The Harmony of Interests
Henry Charles Carey
HOW PROTECTION AFFECTS WOMAN.
WHITH every increase in the value of labour and land, the condition of woman is improved. With every improvement in her condition, she has more leisure to devote to the care of her children, and to fitting them worthily to fill their station in society, giving value to labour and land. If protection be a war upon labour and capital, it must tend to diminution in the value of labour and land, and to deterioration in the condition of the weaker sex. How far that is the case we may now examine.
Throughout a large portion of this country, the time of women is almost entirely valueless. They would gladly work if they could, but there is no employment but that on the farm, for which they are not fitted. Place in every county of the Union a mill, and there will thus be produced a demand for that now surplus labour, and the workers in the mill will obtain more and better food and clothing, and they will be able to obtain more and better clothing, and education, and books by which to improve their minds, and fit them to fill the station of mothers, to which they will then be called. For want of local employment the young men are forced to seek the cities, or to fly to the West, and thousands and tens of thousands of women remain at home unmarried, while other thousands also seek the cities in search of employment, and terminate their career as prostitutes, because unable to compete with the cheap labour of the unhappy subjects of the following article, which I take from one of the newspapers of the day:
The distressed needle-women of London have been made the object of a commission of inquiry instituted by the Morning Chronicle. Three gentlemen well known in literature have examined the state of this unfortunate class, and the result is, that there lives in London a body of about 33,000 women permanently at the starvation point; working at the wages of a few pence a day.
The greater portion of these poor creatures, living, as they do, far beyond the social state, resort to prostitution, as a means of eking out their miserable subsistence; whenever the pressure threatens their extinction, then they turn into the street, and pauperism runs into inevitable vice. Since the disclosures of the Morning Chronicle, many humane persons have forwarded considerable sums of money to the office of that journal for distribution among the most necessitous objects; and Mr. Sidney Herbert has come forward to found a society for promoting their emigration. There is something like half a million of women in excess of men in Great Britain; there is a corresponding excess of males in the British Australian Colonies. The society above mentioned aims to bring these marriageable parties in contact; and it is hoped, that when once it is in operation, government will assist it with funds. It costs some £15 to transport a passenger to Australia. Now, if private benevolence raises a sum of £30,000, this will only relieve 2000 of the sufferers: a mere fraction, whose absence would not be sensible in the metropolis. It would require ten times that amount to lade out the misery to the proper extent, and also to satisfy the wants of the colonists.
Commerce is king, and such are his female subjects. To the same level must fall all those who are under the necessity of competing with them, and such are even now the results of the approach to the system that looks to the maintenance of the English monopoly as being freedom of trade. The compensation for female labour is miserably small, even now, but it must fall far lower when we shall be called upon to settle the account for the modicum of iron, wool, silk, and earthenware that we receive in exchange for all our cotton, tobacco, rice, flour, pork, cheese, butter, and evidences of debt.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them and said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it.
Such was the first command of God to man on earth, and, as he does or does not comply with it, he is found a moral or immoral being. If the association of man with his fellow-man tend to the elevation of character and to the promotion of civilization, how infinitely more is such the result of that intimate association resulting from obedience to the command, Be fruitful and multiply. The relation of husband and wife, and that of parent and child, are both essential to the development of all that is good and kind, gentle and thoughtful. The desire to provide for the wife and the child prompts the husband to labour, for the purpose of acquiring the means of present support, and to economy as a means of preparation for the future. The desire to provide for the husband and the children prompts the wife to exertions that would otherwise have been deemed impossible, and to sacrifices that none but a wife or a mother could make.
The modern school of political economy says, Be not fruitful; do not multiply. Population tends to increase faster than food. It prescribes disobedience to the earliest of Gods commands. Obedience thereto, in those who are poor, is denounced as improvidence; and to those who are so improvident as to marry, with no provision for the future, no sure and ample support even for the present, it is thought important to pronounce distinctly that, on no principle of social right or justice, have they any claim to share the earnings or the savings of their more prudent, more energetic, more self-denying fellow-citizens. To have a wife for whom to labour, and with whom to enjoy the fruits of labour, is a luxury, abstinence from which is placed high among the virtues. To have children to develope all the kindly and provident feelings of the parents, is a crime worthy of punishment. Charity is denounced as tending to promote the growth of population. To rent land at less than the full price, is an error, because it tends to increase the number to be fed. To clear the land of thousands whose ancestors have lived and died on the spot, is improvement. Cottage allotments are but places for breeding paupers.
Southey denounced the Byronian school of poetry as satanic, and so may we fairly do with the school of political economy that has grown out of the colonial system, and the desire to make of England the work-shop of the world. It teaches every thing but Christianity, and that any feelings of kindness towards those who are so unfortunate as to be poor should still remain in England, is due to the fact that those who teach it have not in their doctrine sufficient faith to practise what they preach.
The direct tendency of the existing monopoly of machinery which it is the object of free trade to maintain, is towards barbarism. It drives hundreds of thousands of Englishmen to abandon mothers, wives, and sisters, and barbarize themselves in the wilderness, while of those who remain behind a large portion are too poor to marry, the consequences of which are seen in the immense extent of prostitution and the perpetual occurrence of child murder. In this country it is the same. Of the almost hundreds of thousands of men who have fled to the wilds of Oregon or California, a vast portion would have remained at home with mothers and sisters had the consumer been allowed to take his place by the side of the producer, as he would long since have done, but for the existence of this most unnatural system.
Among the women of the world, there is a perfect harmony of interests. It is to the interest of all that the condition of all should be elevated, and such must be the result of an increase in the value of labour. The object of protection is that of raising throughout the world the value of man, and thus improving the condition of woman. Every woman, therefore, who has at heart the elevation of her fellow-women throughout the world, should advocate the cause of protection.
HOW PROTECTION AFFECTS MORALS.
THE moral man is sensible of the duties he owes to his wife, his children, society, and himself. He frequents neither taverns nor gaming-houses. His place is home.
The more perfect the morality the more productive will be the labour of a community, and the greater will be the power of its members to improve their moral and intellectual condition. If protection be a war upon labour and capital, it must tend to the deterioration of morality and the diminution of the reward of labour.
The more equal the division of a community between the sexes, the greater will be the power to contract matrimony, and the higher will be morality. The monopoly system tends to expel the men and produce inequality in the number of the sexes, and thus to diminish the power to contract matrimony, thereby producing a tendency to immorality. The object of protection is to enable men to remain at home, and thus bring about equality, which cannot exist where the tendency to dispersion exists.
The more men can remain at home, the better they can perform their duties to their children. The monopoly system tends to compel them to perform their exchanges in distant markets and to separate themselves from wives and children. The object of protection is to bring the consumer to take his place by the side of the producer, and enable them to effect their exchanges at home.
The more directly the consumer exchanges with the producer, the less will be the disposition and the power to commit frauds. The farmer of Illinois has no object in adulterating his corn, because corn is cheap; but the miller of England mixes beans with the corn, because corn is dear. The planter of Alabama would gain nothing by substituting flour for cotton, because the latter is cheap; but the manufacturer of England does so because cotton is dear. The coffee planter delivers coffee. The English shopkeeper substitutes chicory for coffee, because the latter is dear. The inducement to fraud in these cases results from the distance between the producer and the consumer, which it is the object of protection to diminish. The shoemaker makes good shoes for his customers; but he makes indifferent ones for the traders who deal with persons that are distant. The gunsmith furnishes to his neighbours guns that will stand the proof; but when he makes others to be sold in Africa, he cares little if they burst at the first fire. The necessity for maintaining the monopoly of machinery now enjoyed by England leads to frauds and forgeries of every description, with a view to displace the foreign produce and deceive the foreign producer. The power to commit frauds thus results from the distance between the consumer and the producer. Protection looks to bringing them near together, and thus diminishing that power.
The planter who exchanges on the spot with the iron-master and the miller, makes large crops and grows rich, and the gain resulting from successful frauds would be trifling compared with the loss of character. The one who is distant from both makes small crops, which are sensibly increased in amount by the substitution of stones in lieu of cotton or tobacco. The inducement to commit frauds here results from the distance between the consumer and the producer, and is diminished as the loom and the anvil come nearer to the plough and the harrow.
The man who makes his exchanges in distant markets spends much time on the road and in taverns, and is liable to be led into dissipation. The more he can effect his exchanges at home, the less is the danger of any such result. The object of the monopoly system is that of compelling him to effect all his exchanges at a distance, and to employ for that purpose numerous wagoners, porters, sailors, and other persons, most of whom have scarcely any home except the tavern.
The more uniform the standard of value, the less does trade resemble gambling. The object of the monopoly system is to subject the produce of the world to a standard of the most variable kind, and to render agriculture, manufactures, and trade, mere gambling. The object of protection is to withdraw the produce of the world from that standard, enabling every community to measure the products of its labour by its own standard, giving labour for labour.
The object of the English system is to promote centralization, and its necessary consequence is that of compelling the dispersion of man in search of food. London and Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham, have grown with vast rapidity by the same system which has exhausted Ireland, India, and the West Indies. The same journal informs us of the construction of a new town opposite Liverpool, of the great additions to London, and of the absolute necessity for promoting emigration from Ireland, Scotland, and even from England. As each successive province is exhausted, there arises a desire, and even a necessity for adding to the list. Bengal and Bombay having ceased to be productive, Affghanistan is attempted, and the Punjaub is conquered. The ruin of the West Indies is followed by an invasion of China, for the purpose of compelling the Chinese to perfect freedom of trade. The Highlands are depopulated, and Australia is colonized.
Mr. Jefferson held great cities to be great sores. He desired that the manufacturer should take his place by the side of the agriculturistthat the loom and the anvil should be in close proximity to the plough and the harrow. Mr. Jefferson looked and thought for himself. He had studied political economy before it became necessary for Mr. Malthus to invent a theory of population that should satisfactorily account for the scarcity of food under the unnatural policy of England, and thus relieve the law-makers of that country from all charge of mis-government. He studied, too, before Mr. Ricardo had invented a theory of rent, for the maintenance of which it was necessary to prove that the poor cultivator, beginning the work of settlement, always commenced upon the rich soilsthe swamps and river-bottomsand that with the progress of population he had recourse to the poor soils of the hills, yielding a constantly diminishing return to labourand therefore it was that he thought for himself. Modern financiers have blindly adopted the English system, based on the theories of Malthus and Ricardo, and the perfection of civilization is now held to be found in that system which shall most rapidly build up great cities, and most widely separate the manufacturer from the agriculturist. The more perfect the centralization, the greater, according to them, will be the tendency towards improvement.
Mr. Jefferson was in favour of combined action, as being that which would most tend to promote human improvement, physical, moral, intellectual, and political. That it does so, would seem to be obvious, as it is where combination of action most exists that men live best and are best instructedcommit least crimes, and think most for themselves. There, too, there exists the strongest desire to have protection.
A recent traveller in the United States, says that the facility with which every people conscientiously accommodate their speculative opinions to their local and individual interests, is sufficiently demonstrated by the fact, that the several States and sections of States, as they successively embark in the manufacture, whether of iron, cotton, or other articles, become immediately converts to protectionist views, against which they had previously declaimed.
It is here supposed that the desire for protection results from a selfish desire to tax others, but the persons exclusively devoted to manufactures of any kind are too few in number to affect the elections, and yet wherever mills or furnaces are established, the majority of the people become advocates of the doctrine of protection, and that majority mainly consists of agriculturists,farmers and planters. Why it is so, may be found in the fact that they experience the benefits resulting from making a market on the land for the products of the land, and desire that their neighbours may do the same. Ignorant selfishness would induce them to desire to retain for themselves the advantage they had gained. Enlightened selfishness would induce them to teach others that which they themselves had learned.
Ignorant selfishness is the characteristic of the savage. It disappears as men acquire the habit of association with their neighbour men. The proclaimed object of the monopoly system is that of producing a necessity for scattering ourselves over large surfaces, and thus increasing the difficulty of association, and the object is attained. The prospect of heaven itself, says Cooper, in one of his novels, would have no charm for an American of the backwoods, if he thought there was any place further west.
Such is the common impression. It is believed that men separate from each other because of something in their composition that tends to produce a desire for flying to wild lands, there probably to perish of fever, brought on by exposure, and certainly to leave behind them all that tends to make life desirable. Such is not the character of man anywhere. He is everywhere disposed to remain at home, when he can, and if the farmers and planters of the Union can be brought to understand their true interests, at home he will remain, and doing so, his condition and that of all around him, will be improved. The habit of association is necessary to the improvement of man. With it comes the love of the good and the beautiful. I wish, says the author of a recent agricultural address, that we could create a general passion for gardening and horticulture. We want, he continues, more beauty about our houses. The scenes of childhood are the memories of our future years. Let our dwellings be beautified with plants and flowers. Flowers are, in the language of a late cultivator, the playthings of childhood and the ornaments of the grave; they raise smiling looks to man and grateful ones to God.'
We do want more beauty about our houses, and not only about our houses but about our minds, and that it may be obtained, we must rid ourselves of a system which makes the producer the servant of the exchanger. Such is the object of protection.
It is most truly said that there is no friendship in trade. As now carried on, it certainly does not tend to promote kindly feelings among the human race, nor can it do so while the system remains unchanged. The great object of traders appears to be the production of discord. By so doing, England has obtained the supreme control of India. Her journals are unceasingly engaged in sowing discord among the various portions of this Union, and the effort would be successful were it not that there is no real discordance in their true interests.
It is time that the people of Great Britain should open their eyes to the fact that their progress is in the same direction in which have gone the communities of Athens, and Rome, and every other that has desired to support itself by the labour of others. It is time that they should awake to the fact that the numerous and splendid gin-shops, the perpetual recurrence of childmurder for the purpose of plundering burial societies, and the enormous increase of crime and pauperism, are but the natural consequence of a system that tends to drive capital from the land, to be employed in spindles and ships, and labour from the healthful and inspiring pursuits of the country, to seek employment in Liverpool and Manchester, where severe labour in the effort to underwork the poor Hindoo, and drive him from his loom, is rewarded with just sufficient to keep the labourer from starving in the lanes and cellars with which those cities so much abound.
A very slight examination will suffice to convince the reader that, as has been already shown, these frauds and overreachings increase in the ratio of the distance between the consumer and the producer. The food that has travelled far is dear, and worthy to be mixed with beans. The cotton produced in remote lands is dear, and it is profitable to mix it with flour. The shoemaker who supplies the auctions uses poor leather, and employs poor workmen. The object of protection is that of bringing the consumer of food to the side of its producer, there to eat plenty of good and nourishing food; the consumer of cotton to the side of its producer that he may not need to wear a mixture of wool and paste; and the shoemaker to the side of the farmer and planter, that the latter may be supplied with custom-work, and not slop-work. By this he gains doubly. He gives less food, and gets better clothing in return. By so doing, his own physical condition and the moral condition of the shoemaker are both improved.
The whole tendency of the system is to the production of a gambling spirit. In England, it makes railroad kings, ending in railroad bankrupts, like Henry Hudson. If we could trace the effect of the great speculation of which this man was the father, we should find thousands and tens of thousands of husbands and wives, parents and children, utterly beggared to build up the fortunes of the few, and thus increase the inequality of social condition which lies at the root of all evil. If we examine it here, we see it sending tens of thousands to California, eager for gold, there to lose both health and life. It is sending thousands of boys and girls to our citiesthe former to become shopmen, and the latter prostitutes, while hundreds of thousands are at the same time making their way to the West, there to begin the work of cultivation, while millions upon millions of acres in the old States remain untouched. With every step of our progress in that direction, social inequality tends to increase. The skilful speculator realizes a fortune by the same operation that ruins hundreds around him, and adds to his fortune by buying their property under the hammer of the sheriff. The wealthy manufacturer is unmoved by revulsions in the British market which sweep away his competitors, and, when the storm blows over, he is enabled to double, treble, or quadruple, his already overgrown fortune. The consequence is, that great manufacturing towns spring up in one quarter of the Union, while almost every effort to localize manufactures (thus bringing the loom and the anvil really to the side of the plough and the harrow) is followed by ruin. The system tends to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The coal miner of the present year works for half wages, but the coal speculator obtains double profits, and thus is it everthe producer is sacrificed to the exchanger. With the growth of the exchanging class, great cities rise up, filled with shops, at which men can cheaply become intoxicated. New York has 4567 places at which liquor is sold, and the Five-Points are peopled with the men who make Astor-place riots. Single merchants employ 160 clerks, while thousands of those who are forced into our cities and seek to obtain a living by trade are ruined. Opera singers receive large salaries paid by the contributions of men whose shirts are made by women whose wages scarcely enable them to live.
The whole system of trade, as at present conducted, and as it must continue to be conducted if the colonial system be permitted longer to exist, is one of mere gambling, and of all qualities, that which most distinguishes the gambler is ignorant selfishness. He ruins his friends and wastes his winnings on a running-horse, or on a prostitute. To what extent this has been the characteristic of the men who have figured most largely in the walks of commerce, might be determined by those who are familiar with the concerns of many of the persons described in the following passage, which I take from one of the journals of the day:
The great merchants of this great mercantile city, who were looked up to with reverence by the mammon-worshipping crowd twenty years agowhere are they? Ask Stephen Whitney and those few who have with him survived the shock of thirty years changes, and they will tell you, in commercial language, that 93 or 95 per cent. of their contemporaries at that date have since become bankrupt, and that the widows of most of those deceased are either keeping boarding-houses or have left friendless orphans to the tender mercies of a commercial world.
Look at the ephemeral creatures of this and last years accidents, who now figure largely in the great world of New York, whether in the wholesale or retail linewhether in commerce, fashion, theatricals or religionand ask where and what they or their children are likely to be twenty-years hence. The answer will be such as none of those most deeply in it will be apt to give with precise or probable correctness. They shall heap up riches and know not who shall gather them; they shall build houses and know not who shall inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and shall not eat the fruit of them; they shall call their lands after their own names, and a generation shall rise up and possess them who shall laugh those names into a contempt from which the oblivion that shall succeed will seem a happy deliverance.N.Y. Herald.
As a necessary consequence of the system, money becomes more and more an object of consideration in the contraction of the important engagement of matrimony, and marriage settlements begin to appear among us. The newspapers of the day inform us of the recent execution of one for $200,000.
If we look westward, it is the same. Centralization produces depopulation, and that is followed by poverty and crime. London grows upon the system that ruins India and fills it with bands of plunderers. The West and South-west are filled with gamblers, and land-pirates abound. The late war has brought into existence a new species of fraud, in the counterfeiting of land-warrants, and this is but one of the many evils resulting from that measure.
If we look back but a few years, we may see that the period between 1835 and 1843 was remarkable for the existence of crime, and it was that one in which the tendency to dispersion most existed. If we now look to the period between 1843 and 1847, we can see that there was a gradual tendency to the restoration of order and quiet and morality throughout the Union. In the last year, we may see the reverse. It was marked by turnouts, insubordination and violence of various kinds in country and in city. Such is the direct consequence of a diminution in the productiveness of labour. The employer must pay less, and the employed is unwilling to receive less than that to which he has been accustomed.
The tendency of the colonial system is to increase the number of wagons and wagoners, ships and sailors, merchants and traders, the men who necessarily spend much time in hotels and taverns, living by exchanging the products of others. The tendency of protection is to increase the number of producersof the class that lives at home, surrounded by wives, children, and friends. The one builds up the city at the expense of the country; the other causes both to grow together.
Cities are rivals for trade, and when the farmer desires a new road to market he is opposed, lest it should enable him to go more cheaply to Charleston than Savannah; to New York more readily than to Philadelphia. London is jealous of Liverpool, and Liverpool of London. Discord is everywhere, and the smaller the amount of production, the greater must it necessarily be. Protection seeks to increase production, and thus establish harmony.
It is asserted that protection tends to increase smuggling, and therefore to deteriorate morals. To determine this question, it would be required only to ascertain what description of men transact business at our custom-houses. From 1830 to 1834, the chief part was done by men who had homes occupied by wives and families, for whose sake reputation was dear, but from 1835 to 1842, it passed almost entirely into the hands of men who lived in hotels and boarding-houses, and who had neither wives nor families to maintain. From 1843 to 1847, it went back to the former class. It has now returned almost entirely into the hands of agentsmen whose business is trade, and who swear to a false invoice for a commission. The honest man, who desires to perform his duties to his wife and children, to society, to his country, and to his Creator, cannot import foreign merchandise. The system is a premium on immorality and fraud.
The object of protection is the establishment of perfect free trade, by the annexation of men and of nations. Every man brought here increases the domain of free trade, and diminishes the necessity for custom-houses. Every man brought here consumes four, six, ten, or twelve pounds of cotton for one that he could consume at home, and every one is a customer to the farmer for bushels instead of gills. Between the honest and intelligent man who desires to see the establishment of real free-trade, the Christian who desires to see an improvement in the standard of morality, the planter who desires an increased market for his cotton, the farmer who desires larger returns to his labour, the landowner who desires to see an increase in the value of his land, and the labourer who desires to sell his labour at the highest price, there is perfect harmony of interest.
HOW PROTECTION AFFECTS INTELLECTUAL CONDITION.
THE higher the degree of intellect applied to the work of production, the larger will be the return to labour, and the more rapid will be the accumulation of capital. If protection be a war upon labour and capital, it must tend to prevent the growth of intellect.
The more men are enabled to combine their efforts, and the greater the tendency to association, the larger is the return to labour, and the more readily can they obtain books and newspapers for themselves, and schools for their children. The object of the monopoly system is that of compelling men to scatter themselves over large surfaces, and into distant colonies, and thus to diminish the power of obtaining books, newspapers and schools. The object of protection is the correction of this error, and to enable men to combine their efforts for mental as well as physical improvement.
The greater the tendency to association, the greater is the facility for the dissemination of new ideas in regard to modes of thought or action, and for obtaining aid in carrying them into practical effect. The object of the English monopoly system is that of separating men from each other, and depriving them of this advantage. The object of protection is to enable them to come together, and being so, it would seem to be the real friend to both labourer and capitalist.
If we look throughout the world we shall see intellect increasing as men live more and more in communion with each other, and diminishing as they are compelled to separate. The man who is distant from market spends much of his time in taverns, where he obtains little tending to the improvement of mind or morals. The man who has a market at his door, may obtain books and newspapers, and he is surrounded by skilful farmers, from whom he obtains information. Not being compelled to spend his time on the road, he is enabled to give both time and mind to the improvement of his land, to which he returns the refuse in the form of manure, and thus it is that he himself grows rich.
Of all the pursuits of man, agriculturethe work of productionis the one that most tends to the expansion of intellect. It is the great pursuit of man. There is none in which so many of the laws of nature must be consulted and understood as in the cultivation of the earth. Every change of the season, every change even of the winds, every fall of rain, must affect some of the manifold operations of the farmer. In the improvement of our various domestic animals, some of the most abstruse principles of physiology must be consulted. Is it to be supposed that men thus called upon to study, or to observe the laws of nature, and labour in conjunction with its powers, require less of the light of the highest science than the merchant or the manufacturer? It is not. It is the science that requires the greatest knowledge, and the one that pays best for it: and yet England has driven man, and wealth, and mind, into the less profitable pursuits of fashioning and exchanging the products of other lands: and has expended thousands of millions on fleets and armies to enable her to drive with foreign nations the poor trade, when her own soil offered her the richer one that tends to produce that increase of wealth and concentration of population which have in all times and in all ages given the self-protective power that requires neither fleets, nor armies, nor tax-gatherers. In her efforts to force this trade, she has driven the people of the United States to extend themselves over vast tracts of inferior land when they might more advantageously have concentrated themselves on rich ones: and she has thus delayed the progress of civilization abroad and at home. She has made it necessary for the people of grain-growing countries to rejoice in the deficiencies of her harvests, as affording them the outlet for surplus food that they could not consume, and that was sometimes abandoned on the field as not worth the cost of harvesting; instead of being enabled to rejoice in the knowledge that others were likely to be fed as abundantly as themselves. Her internal system was unsound, and her wealth gave her power to make that unsoundness a cause of disturbance to the world; and hence she has appeared to be everywhere regarded as a sort of common enemy.
To this unsound system we are indebted for the very unsound ideas that exist in regard to the division of labour. Men are crowded into large towns and cities, to labour in great shops, where the only idea ever acquired is the pointing of a needle, and that is acquired at the cost of health and life. The necessary consequence is the general inferiority of physical, moral, and mental condition, that is observable in all classes of English workmen.
Of all machines, the most costly to produce is Man, and yet the duration of this expensive and beautiful machine is reduced to an average of twenty-five or thirty years, under the vain idea that by so doing pins and needles may be obtained at less cost of labour. The principle is the same that is said to govern the planter of Cuba when he stocks his estate exclusively with males, deeming it cheaper to buy slaves than to raise them. As a necessary consequence, the duration of life is there short, and so is it in the crowded factories of the great workshop of the world. The idea is vain. Pins and needles would be obtained at far less cost of labour were the workshops of Sheffield and of Birmingham scattered throughout the kingdom, thereby enabling the producers of pins to take their places by the side of the producers of food, and enabling all to enjoy the pure air and pure water of the village, instead of being compelled, after breathing the foul atmosphere of the workshop during the day, to retire at night to rest in the filthy cellar of the undrained street. Were the ore of Ireland converted into axes and railroad bars by aid of the coal and the labour of Ireland, the cellars of Manchester and Birmingham would not be filled with starving Irishmen, flying by hundreds of thousands from pestilence and famine, and compelling the labourers of England to fly to the United States, Canada, or Australia.
The English school of political economy treats man as a mere machine, placed on the earth for the purpose of producing food, cloth, iron, pins, or needles, and takes no account of him as a being capable of intellectual and moral improvement. It looks for physical power in connection with ignorance and immorality, and the result is disappointment. The workman of this country is infinitely the superior of the workman of Manchester, and the reason is, that he is not treated as a mere machine. The object of what is called free trade is to degrade the one to the level of the other. The object of protection is that of enabling the poor artisan of Manchester or Leeds, Birmingham or Sheffield, to transfer himself to a country in which he will not be so treated, and in which he may have books and newspapers, and his children may be educated.
The colonial system involves an expenditure for ships of war, soldiers, and sailors, greater than would be required for giving to every child in the kingdom an education of the highest order; and those ships and men are supported out of the proceeds of taxes paid by poor mechanics and agricultural labourers, whose children grow up destitute even of the knowledge that there is a God. The object of protection is to do away with the necessity for such ships and men, and to raise the value of labour to such a point as will enable the people of England to provide schools for themselves.
In the colonies, the perpetual exhaustion of the land and its owner has forbidden, as it now forbids, the idea of intellectual improvement. To the West Indies no Englishmen went to remain. The plantations were managed by agents, and the poor blacks, under their agency, died so fast as to render necessary an annual importation merely to keep up the number. In India, where education was from the earliest period an object of interest to the government, and where every well-regulated village had its public school and its schoolmaster, in which information was so well and so cheaply taught as to furnish the idea of the Lancaster system, it has almost disappeared. In the thana of Nattore, containing 184,509 inhabitants, there were, a few years since, but 27 schools, with 262 scholars. The teachers were simple-minded and ignorant, with salaries of $2.50 per month, and the scholars were without books. The number who could read and write was 6000. Such was the state of education in one of the best portions of Bengal. In the Bombay presidency, with a population of six and a half millions, there were 25 government schools, with 1315 scholars, and 1680 village schools, with 33,838 scholars. In the Madras presidency, out of 13 millions, there were 355,000 male and 8000 female scholars, and the instruction was of the worst kind.
In Upper Canada, in 1848, the number of children, male and female, under fourteen years of age, was 326,050, of whom but 80,461 attended school. So far the state of things is better than in other colonies; but when we come to look further, the difference is not very great. The intellect of man is to be quickened by communion with his fellow-man, of which there can be but little where the loom is widely distant from the plough, and men are distant from each other, all engaged in the single pursuit of agriculture. How slow has been the growth of concentration in that province, may be seen from the following facts. Numerous small woollen mills furnish 584,008 yards of flannel and other inferior cloths, working up the produce of perhaps 250,000 sheep. Fulling mills exist, at which about 2,000,000 pounds of woollen cloths of household manufacture are fulled. Further, there are
1 rope-walk. 11 pail factories. 1 ship-yard. 1 vinegar factory. 1 candle fac. 1 last factory. 1 trip hammer. 5 chair factories. 1 cement mill. 4 oil mills. 2 paper mills 2 brick-yards. 1 sal-eratus fac. 3 tobacco fac. 1 axe factory, 8 soap fac. 2 steam-engine fac. 3 potteries. 3 nail factories. 1 comb fac. 6 plaster mills.
And these constitute the whole of the manufacturing establishments of that great district of country, much of it so long settled. There is, consequently, little or no employment for mind, and the consequence is, that all who desire to engage in other pursuits than those of agriculture fly to the South. There are now within the Union, it is said, not less than 200,000 Canadians, and with every day the tendency to emigration increases. If we look to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, it is the same. There is there no demand for intellect, and any man possessing it flies southward. Forty years since it was asked, Who reads an American book? That question has long since been answered; but it may now be repeated in reference to all the British provinces. Who reads a Canadian, a Nova-Scotian, or a New Brunswick book? Upper Canada has two paper-mills capable of producing about ten reams of paper per day, being, perhaps, a tenth of what is required to supply the newspapers of Cincinnati. Forty years since, the question might have been asked, Who uses an American machine? and yet the machine shops of Austria and Russia are now directed by our countrymen, and the latest improvements in machinery for the conversion of wool into cloth are of American invention. The British provinces have had the advantage of perfect free trade with England, the consequence of which is, that they are almost destitute of paper-mills and printing-offices, and machine shops are unknown, while the Union has been a prey to theprotective system, that war upon labour and capital, the consequence of which is, that paper-mills and printing-offices abound to an extent unknown in the world, and almost equal in number and power to those of the whole world, and machine shops exist almost everywhere. These differences are not due to any difference in the abundance or quality of land, for that of Upper Canada is yet to a great extent unoccupied, and is in quality inferior to none on the continent. They are not due to difference in other natural advantages, for New Brunswick has every advantage possessed by Maine and New Hampshire, and Nova Scotia has coal and iron ore more advantageously situated than any in the Union. They are not due to difference of taxation, for Great Britain has paid almost all the expenses of government. To what, then, can they be attributed, but to the fact that those provinces have been subject to the monopoly system, and compelled to waste their own labour while giving their products in exchange for the services of English men, women, and children, employed in doing for them what they could have better done themselves, and losing four-fifths of their products in the transit between the producer and the consumer? Place the colony within the Uniongive it protectionand in a dozen years its paper-mills and its printing-offices will become numerous, and many will then read Canadian books.
In England, a large portion of the people can neither read nor write, and there is scarcely an effort to give them education. The colonial system looks to low wages, necessarily followed by an inability to devote time to intellectual improvement. Protection looks to the high wages that enable the labourer to improve his mind, and educate his children. The English child, transferred to this country, becomes an educated and responsible being. If he remains at home, he remains in brutish ignorance. To increase the productiveness of labour, education is necessary. Protection tends to the diffusion of education, and the elevation of the condition of the labourer.
At no period of our history has the demand for books and pictures, or the compensation of authors or artists, been less than in the period of 1842-43. At none have they grown so rapidly as from 1844 to 1847. They now tend downward, notwithstanding a demand that is still maintained by the power that yet exists of obtaining merchandise in exchange for certificates of debt. When that shall pass away, we shall see a recurrence of the events of the free trade period.
If we desire to raise the intellectual standard of man throughout the world, our object can be accomplished only by raising the value of man, as a machine, throughout the world. Every man brought here is raised, and every man so brought tends to diminish the supposed surplus of men elsewhere. Men come when the reward of labour is high, as they did between 1844 and 1848. They return disappointed when the reward of labour is small, as is now the case. Protection tends to increase the reward of labour, and to improve the intellectual condition of man.
HOW PROTECTION AFFECTS THE POLITICAL CONDITION OF MAN.
THE larger the return to labour, the greater will be the power to accumulate capital. The larger the proportion which capital seeking to be employed bears to the labourers who are to employ it, the larger will be the wages of labour, the greater the power of the labourer to accumulate for himself, and the more perfect will be his control over the disposition of his labour and the application of its proceeds, whether to private or to public purposes.
The freeman chooses his employer, sells his labour, and disposes of the proceeds at his pleasure. The slave does none of these things. His master takes the produce of his labour, and returns him such portion as suits his pleasure.
Throughout the world, and in all ages, freedom has advanced with every increase in the ratio of wealth to population. When the people of England were poor, they were enslaved, but with growing wealth they have become more free. So has it been in Belgium and in France. So is it now in Russia and Germany, and so must it everywhere be. India is poor, and the many are slaves to the few. So is it in Ireland. Freedom is there unknown. The poor Irishman, limited to the labours of agriculture, desires a bit of land, and he gives the chief part of the product of his years labour for permission to starve upon the balance, happy to be permitted to remain on payment of this enormous rent. He is the slave of the land-owner, without even the slaves right to claim of him support in case of sickness, or if, escaping from famine, he should survive to an age that deprives him of the power of labouring for his support. England employs fleets, paid for out of taxes imposed on starving Irishmen, to prevent the people of Brazil from buying black men, and women, and children, on the coast of Africa, while holding herself ready to give white men, and women, and children, to any who will carry them from her shores, and even to add thereto a portion of the cost of their transportation; and this she does without requiring the transporter to produce even the slightest evidence that they have been delivered at their destined port in good order and well-conditioned. When Ireland shall become rich, labour will become valuable, and man will become free. When Italy was filled with prosperous communities, labour was productive, and it was in demand; and then men who had it to sell fixed the price at which it should be sold. With growing poverty, labour ceased to be in demand, and the buyer fixed the price. The labourer then became a slave. If we follow the history of Tuscany, we can find men becoming enslaved as poverty succeeded wealth; and again may we trace them becoming more and more free, as wealth has grown with continued peace. So has it been in Egypt, and Sicily, and Spain. Everywhere poverty, or a deficiency of those aids to labour which constitute wealth, is, and has invariably been, the companion of slavery; and everywhere wealth, or an abundance of ploughs, and harrows, and horses, and cows, and oxen, and cultivated lands, and houses, and mills, is, and has invariably been the companion, and the cause, of freedom.
If protection be a war upon labour and capital, it must tend to prevent the growth of wealth, and thus to deteriorate the political condition of man.
The farmer who exchanges his food with the man who produces iron by means of horses, wagons, canal-boats, merchants, ships, and sailors, gives much food for little iron. The iron man, who exchanges his products for food through the instrumentality of the same machinery, gives much iron for little food. The chief part of the product is swallowed up by the men who stand between, and grow rich while the producers remain poor. The growth of wealth is thus prevented, and inequality of political condition is maintained.
The farmer who exchanges directly with the producer of iron gives labour for labour. Both thus grow rich, because the class that desires to stand between has no opportunity of enriching themselves at their expense. Equality of condition is thus promoted.
The object of protection is that of bringing the consumer of food to take his place by the side of the producer of food, and thus promoting the growth of wealth and the improvement of political condition. That it does produce that effect, is obvious from the fact that, in periods of protection, such vast numbers seek our shores, and that immigration becomes stationary, or diminishes, with every approach towards that system which is usually denominated free trade.
The colonial system is based upon cheap labour. Protection seeks to increase the reward of labour. The one fills factories with children of tender years, and expels men to Canada and Australia; the other unites the men and sends the children to school.
The Irishman at home is a slave. He prays for permission to remain and pay in pounds sterling for quarters of acres, and his request is refused. Transfer him here and he becomes a freeman, choosing his employer and fixing the price of his labour. The Highlander is a slave that would gladly remain at home; but he is expelled to make room for sheep. One-ninth of the population of England are slaves to the parish beadle, eating the bread of enforced charity, and a large portion of the remaining eight-ninths are slaves to the policy which produces a constant recurrence of chills and feversoverwork at small wages at one time, and no work at any wages at another. Transfer them here and they become freemen, selecting their employers and fixing the hours and the reward of labour. The Hindoo is a slave. His landlords officers fix the quantity of land that he must cultivate, and the rent he must pay. He is not allowed, on payment even of the high survey assessment fixed on each field, to cultivate only those fields to which he gives the preference; his task is assigned to him, and he is constrained to occupy all such fields as are allotted to him by the revenue officers, and whether he cultivates them or not, he is saddled with the rent of all. If driven by these oppressions to fly and seek a subsistence elsewhere, he is followed wherever he goes and oppressed at discretion, or deprived of the advantages he might expect from a change of residence. If he work for wages, he is paid in money when grain is high, and in grain when it is low. He, therefore, has no power to determine the price of his labour. Could he be transferred here, he would be found an efficient labourer, and would consume more cotton in a week than he now does in a year, and by the change his political condition would be greatly improved.
Protection looks to the improvement of the political condition of the human race. To accomplish that object, it is needed that the value of man be raised, and that men should everywhere be placed in a condition to sell their labour to the highest bidderto the man who will give in return the largest quantity of food, clothing, shelter, and other of the comforts of life. To enable the Hindoo to sell his labour and to fix its price, it is necessary to raise the price of his chief product, cotton. That is to be done by increasing the consumption, and that object is to be attained by diminishing the waste of labour attendant upon its transit between the producer and the consumer. Fill this country with furnaces and mills, and railroads will be made in every direction, and the consumption of cotton will speedily rise to twenty pounds per head, while millions of European labourers, mechanics, farmers, and capitalists will cross the Atlantic, and every million will be a customer for one-fourth as much as was consumed by the people of Great Britain and Ireland in 1847. The harmony of the interests of the cotton-growers throughout the world is perfect, and all the discord comes from the power of the exchangers to produce apparent discord.
It is asserted, however, that protection tends to build up a body of capitalists at the expense of the consumer, and thus produce inequality of condition. That such is the effect of inadequate protection is not to be doubted. So long as we continue under a necessity for seeking in England a market for our surplus products, her markets will fix the price for the world, and so long as we shall continue to be under a necessity for seeking there a small supply of cloth or iron, so long will the prices in her markets fix the price of all, and the domestic producer of cloth and iron will profit by the difference of freight both out and home. With this profit he takes the risk of ruin, which is of perpetual occurrence among the men of small capitals. Those who are already wealthy have but to stop their furnaces or mills until prices rise, and then they have the markets to themselves, for their poorer competitors have been ruined. Such is the history of many of the large fortunes accumulated by the manufacture of cloth and iron in this country, and such the almost universal history of every effort to establish manufactures south and west of New England.
Inadequate and uncertain protection benefits the farmer and planter little, while the uncertainty attending it tends to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, thus producing social and political inequality.
Adequate and certain protection, on the contrary, tends to the production of equalityfirst, because by its aid the necessity for depending on foreign markets for the sale of our products, or the supply of our wants, will be brought to an end, and thenceforth the prices, being fixed at home, will be steady, and then the smaller capitalist will be enabled to maintain competition with the larger one, with great advantage to the consumers-farmers, planters, and labourers; and, second, because its benefits will be, as they always have been, felt chiefly by the many with whom the price of labour constitutes the sole fund out of which they are to be maintained.
If we take the labour that is employed in the factories of the country, from, one extremity to the other, it will be found that nearly the whole of it would be waste, if not so employed. If we take that which is employed in getting: out the timber and the stone for building factories and furnaces, it will be found that a large portion of it would otherwise be waste. If we inquire into the operations of the farmer, we find that the vicinity of a factory, or furnace, enables him to save much of the labour of transportation, and to sell many things that would otherwise be waste. Thus far, the advantage would seem to be all on the side of the employed, and not on that of the employer.
Let us now suppose that all protection were abolished, and that perfect freedom of trade were established, and that the result were, as it inevitably would be, to close every factory, furnace, rolling mill, and coal-mine in the country, and see what would be the result. The owners of such property would lose a few millions of dollars of rents, or profits, but the supply of fuel would be less by three millions of tons, that of iron would be less by eight hundred thousand tons, and that of cotton cloth would be less by almost a thousand millions of yards. The demand for the labour now employed in the production of those commodities would be at an end, and the spare-labour of men, and women, and children, and wagons, and horses, and the various things now used in and about factories and furnaces, would then be wasted, coal and iron and cloth would be doubled in price, and labour would be diminished in a corresponding degree. The power to import iron, or coal, or cloth, would not be increased by a single ton, or yard, and the people would be compelled to dispense with necessaries of life that are now readily obtained. The capitalists, whose means were locked up in factories or furnaces, would suffer some loss; but the mass of persons possessed of disengaged capital, and the receivers of State dividends, would be able to command, for the same reward, a much larger quantity of labour than before.
The object of protection is that of securing a demand for labour, and its tendency is to produce equality of condition. The jealousy of overgrown capitalists has caused many changes of policy; but, so far as they have tended to the abolition of protection, they have invariably tended to the production of inequality. The wealthy capitalist suffers some loss; but he is not ruined. A change takes place, and he is ready to avail himself of it, and at once regains all that had been lost, with vast increase. The small capitalist has been swept away, and his mill is in a state of ruin. By the time he can prepare himself to recommence his business, the chance being past, he is swept away again, and perhaps for the last time.
For months past, the rate of interest on a certain species of securities has been very low. The wealthy man could borrow at four per cent.; the poor man, requiring a small loan on a second-rate security, could scarcely obtain it at any price. The man who has coal to sell, or iron to sell, must have the aid of middlemen to act as endorsers upon the paper received from his customers, and their commissions absorb the profits. The wages of the miner have been greatly reduced, while the profits of the speculator have been increased. The reason of all this is, that, throughout the nation, there prevails no confidence in the future. It is seen that we are consuming more than we produce; that our exports do not pay for our imports; that we are running in debt; that furnaces and mills are being closed; and every one knows what must be the end of such a system. Re-enact the tariff of 1842, and the trade of the middleman would be at an end, because confidence in the future would be felt from one extremity of the land to the other. Should we not find in this some evidence of the soundness of the principle upon which it was based? The system which gives confidence must be right; that which destroys it must be wrong.
Confidence in the futureHopegives power to individuals and commnunities. It is that which enables the poor man to become rich, and the character of all legislative action is to be judged by its greater or less tendency to produce this effect. A review of the measures urged upon the nation by the advocates of the system miscalled free trade, shows, almost without an exception, they have tended to the destruction of confidence, and therefore to the production of the political revolutions referred to in the first chapter.
The direct effect of the insecurity that has existed has been to centralize the business of manufacture in one part of the Union and in the hands of a comparatively limited number of personssuch as could afford to take large risks, in hope of realizing large profits. Had the tariff of 1828 been made the settled law of the land, the Middle and Southern States would now be studded with factories and furnaces, and while the North and East would not have been less rich, they would be far richer, and the present inequality of condition would not now exist.
The power of the North, as compared with that of the South, is due to the jealousy of the former entertained by the latter, which has prevented the establishment of a decided system, having for its object the destruction of the English monopoly, and the ultimate establishment of perfect freedom of trade.
The object of the colonial system was that of taxing the world for the maintenance of a great mercantile, manufacturing, and landed aristocracy, and the mode of accomplishment was that of securing a monopoly of machinery. The object of protection is to break down that monopoly, and with it the aristocracy that collects for the people of Great Britain and the world those immense taxes, to be appropriated to the payment of fleets and armies officered by younger sons, and kept on foot for the maintenance of the existing inequality in Great Britain, Ireland, and India. All, therefore, who desire to see improvement in the political condition of the people of the world should advocate the system which tends to break down monopoly and establish perfect freedom of trade.
1 Edinburgh Review, October, 1849.
As a specimen of this, I take the following from one of the journals of the day:
We are surprised to see ginghams in market, sent out from England by the house of A. & S. Henry & Co. of Manchester, imitating the above goods in patterns, width, and style of finish. But a most palpable and unfair imitation is in the label, where, preserving the same general appearances as to size, colour of paper and ornaments, the word Lancasterian is substituted for Lancaster. That the whole is a manifest and intentional counterfeit, there cannot be a doubt. The goods will, undoubtedly, be sold for American Lancaster ginghams, to which they are inferior in firmness of fabric and permanency of colour, to the manifest injury of the profits and reputation of the American manufacturer Boston paper.
3 To those who have never reflected on the subject, it may seem like exaggeration to say that, as a general fact, at least nine-tenths of the lower orders suffer physically, morally, and intellectually, from being over-worked and under-fed; and yet I am convinced that the more the subject shall be investigated, the more deeply shall we become impressed with the truth and importance of the statement. It is true that but few persons die from direct starvation, or the absolute want of food for several successive days, but it is not the less certain that thousands upon thousands are annually cut off, whose lives have been greatly shortened by excess of labour and deficiency of nourishment. *** It is a rare thing for a hard-working artisan to arrive at a good old age; almost all become prematurely old, and die long before the natural term of life.Combes Philosophy of Digestion.
4 Sir Charles Lyell.
Humanity cries to us from the depths. If we will not answer her, it were better a millstone were tied about our necks, and that we were cast into the sea. Have we no sense of the precipice on which we stand? Have not the books of the prophetess been one by one burnt before our eyesand does not the sybil even now knock at our doors to offer us her final volume, ere she turn from us and leave us to the Furies? Crime, not stealing, but striding onward. Murders, poisonings, becoming almost a domestic institution among our villageshusband, children, parents, drugged to their final home for the sake of the burial fees. Vice within the law, keeping pace with offence without. Incest winked at by our magistracy from its fearful frequency in our squalid peasant dwellings. Taxation reaching beyond the point at which resources can meet it, so that, at increasingly shorter intervals, we have to borrow from ourselves to make expenditure square with income. Poor Laws extended to Scotland and Ireland, where they were never known before, and new Poor Laws failing in England to check the advance of rates, and the growth of inveterate beggary, until property threatens to be swallowed up by the propertyless, and a terrible communism to be realized among us by a legalized division of the goods of those who have, among those who have notthe fearfullest socialism, the equal republic of beggary. Speak! strike! redress! Three millions and a half of the houseless and homeless, the desperate, the broken, the lost, plead to you in a small still voice, yet louder than the mouthing theories of constitution-mongers. Man, abused, insulted, degraded, shows to you his social scars, his broken members, his maimed carcass: blurred in the conflict of a selfish and abused community.
We say it must no longer be. We are a spectacle to gods and mena by-word and a hissing to the nations. Savages grow up in the midst of our feather-head civilization, wilder, more forlorn, more forgotten, and neglected than the Camanches, or the eartheaters of New Holland. Ragged foundlings, deserted infant wretchedness, paupers hereditary, boasting a beggar pedigree older than many of our nobles, grow up from year to year, generation to generation, eat with brazen front into the substance of struggling industry.The Mother Country, by Sydney Smith.
6 Take, as an illustration in the system, the fraud in carpets, such as are usually sold at auction. The head end of the piece is woven firmly for a few yards, when the web is gradually slackened, so that the inside of the piece bears no comparison with the outside. This is done so adroitly that it is impossible for any, but the best judges to tell in what the cheat consists. There is a double evil in this imposture, for the fabric not only grows poorer and thinner as the piece is unrolled, but the figures, containing of course the same number of threads throughout, will not match, their size being increased with the slackness in weaving. This is not only a positive cheat, but it greatly interferes with the honest dealer, whose goods being alike throughout, cannot of course compete in price. It is incredible to what an extent this practice is carried, and it is high time there was some legal remedy.Dry Goods Reporter.
This is one of the strangest places in Christendom. I know many men, who were models of piety, morality, and all that sort of thing, when they first arrived here, and who are now most desperate gamblers and drunkards.Extract from a letter dated San Francisco, July 30.
American LotteryClass No. 1$10,000 in actual prizes, sixty-six numbers, twelve drawn ballots. Whole tickets, $10; half do, $5. This lottery will be drawn at the Public Institute in San Francisco, on the third day of October, 49, at twelve oclock, M., under the superintendence of the managers.Pacific News.
8 Wadsworths Address to the New York Agricultural Society.
9 The commissioners for inquiring into the state of education in Wales, describe a state of mental condition perfectly in keeping with the following account of their physical ccndition: The houses and cottages of the people are wretchedly bad, and akin to Irish hovels. Brick chimneys are very unusual in these cottages; those which exist are usually in the shape of large coves, the top being of basket-work. In few cottages is there more than one room, which serves for the purpose of living and sleeping. Hence it is that there is so universal a want of chastity, resulting, say the conmmissioners, from the revolting habit of herding married and unmarried people of both sexes, often unconnected by relationship, in the same sleeping rooms, and often in adjoining beds, without partition or curtain. [See Westminster Review, No. XCVI]
10 Appendix to first Report of Board of Registration
12 I do not exaggerate when I say that there are no less than 200,000 Canadians in the United States; and, unless efficacious means are taken to stop this frightful emigration, before ten years two hundred thousand more of our compatriots will have carried to the American Union their arms, their intelligence, and their hearts.Letter of Rev. Arthur Chiniquy.
13 The whole quantity of paper required to supply the newspaper press of Great Britain and Ireland is 170,000 reams; while that required for the supply of four papers printed in New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, is about 110,000, and the whole number of newspapers is about 2400.