost in vain a supply of food. Little prompted to sexual intercourse, he holds in small esteem the mother of his child, nor does he care for the child itself. Elsewhere, as in the Pacific islands, with food abounding, that intercourse furnishes the chief enjoyment of life—infanticide becoming universal, and relieving the parent from all responsibility for his offspring. Akin to the first of these, we find the Spartan institutions — Lycurgus having deemed it necessary to stimulate the sexual appetite, while seeking to relieve the parent from all responsibility for his children. With the growth of numbers and of wealth, men are enabled to combine together, and the more perfect the power of association the greater becomes the development of individuality—the greater is the tendency towards the creation of local centres — towards decline in the value of the products of the earth – towards increase in their utility — towards the division of land—and towards the development of the real MAN – the being to whom was given power to direct the forces of nature, as preparation for the work of governing his passions and himself. Man becomes a responsible being—a real MAN, as land becomes divided, and he becomes more free—losing that responsibility, as land becomes consolidated, and he becomes enslaved. In the one case, society tends, gradually, to take the natural form heretofore described — its motion becoming more rapid and regular — commerce steadily increasing — agriculture becoming more and more a science — the necessity for the trader's services steadily diminishing—rude products and finished commodities steadily approximating in their prices—each and every one of these phenomena furnishing proof conclusive of advance in civilization. In the other, society gradually loses its true proportions — its motion becoming more fitful and irregular—commerce declining and trade acquiring power— agriculture becoming less and less a science — raw materials and finished products becoming more widely separated—each and all of these phenomena presenting evidence of declining civilization.
In the one, men and women become more thoughtful and reflective — the matrimonial tie being sought for chiefly because of the desire for enjoying the comforts of home and family. In the other, both become more reckless — sexual intercourse being sought as a means of the indulgence of passion, and as being, indeed, almost the only mode of gratification in which the poor may legally indulge.
§4. “The division of land,” says one of the most observant and philosophical of recent British travellers, after a careful examination of the principal nations of Europe, “carries within itself a check upon over-population, and the consequent deterioration of the social condition, which is totally wanting in the other social system. In even the most useful and necessary arts and manufactures, the demand for laborers is not a seen, known, steady, and appreciable demand; but it is so in husbandry under this social construction. The labor to be done, the subsistence that labor will produce out of his portion of land, are seen and known elements in a man's calculation upon his means of subsistence. Can his square of land, or can it not, subsist a family 7 Can he marry, or not? are questions which every man can answer without delay, doubt, or speculation. It is the depending on chance, where judgment has nothing clearly set before it, that causes reckless, improvident marriages in the lower, as in the higher classes, and produces among us the evils of over-population — chance necessarily entering into every man's calculations, when certainty is removed altogether; as it is, where certain subsistence is, by our distribution of property, the lot of but a small portion, instead of about two-thirds of the people.” + On another occasion, writing in Switzerland, he says, “Our parish is divided into three communes or administrations. In that in which I am lodged, Weytaux, there is not a single pauper, although there is an accumulated poor fund, and the village thinks itself sufficiently important to have its post-office, its fireengine, its watchman; and it has a landward population around. The reason is obvious without having recourse to any occult moral restraint, or any tradition of the evils of over-population from the fate of the ancient Helvetians, as Sir Francis absurdly supposes possible, whose emigration from over-population Julius Caesar repressed with the sword. The parish is one of the best cultivated and most productive vineyards in Europe; and is divided in very small portions among a great body of small proprietors. What is too high up the hill for vines, is in orchard, hay, and pasture land. There is no manufacture, and no chance work going on in the parish. These small proprietors, with their sons and daughters, work on their own land, know exactly what it produces, what it costs them to live, and whether the land can support two families or not. Their standard of living is high, as they are proprietors. They are well lodged, their houses well furnished, and they live well, although they are working men. I lived with one of them two summers successively. This class of the inhabitants would no more think of marrying, without means to live in a decent way, than any gentleman's sons or daughters in England; and indeed less, because there is no variety of means of living, as in England. It must be altogether out of the land. The class below them again, the mere laborers, or village tradesmen, are under a similar economical restraint, which it is an abuse of words and principles to call moral restraint.” + + + “Their standard of living, also, is necessarily raised by living and working all day along with a higher class. They are clad as well, females and males, as the peasant proprietors. The costume of the canton is used by all. This very parish might be cited as an instance of the restraining powers of property, and of the habits, tastes, and standard of living, which attend a wide diffusion of property among a people, on their own over-multiplication. It is a proof that a division of property by a law of succession different in principle from the feudal, is the true check upon over-population.”” Again; he tells his readers, that France, in “supporting onethird more inhabitants from nearly the same extent of arable land, than before the revolution, proves that this population must be much more laborious, and give more care and incessant work to their land. It is needless to add that idleness is a great originator of population, and is altogether propagational — and hard or incessant occupation of body and mind, a most powerful physical check upon it, and is altogether anti-propagational. “The most profound observation ever made in the science of political economy is that of Solomon — ‘The destruction of the poor is their poverty.” It is their poverty that causes their overmultiplication, and their over-multiplication their poverty. Cure their poverty, give them property, inoculate the whole mass of society with the tastes, habits, and feelings of prudence, which attend the possession of property, by abolishing the laws of succession which tend to concentrate all property in one upper class, and over-multiplication is cured. It is evidently curing itself rapidly in France, without the unnatural and immoral restraints recommended by political economists to be taught as injunctions of religion and morality by their clergy, or to be enforced as law by the local authorities.”f “In France,” as he continues, “property is widely diffused, population is increasing, yet the number of births is decreasing. Of those born many more live to be added to the population, although the actual births are in proportion almost one-third fewer in numbers, than in countries in which property is not diffused as in France. Can there be a more satisfactory proof of the right working of the great social experiment now in progress in France? The number of children reared in proportion to those born is the surest test of the well-being and good condition with respect to food, lodging, and domestic habits of those who rear them — of the people.”f Look at it, however, where we may, France is a country of contrasts, and hence it is, that many of the phenomena there observed, appear so difficult of explanation. Division of the
land tends to make of each and every man a self-governing and responsible being — political centralization, meanwhile, tending towards making him a mere instrument in the hands of those who guide the ship of state. Taxation, in its pecuniary form, is terrific in amount, but to this is added, compulsary military service, for a long period of years, and at wages that are almost nominal. Centralization causes enormous expenditures in and around Paris —the government hesitating at nothing calculated to increase the attraction of the capital, however much it may tend to diminish the attractions of the provinces. The effect of this is seen in a constantly growing disproportion between the city and country population — lessening the power of association throughout the rural districts. As a natural consequence of this, there is much suffering when by reason of disease, failure of the crops, political or commercial revolutions, the demand for labor, or the supply of food, is much diminished. The law of the composition of forces requires careful study at the hands of all who would become proficients in social science—there being no machine whatsoever, that is subject to the action of so many and so various forces, as the societary one. Modern political economy, on the contrary, teaches, that all the evils of society are the result of one great force constantly impelling man in a wrong direction—increasing the number of mouths, as the machine by help of which, alone, they can be fed, diminishes in its powers. The reader has already had before him evidence of the extraordinary extent to which the land of Denmark has undergone division, and the results obtained — the condition of the people of that country furnishing “living evidence of the falsity of the theory, that population increases more rapidly than subsistence, when the land of the country is held by small working proprietors.” + In Germany, land is constantly changing hands, people of all classes finding themselves enabled to realize the first and greatest wish of their lives, in becoming landed proprietors. Everywhere throughout the country, there is, therefore, exhibited “a consciousness that they have their fate in their own hands; that their station in life depends upon their own exertions; that they can rise in the world, if they will only be patient and laborious
* See chap. xxii. sec. 2, ante.