« AnteriorContinuar »
The following remarks on universal Science are applicable to the method of study, and accord with the process of nature; the child opens its eyes upon all within its horizon, is first interested in individual objects, but fatigued with close attention to details, until peculiar branches of science, for which it has most aptitude, excite a more earnest curiosity, and then analytical investigation is prosecuted with delight:
“But as the divisions of the sciences are not like different lines that meet in one angle, but rather like the branches of trees that join in one trunk, it is first necessary that we institute a universal science as a parent to the rest, and making a part of the common road to the sciences before the ways separate. And this knowledge we call philosophia prima, it has no other for its opposite, and differs from other sciences rather in the limits whereby it is confined than in the subject, as treating only the summits of things.”—Lord Bacon.
The dullest or most noxious, should exist
Those engaged in sedentary employments would not be less skilful in their respective avocations by being daily employed a few hours in the open air in agriculture or any other active pursuit. Nor would the mind of the student be less acute and penetrating in his favourite or professional subject, by that occasional attention to other branches of science, which would enable him to perceive their mutual relations and dependencies, and the light they shed upon each other.
To those isolated and exclusive views may in some measure be attributed the separation of reformers into three parties—the spiritual, intellectual, and physical ; for when not only manual but mental employment has been reduced to those minute sub-divisions, each is studying a small part, to him the all-important, in the complicated structure of society; unmindful of other parts equally essential to perfect organization, and minds, originally the most powerful, become incapacitated for general views, or for a wider range of thought. While plans of reform, by means of churches and schools, have been carried into effect by the respective advocates of religious knowledge and secular instruction, both parties have been too regardless of the physical condition of the people; this has been left to the tender mercies of political economy, and accordingly, along with the most extraordinary efforts to extend religious and general knowledge for the last twenty years, there has been a moral deterioration and a great increase of crime.
When man shall be recognised as a compound being, consisting of body as well as soul-when the old maxim of “mens sana in corpore sano” is fully acted upon,—the necessity of a due considertion of all that is essential to religious culture and training, will be better understood. We cannot serve God, in discharging our duties to others, in any other way than by preparing the soil for the seed of his Word: this the Saviour, who could do more, never neglected; while we, who can scarcely do anything besides, hold it in light estimation. When Providence has rewarded scientific researches by the discovery of means to mitigate the severity, and abridge the hours, of human toil, not only is the labour of the artisan, when employment is to be obtained, more unremitting and worse requited, but children of a tender age must be incarcerated from morning to night, to the great injury of their health and morals : and, as if this outrage of nature in the dawn of existence, when the fields should invite them to joyous and beneficial exercise, were not sufficient, it has become necessary that the arm of the law should be outstretched, to rescue the innocent victims from still greater rapacity, and the grinding tyranny of competition.*
Mr. Travis Twiss, the present professor of political economy at Oxford, appears to move in the same circle as his predecessors,—the two lectures on machinery, delivered during the Lent term, 1844, and since published, so far from suggesting a more humane and enlightened direction of scientific power, are devoted to the controversial question of its comparative advantages and disadvantages under the present system of competition. Now the very fact of the value of this power being questionable at all, is a sufficient proof of its misdirection.—Mr. Twiss observes :
“It cannot be doubted, from the various facts which the Factory Commission and other Parliamentary
Nothing can be more unjust than the practice of party writers, in charging upon the manufacturers themselves the evils inherent in the present mode by which the wants of society are supplied. While competition is the principle adopted, the manufacturer is compelled to employ the cheapest labour; for if he attempted to pay more than others he would be undersold, and must then either suspend his works or be ruined : besides, among the manufacturers are to be found some of the most enlightened and generous friends of the working classes, anxiously promoting their comforts and the education of their children. This condemnation of individuals is as inconsistent as it would be to visit upon military commanders the miseries inflicted by war; to accuse them of inhumanity, because, in the honourable discharge of their duties, they lead on men to battle.
Reports have made generally accessible, that the tendency of the employment of machinery is not to diminish wages, but on the contrary to augment them, by enabling the operative to produce a greater quantity of work in the same time, and by reducing the cost of the commodities which he himself consumes.”
If the inquiry of the Factory Commission was confined to the rate of wages in the factories, their conclusions have no reference to the effect produced by machinery on the general value of labour in the market. A patentee, and those whom he employs, may be benefited by a monopoly which throws thousands out of employment, and the large capitalist, with improved machinery, is enabled to give good wages, notwithstanding he sells his commodity at a rate so low as to destroy the smaller manufacturer, and deprive immense numbers of their usual occupation ; hence, those only can benefit by a reduction in price who have regular employment.
It has been estimated that the additional use of machinery within the last fifty years has been equal to an augmentation in the labour market of several hundred millions of men. Every reduction in the price of a commodity is preceded by a reduction in the aggregate value of labour, or in the cost of production, which is so much loss to the working men in general, who