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too little of his duties. But it is the excellent author of the • Christian Life' who says, that the great design of our society being to help and assist one another, every man has a right to be aided and assisted by every one with whom he hath any dealing or intercourse; to have some share of the benefit of all the exchange, traffic, and commerce, that passes between him and others; and, therefore, for any man, in his dealings with others, to take advantage, from their necessity or ignorance, to oppress or overreach them, or to deal so hardly by them as either not to allow them any share of the profit which accrues from their dealings, or not a sufficient share for them to subsist or live by, is an injurious invasion of that natural right which the very end and design of society gives them.' It is to our manufacturers we must now look, if we would see in its full effect
• The monstrous faith of many made for one!' • The question of machinery,' says one of the pamphlets before us, has but to be stated for it to be admitted at once as an auxiliary to aid man, not to injure him, though, like poor-rates or any similar agent, it is capable of being perverted. The very propounding of the question must suggest that one of two things ought to have resulted from its use—that men should have laboured less, or that they should have had more comforts. Unfortunately neither of those things has happened. Men's comforts have been lessened since the introduction of machinery; they have had to work double time, and the labour of children has been called in to aid them, and even to work for their own daily bread. Without strength to endure such disproportionate toil—without instruction to guide their future lifethey have been thrown into a situation morally and physically polluted. The Jewish historian has remarked upon the overthrow of Jerusalem by Titus, that it was no wonder it should have been destroyed with such a signal destruction, when one mother sacrificed her offspring to satisfy the cravings of absolute hunger; and may not we fear the retributive arm of an avenging Providence !'*—Public Economy Concentrated, p. 66.
* The author of The Judgment of the Flood,' in the eleventh book of that poem, has these lines:
Meanwhile the child was tasked from earliest morn
From the oppressor in the house of hope.' We have received this performance too late to allow of our noticing it at length in the present Number of this Journal. The author, with many prodigious defects, possesses, obviously, talents and learning, which entitle his elaborate work to our deliberate examination,
Let not the great manufacturers, our millionaires and machine. kings, deceive themselves! The system upon which their prosperity is erected cannot stand ; nor will it require forty years of such exertions as were used against colonial slavery to overthrow it. The energy of another Clarkson, and the eloquence of another Wilberforce, (if another age should produce two such men!) are not necessary here. Of this they may be assured, that the spirit of reform will at last, and that at no distant day, take its proper direction, and act with full force upon the real evils of society.
The observant author of the Carlisle pamphlet, in which questions of political economy are regarded, as they always ought to be, in their moral bearings, says, that to his certain knowledge most common fabrics of cotton manufacture have fallen fully one half in value since the peace ; and, as this reduced value has principally been effected by subtracting wages, of one kind or other, the consequence has been that the labourers employed on those fabrics, and the lower orders generally, have ceased to be consumers of the article altogether, although their increased necessities have compelled them to produce double the quantity. This writer inquires into the tendency of the present system to concentrate wealth in a few hands, more fearlessly than the witness before the Committee, who contented himself with saying it was in the course of Nature !'
• While manufactures were a profitable concern to the generality of persons engaged therein, it need not be observed, there was room for every one. From various causes which have been treated of, the pursuit became either unprofitable altogether, or partially so. Perpetually recurring reductions of wages and increased quantities very soon brought matters to a crisis, and numbers, at a very early period of this foolish system, were ruined. . Such as withstood the shock, or rather the succession of shocks, increased their establishments by employing those workmen who had recently been sent adrift-a measure the more necessary, owing to the reduced and precarious profits now accustomed to be received. In fact, the doctrine already began to be trumpeted forth—and certainly a more absurd one never was proclaimed—that, owing to the extreme lowness of profits, it was necessary the quantity should be increased! The consequence of all which philosophical proceedings, as might be expected from so auspicious a beginning, was, that, eventually, the whole race of monied manufacturers were driven, from sheer necessity, to start upon the principle of private monopolies !
Nothing whatever can prop up prices, not even an increase of the currency,
if the demand for those manufactures is not sustained ; nothing can depress them, if that powerful agent be in a state of activity. This, I believe, may be set down as an undisputed axiom.
Now, Now, what was it which brought our manufactures to that point which rendered them unprofitable? The answer has been given already-it was the circumstance of the demand not being equal to the supply. To improve the matter, wages were pulled down, (what a logical resolve!) the quantity was necessarily increased, and, of course, the evil which required correcting was thence rendered infinitely greater. It is true, the more business an individual can safely do, the more his profits are multiplied; but how can a whole nation pursue this system ? And yet this is precisely what has been attempted by our manufacturers. In fact, they will tell you, one and all, that profits being next to nothing, more goods must be made. If these increased quantities of goods are to be given away, or lent by our capitalists abroad, we may understand the measure; but if they are to be sold at home, and the makers reimbursed, the thing is utterly impossible, i. e., looking at the subject as we have done all along, in a national point of view.'
This vigorous writer adds
• In the good old times, when “ live and let live” was the general motto, every man was contented with one avocation. In the cotton trade there were weavers, cotton-spinners, bleachers, dyers, and several other independent branches, all living upon the profits of their respective trades, and all, as might be expected, contented and happy. By-and-by, however, when the downward course of trade had proceeded to some extent, first one branch was adopted by the capitalist, and then another, till, in time, the whole of these people were ousted and thrown upon the market of labour, to find out a livelihood in the best manner they could! Thus, although no charter secures to these men the right to be cotton-spinners, manufacturers, printers, finishers, &c., yet the course of events has invested them with a monopoly of all, and as many more branches may be added as their cupidity or their love of power may lead them to undertake. They have become jacks-of-all-trades, and, as far as the country is concerned in the business, it is to be feared, they are masters of none, from their having acted upon wrong principles--principles that will be found inoperative, as regards their own eventual welfare, however they may seem for a while to forward the views of the capitalist, or of the reputed capitalist.'-Public Economy Concentrated, pp. 54-6.
Wide as the subject is to which these considerations would lead us, we must draw to a conclusion. We have shown that foreigners could not supply that deficiency of food which a free trade in corn must inevitably cause, and that they would not purchase from us an increased quantity of those manufactured goods, which are already produced in such excess as to be exported to them at a loss. And yet government is called upon to speed the spinning jenny instead of the plough! It is called upon for a measure which would throw out of cultivation a great proportion of our fields, and a greater proportion of our peasantry out of
employ!. This for the sake of multiplying those factories, the system of which, when brought to light by the Report of the House of Commons, and of its Commissioners, thrilled all readers with astonishment and horror!-those factories, compared to which the sugar plantation was as the Garden of Eden!
A correspondent of the Times newspaper, who inveighs against • the nefarious combination entered into by the landed interest for raising the price of the poor man's loaf,' calls the corn-law's • an enormous tax, horrible from its positive inhumanity, and offensive from its iniquitous partiality.;' and asks, 'why, in God's name, is the whole country not up? Heaven knows we need no additional excitements in these days to sturdy petitioners, tumults, arson, insurrection, and a servile war! Have those persons who raise or join in this groundless accusation against the landowners, the gentry, and the yeomanry of England-have they asked themselves whether there is no positive inhumanity in the child-working system ?--whether the human part of the machinery in our manufactories, be it man, woman, or child, is always so well remunerated for its time and toil, that there is no appearance of iniquity there,—no semblance of injustice,-nothing offensive to the instinctive sense of right and wrong?
Mr. Cobbett spoke wisely when he cautioned parliament against inferring that the state of trade was flourishing because a few knots of persons throughout the country were accumulating great capital ; he warned it against taking their prosperity for a proof of the general weal. The manufacturing system has indeed raised up an aristocracy of trade, more wealthy, and now more powerful, than the old nobility of the realm; but it has raised up, at the same time, its legions, who are embodied in open and in secret confederacies, some really as well as ostensibly for objects that are both lawful and just,-others for the most iniquitous, the most desperate, and the most dangerous designs. These men know, feelingly, that their condition is worse than it ought to be, worse than it need be ;-they are miserably mistaken in all their views for bettering it; and they do not ask themselves how greatly its evils are aggravated by their own imprudence and their own vices. But if the progress of good feelings and sane opinions,--if the religious principles of the British people (for, notwithstanding the unchecked efforts which are continually made by the propagandists of anarchy and atheism, we are still a religious people)-if policy, humanity, piety, the sense of duty towards God and man, should be found
* The same cry is the uniform burden of innumerable articles on this subject in the · Morning Chronicle. Its active correspondent ‘H. B.T.' has just published his letters in a separate form, and he is known to be a gentleman holding an important office under government-viz. Mr. Hume of the Board of Trade !
too feeble for effecting such a reform in the manufacturing system as that it can be carried on consistently with the well-being of the persons employed in it,—with health and good morals, --with wholesome intervals for rest and recreation, as well as for schooling, with the rights of human nature, the most indubitable and sacred of all rights ;-if such a reform be not effected in the manufacturing system, the system itself will be destroyed by its own inbred evils. It carries in itself the sure cause of its own terrible destruction. That physical force which it has brought together as an instrument of lucration—a part of its machinery-will one day explode under high pressure; and the words of the poet will then have a new and appalling interpretation
• Labor omnia vincit Improbus, et duris urgens in rebus egestas.' It is only by bettering the condition of the labouring classes, physically and morally, that such a catastrophe can be averted. But as regards agriculture at this time, to abstain from doing evil will be doing good; and this we may hope for, even from this ministry.
Since the foregoing observations were drawn up, the question of the corn-laws has been brought distinctly before the House of Commons, on the 6th of March, by a motion of Mr. Joseph Hume. On the morning of that day, the public mind was very inuch' excited by a declaration of ministers, that it was to be considered as an open question—that is, one on which his Majesty's government, as such, took no part, but left the several members of the administration to follow their own individual opinions. Such a declaration produced great surprise and considerable alarm—surprise that a government professing the principles on which the present ministry is founded, should venture to call any question an open or a close one—alarm that this momentous topic should have been selected for so unconstitutional an experiment. In defence of the ministers, on the first point, we were reminded that a • Tory cabinet had consented to leave catholic emancipation an open question—why not, then, the corn-laws ?' But the cases are by no means parallel. The distinctions and differences are numerous and essential. We shall, however, notice only two-but two which are quite as powerful as two thousand. First, the (so-called) Tory cabinet,' was formed on that avowed principle. We doubted then, and we now more than doubt, whether such an arrangement was constitutional in principle, or safe in practice; but it was done openly and avowedly, before any man had accepted