Imágenes de páginas

fore them unfolded a dreadful count of the matter, let me beg you scene of misery, vice, and ruin, to look around and number among brought on by means of lotte. the crowd those whom you have ries; and they strongly recommen- known, at one time or another, to ded their entire abolition.”* Such be implicated in a drawing. Then is the testimony of an author who look at the deluge of advertiseprofesses to give their true history. ments and schemes pouring in upor From the same source it appears us both at home and from abroad. that an annual revenue has been in a neighbouring state, not rederived from them of from 300,0001 markable for its size or population, to 600,0001, and at an expense there might be numbered lately to the public, in the last case, of twenty-three of these coils together. 1,200,0001. Their history shows I have cast my eye upon an artithem to be, what we might expect, cle which states, that almost every the most enormous and unprofita- county in Virginia has a petition ble of all taxes.

for its particular lottery; and in Such have been the terrors of New York, where there are draw. the system abroad, and such, soon- ings monthly, it is stated that there er or later, must the experience of are more than 160 offices. We this country be, unless prevented have lotteries for schools and for by a timely extinction of the cause. bridges, for colleges and monuThe system is every where, in its ments, lotteries for churches and effects, the same. If we have not lotteries for Bishops. Religion, suffered in proportion to our fel- which has so clean escaped from lows, it is because the intelligence the pollutions of the old world as and general prosperity of our pop- to abhor the connexion of church ulation forbids the same efficacy of and state, has found in this freer evil. If we shall not, in the end, hemisphere a new ally. In this have the same melancholy investi- connexion we may hope for the gations before our houses of assem- building up of the desolations of bly, it will be because the better wis- Zion, and, if things go on happily, dom of the people has not suffered may live to behold our waste vil. the land to be over-run.

lages with a church at one end In this view, it is certainly desi- for the support of religion, and a lot. rable, that a document may be tery office at the other for the drawn up for general inspection, to support of the minister. exhibit, if I may so term it, the A second objection to lotteries, statistics of lotteries; the princi- which ought not to be overlooked in pal objects of which should be the proposed inquiry, is found in the their annual number and amount, extravagant hopes and desires for the number of those who have de- sudden wealth which they create, rived from them their constant oc- to the check of industry and ruin of cupation, and the number and clas- morals. The evils from this source ses of those who have an interest are widely different from the for. as adventurers. This would be mer, in as much as those have reone important step towards proving spect to a man's outward circumthe magnitude of the evil, and ex- stances, while these affect his habciting public attention to search its of thinking and acting. A day for a remedy: when it was seen spent idly is lost, but how much is that the capital must be reckoned by the loss enhanced, if habits have millions, and the adventurers by been weakened which it was of hundreds of thousands. If this consequence to maintain. If truth should seem too formidable an ac- has, in any instance, been disre

garded, criminality is incurred, and * Edinburgh Encyclopedia.

of course, misery ; but the deepest aside, and never called for. It has consequence to the offender lies been shown, already, at how great here—that he has unlinked the a disadvantage the adventurer chain which bound him to integrity plays the game, even for the chance and virtue. By the same argu- of repossessing the value of his barment we ought to consider, that the gain. To estimate the chance for lottery adventurer, having lost time, a considerable prize, the disadvanlabor and money, has laid but half tage must be multiplied a hundred his account with misfortune until he to one; and yet a prize is expected. can tell how much has been wasted Each one thinks that he may be the on the score of contented expecta- favourite of fortune. Tis true he tions, and how much in the ability may; and, with the same amount of to pursue a course of uniform and probable occurrence, he may be rational effort,

made a Duke to-morrow, by the · There cannot be a maxim plain- discovery in his veins of some drop er than, that a man, in the common of British noble blood. If we had round of affairs, will regulate his not the fact before our eyes we desires by his expectations and his should not expect, that men would actions by his desires. Set before reason so delusively. But the him an object that must be gained, truth is, there is a charm in the idea and the only means of gaining it, of a great change of circumstances and he will take up his line of which shall transport a man at once march, whatever be the labours of from the necessity of laborious exthe way. The best, and indeed the ertion to sudden independence. only prosperous state of mind, for To be a poor man to-day, but tohim who wishes to rise to opulence, morrow in possession of all that heart is, not to expect great accessions can wish, is an idea too enchanting from momentary efforts, and moira- to be dispensed with. The trifling cles from human means, but to sum at which this great possible benmoderate the effect to the cause, efit is offered cannot be withheld : and measure success by the proba- even though it should be the price of bilities of experience. This prin- those loaves of bread which a sufciple kept in view, few men, proba- fering family are in want of. And bly, will find cause to blame what when the disappointment comes, they call, their fortune. Yet a sure and all the hopes have turned to principle, like this, advances to its air, it will be well if no deeper harm purpose by a laborious though pleas- than present unhappiness be the ant progress. Could a short cut be consequence. The danger is, that found to the end, a highway less be- discontent will seize upon the facul. set with toil, it would be too invi- ties, and urge them either to repair ting to be left untried. This, pre- the loss by a repetition of the hazcisely, a lottery offers; and the ard, or to gain what fortune would adventurer rushes into it with the not give, by arts which virtue cancagerness of unsatisfied enterprise. not approve. But the trouble is, he has been di. I can show a man who was once rected wrong. It does not lead induced to try in his own mind the him to the objects of desire, and it power of that charm; and to learn is a heavy task to retrace his steps, whether it could be dissolved by a and find that the flowery road has complete knowledge of the folly lured away all relish for the thorny. which hangs its hopes upon a tick

On most other subjects men will et. The experiment, you will say, bound their expectations, in some could have but one result; it was sort or shape, by reason. But, on impossible for any special phenomthis, all prudential rules are laid cna to be brought out by so slight a cause.' No such thing. The of economy both of time and propwheel of fortune is not more giddy erty, which is satisfied with saving than the head of an adventurer. It what it can, and bearing what little was impossible to exclude, and it inconveniences it must. Contentwould be impossible to relate, the ment is itself so much a virtue, and projects which clustered around so allied to other virtues, that where the splendid perhaps that was then it dwells it preserves the morals in agitation. Long pondered plans pure, and even elevates the mind seemed just in execution, and above temporal reverses. It is a spread out before the mind's eye temper opposite to this-a desire with wonderful distinctness. A to rove in search of something bet. possibility was long kept in sight ter than the situation will admit, till it retained but in part its shad- that leads to misery in many forms. owy nature. And the fabric which It is this too often which withdraws rose by such a process it was proved, attention from that which can be in this case at least, that philosophy done to that which cannot; till could not tear down; till sober the wreck of character and forfact by a touch dispelled it. It tunes is the consequence. It is might be compared to those con- likely that this man, if he had fixed ceptions in the dark, that Stewart his eyes long enough upon the dazspeaks of, which a man cannot scare zling project to have staked a sinoff until he has come up to the ob- gle hazard in the wheel, found a ject that gave the illusion.

diminished attraction in the everyIt is upon the poorer classes of day concerns of business. As the society that the effect of these vis- game went on, there was less and ionary projects is most severely less time to be devoted to them. felt; because they are least in- The bad luck of one hazard must be formed of the slender chances of replaced by another and another, succeeding, and because success till the pressure of necessity opened has to them its greatest relative his eyes to the solid good which he importance. To a fortune already had bartered for a dream. He is ample the addition of a few thou- now well prepared for the temptasands is no specially overwhelming tions of vice. The road of contenevent; but to a man whose means ted mediocrity lies too far from his are bouuded by the limit of a few direction, and whatever present paternal acres, or whose treasures means may offer to retrieve his lie in hardy sinews and a daily vo- fortunes, or drown his cares, that, cation, it seems like a state of su- most likely, he will seize upon. perior being. The fallacies of ex- It is true that this full accomplishpectation are therefore so much ment of ruin is not often witnessed the broader, and the iniseries of ill at home; we must take the bursuccess the deeper. Besides, the den of the history from those lands loss, in his case, brings with it ac- where a dense crowd of suffering tual suffering. To the rich it may population stands ready to grasp at be nothing to have sunk a trifle; every hope which promises relief.* but to him that trifle was the means But the tendency, in all lands, is of comfort. Now, to consider one ; this truth a straggling case closely what effects may follow, among ourselves now and then an. there is one principle of action only nounces. The compassion of readby which the happiness and respeetability of our less opulent

* In one of the late investigations beclasses can be secured. That fore the nation of Great Britain, it was

stated, that the Lottery and gambling principle is a sober and contented

adventures of one individual produced disposition to labour. A principle SIXTEEN SUICIDES annually.

ers was but lately very strongly ap- few are the men who are able, even pealed to, by the account of an with that knowledge of their real individual at the bar of the police powers of conferring happiness in New-York who had spent in which a slow accumulation brings, lotteries a handsome fortune and to derive from their possession any never gained a prize worth naming. solid benefit. And if, in the hands For what cause he stood there I of these men, their influence is do not know; but the painful known to be uncertain, what shall thought could not but arise, that be thought of his situation who he had passed through an admira- plunges into the midst of their ble training for suicide, or for rob- temptations and responsibility withbery.

out a thought of precaution. It For so much virtue lost and mis- may be generally foreseen, that, in ery won it would be natural to ex- the same manner as a servant lifted pect some recompence, in those to the throne is almost of course a sew cases in which fortune meets tyrant, so he will be a prodigal or her votary with smiles instead of a miser. frowns. If the dangers of adven- The system therefore, on the ture are so entirely to be depreca- one side or the other, has no happy ted, on the ground of disappoint- tendencies to boast. Mischief lies ment, there ought to be some great to the right hand and to the left, balancing benefit in the event of and surrounds it with an atmossuccess. We will, then, turn the phere of evil into which no one subject to this light. The luckless may venture on the strength either individual whom we once traced to of success or failure. It is willing. the confines of wretchedness may ly admitted that there are solitary now be looked at, holding his course cases in which an accidental bene. under a more favourable gale, and fit has been derived. It will not be crowned with the attainment of his denied that, at this time, or that, a desires. We wish him happiness; prize has come so opportunely as but we follow him with solicitude. to have restored to independence, We hope, at least, that he will take families which misfortune had sudin prudence for a pilot when the denly depressed. But I would no tide shall run too strong.

more count a fact of this descripIt must be seen that this is a change tion, among a multitude of the confrom which society has no benefits trary, worthy to change a general to gain. To them wealth only principle of conduct, than a mariner brings advantage in the hands of a would mark a channel lined with wise and generous possessor. But reefs as safe, because through that of the proper use of wealth this man one vessel had escaped in a storm. knows nothing. It is probable that There is an additional influence he will either hoard it with a narrow of the lottery system which de. fondness, or distribute it with prod- serves attention. It respects the igality. In either event, it had as operation of a lottery considered as well been hidden in the ocean. As a transaction which has effect upon to the individual, whatever he may the distribution of property among think of it, he is dangerously beset. the members of society ; a subject For the temptations which abun- which lies at the foundation of madance brings he is wholly unpre- ny private duties, as well as public pared. He has in fact, been tak- operations of benevolence. In this en from a station to which his ex- respect I lay it down, that lotteries perience and capacity were suited, are the reverse of all our salutary to one for which they are not. Rich- institutions. es are not, of course, a benefit. How The distinction of society into classes, arising from the different there is an agreement in this, that the distribution of wealth, might justly action proceeds, throughout, in the be considered an appointment of same direction, namely, from the divine Providence, for the good of more powerful to the weaker, from the world. The orders of richer the abundant to the needy. A lot. and less opulent, more powerful tery acts directly the other way. It and more dependent, are indispen- is an invention to collect from small sable to the existence of those re. sources wealth which it throws, in lations which unite men in the a large mass, into the hands of a bonds of mutual advantage. In a few. Its action is from the weak perfectly equal condition of the to the strong. No matter if the world, perhaps men would give poo: gain their proportion of the praise to the inventor of a system prizes. The proportion which which should break up the common comes back they have always more stock into individual possessions of than paid for ; and it comes preciseless or greater magnitude. But, in ly in the form in which they do not the actual state of things, the thing want it, a form of accumulations, to be desired lies on the other side. and not of diffusion. Just as if the The lines of demarkation are al. dews of night were collected to a ready too distinct; the higher class torrent wbich should drown the es elevated to an opulence which valley, but leave the plains all stegives the power to oppress; the rile. lower reduced to a dependence This argument will have its which creates misery. And a con- weight with all who feel themselves tinuance of the same relative con attached to the free institutions of dition is insured by the very circum- this country. Our own people we stances of our race. Misfortune are apt to regard as the happiest and ignorance will keep down mul on the globe. If they are so, it is, titudes, and foresight, or a happy in part, to be attributed to those combination of events, will centre principles of equality which have wealth in others. The policy of a descended to us from our fathers; benevolent and wise man will, to our entirely equal privileges, and therefore, lead him to equalize, our tolerably equal state of society. and not to break up. In accord. Here blessings, free as the air we ance with this view, no sight is breathe, circulate around our re. more admirable than a man of gions. Here, property has gained wealth diffusing his abundance something which approaches to its among his fellow-beings ; a man most happy distribution. Few can who, by wisdom and economy, gath- possess an overgrown estate, and ers power, and then like the sun, few are compelled to live in want. throws it all around him. To the Lotteries, if we will permit them, same end tends charity, which takes will help us change these circumof the treasures of the rich and stances of our people. They can gives to the poor. The same pur- furnish the allurements that will aid pose is extended into the business us, if we wish, to draw away the of the mercantile world, where by substance of our lower classes, and the intervention of insurance, the transfer it to the pockets of the equalizing principle is made to dis- rich ; in short, to subvert one among tribute the losses of an individual the happiest influences of those free among large bodies, on which its principles which are the boast of pressure is not felt. By all these our republic. Let, then, our reoperations, the inequalities among public look with suspicion on those men are not abolished, but they be- arts and systems which degrade the come less wide ; and, at least, spirit of her people ; destroy the

« AnteriorContinuar »