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pleasures require; so that it is very natural, that if his expences increase, his income should increase. Now, if this is right and just in royal families, which I think no one will attempt to deny; why should not the same principle be acted upon towards private families, and a provision made by the state for every child? Why should not every child that is born in the country be entitled, at its birth, to a revenue from the state 8, from the common farm, from the productions of the earth, as well as the child of a king? Nature owns the peasanto, and proclaims the assistance she receives at his hands; but kings she acknowledges not; they are the violators of her brightest laws, and the destroyers of ber noblest walks--they are the foes of man 10.
The equality, of which I am the humble advocate, is so just, so reasonable, and so irrefutable that most of those who attempt to oppose it, first exaggerate the original proposition, and then endeavour to strangle the real question by a refutation of their own exaggerations; knowing, as every one must, that the properties of nature must change before this plain and simple, though effectual system can be overturned. Major Cartwright, in his fifth letter to Lord John Russell, in the Black Dwarf, makes use of this ruse; speaking on the
8 What revenue? The tax must be imposed before it can be obtained: and what is this but an equality of all sorts of property. Thomas Preston can say no more. Pounds, shillings, and pence, Friend Davenport, do not grow out of the land: though the metals that make them miay. It is quite clear, that you want a nation of Royal Families; and I think one too great a burthen. The natural productions of the earth are weeds and briars, and a beautiful confusion of things almost useless to man in his social state. Its improved condition, by social inan, is the result of his individual, labour, and the application to it of that manure and seed, and those tools and purchased labour, which strictly and justly speaking, are his private property. Our political economists say, that there is no actual rent to be obtained from the land, but in the difference of value between ille best and worst lands, and the intermediate degrees of quality.
R. C. 9 Who or what is this Dame Nature that owns the peasant? Is she also an almighty designing power? If so, she sadly neglects the peasants of the present day. If figures be tolerated, they must have some relation to truth. Though I have long and often used this word nature, I begin to see it to be one of those words which ignorance fashions to cover its nakedness. The peasant has no protector, nor protectress, but in the strength of his knowledge, and in the right use of his brawny limbs. As he goes on to improve his knowlerige, he will rescue himself from servitude to the tyrannical customs of his fellow man.
R. C. 10. Who makes them so ? They have not the individual physical strength of a peasant. The fault then, is not in the individuals as Kings : but in those who suffer such an institution as a kingly office,
subject of equality of property, he says, “any thing even bordering on an absolute equality of possessions, is the vision of insanity.” Here, of course, the Major carries his point; for as nobody ever started the question of an absolute equality of possessions, of course there was nobody to refute. The Major knows well enough that the “Spencean System is no vision of insanity. The Major pext quotes Harrington on the subject, and says, that Harrington who twisted and turned society into every shape and form, says, “ that levelling is not natural to men in a free state: a free people are therefore no levellers.” True; but wbere, on the face of the whole globe, shall we find a free state, and a free people ? If we look at Spain and Italy, what do we see, but the people of each country groaning under the double scourge of a despotic king and a foreign army? If we look at France, do we not see the people beld in the most abject bondage, aud compelled to crouch beneath the rod of the very tyrants wbo, before the union of the holy alliance, were twice expelled from their throne and country? If we look at home what a picture is presented to our eyes? Here we see one portion of the people wallowing in luxuries of every description, with full liberty to oppress and plunder the public, whilst another portion of the people are so poor, by no misconduct of their own, as not to be able to procure more than half a sufficiency of the common necessaries of life: yet, if they dare to relate their tales of woe, and beg for a slice of bread to appease the tortures of hunger, they are seized in the most violent manner, and wbether men women or children, linked to a chain and dragged through the streets, rank and file, to prison, and put to the tread mill to expiate their crime of being poor! Do we not see that the eighth part of the British population are dependent on parochial aid, and public charities for their support? If we look at America, whose government is the freest in the world, do we not see a growing aristocracy, though not titled, and a rapid increase of paupers and beggars, which do and always will multiply in proportion as the land holders decrease in number?" As estates become little kingdoms, the working people of every country become beggars and slaves! Harrington is perfectly correct, when he says, that a free, people are no levellers; for all the levelling business must be done before a people can become free. That this was Harrington's real meaning, tbere can be no doubt; but the idea of a whole nation holding its land in joint stock, never struck his inge-, pious mind, or it would, I am convinced from what I have
read of his works, have made a conspicuous figure in his 6 Oceana."
Your principal objections, Sir, when I wrote to you on this subject were, that an equality of property
y even in land was impracticable; and if it could be put into practice, it would ruin all sorts of commerce; but what you have said in No. 18, of Vol. VIII., of the 'Republican, gives me great hope that time and reflection bave removed those objections. You there say, that you desire an equalization of knowledge and equal happiness, and then you think, that something like an equality of property will be the result
This gives me the more pleasure, because, the words which I have marked for italics, are the very same words which I made use of in my first note on equality of property in No. 17, Vol. VI., of the Republican, and which formed the text of your reply to the same note. And believe me, Sir, it gives me the greatest satisfaction to know that you do think, and wish, shall I add ? that something like an equality of property will be the result of an universal knowledge of human policy. Others object to this plan, and say, that if such a plan was to be acted upon, many of the working people, knowing that they would bave something whether they were industrious or idle, would cease to labour, and the consequence would be, that the land would run to waste, and not produce enough of the necessaries of life for the general support of the population ; which would produce discontent, anarchy, aud every species of petty warfare, so that the result would be a general cry for the restoration of that goverpment, wbich the people previous to this wonderful revolution thought so grievous, so unjust, and so tyrannical. Such objections as those would never be made by any reflecting man. It is the want of reflection, and entertaining tbat readiness of doubt of every thing that does not spring from our own brain, that keeps us continually in the dark, and makes us cherish the very system that destoys us. Mr. Owen rejected this system with disdain; but very readily adopted ove of his own invention, though it is well known, that his plan, besides being absurd, tends to dependence and slavery; wbilst the system I advocate is calculated to produce liberty, independence, and the most perfect happiness 11. Those who are afraid that the people would become
11 Systems are all very pretty things upon paper, or in the head; but
question is, how will they fit the dispositions, the aggregate disposition of the people for whom are intended, or to whom they are recommended? You must either make your system to fit that disposition, or
idle, the land cease to be cultivated, and every thing thrown into confusion, have only to look around them; let them look at the East India Company, the Banking Company, or any other Joint Stock Company, and see if they can discover any idlepes, any inactivity, or any confusion among them; or whether they are not the most prosperous, the most wealthy, and the most powerful people, according tò their number, of any people on the earth. But it may be said, that the persons who compose those companies are gentlemen, men of education and abilities, and therefore know how to conduct themselves, and how to manage the affairs of their firm, in a superior manner to what the working classes could if they were ever so desirous. This too is all prejudice and error; the working people, particularly the mechanics, seem to me, by what I have observed of them, to be competent, with a very little initiation, not only to manage any company, or corporation business, but to exercise all the functions of the government of the state. Their genius and abilities may be clearly perceived in all their little institutions. Their benefit societies, their trade meetings, their money clubs, &c. They act like so many little commonwealths. Men, women, and children, are concerned and interested in their governmental administrations. They draw up rules and regulations, by which they govern themselves; they elect their servants by a general vote, and place the greatest confidence in them, so long as they continue bonest, and attentive to their respective duties; but no sooner does their conduct become impeachable, than they that disposition to fit you system. Without this, all is speculation, vapour, for the time being: though I would not discourage a jarring of systems upon paper. There is a right time for all things, and degrees of quality in time, as relating to the advocacy of systems; but, in my judgment, the
best of all political systems that can be agitated at this moment is, to 2 overthrow the priesthood, by shewing their bad foundation. To introduce a new systems of politics into society, it is absolutely necessary to begin with
a removal of existing evils. I take the existence of a priesthood to be the greastest political evil in a state, and one the removal of which, will make the removal of every other one a comparatively easy task. Remove those evils, those opposing powers, and you will find society free to make any and every experiment for the best;" but unless you remove those powerful evils; you may talk about systems of reform to your last day without producing the least effect. I am quite sure, that, if all those men and women, who do now, or, who, of late, did, call themselves Reformers, did see the
means of Reform in its proper light, I should have their most strenuous 1. support. I left their track to accomplish something I saw to be more use
ful, and many of them were erroneously angry with me for so doing. They - may now, or will soon, see, that I was and am in the right course, and they in the wrong.
are expelled from office, and sentenced to such other punishments as the whole society can or think proper to inflict. Any member of those societies can propose a new law, or an amendment to an old one. Their propositions are simple, generally unanimously carried, and seldom need to be repealed. What a contrast to the British Parliament, which passes a law one session, and the very bext amends it, or repeals it altogether. Witness the new marriage act, the new vagrant act, and an hundred other stupid and ridiculous acts, all of which would disgrace a parliament of plough- ; boys. It appears, as if the British House of Commons bad reached the ne plus ultra of legislation, and that all the laws they now enact, are meant for experiment; otherwise, they have taken the hint from the late Castlereagb, and, instead of digging boles one day and filling them up the next, , they make laws one session, for no other purpose than to rea? peal the next, in order to keep themselves in employ: ment.
One of the greatest beauties of this equality system would be, that such a commonwealth could never be invaded with any chance of success, by a foreign army. The wbole po- ? pulation of the country being freeholders, or having part and parcel in the land, men, women, and children, at the first alarm, would fly to arms, and present such impenetrable phalanxes to the invader, that bis defeat and ultimate destruction would be inevitable. Every house would be for: il tified, every street, lane, and public road would be intersected; trees would be felled, trenches would be sunk, and every thing which ingenuity could invent, and bravery
acbiere, would be opposed to the enemy. Such a people would ; rush on to certain destruction, and prefer one common grave beneath the ruins of their country, rather than submit to the interference and dictation of either foreign or native tyrants. If the bare proclaiming of liberty and equality in France, could arouse such a spirit in the French people, as to enable them to dethrone and destroy their royal tyrants, expell an arrogant and overbearing aristocracy, and successfully defend themselves for twenty years against the repeated combinations of all the powers of Europe, to fall at last only because they deviated from the principles they first proclaimed! What energy, what courage, what determination would not be found in a people, who had the sense to discover, the boldness to proclaim, and the resolution to possess themselves of their rights and liberties by planting the