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should extend to less than twelve hours in the day, the greatness and the glory of the country must depart.*
From such a decision the common sense of mankind revolts, and it is time that the pretensions of a system, for which its authors and expounders claim the dignity of science, should be brought to the test of a stricter scrutiny. Notwithstanding it ranks among its supporters distinguished living authorities, names for their refutation if truth needed extraneous aid—could be referred to, among the illustrious dead, of those who have contended for higher principles, whose character for erudition and genius have passed the ordeal of ages, and for whom, probably, . neither among the ancients nor the moderns, could any compeers be found.
Adam Smith is the acknowledged founder of
* “ My noble friend's proposition would be ruinous to the interests of the working classes, and fatal to our commercial prosperity.” “The ruin of the country may be the speedy result of a wrong decision."-Sir James Graham, March 15 and 18, 1844, on Lord Ashley's motion for limiting the hours of working in manufactories to ten hours for children.
Lord Brougham, in his speech on the same question, March 25, 1844, remarked : “He could now clearly state, and predict to their lordships what the question in future would be, namely, whether ten hours' work was to be paid for by twelve hours' wages ? If such a principle were adopted, away at once would go the profits of the manufacturers."
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the modern school, and the following eulogium is pronounced by the most voluminous and able, as well as the most eloquent writer on political economy of the present day, and one whose authority on the subject is more frequently quoted than that of any other author :
“At length, in 1776, our illustrious countryman, Adam Smith, published the Wealth of Nations, a work which has done for political economy what the Essay of Locke did for the philosophy of the mind. In this work the science was, for the first time, treated in its fullest extent; and the fundamental principles, on which the production of wealth depend, placed beyond the reach of cavil and dispute. In opposition to the French economists, Dr. Smith has shown that labour is the only source of wealth, and that the wish to augment our fortune, and to rise in the world—a wish that comes to us from the womb, and never leaves us till we go into the grave—is the cause of wealth being saved and accumulated. He has shown that labour is productive of wealth when employed in manufactures and commerce, as well as when it is employed in the cultivation of the land. He has traced the various means by which labour may be rendered most effective; and has given a most admirable analysis and exposition of the prodigious addition made to its power by its division among different individuals, and by the employment of accumulated wealth or capital in industrious undertakings. He has shown that wealth does not consist in the abundance of gold and silver, but in the abundance of the various necessaries, conveniences, and enjoyments of human life. He has shown that it
is in every case sound policy to leave individuals to pursue their own interests in their own way; that, in prosecuting branches of industry advantageous to them selves, necessarily they prosecute such as are, at the same time, advantageous to the public.”—McCulloch's Principles of Political Economy, p. 52.
The truths enunciated in the foregoing passage were familiarly known to reflecting men long before the days of Adam Smith; the errors may be obviously traced to that confined view of human nature, excluding its susceptibility of great improvement from early and consistent training : even without that superior training which could now be adopted, there are not wanting numerous instances of tribes and nations diligent in their pursuits, where the desire of accumulation or of individual distinction was unknown.
That labour was the source of wealth, as well when applied to manufactures as to land, and that division of labour facilitated and increased production, were surely no new discoveries. By divorcing political economy from higher objects, an undue and exclusive importance has been given to the principle of the division of labour, virtually sanctioning its unrelenting application to the creation of wealth, regardless of the sufferings of the producers, and actually diminishing the amount of wealth produced. The following was extracted from a periodical a few years back,
and the facts may still be the same, if we except the limitation of the hours :
“ In Warrington there is a pin manufactory, in which there are fifteen frames for heading. At each frame four persons, chiefly children, are employed, in a sitting posture; the right hand is used in placing the pin under the hammer, and the left in taking it away, while the foot works the treddle which lifts the weight, about fourteen pounds. In this occupation the poor creatures are kept from six in the morning till half-past eight or nine at night; and they are not allowed to speak to each other, or to withdraw their eyes from their work. Some of these young slaves are under eight, and others under seven years of age.”
Although the pin manufacturer can cast off the poor cripple, the sickly child, and the workman worn out or overtaken by premature old age, and employ, in succession, the very élite of the muscle and sinew of human nature, for which, paying miserable wages, he is enabled to sell his pins cheaper, yet his gain is a loss to the community: the public is compelled to support the rejected, who, having ceased to be producers, are doubly a loss in estimating the national wealth.
Of the great and unqualified advantages to be derived from a division of labour under judicious and benevolent guidance, no one can doubt; but without due regulation its evils are not confined to the bodily sufferings of the people, but extend
to the intellectual faculties of the educated classes ; the reasoning powers become contracted by an undivided attention to one subject only, and unable to grasp more comprehensive questions.
The exclusive attention which the oculist, the dentist, and the aurist, give to their respective objects, leads to more accurate information than could be obtained formerly when several professions were followed by the same individualwhen the duties of the cupper and the dentist were blended with those of the village hairdresser; when ecclesiastics headed armies, or sat upon the wool-sack; but with the division and sub-division of mental pursuits, we have failed in our systems of education to strengthen and enlarge the mind, by laying a broad and solid foundation in the rudiments of general knowledge ere professional studies commenced.*
* While these modern minor divisions have increased, there is fortunately an ancient grand division rapidly fading away, for the distinction is much less marked between the few who were supposed to be born to think only, and the many who were born to labour only; and it is no longer doubted that the poor little shivering child, half starved and in rags, standing at the corner of a court soliciting alms, may possess faculties equal to those of the learned professor, whose fallacious theories tend to perpetuate its destitution and misery.
" 'Tis nature's law That none, the meanest of created things, Of forms created the most vile and brute,