and conscious limitation of production, due to the circumstance that the requisites for production belong to the few, and that these few have the right of disposing of them at their will, without caring about the interests of the community. But there is also the indirect and unconscious limitation of production -that which results from squandering the produce of human labor in luxury, instead of applying it to a further increase of production.

This last even cannot be estimated in figures, but a walk through the rich shops of any city and a glance at the manner in which money is squandered now, can give an approximate idea of this indirect limitation. When a rich man spends a thousand pounds for his stables, he squanders five to six thousand days of human labor, which might be used, under a better social organization, for supplying with comfortable homes those who are compelled to live now in dens. And when a lady spends a hundred pounds for her dress, we cannot but say that she squanders, at least, two years of human labor, which, again under a better organization, might have supplied a hundred women with decent dresses, and much more if applied to a further improvement of the instruments of production. Preachers thunder against luxury, because it is shameful to squander money for feeding and sheltering hounds and horses, when thousands live in the East End on sixpence a day, and other thousands have not even their miserable sixpence every day. But the economist sees more than that in our modern luxury when millions of days of labor are spent every year for the satisfaction of the stupid vanity of the rich, he says that so many millions of workers have been diverted from the manufacture of those useful instruments which would permit us to decuple and centuple our present production of means of subsistence and of requisites for comfort.


In short, if we take into account both the real and the potential increase of our wealth, and consider both the direct and indirect limitation of production, which are unavoidable under our present economical system, we must recognize that the supposed pressure of population on the means of subsistence" is a

mere fallacy, repeated, like many other fallacies, without even taking the trouble of submitting it to a moment's criticism. The causes of the present social disease must be sought elsewhere.

Let us take a civilized country. The forests have been cleared, the swamps drained. Thousands of roads and railways intersect it in all directions; the rivers have been rendered navigable, and the seaports are of easy access. Canals connect the seas. The rocks have been pierced by deep shafts; thousands of manufactures cover the land. Science has taught men how to use the energy of nature for the satisfaction of his needs. Cities have slowly grown in the long run of ages, and treasures of science and art are accumulated in these centres of civilization. But-who has made all these marvels?

The combined efforts of scores of generations have contributed toward the achievement of these results. The forests have been cleared centuries ago; millions of men have spent years and years of labor in draining the swamps, in tracing the roads, in building the railways. Other millions have built the cities and created the civilization we boast of. Thousands of inventors, mostly unknown, mostly dying in poverty and neglect, have elaborated the machinery in which Man admires his genius. Thousands of writers, philosophers and men of science, supported by many thousands of compositors, printers, and other laborers whose name is legion, have contributed in elaborating and spreading knowledge, in dissipating errors, in creating the atmosphere of scientific thought, without which the marvels of our century never would have been brought to life. The genius of a Mayer and a Grove, the patient work of a Joule, surely have done more for giving a new start to modern industry than all the capitalists of the world; but these men of genius themselves are, in their turn, the children of industry: thousands of engines had to transform heat into mechanical force, and mechanical force into sound, light, and electricity-and they had to do so years long, every day, under the eyes of humanity

before some of our contemporaries proclaimed the mechanical origin of heat and the correlation of physical forces,

and before we ourselves became prepared to listen to them and understand their teachings. Who knows for how many decades we should continue to be ignorant of this theory which now revolutionizes industry, were it not for the inventive powers and skill of those unknown workers who have improved the steam-engine, who brought all its parts to perfection, so as to make steam more manageable than a horse, and to render the use of the engine nearly universal? But the same is true with regard to each smallest part of our machinery. In each machine, however simple, we may read a whole history-a long history of sleepless nights, of delusions and joys, of partial inventions and partial improve ments which brought it to its present state. Nay, nearly each new machine is a synthesis, a result of thousands of partial inventions made, not only in one special department of machinery, but in all departments of the wide field of me


Our cities, connected by roads and brought into easy communication with all peopled parts of the globe, are the growth of centuries; and each house in these cities, each factory, each shop, derives its value, its very raison d'être, from the fact that it is situated on a spot of the globe where thousands or millions have gathered together. Every smallest part of the immense whole which we call the wealth of civilized nations derives its value precisely from being a part of this whole. What would be the value of an immense London shop or storehouse were it not situated precisely in London, which has become the gathering-spot for five millions of human beings? And what the value of our coal-pits, our manufactures, our shipbuilding yards, were it not for the immense traffic which goes on across the seas, for the railways which transport mountains of merchandise, for the cities which number their inhabitants by millions ? Who is, then, the individual who has the right to step forward and, laying his hands on the smallest part of this immense whole, to say, I have produced this; it belongs to me?" And how can we discriminate, in this immense interwoven whole, the part which the isolated individual may appropriate to himself with the slightest approach to

[ocr errors]

justice? Houses and streets, canals and railways, machines and works of art, all these have been created by the combined efforts of generations past and present, of men living on these islands and men living thousands of miles away.

But it has happened in the long run of ages that everything which permits men further to increase their production, or even to continue it, has been appropriated by the few. The land, which derives its value precisely from its being necessary for an ever-increasing population, belongs to the few, who may prevent the community from cultivating it. The coal-pits, which represent the labor of generations, and which also derive their value from the wants of the manufactures and railroads, from the immense trade carried on and the density of population (what is the value of coallayers in Transbaikalia ?), belong again to the few, who have even the right of stopping the extraction of coal if they choose to give another use to their capital. The lace-weaving machine, which represents, in its present state of perfection, the work of three generations of Lancashire weavers, belongs again to the few; and if the grandsons of the very same weaver who invented the first lace-weaving machine claim their rights of bringing one of these machines into motion, they will be told "Hands off! this machine does not belong to you!" The railroads, which mostly would be useless heaps of iron if Great Britain had not its present dense population, its industry, trade, and traffic, belong again to the few-to a few shareholders, who may even not know where the railway is situated which brings them a yearly income larger than that of a mediæval king; and if the children of those people who died by thousands in digging the tunnels would gather and go-a ragged and starving crowd-to ask bread


work from the shareholders, they would be met with bayonets and bullets. Who is the sophist who will dare to say that such an organization is just ? But what is unjust cannot be beneficial for mankind; and it is not. In consequence of this monstrous organization, the son of a workman, when he is able to work, finds no acre to till, no machine to set in motion, unless he agrees to sell his labor for a sum inferior to its

real value. His father and grandfather have contributed in draining the field, or erecting the factory, to the full extent of their capacities-and nobody can do more than that-but he comes into the world more destitute than a savage. If he resorts to agriculture, he will be permitted to cultivate a plot of land, but on the condition that he gives up one quarter of his crop to the landlord. If he resorts to industry, he will be permitted to work, but on the condition that out of the thirty shillings he has produced, ten shillings or more will be pocketed by the owner of the machine. We cry against the feudal baron who did not permit any one to settle on his land otherwise than on payment of one quarter of the crops to the lord of the manor; but we continue to do as they did-we extend their system. The forms have changed, but the essence has remained the same. And the workman is compelled to accept the feudal conditions which we call " free contract," because nowhere will he find better conditions. Everything has been appropriated by somebody; he must accept the bargain, or starve.

Owing to this circumstance our production takes a wrong turn. It takes no care of the needs of the community; its only aim is to increase the benefits of the capitalist. Therefore-the continuous fluctuations of industry, the crises periodically coming nearly every ten years, and throwing out of employment several hundred thousand men who are brought to complete misery, whose children grow up in the gutter, ready to become inmates of the prison and workhouse. The workmen being unable to purchase with their wages the riches they are producing, industry must search for markets elsewhere, amid the middle classes of other nations. It must find markets, in the East, in Africa, any where; it must increase, by trade, the number of its serfs in Egypt, in India, in the Congo. But everywhere it finds competitors in other nations which rapidly enter into the same line of industrial development. And wars, continuous wars, must be fought for the supremacy on the world-market- -wars for the possession of the East, wars for getting possession of the seas, wars for having the right of imposing heavy

duties on foreign merchandise. The thunder of guns never ceases in Europe; whole generations are slaughtered; and we spend in armaments the third of the revenue of our States—a revenue raised, the poor know with what difficulties.

Education is the privilege of the few. Not because we can find no teachers, not because the workman's son and daughter are less able to receive instruction, but because one can receive no reasonable instruction when at the age of fifteen he descends into the mine, or goes selling newspapers in the streets. Society becomes divided into two hostile camps; and no freedom is possible under such conditions. While the Radical asks for a further extension of liberty, the statesman answers him that a further increase of liberty would bring about an uprising of the paupers; and those political liberties which have cost so dear are replaced by coercion, by exceptional laws, by military rule.

And finally, the injustice of our repartition of wealth exercises the most deplorable effect on our morality. Our principles of morality say: "Love your neighbor as yourself;" but let a child follow this principle and take off his coat to give it to the shivering pauper, and his mother will tell him that he must never understand the moral principles in their right sense. If he lives according to them, he will go barefoot, without alleviating the misery round about him! Morality is good on the lips, not in deeds. Our preachers say, Who works, prays," and everybody endeavors to make others work for himself. They say, Never lie!" and politics is a big lie. And we accustom ourselves and our children to live under this double-faced morality, which is hypocrisy, and to conciliate our double-facedness by sophistry. Hypocrisy and sophistry become the very basis of our life. But society cannot live under such a morality. It cannot last so it must, it will, be changed.

[ocr errors]

The question is thus no more a mere question of bread. It covers the whole field of human activity. But it has at its bottom a question of social economy, and we conclude: The means of production and of satisfaction of all needs of society, having been created by the common efforts of all, must be at the

disposal of all. The private appropriation of requisites for production is neither just nor beneficial. All must be placed on the same footing as producers and consumers of wealth. That would be the only way for society to step out of the bad conditions which have been

created by centuries of wars and oppression. That would be the only guarantee for further progress in a direction of equality and freedom, which always were the real, although unspoken goal of humanity.-Nineteenth Century.



The last he ever wrote; from a rough copy found among his papers at the back of the "Song of Suli.' Copied November, 1824.-JOHN C. HOBHOUSE.

A note attached to the verses by Lord Byron states they were addressed to no one in particular, and were a mere poetical Scherzo.—J. C. H.


I WATCHED thee when the foe was at our side,

Ready to strike at him-or thee and me

Were safety hopeless-rather than divide
Aught with one loved save love and liberty.


I watched thee in the breakers, when the rock
Received our prow and all was storm and fear,
And bade thee cling to me through every shock;
This arm would be thy bark, or breast thy bier.


I watched thee when the fever glazed thine eyes,
Yielding my couch, and stretched me on the ground

When over-worn with watching, ne'er to rise

From thence if thou an early grave hadst found.


The earthquake came, and rocked the quivering wall,
And men and nature reeled as if with wine.

Whom did I seek around the tottering hall?

For thee. Whose safety first provide for? Thine.


And when convulsive throes denied my breath
The faintest utterance to my fading thought,
To thee to thee-e'en in the gasp of death
My spirit turned, oh! oftener than it ought.


Thus much and more; and yet thou lov'st me not,
And never wilt! Love dwells not in our will.

Nor can I blame thee, though it be my lot
To strongly, wrongly, vainly love thee still.


What are to me those honors or renown
Past or to come, a new-born people's cry?
Albeit for such I could despise a crown

Of aught save Laurel, or for such could die.
I am a fool of passion, and a frown

Of thine to me is as an adder's eye
To the poor bird whose pinion fluttering down
Wafts unto death the breast it bore so high;
Such is this maddening fascination grown,
So strong thy magic or so weak am I.

-Murray's Magazine.



Now the Doctor was a Southerner of the old school. Nor was he merely a North Carolinian, a Tennessean, a Kentuckian, or a Georgian-not any, thank you! No; our friend was a Virginian -a real "old-fashioned, blue-blooded, whole-souled, open-handed Virginian. And this he was by virtue of eight or nine generations of forebears who had fought, physicked, speechified, foxhunted, raised negroes and tobacco, in that immortal commonwealth. No day passed but the Doctor, in his simple fashion, unconsciously thanked God that he was a Virginian. For did not virtue, valor, honor, gallantry select the Old Dominion in the days of the Stuarts as their special depot, from whence, in modified streams, these qualities might be diffused over the less fortunate portions of the Western world? To the unsophisticated Englishman, to the ignorant Frenchman or German, an American is an American. If he is not rampantly modern, sensationally progressive, and furiously material, he is nothing at all. But the Doctor would scarcely ever speak or think of himself as an American, except in the same sense as an Englishman would call himself a European. The Doctor was every moment of the day, and every day in the year, a Virginian above everything; and as I have already said, he felt thereby that a responsibility and a glory above that of other mortals had been conferred upon him by the accident of his birth. I may add, moreover, that

he was unquestionably non-progressive, that he was decidedly not modern, while to this day he is so reactionary that the sound of a railway irritates him; and finally, that he was, and I feel sure still is, eminently picturesque.

The Doctor was about sixty-five at the time of which I write (not so very many years ago). He had never set foot outside Virginia, and never wanted to. That a country, however, or climate, or people, or scenery existed that could be mentioned in the same breath with the old Cavalier colony, never for one moment was accounted within the bounds of possibility by that good and simple soul.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

And yet, paradoxical as it may seem, the Doctor was proud of his descent from pure English stock. None of Scotch or Irish, or Scotch-Irish, for me. No, I thank you, sir." My folks,' he was fond of relating, were real English stock, who came over 'way back in early colonial days, and settled on the York River. They were kin to the nobility." Whatever may have been the accuracy of this last claim, the Doctor's patronymic in Virginian genealogy was above reproach, and would have secured him an entrée (had he owned a dress-coat, and had he felt a hankering after Eastern cities) into those small exclusive coteries in transatlantic society that still recognize birth as superior to wealth and even intellect. I should not like it to be supposed that my dear Doctor, of whom I am excessively fond,

« VorigeDoorgaan »