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These articles first appeared in the Dictionnaire d’Économie Politique, ed. Guillaumin and Charles Coquelin (Paris: Guillaumin, 1852) and the Dictionnaire général de la Politique, ed. Maurice Block (Paris: O. Lorenz, 1873) and were translated into English and included in Lalor’s Cyclopedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (Chicago: M.B. Carey, 1899) in 3 vols.
The French political economists of the the 19th century, or “the economists” as they liked to call themselves, are less well known than the classical school which appeared in England at the same time. The French political economists differed from their English counterparts on a number of grounds: the radicalism of their support for free markets, the founding of their beliefs on doctrines of natural rights and natural law, and the intellectual debt they owed to Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832). Some of their leading figures were Say, Charles Comte, Charles Dunoyer, Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850), Charles Coquelin, Joseph Garnier, Hippolyte Passy, Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912), and Léon Faucher.
Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) was one of the leading advocates of free markets and free trade in the mid-19 century. He was inspired by the activities of Richard Cobden and the organization of the Anti-Corn Law League in Britain in the 1840s and tried to mimic their success in France. Bastiat was an elected member of various French political bodies and opposed both protection and the rise of socialist ideas in these forums. His writings for a broader audience were very popular and were quickly translated and republished in the U.S. and throughout Europe. His incomplete magnum opus, Economic Harmonies, is full of insights into the operation of the market and is still of great interest to economists. He died at a young age from cancer of the throat. [The image comes from “The Warren J. Samuels Portrait Collection at Duke University.”]
Michel Chevalier (1806-87). Liberal economist and alumnus of the École polytechnique. Minister of Napoleon III. Initially a Saint-Simonist, he was imprisoned for two years (1832-33). After a trip to the United States, he published Lettres sur l’Amérique du Nord (1836), Histoire et description des voies de communications aux Etats-Unis et des travaux d’art qui en dependent (1840-41), and Cours d’économie politique (1845–55). He was appointed to the chair of political economy at the Collège de France in 1840 and became senator in 1860. He was an admirer of Bastiat and Cobden and played a decisive role in the treaty on free trade of 1860, between France and England (Chevalier was the signatory for France, while Cobden was the signatory for England).
Louis Wolowski (1810-76). Wolowski was a lawyer, politician, and economist of Polish origin. His interests lay in industrial and labor economics, free trade, and bimetallism. He was a professor of industrial law at the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers, a member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques from 1855, serving as its president in 1866-67, and member and president of the Société d’économie politique. His political career started in 1848, when he represented La Seine in the Constituent and Legislative Assemblies. During the 1848 revolution he was an ardent opponent of the socialist Louis Blanc and his plans for labor organization. Wolowski continued his career as a politician in the Third Republic, where he served as a member of the Assembly and took an interest in budgetary matters. He edited the Revue de droit français et etranger and wrote articles for the Journal des économistes. Among his books are Cours de législation industrielle. De l’organisation du travail (1844) and Études d’économie politique et de statistique (1848), La question des banques (1864), La Banque d’Angleterre et les banques d’Ecosse (1867), La liberté commerciale et les résultats du traité de commerce de 1860 (1869), and L’or et l’argent (1870).
Barthélémy-Pierre-Joseph-Charles Dunoyer (1786-1862). Dunoyer was a journalist; academic (a professor of political economy); politician; author of numerous works on politics, political economy, and history; a founding member of the Société d’ économie politique (1842); and a key figure in the French classical liberal movement of the first half of the nineteenth century, along with Jean-Baptiste Say, Benjamin Constant, Charles Comte, Augustin Thierry, and Alexis de Tocqueville. He collaborated with Comte on the journal Le Censeur and Le Censeur européen during the end of the Napoleonic empire and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. Dunoyer (and Comte), combined the political liberalism of Constant (constitutional limits on the power of the state, representative government), the economic liberalism of Say (laissez-faire, free trade), and the sociological approach to history of Thierry, Constant, and Say (class analysis, and a theory of historical evolution of society through stages culminating in the laissez-faire market society of “industry.” His major works include L’Industrie et la morale considérées dans leurs rapports avec la liberté (1825), Nouveau traité d’économie sociale (1830), and his three-volume magnum opus, De la liberté du travail (1845). After the revolution of 1830 Dunoyer was appointed a member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques, worked as a government official (he was prefect of L’Allier and La Somme), and eventually became a member of the Council of State in 1837. He resigned his government posts in protest against the coup d’état of Louis Napoléon in 1851. He died while writing a critique of the authoritarian Second Empire, which was completed and published by his son Anatole in 1864.
Pierre-Suzanne-Augustin, Baron Cochin (1823-1872) was a government official before being elected as assistant to the mayor and then mayor of the 10th Arrondisment of Paris. Cochin’s politics were that of liberal catholicism which led him to oppose the Second Empire of Louis Napoleon. He is best known for his 2 volume work urging the abolition of slavery which appeared in 1861. He was made a member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in 1864.
Maurice Monjean (1818-?). A member of the editorial board of the Journal des économistes from 1841 to 1845. He also edited Malthus’s Principles of Population and Definitions of Political Economy in the series Collection des principaux economists (1846).
Louis Reybaud (1798-1879). Reybaud was a businessman, journalist, novelist, fervent antisocialist, politician, and writer on economic and social issues. In 1846 he was elected deputy representing Marseilles but his strong opposition to Napoleon III and the empire forced him to retire to devote himself to political economy. He became a member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques in 1850. His writings include the prize-winning critique of socialists, Études sur les réformateurs et socialistes modernes: Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, Robert Owen (1840), the satirical novel Jérôme Paturot à la recherché d’une position sociale (1843), and Économistes contemporains (1861). Reybaud also wrote many articles for the Journal des économistes and the Dictionnaire de l’économie politique (1852).
François Guizot (1787-1874). Guizot’s career was that of a successful academic and politician which spanned many decades. He was born to a Protestant family in Nîmes, and his father was guillotined during the Terror. As a law student in Paris the young Guizot was a vocal opponent of the Napoleonic empire. After the restoration of the monarchy Guizot was part of the “doctrinaires,” a group of conservative and moderate liberals. He was professor of history at the Sorbonne from 1812 to 1830, publishing Essai sur l’histoire de France (1824), Histoire de la revolution d’Angleterre (1826–27), Histoire générale de la civilization en Europe (1828), and Historie de la civilization en France (1829-32). He was elected deputy in 1829 and became very active in French politics after the 1830 revolution, supporting constitutional monarchy and a limited franchise. He served as minister of the interior, then minister of education (1832-37), ambassador to England in 1840, then foreign minister and prime minister, becoming in practice the leader of the government from 1840 to 1848. He promoted peace abroad and liberal conservatism at home, but his regime, weakened by corruption and economic difficulties, collapsed with the monarchy in 1848. He retired to Normandy to spend the rest of his days writing history and his memoires such as Histoire parlementaire de France (1863–64) and Histoire des origines du gouvernement représentif en Europe (1851). Liberty Fund has republished the translation by Andrew Scoble (1861) The History of the Origins of Representative Government in Europe (2002).
For additional reading see the following in the Library:
In the Forum:
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 2 East India Co. - Nullification Chapter: LAW, Spoliation by
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The text is in the public domain.
LAW, Spoliation by. What is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right of legitimate defense. Every man certainly has received from nature, from God, the right to defend his person, his liberty and his property, since these are the three constitutive or conservative elements of life, elements which complement one another, and which can not be understood, one without the other. For what are our faculties but an extension of our personality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every man has the right to defend, even by force, his person, his liberty and his property, a number of men have the right to concert together, to agree and to organize a common force in order to provide regularly for this defense. The collective right has its principle, and its reason of being, and bases its legitimacy upon the individual right, and the common force can not legitimately have any other end or any other mission than the isolated forces for which it is substituted. Thus, as an individual can not legitimately make any forcible attempt against the person, liberty or property of another individual, so, for the same reason, a community can not legitimately make use of force to destroy the person, liberty or property of individuals or of classes. For this perversion of force would be, in the latter case, as well as in the former, in contradiction to our premises. Who will dare to say that we have been gifted with strength, not to defend our rights, but to destroy the equal rights of our fellow-men? And if this is not true of the force of each individual, when acting alone, how can it be true of the collective force, which is but the organized union of individual force? The following proposition, therefore, is a most plainly evident truth: law is the organization of the natural right of legitimate defense; it is the substitution of collective force for the force of individuals, to act in the circle in which these latter have the right to act, to do what these latter have the right to do, to guarantee life, liberty and property, to maintain every one in his rights, to mete out justice to all.
—Unfortunately, the law has not confined itself to playing its part. Nor has it erred simply by the adoption of neutral views or of views open to discussion. It has done worse than this; it has acted contrary to its end; it has destroyed the very object of its existence; it has endeavored to abolish that very justice whose reign it ought to inaugurate, to blot out that limitation of different rights which it was its mission to cause to be respected; it has put the force of the community at the service of those who wish to turn to their own advantage, without risk or scruple, the person, the liberty or the property of others; it has turned spoliation into a right, in order to protect it, and has made legitimate defense a crime, in order to punish it. How has this perversion of law been accomplished? What have been the consequences of it? Two very different causes have led to this perversion of law: ignorant egoism and false philanthropy. Let us consider the first of these causes.
—So truly are self-preservation and development the common aspiration of all men, that, if all enjoyed the free exercise of their faculties and the free disposal of their products, social progress would be incessant, uninterrupted and unfailing. But there is another disposition which all men possess in common. This is the disposition to live and develop, one at the expense of another. This is not a bold imputation, prompted by a peevish and croaking spirit. History bears testimony to its truth by the incessant wars, the migrations of nations, by priestly oppression, the universality of slavery, and the industrial frauds and monopolies with which its annals are filled. This unfortunate disposition springs from the very constitution of man, from that primitive, universal and invincible sentiment which impels him to seek happiness and fly from pain. Man can live and enjoy only by assimilation, by a perpetual appropriation, that is, by a perpetual application of his faculties to things, or by labor. This is the source of the right of property. But he may, in fact, live and enjoy by assimilating and appropriating to himself the product of his neighbor's faculties. Hence spoliation. Now, as labor is itself a pain, and man is naturally inclined to avoid pain, it follows, and history serves to prove it, that spoliation prevails wherever it is less burdensome than labor; and so prevails that neither religion nor morality is able to prevent it. When, therefore, may we expect an end of spoliation? When it becomes more burdensome and more dangerous than labor.
—It is very evident that the aim of the law should be to oppose the power of collective force to this lamentable tendency, and side with property against spoliation. But the law is generally made by a man or a class of men. And, as law can not exist without a sanction, without the support of a preponderating force, this force must of necessity be ultimately placed in the hands of those who make the laws. This inevitable phenomenon, and the unfortunate disposition which we have shown to exist in the heart of man, serve to explain the almost universal perversion of law. It may readily be conceived how, instead of acting as a restraint upon injustice, it becomes its most irresistible instrument. It may readily be conceived that, according to the power of the legislator, it destroys for his profit and in different degrees the personality of other men by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by spoliation. It is in the nature of man to rebel when made the victim of iniquity. When, therefore, spoliation is organized by law for the benefit of the lawmakers, all the classes despoiled endeavor, either by peaceful or by revolutionary means, to have some share in the making of the laws. These classes, according to the degree of enlightenment which they have reached, may be actuated by one of two very different motives in thus aiming to acquire their political rights: either they desire to put an end to legal spoliation, or they aspire to a share in it. Unhappy, thrice unhappy, the nations in which this latter thought prevails among the masses when they, in their turn, possess themselves of the legislative power:—Hitherto legal spoliation has been practiced by the few on the many, so that it was to be found only among nations in which the right to legislate was concentrated in the hands of a few men. But it has now become universal, and an equilibrium is sought for in universal spoliation! Instead of weeding out the injustice which society contained, men are making this injustice more general. As soon as the disinherited classes recover their political rights, the first thought which possesses them is, not to free themselves from spoliation, (this would suppose in them an enlightenment which they do not possess), but to organize against the other classes, and to their own detriment, a system of reprisals, as if such conduct must not, even before the beginning of the reign of justice, bring down a cruel retribution upon them all—on the one class because of their iniquity, and on the other because of their ignorance. It would be impossible to introduce a greater change or a greater misfortune than this conversion of the law into an instrument of spoliation. What are the consequences of such a disturbance? It would require volumes to describe them all. We shall merely indicate the most striking ones.
—First, it effaces from the conscience the idea of justice and injustice. No society can exist in which there is not some degree of respect for the laws; but the surest way to have the laws respected is to make them respectable. When the law and morality are opposed to each other, the citizen finds himself placed in the cruel alternative of sacrificing either his ideas of morality or his respect for the law: two evils, the one as great as the other, and between which it is difficult to choose. It is so much the nature of law to cause justice to reign, that law and justice are one and the same thing in the opinion of the masses. We are all strongly disposed to regard what is legal as legitimate, so much so that there are many who falsely derive all justice from law. It suffices, therefore, that the law ordains and sanctions spoliation to make it appear just and sacred to the consciences of many. Slavery, constraint and monopoly find defenders not only in those who profit by them, but also among those who suffer from them. If you undertake to propose any doubts as to the morality of these institutions, you will be called a dangerous innovator, a utopian, a theorist, a contemner of the laws; you will be told that you are disturbing the foundation upon which society rests. So that, if there exist a law which sanctions slavery or monopoly, oppression or spoliation under any form, it will not even be necessary to speak of it; for how shall we speak of it without lessening the respect which it inspires? Moreover, it will be necessary to teach morality and political economy in keeping with this law, that is, upon the supposition that whatever is law is, for that reason alone, just.
—Is there any need to prove that this odious perversion of law is a perpetual cause of hatred and discord, leading even to social disorganization? Let us look at the United States. Here, of all the countries of the world, the law most strictly adheres to its proper rôle, which is, to guarantee to every one his liberty and property. Hence it is, of all the countries of the world, that in which social order seems to rest upon the most solid basis. Still, in these United States, there are two questions, and only two, which have several times imperiled political order. And what are these two questions? Slavery and the tariff, that is to say, precisely the only two questions in which the law, contrary to the general spirit of this republic, assumed the character of a despoiler. Slavery is a violation of personal rights sanctioned by law. Protection is a violation of the right of property, perpetrated by law; and it is certainly very remarkable that, in the midst of so many other questions of debate, this double legal scourge, the sad heritage of the old world, is the only one that may possibly threaten to lead to the dissolution of the Union. In fact, we can not imagine any greater misfortune than the law made an instrument of injustice. And if this fact engendered such dreadful consequences in the United States, where it was only of exceptional occurrence, what must it not produce in Europe, where it is a principle and a system?—"We should make war upon socialism," said Montalembert, borrowing the thought of a famous proclamation of Carlier, "with law, honor and justice." But Montalembert fails to perceive that he places himself in a vicious circle. He would oppose law to socialism. But law is the very power which socialism appeals to. It does not aim at extra-legal but at legal spoliation. It pretends, like monopolists of every class, to use the law as an instrument to accomplish its ends; and once it has the law on its side, how can you turn the law against it? How can you try, convict or imprison its followers? You wish to exclude socialism from all share in the framing of the laws. You wish to keep it out of the legislative halls. I dare predict that you will never succeed in this so long as the laws enacted within these halls acknowledge the principle of legal spoliation. It is too unjust and too absurd.
—This question of legal spoliation must be solved, and there are only three solutions of it: Let the few despoil the many; let every man despoil every other man; let no one despoil any one. We must choose between partial spoliation, universal spoliation, and no spoliation; the law can achieve but one of these three results. Partial spoliation. This system prevailed as long as the right of election was partial, and men are returning to it in order to escape the invasion of socialism. Universal spoliation is the system with which France was threatened when the electoral right became universal; the masses conceived the idea of legislating upon the principle of the legislators who preceded them. No spoliation is the principle of peace, order, stability, reconciliation and good sense which I shall proclaim with all the strength of my poor lungs to my very last breath. And can we honestly ask anything more of the law? Can the law, which has force for its necessary sanction, be reasonably employed for any other purpose than to preserve every one in his rights? I defy any one to employ the law for any other purpose without perverting it, and consequently without turning force against right. And as this is the most lamentable and most illogical social disturbance that can be imagined, it will be well to recognize that the true solution of this social problem, so much sought after, is to be found in these simple words: Law is organized justice.
—Now, let us mark well that to organize justice by law, that is by force, excludes the idea of organizing by law or by force any manifestation whatever of human activity: labor, charity, agriculture, commerce, industry, education, the fine arts, or religion; for it is impossible for one of these secondary organizations not to destroy the essential organization. How, in fact, can we imagine force encroaching upon the liberty of citizens without assailing justice, without acting against its own end? I am now attacking the most popular prejudice of our time. This prejudice not only wishes the law to be just; it wishes it also to be philanthropic. It does not consider it sufficient that the law should guarantee each citizen the full and unrestricted exercise of his faculties applied to his physical, intellectual and moral development; it requires that the law directly diffuse prosperity, education and morality. This is the seductive side of socialism. The socialists say to us: since the law organizes justice, why should it not organize labor, education and religion? Why? Because it could not organize labor, education and religion without disorganizing justice. Notice, therefore, that law is force, and that consequently the domain of law can not legitimately go beyond the lawful domain of force. When law and force keep a man within the bounds of justice, they do not impose upon him anything but a negation. They merely require him to abstain from injuring others. They attack neither his person, his liberty, nor his property. They merely protect the person, liberty and property of others. They stand upon the defensive; they defend the equal right of all. They fulfill a mission, whose harmlessness is evident, whose utility is palpable, and whose lawfulness is incontestable. This is as true as if one of my friends were to observe to me that to say that the object of law is to cause justice to reign, is to use an expression which is not rigorously exact. We should say the object of law is to prevent injustice from reigning. In fact, justice has no existence of its own, it is injustice that exists. The one results from the absence of the other. But when the law—through the medium of its necessary agent, force—imposes a certain kind of labor, a method or manner of education, a form of faith or manner of worship, upon men, it does not act negatively, but positively. It substitutes the will of the legislator for their will, the initiative of the legislator for their initiative. They no longer have to reflect, compare or foresee; the law does all this for them. Their intelligence becomes a useless possession; they cease to be men; they lose their personality, their liberty and their property. Imagine, if you can, a form of labor imposed by force, which is not an attempt against liberty; a transfer of wealth imposed by force which is not an attempt against property. If you can not succeed in this, acknowledge that the law can not organize labor and industry without organizing injustice.
—When a publicist, from the seclusion of his study, allows his eyes to wander over society, he is struck by the spectacle of the inequality which presents itself to him. He groans over the sufferings which are the lot of so great a number of his brethren, sufferings, the sight of which is rendered still sadder by contrast with surrounding luxury and opulence. He should perhaps ask himself whether the cause of such a social state is not to be found in old spoliations, caused by conquest, and new spoliations caused by the laws. He should ask himself whether, with the aspiration of all men toward happiness and improvement, the reign of justice would not lead to the realization of the greatest activity of progress and the greatest amount of equality compatible with individual responsibility. But his thoughts do not rest here. They run on to combinations, arrangements and organizations, legal or factitious. He seeks the remedy for the evil in the perpetuation and exaggeration of the very thing which produced it. For, besides justice, which as we have seen is really nothing more than a negation, are there any of these legal arrangements which do not include the principle of spoliation?
—You say: "Here are men who have no wealth," and appeal to the law to correct the evil. Nothing enters into the public treasury for the benefit of a citizen or a class but what other citizens or other classes have been forced to put there. If each one is entitled only to draw from it merely the equivalent of what he has put in, your law, it is true, escapes the imputation of spoliation, but it does nothing for those men who hare no wealth, it does nothing for equality. It can not be an instrument of equalization unless it take from some to give to others, and then it becomes an instrument of spoliation. Examine, from this point of view, protective tariffs, subsidies, the right to a profit, the right to labor, the right to assistance, the right to education, progressive taxation, gratuitous credit, co-operative workshops, and you will always find, at the bottom, legal spoliation and organized injustice.
—You say: "Here are men who lack enlightenment," and you appeal to the law for them. But the law is not a torch that sheds its own light afar. It hovers over a society in which there are men who are educated and men who are not; citizens who need to be taught, and others who are able and willing to teach. The law must do one of two things: either it must leave matters of this kind to be performed with entire liberty, it must leave this kind of wants to be freely satisfied; or else it must exercise force over men's wills, and take from some wherewith to pay the professors who are engaged to teach others free of charge. But it can not prevent its conduct in this second case from being an attempt against liberty and property, or, in other words, legal spoliation—You say: "Here are men who are devoid of morality or religion," and appeal to the law. But the law is force, and can there be any need to remark how violent and foolish a proceeding it would be to invoke the aid of force in these matters?
—After all its systems and attempts, socialism seems unable to avoid perceiving the monstrosity of legal spoliation. But what does it do? It skillfully disguises it from all eyes, even from its own, under the seductive names of fraternity, solidarity, organization and association. And because we do not ask as much of the law, because we do not exact of it anything but justice, socialists suppose that we reject fraternity, solidarity, organization and association, and jeeringly style us individualists. Let us inform them, therefore, that it is not natural but forced organization that we reject; not free association, but the forms of association which socialism pretends to impose upon us; not spontaneous but legal fraternity; not providential but artificial solidarity, which is but an unjust displacement of responsibility.— Socialism, like the old political system from which it emanates, confounds government and society. And therefore it is, that whenever we do not want a thing done by the government, socialism concludes that we do not want it done at all. We reject education by the state; therefore we do not want education at all. We reject a state religion; therefore we reject all religion. We reject equalization by the state; therefore we do not desire equality, etc. It is as if our socialistic friends were to accuse us of not wishing men to eat, because we do not advocate the cultivation of wheat by the state. How has this whimsical idea been able to gain ground in the political world; this idea which would draw from the law what the law does not contain: good, in the positive sense, riches, science, and religion?
—Modern publicists, particularly those of the socialistic school, base their different theories upon one common hypothesis, truly the strangest and proudest hypothesis which could enter into a human brain. They divide mankind into two parts. All the human species, less one individual, form the first part, the publicist himself alone forms the second, and by far the most important part. In fact, they begin by supposing that men have within them neither a principle of action, nor a means of discernment; that they are devoid of initiative; that they are formed of inert matter, of passive molecules, of atoms lacking spontaneity, at most but a vegetation indifferent to its proper mode of existence, capable of receiving from the hand and will of another an infinite number of forms more or less symmetrical, artistic, and more or less perfect. Next, each of them supposes, without any ceremony whatever, that he himself under the names of organizer, revealer, legislator, teacher, or founder, is this will and this hand, this universum mobile, this creative power whose sublime mission it is to reunite in society these scattered human materials. Starting from these data, as each gardener trims his trees according to his fancy, in the shape of pyramids, umbrellas, cubes, vases, fruits, distaffs and fans; so every socialist, according to his whim, trims poor humanity in groups, series, centres, subcentres, alveoles, social workshops, harmonic societies, etc., etc. And, just as the gardener has need of hatchets, saws, pruning knives and scissors to regulate the height of his trees, so the publicist, in order to manage his society, needs forces which he can find only in laws: the customs laws, the laws regulating taxes, public charity and education. The socialists, it is true, consider humanity as material for social combinations, so that, if by chance they are not very sure of the success of these combinations, they claim at least a certain portion of mankind as material for experimentation. It is well known how popular the idea of trying all systems is among them, and one of their leaders even went so far as to ask of the French constituent assembly, in all earnestness, a commune and all its inhabitants to try his system on. It is thus every inventor makes his invention in miniature before making it of full size. It is thus the chemist sacrifices certain re-agents, or the farmer sacrifices some seed and a corner of his field in order to test an idea. But what an incommensurable distance between the gardener and his trees, between the inventor and his invention, between the chemist and his re-agents, between the farmer and his seed! The socialist believes in good faith that the same distance separates him from humanity.
—We need not wonder that the publicists of the nineteenth century consider society as an artificial creation, the work of the legislator's genius. This idea, the result of classical education, has swayed all the deep thinkers and all the great writers of France. All of them find between humanity and the legislator the same relations which exist between the clay and the potter. To show how universal this strange disposition of minds has been in France, I should have to copy all of Mably, all of Raynal, all of Rousseau, all of Fénelon, and extensive extracts from Bossuet and Montesquieu. I should, besides, have to reproduce in full the proceedings of the various sittings of the convention. This task I shall leave for my reader to undertake.
—One of the strangest phenomena of our times, and one which will, probably, very greatly astonish our grandchildren, is, that the doctrine which is based upon the triple hypothesis of the radical inertness of mankind, the impotence of the law, and the infallibility of the legislator, is the creed of the party that proclaims itself exclusively democratic. It likewise styles itself social. Inasmuch as it is democratic, it has an unlimited faith in humanity. By its socialism it drags humanity into the mire.
—If it be a question of political rights, or of driving out the legislator: oh! then, according to this socialistic doctrine, the people are possessed of infused science, and endowed with admirable tact; their will is always right, the popular will can never err. Suffrage can not be too universal. No one owes society any guarantee. The will and the capacity to choose wisely are always supposed. Can the people be deceived? Are we not in the age of enlightenment? Shall the people remain forever in tutelage? Have they not acquired their rights by their own labors and sacrifices? Have they not given sufficient proofs of their intelligence and wisdom? Have they not reached their maturity? Are they not capable of judging for themselves? Do they not know their own interests? Will any man or class of men dare claim the right of putting himself in the people's place, and of deciding and acting for them? No; the people wish to be and shall be free. They wish to direct their own affairs, and they shall direct them. But the election once over, their tone changes completely. The nation returns to a passive, inert state; to nothingness, in fact; and the legislator assumes omnipotent sway. To him belong invention, direction, power and organization. Mankind have now nothing to do but to let things take their course; the hour of despotism has arrived. And bear in mind that all this is fatal; for the people, who were but a short time ago so enlightened, so moral, so perfect, have no longer any tendencies, or, if they have any, they all drag them toward degradation. They might be allowed a little liberty; but do you not know that, according to Considérant, liberty fatally leads to monopoly? Do you not know that liberty means competition, and that competition, according to Louis Blanc, is a system of extermination for the people and a cause of ruin to the middle class? It is for this reason that the more freedom nations enjoy the more complete is their extermination and ruin: witness Switzerland, Holland, England and the United States! Do you not know that, according to Louis Blanc, competition invariably leads to monopoly, and that, by the same course of reasoning, cheapness leads to exorbitant prices; that competition tends to exhaust the sources of consumption and forces production to an unnatural activity; that competition compels the increase of production and the decrease of consumption? Whence it follows that free nations produce more than can be consumed, that they are at the same time given over to oppression and madness, and that it is absolutely necessary that Louis Blanc have a hand in their government! What liberty can men be allowed to enjoy? Will you give them liberty of conscience? You will soon see them all availing themselves of the permission to become atheists. Liberty of education? But parents will very soon be paying professors to teach their children immorality and error; moreover, if we may believe M. Thiers, if education were left to national liberty, it would cease to be national, and we would bring up our children more after the manner of the Turks or Hindoos, than according to the noble ideas of the Romans, as is now the case. Freedom of labor? Why, freedom of labor means competition, and the result of competition is to leave all products unconsumed, to work the destruction of the people, and to ruin the middle class. Liberty of exchange? But it is a well-known fact that the protectionists have demonstrated to satiety that free exchange is ruinous, and that in order to grow wealthy by means of exchange, a man must exchange without freedom. Freedom of association? But according to the socialistic doctrine, liberty and association are exclusive, one of the other, since the attempt to deprive men of their liberty is merely to force them to association.
—Hence it is evident that socialistic democrats can not, in conscience, leave men any liberty, since of their very nature, if these gentlemen do not regulate them, they tend to every species of degradation and demoralization. This being the case, we are at a loss to divine on what ground they can so persistently demand, for these same men, universal suffrage. The pretensions of our socialistic organizers give rise to another question which I have often addressed to them, and to which, as far as I know, they have never offered any reply. Since the natural tendencies of mankind are so evil as to justify their being denied their liberty, how does it come to pass that the tendencies of the organizers are good? Do not legislators and their agents form part of the human race? Are they made of a different clay from the rest of mankind? They say that society, if left to itself, runs headlong to ruin, because its instincts are perverse. They claim for themselves the credit of arresting it in this downward course and guiding it in a better direction. Have they then received from heaven intelligence and virtues which place them outside of and above humanity? If so, let them show their credentials. They wish to be the shepherds, while we constitute their flock. This arrangement presupposes in them a superior nature, of which, before admitting it, we have very good right to demand the proof. We do not by any means deny them the right of inventing social combinations, of urging and extending their adoption, and of testing them upon themselves at their own expense and risk; we merely deny their right to impose these combinations upon us by means of the law, that is to say, by means of force, and of public contributions.
—We ask the Cabetists, Fourierists, Proudhonions and the protectionists to renounce, not their special ideas, but the idea, common to all of them, of forcibly subjecting us to their groups and series, their co-operative workshops, their banks to loan money without interest, their Græco-Roman morality, and their commercial restraints. All that we ask is, that they allow us the right to judge of their plans for ourselves, and to decline to take any part in them, either directly or indirectly, if we find that they are prejudicial to our interests or repugnant to our consciences. For to pretend to call in the aid of power and taxation, besides being an act of oppression and spoliation, implies, moreover, the injurious hypothesis of the infallibility of the organizer and the incompetency of mankind. And if humanity is incompetent to judge for itself, why do they talk to us of universal suffrage? This contradiction in their ideas has unfortunately been reproduced in historical facts, and, while the French people have surpassed all others in the achievement of their rights, or rather of their political guarantees, they have nevertheless been more ruled, more managed, more governed, more imposed upon, more trammeled, and been made the subject of more experiments, than any other nation on the face of the earth. They are also more exposed to revolutions than any other nation, as they most naturally would be under such circumstances.
—Once we adopt this idea, admitted by all French publicists, and which is so forcibly expressed by Louis Blanc when he says, "society receives its impulse from power"; once men consider themselves as sentient but passive beings, incapable of raising themselves by their own knowledge and their own energy to any moral height or to any condition of prosperity, and compelled to expect everything of the law; in a word, when they admit that their relations to the state are those of a flock to its shepherd, it is evident that the responsibility of the governing power is immense. Good and evil, virtue and vice, equality and inequality, wealth and misery, all flow from it. It is intrusted with everything, it undertakes everything, it does everything; it is therefore responsible for everything. If we are happy, it, with justice, demands our acknowledgment, but if we are wretched, we have no other recourse than this same governing power. Does it not, in principle, dispose of our persons and our goods? Is not the law omnipotent? In creating the university monopoly in France it has endeavored to respond to the hopes of the fathers of families, who have been deprived of their liberty; and if these hopes are deceived, whose fault is it? In regulating industry, it has undertaken to make it prosper, otherwise it would have been absurd to deprive it of its liberty; and if industry suffers, whose fault is it? In undertaking to regulate the balance of trade by means of the tariff, it has endeavored to bring about commercial prosperity; and if commerce, far from prospering, is really languishing, whose fault is it? In extending its protection to maritime armaments, in exchange for their liberty, it has endeavored to make them a source of income to the state; and if they are in reality a burden, whose fault is it? Thus there is not a single evil in the nation for which the government has not voluntarily rendered itself responsible. Is there any reason to wonder that suffering of every kind is a cause of revolution?
—And what is the remedy which our socialistic teachers propose? To extend the domain of the law, that is to say, the responsibility of the government, indefinitely. But if the government undertake to raise and to regulate salaries, and is unable to do it; if it undertake to assist all the unfortunate, and can not do it; if it undertake to furnish shelter to all working men, and can not do it; if it undertake to furnish tools to all mechanics, and can not do it; if it undertake to offer gratuitous credit to all who are in want, and can not do it; if, according to the words which we regret to acknowledge have flowed from the pen of de Lamartine, "the state takes upon itself the mission of enlightening, developing, fortifying, spiritualizing and sanctifying the souls of the people," and fails to fulfill it, is it not evidently more than probable that each of these deceptions must lead to an inevitable revolution?
—I now resume my thesis. Directly after the consideration of economic science, and at the very opening of the subject of political science, there arise the questions. What is law? what should it be? what is its domain? what are its limits? and, consequently. what is the limit of the legislator's power? I reply, without hesitation: Law is the common force organized to oppose injustice; to be brief, Law is justice. It is not true that the legislator has absolute power over our persons and property, since they antedate his elevation to power, and his duty is to strengthen them by every possible guarantee. It is not true that the mission of the law is to direct our consciences, our ideas, our wills, our education, our sentiments, our labors, our exchanges, our gifts, and our enjoyments. Its mission is to prevent one individual from usurping the rights of another in these matters. Law, since it has force for its necessary sanction, can not have any other legitimate domain than the legitimate domain of force, that is, justice. And, as each individual has not the right to resort to force except in case of legitimate defense, collective force, which is nothing more than the union of individual forces, naturally should not be applied to any other end. Law is, therefore, merely the organization of the right pre-existing in each individual, of legitimate self-defense.
—Law is justice. So utterly false is the opinion that it can oppress persons, or despoil them of their property, even for a philanthropic purpose, that its mission is to protect them. To say that the law can be at least philanthropic, provided it abstain from all oppression and all spoliation, involves a contradiction. Law can not avoid acting upon our persons and our goods; if it does not protect them, it violates them by the very fact that it acts, from the very fact that it exists.
—Law is justice. This is perfectly clear, simple, definite and defined, intelligible to every intellect, visible to every eye; for justice is a fixed, unalterable quantity, which does not admit of more or less. But once make religious, fraternal, leveling, philanthropic, industrial, literary or artistic laws, and you forthwith cast yourself into the infinite, the uncertain, the unknown; into an enforced utopia, or, what is worse, into a multitude of utopias, vying with each other to take possession of the law and to impose themselves in its place; for fraternity and philanthropy have not, like justice, fixed limits. Where will you stop? Where will the law stop? Some, like de Saint-Cricq, will extend their philanthropy only to certain industrial classes, and will demand of the law that it dispose of the consumers in favor of the producers. Others, with Considérant, will champion the cause of the laboring classes, and demand of the law for them, an assured minimum of wages, clothing, lodging, food, and all the necessaries of life. A third will say, with Louis Blanc, and justly, that this is but a rude and incomplete brotherhood, and that the law should supply every one with the implements of labor and education. A fourth will tell you that even such an arrangement leaves room for inequality, and that the law should introduce into the most remote hamlets luxury, literature and the arts. You will thus find yourself led to communism, or rather legislation will be—as it is already—the battlefield of every idle dream and of every covetous fancy.
—Law is justice. When I say this, I refer to a simple and steady government. And I defy any one to show me what could give rise to the thought of a revolution, an insurrection, or a simple riot against a public force which confines itself to the repression of injustice. Under such a government there would be more prosperity, and prosperity would be more equally distributed; and as to the ills which are inseparable from human nature, no one would think of laying them to the charge of the government, which would have no more to do with them than with the changes in the temperature. Has any one ever seen the people inaugurate an insurrection against the court of appeal, or break into the sanctuary of a justice of the peace to demand the minimum of wages, gratuitous loans, implements of labor, tariff favors, or community of labor? They know full well that these combinations are beyond the power of the judge, and they understand likewise that they are beyond the power of the law. But establish the law upon the principle of fraternity, proclaim that good and evil flow from it, that it is responsible for all individual suffering, and all social inequality, and you open the door to an endless series of complaints, animosities, troubles and revolutions.
—Law is justice. And it would be very strange if it could with equity be anything else. Is not justice right? Are not all rights equal? How then could the law interpose to subject me to the social plans of Mimerel, Melun, Thiers, or Louis Blanc, any more than to subject these gentlemen to my plans? Do you not believe that I have received from nature sufficient imagination to invent a utopia also? Is it the duty of the law to choose between so many chimeras and to place the public force at the service of one of them?
—Law is justice. Let no one say, as is said incessantly, that the law thus conceived, atheistical, individualistic and heartless, should model humanity after its own image. This is an absurd deduction well worthy of the governmental infatuation which sees humanity in the law. What! Must we cease to act because we are free? Must we be deprived of all power because we do not receive our power from the law? Must our faculties remain inert because the law confines itself to guaranteeing us the free exercise of these faculties? Must we forthwith abandon ourselves to atheism, isolation, ignorance, misery and egoism, because the law does not impose upon us any form of religion, method of association or system of education, or does not establish any process of labor, rule of exchange, or plan of bestowing charity? Must we, on this account, no longer recognize the power and goodness of God, or refuse to associate together, to aid one another, to aid our brethren in distress, to study the secrets of nature, and to aspire to the perfecting of our being?
—Law is justice. And under the law of justice, under the rule of right, under the influence of liberty, security, stability and responsibility each man will obtain his full value, and assert the full dignity of his being, and mankind will reach in a calm and orderly manner, slowly but surely, the degree of progress which it is destined to acquire.
—It seems to me as though the theory were my own; for, whatever question I submit to my reason, whether it be religious, philosophic, political or economic; whether it refer to prosperity, morality, equality, right, justice, progress, responsibility, solidarity, property, labor, exchange, capital, wages, taxes, population, credit, or government; whatever point of the scientific horizon I take for the point of departure of my researches. I invariably end with this the solution of the social problem is to be found in liberty. And am I not borne out in my conclusion by experience? Cast your eyes over the globe. Which are the happiest, the most moral and the most peaceable nations? Those in which the law least interferes with the private activity of the citizens; those in which the government least makes itself felt; those in which individuality has the greatest sway, and public opinion the most influence; those in which the administrative machinery is least complicated; in which the taxes are lightest and most equally levied; in which popular discontents are most rare and have least occasion for their existence; those in which the responsibility of individuals and classes is most active, and where, in consequence, if morals are not perfect, they irresistibly tend to right themselves; those in which business transactions, agreements and associations are least trammeled; those in which labor, capital and the population experience fewest artificial obstacles; those in which men best follow their natural talent, and the thought of God prevails most over the inventions of men; those, in a word, which approach nearest to this solution: Within the bounds of right, everything by the free and perfectible spontaneity of man; nothing by law or force but universal justice.
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 3 Oath - Zollverein Chapter: PLENTY AND DEARTH.
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PLENTY AND DEARTH. Political economy, in so far as it is an exposition of principles and facts, is a vast and noble science, searching into the affairs of the social mechanism and the functions of each of the parts composing those animate and marvelous organizations called human societies. It studies the general laws in accordance with which the human race increases in numbers, wealth, intelligence and morality; and yet, recognizing a social as well as a personal freedom of will, it shows how the laws of Providence may be misunderstood and set at naught, what a terrible responsibility there is on those who tamper with them, and how, as the result of so doing, civilization may be checked, impeded, driven back, and stifled for a long time.
—Incredible as it may seem, this science, so vast and lofty as an exposition of principles and facts, is, when controverted and compelled to become polemical, nearly reduced to the ungrateful task of demonstrating the proposition, almost childish in its simplicity, that "Plenty is better than dearth": because, looked at closely, it will be seen that the greater number of the objections to, and doubts concerning, political economy, involve the principle that dearth or scarcity is preferable to plenty, which is the real meaning to be deduced from the phrases, once and in part still so popular, such as "Production is excessive," "We are being destroyed by plethora," "All the markets are overstocked, and every business and profession is overcrowded." "The capacity to consume can no longer keep pace with the power to produce," etc.
—These ideas, too, are not confined to any class. One man opposes the use of machines on the ground that those triumphs of human ingenuity multiply indefinitely the power of production. What does he fear? Abundance. A second favors protection, lamenting the liberality of nature's gifts to other lands, dreading that through the influence of free trade his own should share it, and thinking that were it to do so it would be afflicted by the scourge of the invasion and inundation of foreign products. What does he fear? Abundance. Statesmen, even, are not free from the hallucination, though they fear abundance for a different reason. Their dread is, that the masses, as the result of being too well off, will become revolutionary and seditious, and as a means of repressing them, they look to heavy taxation, vast armies, a lavish expenditure, and a powerful aristocracy charged with the task of remedying by its pomp and profusion the intrusive abundance of human industry. What do such statesmen fear? Abundance. Finally, we have logicians who, disdaining all by-paths, go straight to the point, and advise periodical destruction of large cities by fire or otherwise, that labor may have the opportunity to rebuild them. What do they fear? Abundance.
—It seems impossible that such ideas should come into the minds of men, and sometimes even prevail, not in the personal practice of men, but in their theories and in their legislation. For, if there be anything evidently true, it is this, that, so far at least as useful articles are concerned, it is better to have than to be without them; and if it is incontestable that plenty is an evil when it exists in things that are mischievous, destructive and troublesome, such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, vermin, vices and malarial vapors, it must be equally true that it is a blessing as regards things which meet wants and satisfy desires; things which man seeks, strives for, with the sweat of his brow; things which he is willing to buy by work or exchange, and which possess a real value, such as food, clothing, shelter, works of art, means of locomotion, of communication, of instruction, and of amusement; in a word, all that political economy busies itself with.
—If it be desired to compare the civilization of two peoples, or of two ages, statistics are appealed to, to inform us which had, in proportion to its population, most means of subsistence, the greatest returns in agricultural products, in industries or art, most roads, most canals, most libraries and museums; and the question is settled in accordance with the comparative activity of consumption, that is to say, by plenty or abundance.
—It may, perhaps, be said that it is not sufficient for products to be abundant; that it is further necessary that they be equitably distributed. There is nothing truer than this, but questions must not be confounded. When we defend abundance, and our opponents decry it, we both take as understood the words cœteris paribus, all else being equal; that is, equity of distribution is presupposed.
—Further, it must be observed, that abundance is in itself the cause of proper distribution. The more abundant anything is, the less value it possesses; the less its value, the more it is within the reach of every one, the more men are on an equality with regard to it. We are all equal in respect to the air, because it exists relatively to our needs and wants in in-exhaustible abundance; we are a little less equal in regard to water, because being less plentiful, it possesses a certain value; still less so with regard to wheat, delicate fruits, early vegetables, rarities, their benefit becoming confined to fewer, in an inverse ratio to their abundance.
—It may be added, to satisfy the sentimental scruples of our times, that plenty is not a merely material good. Wants arise among men in regular order; they are not all equally pressing, and it may be said that their order of priority is not the order of dignity. The coarser wants must first be appeased, because their satisfaction involves our existence, and because, as rhetoricians say, "Before living worthily, we must live somehow." Primo vivere, deinde philosophari.
—Hence it follows, that it is the abundance of the things necessary for the supply of the commonest wants which permits man more and more to spiritualize his enjoyments, and to raise himself into the region of the true and the beautiful. He can only devote to the perfecting of form, to the cultivation of art, or to the investigations of thought, the time and the energies which, as a consequence of progress are no longer absorbed by the demands of his animal existence. Abundance, the result of long labor and patient economy, can not be universal at the first formation of society, nor can it, at the same time, exist as to all possible products, but it follows a regular order, commencing with the material wants, and ending with the spiritual. Unhappy the nations when external forces, such as governments, violently invert this natural sequence, substitute for desires—coarse, it is true, but imperious—others of a loftier nature, prematurely awakened, change the natural direction of labor, and disturb the equilibrium between wants and the means of satisfying them, an equilibrium which is the cause of all social stability.
—Moreover, were abundance a scourge, it would be as strange as unfortunate, for easy as the remedy is (what is easier than to abstain from producing, or to destroy?) no one is willing to adopt it. It is in vain that people inveigh against plenty, superabundance, plethora; it is in vain that they enunciate the theory of restricted supply, that they obtain for it the support of the law, that they proscribe machinery, that they disturb, interfere with and impede commerce; all this keeps no one from working to acquire abundance. On all the earth not a man is to be met with whose practice is not a perpetual protest against these vain theories; not one is to be found whose sole endeavor is not to make the most of his powers, to foster them, to husband them, and to increase their productive capability by the co-operation of natural forces; not one who decries freedom in trade, but who acts on this principle (however eager he may be to deny others the same privilege): to buy in cheapest market, and to sell in the dearest; so much so, that the theory of a restricted supply, which is so common in books, in the newspapers, in conversation, in parliament, and by the way in laws, is negatived and stultified by the actions of every individual without exception, composing the human race, which is the most incontrovertible refutation the mind can well imagine.
—But if abundance is better than scarcity, how does it happen that men, after having virtually decided in favor of abundance by their action, by their labor, and their commerce, constitute themselves theoretically the champions of restriction, to such an extent that they bring popular opinion to that view, and are the originators of all sorts of restrictive and illiberal laws? This it remains for us to explain. At bottom, what we are all aiming at is, that each of our efforts should realize for us the greatest possible amount of benefit. If we were not by nature sociable, if we lived in individual isolation, we could know one rule only for attaining this object, to work more and better, which implies progressive abundance. But, by means of exchange and its consequence, the division of labor, it is not directly to ourselves but to others that we consecrate our labor, our efforts, our productions and our services. Hence it follows, that without losing sight of the rule, produce more, we have another always present to our minds, produce more value; for on that depends the amount of remuneration which we shall receive for our services. Now, to produce more, and to produce more value, are by no means one and the same thing. It is manifest that if by force or stratagem we succeed in making greatly scarcer the special service or product which constitutes our occupation, we would grow richer without adding to our labor either in quantity or quality. Suppose, for example, a shoemaker could, by a mere effort of will, cause the sudden annihilation of all the shoes in the world, excepting only those in his own shop; or strike with paralysis every one who knew how to use the shoemaker's tools, he would become a Crœsus; his lot would be improved, not together with the general lot of mankind, but in an inverse ratio to the prosperity of all. This is the whole secret of the theory of a scarcity as it shows itself in restrictions, monopolies and privileges. It only veils, by the use of scientific language, that selfish sentiment which finds a place deep in the hearts of all: competitors annoy me.
—When any product is brought to market, there are two circumstances which tend equally to enhance its value: first, that there is in the market a great abundance of articles for which it may be exchanged, that is, a great abundance of everything; and second, a great scarcity of articles of the same product. Now, neither of ourselves nor through the intervention of laws and public power, are we able to influence in the least the first of these circumstances. Unfortunately universal plenty can not be produced by act of parliament; it must be obtained in some other way; legislators, customs officials and restriction can do nothing toward it. If, then, we wish artificially to raise the value of any article, we must bring our energies to bear on the other element in its value. Here individual effort is not quite so powerless. With laws ad hoc, an arbitrary use of power, bayonets, chains and fetters, punishment and persecution, it is not impossible to drive out competition, and to create that scarcity and artificial increase in value which is desired. This being the condition of things, it is easy to understand what not only can but must happen in an age of ignorance, of barbarism, and of unrestrained greed. Every one turns to the legislature and through its intervention to public force, demanding of it the artificial creation, by all the means at its disposal, of a scarcity in the article he produces. The farmer demands scarcity of corn, the cattle raiser of cattle, the iron master of iron, the colonist of sugar, the cloth manufacturer of cloth, etc., etc. Each one gives the same reasons for his demand, and the result is a body of doctrine which may be called, the theory of scarcity, and public force employs fire and sword to secure its triumph.
—But, leaving the masses thus forced to undergo the regimen of universal dearth, it is easy to comprehend what a labyrinth the inventors of this scheme get involved in, and what a terrible retribution awaits their unscrupulous rapacity. It has been shown that as regards each special production there are two elements of value: first, the scarcity of similar articles; and, second, the abundance of all which are not similar. Now, we call special attention to this: by the very fact that the government, the slave of individual selfishness, endeavors to realize the first of these elements of value, it destroys the second. It has satisfied in succession the wishes of the farmer, the cattle raiser, the iron master, the manufacturer, the colonist, by artificially producing a scarcity of corn, or meat, of iron, of cloth, or of sugar, but what is that but destroying that general abundance which is the second condition of value in each separate product. Thus, after having submitted the community to actual privation, which scarcity implies, it is discovered that it has not succeeded in catching this shadow, in laying this spectre, in raising this nominal value, because by just so much as the scarcity of the article in question operates in its favor, in the same way the scarcity of others neutralizes it. Is it, then, so hard to understand that the shoemaker, of whom we spoke above, should he succeed in destroying, by a simple wish, all the shoes in existence except those made by himself, would find himself no better off, even from the ridiculous point of view of nominal value, if at the same time, every other thing against which shoes can be exchanged became proportionately scarce? The only change would be, that every man, our shoemaker included, would be worse shod, worse clothed, worse fed, and worse lodged, even if products maintained toward each other the same relative value.
—It is necessarily so. What would become of society, if injustice, oppression, egotism, greed and ignorance brought no punishment with them? Luckily, it is not possible for a few men, without its recoiling on themselves, to turn public force and the apparatus of government to the profit of prohibitive legislation, and to check the universal impulse of humanity toward abundance.
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 2 East India Co. - Nullification Chapter: MEXICO
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MEXICO forms a triangle whose apex pointing southeast terminates the North American continent. It reaches to that ridge, 1,428 miles long, known as the isthmus of Panama; and includes the most northerly of the passes which exist in that immense embankment and offer a means of passage between the two oceans which wash the shores of the new world, namely, the pass called after Tehuantepec, a town on the Pacific coast. Mexico, however, extends beyond the pass or the isthmus of Tehuantepec; the peninsula of Yucatan, which is farther south, belongs to it also, thus making it contiguous to Central America, which is composed of five independent states, the most important being Guatemala, and of the English colony of Balize. Mexico, then, chiefly extends lengthwise in an oblique direction from 15° to 33° north latitude, lying southeast to northwest, from Cape Catoche in Yucatan to the bay of San Diego in the peninsula of California, a distance of not less than 1,863 miles. Its narrowest part is the isthmus of Tehuantepec, where the width in a direct line is only 136 miles: from Vera Cruz to Acapulco through Mexico, which is indirect, is 341 miles. Farther north, from the mouth of the Rio Bravo del Norte to the anchorage off the town of Sinalos, following the line of latitude, is a distance of 683 miles.
—Mexico, since the diminution it suffered at the hands of the United States, possesses a superficial area of 743,948 English square miles, less than half its size when ruled by Spain, and is about three and a half times as large as France. The greater part, as is shown by the preceding data, is in the torrid zone, the populated portion being almost entirely so. Northward the race of peaceable Indians, who by learning to work and embracing Christianity have entered the pale of civilization, disappear; and the population of European origin, although the more numerous, is scanty. Its increase is hindered by the incursions of savage Indians who are opposed to labor, and in particular those of the Apache nation, with regard to whom the United States, deeming them incapable of being improved, now openly pursues a policy of extermination.
— The Climate of Mexico and the Productions it favors. By its peculiar configuration Mexico is spared the disadvantages common to tropical countries. That portion of the earth's surface which bears the name of the torrid zone is in general unsuited to white men on account of its extreme heat, but even there the warmth of the sun may be modified by the elevation, that is to say, by the height of the land above the sea level. As the altitude increases, the temperature lowers, till at last, even at the equator, the limit of perpetual snow is reached. The greater part of intertropical Mexico forms a high table land, having a gradual slope on the one side to the Atlantic and on the other to the Pacific, intersected by valleys more or less deep, and studded with mountains and hills. This Mexican plateau enjoys many advantages, among which one in particular is worthy of note, that with the exception of a few isolated summits here and there, its elevation makes it admirably adapted to Europeans, and well suited to the cultivation of the products of the temperate zone, such as cereals, maize, the vine and the olive. On entering Mexico from the south, the central Cordillera of the Andes, which traverse the new world throughout all its length as though they were its spine, spreads out until it occupies almost the entire space between the two oceans; forming a plateau raised above the sea level to a height which, a little north of the isthmus of Tehuantepec, is about 4,900 feet, while at Pueblo, Mexico and Guanaxuato, it varies from 6,800 feet to 7,500 feet. Farther north the elevation is less than at Mexico.
—The city of Mexico is built at the foot of two mountains, both covered with perpetual snow, Popocatepetl and Istaccihuatl, the former of which is 17,800 feet high. Setting aside these formidable earth masses and a few others distributed over the plateau, the high districts are for the most part a sort of plain stretching far into the north; the distance this table land extends, from north to south, is at least 1,500 miles, that is, about the distance between Paris and St. Petersburg.
—On leaving the shores of the ocean, whether it be the Atlantic or the Pacific, and going toward the high lands, owing to the rapid change of elevation, a quick succession of different climates is encountered, each having its own distinct vegetation. With good means of communication, it would be possible to go in one day, from sunrise to sunset, from the coast plains, where the heat is suffocating, to a temperature resembling that of Montpellier or Toulouse. At each step, the face of the country, the look of the sky, the appearance of the animals and plants, the manners and occupations of the people, all change. First, the sugar cane is met with, in company with indigo, cacao trees and bananas; then comes the coffee shrub, and in succession the cotton plant, oranges, tobacco, olives, wheat and vines, together with many plants peculiar to the country, such as the liana whose fruit is vanilla, the beautiful plant (genus convolvulus) whose root makes jalap, the smilax whose root is sarsaparilla, and the cactus (opuntia) the food of the cochineal insect. On first starting, palms, and all those vigorous trees which in equatorial regions spring up along the seacoast, form the surroundings; in the intermediate region, say about the elevation of Xalapa, the trees have that beautiful, bright green foliage, like that of the liquidambar, which is a certain indication of a country plentifully watered by rivers or by the clouds, and the temperature of which is always moderate; they are succeeded by the oaks, which in turn give way to pines and firs, and lastly the firs remain alone as they do amid the crags of the Alps; the last remnants of vegetation are the lichens which only disappear when the perpetual snow line is reached. Maize thrives in every region.
—Sugar planting is as profitable in Mexico as it is in the Antilles; cotton is of excellent quality, and the yield is abundant. Maize produces in a good locality and in a favorable season 800 grains for one. The wheat-growing country in the neighborhood of Puebla and of Toluca, notwithstanding that the farming is of the most primitive description, produces twenty-four or twenty-five grains for one. The banana or plantain is one of the staple food sources of Mexico, and it is well known that no other food plant needs so little attention or in proportion produces, even approximately, so much.
—It is customary to divide Mexico into three parts, according to climate and productions, giving to each a characteristic name. The first division, which commences at the seacoast, is distinguished by luxuriant vegetation and excessive heat. Unfortunately many parts of it are devastated by yellow fever, a disease deadly to strangers and even to the Mexicans if from the plateau. It bears the name of the hot district (tierra caliente). Next in order is the temperate district (tierra templada), the climate of which is a perpetual spring. Xalapa and Orizaba are examples of this delightful country, which has a mean annual temperature of from 18° to 20° centigrade, and the thermometric variation in the different seasons is very slight. It is not only free from the overheated atmosphere and malarial exhalations of the seacoast, but also from the insects, both trouble-some and dangerous, which swarm to the torment of mankind over a great part of the hot district. The third and last zone, the cold district (tierra fria) is the most extensive. It includes the entire plateau, and even those parts of the two inclined planes immediately adjacent to it. It is almost universally agreeable to live in, and the inhabitant of the choicest spots in Europe might almost believe himself at home there.
—The Mineral Wealth of Mexico. Mexico is naturally wealthy in minerals, and especially so in the precious metals, of which silver is the more abundant. The mines form a line 1,863 miles in length, reaching to the very north of Mexico, and taking a direction from southeast to northwest. They are the result of one of those tremendous upheavals which have set their mark on the successive periods of this planet's existence. The matrix is in veins, principally consisting of quartz, through which the silver is scattered in very small quantity, so much so that after the separation of the waste from the workable ore, the latter only yields the two or three thousandth part of its weight in metal, sometimes even less, and it is only the extreme abundance of the ore which compensates for its lack of richness. In northern Mexico, and especially on the Pacific coast, the traveler may see long lines of rocks cropping out, these being the quartz veins, the hardness and durability of whose substance has resisted all climatic influences. The number of argentiferous veins is practically unlimited, and their thickness is considerable, therein differing from the silver veins of the old world. Although Mexico has produced a great quantity of silver, it has been a mere sample of the metallic wealth of the country; an opinion which, expressed by the great Humboldt in the beginning of the century, has since been confirmed by every engineer and scientific man who has visited the country. The principal prospecting has been done in the neighborhood of the beautiful city of Guanaxuato, round about Zacatecas, farther north still at Guadalupe y Calvo, and in the opposite direction at Real del Monte. By an ingenious process, the invention of a sixteenth century miner, Bartholomew Medina, the silver is separated almost without the use of fuel from the different and often complex combinations in which it is found, the agent used, with a few other substances of less value, being mercury in the proportion of three pounds of it to two of silver. This process, called cold amalgamation, is of great value, because the country, sparsely wooded in the time of the Aztecs, was completely denuded of its forests by the Spaniards. Medina's process quickly spread from Mexico to all the other Spanish possessions in America, where it rendered the same services and is in use still.
—Gold is found in Mexico for the most part in combination with silver, in a proportion small in weight but of considerable value, the value of gold being fifteen or sixteen times that of an equal weight of silver. The gold is removed from the silver ingots by "refining." There exist, however, in addition, gold mines, properly so called, which are generally but not invariably alluvial, like those which, existing in every quarter of the globe, have hitherto yielded by the process of washing the greater portion of the gold possessed by man. But the magnificent gold deposits of California remained unknown and therefore undisturbed as long as the country was in the hands of the Spaniards or of independent Mexico. The provinces of Sonora and of Sinaloa, on the Pacific coast, which are an extension of California, contain, according to incontestable evidence, deposits similar to those of California, both in the form of auriferous quartz and of alluvial detritus.
—The Mexican mines have been, since the middle of the eighteenth century, the greatest producers of the precious metals in the world. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the war of independence broke out, their yield was from 125 to 130 millions, of which nine-tenths was silver. Since then, the country, distracted by continual revolutions and a prey to anarchy, has seen its mines neglected till the present yield barely equals that of the first years of the century.
—If the country were restored to a settled condition, if it had an enlightened and stable government to provide the advantages enjoyed by the most civilized nations for three-quarters of a century, such as laws for the protection of labor, technical schools, and lines of communication, the production of gold and silver in Mexico would increase rapidly. The discovery of the great deposits of quicksilver at New Almaden, in California, is calculated to give a lively impetus to Mexican silver mining; for experience joins with calculation to show that abundance of mercury at a low price is a great incentive to activity among the miners who work the silver lodes.
—The destruction of the greater portion of the forests and the entire absence of any mineral fuel must cause the production of other metals, and in particular of iron and copper, to be indefinitely postponed.
—Advantageous Position between the two Oceans. To the advantages which Mexico possesses in its climate, its soil, the unlimited variety of its agricultural products, and its many gold and even silver mines, it adds that of a topographical situation almost unique. It has on its sides the two greatest and most frequented oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific. It faces thus at the same time both sides of the old world, and the two most industrious, most civilized and most populous portions of it, one at its western extremity, that is, in Europe, and the other at the eastern, that is, China and Japan. It seems chosen to have intimate connections with both, and even to serve as a highway for much of their commerce. The railroad which is to cross Mexico from Vera Cruz to Acapulco, and is completed between the former city and the capital, will be of great service in opening up communication between the interior of the country and the seacoast, and will be useful to many strangers in spite of its steep ascending gradients, but the greater number will desert it for the line which the people of the United States, by a miracle of boldness and economy, have succeeded in opening between New York and San Francisco, both of which are metropolises exercising great attraction.
—The isthmus of Tehuantepec was strongly advocated, before the design of the Central Pacific railway between New York and San Francisco was conceived, as the position for a line of rail which, together with the Panama railway, should make a junction between the two oceans. This route has the advantage of shortening greatly the transit from the eastern to the western slope of the North American continent. Travelers going from New York to San Francisco by sea and one of the isthmuses would gain considerably by taking it as compared with the route via the isthmus of Panama.
—The direct railroad between New York and San Francisco deprives of this special advantage the line of rails that was to be placed on the isthmus of Tehuantepec. In return it seems now highly probable that that isthmus will be crossed by a maritime canal of wide section, adapted for the vessels which transport the merchandise exchanged in such quantity between the Atlantic and Pacific basins. This canal, which is intended to commence in the river Guazacoalcos, a tributary of the Atlantic, and to reach the Pacific through the lagoons near Tehuantepec, is seriously projected now by the company which had before the concession for the railway across the isthmus. The United States government has had the proposed route surveyed, and the decision of those surveys, made in 1870-71, under the direction of Captain Schufeldt, by the engineers Fuatos and Buel and other officers, was that the undertaking presented no extraordinary difficulties. It would be necessary to surmount by means of locks an ascent of 233 métres; the length would be 237 kilométres from the island of Tacamichopa in the Guazacoalcos to the port of Salma-Cruz on the Pacific. The watershed would be on the plateau of Tarita. Below the island of Tacamichopa use would be made of the bed of the river Guazacoalcos, which it would be easy to improve. The maritime canal of Tehuantepec promises better for the commerce of the United States than any of the rival schemes proposed, as it would greatly shorten the distance between the numerous and busy ports which the Union possesses on the Atlantic side and San Francisco, already the most important mart of the new world on the Pacific. It would also be the most convenient route to Japan, Hongkong or Shanghae.
—The Population of Mexico. The population of Mexico consists chiefly of the descendants of the indigenous race subdued by Cortez. This industrious and disciplined people rapidly embraced Christianity after Mexico was conquered. Whether voluntary or on compulsion, conversion was general. The Catholic clergy skillfully availed themselves of the similarities existing between Christian theology and that of the Aztec religion. Since that time the indigenes, called Indians through the mistake of Columbus who fancied he had found India, have remained submissive. In a very few instances and during periods of extreme suffering, isolated outbreaks of rebellion have occurred, but, very different in this from the Indian tribes once spread over the whole United States, the Mexican Indian regularly cultivates the soil either for himself or as the servant of some white man, does his day's work in one of the few manufactories which have been established, or labors of his own free will in the mines, where he gives surprising proofs of his physical development. There are numerous half-breeds, the offspring of intercourse between the whites and the Indians, who, under the Spanish dominion, were called castes. The number of negroes, or of those sprung from them through unions with whites or Indians, is very small. Formerly there were several thousand black slaves, but they were for the most part set at liberty on the commencement of the war of independence in 1810.
—On the western slope of Mexico, in the neighborhood of the city of Acapulco, whose magnificent harbor was the port of arrival and departure of the solitary ship called the Galion, which once a year made the round trip between Mexico and China and the countries which lay on the route, Malays may be met with, the descendants of those who came by that way to settle in the country, but they have not increased. The proof that the Chinese, who are so industrious, who make such intelligent and steady workmen, might easily be attracted to the country and would acclimatize themselves there, is seen in the fact that they are taking root both in California and Australia in spite of the bad treatment they are subjected to in those places.
—The dominant race till now has been the white, although in point of numbers it constitutes only one-sixth or one-seventh of the population. It is not without some admixture of Indian blood, as since the time of Cortez and indeed at that great man's instigation, lawful marriages have been contracted between the two races: several of his companions in arms, and those not the least distinguished, having united themselves before the altars to the converted widows of Mexican chiefs who had fallen in the struggle. The ascendency of the white race is not absolute. The classes of mixed blood and even pure-blooded natives have furnished eminent men to the country who have risen to the highest honors. Guerrero, who was president, was of mixed Spanish and Indian blood, and President Juarez was a full-blooded Indian.
—The number and composition of the Mexican people in 1810, according to the statistics of Don Francisco Navarro y Noriega, whom Humboldt mentions as being reliable, was as follows:
|Europeans, and Creoles of European origin...||1,097,928|
|Castes or mixed faces...||1,338,706|
At the present time the population of Mexico is estimated at about nine millions.
—Mexico since the Conquest by Hernando Cortez. Mexico was, before the European invasion, the most powerful state of the new world. It was the farthest advanced in both the useful and the decorative arts, in science and in literature. This civilization, while in many respects to be admired, was marred by some horrible practices, in particular by that of human sacrifice. Several peoples in succession ruled the country, the last and cruelest being the Aztecs, to which race the emperor Montezuma, in whose presence Hernando Cortez found himself, belonged.
—The Spanish conquest was achieved by a succession of battles and of deeds of daring which commenced on the day the Spaniards disembarked (Holy Thursday, 1519) and terminated Aug. 13, 1521, on which date the last quarter of Tenochtitlan, or Mexico, was carried by assault, and the young and valiant Guatemozin, the last Aztec emperor, was taken prisoner. The Spaniards at once set to work to organize this vast acquisition. The Indians, notwithstanding their conversion, were, with the exception of the nobles and of the people of Tlascala, shared as slaves, or nearly so, between the conquerors and people of all sorts who flocked from Spain to join them, or who were sent there by the crown. This system went by the name of repartimientos, a word which indicated quite sufficiently what was done. They portioned out these wretched Indians as though they were herds of cattle, making them till the ground and labor in the mines. This régime, when applied to the islands of Hispaniola or San Domingo, speedily resulted in the extinction of the aborigines. In Mexico the race to be dealt with was hardier and possessed greater vitality. The enforced labor decimated but did not utterly destroy it. It must be said, also, that in this case the clergy labored indefatigably in behalf of the unfortunate Mexicans, and their efforts were crowned with success, upheld as they were by the court of Spain. This latter looked upon the sentiments of Christian charity which Queen Isabella manifested toward the aboriginal peoples of America, and which she, when on her death-bed, commended to her successors, as an inalienable bequest. At a later period the courts of justice or audiencias, and the viceroys, among whom were many distinguished men, were the interpreters of the royal views, and ameliorated the evils under which the Indians were crushed by the colonists or by the feudal chiefs who were blinded by avarice. The clergy regarded the task of protecting those unfortunate creatures as a special duty assigned them. In this an example was set to the whole of the new world by the bishop of Chicopas, Bartholomew Las Casas, who, at the time of the barbarities practiced on the natives of Hispaniola, made Europe and America ring with his outspoken denunciation of them. At an early period the Spanish court modified greatly the régime established in Mexico as elsewhere. The repartimientos were abolished, and their place taken by encomiendas. This was, as nearly as possible, serfdom substituted for slavery. The Indian and his family were attached to the soil instead of depending on the individual caprice of a master. One portion of the Indians remained exempt even from the encomiendas in certain villages, access to which was forbidden to the whites. During the reign of Charles III., an enlightened prince, and one who gave his mind to benefiting his people, fresh abuses and deeds of violence came to light, and these seeming intolerable to the court of Madrid, the encomiendas in turn were swept away. The native had now no master but the king, but he was obliged to pay an annual tribute, and he continued in a state of pupilage all his life. He was declared incapable of transacting business whenever the sum in question exceeded five piasters. This was done on the supposition that it would act for the protection of the Indians, but the avaricious cunning of the whites still found means of oppressing them, and the more so that they were more unarmed and less free to do it. Intendants, civil governors created by the same prince in 1776 were placed at the head of each province, and invested with considerable power under the authority of the viceroy. Their duty was to administer the affairs of the country in general, and in particular to act for the protection of the Indian.
—The Indian nobility or caciques were exempt from the degrading condition of minority to which the other Indians were subject. From the time of Cortez they had been placed on a par with the Castilian nobility, but no care had been taken to educate their descendants. They had ended by lapsing into a condition of barbarity. Of their ancient superiority they only retained the habit of making exactions from their miserable fellow countrymen.
—The numerous class of half-breeds were scarcely better treated than the full-blooded Indian. They too paid tribute, but were, however, free from the state of perpetual pupilage which the Indian was forced to submit to; but they were none the less kept in a condition of degradation.
—The class of creole whites, that is to say, whites born in Mexico, suffered under a policy of suspicious surveillance. To those who by their own effort or by inheritance possessed wealth in mines, or in vast agricultural territories, titles of nobility were given; those who were less rich got commissions in the militia and decorations. Neither class was admitted to any share in the government or administration of the country. All that was granted them was the privilege of becoming members of the municipal bodies or ayuntamientos. Numerous, and, from their large possessions, influential, this class was profoundly discontented. There was no despotism clever or adroit enough to make the son of a father born in Spain and of a mother equally Spanish admit that there should exist a gulf between him and his parents or between him and an elder son who happened to have been born in Spain. It was useless to inspect all printed matter entering Mexico, with the object of preventing the circulation of any books unless approved by the inquisition; truth has a diffusive force which sets at naught the arbitrary decrees of the most absolute power or the watchfulness of the subtilest inquisition. An antagonism, at one time suppressed, at another outspoken, existed between the creoles (criollos) and the natives of Spain, who were distinguished by the name of Gachupines.
—Ideas of independence were introduced into Mexico by the excitement caused by the independence of the United States and the French revolution, and sank deep into men's minds in spite of the barriers with which government surrounded the people; and the events which took place in the peninsula in 1808 giving the needed opportunity, by the total eclipse of the legitimate royalty from which the whole system emanated, an explosion followed. The independents, commanded by priests, first Hidalgo and then Morelos as their generals in chief, gained in the beginning important advantages, but they soon suffered severe disaster. A Spanish officer of great merit, Calleja, who was afterward viceroy, made them pay dearly for their early successes. Their armies were beaten and dispersed, their chiefs taken and executed. In 1815 the triumph of the Spanish authority seemed everywhere complete, but it was only so in appearance. The creoles, the chief of whom had in consequence of the atrocities committed by the independents made common cause with the Spaniards, rallied at last from all quarters to their country's flag. The signal was given by one of them, who had distinguished himself with the Spanish armies, Colonel Iturbide. This chief, to whom the viceroy Apodaca had entrusted an imported body of troops, proclaimed independence Feb. 24, 1821, and published a programme which has since been famous, by the name of the Iguala plan (so called from the small town where it was issued). The whole country, every class, gave in their adhesion to it. Independence was henceforth an accomplished fact, and from that time it has never again been questioned.
—The proclamation of independence was only the beginning of the greatest trials. The Iguala plan provided that Mexico should henceforward form a perfectly independent monarchy, the crown of which was to be offered to the king of Spain on condition of his residing in the country, and in the event of his refusing, to the infantas, his brothers. The court of Spain utterly rejecting this proposal, Iturbide had himself proclaimed emperor, but seated on the throne in May, 1822, in May, 1823, just one year later, he embarked at Vera Cruz, condemned to exile. The Mexican congress, a permanency since the emancipation gained by the Iguala plan, adopted the republican form of government, and believed it could do no better than copy the federal constitution of the United States, which, suited to the manners and antecedents of the former English colonists, jarred with the customs and prejudices of the Mexicans. The republican constitution, long in elaboration, was published in October, 1824, and the president elected was General Victoria, one of the most intrepid heroes of the war of independence. After four or five troubled years had passed, the horrors of civil war commenced, and the country, since then, has gone from revolution to revolution, from catastrophe to catastrophe. It has been by turns a federal and a simple republic. In the former case, the provinces have not only borne the name of states, but have also possessed a sort of independence with a distinct governing body, on the plan, more or less closely followed, of the United States; in the latter, the central executive has had the entire control, subject really or nominally to the decisions of a congress, consisting, like that at Washington, of two chambers. There has even been, apart from any foreign intervention, a thinly disguised effort to establish a monarchy. It was made by General Santa Anna after his return to power in 1853, who planned to have himself elected president for life with the right at his death of naming his own successor. But the attempt proved abortive. and a revolution overthrew Santa Anna in 1855.
—During the greater part of the time the federal form of republic has been the prevailing one, and is in existence at the present date. But it is impossible to give the provinces an independent existence such as is possessed by the different states of the American Union. This system has no root in Mexico's past and as a matter of fact the governor of Mexico always has a dominant influence, which, when the country comes to possess passable means of communication, will most assuredly increase.
—So great has been the political instability of Mexico since it became independent that the presidential chair changed occupants forty-six times between Oct. 10, 1824, and the French invasion, General Santa Anna's name appearing on the list five times. General Santa Anna was, from the declaration of independence until the movement of 1867, the most prominent figure in the country and the mainspring of the events occurring in it. He contributed more than any other to the overthrow of the emperor Iturbide; he, however, judged it inexpedient to accept the presidency till 1834. Forced again and again to relinquish power, he always regained it, and retained it longer than any of his rivals, steering skillfully between parties, soothing each in turn and using them one against the other.
—In the midst of the turmoil of events and the incessant storm of personal pretensions, it is possible since the independence to single out two parties having distinct characteristics in complete opposition to each other, which by their antagonism furnish an inexhaustible incentive to revolution. These are, the conservatives and the reformers or liberals, neither, unhappily, knowing any moderation. The first named cling to ancient ideas and old forms of government, the second are saturated with modern theories, and admire in particular the principles of the French revolution of 1789, grafted on some of the federal principles of the United States. The ground on which they joined issue was the connection between church and state. It was not that the clergy had been at first hostile to independence; with the single exception of the dignitaries of the church, who were almost to a man Spaniards, they had favored the party of independence, and had even taken an active part in the insurrection, giving it its first leaders, Hidalgo, Morelos and Matamoras, and to the last they continued to support it. But this was not done without making both open and secret reservations. The plan of government sketched by the priest Morelos maintained the prerogative of the church and its absolute control over consciences. The Iguala plan, in accordance with which independence was definitely established, provided in its first article that one of the bases of the organization of the country should be the Roman church, catholic and apostolic, and that no other should be tolerated. In respect to its possessions, which were enormous, the Mexican church flattered itself that they would be respected, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that one of the accessory causes of its adherence to the party of independence is to be found in the system inaugurated by the court of Spain at the commencement of the century, of taking possession of the capital of the Mexican clergy and replacing it by annuity bonds which were deservedly protested against. This was actually done to the extent of 58,000,000 francs.
—Independence once achieved, the Mexican liberals, who had received their education from the works of the French philosophers and publicists, entered with ardor the course in which they had been preceded by the liberals of France, and in due course by those of the two great peninsulas of southern Europe, Spain and Italy. They openly favored freedom of worship, which the Catholic clergy, in obedience to orders from Rome, rejected with all their power. At the same time the liberals proposed to vest in the state, which was without resources, the possessions of the church. With sound reason Mexican liberals wished, in view of possible claims on the part of Rome, to give the state the guarantees which form part of French public law, and notably such as make the publication of bulls, briefs and other official utterances of the holy see conditional on obtaining the previous sanction of the government. The liberal party also comprehended in its programme the innovations of the Code Napoleon and the French concordat of 1801, such as the civil character of marriage, the abolition of perpetual vows, the abolition of ecclesiastical tribunals, the closing of monastic institutions, the limitation or confiscation by the state of church property, etc. By degrees, overstepping French bounds, it ended by allying itself to the system adopted by the United States, which entirely divorces government from religion and the state from creeds. There has been on this account a complete rupture between the liberals and the clergy. The latter formed the centre and nucleus of the conservative party, with which a great number of the landed proprietors and a section of the Indian population have identified themselves.
—After alternate successes and reverses, the liberals at last completely got the upper hand, and the French army found them in power when it entered Mexico. President Juarez, and the party which sustained him, relied on the constitution, which explicitly enjoined freedom of worship. Laws had been passed, which, with certain reserves in their favor, declared the lands and buildings belonging to the clergy to be sequestrated to the state, and under those laws many sales took place.
—The political difficulty which has hitherto proved insurmountable in Mexico consists in this, that up to the present time it has not only been impossible to make the two parties walk in harmony, but even to find common ground on which they would tolerate each other. They shun each other absolutely. The liberal party aims at a perfectly commendable object, but does so for the most part without enlightenment and without tact; this object being to establish in Mexico a political system founded on the general principles which modern civilization has adopted in the countries where it has reached its highest development, namely, those of western Europe and the United States of North America, while imitating more particularly such peoples as have an affinity to Mexico in having a resemblance or community in their origin, their traditions, their manners or their language. What are called in France the ideas of 1789, with the deductions which she has drawn from them, and which Spain and Italy have accepted, are the basis of this party's programme. All that portion of this programme which concerns religion, or rather the relations of church and state, is rejected as sacrilegious by the conservative party, which the court of Rome sustains here, and excites by all means in its power. The doctrines of 1789 advocate entire religious liberty, abolition of perpetual vows, and the suppression of church courts; and Juarez, on regaining power after the retreat of the French armies, brought back with himself the constitution whose offspring he was, and vindicated liberal tenets on the subject of religion. His successor, President Lerdo de Tejado, followed his footsteps closely. The liberal party seems to have entered on an indefinite lease of power. It directs its efforts toward remodeling the state on the type of the advanced nations in Europe or the American Union, a work infinitely difficult of accomplishment when regard is paid to the materials on which it has to work and the tools at its disposal.
—Mexico needs a moderator who could force or persuade the opposing parties to accept a compromise; some one to reproduce in Mexico what was accomplished in France by the first consul, when he formulated a modus vivendi to which an overwhelming majority acceded, and which appeased the dangerous dissensions having their origin in religion. But on this occasion the holy see gave its sanction to the proposed plan, encouraged it, and ordered its acceptance. In Spanish America, on the contrary, the Roman court has not hitherto admitted any compromise, and has declared its intentions in public documents, among which may be cited the allocution, dated Dec. 15, 1856, of Pope Pins IX. on the state of religion in the republic of Mexico, and that of May 6, 1863, on Spanish America in general. Of the same tenor is the concordat signed at Rome, Sept. 26, 1862, with the republic of Ecuador, a document which might have been penned by Hildebrand; as is also the encyclical of Sept. 17, 1863, to the bishops of New Granada Unfortunately there is no one among the Mexicans who could present himself to them with the authority and prestige which the first consul enjoyed in France.
—The history of Mexico, since its independence, has been marked by many noteworthy incidents, viz.: 1. The invasion by the Spanish brigadier, Barrades, in 1829, to reconquer the country—an attempt which failed totally; 2. The Texan war, in which Santa Anna, wishing to recover that province from the American citizens who had taken possession of it, was defeated and taken prisoner at San Jacinto in 1835, with the result that this province, much larger than France, was lost to the Mexican republic; 3. The war of 1838, in which France took the chateau of Saint Jean d'Ulloa; 4. The war of 1847-8, when the army of the United States, after fighting numerous battles, took the city of Mexico, thereby obtaining the cession to the American Union of California and New Mexico.
—But of all events in Mexico's history, the most important was the attempt, made by France in 1862 and the following years, to reestablish monarchy in Mexico in favor of an enlightened and generous prince, the archduke Maximilian of Austria, who, after being installed there, saw himself abandoned by the French arms, and believing it his duty to remain at his post in defense of the Mexicans who adhered to him, was defeated, and fell into the hands of Juarez' government, which had the barbarity to hand him over to a military commission, by order of which he was shot at Queretaro, June 19, 1867.
—This expedition, foolishly conceived to begin with, badly organized, badly conducted, and which had such a fatal issue, was one of the greatest mistakes made by modern French policy. The object aimed at was, to raise the party of the great landowners and the clergy, by giving it the new throne as a bulwark: an insane project, as, at the time it was sought to carry it out, that party was so wrecked that so far from being able to make any headway against its opponents, it lacked the very cohesion necessary to maintain its existence, and either could not or did not know how to concentrate on behalf of its unfortunate prince what little power remained to it. The court of Rome, on whose fervent and cordial co-operation the emperor Maximilian thought himself justified in counting, betrayed his hopes and stood aloof from him.
—Mexico is at present comparatively tranquil, and laws are better kept or less unknown. Military men seem satisfied that the supreme magistracy should rest in the hands of a civilian. Public education is extending and improving in every department, from the highest to the lowest. Efforts are being made toward the development of public works. The railroad from Mexico to Vera Cruz, opened in January, 1873, promises great results for the agriculture of the country, the export of whose rich and varied produce it will greatly facilitate. Mining is receiving a fresh impetus. But a vast amount of ability, wisdom and firmness will be necessary before the unsettled habits, contracted during half a century of civil discord, are finally relinquished, and the passions which then had free vent are brought under proper control. Highway robbery flourished in Mexico when it was a Spanish colony, and the courts of justice were very severe, but it has increased enormously, the very trains on the Mexico 8 Vera Cruz railway being sometimes stopped and robbed. There still remains, therefore, much in the way of progress for Mexico to effect before it can equal the condition of the civilized states whose peer it wishes to be, or raise itself to the level of the political institutions it has adopted.
—Mexico is divided into twenty-seven states, one territory (lower California), and one federal district made up of the city of Mexico and its environs. The total revenue of the central government, in 1873, was estimated at over fourteen millions of dollars; the imports rose, in 1870, to twenty-three and the exports to twenty-six millions of dollars.52
— BIBLIOGRAPHY. Solis, Historia de la conquista de Mexico, Madrid, 1684, new ed., Paris, 1858, translated into English, 2 vols., London, 1724; Humboldt, Versuch über den politischen Zustand des Königreichs Neuspanien, 5 vols., Tübingen, 1809-13; Kingsborough, Mexican Antiquities, 9 vols., London, 1831-48; Richthofen, Die äussern und innern Zustände der Republik Mexico, Berlin, 1854; Mühlenpfordt, Versuch einer getreuen Schilderung der Republik Mexico, 2 vols., Hanover, 1844; Orozco y Berra, Geografia de las lenguas de México, Mexico, 1864; Gayangos, Cartas y relaciones de Hernan Cortes, Paris, 1866; Icazbalceta, Colleccion de documentos para la historia de México, Mexico, 1858-66, and Documentos para la historia de México, 20 vols., Mexico, 1853-7; Prescott, History of the Conquest of Mexico, 3 vols., Boston, 1844, 3d ed., 3 vols., Philadelphia, 1874; Zavala, Ensayo historico de las revoluciones de México, 2 vols., Paris, 1831; Torrente, Historia general de la revolucion moderna hispano-americana, 5 vols., Madrid, 1829-30; Mora, Mejico y sas revoluciones, 8 vols., Paris, 1836; Alaman, Historia de México, 5 vols., Mexico, 1849-52; Cuevas, Porvinir de México, 1821-51, Mexico, 1851-7; Labédollière, Histoire de la guerre de Mexique. Paris, 1866; Payno, Historia de México, Mexico, 1871; Kendall, Mexico under Maximilian, London, 1872; Niox, Expédition du Mexique: Récit politique et militaire, Paris, 1874; Boletin de la sociedad de geografia y estadistica de la Republica Mexicana, Mexico, 1878-9; Chevalier, Le Mexique ancien et moderne, Paris, 1866; Domenech, Le Mexique tel qu'il est: La vérité sur son climat, ses habitants et son gouvernement, Paris, 1866; Flint, Mexico under Maximilian, Philadelphia, 1867; Geiger, A Peep at Mexico: Narrative of a Journey across the Republic from the Pacific to the Gulf. London, 1874; Brantz Mayer, History of the War between Mexico and the United States, New York, 1848, and Mexico, Aztec, Spanish and Republican, 1852; Mansfield, The Mexican War, New York, 1848; Helps, The Life of Hernando Cortes, and the Conquest of Mexico, London, 1871.
[52.]A revolution took place in 1880, which overthrew Gen. Porfirio Diaz and installed in his place Gen. Gonzales. The administration is carried on by a council of six ministers, viz, of justice, finance, the interior, army and navy, foreign affairs, and public works.
—The revenue is more than two-thirds derived from customs duties, and about one-half of the expenditure is for the maintenance of the army. The expenditure has for many years exceeded the revenue. In the budget estimates for the financial year ending June 30, 1879, the revenue was estimated at $16,128 807 and the expenditure at $22,108,046.
—The public debt of Mexico, external and internal, was estimated at $125,500,000, but no official returns regarding it have been published since 1865, when the total debt was calculated at $317,357,250. The government of the republic does not recognize any portion of this debt, except the 6 per cent internal Mexican debt, and the interest on that has not been paid for many years. The following is an abstract of the debt as published in 1865:
—The population of Mexico in 1875 was estimated at 9,343,170 souls of which more than one-half were pure "Indians."
—The chief articles of export are silver, copper ores, cochineal, indigo, lndes, mahogany and other goods: articles of import are cotton and linen manufactures, wrought iron and machinery. More than two-thirds of the entire trade of Mexico is carried on with the United States, and the remainder with France, Germany and Great Britain. The total imports in 1876 were of the estimated value of $28,485,000, and the exports were estimated at $25,435,000, (the export of silver alone valued at $15,000,000).
—Mexico had 1,010 miles of railway open for traffic in 1881. The Inter Oceanic railway, across the isthmus of Tehuantepec, sixty miles long, was to have been opened at the end of 1882. In June, 1881, the total length of telegraph wires was 10,580 English miles. The postoffice carried 4,406,410 letters in 1879-80. At the end of June, 1881, Mexico had 873 postoffices.
Footnotes for MILITARY COMMISSIONS
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 3 Oath - Zollverein Chapter: PAPER MONEY.
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The text is in the public domain.
PAPER MONEY. If there be an experiment which has been seriously made and as to the results of which there can be no doubt, it is the experiment which demonstrates the chimerical advantages and grave dangers of paper money, employed as an instrument of production. Nevertheless, numberless deceptions, the injury done to public credit and national good faith, and the ruins of the past, do not seem to have entirely dissipated a dangerous illusion; recent facts, as well as the persistence of false doctrines, prove this but too well; the human mind frees itself with difficulty from the fatal influence exerted over it by the mirage of wealth acquired without labor, of a pretended increase of capital called into existence by the magic wand of credit, and of a new species of alchemy which transmutes paper into gold.
—Nothing, however, can be simpler than the examination of this problem, and nothing easier of solution. It suffices to know what is the part played by money, to measure how little such an arbitrary creation as paper money can do, and to understand its dangers.
—Ours is not the age in which the wealth of states was confounded with the possession of coin; money, the great wheel of circulation, as Adam Smith calls it, preserves nevertheless, however, an important place in the economy of nations; it constitutes the mechanism of exchange in the clearest and surest conditions; it enables us to set a value on all products and services; it gives activity to the creation and facilitates the distribution of wealth. It is in fact owing to money that all are impelled to the common work of the nation, and that the result obtained is divided among those who have contributed to it. It introduces a common language into the operations of social commerce.
—But it is not a language of the imagination; money is the sign and measure of values, because it is their guarantee, because it represents a value that is known, acknowledged and accepted everywhere. It is a universal commodity, while it at the same time affords each country its local instrument of purchase and sale, and of remuneration for both public and private services.
—In our day the fetters which cramp the international movement of exchanges are gradually disappearing, and a regular equilibrium may be established to adapt to the wants of each market the quantity of money necessary for the transaction of its business, when this business preserves its character of purity, and does not degenerate into fiction. Let us suppose, for a moment, that gold and silver alone, without any mixture of fiduciary signs, are the only instruments of exchange. As nothing prevents the transportation of the precious metals, they will always resume their level by going where a certain scarcity of them assures them greater advantage, and abandoning those places in which an over-abundance causes their depreciation. An admirable law of attraction governs them and proportions them to the useful services which they are called upon to render, by opposing equally a sterile abundance and a scarcity of specie. The very force of things establishes a weir for metallic wealth, which always falls into equilibrium with the wants of circulation.
—There is a risk of the situation being modified from the very moment that, in order to economize upon the mechanism of exchange, an effort is made to substitute for gold and silver artificial means more or less ingenious, and more or less sure, by calling to its aid what is called the magic of credit, whose power people are inclined to exaggerate. Two ways are open to reach this end. By following one of these ways the movement of exchanges is simplified and the number of actual payments reduced; recourse is had to those ingenious creations which render the actual intervention of specie superfluous, or limited in a number of cases, by means of bills of exchange, of open accounts in the banks, of set-offs and transfers; or else circulation is accelerated in such a manner as to increase the services rendered by each piece of money. In this way we obtain an advantage similar to that which two iron rails placed parallel upon the ground afford by the saving in friction, which increases the traction. The same result is obtained with less expenditure of force and capital, thanks to the economy and energy of the springs set at work. Here all is gain and no danger; such is the largest function of credit and an inexhaustible source of fecundity.
—But, by the side of these useful combinations, whose influence is too often ignored, we have the creation of a sign easy to manufacture, which costs next to nothing, and which is substituted in a greater or less proportion for metallic money: we refer to the bank note, which is called upon to act the part of money, because it is or ought to be accepted in business transactions to liquidate debts.
—If this fiduciary sign rests on the guaranty of a metallic value, against which it may be exchanged at will, and if we may accept or refuse it at pleasure, it constitutes money paper, which must be carefully distinguished from paper money. If it be imposed by authority, whether it emanates from the public treasury or from a private institution, and we are not at liberty to demand its equivalent in gold or silver, but are obliged to accept it, it degenerates into paper money. In the first case it aims to supply in part the metallic money, of which the country should reserve a sufficient amount to assure the exchange of bills for specie, and to serve in those transactions in which bank notes can not enter. In the second case it has for effect to replace metallic money even to the point of the issue of paper money with compulsory circulation or of so-called legal tender character.
—The aggregate of business transactions requires but a certain determinate amount of specie in each country at a given time. If bank bills are substituted for a part of the instruments of exchange, the surplus disappears under the form of merchandise, in order to restore the level, unless the coin be reserved in the treasury as a pledge of the paper money in circulation: thus it is that paper money drives out coin.
—We may in a certain limited measure, as we shall see, economize upon the portion of the national capital employed in the making of the instrument of exchange. An institution of credit, solidly established, may maintain in circulation a mass of bills which will be in as much favor as specie, provided the metallic reserve guarantees their payment at sight, and provided the bill represents a sufficiently important part of the monetary unit to facilitate transportation and shorten accounts. However, we can supply in this way only a portion of the money needed; but the amount of the latter relatively to the amount of business transactions diminishes in proportion as civilization advances, as society improves, and as credit is extended. In 1873 the wealth of England was estimated at two hundred milliards of francs, and its production at about twenty-four milliards; the total amount of money in the country, metallic and fiduciary, scarcely exceeded three milliards; the wealth of France in the same year was estimated at one hundred and sixty milliards of francs; its production was scarcely inferior to that of England; it had twice the amount (about six milliards) in specie and bank notes. It would be an exaggeration to reckon the wealth of Russia at 50,000,000,000 francs, and its products at 12,000,000,000; it employs about 4,000,000,000 francs in specie and paper money. The possible economy on the amount of capital employed in the medium of circulation, is therefore in an inverse ratio to the sum total of national wealth. The richer a country is, the less it gains by abandoning the solid ground of gold and silver.
—The saving of capital effected by the regular use of bank notes would be reckoned high if placed at from one-fourth to one-third of the sum required for the purpose of the exchange of wealth; if we take into consideration the necessary reserves, it does not amount to half a milliard of francs in England, and if it rises to two milliards in France, it is because of an abnormal condition, the result of the Franco-Prussian war, which can not last. It amounts, according to this showing, to the one four-hundredth part of the wealth of the United Kingdom, and to about one-hundredth part of the wealth of France. Regarding this comparison from another point of view, we may say that the interest of the metallic capital thus replaced frees England and France from an annual burden of twenty and eighteen millions of francs respectively, calculating the interest at 4 per cent. This is equivalent to about the one-thousandth part of the production of England, and to about the one three-hundredth part of the production of France. As a matter of course bank notes render much more important service in France by the facility and convenience which they afford, and by the saving which they render possible, even without taking any account of the inconveniences of compulsory circulation, to which France was subjected after 1870.
—These gains are not without their accompanying dangers, which grow more serious the more the volume of notes increases. In proportion as this volume increases, the metallic supply decreases, and as confidence is the stuff of which credit is made, if a period of calm and prosperity be succeeded by one of uneasiness, or if imperative needs require a great exportation of specie, every effort must be made to recall the absent metal, even at the cost of great sacrifices and by paying dear for it; this it is that makes the emission of bank notes so perilous; this it is that forbids us to go beyond a certain restrictive limit, unless we would resign ourselves to the dangers of compulsory circulation. If this limit, which is variable it is true, be passed, it necessarily leads to commercial crises when the fiduciary paper has been issued only as the representative sign of private engagements, and to a political crisis when paper money has been issued to meet the wants of the state.
—Adam Smith recognized the utility of the "wagonway through the air" of credit, which enables the "country to convert, as it were, a great part of its highways into good pastures and corn fields," highways represented by metallic money. "Nevertheless," he adds, "the commerce and the industry of the country, it must be acknowledged, though they may be somewhat augmented, can not be altogether so secure when they are thus, as it were, suspended upon the Dædalian wings of paper money, as when they travel upon the solid ground of gold and silver." After having pointed out the danger he endeavors to destroy the attraction of an imaginary benefit: "the whole paper money of every kind which can circulate in any country can never exceed the value of the gold and silver of which it supplies the place."
—Let us, by an extreme hypothesis, suppose ourselves in a society from which the use of the precious metals has entirely disappeared. If we should go beyond this, as paper money does not unite in itself the characters both of sign and of pledge, and as it does not become a commodity when it ceases to be a means of discharge from debt, it can not flow into foreign countries, and its excess produces depreciation. But who will flatter himself that he can measure exactly the amount of the media of circulation necessary in a country? This amount depends not only upon the mass but also upon the rapidity of exchanges. When the precious metals alone are employed, or when they effect the major part of business transactions, their level is maintained naturally, thanks to the weir which opens on foreign markets: this level can not but be violently disturbed when the bounds of prudence are overstepped by the issue of money paper, and especially when the nation abandons itself to the dangerous seductions of paper money.
—The danger exists even when a private institution is granted the dangerous privilege which excuses it from payment at sight; it assumes a much graver aspect when the state itself assumes this perilous function. History furnishes most sad and striking examples of the chastisement everywhere visited upon these same mistakes. France, England, Austria, Russia, and the United States, not to swell the list by citing the instances of secondary states, have paid the penalty of the system of Law and of the assignats, of the forced circulation of bank notes, of the Bankzettel, of paper roubles, and of continental money. It is a curious fact that Poland alone, a country which it is sought to blot out entirely from the map of Europe, preserved itself from this plague down to the very time of its subjugation by Russia. This latter country has, on the contrary, always had, upon a large scale, a fictitious system of circulation, which it inherited from Chinese, Tartar and Mongolian traditions. We do not wish to make any vain display of erudition, nor to enter into investigations which could be of interest only to the curious, and we shall therefore confine ourselves to recalling the fact that Genghis Khan made use of paper money, and that, toward the end of the thirteenth century, his grandson Koblai employed it in such a manner as to excite the ingenuous admiration of Marco Polo. This admiration proved only too contagious: the system, which from China and Mongolia had invaded Russia, was also admitted into western Europe. But we believe we ought to point out, as a remarkable fact, the scrupulous care with which Napoleon I, always guarded against a like attempt. He never consented to the issue of paper money. While England had resort to the compulsory circulation of paper money to resist him, and while Russia and Austria issued prodigious quantities of assignats, Napoleon ever held aloof from this disorder, and de Montalivet, minister of the interior, said, in a circular addressed to the prefects on the 25th of October, 1810. "The emperor regards paper money as the greatest scourge of nations, and as being, to morals, what the plague is in the physical order."
—By a singular concatenation of truths and errors the wisest operations of the most severely administered banks have in the end degenerated into a monstrous creation of paper money.
—Everywhere in Europe, except in Poland, the right of the crown to coin money, which had pretended to put an end to the fraud and pillage organized by local suzerains, ended by giving rise to successive lowering of the standard, lessening of the weight and debasing of the coin. The great Copernicus wrote, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, upon this important question in a treatise that is almost unknown: "However innumerable the scourges that ordinarily lead to the decline of kingdoms, principalities and republics, the four following are, to my mind, the most formidable: discord, pestilence, barrenness of the land, and the deterioration of the money. As far as the first three are concerned the evidence is such that no one is ignorant of them. But as to the fourth, if we except a few men of superior intelligence, very few concern themselves about it; and why? Because it does not ruin the state at a single blow, but little by little, by a sort of hidden action."
—The diversity and variation of moneys was one of the causes that led to the establishment of banks of deposit, which reduced these uncertain signs to a common denomination, by creating bank money fixed and invariable which took into consideration the metallic value of the specie deposited. The notes issued were fully represented by the specie deposited in the banks; to convenience and accuracy they joined the most complete security, and soon gained universal favor.
—It was noticed that the greater part of these titles continued in circulation, without any demand being made for the restitution of the specie guaranteeing them. Some banks employed the latter, thus leaving a part of their notes unsecured, at least as far as the metallic pledge was concerned. They were likewise led to attempt the inverse operation by issuing more notes than they possessed reserve in money or in bullion, thus increasing the profits of the institution and replacing a portion of their metallic stock by what we may call trust notes. They had obligated themselves to pay at sight: but as the demands for coin were not made simultaneously, these demands were met by diminishing the amount of their reserve corresponding to the titles issued. The declivity was a dangerous one, the enticement of gain urged the banks of issue to extend their operations, and to utilize more and more the marvelous power they possessed of coining in some measure money from sheets of paper rushed through a press. It is true that their obligation to immediately redeem it forced them to incessant precaution, which was constantly opposed by the allurement of gain: they were in constant danger, if they had not sufficient specie to pay at sight. The situation in this respect in our own day has not changed; it seems to us to lead to a clearer and clearer distinction between the issue of notes which perform the functions of money and banking operations properly so called, and to give a separate existence, by its concentration, to the power of creating these notes. The two principles, which always made war upon the liberty of the banks and the oneness of the note payable to bearer and at sight, are thus reconciled.
—At the time when the errors of the mercantile system estimated the wealth of states by the amount of gold and silver they possessed, the supplementary circulation furnished by the bank note could not but be received enthusiastically. As paper was raised to the level of gold and silver, which were considered as the equivalents of wealth, wealth could be increased at will. There remained, it is true, the troublesome condition of redemption; but this condition, it was said, was superfluous, it was an obstacle to the expansion of capital, and the sovereign authority, which was master of all, might readily do away with it. What an admirable discovery! Was not the genius of Law, as the poets of the time sang, to Enrichir à la fois, les sujets et les rois; since he opened an inexhaustible source to the spirit of enterprise, since Mississippi was called by him to become what California has since become! Thus people began by seeking in banks of deposit a remedy for the degradation of the coinage: the bank note circulated because based upon a full specie guarantee; afterward this guarantee was diminished in the banks of issue, and finally disappeared in paper money.
—Colbert denounced the unrestricted license to borrow, as a cause of ruin to the state; what would he have said of this formidable instrument of paper money, which was on the point of handing over abundant resources to the prodigality and rash enterprises of governments, by drawing to itself produced wealth, at the risk of destroying it by foolish expenses and by the squandering of a part of the public fortune, which was destined to disappear in smoke under the deceptive form of notes having a forced circulation and of assignats? Sophisms were not wanting to give a brilliant coloring to these disastrous operations. To procure for paper the value and efficacy of money was to make something out of nothing, and to have a share in divine power; wealth consisted in an abundance of money; thanks to paper, people were no longer tied to the precious metals, which would not increase at will, nor follow the commands of man, while paper money, the fruitful and docile agent of the supreme power, could be increased at will. The abbé Terrasson explains in a curious manner this phenomenon of financial optics. "A merchant's note," he says, "as it may be refused in trade, does not circulate like silver, and consequently soon returns to its source; its utterer finds himself obliged to pay, and deprived of the benefit of credit. This is not the case with the king: as every one is obliged to accept his note, and this note circulates as silver, he pays validly even with his promise." "Gold and silver," he adds, "are merely the signs that represent real wealth, that is, commodities. An écu is a note conceived in the following terms: any seller will give to its bearer, the commodity or merchandise which he may need up to the amount of three livres for as much of another kind of merchandise which has been given me; and the effigy of the prince takes the place of his signature. Now, what difference does it make whether this sign is of silver or of paper? Is it not cheaper to choose a material that costs nothing, and which one is not obliged to withdraw from trade, where it is employed as merchandise, which, in fine, is manufactured in the kingdom, and which does not render us necessarily dependent upon strangers and owners of mines, who eagerly take advantage of the seduction or éclat of gold and silver to cause the ruin of other nations; a material that can be increased according to his needs, without fear of ever exhausting the supply; finally, a material which no one will be tempted to use for any other purpose than for circulation? Paper has all these advantages which render it preferable to silver."
—We see that the pretended discoveries, pompously vaunted by the new social alchemists of our day, are but old rubbish, long since condemned by good sense and experience! Doctrines similar to those of the abbé Terrasson inspired Law's system, and led to an emission of 2,696,400,000 livres of irredeemable notes, absorbed by a disgraceful bankruptcy, at an epoch when the value of each piece of money was, we must bear in mind, much greater, and the needs of circulation much less, than to-day; these doctrines, allied with other errors in her coinage system, gave birth to the 45,000,000,000 of assignats in France. The attempt has been vainly made to palliate such a debauchery of credit, by saying that the assignats saved the revolution, just as it has been said that the reign of terror saved the republic. We protest against this view with all the energy of a conviction based upon a scrupulous study of facts. The able memoir communicated to the academy of moral and political sciences by Levasseur shows how the ruin brought about by the disordinate issue of assignats weakened France, and Michelet has eloquently said: "The reign of terror killed the republic by exciting in men's minds a feeling more powerful than that of fear, the feeling of pity!"
—A young ecclesiastical student, twenty-two years of age, who afterward became illustrious under the name of Turgot, completely annihilated the errors professed by the defenders of paper money in his admirable letter to the abbé de Cicé (Paris, April 7, 1749). It would be difficult to find more cogent logic enlisted in a better cause.
—Save a slight difference, arising from the cost of production, uncoined silver is on a par with coined silver, the money value being only a denomination. "It is as merchandise that silver is, not the sign, but the common measure of other kinds of merchandise, and this not by any arbitrary convention, based upon the splendor of this metal, but because, as it can be employed as merchandise under different forms, and has, by reason of this property, a salable value which is somewhat increased by its use as money, since it can, moreover, be reduced to the same title and divided exactly, its value is always known."
—After having clearly stated the true principle, Turgot points out the danger of the arbitrary multiplication of paper. "But," says the abbé Terrasson, "it is to the king's interest, in order to preserve his credit, to keep paper money within just bounds, and this interest of the prince is sufficient to establish confidence." What are these just bounds? and how shall they be determined? Gold and silver are distributed by their very circulation, according to the proportion of products, of industry, wealth and revenue which they procure, as well as of the expenses incurred. Paper money has no measure but deceptive approximations, which a natural allurement is wont to swell at the wish of power. Instead of proportioning its issue to the unknown wants of the market, the latter made its issue conform to the insatiable requirements of the treasury; and ruin was the consequence. This is the common history of paper money wherever it has functioned as an attribute of public power, when the bank note ceased to be protected by a contract, and was transformed into an act of power.
—We must not confound the disastrous effects of inordinate emissions with the temporary privilege accorded to a bank, authorizing it to suspend the redemption of its notes in specie. When care is taken to limit the amount of notes in circulation, it is possible to ward off the bad effects of such an act, especially when it is easy to foresee the end of them, and when the prudent conduct of the institution has acquired for it great solidity.
—The act of 1797, which made compulsory the circulation of the notes of the bank of England, had but little effect, because they were not increased beyond the actual needs of the home circulation. The entire amount of notes in circulation in 1796 was £10,730,000; in 1797 it was but £9,675,000, and did not exceed £13,000,000 even in 1800. Their depreciation began when the needs of the treasury increased this sum. We must add, also, that the prodigious stir in industry about this time required more numerous instruments of exchange, while it at the same time furnished the sinews of war. Thanks to the inventions of Watt and Arkwright, the English mechanics spun gold, so to speak, and furnished material for the successive loans called for by the treasury, which reached colossal proportions. The bank of England facilitated these loans by discounting the notes of the exchequer, but the circulation of the notes never reached such proportions as to be a source of uneasiness; it never exceeded £20,000,000, except in 1810, and the maximum point reached was £28,000,000, before the resumption of specie payments in 1822. Still, even thus restricted, the prolongation of compulsory circulation was the cause of considerable losses, first by the rise in the price of gold, and then by the painful transition from a depreciated currency to the re-establishment of metallic money. The bank of England, does not, therefore, furnish any argument in favor of the inconsiderate issue of paper money; and it suffices to recall how comparatively moderate it was in its conduct, without, however, escaping the danger of the depreciation of fiduciary paper, to induce us to abandon rash designs of a similar character.
—There is much more reason not to cite the example of the bank of France in 1848, in defense of paper money. Every one knows what good services the good standing of this great establishment, the safety of its operations and the care it had always taken to maintain its specie reserve, enabled it to render to the government and to industry during this direful period, in spite of the terrible shock caused by the revolution of February. The compulsory circulation of its notes was in a measure only nominal: public administrations, the manufacturers and the merchants received the specie they needed. The confidence which the bank enjoyed attracted deposits to it. Although it had absorbed the departmental banks, and realized the grand idea of unity of issue, it was restricted at first to a circulation of 452,000,000 francs in notes; this figure was increased to 525,000,000 on Dec. 22, 1849, when its reserve was firmly re-established; its notes exchanged at par, and even at a small premium; and, in reality, it was the specie that had compulsory circulation, as the demand for notes exceeded the supply. The resumption of specie payments was urgently demanded by the bank itself, and prescribed by the decree of Aug. 6, 1850, without causing any trouble.
—Thus we see what is gained by not being carried away by chimerical facilities, and multiplying notes as Austria and Russia did, when the wants of circulation did not require it; this multiplication must necessarily lead to the instability of the measure of values, and to a variable lowering of the representative sign in all business transactions. We shall soon tell how France, in the face of apparently increasing financial necessities, in great part escaped this danger; for everything here is a question of proportion. The state which goes beyond this delicate measure tolerates or is guilty of an abuse, and is wanting in the performance of the high mission of power; instead of maintaining order, guaranteeing security, and maintaining the public faith, it becomes itself an instrument of sad disturbance, and at the same time aims a blow at moral law and the interests of production. From the moment that money loses its character of a solid pledge of business transactions, or that, instead of avoiding the variations of value, it suffers their effect, confidence disappears, operations extending over a long period are stopped, credit, the mainspring of industry, is destroyed, and circulation ceases. Paper money destroys the type, or, as Lord Liverpool styled it, the sovereign archetype of value, the precious metals. The bank note ceases to be their reflection and representative sign: the danger rapidly increases, if, instead of remaining an instrument of commerce, and of being backed by the discount on merchandise, it is handed over at the arbitrary will of the state, which transforms it into a mere resource of the treasury. It then becomes almost impossible to avoid a fatal declivity; an excessive emission leads to bankruptcy, for the state always issues more notes than the needs of circulation require, and, in proportion as the law of depreciation manifests itself, it hastens the catastrophe by the necessity of employing more notes to meet the same expenses.
—The loss which the country suffers is far from being confined to the diminution in price of the mass of fiduciary signs; it is increased by the unnatural amount of business transactions, rendered so by a fictitious value. The money of a nation never forms but a small portion of its wealth, and the depreciation of paper exercises a direful influence upon all products, which are henceforth distributed in a false proportion. All the relations of the sovereign power with citizens and of citizens with one another, are changed by it; contracts are violated; injustice triumphs, and the public fortune declines as a result of the ruin of individuals.
—How deplorable soever the system of paper money appears to us, we do not wish to exaggerate anything; it is not impossible to escape the dangers which it seems to provoke, but to do so we must renounce the idea of seeing in it too rich a mine, and of demanding of it more help than it can render. By confining it to well-defined limits, by scrupulously preventing it from exceeding a fraction of the receipts and expenses of the state, the government may find in paper money, if accepted by all the public treasuries, the means of effecting a real loan without interest. But this can never be but a limited resource, and as it may lead to dire consequences, it would be better to renounce it from the moment there appears a possibility of these consequences. Many of the small German states have treasury notes, which circulate as money, because there are but very few of them. In 1873, with a budget of 1,000,000,000 francs, Prussia had not 60,000,000 of Tresorscheine; the duchy of Baden reached a larger proportion, 3,000,000 florins of paper money to a budget of 19,000,000 florins. It is only in microscopic and needy states that the relative proportion is still further increased; but the amounts are small. Saxe-Meiningen had, in 1873, a budget of 2,000,000 florins and 356,000 florins of paper money. Saxe-Altenburg had 400,000 thalers of paper money when the treasury receipts reached only 874,192 thalers, and there were 950,000 thalers (more than $600,000) of this irredeemable paper in Anhalt alone. These modest figures seem insignificant by the side of the 3,000,000,000 of paper money of the Russian empire, which would like to appear less majestic in this respect. If France, at the close of a disastrous war, was compelled to carry such an amount of paper, she did it only by maintaining a larger specie reserve in the presence of wealth treble the amount, and of a trade four times that amount. She endeavored, besides, to resume her normal condition by a prompt redemption of the state's indebtedness to the bank of France.
—The two distinctive characteristics of paper money are, that it is not redeemable in coin, and that, instead of having public confidence for its limit, it is imposed by authority, by means of forced circulation and the usurpation of the power of discharging debts. Bad as an instrument of commercial credit, it becomes disastrous as an instrument of public authority, unless it be lessened to such an extent as to render only secondary services. As soon as the attempt is made to use it upon a very large scale, it leads to an abyss.
—Never more than in these later times have we seen numerous states applying the dread remedy of paper money upon a great scale. The United States at the close of the war of secession, Italy after gaining her independence, and France when defeated by Prussia, have put themselves side by side with Russia and Austria in the use of this dangerous expedient. This affords us a great lesson, for all these states were or are merely endeavoring to escape from a false situation, whose inconveniences they all appreciate. The old illusions have disappeared: men no longer extol paper money; they no longer see in it a source of wealth; they appreciate better the elements which constitute productive power; they know how often an apparent economy is transformed into losses of various kinds, whose amount far surpasses the pretended benefit.
—If we sum up the total amount of paper money issued by the five powers mentioned, we will find, after deducting the amount of the specie reserve, that it amounted, in 1873, to $250,000,000,000. This was not one-seventieth part of the accumulated wealth of these states; as a pretended increase of productive power, therefore, paper money is a feeble benefit, entirely counterbalanced by the trouble it causes in circulation. The measure is already full, and can not be increased. The common efforts of all civilized nations are directed toward a reduction of the amount of paper money. But should not this necessary reduction of notes render those more circumspect who, acknowledging only gold as a medium of circulation, would run the risk of destroying the necessary equilibrium between business and money? (See MONEY AND ITS SUBSTITUTES.)
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 3 Oath - Zollverein Chapter: PRODUCTION OF WEALTH
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The text is in the public domain.
PRODUCTION OF WEALTH. The word production, which, in ordinary language, means the giving birth to, or producing, without regard to the utility of the thing produced, or the outlay required for that production, takes, in economic science, a particular meaning, much more restricted, more exact and more absolute. This word, in political economy, is applied to that particular branch of the science which has for its object the creation of values, considered apart from their distribution and their consumption; and, scientifically speaking, it can be applied only to work resulting in a product of a value superior, or at least equal, to that of the services of every kind which that operation has taken. It is only when this balance is obtained, that there is truly production. There would be destruction on the contrary hypothesis, that is, if the value produced was found to be inferior to the sum of those necessarily consumed in order to obtain it; and this is so true, that, if one attempted to repeat the same operation a certain number of times he would finally destroy the entire sum of the values he had originally employed in the experiment, so that it would become physically impossible to repeat it. There is, then, no doubt that in political economy, what is called production, and the only operation susceptible of being characterized as productive, is that which, taking everything into account, results in a sum of values superior, or at least equal, to that which has had to be devoted to it; and, in truth, it is this exact estimation of the result, this strict reckoning of the consequences, for good or evil, for profit or loss, advantage or disadvantage, of our labors, our operations, our enterprises of every kind, which, more than anything else, has given to the investigations of political economy the character of a science, and which has made its intervention sometimes appear to ignorant or evil-intentioned rulers so much to be dreaded.
—But if it is not possible to raise a question as to the essential meaning given to the word production in political economy, we must admit that we are still far from having exhausted the controversy: in the first place, on the determination of the kinds of labor that should be called productive: and secondly, on the analysis of the means by which production takes place. This controversy has lasted ever since the first systematic efforts were made, more than eighty years ago [now more than a hundred years ago.
—Translator], to raise political economy to the condition of a science; and, first to speak only of the question of knowing what kinds of labor are susceptible of being qualified as productive, it seems to us that people are not yet well settled in that regard, either as to the category of the kinds of labor which act upon things, or, above all, as to that of the kinds of labor whose efforts are exerted directly on man. One can not deny, for example, that the nomenclature of kinds of labor of the first category presents omissions and inaccuracies that are quite serious.
—There is, in the first place, one entire class of labors, viz., that of the extractive industries, which has become far too considerable for it to be possible to take an account of it, and which, at the same time, differs too much from all the others for it to be allowable to confound it with any other class. How incomprehensible that any one should omit to speak of a class of industries capable of throwing upon the market masses of products comparable to those furnished by hunting, fishing, the industry of the wood cutter, the quarry man, and, above all, the miner! and, on the other hand, how permit them to be confounded, as is sometimes done, with agricultural industry! What is there in common between arts, which, confining themselves to extracting from waters, forests and earth the materials for a multitude of industries, employ for that purpose only mechanical forces, and an art which, like agriculture, is devoted to the multiplication and improvement of useful animals and vegetables, and which, for that purpose, makes use of a force so special, so little understood, so delicate to manage, as life? Perhaps it would be better to confound them, as is also done, with the transportation industry; for, like that industry, the extractive arts do, in fact, change the place of things which they supply for consumption. But they are not, like it, confined to bringing about a change of place: their craft especially consists in the very fact of extraction, an industrial action very difficult to practice, in all cases very unlike that of transportation; and there is no other way but to make of it an altogether separate classe of labors, under the name of the extracting arts or extractive industries.
—Another serious inaccuracy to be noted in the nomenclature of the arts which are exercised in the material world, is the application of the term trade to the business of transportation.50 Trade has put people in the way of that industry, has taught them to specialize it, has led them to recognize how an intelligent removal of things so as to bring them within reach of whoever needs them, may contribute to production; but it has not, for all that, become the art of transportation, the carrying industry. The carrying industry is a vast business, clearly distinguished from all others, and should accordingly have its separate name. We can not give it the name of trade without doing violence to language, without miserably mutilating it, in fact; and it is so much the more impossible to call the transportation industry trade, because the term trade is applied to a class of facts altogether different, which should also have its appropriate appellation. To trade is to buy in order to sell again; it is not an act peculiar to one class of workmen; it is an act absolutely common to all and, to speak the truth, there is not a business, from the highest to the lowest, in which people do not begin by purchases and end by sales. If the owner of a vessel or other means of conveyance buys things in one place to sell them in another, the manufacturer buys them under one form to sell them under a different one; whoever practices any handicraft, art or function, has begun by acquiring aptitudes, talents, faculties, which he afterward continually sells under the form of services. Everybody, then, buys and sells, and buys in order to sell. Only, between the purchases and the sales which every one makes, there intervenes some labor, some art, the intelligent practice of which constitutes his avocation: and, to recur to the people whose business is to distribute things abroad in the world, and to put them within reach of whoever needs them, there is, between the purchases and the sales they make, and art, which consists less in the act of buying, selling and trading, which all kinds of workmen do, the same as they, than in the judicious change of place of things, and in the marvelous and peculiar labor they perform, from which it is but reasonable that their industry should receive its name.
—Finally, a last inaccuracy to be mentioned in the nomenclature of the great classes of labors which act upon the material world, is the order in which they have been arranged. It is certainly not very natural to call attention first to the one of these classes which is the most difficult, which was the last to originate, and which, by the nature of the particular agent it employs, viz., life, most nearly approaches the high arts51 which act directly on the human race; and a logical arrangement would have placed agricultural industry last, instead of first. We have elsewhere given the order in which we should think it proper to class the kinds of labor in this first category.
—But if science is not yet well settled as to their classification, or as to their nomenclature, does it, at least, now recognize that they all contribute to production? and does it know how they co-operate in it? It would be difficult to assert this of the long category of arts which act directly on the human race. As to these, we are where we have long been in regard to the others. We known how tardy was the recognition that the latter participated in the creation of wealth, and what difficulty there was in discerning how they participated in it. The truth in regard to this, which was first admitted in reference to the extractive arts and agricultural industry, was long denied in reference to manufactures, and still longer in regard to the industry of transportation, improperly called commercial. The only real products were those which were the immediate result of the extractive and agricultural industries. Manufacture transformed them; but it was supposed, without creating new products, since it took nothing more from the earth. The industry of transportation changed the places of things; but still less than manufactures did it create new products, since those it transported remained identically the same. It was only after much difficulty that the matter was relieved of its confusion, and people were made clearly to perceive how these industries added new values to existing wealth.
—Here is where we now are as to the arts which act directly on men. People still deny, at this very day, that they add to the mass of wealth created. Most books on political economy, even to the last, including the best,52 have been written with the supposition that there were no real riches, or values susceptible of being qualified as wealth, except those which labor had succeeded in embodying in material objects. Smith sees scarcely any wealth save in things palpable. Say starts by designating by the name of wealth, lands, metals, moneys, grain, dry goods, etc., without adding to that enumeration any class of values not realized in matter. Whenever, according to Malthus, wealth is in question, our attention is drawn almost exclusively to material objects. The only kinds of labor, according to Rossi, with which the science of wealth is concerned, are those which enter into the struggle with matter to adapt it to our needs. Sismondi does not recognize as wealth products which industry has not clothed with a material form. Riches, according to Droz, are all the material goods which serve to satisfy our wants. "The opinion most true," he adds, "is that we should see it [i.e., wealth] in all the material things which serve men." Finally, the writer of these lines can not forget that he had to maintain, only a few months ago [probably written in 1863 or 1864.
—Translator], a long debate with several economists, his colleagues in the academy of moral sciences, without succeeding in persuading them that there are other riches than those which are so improperly called material.
—Not only do economists recognize as wealth only values realized in material objects, but they declare unproductive the arts which are not exercised on matter, mentioning by name those which act directly upon man. Smith, after having enumerated them, presents them all, from the noblest to the meanest, as leaving nothing with which one could afterward purchase an equal quantity of labor. "Their work," he adds, "perishes the very instant of its production." ("Wealth of Nations," book ii., chap. 3.) We have elsewhere cited the opinions of a list of well-known economists, who all say the same thing. Tracy, Malthus, Sismondi, and James Mill, in speaking of the labor of magistrates, instructors, priests, savants, artists, etc., say of their services that they are productive only at the moment when they are rendered, and that there remains nothing of them, or that there remain only intellectual or moral results, and that people do not store up that which appertains only to the soul. Droz, whom we did not mention, after having represented the arts which act on matter as the only ones which produce wealth, elsewhere considers those who work on the mind as not creating. J. B. Say, who essays an innovation on this point, represents as productive all the long category of kinds of labor performed directly on man; but, from a misapprehension which prevents him from arriving at the truth, he sees the products of these labors in the works themselves, instead of seeing them where they are, that is to say, in the useful and lasting results they leave behind them; and, while qualifying them as productive, he is led to say of them all that the others say to prove that they are not so, namely, that their products are attached to nothing, that they perish as fact as they are created, that it is impossible to accumulate them, that they add nothing to the wealth of society, that there are even disadvantages in multiplying them, and that the expense incurred to obtain them is unproductive.
—It is very singular, that, while thus in accord in declaring the arts unproductive which act directly on the human race, these economists are unanimous in finding them productive when they consider them in their consequences, that is to say, in the utilities, the faculties, the values, which they finally succeed in realizing in man. Thus, Adam Smith, after having said, in certain passages in his book, that literary people, savants, and other workers in the same category, are workmen whose labor produces nothing, expressly says elsewhere that "the useful abilities acquired by members of society" (abilities which could have been acquired only by the aid of these men whom he calls unproductive) "are a capital fixed are realized, as it were, in the persons who possess them, and constitute an essential part of the general funds of society—a part of its fixed capital." ("Wealth of Nations," book ii., chap. 1.) Thus, also, J. B. Say, who says of the same classes of workers, that their products are not susceptible of accumulation, and that they add nothing to the wealth of society, formally pronounces, on the other hand, that the talent of a public functionary, and that the business of a mechanic (evidently creations of these men whose products can not be accumulated), from an accumulated capital. Thus, M. Sismondi, who, on the one hand, declares the labors of instructors, etc., unproductive, affirms positively, on the other hand, that literary men and artists53 (the incontestable work of these instructors) constitute a part of the national wealth. Similarly M. Droz, who somewhere makes the observation that it would be absurd to consider virtue as wealth, properly so called, terminates his book by saying it would be falling into a disgraceful error to regard the magistracy which makes justice rule, the savant who diffuses intelligence, etc., as producing nothing. It is, however, obvious that the same labor can not be at once productive and non-productive, result in products which at the same time perish and become permanent, which vanish as fast as they are created, and which accumulate in proportion as they are created; and seeing to what contradictions the founders of the science are brought on this capital point, it is easy to recognize that the question needs a more satisfactory explanation than that which they have given of it. This explanation we have elsewhere produced, and we think it will compel assent. It arises obviously from the quite natural distinction to be made between labor and its results.
—It was, as we have said, because of not having distinguished labor from its results, that Smith and his principal successors fell into the contradictions which we have just pointed out, and that they so badly resolved the question whether or not the arts, which act directly on man, should be considered productive. All the useful occupations, whatever they may be, those which work upon things as well as those which operate on men, perform labor which vanishes as fast as performed, and they all create utility which is accumulated as fast as it is obtained. It is not necessary to say, with Smith, that wealth is accumulated labor; we should say that it is accumulated utility. It is not labor that one accumulates, it is the utility which labor produces. The labor passes away as fast as performed; the utility it produces remains.
—To be sure, the lesson which a professor gives is consumed while being produced, the same as the manual labor expended by the potter on the clay he holds in his hands; but the ideas inculcated b the professor in the minds of the men, who listen to him, the shape given to their intelligence, the salutary impression wrought on their susceptible faculties, are products which remain, quite as much as the form impressed on the clay by the potter. A physician gives advice, a judge pronounces a sentence, an orator delivers a discourse, an artiste sings a song or recites a tirade; this is their labor; it is consumed as fast as produced, like all possible kinds of labor: but it is not their product, as J. B. Say erroneously claims: their product, like that of every kind of producers, is in the result of their labor, in the useful and durable modifications that both kinds have wrought on the men upon whom they have acted, in the health the physician has restored to his patient, in the morality, the instruction, the taste, which the judge, the professor, and the artiste have spread. Now, these products remain, they are susceptible of preservation and increase, of accumulation; and we can acquire more or less virtue and knowledge, just as we can impress upon any portion of matter some of the utilities which are of a nature to become fixed in things, and which give them more or less value.
—It is true, that instruction, taste, talents, are immaterial products; but do we ever create any other kind? and is it not surprising to see J. B. Say distinguish between material and immaterial, he who has so judiciously remarked that we can not create matter any more than we can annihilate it, and that in all things we only produce utilities, values? The form, the figure, the color, that an artisan gives to rough bodies, are things just as immaterial as the knowledge that a professor communicates to intelligent beings: both only produce utilities, and the only real difference that can be observed between their industries, is that the one aims to modify things, and the other to modify men.
—It can not be said that the labor of the professor, the judge, the comedian, the singer, is attached to nothing, nor that nothing remains of it: it is attached to the men upon whom it operates, and there remain from it the useful and lasting modifications which it has wrought in them; just as the labor of the spinner, the weaver, and the dyer, is realized in the things which receive it, and leaves upon them the forms, the figure and the colors which it has impressed on them.
—It can not be said that the values realized in men, the capacity, industry and talents that have been communicated to them, are not susceptible of sale. What are not sold, at least in countries civilized enough to have no more slaves, are the men in whom human industry has developed these qualities; but, as to the talents which these men possess, they are quite susceptible of sale, and are, in fact, continually being sold; not, I readily admit, in kind and in themselves, but under the form of the services, the labor, and the instruction which is commonly employed to communicate them to others.
—No more can we say that the values which labor succeeds in impressing upon men are not of a nature to be accumulated: it is as easy to multiply in ourselves the useful modifications of which we are susceptible, as to multiply, in the things which surround us, the useful modifications they can receive.
—Nor can it any more be said that there is disadvantage in multiplying them. What can not be multiplied without disadvantage, are the expenses necessary in order to obtain any kind of products whatever; but, as to the products themselves, it can not surely be said that there is any disadvantage in increasing them. We do not hear men complain of having too much industry, taste, imagination, skill or any good quality, and more than we hear them complain of possessing too many utilities of any other kind.
—It can not be said that the expense incurred to obtain these products is unproductive. What would be unproductive, would be the incurring of needless expense in creating them: but as to the necessary outlay for that purpose, it is not unproductive, since it may result in actual wealth, and in wealth greater than the expense of producing it. It is surely not rarely that acquired talents are worth more than the expense incurred to acquire them: it is not impossible that a government should give rise, by an active and firm administration, enlightened by justice, to a value infinitely superior to the expense required to obtain so valuable a result.
—It can not, in short, be said that these products add nothing to the national capital: they augment it as really as products of any other kind could do. A capital of mental acquirements or of good habits is worth no less than a capital of money or of any other kind of values. A nation has not alone physical wants to be satisfied; it naturally experiences many intellectual and moral wants; and, however little culture it may have, it will place virtue, instruction and taste in the category of its most real and most valuable riches. These things, then, which are in themselves true wealth, on account of the pure and elevated pleasures they procure, are, besides, absolutely indispensable means for obtaining that other species of values which we succeed in embodying in material objects. It is not sufficient, in fact, in order to create these latter values, to possess workshops, tools, machines, provisions, moneys: there must be strength, health, knowledge, taste, imagination, good private and social habits; and the men who work to create and bring to perfection these products may justly be considered producers of the wealth called material, just as much as those who work directly to create it. It is obvious, in a word, that if a nation increases its capital by extending its area of cultivation, improving its lands, perfecting its workshops, its implements, and its cattle, still more does it increase it by perfecting itself, that which is preeminently the force, the force which directs and gives value to all the others.
—Will some one be kind enough to tell us how it is, that, after all this, any one can maintain that the men whose efforts are exerted directly in the cultivation of their fellow-creatures, create products which vanish in being produced? The truth in regard to these laborers, as well as to all, is, that in the work of production it is only their labor which vanishes, and that, as to their products, they are as real as those of the classes most manifestly productive. What better, in fact, can be done to increase the capital of a nation, than to multiply the number of men, vigorous, skillful, educated, virtuous men, trained to act well and live well? What wealth, even if we took into account merely the question of deriving profit from the material world, could appear superior to this? What wealth is more capable of giving rise to other kinds? Now, this is exactly what all classes of laborers who act directly upon man, produce, different from those who work for him only by acting on things. A government, when it is what it ought to be, is a producer of men subject to public order, and trained to the practice of justice; a true moralist is a producer of moral men; a good instructor is a producer of instructed and enlightened men; an artiste worthy of the name is the producer of men of taste and of soul, of men trained to sensibility to all that is good and beautiful; a teacher of fencing, horsemanship or gymnastics, is a producer of bold, agile, vigorous men; a physician is the producer of well men. Or, if we choose, these various laborers are, according to the nature of the art they practice, producers of health, strength, agility, courage, instruction, taste, morality, sociability—all things which people count upon acquiring when thy consent to pay for the services designed to produce them, and all services whose price is, so to speak, quoted, having consequently a sale value, and forming the most valuable and most fecund portion of the productive forces of society.
—These opinions were published by the author of this article, a number of years ago (in 1827, in the April number of the Revue Encyclopédique); and he confesses that it was not without great surprise, that, referring lately, at a meeting of the Institute, to these former remarks, he beheld savants who were his colleagues, and, among the number, able professors of political economy, combat propositions so evidently correct, and seriously deny that economic science could concern itself with the arts which act upon man; relying, to justify their opinion in that regard, on these two reasons, among others, viz., that it could not take notice of them without exceeding its just limits; and that, on the other hand, it was not possible to make, from the product of these arts, an article of exchange or of commerce.
—But (to pass immediately on the merits of the first of these allegations), how, pray, is the science of political economy naturally limited? Is it by the nature of the arts alone which they would have it investigate, or by the general manner in which it regards all kinds of labor? Does it treat directly and exclusively of certain arts, for example, of those which act on the material world, of extractive industry, of that of transportation, of manufacture, or of agriculture? It has to deal with questions which are peculiar to no art, to which all arts equally give rise, and which are the special object of its study: it investigates how all kinds contribute to production, what part is played by the labor of the various orders of means on which the power of all labor rests, the separation of occupations, the perfecting of the instruments employed, the scientific notions, the talent for applying them, and a number of others which we refrain from enumerating here: it also investigates the manner in which the products resulting from the co-operation of all the social activities are distributed among all, by the contrivance of exchanges and the aid of everything that can facilitate them. Now, these questions, wholly economic, and which it is though natural it should discuss relative to the arts exercised on things, it is obvious it may enter upon, without departing any more from its object, in reference to the arts which act directly on man; and if political economy does not encroach on the instruction of the technologist or the agronomist when it explains how the manufacturer or the agriculturist adds to the value of the materials he transforms, it is evident that it no more encroaches on the labors of the savant, the artiste, or the magistrate, when it attempts to show how these particular orders of workers contribute to the improvement of the people on whom their influence is exercised. Certainly, to tell what part a good division of labor, or the employment of improved instruments, plays in the teaching of the sciences, is not to devote one's self to teaching the sciences. Certainly, too, to say the artiste, the priest, the instructor, can no more do without security and liberty, than the man who plows his field or who keeps his workshops in operation, is neither to be a professor of æsthetics, of morals, or of pedagogy. Finally, it is manifest, that to raise an economic question in relation to the arts which act upon man, is no more to go outside of the bounds of political economy, than it is going outside to treat that question in its relation to the arts whose activity is expended on matter.
—And not only does the economist no more go out from his domain when he concerns himself, from an economic point of view, with the arts whose activity is devoted to the education of the human race, than he goes out of it when he gives his attention to those which act on things; but we must say, that, to completely fill his role, he must concern himself with all, without distinction. There is not one, in fact, which does not indispensably need the co-operation of all the others; and the economist would have only a very incomplete idea of the phenomenon of production, and of all the means on which the powers of production are based, if he did not know how every kind of labor that the economy of society comprises, participates in it. The economist, in a word, must necessarily be instructed in two things: the first is, that man can not be developed in one respect alone; that he can not become rich exclusively; that, in order to become rich, he must also become skillful, trained, enlightened, polished, moral, social; and the second is, that there is not one of these happy qualities which is not a direct source of wealth to the arts which procure them for him; that the savant, the artiste, the magistrate and the moralist enrich themselves while laboring for his education, just as the mechanic and the agriculturist do while adjusting material nature to his wants.
—But, they say (and this is the second objection brought against us), political economy treats essentially of exchangeable wealth; and for it to concern itself with the high arts which labor for the education of man, they should give rise to products which could be a current article of exchange. Now, what do, in fact, come from them, even on the supposition that they succeed in forming men who are well taught, able, honest, capable of rendering services in all respects excellent? And where are the products susceptible of being exchanged, in which their labor is realized? The answer naturally arises from the question. These products are in the very-aptitudes they give the men on whom their labor is expended, and in the services these aptitudes permit them to render. These services are not palpable products, it is true; but have the only arts with which some persons think political economy should concern itself, the arts which act on the materials world, only this kind of products to offer? Do not these people know that the larger part of their agents present themselves on the market with only labor, that they have only services to offer? And if one will please consider that labor, industry and human services are a current article, a constant article, a universal article, of exchange, will he deny that the arts, whose mission is to form men adapted to render services, contribute as much as of any other class to bring exchangeable products into market? Do not the whole world know that there is a trade in services going on, as considerable as that in material things adapted to serve? And do they not also know that the most material of products have been acquired only in view of the services they can render, and that in reality it is only services which are bought and sold?
—This surely is undeniable; and if political economy can justly be reproached with not having made a sufficiently exact and complete classification of the kinds of labor acting on material nature, which contribute to production, it may still more justly be reproached with not having also been able to admit into the number of productive are the classes of labor, so important and so numerous, whose united activity is devoted to the cultivation of the human race. It is certain, that, in order to have a sufficient idea of the phenomenon of production, it should embrace them all and investigate both without distinction. There may indeed be something in this enlargement of the domain of the science of political economy, to disconcert a little those who cultivate its acquaintance; and we can understand, that, after having made the products clothed with material forms and the kinds of labor which create that sort of products the exclusive object, thus far, of their investigations, it costs them somewhat to extend their attention to the more complicated arts, which concern man and products so different, which are put into circulation under the form of services; but it is nevertheless true, that, to well comprehend the phenomenon of production, they must particularly investigate this class of products and of labors, and there is likewise an additional reason for making them the subject of especial investigation, in the little attention they have hitherto accorded them.
—We will add, that, if it is necessary to investigate equally all the kinds of labor embraced in the economy of society, in order to have an adequate conception of the phenomenon question, it is not less so to have accurate and complete knowledge upon the co-operation of what means the power of labor naturally depends; and that on this second point, as we showed at the commencement of this article, the economists have not yet succeeded in coming to an agreement any more than on the first. If they have not made it sufficiently appear what all the trades and professions are which it is essential for political economy to investigate, neither have they sufficiently shown, at least as it seems to us, by what means the various kinds of business produce, and in the combination of what causes lies the potency of their action. That illustrious man, J. B. Say, the one of these writers, who, in our opinion, has made the most learned exposition, the most detailed and most extended analysis, of the general means of industry, appears to us, nevertheless, to have fallen far short of having made a complete list of them, or even, in many respects, an accurate list.
—To begin with, before entering upon an examination of that analysis, we will express our regret, in common with some other economists, that J. B. Say should have assigned several causes as the origin of production, and represented that man was indebted for the acquisitions he has made, not alone to his efforts, without with, however, the forces of nature, beginning with his own faculties, would have been of no value to him, but to his efforts simultaneously with the co-operation of nature and of capital, which, according to J. B. Say, have labored for-his progress conjointly with himself. "There exists something else than human labor in the work of production," he says. * * Industry, left to itself, could not give value to things; it must possess products already existing, without which, however skillful we may suppose it to be, it would remain inactive: it is necessary, besides, that nature should combine her labor with it and with its instruments." Human industry, according to J. B. Say, never figures as more than one-third in the act of production. In every product a part of the result obtained comes from nature, and another part from capital.
—We fear, as we have already said elsewhere, that in thus assigning to production several primordial causes, J. B. Say has brought confusion where he desired to introduce greater order, and that, far from throwing light on the subject, he has made the primitive source of all our progress more obscure. We think, with Adam Smith, and particularly with M. de Tracy, who on this subject was still more clear than Smith, that labor has been the only generating cause.
—To be sure, human activity is not the only force there is in nature. Outside of that, there exists a multitude of others, which man has no more created than he has created his own faculties, and which he could no more annihilate, and whose existence is wholly distinct from and independent of his. There are dead forces, and there are living ones. The hardness, the strength, the ductility of certain metals, are inert forces. The sun, water, fire, wind, gravitation, magnetism, electricity, the vegetative force of the soil, the vital force of animals, are active forces. But if such forces exist, external to man, there is nothing in them which announces that they exist for him; and, left to themselves, they would show themselves perfectly indifferent to his happiness. For them to serve him, he must bend them to his service; for them to produce, he must force them to produce. To be sure, man does not create them; but he creates the utility that they are to him: he creates them as agents of production, as productive forces. It is also true that he has to take more or less trouble for that: every kind of steel is not equally suitable to make a file; every kind of soil can not be rendered equally adapted to vegetation; but he must put his hand to all things, and nothing is arranged by nature to serve him. How could the qualities of iron have been of service to production, if industry had not been able to separate the metal from the ore, and impress upon it the form suited to render its qualities useful? How could the wind have serve to turn a millstone without the fans of the mill? How could the magnetic fluid have served to direct navigators, without the invention of the mariner's compass? How would the rain and the sun make plants germinate, without the previous labor which presents to the dew of heaven and the warmth of the solar rays a plat of land suitably plowed, manured, prepared and sown? These agents and many others, in short, are equally all the disposal of all men: of what use are they to the savage who has not learned how to derive advantage from them? Yet again, the forces of nature exist independently of human labor; but relatively to man, and as agents of production, they exist only in human industry, and in the instruments by means of which industry has taken hold of them. This it is which has created these instruments and directs their use; this is the only source from which have sprung, not things, nor the properties of things, but all the utility which man derives from things and from their properties.
—J. B. Say is then wrong, we think, in saying that wealth originally came from the combination of three forces, industry, capital and natural agents, among which he gives land an important place. Industry, he says, would have remained inactive, without the aid of pre-existing capital. But, if this is so, it is no longer conceivable how it was able to begin to act; for it is very evident that the existence of capital could not precede the labor which gave rise to it. To appropriate things to his use, man had at firssst only his native faculties, his instincts, his intelligence and his hands. Soon, by the aid of these levers he procured others: he put tools in his fingers; he substituted machines for tools; he added to his forces those of animals, metals, water, fire and wind. By degrees all the powers of nature, some being subjugated by others, under the intelligent direction he gave them, entered his service without disturbance, and began to work for him. The capital thus composed of the combined forces which he added to the little he had on coming from the hands of nature, and including, of course, the successive developments of his own faculties, is of human creation. A piece of land is, as M. Tracy well observes, like a block of marble or a mass of mineral, only a certain portion of matter, endowed with certain properties, and which man may dispose of, and he disposed of, as with a multitude of other things, so as to render its properties useful. Man does not create this matter, nor the properties it has, any more than he creates mater or the properties of matter, from which are formed a hundred other kinds of capital; but he creates, by his successive efforts, the power to derive advantage from both: he creates them as instruments of production, and these forces which J. B. Say represents as acting from the beginning conjointly with human industry, are themselves, at least as instruments of production, creations of industry, and ought to be included in the list of means which it has given itself, and of agents which it has made for itself, while it has developed its own forces. Consequently, and let us note well the fact, it is not necessary to go outside of human activity, to find the origin of the powers which human labor possesses. It is from this that everything visibly proceeds, and no other force is perceptible at the beginning. In other words, man has created all his powers, beginning with those he has derived from himself and from the marvelous faculties whose germ Heaven placed within him. He has created, I repeat, neither these faculties nor the forces throughout nature; but all the power that he has of deriving from both, he has, I say, given himself.
—Then, after having thus referred the forces which J. B. Say represents as acting from the beginning conjointly with man, to a place among the general means of production that man has created, we will repeat that M. Say has made, and others after him will continue to make, following his example, an analysis of these means which appears to us neither sufficiently complete nor even sufficiently accurate.
—We will observe, in the first place, that the author of the Traitéd' Economic Politique excludes from the mass of its productive funds, as the author of the "Wealth of Nations" had done, all that part of the general fund of society which is employed in satisfying public or private, particular or general, want. This is the natural consequence of the error which makes them consider the arts which act on man unproductive. Thus all that portion of the social fund which individuals employ in maintaining their physical strength, increasing their intellectual faculties, improving their moral habits, bringing up children who will some day be of help to them, would, according to J. B. Say, constitute no part of their means of the production. And, in like manner, all that part of the same fund employed in satisfying public wants, as for example, maintaining order in the community, creating habitual respect among its members for personal and property rights, procuring instruction for classes which would not naturally receive it, would also not constitute any part of the productive forces of society. All these would serve to satisfy demands, to be sure, and very imperious demands; all these would be productive of utility and gratification, but not of wealth: the service people made of them would add nothing to the wealth and forces of society.
—This affects us, we acknowledge, as one of the most obvious of errors. It is absolutely impossible for us to admit that the portion of his means that a manufacturer employs in keeping his manufactory in repair, constitutes a part of his productive capital; and that that which he employs in maintaining himself, the head of the manufactory and the prime agent of manufacturing production, constitutes no part of it. It is impossible for us to admit that the buildings and the food which an agronomist employs for the preservation of his beasts of burden should constitute a part of his productive capital; and that his dwelling house, his furniture, his clothing, his food, and all that part of his wealth which is employed to keep him, and he himself, the head and the prime agent of agricultural production, constitute no part of it. There are, quite probably, a certain number of men in society incurably worthless, either absolute do-nothings, or employing the little activity they have in preserving their existence, seeking enjoyment, and procuring for themselves agreeable sensations. We are quite willing that all that part of the capital of society which is employed in maintaining such beings should be struck off from its productive funds. But if there are many people in the world who live only for pleasure, happily a still greater number live to act, and make their happiness consist in some profitable employment of their powers; and who, in fact, habitually use them in a way that really benefits humanity. Now, we can not comprehend, we say, how any one can strike out from the productive capital of society the part of its funds it employs in suitably maintaining these men, these who are assuredly the most valuable, the, most noble, the most fruitful of all its products, the one without which no other would exist. Everything that a worthless man expends for the satisfaction of his wants is lost: nothing results from it but the maintenance of a useless man. Everything that a useful man gives to his pleasures, without any advantage to the increase or preservation of his faculties, is equally lost: nothing remains of that expense. But what the same individual devotes to the maintenance or the increase of his powers, however little the forces preserved or acquired may be worth above the outlay in preserving or acquiring them, is reproductively employed, and constitutes part of his means of production: of this there can be no doubt.
—In this mass of means of every kind, of which the general productive fund of society is composed, Smith had already discerned a great number of means and of forces: he had seen those prime materials more or less raw, and those more or less worked; tools and machines of every sort designed to shorten or to facilitate labor; buildings devoted to every kind of labor; lands brought into the condition most, suited for cultivation and tillage; a great number of talents and much useful knowledge acquired by the members of society; a certain total of moneys designed to facilitate exchanges, etc.; and, of all these means, he had composed two classes of capital, fixed capital and circulating capital, both designed to maintain that fund for consumption from which men derive all the means of preserving and improving their existence.
—J. B. Say has gone farther than Smith, and done better in some respects. He first divides the productive funds of society into two great divisions, one of which is composed of the industrial faculties of the labourers, and the other of their implements. Then he distinguishes, among the industrial faculties, that of the savants, that of business managers, that of workmen: and, among the instruments, the natural agents not appropriated, such as the sea, the atmosphere, the heat of the sun, and all the powers of physical nature; the appropriated natural agents, such as cultivable lands, regular watercourses, mines in the way of exploitation, etc.; and the different kinds of capital, among which he distinguishes unproductive capital, capital productive of utility and of gratification, and capital truly productive; dividing again the latter into fixed and circulating, and giving particular attention to capital which exists in the form of machines, and that which exists in the form of moneys; while Smith only describes the functions of money, and does not speak of the influence of machines. Such is the analysis of J. B. Say.
—It is surely having made progress in analyzing this vast mass of levers and forces of every kind of which the general productive funds of society is composed, to have distinguished the industrial faculties themselves from the industrial implements. But, while firmly maintaining that essential and excellent distinction between industry and its implements, or, rather, while forming two well-separated classes of the natural and acquired powers which man possesses in himself, and of those which he has appropriated to himself from all nature, and that it depends upon him to add to those he draws from his own resources, we think there is a better analysis to be made of both. Let us speak first of those which exist in man himself.
—J. B. Say only remarks here a fund of industrial faculties. We shall soon see that there is in him something else than industry, and something, too, which, in the interest of production, it is important to observe. But we will first investigate the industrial funds. J. B. Say only distinguishes among industrial funds the three classes of talents of the savant, the business manager and the workman, or, rather, of theory, administration and execution. The first observation that occurs to the mind, is, that he here confounds two very distinct orders of faculties, which it was essential to keep as separate as possible, viz., those which pertain to the understanding and management of affairs, and those which relate to the execution and the art.
—The talent for affairs is composed of several sorts of important faculties which J. B. Say has not described, or even designated, and of which it was, nevertheless, essential to speak; for they occupy a high rank and play a very important part in all kinds of labor, without exception, which the economy of society embraces. This is a considerable omission. The order which J. B. Say assigns to science, in the faculties which pertain to art, is not, I think, the true one: things, in this world, did not begin by theory; a certain practical acquaintance with a trade preceded scientific instruction. People began by acting empirically; then came theoretical knowledge; then the talent for applications, which J. B. Say places among the attributes of the business man, and which is much more in the domain of art; finally, the execution has followed the thought, and has been more or less skillful, according as the thought itself has become more elaborated, and as it has become more natural and more familiar. In all this, as we can see, whether it is a question of business or of art, the only things concerned are address, skill, knowledge and capacity.
—But how is this! are these, then, all there is in man? or does he need no other faculties in order for production? Is he not quite as susceptible of morality as of knowledge? And should we not regard as indispensable that his good abilities should be aided by good breeding, if it is permissible to designate by the familiar phrases, good abilities and good breeding, the whole of the intellectual and moral means of which the powers of the human race are composed? Is a fund of good moral habits any less necessary to the work of production than a fund of industrial faculties? Here again, we say, there seems to as an important and much-to-be regretted omission in the analysis which Smith, J. B. Say, and their successors have made of the general means of production. One can already perceive how much this analysis leaves to be desired in what touches upon the social fund, that which is composed of all the forces which laborers have developed in themselves. Let us pass on to the account of those which they have fixed and accumulated in things.
—We have said that here J. B. Say distinguished unappropriated natural agents, appropriated natural agents, and capitals. We will here, to confirm our first remarks, call attention to the fact that the forces which he designates by the term unappropriated natural agents, such as all the laws of physical nature, could not be considered as instruments of industry, so long as man could not get hold of their power. These agents really exist for him only in the labors, the works, the machines, by means of which he has succeeded in getting hold of them and applying them to his ends. We think we have already rendered this truth palpable. From the moment it is perceived that there are no natural agents for man, except those he has himself got hold of, that he has succeeded in imprisoning in his sails, his gearing, his ingenious and innumerable mechanisms, and which he has made his own by previous and adequate labors of appropriation, it is clear that no such distinction is to be made as unappropriated and appropriated agents. To human industry, only appropriated agents really exist.
—In the list of appropriated agents, we discover absolutely no reason for making two separate classes of capitals and land. Nothing, in fact, seems to distinguish the vegetable or mineral land from the other objects in nature of which man has taken possession, which he has put to his service, in which he has accumulated and capitalized more or less of values; and we can see no more reason for investigating, as J. B. Say has done, how capital and land units to produce industry, than to call attention to the manner in which industry, capital and currents of air or currents of water, or vapor, or the sun, or any other such agent of nature which man has been able to associate with his labor in any manner whatever, combine for the same object. The special distinction of land, in the number of appropriated agents, should then be put aside.
—In the mass of forces within and without himself which man has appropriated to his services, or, to employ language which designates all these forces by one single word, in the mass of capitals, J. B. Say distinguishes unproductive; productive of utility and gratification; and productive of wealth, or, simply, productive. Unproductive capitals (and by these J. B. Say means all buried treasure and unemployed capital), unproductive capitals, we say, scarcely merit figuring in an analysis of the instruments of production. They are, it is true, a potential force: they are capable of being employed; but so long as they remain inactive, they are as if they did not exist, and can hardly be included in an analysis of the social forces. All that part of capitals productive of utility and gratification, which is employed in frivolous or harmful expenses, merits still less being included in the mass of instruments of industry. All that which, on the contrary, serves to bring up useful men, to preserve, extend and improve their faculties, is, as we have explained above, eminently productive, and demands to be ranked among the most valuable and the most effective means of production. There remain, then, simply, productive capitals, which Say distinguishes from natural agents, in which he induces neither land, mines nor water courses, and among which he ranks neither the material of public administration nor the dwelling houses of private citizens, nor their furniture, their clothing, their books, or anything that serves directly for the education of the human race, and in the naming of which, on the contrary, we need not hesitate to combine all the material elements of human industry, all the external forces that it has employed, all the means of action, outside of itself, which it has learned to draw upon and appropriate to its ends, and to which has been able to give a useful direction.
—We will only remark, that, even in comprehending thus under the term capital all the external instruments of industry, we would still be giving to that appellation too restricted an application, and that it is proper to combine under this word all the forces whatsoever that man has accumulated and that he can employ acquiring new ones: that a nation's capital is composed of the forces it has accumulated within itself, quite as much as of those which it has put itself in a position to derive from things; that we may say, and we must say, a capital of knowledge and of good habits, just as we say a capital in money, and that J. B. Say should have been the less averse to this language, because he calls man an accumulated capital, and applies the term accumulated capital to the talent of a workman, an administrator, or an officer. Consequently, man and the world being given, such as they were at the beginning, it is necessary, starting with the active intelligence of the human race as the primordial cause from which all our resources have sprung, to consider as capital, not any particular instruments which man has appropriated, rather than certain others, but all the useful force of every kind, which he has succeeded in developing either in himself or in the things by which he is surrounded, or which he has converted to his use. This being stated, and these various remarks made, here are what seem to us to be the composition of the capital or general productive funds of society, what the various orders of means we discover in it, and the total of the causes with which, in our opinion, the productive power of all kinds of labor is connected.
—In the first place, the social fund or capital is divided, we think, into two great classes of forces: that which labor has developed in men, and that which it has realized in things. The effective power of all kinds of labor comes from the combination of the two classes. In the number of powers which men have succeeded in developing in themselves, the first which strikes us, that which naturally takes a place at the head of all the others, that which is most indispensable to the success of all enterprises and the well-directed action of all the arts, is the genius for affairs, a talent in which we discover several very distinct faculties, such as capacity for judging of the state of demand or knowing the wants of society; that of judging of the state of supply, or estimating the existing means of satisfying these demands; that of administrating with ability enterprises wisely conceived; and finally, that of verifying, by regular accounts, intelligently kept, the previsions of speculation. After this list of faculties relating to the conception and the conduct of enterprises, and of which the genius for affairs is composed, those which are needed for execution, and from which is formed the genius for art, next present themselves. Such are a practical knowledge of a trade, theoretical notions, a talent for applications, and skill in workmanship.
—All these faculties are industrial. But, again, are these all? No, certainly not; and if, in the fund of the personal faculties of workmen, we discover a great variety of industrial forces, we also remark there a great number of moral qualities. We distinguish in them all that series of habits which guide them in their conduct in regard to themselves, and which concern in some sort only the individual. We also distinguish there all that series of habits of another order, which govern relations and which interest society more particularly. The effective power and the free action of all branches of business depend in the highest degree, as might easily be shown, on the perfection of both. We could not take too much pains to note and call attention to the happy influence exerted in all kinds of labor, by good private morals in laborers and the improvement of their habits as citizens.
—Finally, outside of these various orders of faculties to which labor has given rise in men, and which form, in some sort, the intellectual and moral capital of society, its fund of personal faculties, we perceive a multitude of utilities, forces, levers, Powers, which it has succeeded in fixing in things, and which form, if one chooses so to call it, its real or material capital. In this part of its general funds we perceive, under countless aspects, lands cleared, plowed and planted, regular watercourses, canals, routes, enclosures, constructions, buildings, machines, tools, raw products, provisions, moneys, wages, and an infinite variety of instruments and means of action of every kind. All these, variously brought together, form multitudes of establishments, workshops for labor; and if we very attentively observe these workshops, we notice that, however truly appropriated they may be to their object, it is essential that they be well situated, well organized, that labor in them be skillfully distributed, and that they be provided with a sufficient quantity of well-selected tools, materials, and supplies of various sorts.
—Such is the analysis of which this general fund of society, where are found in deposit all our faculties and all our resources, seems to us susceptible; and such are the various elements of power which we there discover. It would now be necessary, in order to complete the exposition of the important phenomenon which this article aims to describe, to show what particular influence each of the means we have just pointed out, exerts in production. This is a task which we have performed in our work on "Freedom of Labor," from which we have taken almost literally a considerable portion of the remarks that have just been read, and nearly two volumes of which are devoted to explaining either the part which these means play in labor in general, or the diversity of the applications that are made of them in the various kinds of labor that social economy embraces; and it would be impossible for us to give here, even in a summary, any adequate idea of that analysis. We can only refer the reader to that book.
—It has been remarked, that, in so extended an analysis as this of the means of labor, we had omitted to speak of the most considerable of all, namely, capital. As if, beginning as we did, with the natural faculties of man, and enumerating the various orders of forces that he had developed in himself, or had appropriated from without, we could have spoken, and did in fact speak, of anything else! As if, under their own names, the various orders of intellectual, moral or material means that we had pointed out, could be and were anything but different portions of the capital of society! As if, in short, after having spoken successively of all, one particular class of forces or of resources could remain to be treated of, under the name of capital, especially when we had said, in terms so explicit, that this term capital did not apply to any one kind particularly, and that it embraced without distinction all the means of production that man had accumulated around him and within himself!
—No; our error, if such it is, consists in having discarded, at the outset, that trinity of land, labor and capital, which the school makes assist simultaneously in the beginning of all our acquisitions of wealth and of forces; which appeared to us to be a cause of trouble and confusion in the exposition of the science; which, while leading to useless explanations, had in our eyes the error of being at the same time incorrect and inadequate, and, taking man and the world in their primordial state, of having made everything arise from the activity of the human race acting at the same time on things and on itself. But, taking thus our starting point in the activity of man, we have the consciousness of having omitted none of the great categories of productive forces that he has developed in the external world and in himself, no portion of the social capital; and we think we have made a more complete and true analysis of the general instruments of labor, as well as of the kinds of labor which social economy embraces, than we had found in the best books on the science.
—We will only say, in closing, that production does not alone derive its forces from the various categories of personal faculties and material means which have just been enumerated, but also from all the great orders of labor which society contains; that there is not one of them which is not indispensable to the activity of all the others, and that, to make the phenomenon of production fully comprehended, one would have to designate the place that each of these kinds of labor occupies in society, the part it performs there, the mutual assistance they render one another, etc. This is what we endeavored to do in the work on "Freedom of Labor," which we have already mentioned, and to which we are obliged again to refer the reader.
E. J. L., Tr.
[50.]M. Danoyer here refers to the expression, "the carrying trade," the "commerce of transportation," and others similar.—E. J. L.
[51.]By high arts, M. Dunoyer here refers to such arts as that of the orator, the actor, the musician, the sculptor, etc.—E. J. L.
[52.]This, however true it may have been when M. Lunoyer wrote, is we are happy to say, no longer so, as witness Macleod's interesting exposition of the nature of incorporeal property, and the writings of Whateley, Senior, and others.—E. J. L.
[53.]M. Dunoyer includes actors, musicians, etc., among artists.—E. J. L.
Footnotes for PRODUCTS ON PAPER
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 3 Oath - Zollverein Chapter: SLAVERY
Accessed from oll.libertyfund.org/title/971/63614 on 2009-05-08
The text is in the public domain.
SLAVERY is the right of property of one man in another man, in his family, in his posterity, and in the products of his labor.
—There is no injustice more revolting than slavery, and yet there is no fact so widespread in history. Hence slavery is as old as war, in which it had its origin. Both slavery and war are inexplicable in the eyes of philosophy, if we do not admit, with Christianity, an immemorial perturbation among the members of the human family.
—In antiquity the system of labor was everywhere slavery. It was found in Rome, in Greece, in Egypt, in Assyria, in Gaul, among the Germans, and, it is said, even among the Scythians; it was recruited by war, by voluntary sale, by captivity for debt, and then by inheritance. It was not everywhere cruel, and in patriarchal life it was scarcely distinguishable from domestic service; in some countries, however, it approached the service of beasts of burden; the brutal insensibility with which Aristotle and Varro spoke of slaves is revolting; and the manner in which they were treated by the laws is even more so. These men, who were of the same race, who had the same intellect, and the same color as their owners, were declared incapable of holding property, of appealing to the law, of defending themselves; in a word, of demeaning themselves like men in any of the circumstances of life. Only the law of the Hebrew people tempered servitude by humanity. Doubtless, we might quote certain words of Euripides or of Terence, of Epictetus or of Seneca, colored with a more tender pity and evincing some heart; we find also both in Greek and Roman laws, on the monuments, and in the inscriptions and epitaphs which our contemporaries have so carefully studied; we find, I say, in these the proof that the granting of freedom to slaves, in individual cases, was frequent, and that it was inspired, especially at the moment of death, by religious motives. But the brutal fact of slavery is incontestable. The evil outweighed the good in an enormous measure; servitude remained from century to century, from country to country, during all antiquity, the universal fact, and the legitimateness of servitude the universal doctrine.
—To the rare and barren protests of a few noble souls, Christianity finally added the power of its mighty voice. The brotherhood of men, the dignity of labor, the absolute duty of perfection: with these three principles, clothed with the authority of God himself, the human race entered a new phase, commenced the great battle of good against evil, and, little by little, forced back the scourges which, in the past, had reigned with undivided supremacy. Servitude was destined to be among the vanquished, but it was not without a long and grievous combat, which, at the present time, is not entirely terminated.
—The learned labors of M. Edouard Biot and M. Janoski warrant the affirmation that servitude had almost entirely disappeared in Christian Europe from the tenth to the thirteenth century; but it is only too well known that after the discovery of the new world, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries witnessed the re-establishment of this odious institution in all the colonial possessions of the nations of Europe. What do I say? The most Christian kings of France, Spain and England did not blush to place their signature at the bottom of treaties intended to assure to them the monopoly of the sale and transportation of millions of human beings. An entire continent, Africa, became like a mine to be worked, charged with furnishing the other continents with the living merchandise, called in diplomatic acts a ton of negroes, just as we say a ton of charcoal.
—To the nineteenth century belongs the honor of waging against servitude a war which is not yet ended, but which has been distinguished, however, by remarkable victories. The revolution is complete as far as ideas are concerned. Morality spoke first, and all the sciences, little by little, came to agree with it. Philosophy gives to all slaves a soul equal to our own, which Aristotle, perhaps, refused to them. Physiology declares blacks and whites, despite important differences, to be members of the same family. History no longer discovers between slave owners and slaves the trace of any legitimate conquest. The law does not recognize any validity of a pretended contract which has no title, the object of which is illicit, and one of the parties to which is not a free agent, and the other party to which is without good faith. Ethnology lifts to the dignity of a beautiful law the radical difference which places in the first rank the races which labor, like the European, and in the last rank the races who make others work for them, like the Turks. Political economy affirms the superiority of free labor to forced labor, and it condemns everything which deprives man of the family. Politics and charity, from different points of view, accept the same conclusion: charity, more tender, detests slavery because it oppresses the inferior race; politics, more lofty, condemns it, above all, because it corrupts the superior race. Thus the revolution above referred to, complete in the order of ideas, is far from being complete in the order of facts.
—At the beginning of the present century England possessed nearly 800,000 slaves, scattered among nineteen colonies, to wit: more than 300,000 in Jamaica, 80,000 in the Barbadoes, 80,000 in Guiana, more than 60,000 in Mauritius, and the rest in the little colonies of Trinidad, Grenada, Antigua, St. Vincent, etc. France, in her colonies of the Antilles, Bourbon, Guiana and Senegal, had 250,000 slaves. There were 27,000 in the little colonies of Denmark, and about 600 in the island of St. Bartholomew, belonging to Sweden. Holland, which knew how to avoid servile labor in Java, preserved more than 50,000 slaves at Surinam and Curaçoa. But these figures are trifling, compared to the number of the enslaved population of the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, which amounted to at least 600,000 slaves; of Brazil, which is more than 2,000,000; and of the United States, which, before the American civil war, had 4,000,000 slaves.
—France was the first to give the signal for the liberation of slaves, a liberation which unfortunately was sudden, violent, and did not last. In 1790-91 the constituent assembly, after much hesitation, admitted free people of color in the colonies to the rights of citizenship. The whites resisted, and when the convention tried to have the decree executed, the conflict between the blacks and whites led to the massacres which have been so falsely attributed to the emancipation of the slaves, proclaimed only at the end of 1793, and confirmed by the decree of Feb. 4, 1794, by which the convention decreed with enthusiasm the abolition of slavery in all French colonies. The result of the maritime wars was, to the colonies, disorder or conquest. At the same time, in the mother country, a reaction, aided by glory, carried men beyond the necessities of order. The year 1802, which witnessed the concordat, the life consulate, the peace of Amiens, the legion of honor, and the university, witnessed also the restoration of slavery and even the slave trade by the law of the 30th floreal, year X.
—Commenced with more wisdom, and conducted with more perseverance, the movement of emancipation in England naturally triumphed more promptly than in France. In 1102 a council held in the city of London, under the presidency of St. Anselm, forbade the slave trade. In 1763 an odious treaty assured to England, on the other hand, the monopoly of this traffic. In 1773 a generous Christian, William Wilberforce, first wrote against this public scandal. In 1780 Thos. Clarkson proposed its abolition to parliament, and in 1787 Wilberforce renewed the proposition, which, after having been seven times presented and seven times rejected, finally triumphed in 1806, and became, at the congress of Vienna, a solemn engagement of all the European powers (Declaration of Feb 4, 1815), which was followed by laws promulgated by each of these nations. May 15, 1823, Mr. Buxton proposed the abolition of slavery in all the English colonies. After long hesitation, the act of abolition presented in 1833, in the name of the government, by Lord Stanley, was promulgated Aug. 28, 1833. This memorable law, which devoted £500,000,000 to the ransom of 800,000 men, did not, however, accord them liberty until after an apprenticeship, which was to last from Aug. 1, 1834, to Aug. 1, 1840; but this uncertain system could not be maintained. Lord Brougham proposed its abolition in 1838, and the colonial legislatures spontaneously decreed complete emancipation in the years 1838 and 1839.
—At the same time, 1838, M. Passy proposed to the French chambers a bill with the same end in view, and in 1840 a commission was charged, under the presidency of the duke de Broglie, to prepare the way for the abolition of slavery in the French colonies. At the same time, also, 1839, Pope Gregory XVI. published a bull, condemning slavery and the slave trade. The report of M. de Broglie is celebrated; we may call it a judgment by a court of last resort, which, for the most elevated, decisive and practical reasons, condemned slavery forever. However, the sentence was not executed on account of the hesitation of the government and the resistance of the colonies. Slavery was not abolished in the colonies of France until after the revolution of February, by the decree of March 4, 1848, which M. Schoelcher had the honor of proposing.
—The result of emancipation in the French colonies was the liberation of the slaves in the Danish colonies, proclaimed July 3, 1848. Sweden had set the example of liberation as early as 1846.
—We here give a résumé of the economic and moral results of emancipation in the colonies of England and in those of France. Before emancipation, the colonies of the West Indies produced 3,640,000 quintals of sugar. These figures had sunk during the apprenticeship to 3,480,000 quintals, and after the liberation to 2,600,000. In 1848 the production was 3,795,311 quintals; in 1852, 3,376,000; and in 1858, 3,499,171. The emancipation of the slaves was followed by a diminution in production and an increase in prices, but also in wages; the result of commercial freedom was an increase in production and a diminution in prices, but also in wages. Twenty years after these two great trials the old figures were reached, the net cost was diminished, and if certain isolated colonies suffer still while others prosper, there is no one in England who could have foreseen that two such radical experiments would not be followed by more disastrous and more prolonged consequences.
—Let us dwell a little further on the colonies of France. Despite a triple trial, the emancipation of the slaves, competition in the mother country and a radical revolution, the general movement of affairs of the French colonies was not lowered beyond one-half, while it was lowered more than a quarter so far as all the business transactions of France during the first period of five years were concerned; after another five years, the figures prior to emancipation were very slightly surpassed at Guadaloupe, nearly half at Guiana, more than a quarter at Martinique, and more than a half at Réunion.
—If we look only at production, after 1854, the figures prior to 1848 were surpassed, even for sugar, excepting at Guiana, which was transformed into a colony of consumption. The increase is in slow progress at Guadaloupe, important at Martinique, and extraordinary at Réunion. Wages are very little higher, the price of sale and renting of lands has increased, credit is more easy, thanks to the banks; new resources of credit and laws which permit the importation of cereals, rice, and also of machinery, arrive opportunely with the reduction of the customs duties; the price of sale is higher, the movement of ships has increased one-third, at the same time that the material and methods of manufacture have been changed. To the honor of liberty and that of the colonists, be it said, that, since emancipation, they have courageously made up their minds what to do; they have ceased to sigh, and begun to act. At Réunion tools have been changed, methods of processes improved, and the revenue from colonist settlements doubled; there is no hesitation in hiring a laborer for five years at double the price received at London for the importation of 6,000 coolies; those who bought with colonist settlements in 1848 have realized enormous fortunes, progress has followed wealth, and the general exposition of agriculture in 1862 showed sugar from Reunion which did not need to be refined. In the Antilles people are no longer contented with cursing the indigenous sugar refineries; they imitate them; central refineries have been established where, in 1874, the produce from sugar cane rose from 5 to 18 per cent., and there is hope of still further improvement; machinery and manuring were introduced, drainage has been tried, patents are taken out, landed credit is demanded, agricultural credit is used, free trade is called for; in a word, those routine and ruinous traditions which are the sad accompaniments of slavery are being departed from; and an endeavor is being made to realize these first four conditions of all economic progress: the perfecting of processes, abundance of hands, facility for credit, and the widening of the market.
—As far as the moral order is concerned, all the results of the English experiment may be summed up in the words of Lord Stanley, in 1842, which were substantially as follows: There has been progress in industrious habits, improvement in the social and religious system, and development in individuals of those qualities of heart and mind which are more necessary to happiness than the material goods of life. The negroes are happy and contented, they devote themselves to labor, they have bettered their way of living, increased their well-being, and, while crime has diminished, moral habits have become better. The number of marriages has increased. Under the influence of the ministers of religion, education has become more widespread. In short, the result of the great experiment of emancipation tried upon the whole of the population of the West Indies has surpassed the most ardent hopes.
—In the French colonies, 40,000 marriages, 20,000 legitimate children, 30,000 acknowledged children, the population resuming a regular course and increase, the churches filled, the schools attended; at Guadaloupe and Martinique, 20,000 adults at the night schools; at Réunion, 23 societies of mutual aid among the freedmen, crimes against the person diminished (at least until the arrival of immigrants), justice and the clergy improved, peace maintained with garrisons less strong than before 1848: such are the gifts presented to French colonial society by the emancipation of its slaves.
—It would be too long to show in detail, year by year, the economic and moral results of emancipation, since they became complicated by reason of the effect of political events and attempts at commercial liberty in France. Let it suffice to affirm that civilization has gained much, that wealth has lost little, that its losses have been repaired and more than repaired, at least in all the colonies in which the new régime has been accepted in good faith; finally, that the call of a million men to liberty, in distant lands, did not cause the tenth part of the trouble occasioned in the more civilized nations of Europe by the least important political question.
—European nations quickly understood that the slave trade would never be completely abolished unless slavery itself was suppressed. Unfortunately, the United States of America did not understand this as quickly. The illustrious founders of the Union, fearing a dissolution of it at the very moment of its formation, and hoping, that to suppress the evil it would be sufficient to dry up its source, limited themselves to inserting in the constitution that the slave trade should be prohibited, beginning with the year 1808. As far as slavery was concerned, they had the weakness not even to mention its name, leaving to each state the task of ridding itself of the institution of slavery, which, at that period, was very little developed. In Washington's time, there were scarcely 700,000 slaves within the whole extent of the United States. Washington freed his own slaves by will, and we know from his correspondence with Lafayette that he busied himself with plans of emancipation. Many of the northern states successively freed their slaves; but the progress of the cultivation of cotton, the cession of Louisiana, the purchase of Florida and the conquest of Texas had not been foreseen. Sixty years after Washington's time, the American republic had advanced with giant steps, slavery had grown with it, and the southern states contained 4,000,000 of enslaved blacks. A fact so enormous, so abnormal, produced in the bosom of the Union a profound perturbation. Not only did honor and morality suffer therefrom, but a terrible division took place between the north, which controlled the commerce, the shipping and the tariff of the Union, and the south, which, previous to the American civil war, controlled politics, the congress, and the laws of the Union. Without relating the long and lamentable history of this conflict, without speaking of the fugitive slave law, of the territorial question, of the debates on the right of search, of the projects for an invasion of Cuba, finally of all the electoral struggles for the presidency, let us recall that the question of slavery had become in 1856, and again in 1860, the sole stumbling block of the general elections. In 1856 the south triumphed for the last time in the person of Mr. Buchanan; in 1860 the north bore away the victory in the person of Abraham Lincoln, and the southern states immediately revolted, and declared war. This formidable war had the character of a war of independence; the north fought for the constitution, the south to obtain its autonomy. But for what purpose did the south thus wish to separate itself from a glorious nation? In order to perpetuate, maintain and extend slavery, and to have no more uneasiness as to the fate of that institution which its publicists dared to call the best system of labor. The north was led by circumstances to strike at the very root of the war, by attacking slavery. In its session of 1862, congress successively adopted: 1st, emancipation in the District of Columbia; 2d, the recognition of the republics of Hayti and Liberia; 3d, the measures proposed by the president for gradual emancipation in the states and immediate emancipation in the rebel states, beginning Jan. 1, 1863. We know that the defeat of the south assured the definitive abolition of slavery in the United States. Slavery having disappeared in North America, its foundations were necessarily shaken in South America. The republics separated from Spain have abolished it. Holland delivered its American colonies from slavery by a law of Aug. 8, 1862, and a law of December, 1871, paved the way for its suppression in Brazil.
—This rapid review is confined to Christian countries. In Mohammedan and pagan countries, slavery exists almost everywhere; here more patriarchal, there more barbarous; maintained in the bosom of Africa by perpetual wars and a pitiless traffic. A Mohammedan sovereign, the bey of Tunis, however, abolished slavery in his states, even before France, in 1847; but the scourge of slavery will evidently never disappear from pagan nations, except from contact with, and the example of, Christian nations. We may hope that the nineteenth century will see servitude disappear; this would be its principal glory. The condition precedent to the disappearance of slavery is the persevering accord of all opinions, of all creeds, of all nations, that it should be abolished, and this accord is now an accomplished fact. (See SLAVERY, in U. S. History.)
SLAVERY (IN U. S. HISTORY). It may be laid down as a fundamental proposition, that negro slavery in the colonies never existed or was originally established by law, but that it rested wholly on custom. The dictum, so often quoted, that slavery, being a breach of natural right, can be valid only by positive law, is not true: it is rather true that slavery, where it existed, being the creature of custom, required positive law to abolish or control it. In Great Britain, in 1772, custom had made slavery so odious that the Sommersett case justly held that positive law was necessary for the establishment of slavery there in any form; but the exact contrary of this rule, of course, held good in commonwealths where custom made slavery not odious, but legal. In these cases the laws which were passed in regard to slavery were only declaratory of a custom already established, and can not be said to have established slavery. The whole slavery struggle is therefore the history of a custom at first universal in the colonies, then peacefully circumscribed by the rise of a moral feeling opposed to it, but suddenly so fortified in its remaining territory by the rise of an enormous material interest as to make the final struggle one of force. In outlining the history of negro slavery in the United States, it seems advisable to make the following subdivisions: 1, the introduction of slavery, and its increase, 2, its internal policy; 3, the slave trade, foreign and domestic; 4 the suffrage clause and the "slave power"; and 5 slavery in the territories, including new states. The final abolition of slavery in each state, in the territories, and in the nation, is treated elsewhere. (See ABOLITION)
—I. INTRODUCTION OF SLAVERY, AND ITS INCREASE. When English colonization in North America began, Indian and negro slavery was already firmly established in the neighboring Spanish colonies; and from these, particularly from the West Indies, negro slavery was naturally and unconsciously introduced into the English colonies, the Barbadoes being the steppingstone for most of them. Nevertheless, the first authentic case of introduction was from an entirely different source. In August, 1619, a Dutch man-of-war, temporarily in Virginia, landed fourteen negro slaves in exchange for provisions. This is the only colony in which a first case can be found. Everywhere else we find slavery, when first casually mentioned, an institution so long established as to have lost its novelty. In each of them there are three points to be noted: the first mention of slavery, its first regulation by law, and the establishment, by custom or positive law, of the civil law rule, partus sequitur ventrem, instead of the common law rule, partus sequitur patrem. The latter rule, making children take the condition of the father, was the natural rule for English colonists, would have made negro slavery far more tolerable, and would have established a constant agent for its ultimate extinction, since any connection between a slave father and a free mother would have been comparatively rare. The former rule, that the children should take the condition of the mother, which was everywhere adopted by custom from the beginning, not only relieved the system from check, but even gave it an added horror, of which the variations in color among the inferior race are mute but indelible certificates. In summarizing the introduction of slavery into the original thirteen states, we will begin at Mason and Dixon's line, going first southward, and then northward: its introduction into the new states and territories comes under the fifth subdivision.
—In Virginia the acts passed were at first for the mere regulation of servants, the legal distinction being between servants for a term of years (white immigrants under indentures), and servants for life (slaves). Dec. 14, 1662, the civil law rule, partus sequitur ventrem, was adopted by statute. Oct. 3, 1670, servants not Christians, imported by shipping, were declared slaves for their lives. Slavery was thus fully legalized in the colony.
—In Maryland slaves are first mentioned ("slaves only excepted") in a proposed law of 1638. In 1663 the civil law rule was fully adopted by a provision that "negroes or other slaves," then in the province or thereafter imported, should serve durante vita, "and their children also."
—In Delaware the Swedes at first prohibited slavery, but it was introduced by the Dutch. It was in existence probably in 1636; but its first legal recognition was in 1721, in an act providing for the trial of "negro and mulatto slaves" by two justices and six freeholders. With this exception the system rested wholly on custom in Delaware.
—In Carolina, under the first union of the two provinces, the Locke constitution (see NORTH CAROLINA) provided practically for white slavery: the "leetmen," or tenants of ten acres, were to be fixed to the soil under the jurisdiction of their lord without appeal; and the children of leetmen were to be leetmen, "and so to all generations." This provision, like most of the others, was never respected or obeyed. The 110th article provided that every freeman should have "absolute power and authority over his negro slaves of what opinion or religion soever." This met with more respect, and became the fundamental law of North Carolina without anything further than statutes for police regulation.
—In South Carolina the first slavery legislation, an act of Feb. 7, 1690, "for the better ordering of slaves," took place before the separation. Slaves are said to have been introduced by Gov. Yeamans about 1670. June 7, 1712, slavery was formally legalized by an act declaring all negroes and Indians, theretofore sold or thereafter to be sold, and their children, "slaves to all intents and purposes." The civil law rule was made law May 10, 1740. The police regulations of this colony were filled with cruel provisions, such as the gelding of a male slave who should run away for the fourth time; and yet an act was passed in 1704, and re-enacted in 1708, for enlisting and arming negro troops.
—In Georgia slavery was prohibited at the establishment of the colony, in 1732. In 1749, after repeated petitions from the colonists, the trustees obtained from parliament the repeal of the prohibition. In 1755 the legislature passed an act regulating the conduct of slaves; and in 1765 and subsequent years the laws of South Carolina were re-enacted by Georgia.
—In Pennsylvania slavery is first heard of in 1688, when Francis Daniel Pastorius drew up a memorial against the practice for the Germantown Quakers. It was not until 1696 that the Quaker yearly meeting was prepared to act favorably on the memorial. In 1700 the legislature forbade the selling of slaves out of the province without their consent. The other slavery legislation of the colony consisted of efforts, more or less successful, to check or abolish the slave trade; but, as soon as independence was fairly attained, arrangements were made for gradual abolition. So late as 1795, however, the state supreme court decided that slavery was not inconsistent with the state constitution.
—In New Jersey slavery was introduced by the Dutch, but was not recognized by law until the "concessions" of 1664 (see NEW JERSEY), in which the word "slaves" occurs. In East Jersey slaves were given trial by jury in 1694; and in West Jersey the word "slave" was omitted from the laws. Acts for regulating the conduct of slaves began with the junction of the province with New York, in 1702; but these were never harsh, and the condition of the slave was more tolerable than in any other colony where the system was really established.
—In New York slavery came in with the Dutch at an uncertain period, the Dutch West India company supplying the slaves. So early as 1628 the inhabitants were made nervous by the mutinous behavior of some of the slaves, but there was no legal recognition of slavery until 1665, when the duke of York's laws forbade "slavery of Christians," thus by implication allowing slavery of heathens. Full recognition was given by a proviso in the naturalization act of 1683, that it should not operate to free those held as slaves, and by an act of 1706, to allow baptism of slaves without freeing them.
—In Connecticut slavery was never directly established by statute, and the time of its introduction is uncertain. In 1680 the governor informed the board of trade, that, "as for blacks, there come sometimes three or four in a year from Barbadoes, and they are sold usually at the rate of £22 apiece." They were considered as servants, rather than as chattels, could sue their masters for ill treatment or deprivation of property, and the only legal recognition of slavery was in such police regulations as that of 1690, to check the wandering and running away of "purchased negro servants."
—Rhode Island passed the first act for the abolition of slavery in our history, May 19, 1652. In order to check "the common course practiced among Englishmen to buy negers (sic)," the act freed all slaves brought into the province after ten years' service. Unfortunately, the act was never obeyed; custom was too strong for statute law, and existed without law until the final abolition. The only legal recognition of the system was in a series of acts, beginning Jan. 4, 1703, to control the wandering of Indian and negro slaves and servants, and another, beginning in April, 1708, in which the slave trade was indirectly legalized by being taxed.
—In Massachusetts a negro is mentioned in 1633 as an estray, "conducted to his master." In 1636 a Salem ship began the importation of negro slaves from the West Indies, and thereafter Peqnot slaves were constantly exchanged for Barbadoes negroes. In 1641 the fundamental laws forbade slavery, with the following cautious proviso: "unless it be lawful captives taken in just wars [Pequots], and such strangers as willingly sell themselves [probably indentured white immigrants] or are sold to us [negroes]." The explanations inserted will show that this was the first legal recognition of slavery in any colony. Under it slavery grew slowly, and the rule of partus sequitur ventrem was established by custom and court decisions. Public sentiment, after the year 1700, was slowly developed against the system. In December, 1766, a jury gave a negro woman £4 damages against her master for restraining her of her liberty. John Adams notes at the time that this was the first case of the kind he had known, though he heard that there had been many. In 1768 another case was decided for the master, and thereafter the decisions of juries varied to every point of the compass for twenty years; but it is known that many of the cases in which the slaves were successful were gained by connivance of the masters, in order to relieve themselves of the care of aged or infirm slaves. John Quincy Adams gives 1787 as the year in which the state supreme court finally decided, that, under the constitution of 1780, a man could not be sold in Massachusetts.
—In New Hampshire there were but two legal recognitions of slavery, an act of 1714 to regulate the conduct of "Indian, negro and mulatto servants and slaves"; and another in 1718 to regulate the conduct of masters. There were but few slaves in the colony, and slavery had but a nominal existence.
—Vermont never recognized slavery. (See ABOLITION, I.)
—From all the cases it will be seen that slavery was the creature of custom. The only exceptions are a peculiar provision in the law of Maryland (1663) and Pennsylvania (1725-6) making the children of free-born mothers and slave fathers slaves to their father's master until the age of thirty; and the laws in a few states re-enslaving freedmen who refused or neglected to leave the state. This latter provision was the law of Virginia from 1705, and was put into the state constitution in 1850; and laws fully equivalent were passed during their state existence by North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. In the white heat of the antislavery struggle, laws were passed by Virginia in 1856, by Louisiana in 1859, and by Maryland in 1860, providing for the voluntary enslavement of free negroes; but these were exceptional. Milder provisions, to the same general effect, to punish by fine or sale the coming or remaining of free negroes in the state, were inserted in the constitution of Missouri in 1820, of Texas in 1836 (as a republic). of Florida in 1838, of Kentucky in 1850, of Indiana in 1851, and of Oregon in 1857. (See the states named.) The most troublesome to the northern states were the regulations of the seaboard slave states, under which negro seamen of northern vessels were frequently imprisoned, and sometimes sold. In 1844 Massachusetts sent Samuel Hoar to Charleston to bring an amicable suit there for the purpose of testing the constitutionality of the South Carolina act. He was received in a very unfriendly fashion. The legislature passed resolutions requesting the governor to expel him from the state, and an act making any such mission a high misdemeanor, punishable by fine and banishment. Finally, on receiving unequivocal assurances of personal violence if he remained, Mr. Hoar left Charleston without fulfilling his mission.
—However strongly custom may have established negro slavery in the colonies, it has been suggested that the validity of the system was at least made doubtful by the Sommersett case in England In that country, in 1677, the courts held negro slaves to be property, as "being usually bought and sold among merchants as merchandise, and also being infidels." In 1750 custom had so far changed that the law was again in doubt. In 1771 Charles Stewart, of Boston, took his slave James Sommersett to London, where the latter fell sick, and was sent adrift by his master. Stewart, afterward finding Sommersett recovered, reclaimed him and put him on a ship in the Thames, bound for Jamaica. Lord Mansfield issued a writ of habeas corpus, and decided, June 22, 1772, that the master could not compel his slave to leave England, whose laws did not recognize "so high an act of dominion." If the colonies, by charter and otherwise, were forbidden to pass laws contrary to the laws of England, and if the laws of England did not recognize slavery. was slavery legal in the colonies? It must be remembered that the Sommersett decision was not that the laws of England forbade slavery, but that there was no law in England establishing slavery. There was no attempt to make an English custom override an American custom, and we can not draw any attack on the American system of slavery out of the Sommersett case.
—The colonies, then, began their forcible struggle against the mother country with a system of negro slavery, recognized everywhere by law, moribund in the north, but full of vigor in the south. In the north, where there was a general consciousness that slavery was doomed, the slaves were generally regarded as servants for life, as persons whose personality was under suspension. In the south they were regularly regarded by the law and by private opinion as things, as chattels, with "no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the government might choose to grant them," with all the consequences arising from the fact that they had not come to America voluntarily, as persons, but involuntarily, as property. In so far the Dred Scott decision correctly stated the feeling of our forefathers. But the feeling was in great measure a consequence of the unfortunate adoption of the rule partus sequitur rentrem: a race to which the rule was applied could be no other than animal, and a people among whom the rule prevailed could never be emancipated from the feeling. For this reason the revolutionary congress made no attempt to interfere with slavery, except in regard to the slave trade, to be referred to hereafter. The state of war itself did little real harm to the system. In Virginia, Nov. 7, 1775, Lord Dunmore proclaimed freedom to all slaves who would fight for the king, and negro soldiers were enlisted by Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. South Carolina refused to follow the recommendation of congress, in 1779, to enlist 3,000 negro troops. A return of the continental army, Aug. 24, 1778, shows 755 negro soldiers, not including the New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut or New York troops. At the end of the war Rhode Island, New York and Virginia freed their negro soldiers, but the system remained as before. The treaty of peace bound the British not to carry away any "negroes or other property of the American inhabitants"; and this collocation of terms is repeated in the treaty of Ghent in 1814. All through the period of the confederation, slavery received no detriment, except in the action of individual states (see ABOLITION, I.), and in its exclusion from the northwest territory, to be referred to hereafter. The states and the nation began their course under the constitution with the same general system as before, but with three modifications: the apportionment of representation to three-fifths of the slaves; the power of congress to prohibit the slave trade after 1808; and the fugitive slave clause. The first of these made the system of slavery itself a political factor, represented in the government; the third offered a tempting and dangerous weapon to use against an opposing section; and the second was the death warrant of the whole system in the double event of the acquisition of foreign territory and the development of antagonistic sections. They are therefore treated in special subdivisions.
—Until this time the difference in the slave systems of the north and of the south had been a difference of degree rather than of kind. The basis and the general laws were nominally the same everywhere; and there was a general agreement that the system was evil in itself, and that it was desirable to rid the country of it by gradual abolition. But, from the beginning, the masterful white race had found, in the colder north, that it was easier to do work for itself than to compel work from the black race, and, in the warmer south, that it was easier to compel work from the black race than to do the work for itself. In both sections the ruling race followed naturally the line of least resistance, and negro slavery increased in the south, and decreased in the north. The process may be seen in the number of slaves in the colonies north and south of Mason and Dixon's line, as estimated by the royal governors in 1715, as estimated by congress in 1775, and as ascertained by the first census, in 1790, as follows. North, (1715) 10,900, (1775) 46,102, (1790) 40,370; South, (1715) 47,950, (1775) 455,000, (1790) 657,527. Before 1790 the two sections had begun to show the contrasting results of pushing, self-interested free labor on the one hand, and shiftless, unwilling slave labor on the other. Gouverneur Morris, in the convention of 1787, thus spoke of slavery at the time: "It was the curse of Heaven on the states where it prevailed. Travel through the whole continent, and you behold the prospect continually varying with the appearance and disappearance of slavery. The moment you leave the eastern states and enter New York, the effects of the institution become visible. Passing through the Jerseys, and entering Pennsylvania, every criterion of superior improvement witnesses the change. Proceed southwardly, and every step you take through the great regions of slaves presents a desert, increasing with the increasing proportion of these wretched beings." Nor was the assertion denied by the southerners who heard it. George Mason, of Virginia, said: "Slavery discourages arts and manufactures. The poor despise labor when performed by slaves. They prevent the emigration of whites, who really enrich and strengthen a country. They produce the most pernicious effect on manners. Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of Heaven on a country. As nations can not be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects Providence punishes national sins by national calamities." And Jefferson, in the same year, after detailing the evils of slavery, added. "Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that his justice can not sleep forever." But this substantial agreement in sentiment was very soon to be broken by an event which entirely altered the paths of the two sections.
—Few influences have so colored the history of the United States and of negro slavery as the inventions of 1775-93 in England and America. In 1775 Crompton's invention of the mule jenny superseded Hargreaves' spinning machine; in 1783 Watt's steam engine was adapted to the spinning and carding of cotton at Manchester; in 1785 cylinder printing of cottons was invented; and in 1786-8 the use of acid in bleaching was begun. All the machinery of the cotton manufacture was thus standing ready for material. Very little had thus far come from the United States, for a slave could clean but five or six pounds a day for market. In 1784 an American ship which brought eight bags of cotton to Liverpool was seized on the ground that so much of the article could not be the produce of the United States; and Jay's treaty (see that title) at first consented that no cotton should be exported from America. In 1793 Eli Whitney, of Connecticut, then residing in Georgia, changed the history of the country by his invention of the saw-gin, by which one slave could cleanse 1,000 pounds of cotton from its seeds in a day. He was robbed of his invention, which the excited planters instantly appropriated; and slavery ceased to be a passive, patriarchal institution, and became a means of gain, to be upheld and extended by its beneficiaries. The export of cotton, which had fallen from 189,316 pounds in 1791 to 138,328 in 1792, rose to 487,600 in 1793, to 1,601,760 in 1794, to 6,276,300 in 1795, and to 38,118,041 in 1804. Within five years after Whitney's invention cotton had displaced indigo as the great southern staple, and the slave states had become the cotton field of the world. In 1839 the export was 1,386. 468,562 pounds, valued at $161,434,923, and the next largest export (tobacco) was valued at but $21,074,038. Was it wonderful that southerners should say and believe that "cotton is king," and that secession could never be attacked by blockade, since the great commercial nations, even the free states themselves, would not thus allow themselves to be deprived of the raw material of manufacture? The reader may judge the reasonableness of the belief, and the magnitude of the temptations to English intervention, by the value of the English imports of cotton from the United States and elsewhere, 1861-3, and the coincident rise in price: imports from the United States, (1861) $132,851,995, (1862) $6,106,385, (1863) $2,300,000; from other countries, (1861) $65,034,990, (1862) $148,358,840, (1863) $213, 700,000; price per lb., (1861) 7 cents, (1862) 13¾ cents, (1863) 27½ cents. From a purely commercial and agricultural venture the cotton culture had taken a different aspect. Those who controlled it felt very much the same importance as a man might feel who had gained control of the magazine of a man of war, and could threaten to blow up the whole ship if he should be interfered with in any way.
—This development of the culture of cotton was pregnant with consequences to both sections. In the north, manufactures and commerce were developed, and the remnants of slavery slid to extinction down a steeper and smoother descent. In the south, the price of slaves was steadily increasing, and the increased profit thus indicated was steadily stamping labor itself as slavery. It is not in financial matters alone that bad money drives out good: wherever slave labor was extended, it tended constantly to expel free labor from the market. Immigration shunned slave soil as if by instinct, and it was not long before the whole population of the slave states was divided into three great classes: the rich whites, who did no work; the poor whites, who knew not how to work; and the slaves, who only worked when compelled to work. The results on the economical development of the country may easily be imagined. No one was under any special incentive to work, to invent, or to surpass his neighbors; slaves, the only working class, could not be trusted to engage in any labor requiring care or thought; success in anything higher than the culture of cotton, tobacco or sugar, meant the inevitable freedom of the laborer; and long before 1850 "southern shiftlessness" had become chronic, hopeless and proverbial, even in the south. The reader who wishes for details will find them (from the census of 1850) in von Holst's third volume, or in Sumner's speech of June, 1860. as cited below; and an instructive description of affairs in 1860 is in Olmstead's two volumes.
—Even on the culture of the soil the influence of the slave system was for evil. Only free labor can get large profits from a small surface, and the unwilling and unintelligent labor of slaves required so much larger area for its exercise that in 1850 there were to the square mile only 18.93 inhabitants in the southern states to 45.8 in the northern states. Slavery, like Tacitus' Germans, demanded empty acres all around it. In 1860 the acreage of improved to unimproved lands in Virginia was 11,437,821 to 19,679,215; in North Carolina, 6,517,824 to 17,245,685; in South Carolina, 4,572,060 to 11,623,859; and in Georgia, 8,062,758 to 18,587,732. The older slave states have been selected; in the new slave states the comparison is equally or more unfavorable. In the old free state of New York the comparison stood 14,358,403 improved to 6,616,555 unimproved; in the new free state of Illinois, 13,096,374 to 7,815,615. Of the free states, all but California, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon and Wisconsin had more improved than unimproved land in farms; of the slave states, only Delaware and Maryland. The comparison of the price of lands is still more unfavorable to slavery, varying in such near neighbors as Pennsylvania and Virginia from $25 per acre in the former to $8 per acre in the latter. The average value of northern farms in 1860 was $29 an acre; of southern farms, $9.80. This constant necessity for elbow room for slave labor was the ground reason for its constant effort to stretch out after new territory. A planter's policy was to take up as much land as possible, scratch the surface until his slaves could or would extract no more from it, and then search for virgin soil; for it was cheaper to pass the Mississippi, or invade Texas, than to cultivate a wornout farm with slave labor. Scientific agriculture, and the revivification of so-called worn-out farms, were never attempted until the overthrow of slavery; and, since they have begun, we hear no more of the need for new territory for cotton.
—The influence of slavery upon the section in which it existed was particularly evil in regard to the possibilities of warfare. Not only did it throttle commerce, manufactures, literature, art, everything which goes to make a people independent of the rest of the world: its influence in checking the natural increase of fighting men is plainly perceptible in the decennial census tables. Even when there is an apparent equality of numbers between the two sections, the equality is delusive, so long as the southern scale is partly filled with a population not only non-combatant but actually to be distrusted as possibly hostile. For this reason, in the following table, taking separately the states which were free and slave in 1860, the population of the free states is given first, then the population of the slave states (excluding slaves), and finally the slaves.
Whatever causes may be assigned to explain the growing disproportion of free population and fighting men of the two sections, it is evident that the slave states were worse fitted at the end of each successive period for a forcible struggle with the free states, and that the sceptre was departing from the south.
—It is not proposed in this article to touch on the moral aspect of slavery, or the absurd Biblical arguments for and against it. the rigid application of the partus sequitur ventrem rule, combined with the material interests of the cotton monopoly, will absolutely distinguish negro slavery in the United States from every system that has preceded it. We may summarize the economical evils of the system, in those points which no one can dispute, in a few words. It paralyzed invention and commerce; it prevented manufactures and the general introduction of railroads, steam machinery, or improved agricultural implements; it degraded labor by white as well as by black men; it stunted all the energies of the people, and deprived them of those physical comforts which were regarded elsewhere as almost necessaries; it dwarfed the military ability of the people, at the same time that it increased the military ambition of the ruling class, and kept the poor whites so ignorant that to them their state was a universe, its will sovereign, and its power irresistible. Every year increased the pile of explosives in the southern territory, and yet the force of events compelled slavery to grow more aggressive as it grew really weaker for war. That a people so situated, with no resources of their own and with little power to draw from without, should have waged the final war as they did, is almost enough to hide in the glory of their defeat the evil thing that went down with them. The enormous strides of the southern states from 1870 until 1880 show what the same people can do under free labor, and nearly all southern writers are agreed that the south was the greatest gainer by the overthrow of slavery. President Haygood, of Georgia, in a thanksgiving sermon of 1880, says: "For one illustration, take the home life of our people. There is ten times the comfort there was twenty years ago. Travel through your own country—and it is rather below than above the average—by any public or private road. Compare the old and the new houses. Those built recently are better in every way than those built before the war. I do not speak of an occasional mansion that in the old times lifted itself proudly among a score of cabins, but of the thousands of decent farm houses and comely cottages that have been built in the last ten years. I know scores whose new barns are better than their old residences. Our people have better furniture. Good mattresses have largely driven out the old-time feathers. Cook stoves, sewing machines, with all such comforts and conveniences, may be seen in a dozen homes to-day where you could hardly have found them in one in 1860. Lamps, that make reading agreeable, have driven out the tallow dip, by whose glimmering no eyes could long read and continue to see. Better taste asserts itself: the new houses are painted; they have not only glass, but blinds. There is more comfort inside. There are luxuries where once there were not conveniences. Carpets are getting to be common among the middle classes. There are parlor organs, pianos and pictures where we never saw them before. And so on, to the end of a long chapter. There are more people at work in the south to-day than were ever at work before; and they are raising not only more cotton, but more of everything else. And no wonder, for the farming of to-day is better than the farming of the old days, first, in better culture, second, in the ever-increasing tendency to break up the great plantations into small farms. Our present system is more than restoring what the old system destroyed."
—II. THE SYSTEM INTERNALLY. The Louisiana civil code (Art. 35) thus defines a slave: "One who is in the power of a master to whom he belongs. The master may sell him, dispose of his person, his industry and his labor; he can do nothing, possess nothing, nor acquire anything but what must belong to his master." This comprehensive definition will show the status of the slave and the rights of the master sufficiently to obviate the necessity of any full statement of the slave laws of the states. For these the reader is referred to the authorities cited below. As slavery rested on custom, its regulation was uniformly by statute, the constitution usually ignoring it, and leaving it wholly in the power of the legislature. Slavery was never mentioned in the state constitutions of Delaware, Maryland (until 1837), Virginia (until 1850), North Carolina (except a mere mention of slaves in 1835), South Carolina (except a qualification of negroes for membership in the legislature in 1790), or Louisiana. In the new states slavery was legalized by that provision of their constitutions which forbade the legislature to emancipate slaves without consent of their owners, or to prevent immigrants from bringing their slaves into the state: such provisions were inserted by Kentucky in 1792, Georgia in 1798, Mississippi in 1817, Alabama in 1819, Missouri in 1820, Tennessee in 1834, Arkansas in 1836, Maryland in 1837, Florida in 1838, Texas in 1836 and 1845, and Virginia in 1850; and these continued in force until the final abolition of slavery. Trial by jury for crimes above the grade of petit larceny was secured to the slave by the constitutions of Kentucky in 1799, Mississippi in 1817. Alabama in 1819, Missouri in 1820, and Texas in 1845, and by various statutes in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland, but was denied in any case in South Carolina, Virginia and Louisiana. There were also provisions in most of the states for the punishment of the willful and deliberate murder of a slave. The benefit of both these provisions, however, was largely nullified by the universal rules of law that a negro's testimony could not be received against a white man, and that the killing of a slave who should resist "lawful authority" was justifiable homicide. As slavery grew more extensive the necessity for repressive legislation to act upon the slaves became more pressing, and the slave codes more severe, until every white person felt himself to be a part of a military force guarding a dangerous array of prisoners. Education of slaves was strictly forbidden, though this provision was frequently evaded or disobeyed in individual cases. The pass system was in full vigor everywhere, and even the younger girls of the master race did not hesitate to stop a strange negro on the road, examine his pass, or order him to a particular house for examination. It was a strange society, always on the alert, always with its hand on the sword, and cruel and evil things were done in it. The burning of negroes as a punishment for heinous offenses was not an uncommon thing, nor was it by any means the most shocking of the crimes in the punishment of which George Mason's prophetic words of 1787 were rigidly fulfilled. Many of the evils had a reflex influence upon the men of the dominant race; but the women, shielded from personal contact with most of the evil, and trained from childhood in the daily exercise of the heroic virtues, developed an unusual force of character, to which much of the stubborn endurance of the war was due, and even more of the sudden rejuvenation of the south after the war.
—Black Codes, or Black Laws. These penal laws of the slave states had a very direct influence upon the legislation of several of the free states, particularly of those to which there had been a large southern migration. Ohio, in 1803, forbade negroes to settle in the state without recording a certificate of their freedom; in 1807 passed an act denying to negroes the privilege of testifying in cases in which a white man was interested on either side; and followed this up by excluding them from the public schools, and requiring them to give bonds for their good behavior while residing in the state. In 1849 these "black laws" were repealed as a part of the bargain between the democrats and free-soilers. (See OHIO.) The legislation of Illinois in 1819, 1827 and 1853, imitated that of Ohio, and in 1851 Indiana inserted similar provisions in her state constitution, which the state courts, in 1866, held to be void, as repugnant to the constitution of the United States. The same provisions were adopted by Iowa in 1851 by statute. and were made a part of the state constitution of Oregon in 1857. Wherever the state constitutions prescribed conditions of admission to the militia, as in Indiana in 1816, Illinois in 1818, Iowa in 1846, Michigan in 1850, Ohio in 1851, and Kansas in 1859, negroes were excluded; and in the states where the composition of the militia was left to the legislature the exclusion was as fully attained by statute. As a general rule, most of this legislation was swept away as rapidly as the republican party obtained complete control of each state, after 1856.
—Insurrections. No slave race has organized so few insurrections as the negro race in the United States. This can hardly be due to the natural cowardice of the race, for its members have made very good soldiers when well organized; nor to the exceptional gentleness of the system, for it was one of increasing severity; nor wholly to the affection of the negroes for their masters, for the great plantation system, under which there could be little affection on either side, had been fairly established in 1860. and yet there was no insurrection throughout the rebellion. It is encouraging to believe that the race, by long contact with the white race, has imbibed something of that respect for law which has always characterized the latter, so that the negroes, however enterprising when backed by the forms of law, patiently submitted to legal servitude. It is certain that revolt, during their history as slaves, was regularly individual, and that most of it was only revolt by legal construction. In 1710 a negro insurrection is said to have been planned in Virginia, but it was balked by one of the conspirators, who revealed the plot, and was rewarded by emancipation. In 1740 a local insurrection broke out in South Carolina, but it was stamped out instantly by the militia. In New York a negro plot was unearthed in February and March, 1741, and as a consequence of the intense popular excitement a number of negroes and whites were hung. and several negroes burned, but the whole story of the "conspiracy" seems now of the flimsiest possible construction. In 1820 Denmark Vesey, a St. Domingo mulatto, organized a negro insurrection in Charleston. It was revealed, Vesey and thirty-four others were hung, and a like number were sold out of the state. In August. 1831. the most formidable of all the insurrections broke out in Southampton county, near Norfolk, Virginia, led by Nat Turner. He believed that he had been instructed by Heaven, three years before, to rebel, the sign being an eclipse of the sun in February, 1831, but, oppressed by a sense of the greatness of the task, he fell sick, and did not begin until August. With fifty associates he then began a massacre of the whites, sparing neither age nor sex. The insurrection was at once suppressed, and Turner, after several weeks' concealment, was captured and executed in November. The total loss of life was sixty-one whites and over a hundred negroes. The Seminole war in Florida partook very much of the character of a negro insurrection. While Florida was under Spanish rule, very many fugitive slaves had taken refuge there and intermarried with the Indians; and the desire of reclaiming them was the secret of many of the Indian difficulties of that region. In 1816 American troops blew up the "negro fort" on the Appalachicola, which was the headquarters of the fugitives. On the annexation of Florida (see ANNEXATIONS, II.), slave hunting increased in eagerness, and the fugitives were pursued into the everglades. In 1833 the Seminoles had about 200 slaves of their own and 1,200 fugitives. One of the latter, the wife of Osceola, was seized while trading at Fort King, and her enraged husband at once began open war. It was conducted with inhuman cruelty on both sides, the most prominent example being the massacre of Major Dade's command, Dec. 28, 1835. The American commanders hardly ever made any secret of the great object of the war, the recapture of the fugitives; and, as the Seminoles refused to make any treaty in which the fugitives were not included, the war was long and expensive. In 1845 a treaty was arranged for the removal of both Seminoles and fugitives beyond the Mississippi, but the claimants pursued the latter with every form of legal attack, secured some of them, and, in 1852, obtained payment from congress for the remainder. The Harper's Ferry insurrection (see BROWN, JOHN) closed the list of negro revolts.
—III. THE SYSTEM EXTERNALLY; THE SLAVE TRADE. 1. Foreign Slare Trade. It has long been a general belief that the colonies, before the revolution, were anxious to prohibit the slave trade, but were prevented by the crown's instructions to the governors to veto any such laws; and the Virginia declaration of June 29, 1776, denounces the king for "prompting our negroes to rise in arms among us, those very negroes whom, by an inhuman use of his negative, he had refused us permission to exclude by law." The case is complete enough against the crown. From the time of Hawkins' slaving cruise in 1562 the British government was an active partner in the slave trade. By the treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, it secured for one of its monopolies the slave trade from Africa to the West Indies; in 1750 it beneficently threw open the trade to all its subjects; and its consistent policy is well stated in the official declaration of the earl of Dartmouth in 1775. that "the colonies must not be allowed to check or discourage in any degree a traffic so beneficial to the nation." But it is not so easy to clear the skirts of the colonies. The assertion of their desire to suppress the trade rests on the passage of a great number of acts laying duties upon it: the titles of twenty-four of these acts in Virginia are given in Judge Tucker's Appendix to Blackstone. But almost invariably these acts were passed for revenue only, and the Virginia act of 1752 notices in its preamble that the duty had been found "no ways burdensome to the traders." It was not until the opening of the revolution that any honest effort was made to suppress the trade, except in Pennsylvania, where bills to abolish the slave trade were passed in 1712, 1714 and 1717, and vetoed. The Massachusetts general court passed a bill to prohibit the slave trade, March 7, 1774, and another, June 16 following; but both were vetoed. It was prohibited further by Rhode Island in June, 1774; by Connecticut in October, 1774; and by the non-importation covenant of the continental congress, Oct. 24, 1774, as follows: "We will neither import nor purchase any slave imported after the first day of December next, after which time we will wholly discontinue the slave trade, and will neither be concerned in it ourselves, nor will we hire our vessels, nor sell our commodities or manufactures to those who are concerned in it." This covenant, ratified by the states, north and south, checked the trade for the time. No further attempt was made by congress to interfere with the trade, and the ratification of the articles of confederation in 1781 gave the states the power to regulate this and all other species of commerce.
—In the formation of the constitution the question of the regulation of the slave trade offered a great difficulty. The three southern states demanded its continuance, alleging that Virginia and Maryland desired to prohibit it only to secure a domestic market for their own surplus slaves. The matter was compromised (see COMPROMISES, III.) by allowing congress to prohibit it after 1808. In the meantime the act of March 22. 1794, prohibited the carrying of slaves by American citizens from one foreign country to another; the act of May 10, 1800, allowed United States war vessels to seize ships engaged in such trade, and the act of Feb. 28, 1803, prohibited the introduction of slaves into states which had forbidden the slave trade by law. Virginia had done so by statute in 1778 and 1785, Georgia by constitutional provision in 1798, South Carolina by statute in 1787 (repealed in 1803), and North Carolina by statute in 1798. Finally, congress, by act of March 2, 1807, prohibited the importation of slaves altogether after the close of the year; the acts of April 20, 1818, and March 3, 1819, authorized the president to send cruisers to the coast of Africa to stop the trade; and the act of May 15, 1820, declared the foreign slave trade to be piracy. It can not, however, be truly said that the slave trade was abolished: it never really ceased before 1865. The census of 1870 assigns Africa as the birthplace of nearly 2,000 negroes, and it is impossible even to estimate the number illegally imported from 1808 until 1865. The sixth section of the act of March 2, 1807, allowed negroes confiscated under the act to be disposed of as the legislature of the state might direct; and southern legislatures promptly directed the sale of the confiscated negroes. This absurd section, which introduced slaves into the south, while punishing the importer, was repealed March 3, 1819, and the confiscated negroes were ordered to be returned to Africa. The claim of British naval officers on the African coast to visit and search vessels flying the American flag, but suspected of being slavers, was steadily resisted by the American government, and led to an infinite variety of diplomatic difficulties and correspondence, which the reader will find detailed in William Beach Lawrence's volume, cited below. It was finally compromised by articles eight and nine of the Webster-Ashburton treaty, Aug. 9, 1842, by which the two governments agreed to maintain independent squadrons on the African coast, to act in conjunction. Difficult as this made the slave trade, it by no means suppressed it; and, as the price of negroes in the south rose higher, importations increased, and so did the difficulties of obtaining convictions from southern juries. The most notorious case was that of the Georgia yacht Wanderer, in December, 1858, but it was not the only one. According to the "Evening Post," of New York city, 85 vessels were fitted out from that port for the slave trade during eighteen months of 1859-60, the names of the vessels being given; and another newspaper of the same city estimated the cargoes introduced by these New York vessels alone at from 30,000 to 60,000 negroes annually. Said a Georgia delegate in the Charleston convention of 1860: "If any of you northern democrats will go home with me to my plantation I will show you some darkies that I bought in Virginia, some in Delaware, some in Florida, and I will also show you the pure African, the noblest Roman of them all. I represent the African slave trade interest of my section." In 1858 an ingenious attempt was made to evade the law. A Charleston vessel applied for a clearance to the African coast "for the purpose of taking on board African emigrants, in accordance with the United States passenger laws." Howell Cobb, secretary of the treasury, refused to give the clearance.
—As we approach the year 1860 we find growing apprehensions of the reopening of the foreign slave trade. It must be remembered that congress was only permitted not directed, to abolish the trade after 1808, and that a simple repeal of the law of 1807 would have made it as legal as any other branch of commerce. The inherent weakness of the system of slavery, which grew weaker as it widened, imperatively demanded the repeal. To retain political power it was necessary to introduce the custom of slavery into the new territories in order to prepare them to be slave states. For this the domestic supply would not suffice; and Alex. H. Stephens, in his farewell speech to his constituents, July 2, 1859, says that his object is "to bring clearly to your mind the great truth that without an increase of African slaves from abroad, you may not expect or look for many more slave states." The repeal of the law of 1807, and the revival of the foreign slave trade, were advocated by the southern commercial convention in 1858 and 1859, by De Bow's "Review," and by a great and growing number of leading men and newspapers. It was even taking the aspect of a new phase of a distinct southern political creed, an effort to repeal that which was a standing condemnation of slaveholding and slaveholders. Before anything definite could be attempted, secession intervened. The constitution of the confederate states forbade the foreign slave trade, and "required" congress to pass such laws as should effectually prevent the same. How long this prohibition would have endured, if independence had been achieved, can not be conjectured, but it is certain that a slaveholding government would have found far more difficulty in enforcing such a prohibition than the government of the United States had found.
—2. The Domestic Slave Trade. Even barring secession and rebellion, negro slavery had always a possible danger in the undoubted power of congress to regulate commerce "between the states." Should this power ever find a majority in congress ready to apply it in an unfriendly spirit to the sale of slaves from state to state, and thus to coop up each body of slaves in its own territory, the system would be injured in a vital point. For this reason the ninth section of the act of 1807 allowed the transfer of slaves from point to point along the coast in vessels of not more than forty tons burden. After the abolition of slavery in the British colonies, American coasting vessels with slaves on board would occasionally be forced by stress of weather into British West India ports, when the authorities at once liberated the slaves. Diplomatic complications followed, of course; but the British government steadily refused to pay for the slaves liberated, except in cases which had occurred before the abolition of slavery in the colonies. (See CREOLE CASE, and the authorities there cited for the other cases.) The domestic slave trade by land was never interfered with until the abolition of slavery, except by the unavoidable operations of war during the rebellion. A bill was introduced by Sumner in 1864 to prohibit it, but it came to nothing. A bill to repeal the sections of the act of 1807 permitting the coastwise slave trade was added as a rider to an appropriation bill, and became law July 2, 1864.
—IV. THE SUFFRAGE CLAUSE AND THE "SLAVE POWER." The constitution (see COMPROMISES, I.) gave to the states in which slavery existed legal representation in the lower house of congress for three-fifths of their slaves. In this provision there was innate an influence which was as potent on the political aspect of the slave system as the cotton culture was upon its material aspect. It must be remembered, that, in spite of the number of slaves in the south, slave owning was not at all general in that section. In 1850 the white population of the south was 6,459,946, and De Bow, superintendent of the census, and a proslavery southerner, gives the number of slaveholders as only 347,525, classified as follows, holders of 1 slave, 68,820; 2 to 5 slaves, 105,683; 6 to 10 slaves, 80,765; 11 to 20 slaves, 54,595; 21 to 50 slaves, 29,733; 51 to 100 slaves, 6,196; 101 to 200 slaves, 1,479; 201 to 300 slaves, 187; 301 to 500 slaves, 56; 501 to 1,000 slaves, 9; over 1,000 slaves, 2. But even this statement, De Bow admits, has an element of deceptiveness, for most of the small holders were not slave owners, but slave hirers; and he estimates the actual number of slave owners at 186,531. In 1830, 90 of the 234 members of the house of representatives were apportioned to the slaveholding states. If we omit from their population three-fifths of the number of their slaves in 1830, they would have been entitled in round numbers to but 70 representatives. The other 20 members represented only the 186,531 slave owners, and the loosest examination of the majorities by which bills passed the house of representatives during the anti-slavery conflict will show that the introduction of these 20 votes was usually the decisive factor down to 1855. This consequence was apparent from an early date. The repeal of the suffrage clause was demanded in 1814 (see CONVENTION, HARTFORD); and the demand grew still stronger after 1833, and never failed to excite the hottest wrath of southern members. Perhaps the occasion which roused the most intense feeling was the presentation by John Quincy Adams in congress, Dec. 21, 1843, of a formal proposal from the democratic legislature of Massachusetts to amend the constitution by repealing the three-fifths clause. In congress it was denounced unsparingly, and refused the privilege of printing, and out of congress the fervor of denunciation was unreportable.
—But the direct operation of the three-fifths clause was far less than its indirect influence. It must be remembered that the 200,000 slave owners necessarily included in their ranks almost all the governors, judges, legislators, and leading men of the slave states, and their senators and representatives also, since the purchase of one or more slaves was the first step of any man who began to acquire wealth; and that all these men were united by a common purpose, the protection of property, which was superior in its every-day operation to almost any other claim. Practically, then, the 200,000 slave owners, recruited from time to time by new accessions, formed a dominant class; and the ninety representatives and thirty senators (in 1850) not only represented them, but were selected from their number. Such a political force as this had never before appeared in American politics: the utmost conceivable evils of the influence of corporations must pale their fires before it; and it is no wonder, that, as it rose gloomier and more threatening upon the southern sky, the instinctive political sense of the people gave it the name of the "slave power." In the nature of things this power could not be conservative: it must be aggressive, for the interest represented by it demanded extension to obtain profit; and yet, as it grew wider, it grew weaker, and needed still warmer support. The general, double-acting rule was: the more slaves, the more territory; the more territory, the more slaves. It was not in human nature for the men who made up the slave power to resist an influence so constant, so natural, so silent and so powerful, and the vicious twist given by it to the whole southern policy grew stronger yearly. No influence, even that of honor, could resist its undermining or escape being argued away. It was progressively successful in transplanting the custom of slavery beyond the Mississippi, in swinging the whole force of the nation upon Mexico for the acquisition of new slave territory, and in violating the condition precedent on which it had obtained the admission of Missouri as a slave state; and it was partially prepared in 1861 to shock the conscience of civilization by reopening the foreign slave trade, to whose suppression the good faith of the nation was pledged. But, before this last effort could be made, its time had come. The internal defects of the combined cotton-slave system could not remain stationary. Nothing is more certain than that, from 1850 to 1860, the number of slave owners was diminishing, particularly in the gulf states, the plantations were growing larger, the cotton culture was becoming less and less patriarchal and more and more of a business, and the slave power itself was growing more compact, grasping and reckless. It might have been that, without secession, this concentrating process would have gone on until the non-slaveholding whites of the south would have united against it; but that possibility was never tried. In 1860 the rising anti-slavery tide of the north and west came into flat collision with the rising tide of the slave power, and equilibrium was at last restored by violence.
—It was not alone the inherent grasping nature of the slave power which affronted the non-slave-holding states and helped to bring about the final catastrophe. It is no reflection upon southern legislators of the present to say that the slave-holding member of congress until 1861 was in general an exceedingly unpleasant personage. His faults of thought, feeling, expression and manner, were long ago explained by Jefferson. "If a parent had no other motive, either in his own philanthropy or in his self-love, for restraining the intemperance of passion toward his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present. But generally it is not sufficient. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose rein to his worst passions, and thus nursed, educated and daily exercised in tyranny, can not but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities." However unjust it may be in theory to wage a political crusade against bad manners, it is as certain as anything can be that the political union of the free states in 1860 was largely brought about by the "odious peculiarities" of slaveholding members of congress in debate. Their boisterous violence, their willingness to take liberties of language, contrasted with their unwillingness to allow the same liberty to opponents, their disposition to supplement discussion with actual violence or threats of it, the indescribable and merciless assumption of an acknowledged superiority, made the debates of 1850-60 a shameful record, and are still remembered by their old opponents, with a certain soreness, as "plantation manners." It was bad enough that a senator should be clubbed into unconsciousness for words spoken in debate (see BROOKS, P. S.); it was, if anything, worse that his first speech on his return to the senate should be answered by a South Carolina senator with the remark that "we are not inclined again to send forth the recipient of punishment howling through the world, yelping fresh cries of slander and malice." Southern writers will never fully understand the election of 1860 until they come to study, in the light of the new training, the debates which preceded it.
—A power so situated, in a constantly weakening minority in the nation, and yet supreme in influence in its own states, was necessarily particularist in theory. Where it ruled, the forefathers had said state sovereignty and meant state rights, while their descendants said state rights and meant state sovereignty. (See that title.) And the development of the great cotton interest made state sovereignty even worse than it was by nature: instead of the jarring and comparatively innocuous demands of state sovereignty, it banded together a number of states by a common controlling interest, and evoked the deadly peril of sectional sovereignty. (See NULLIFICATION, SECESSION.) State rights could never have caused a blow; even state sovereignty would have died a harmless and natural death; but slavery and sectional state sovereignty each so acted and reacted upon the evil points of the other that the combined tumor was at last beyond reach of anything but the knife. But, during its existence, slavery never hesitated upon occasion to drop state sovereignty for the time, and use the nation and the national idea as political forces for its advancement; and yet it never did so, except in the case of the acquisition of Florida, without injuring itself. In its infancy it acquired the territory west of the Mississippi (see ANNEXATIONS, I.) by a process which was only defensible on the ground that the powers of the government were given by a nation, and not by sovereign states; and out of this territory grew its subsequent difficulties. (See COMPROMISES, IV.; KANSAS NEBRASKA BILL.) It flung the nation upon Mexico, and the disputes over the territory thus acquired first put the antislavery sentiment into political shape. It forced the passage of a fugitive slave act fatally adverse to state sovereignty and state rights in compensation for the admission of California as a state (see COMPROMISES, V.; FUGITIVE SLAVE LAWS), an act whose operation made its moving power the object not only of dread but of abhorrence in the free states. Finally, by transferring theoretical state sovereignty into practical secession, it compelled such an extensive showing of national power that the effects will be felt for generations to come.
—V. SLAVERY IN TERRITORIES AND NEW STATES. It is certain that slavery in the original states was founded on custom only, and the same foundation, if any, must be found for slavery in territories and new states. The modern states of Kentucky and Tennessee, for example, were never colonies or territories of their parent states: they were integral parts of Virginia and North Carolina, and the custom of slavery was established at Nashville or Harrodsburgh on just the same basis as at Beaufort or Richmond. When their separation from the parent states took place, the custom of slavery remained, and they entered the Union as slave states. Granting that no opposition to slavery was felt by the nation at large, the same process might have been repeated anywhere, and custom, unopposed, might have made any territory slave soil, and brought it into the Union as a slave state. It is, therefore, impossible to admit fully the dogma, so popular and useful in the anti-slavery conflict, that the national territory was free soil without any statutory enactment. It might be free, and it might be slave, according to custom. In the cases of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, the cessions of their territory were accepted by the United States from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, under a pledge not to interfere with the existing custom of slavery. The rights of all these states to the territory which they professed to cede, like the rights of New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts to the northwestern territory, were exceedingly doubtful (see TERRITORIES, I.); nevertheless, the pledge was honorably fulfilled.
—The slaveholding states always denied that any act of congress could prohibit the custom of slavery in a territory. But this is as impossible of acceptance as the free soil dogma above stated. The territories were certainly not without law. Their inhabitants were not the law-making power, for then there would have been no distinction between territories and states. On any other subject than slavery, no one, in court or congress, denied that congress was the law-maker for the territories. But slavery was only a custom; and, while no one denies that a custom is valid until abrogated by statute, this has been the only case in which it has been seriously asserted that any custom is above and beyond abrogation by statute. So evident was this in 1787 that the ordinance of that year (see ORDINANCE of 1787) abolished slavery in the territory northwest of the Ohio, in whose case no restraining pledge had been given. The articles of confederation, which were then in force, gave congress no power to so prohibit slavery, or, indeed, to hold or govern territory at all. The whole act was so obviously a consequence of the national power to hold and govern its own territory, and was so plain a parallel to the proposal to similarly prohibit slavery in the Mexican annexations (see WILMOT PROVISO), that southern writers have endeavored to avoid it in two ways: 1. They assert that the ordinance was merely an expression of the will of the several states, a new article of confederation, so to speak. This is impossible. The state vote on the ordinance of 1787 was indeed unanimous, but this fact has no bearing on the matter, for the ordinance of 1784, which covered much the same ground (excepting the prohibition of slavery), was not adopted by unanimous vote, South Carolina voting in the negative, and yet its validity was never impeached on that account. Further, the articles of confederation were to be amended by state legislatures only: however we may admit the power of a national convention to override them, we can hardly acknowledge the power of congress itself to amend them. 2. Judge Taney, in the Dred Scott decision, holds that the ordinance of 1787 "had become inoperative and a nullity upon the adoption of the constitution." If this was so, and if it was true, as the same decision holds, that the power of congress to "make all needful rules and regulations" for the territory of the United States was intended to be confined to the territory then owned by the United States, and not to be extended to territory subsequently acquired, the fugitive slave law of 1850 was in a large degree unconstitutional. It was based on the fugitive slave clause of the constitution: but this only allowed the reclamation of slaves from one state to another state. (See FUGITIVE SLAVE LAWS.) During the territorial existence of the northwest the ground was covered by this proviso to the prohibition of slavery by the ordinance of 1787: "provided always that any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the original states, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid." If the power to make "rules and regulations" for the territories only applied to the territory owned in 1789, and was intended to supply the place of the fugitive slave clause in the superseded ordinance of 1787, it follows that the fugitive slave law of 1793 exhausted the constitutional powers of congress to provide for the reclamation of fugitive slaves to a territory. All the trans-Mississippi territory was subsequently acquired; and, if the Dred Scott decision was correct, the fugitive slave law of 1850 was unconstitutional in providing for the reclamation of fugitive slaves from it. The consequence must have been that the trans-Mississippi territories, whether slavery were allowed or prohibited in them, would have been a sort of Alsatia, a safe refuge for fugitive slaves; and slavery would have been at a greater disadvantage than under the ordinance of 1787.
—The custom of slavery was already in existence in Louisiana and Florida at the time of their annexation, but the responsibility for its enlargement is directly upon congress. The act of March 26, 1804, provided that no slaves should be introduced into the territory, except "by a citizen of the United States, removing into said territory for actual settlement, and being at the time of such removal bona fide owner of such slave or slaves"; and the act of March 30, 1822, while forbidding the importation of slaves from without the United States, by implication allowed the domestic slave trade. Both acts confirmed the laws then in force in the territories, and not inconsistent with the acts; and as the territorial laws recognized slavery, it continued in force, and Louisiana and Florida entered the Union as slave states. Upon the admission of Louisiana as a state, the continuance of the custom of slavery in the rest of the purchase was practically provided for by the sixteenth section of the act of June 4, 1812, continuing the territorial laws of Louisiana in the new territory of Missouri. Again, when the new territory of "Arkansaw" was created by the act of March 2, 1819, a similar provision continued in the new territory the laws of Missouri, which recognized slavery. The consequences of this long laches, this omission of congress to prohibit the custom of slavery, which had been recognized by French, Spanish and territorial law, had now become apparent in the application of Missouri for admission as a slave state, and the tardy attempt in congress to attack the evil raised a political storm. On the one hand, since the new state had not the ability to compel a recognition of its existence, its recognition was clearly a matter of favor, on which congress could impose such conditions as it should consider needful. On the other, it was hardly just that congress should permit the existence of even an evil custom during its own responsibility for government, and only undertake to abolish it at the instant of giving the state professed self-government. The settlement of the case is elsewhere given (see COMPROMISES, IV.); it resulted in the abolition of slavery in the rest of the Louisiana purchase, above 36° 30' north latitude, and the admission of Missouri as a slave state. As there was no abolition of the custom of slavery in the territory of Arkansas, we must consider the custom left still in existence there. On the application of Arkansas for admission as a slave state in 1836, there were some symptoms of a renewal of the Missouri struggle; but John Quincy Adams and other anti-slavery men agreed that the admission of Arkansas was fairly nominated in the Missouri bond, and the state was admitted. At the same session an increase in the area of Missouri (see that state) made a considerable addition to the slave soil of the United States. Here the extension of slavery stopped, with the exception of the admission of Florida and Texas as slave states in 1845. (See ANNEXATIONS, III.) The area of Texas had been free soil under the decree of Guerrero, the Mexican dictator, in 1829, afterward ratified by the Mexican congress; and slavery is not recognized in the constitution of the Mexican state of Coahuila and Texas, or in the provisional Texas constitutions of 1833 and 1835. But American settlers had brought their slaves with them, and fairly introduced the custom of slavery; and the constitution of 1836 formally declared all persons of color slaves for life, if they had been in that condition before their emigration to Texas, and were then held in bondage. This, though the state was not in the Union as yet, was the only instance of the professed establishment of slavery by the organic law of an American state, unless we are to take the Massachusetts code of 1641 as the first. The basis of the system is clearly expressed in a section of the Kentucky constitution of 1850, as follows: "The right of property is before and higher than any constitutional sanction; and the right of the owner of a slave to such slave and its increase is the same and as inviolable as the right of the owner of any property whatever." It was no more necessary, then, to declare a constitutional right of property in the case of slaves than in the case of horses. in both cases the legislature was to accept and defend the right without question. A slave state was regularly declared such, at its admission, only by the provision forbidding the legislature to emancipate slaves without consent of owners, or to forbid the domestic slave trade.
—As slavery reached the limits of its state extension in 1845, it only remains necessary to recur to its attacks upon the territories. Here the customary basis of slavery makes manifest the weakness of the claims for its extension after 1845. It is one thing to acknowledge the validity of a recognized and unopposed territorial custom in Louisiana, Missouri and Arkansas: it is a very different thing to admit, as pro-slavery advocates required, that the custom could not be abolished by statute, or prohibited where it did not exist. Nevertheless, in this respect, the compromise of 1850 (see COMPROMISES, V.) gave the slave states all they then asked. It refrained from prohibiting the custom, and gave the territorial legislature a general right of legislation, subject, of course, to the veto power of congress. But this last was now a meaningless form: it was impossible to obtain the passage of an act by congress and the president, annulling a territorial law recognizing slavery. Congress practically gave loose reins to the territorial legislatures, and they took advantage of it. New Mexico (then including Arizona) passed an act in 1851 recognizing peonage, or white slavery, and another in 1859 recognizing negro slavery; and Utah (then including Nevada) passed an act in 1852 maintaining the right of slaveholding immigrants to the services of their slaves. None of these acts was annulled until 1862. (See WILMOT PROVISO.) The Kansas-Nebraska bill (see that title) in 1854 went a stép further. It took off the Missouri prohibition of 1820, and allowed the introduction of the custom into all the territories. It is at least doubtful, leaving out the good faith of the repeal, whether a custom could properly be introduced in that way; but the climax of doubtfulness was reached when the Kansas struggle showed that the custom had no chance of practical introduction in that territory. The pro-slavery claim (see DRED SCOTT CASE; DEMOCRATIC PARTY, V.; COMPROMISES, VI.) was then advanced that both congress and the territorial legislatures were bound to defend slavery in the territories. If negro slavery was based on custom, and not on organic law, this claim was certainly a novelty in jurisprudence. We can easily understand the recognition or the prohibition of a custom by statute, but the establishment of a custom by statute is beyond conception. Yet this is the sum of the southern demand, when divested of verbiage and reduced to its real essence; and secession was based on the refusal of the demand.
—For the political influence of slavery, see DEMOCRATIC PARTY, WHIG PARTY, AMERICAN PARTY, REPUBLICAN PARTY. For the extinction of the system, see ABOLITION, EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION.
—See, in general, Williams' History of the Negro Race; Wilson's Slave Power in America; Hildreth's United States; von Holst's United States; Kapp's Geschichte der Sklaverei; 1 Draper's History of the Civil War; Jay's Miscellaneous Writings on Slavery; Cobb's Historical Sketch of Slavery; Goodell's Slavery and Anti-Slavery; Nott's Slavery and the Remedy; Weston's Progress of Slavery; and, on behalf of slavery, The Pro-Slavery Argument, including Hammond's Letters on Slavery, and Dew's Review of the Virginia Debate of 1832; Adams' South Side View of Slavery; Fitzhugh's Sociology for the South; and Sawyer's Southern Institutions.—(I.) 3 Bancroft's United States, 415; Hildreth's Despotism in America; Hurd's Law of Freedom and Bondage; H. Sherman's Slavery in the United States; Stroud's Laws of Slavery; Goodell's American Slave Code; Poore's Federal and State Constitutions; authorities under the states named, particularly Moore's Slavery in Massachusetts; Ambler's (Chancery) Reports, 76; 11 State Trials, 340, and Lofft's (K. B.) Reports, 1 (Sommersett case); Livermore's Historical Research on Negroes; 5 Elliot's Debates, 392; Jefferson's Notes on Virginia (edit. 1800), 164; 1 Bishop's History of American Manufactures, 355, 397; Pitkin's Statistical View of American Commerce, 110; Cotton is King (1855); Kettell's Southern Wealth and Northern Profits; Turner's History of Cotton and the Cotton Gin (1837); Donnell's History of Cotton (1872); 3 von Holst's United States, 563; 5 Sumner's Works, 1, or Lester's Life of Sumner, 311; Helper's Impending Crisis; Olmstead's Cotton Kingdom; Census Reports, 1850-70; King's The Great South (1875); Haygood's The New South (1880).—(II.) The general authorities; the first seven authorities under preceding section; Horsmanden's New York Negro Plot of 1741; Atlantic Monthly, June, 1861 (Vesey), August, 1861 (Turner); Giddings' Exiles of Florida.—(III.) Clarkson's History of the Slave Trade, 52; Copley's History of Slavery, 113; Andrews' Slavery and the Domestic Slave Trade; Carey's The Slave Trade, Domestic and Foreign; 1 Draper's History of the Civil War, 418; Foote's Africa and the American Flag; Continental Monthly, January, 1862 (Slave Trade in New York); 2 Tucker's Blackstone, Appendix, 49: 1 Journals of Congress, 24; 1 Stat. at Large, 847 (act of March 22, 1794); 2 Stat. at Large, 70, 205, 426 (acts of May 10, 1800, Feb. 28, 1803, and March 2, 1807); Quincy's Life of Quincy, 102; 3 Stat. at Large, 450, 533, 600 (acts of April 20, 1818, March 3, 1819, and May 15, 1820); W. B. Lawrence's Visitation and Search; Cleveland's A. H. Stephens in Public and Private, 647; Sprott's Foreign Slave Trade.—(IV.) The general authorities; Cairnes' The Slave Power; 2 Olmstead's Cotton Kingdom, 192; Census Report, 1850.—(V.) 1 Stat. at Large, 106, and 2 ib., 70, 235 (cessions by North Carolina and Georgia); 4 Journals of Congress, 380 (ordinance of 1784); authorities under ORDINANCE OF 1787; Fisher's Law of the Territories; 2 Benton's Debates of Congress, 221, and 16 ib. (index under Slavery); for the acts in regard to the states and territories, see authorities under their names.
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 3 Oath - Zollverein Chapter: SMITH, Adam
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SMITH, Adam. The name of Adam Smith is the greatest in political economy. He has had the singular fortune to stamp his impress ineffaceably on the intellectual world as well as on the world of facts. Adam Smith is not only the acknowledged founder of economic science, but the authority appealed to, and who inspired Sir Robert Peel and Huskisson, those dauntless ministers of his ideas. His life, wholly devoted to study and thought, passed away modestly and peacefully. The information we possess regarding him is small. We shall endeavor more especially, within the limited space allowed us, to bring into relief the facts calculated to make known the character of the man and to explain the works of the thinker.
—The little village of Kirkaldy, in Fifeshire, in Scotland, had the honor of being the birthplace of Adam Smith, who was born there, on June 5, 1723. His father, who was comptroller of the customs, had died several months before Adam Smith was born. His mother watched over his childhood, and she more than once had cause to fear for his life; for his constitution was frail and sickly. When he was only three years old, he was playing before his uncle's house, when a band of gypsies passing by kidnapped him. The alarm was given; his uncle gathered his friends together, overtook the kidnapers in a neighboring wood, and rescued his nephew.
—From the school in Kirkaldy. in which he received his early education, Adam Smith went, in 1737, to the university of Glasgow. He there attended the lectures on moral philosophy of the illustrious head of the Scotch school, Hutcheson, whose teaching made a decided impression upon the mind of Adam Smith. He appreciated the solid and practical worth of it, and all his writings show that he adopted its exalted spiritualism, its solid common sense and its strong morality. He always retained a filial feeling for Hutcheson, and never spoke of him but with the expression of the sincerest admiration and the deepest gratitude.
—Intended by his family for the church, Adam Smith was admitted to Baliol college, at Oxford. The future philosopher at first applied himself, with marked preference, to the study of mathematics and of the physical sciences. He knew not only the theory of these sciences, but had devoted much time to their history. These successive endeavors of the human intellect in the search of truth had a charm which delighted his investigating mind. From the sciences he passed to literature, and, after a stay of seven years, he read with equal facility the Latin, Greek, French and Italian poets. He frequently exercised himself in translating from the French, with a view to his improvement in the art of writing. He regarded this exercise as eminently calculated to perfect one's style.
—After completing his studies at Oxford, he returned to Kirkaldy. Determined to give up the ministry, he decided to live with his mother, in the peace which she alone could bring him, and to limit his ambition to the uncertain hope of obtaining one of those modest offices to which literary talent then led in Scotland. In 1748 he began to put his projects into execution, by opening at Edinburgh, where he came to establish himself, a public course of rhetoric and belles lettres. These lectures attracted a large number of hearers, and in a short time gave him substantial fame; for in 1751 he was appointed to the chair of logic in the university of Glasgow, and the following year to that of moral philosophy, left vacant by the death of Thomas Craigie, the successor of Hutcheson. He filled this chair for thirteen years, and always looked upon this period of his life as the most useful to his fellow-men as well as the happiest to himself. The brilliancy of his reputation gathered around him a crowd of students eager to hear him. The subjects of his course became the fashionable study; and his opinions the principal object of the discussions which entertained literary societies. Certain inflections of the professor's voice even, and certain favorite expressions of his, became matters of imitation. The talents of Mr. Smith, said one of his hearers, appeared nowhere to so great advantage as in the exercise of his duties as professor. In delivering his lectures he relied almost entirely upon his readiness in extemporizing. His style, though lacking, it is true, in grace, was clear, and free from affectation, and as he was seen to be interested in his subject, he never failed to interest his hearers. Each discourse consisted commonly in distinct propositions, which he made it his study successively to prove and explain. These propositions, stated in general terms, had often, from the very extent of their subject, an appearance of paradox. In his endeavors to develop them, it was not unusual to see him at first appear as if embarrassed and not thoroughly master of his subject, and even speaking with a kind of hesitation. But as he went on, the subject seemed to grow before him; his manner became warm and animated, and his expressions easy and flowing. In delicate points susceptible of controversy, you would have recognized without difficulty that he secretly entertained the thought of some opposition to his opinions, and that he consequently felt obliged to maintain them with the greater energy and vehemence. The abundance and the variety of his explanations and illustrations threw light upon his subject, as he handled it.
—He divided his course into four parts; the first three included natural theology and moral philosophy, and particularly the moral principles which relate to justice. In the first part of his course he examined the various political regulations which are not founded upon the principle of justice, but upon that of expediency, and the object of which was to increase the wealth, power and prosperity of the state. From this point of view he considered the political institutions relating to commerce, to finance, and to ecclesiastical and military establishments. What he taught upon these various subjects forms the substance of the work since published under the title "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations." This exact evidence proves, that, since 1753, although this part of his course was limited to the consideration of economic legislation, Adam Smith had formed an opinion on the fundamental questions of political economy. It is impossible to determine wherein the opinions of the professor of moral philosophy differed from those of the author of the "Wealth of Nations," since nothing remains to us of his teaching but this indication of one of his disciples. However, Adam Smith only followed the example of his master whom he reverenced, in introducing the consideration of economical order into his course of moral philosophy, and it is perhaps to the single chapter of the "Manual of Moral Philosophy" of Hutcheson, in which he treats of value, of exchange, etc., that we owe the "Wealth of Nations."
—From this period also his friendship with Hume, who had just published the second part of his "Essays" (1752), dates. In the nine discourses on political economy contained in this work, Hume, in attacking the erroneous theories of the mercantile system and of protective duties, determined the true principles of the nature of wealth, the profit of capital, and the solidarity of interests. This friendship, precious to both of them, kept up by their daily relations, to which Adam Smith brought profound convictions and an ardent love of humanity, and his friend a cold and jesting skepticism, which took away nothing from the sincerity of his affection, this friendship, which is a eulogy for both of them in this age of irritable vanity and literary jealousies, lasted until the end of Hume's life, and it is permissible to believe that the author of the "Essays" exercised an influence over his friend favorable to the direction of his thoughts toward political economy. This we know certainly, that the principal merchants of Edinburgh, then a very commercial town, shared Smith's views in the matter of customs, and that he himself drew from their conversation on the subject that knowledge of facts which characterizes his great work.
—Half a century later, the most illustrious propagator of his doctrines, J. B. Say, crossed over to Glasgow. I wished to see, he wrote, the place which was the cradle of sound doctrines in political economy. I was conducted to a long, narrow room, where everything still remained as in Smith's time. An arm chair of old black eather towered between two of the windows, and I confess that I could not seat myself in it without very strong emotion mingled with respect. It is my inmost conviction that sound ideas of political economy will change the face of the world; now, can a man look coolly at the source of a great river? Remarkable coincidence! At the same period at which, in his Glasgow attic, Smith was uttering his first principles on political economy; under the chateau of Versailles, the same ideas were germinating in the head of Quesnay, and prompting his articles in the Encyclopedie (1756).
—It was after he had been for seven years professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow, that Adam Smith published his "Theory of the Moral Sentiments." The fundamental principle of this theory is, that the actions of others are the only source of our moral perceptions. The judgments which we pass as to the morality of our own acts, are but a personal application of the judgments which we pass on the acts of our fellow-men. It is this moral approbation which Smith calls fellow-feeling. In the first part of his book he explains how we learn to judge of the conduct of others; in the second, how, in applying this judgment to ourselves, we rise to the idea of a duty to be performed. "Smith is in the right," well says M. Cousin, "when he develops the charms of sympathy, when he urges us to have ceaselessly before our eyes the conditions upon which others sympathize with us, and bestow upon us all that is sweetest to the human heart, to wit, the approbation and good will of our fellow-men. Smith's mistake is to have believed, or to have appeared to believe, that fellow-feeling is itself the good. The two differ in principle; and it is of consequence that this difference should be made manifest, firstly, for the truth's sake, then for the sake of virtue itself; for virtue is impaired at its very foundation, if it pursues an end not its own; and it is all over with virtue, if, when by reason of a going astray of opinion. it comes to be wanting in fellow feeling, and it is no longer able to maintain itself by its own power, and to be sufficient unto itself." For, indeed, sympathy or fellow-feeling, a noble and entirely personal feeling, are only a result of our organization; and Adam Smith, by assigning it the first place as the source of human actions, sacrificed to it the principle itself of which it is only the sign, conscience itself, that rule which subsists invariably and sovereignly obligatory above the caprices of the imagination and of the heart, and above the force of circumstances.
—Singular inconsistency of the spirit of system; it is the philosopher of sympathy, the too exclusive defender of the sentiments of benevolence and commiseration, whom the opponents of political economy have accused of selfishness and of implacable hardness to the misery of his fellow-men! If these blind traducers of economic doctrine did not recall that the economist of Glasgow had written and proved that those who feed, clothe and lodge the entire body of the nation, should have a large enough share in the product of their work to be sufficiently fed, lodged and clothed, they should at least have been careful that their attacks were directed against the philosopher who had made sympathy the only motive of our actions and the law of duty.
—Toward the end of 1763 the wish to visit the continent, and the liberal offers which were made him, determined Smith to accompany the young duke of Buccleugh in the travels which he contemplated undertaking. He sent to the rector of the university of Glasgow his resignation of the office he had filled for thirteen years. Universal regret was felt, and the university recorded its thought upon the register, and said that "the university could not refrain from expressing its sincere regret at the removal of Dr. Smith, whose distinguished virtues and amiable qualities had won for him the esteem and affection of his colleagues, and who had honored the university by his genius and the extent of his knowledge. His elegant and ingenious 'Theory of the Moral Sentiments' had won for him the esteem of men of taste and letters all over Europe. His happy talent of throwing light upon the most abstract subjects, his assiduity in communicating useful knowledge, and the exactness in discharging the duties of his position, which characterized him as a professor, were for the young men intrusted to his care a source of enjoyment as well as of sound instruction." Smith and the duke of Buccleugh embarked for the continent in March, 1764. After a stay of ten or twelve days at Paris, they took up their residence at Toulouse, which had just witnessed the execution of the unfortunate Calus. They spent eighteen months here in the society of the principal members of the parliament of that city. From Toulouse they proceeded toward Geneva, crossing by a circuitous route through the southern provinces of France; after a sojourn of two months in this city they returned to Paris. This was in December, 1765, and they remained there until October of the following year.
—Smith had long been familiar with French literature. He was acquainted with the works of J. J. Rousseau, and from a letter of Hume's we learn that he had read Helvetius' l' Esprit, and Voltaire's Condide. Furnished with letters of introduction from Hume, the Scotch philosopher met with the most flattering reception from Alembert, Helvetius, Marmontel and Madame Riccoboni. He was admitted to the society of the Duchesse d'Anville, and became especially intimate with a son of the Due de La Rochefoucauld. This noble and generous mind began later a translation of the "Theory of the Moral Sentiments," which he did not finish, and the grateful philosopher, who had in his first edition associated the name of the author of the Maximes with that of Mandeville, took care to drop from the second his criticism on the grandfather of his friend.
—The physiocratic school was at this time in all the ardor of the strife against the partisans of the mercantile and restrictive system. It had been for several years in possession of the doctrine which made it what it was; for in 1758 Quesnay had published his Tableau économique, printed at Versailles, under the eye of the king. The very year in which Smith left England, Le Trosne, then king's advocate at Orleans, publicly professed the master's principles in a discourse on the decadence of the magistracy; and during his sojourn in Paris, the Ephémérides du Citoyen, for the purpose of opposing the principles of Quesnay, and the Journal de l'agriculture, du commerce et des finances, under the direction of Dupont de Nemours, to defend them, were established. At this same time one of the most enlightened economists, Abeille, published a pamphlet on exclusive privileges in matters of commerce, which was very favorably received. Thus Smith was witness, during his stay in Paris, of the contest of economical systems. Unfortunately, no details of this period of his life, so interesting in the history of science, have come down to us. We learn from Dugald Stewart that he took pleasure in conversing with Turgot, and that he corresponded with Quesnay, but nothing further. Dupont de Nemours is more explicit, and represents him as having been his condisciple at Quesnay's. "Dupont de Nemours," says J. B. Say, "told me that he often met Adam Smith in that society, perhaps the most respectable in Europe, and that he was there regarded as a judicious and simple man, but as one who had not yet shown what he was capable of." What is beyond all doubt, is the profound esteem which Smith always preserved for the ingenious and thoughtful founder of the physiocratic school. He intended to dedicate his great work to him, and only the death of Quesnay (1774) prevented the realization of this noble thought. It is certain that Turgot conceived a high opinion of his ability, and Condorcet relates, that, after his retirement from the ministry, he kept up a correspondence with Smith. These two great minds, the beauty of whose characters vied with the loftiness of their intellect, were worthy to understand each other, but there remains no trace of this interchange of letters. The papers left by Turgot have revealed none; those of Adam Smith were destroyed before his death by his own order, and his most intimate friends never had any knowledge of this correspondence.
—It is, nevertheless, difficult to suppose, that, during the nine months which he spent in Paris, in society where economical topics were the order of the day, the conversation of so many men in whom he recognized great learning and distinguished ability, and of whom he declared that their doctrine approached the nearest to the truth, should have been without influence on the formation of his principles. But to what extent it is impossible, in the absence of any written document, to determine. Must we infer, as have some, from the solicitous and minute care taken by Smith shortly before his death to have his manuscripts—among which were the lectures delivered at Glasgow on economic subjects—destroyed, that he had an especial interest in leaving nothing from which the succession of his ideas could be conjectured? This is a pure hypothesis, as well as a most improbable one; and does nothing but complicate a problem, the solution of which it is impossible to give.
—Back in England in October, 1766, Smith returned to Kirkaldy, where he lived for ten years near his mother, and in the society of some of the friends of his childhood. His friend Hume, then librarian of the faculty of advocates at Edinburgh, strove several times, but in vain, to draw him away from his solitude. "I want to know what you have done," Hume wrote to Smith, in 1769, "and I intend to exact a strict account from you of the use you are making of your time in your retreat." Four years later, he added: "I will not accept the excuse of your health, which I regard only as a subterfuge invented by indolence and love of solitude. In truth, if you continue to listen to those two little evil advisers, you will end by breaking completely with society, to the detriment of both the parties interested."
—It was from this stubborn meditation of six years that the great work came which was to immortalize his name. The "Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," which he had begun to write in 1771, and which appeared in March, 1776, disclosed the secret of his long retreat. A month afterward Hume congratulated him in the following glowing terms: "My dear Mr. Smith, your work has afforded me the greatest pleasure; and in reading it, I emerged from a state of painful anxiety. It is a work, the expectation of which kept in such suspense yourself. your friends and the public, that I trembled to see it appear; but at last I am relieved. Not that—reflecting how much attention this reading exacts, and how little disposed the public is to bestow such—I must not still distrust for some time the first breath of popular favor; but there are in it depth, solidity, subtle penetration, and a multitude of curious facts: such merits should, sooner or later, fix the attention of public opinion. If you were here, at my fireside, I should contest some of your principles. But this and a hundred other things can be discussed only in conversation. I hope that it will be soon, for the state of my health is very bad, and will not admit of a very long delay." These sad presentiments were not long in being realized. Four months later, Hume was no more; Smith felt his death keenly, and has left us, in the touching account which he gave of his friend's death, and in the merited eulogy of his character, the trace of his bitter regrets.
—Hume simply anticipated the judgment of posterity, which, in its admiration, has associated the name of Smith with those of Grotius and Montesquieu. Smith indeed gave to economic science the character of certitude, which these two great men had impressed upon international law and political science. He placed it upon a basis which the progress of the human mind may perhaps enlarge, but never displace. The great principle which is the starting point of all economic phenomena, he lays down in the beginning of his work: The annual labor of every nation is the fund which originally supplies it with all the necessaries and conveniences of life which it annually consumes, and which consist always either in the immediate produce of that labor or in what is purchased with that produce of other nations. These words contained a revolution in the order of economic ideas. Breaking with the opinions generally received in his own age, he at the same time separated himself from the partisans of the mercantile system, who made all wealth consist in the precious metals, and from the physiocrates, who regarded the soil as the only source of it. Instead of gold and silver, and the fertility of the land, what does he place at the summit of his science? Man, of whom labor is the manifestation; man with his productive powers, the potency of which is immeasurably increased by the division of employments and the accumulation of capital. The classes of producers who had been regarded by the physiocrates as tributaries of landed property, raised by him to the rank in which their services class them in society, are hence forth respectable and useful by the same title as the others. He invites all, under the rule of the law of labor, to the exploitation of the material world, to the enrichment of individuals and nations, to the fusion of interests, and in subjecting them to the same obligations toward the state, he claims for them liberty in the choice of their work, in the movement of capital and the circulation of products.
—In this framework, in the order which he assigns to them in it, and in a series of searching and concise arguments, his ingenious and profound analyses of the division of labor, the price of goods, the power of saving and the action of capital, credit, banks and duties, range themselves. These different elements of economic science, several of which had already been successfully studied by Locke, Hume, Verri and Turgot, had new light thrown on them by Smith, a light which is diffused over all the parts of the subject of which he treats. Everything is treated with the supreme composure of superior reason and immutable good sense, which, carried thus far, amounts to genius. No contemporary passion disturbed the serenity of his judgment. The principles which he teaches are not a weapon in his hand, but only the generalized expression of facts conscientiously observed. One thing alone inspired him with an indignation which he could scarcely restrain; the spirit of monopoly.—'No one before Smith had shown with more clearness and foresight the advantages of economic liberty, from the point of view of the conciliation of individual and general interest. But the honor of having extolled the principle of liberty, and of having established it upon its true basis, belongs to the physiocratic school. Smith, in his "Wealth of Nations," faithful in this to the ideas which he had indicated in his course of moral philosophy, considers liberty as necessary to the complete development of the productive forces, and justifies it by economic usefulness and expediency. Quesnay and Turgot demand it as a right, and present it to us as the expression of justice. In fact, liberty, from the economic point of view, is a right, because it has its source in more freedom, and ends in personal responsibility and positive duties; it is just, because it alone is able to insure to man the remuneration which is really due to his efforts, and to the goods, as a consequence, the price which belongs to them. In the eyes of the physiocrates, liberty is not only the most favorable manner of making an equitable division of the fruits of labor and the most powerful stimulant to man's activity, but the manifestation of his conscience, the sign of his right, and the source of his duties. Notwithstanding the deviations into which they have allowed themselves to be drawn by a vicious method rather than by an error of principle, notwithstanding their adventurous incursions into the domain of natural law, it will be the everlasting honor of these worthy heirs to the Cartesian tradition, to have given as a foundation to political economy the grand principles of property, liberty, and individual and collective responsibility, with which all economic questions are necessarily connected. Smith regarded man as a being exclusively productive; and just as in his system of moral philosophy he did not rise to the superior idea of the good, of which sympathy, or fellow-feeling, is but the result, so in political economy he did not ascend to the idea of the just, that is to say, to the first data upon which the economic life of man and of society rests.
—The fault has been found, and justly, with the "Wealth of Nations," of a lack of proper arrangement of the various parts, which prevents the whole of the doctrine from being clearly discerned from the beginning: questions of the greatest importance are often treated there incidentally and à propos of questions which should have been presented only as secondary ones. Thus the author's ideas on the price of things are intercalated in a dissertation on the value of the precious metals during the last four centuries; his notions on money in the chapter on the treaty of commerce; his principles of commercial liberty in the examination of the mercantile-system. But if this great work offends by a lack of method, it none the less remains the finest monument raised to political economy. What a treasury of true ideas, of ingenious and profound observations, does it not offer us! It is by drawing inspiration from the thoughts of the master that his successors have accomplished all the progress which has since marked the advance of economic knowledge. It was by declaring themselves as his disciples that Malthus, by his theory of population, J. B. Say, by that of outlets, and M. Dunoyer, by his valuable studies on productive services, enlarged the domain of science; and the commercial policy of England, which will one day be that of all nations, was inaugurated under his auspices, and triumphed by the help of his arguments.
—Smith passed the two years which followed the publication of the "Wealth of Nations" in London, in the society of the most distinguished men of England, and in frequent intercourse with Gibbon, Burke and Pulteney. In 1778, having been appointed, through the influence of the duke of Buccleugh, commissioner of customs in Scotland, he returned to Edinburgh. It was in this city that the last twelve years of his life glided away. The leisure allowed him by the business of his office was employed to a great extent in the revision of his works, the successive editions of which he superintended with great attention. He had, it is said, the intention of publishing a critical examination of L' Esprit des lois. This study was undoubtedly connected with a treatise on civil and political law which he had undertaken to write. The death of his mother, whom he lost in 1784, and, four years later, that of a cousin of whom he was very fond, were the cause of a grief from which he never wholly recovered. In 1787 the university of Glasgow conferred the title of rector upon him, an honor which he appreciated very highly. From that time his strength gradually failed. When he felt the first attack of the painful malady which was to carry him to the grave, he ordered all his papers to be destroyed. "I intended to have done more," said he to his friends, "and there are materials in my papers which I might have turned to account; but that is out of the question now." His resolution with regard to this had long been taken, as a letter addressed to Hume in 1773 shows. In the month of July, 1790, after severe suffering, borne with courageous resignation, this great man was taken away from science and the world.
—His character was at once affectionate and reserved, frank and lively, and his habits of a simplicity from which he never deviated at any period of his life. His generous and impetuous soul, under an outwardly cold appearance, rose to enthusiasm, when there was question of the great interests of humanity. He spoke little, and when he was forced into his intrenchments, his speech was embarrassed, and his expositions assumed, without his knowledge, a dogmatic form which gave them the semblance of a lesson. This manner of expressing himself was a result of the habit contracted in his public courses on the science, and not of pretension, which was far from his mind, for never was there any one whose modesty was more easily alarmed than his. He was profoundly versed in the philosophic knowledge of the human heart and mind; but he lacked penetration in his judgment of individuals. The studious and retired life which he had led had familiarized him but little with the character and passions of men. His memory was prodigious, but very far from being a ready one. If Adam Smith did not share the brilliant qualities which fell to the lot of several of his contemporaries, he at least had, in the highest degree, that penetrating exactness and firmness of opinion which are perhaps more useful to the progress of the human mind, and which at the same time confer glory on their possessor.107
[107.]While he occupied his chair at Glasgow, Smith was in the habit of giving certain lectures on the elements of political economy, as it was understood in his time, i.e., upon those artificial regulations and restraints of civil society which statesmen conceive to be necessary or expedient. Here he was accnstomed to draw those inferences in favor of a policy of freedom which he afterward expanded into his celebrated work. Neither he, nor, indeed, any one else, had ever elaborated at this time the laws under which the production of wealth is effectually secured.
—The modern science of political economy has been developed from a host of negative inductions. Statesmen, misled by the selfish misrepresentations of reputed experts, have from time to time controlled and misdirected trade in the fancied interests of trade. They have attempted to be wiser than nature. They have seen that order and government have been necessary to the well-being of society, and that confusion and mischief are the invariable result of uninstructed self-interest. But. forgetting that the business of government is to check aggression only, and to secure every man a fair field for the exercise of his own labor, they have unconsciously aided aggression, curtailed liberty, and narrowed the field in which labor could exercise itself. There is of course a border, for the occupation of which the advocates of liberty and control constantly contend. The wisdom of government in the days of Adam Smith, and frequently enough in our own time, is to extend the area of government, and, with it, to assert the just control of an administration over the innocent acts of individuals. Such a line of action on the part of a government may be adopted with the best possible intentions, as Smith shows in the ninth chapter of his fourth book, where he sketches the policy of Colbert. Such a policy found its earliest and most complete refutation in the reasonings which are contained in the "Wealth of Nations." * * It has been objected to Adam Smith and Hume, that they did not foresee the French revolution, intimately as they were acquainted with the state of France. But the objection is shallow What is called political prophecy is often mere guess work, which no wise man will seriously indulge in. The easiest way in which weak men think they can gain a reputation is by sinister predictions of political events. No one can anticipate the conservative forces of society, no one can gather enough information to make a safe induction as to the resistance which may be made to change, or, indeed, as to the forces which will compel change. But there is such a thing as political prescience. It is not difficult to discover the inevitable consequences induced by certain kinds of political action. This faculty Smith possessed in the highest degree, in a far higher degree than Hume, whose sagacity and acuteness he admired so much. Of this prescience his great work is the most noteworthy illustration. No person has ever pointed out with more exactness the effects of a mistaken commercial policy. the invariable reaction from a course of legislation which does not commend itself to the moral sense of a nation, and the mischievous consequences which ensue when a public law gives its sanction to private selfishness. * * The range of the subjects treated in Smith's work is very wide. Social history and the politics of commerce occupy his attention as much as mere abstract reasonings. His educational theories have been generally accepted. His rules of taxation are classical. His vindication of free trade is complete. His criticism of the great company has been the basis of the latest legislation on the Indian empire. His conception of the mutual relations in which nations stand, is as comprehensive as it is generous. It should not be forgotten that Smith did not propose to himself the discovery of a scheme which should make any one country wealthy or prosperous at the expense of the rest of mankind, but how the wealth of nations should be developed. He rose far above the peddling maxim, that the gain of one people is the loss of another Hence his work is international, and has formed an effective protest against those shams of a sordid self-interest which masks itself under the name of patriotism.
—Among economists, Smith possesses the inductive mind in the highest degree. His work not only displays a wealth of varied reading, but is full of facts. Considering, too, how inexact were the statistical data on which he could in his time rely, his sagacity is remarkable. No example of this quality seems to me more striking than his inference that the precarious occupants in the ancient manor must have passed through a métayer tenancy before they reached the independence of the fifteenth-century yeoman, as described by Fortescue. Such was actually the fact, as I have been able to discover from a very large investigation of farm accounts during the epoch referred to by Smith. But, in fact, to be scientific, political economy must be constantly inductive. Half, and more than half, of the fallacies into which persons who have handled this subject have fallen, are the direct outcome of purely abstract speculation. In consequence, though he was the progenitor of the science, and necessarily left it incomplete, Smith is far more frequently in the right than his critics are. Almost every blemish in his work (some few inaccuracies of expression excepted, which arise from a somewhat loose use of terms,) is due to his exaggerated sympathy with the economic theories of his French friends and teachers. It is to this influence that we can trace his errors as to the nature and causes of value, and whatever is defective in his exposition of rent. Even here, however, he seems to me to be much more in the right than Ricardo, who accounts for the origin of rent on grounds which have absolutely no warrant in fact. His most adverse critics have, however, united with his warmest admirers in his vindication of private liberty against the interference of government; that is, in his advocacy of what are called free trade principles. To the modern reader, who recognizes the vast services which the merchants and manufacturers of Great Britain have done for such principles as Smith advocated, the language which the author uses about the mercantile classes seems singularly harsh and bitter. "The passionate confidence of interested falsehood"; the policy of a "great empire" being guided by the policy of "shop-keepers"; "impertinent badges of slavery, imposed by the groundless jealousy of merchants and manufacturers"; "illiberal and oppressive monopolies"; "the mean and malignant expedients of the mercantile system," and similarly pungent comments on the machinations of the trading classes a century ago, are expressions of active animosity against interests which Smith must have thought hostile to the public good. But, at that time, the leading merchants deserved little sympathy from any person who considered this public good as the paramount object of economy and legislation. Their intrigues had prevented the establishment of bonded warehouses. The mercantile classes drove Walpole into the war of the right of search. The real or reputed interests of the same order precipitated and prolonged the seven-years war. The costs of that war, and the sustentation of the East India company, whose conquests had made it bankrupt, led to the uprising of the American colonists, and the war of independence. The merchants who stimulated, and the nabobs and planters who continued, these costly struggles, were no doubt powerful in Change alley. They were, moreover, ready to make the highest biddings for rotten boroughs. But they were detested by the people, and especially by those free-holders in whom, as Smith thought, the strength and hope of the nation resided Macaulay has given, in a few words, a statement of how public opinion estimated these people, in his "Life of Lord Clive, "the greatest of the race.
—The most energetic attack, however, which Smith made on any institution of his time, was that on the East India company. To us the company is a thing of the past. In Smith's day it was the most brilliant phenomenon that the world had ever witnessed. A very few years had created the Indian empire; had changed a few timid and servile traders into a force of heroes, by whom successes had been achieved more amazing than those of Cortez and Pizarro. In the face of this extraordinary prestige, which affected the whole western world, the author of the "Wealth of Nations" dissected the pretensions of the great company, showed that it failed as a trader, and failed as a ruler; and proved that its government was mischievous to its subjects, and its monopoly a wrong upon the English people.—THOROLD ROGERS.
Footnotes for SOCIALISM AND SOCIALISTS
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 3 Oath - Zollverein Chapter: SOCIALISM AND SOCIALISTS
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The text is in the public domain.
SOCIALISM AND SOCIALISTS. It is with these words as with all others which express, at a given date, a definite situation, but which, in the long run, either because facts or the state of men's minds has changed, are transformed, and no longer convey their original meaning.108 Hence, to fix their meaning, at their true date, is essential. An analysis of such meaning may be reduced to this: In every human society, whether it advances or retrogrades, modifications more or less profound are always going on, modifications which are more or less perceptible, and which, with or without the knowledge of such society, act upon its economy. Apparently such a society remains the same; but in reality it is daily affected by changes of which it becomes entirely conscious only after time has fixed them in the habits and customs of the people, and marked them by its sanction. This is the course of civilizations which are being perfected or which are declining. The honor of a generation is to add something to the inheritance it has received, and to transmit it improved to the generation which comes after it. To employ what has been acquired as an instrument of new acquisition, to advance from the verified to the unknown: such is the idea of progress as it presents itself to well-ordered minds. But such is not the idea of the socialists. In their eyes the situation given is a false one, and the process too simple. Reforms in detail do not seem to them worthy of attention. They have plans of their own, the first condition of which is to make a tabula rasa of everything that exists, to cast aside existing laws, manners, customs, and all the guarantees of person and property. It seems to them that we have lived thus far under the empire of a misconception which it is urgent should cease; our globe, according to them, is an anticipated hell, and our civilization a coarse outline only. What is the remedy? There is only one—to try the treatment of which the socialists hold the secret. That treatment varies according to the sect. There are socialists with mild remedies, and socialists with violent remedies: the only difficulty is in the choice. But with all their differences, there is one point on which they agree—the formal condemnation of human societies as they are at present constituted, and the necessity of erecting on their ruins an order of things more conformable to the instincts of man and to his destiny here below. In exchange for our real world, the socialists offer us worlds of the fancy. This is their distinguishing trait, and one which makes of them a family apart.
—In this pursuit they have had so many precursors that to enumerate them would be to write the history of the adventures of the human mind. At one time, we have philosophers engaging in that chase in solitary speculations; and at another, sects, trying in abortive essays to realize their dreams; now, a whole population stakes in that chase its existence and repose; here, we find the idea of mysticism prevailing, and curbing instinct to the profit of a system; there, instinct gets the upper hand and breaks therein which all regular government puts on it: everywhere we witness an effort to destroy the old mould, and to obtain a new one. Revolts and factions beget one another while copying one another. First we find Plato with the most captious of models. He invented an imaginary community, which Sir Thomas More reproduced in his Utopia. In both cases, goods were to be in common, and the fruits of labor distributed by means of arbitrary combinations. Campanella went farther. With Plato he admits promiscuity; but, bolder than Plato, he regulates its exercise. Morelli, not content with recommending a community, would force it on men. He establishes for labor a species of obligatory conscription, and condemns to perpetual imprisonment the partisans of property, under pretext of their dangerous dementia. Babœuf treats them as conspirators, and spares them as little as Morelli. For the sake of good example, he expels them from among men when he does not deliver them to the executioner. Willingly or by force, he would have all distinctions of class and all appropriation of goods disappear. He would tolerate only one costume, one table, one ordinary. The great centres of population trouble him, and, with a stroke of his pen, he suppresses them. Luxury has its birth in cities, and of luxury he will have nothing. Homes should be as uniform as possible, in order not to excite jealousy by comparison. There should be like care for the education of all citizens. The state takes possession of them, and abandons them only at death. It makes laborers and workmen out of them. Useful services, and not acts which serve for pleasure, are demanded of them. What is not communicable to all, he says, in his imperative language, must be severely retrenched. The science of government, he says, is to suppress whatever may act as an obstacle, and the best régime is that which is so contrived as to meet with no opposers. It is not difficult to see what advance the idea of the community had now made. With Plato it was only an idyl; with Babœuf it is a yoke of iron; from an ingenuous dream and one far from being ironical, we pass to the dreariest and most degrading servitude; Plato confines himself to advice, Babœuf would act with living force; Plato admits categories, Babœuf endures none of any kind; he takes the lowest level, and wishes to reduce everything to it. This contrast is intelligible: Plato remains in the imaginary, Babœuf enters the real; with a view to the end, he thinks of the means, and fearing defeat, determines on the most energetic means.
—Examples of a common régime were no more wanting in antiquity than the speculations in which such a common régime was offered in perspective. The conventual organization, with its exploitation of mortmain and vows of renunciation, was nothing else. But those who submitted to it were out of the world, not in the world; they lived for heaven rather than for the earth. As much may be said of the Essenes, whose life was almost that of monks. The Moravians preserve more affinity with regular society; their community is neither as narrow nor as exclusive as that of the Jewish sect; they admit of marriage and of the intermingling of the sexes, while the Essenes preserved the strictest celibacy; they recognize private property side by side with collective labor, while the Essenes had nothing of their own. In the Paraguay missions, likewise, the community partook of a mixed character; each Indian had his field and his flock; only a separate domain, the Possession of God, was reserved for cultivation in common, and its produce was intended to meet the expenses for the support of the infirm, for the purposes of worship, and the payment of the tribute sent each year to the king of Spain. Moreover, in these various modes of grouping, there was neither revolt nor formal protest. They were combinations suggested at one time by a particular creed, at another by expediency of a local character. In the case of the Indians of Paraguay, their community was a beginning of civilization; in that of the Moravians and Essenes, as well as in that of the monks and anchorites, it was a means of sanctification. Under these conditions all government is easy; its point of departure is the spirit of discipline and the suppression of the instincts. From these partial communities to a general community the distance is a great one—the distance between the exception and the rule, between a special state of men's minds and the dispositions which animate the other members of the human family. Such cases must be noted, but there is no conclusion to be drawn from them.
—The community of goods has had less offensive apostles, like the Jacques in France and the Lollards in England. The former did not confine their pretensions within the walls of a monastery or the limits of a nation's territory. They had pretensions to empire, and they disguised projects of partition and spoliation under the mask of political rights. Neither did the Anabaptists admit that they entertained similar pretensions. Their religious schism was only a pretext to lead the populace to an assault on property. What a sad memory the Anabaptists have left! They filled with their crimes and their names two full centuries of the history of Germany. Münzer was their first corypheus; he invited the poor to the partition of the spoils of the rich; Mathias, in turn, ordered the sacking of the houses of the bourgeoisie; John of Leyden proclaimed polygamy a law of the state, and was the first to conform to that law by marrying seventeen women. The execution of such bandits did not suffice to extirpate their sect, and after they had disappeared, the ruins with which the land was strewn showed what is engendered. in popular interpretation, by the utopia of the community, and what vestiges it leaves after it. Socialism has no more formidable formula; and, in the end, it is the only one which is susceptible of application. All other formulæ escape the intelligence of the crowd because of their subtlety; this one is as clear as it is powerful. To take from those who have, in order to give to those who have not, is a concise and intelligible proposition, to reduce all positions and fortunes to a level, is one not less so. Both find in the heart of man a bad passion, which answers to them. When they are heard, passion leaves the vague to enter the world of realities; it knows what it wants, and whither it goes. There is no longer a mere anathema falling in a vacuum, but a campaign to be undertaken against society, with the booty in prospect—We have now cast a rapid glance at the men and the sects which, in the past, may be considered as the equivalents of socialism and socialists. With those who in our day are so named, the spirit is the same; only their procedure is different.109 The feeling of bitterness against established civilizations is at least as great, and if there be not as much violence in act, it is because moral force has resisted in time. We must add, that, in the case of almost all, the visions of the brain have been tempered by upright intentions. This is true of Robert Owen, who was the first to open the way. In Owen, there were two men, the man of fact and the man of an idea; the one superior, the other mediocre. A manufacturer in New York, he had the opportunity to found, aided by a benevolence without limit and by the sole power of example, one of the most flourishing industrial colonies that have ever been known. The basis of his system was the thought, borrowed from J. J. Rousseau and Bentham, that the practice of virtue has enough in it to fully indemnify those who devote themselves to it. So far the idea is a correct one, and no kind of success was wanting to the man who put the principle in practice; the error consisted in presuming, that, applied to humanity as a whole, it would succeed, as it had succeeded in a manufacturing centre. The great human family can not be governed as a small flock is governed. It was not long before Robert Owen perceived this. He himself, by exaggerating it, had changed the nature of his method for the worse. From a paternal administration he was imperceptibly led to the abandonment of all social restraint. He not only ended in the community, but he took from the community the only guarantee it possessed, the responsibility of the individual. If we believe him, man, having come accidentally into this world, and being the plaything of accidental circumstances through life, could not, without injustice, be declared responsible for his acts. Fatality alone determined good and evil; with the individual, there could be neither merit nor demerit. Why, then, punishment or reward? It was better to let man and society follow their bent, removing all the circumstances which might lead to evil, and increasing those which might lead to good. So much for this world; and, as to the other, why trouble one's self about it? It escapes our means of knowledge; it is an enigma which no one has been able to solve. Such was Owen's conclusion. Never was negation more absolute stated with greater candor. During fifty years he presented it to rebellious human societies as their only means of salvation; in colonies, in plans, in publications, in voluntary subscriptions, he spent a vast amount of money, without his personal sacrifices being able to make his desolating maxims advance a serious step. They wounded men's souls at too many points to be able to make any great ravages. The inventor of them lived long enough to assist at the obsequies of his doctrine.
—The doctrines of Saint-Simon permitted more consideration to be paid them; the basis of his system was a purely sacerdotal government. No more division between the temporal power and the spiritual; the time had come to confound them. Instead of a pope and an emperor, men were to have a father who would unite the functions of both, and govern in the forum internum and the forum externum. in things spiritual as well as temporal. Thus would cease, between the body and the spirit, a struggle which has lasted from the beginning of the world, and which has maintained disorder in the world. A natural hierarchy would follow on this change. Society would be divided into three classes: savans, artists, and those engaged in industrial pursuits; and the chiefs of these three classes would be the greatest savans, the greatest artists, and the greatest workers in the industrial world. These latter would need no investiture but that of the consciousness of their force. They would not be chosen; they would install themselves in their own position. The human family would know them by their works. Moreover, the new hand of society would be, under this régime, not fear, but affection; and the most loving, placing themselves above others, would necessarily impart their tone to all others. The chain of positions being thus formed, everything would follow in the most natural manner imaginable; each one would take rank in proportion to his capacity, and each capacity would be served in proportion to its works. Thenceforth humanity was to be only one family, and the earth to constitute only one great farm, the fruits of which were to be divided in proportion to rank and services. Such was the Saint-Simonian law, and it added on the condition of woman and the relation of the sexes, certain not over-edifying precepts summed up in the expressive words, rehabilitation of the flesh. We know in what this strange morality ended, so far as the principal disciples of Saint-Simon are concerned. Its public profession cost them a suit in the courts and a sentence. Their religion did not survive this scandal, and was dispersed to the music of hisses. Everything considered, it was not worth the noise made about it. A political papacy invested with discretionary powers, with the sovereign disposal of the lot and rank of individuals in society, preaching the reign of the senses under the lying cover of the equality of the sexes, was not a system, and did not advocate a doctrine, which could long resist the revolt of men's consciences and the decrees of public opinion.
—The same fate was reserved, after a longer defense, for the doctrine of Charles Fourier. Substantially it had the same foundation; but the mode of procedure of Fourierism was different. Fourierism, like Saint-Simonism, wished to substitute a world of the fancy for the real world, and an artificial order for the course of things. Fourier started out with the idea, that from the earliest ages to our own time the passions have been the source of so many evils only because they have been unskillfully suppressed. God, according to Fourier, can not have made anything essentially bad or essentially useless. If the passions, in their actual play, are the source of many disorders, it is not with the passions themselves that we must find fault, but with the medium in which they move, a human medium, and therefore susceptible of modification. "Attractions," says Fourier, "are proportional to destinies," which means that it would be all gain for men to yield to their inclinations. Hence they must be satisfied in an association freely agreed to, and in which all the instincts of man may have room for the fullest play. These formulas of association are the ingenious part of Fourier's work. The association is in groups, which and in series, and these in phalanxes. The group is the cell of the human hive; it is composed of seven or nine persons; it has a centre and wings, and a harmony which results as much from its identifies as from its contrasts. The series comprise from twenty-four to thirty-two groups. The phalaux is Fourier's commune; consisting of 1,800 souls, it lives in a palace which he cells the phalanstery, divided in such a manner as to procure the greatest possible number of pleasures, while avoiding all the prejudices which result from the arrangement of actual households. As to property, it does not incorporate itself in individuals; it is collective. Its value circulates only under the form of coupons, and becomes susceptible of appropriation; products are divided among the three direct agents of production: capital talent and labor. Let us add, that in Fourier's system no repugnance attaches to this labor; it is attended by a love for it, taste and buoyancy; it is done in short sessions, in holiday clothes, with passion and spirit, the task is taken up or dropped at will, and varied so as to produce neither monotony nor weariness. Nor is this all; to these wonders of earth Fourier adds the joys of a heaven of his own. He has his own cosmogony and his own transmigration of souls; he walks his system through the spheres, and requires of our planets the most singular services. The whole of Fourier's system may be summed up thus: a universal government, a perfect world adorned by a perfect society. Beyond this, imagination can not soar. In this land of vertigo, nothing is to be found but glare Again, we have a world to be made over, a civilization to be reconstructed, man and humanity to be renewed in a confused amalgam of the marvelous and the real.
—Here stops the series of socialists at first hand; after them come the plagiarists, and, first of all, Cabet. Like Campanella and Sir Thomas More, Cabet has given us, in his "Icarie", an imaginary community, which unites all perfections in itself, and which found, in the streets of Paris, more than one partisan whom time has disabused. When it became a question to pass from ideas to acts, he perished in the attempt, and learned what becomes of dreams when brought to wrestle with realities. And so it was with Louis Blane. In the silence of his study he had imagined an administrative workshop which would cure industry of the leprosy of competition. He would have the state become entrepreneur (see ENTREPRENEUR) and universal producer; he would have it carry out, at the expense of the public treasury, an experiment in relation to the economy of manual labor. In the workshops which were to be established, the workmen were to share in the profits of exploitation, and these workshops, of different kinds, were to be associated among themselves in such a way that the profits of some might serve to cover, if need were, the losses of others.110 Nothing could be more ingenious on paper; each of these workshops would become a type and a model; free industry would be forced, under pain of death, to draw inspiration from them, and this idea of the absorption and destruction of free industry was discoverable in the spirit of the project. Private activity was destined to disappear before official activity. We know what these specious plans became in the execution of them: by forced deviation the administrative workshop became the national workshop (see ATELIERS NATIONAUX), with an elective head, and a minimum of wages, two features borrowed from the combination of Louis Blanc. A false idea led to applications still more false, so false that the author of the idea vehemently and justly repudiated them. Proudhon was no happier. Is it proper to rank Proudhon among socialists? No one battled them more fiercely than he; he produced the evidence of their contradictions, the emptiness of their plans, and the poverty of their doctrines; he left nothing standing, neither their arguments nor their combinations; and he warmed against them even to the point of invective. But if he was brutal toward the community, he was no less so toward property; and he remains a socialist spite of himself. From the core of what he denies we need only disengage what he affirms, to become convinced of this. Thus, he sacrifices the idea of property to I know not what species of imaginary possession floating in vacuo. And so, after an at-random dissertation on the determination of value, he arrives at imagining a general and uniform tariff for it, both for labor and products, by measuring the price of these latter by the number of hours employed in producing them! Lastly, as a consequence, he proposes to replace money made of gold and silver, by orders payable in kind, in such a manner as to return from gold and silver money to barter, and to deprive capital of one of its most evident powers, the power to produce interest. On all these points Proudhon remains on the staff of the socialistic legion which he so maltreated. To the same staff belongs also Pierre Leroux, as he appeared with a plan of human society in his hand. He admits the family, fatherland and property only on certain conditions. He finds that the fatherland has the drawback of recognizing a chief or head; the family, of recognizing a father and children; and the institution of property, of recognizing rich and poor. Pure despotism! It is all a question of finding a combination in which the family, the fatherland and property shall be such that man may develop in them without being oppressed by them; in other words, that the family should not produce an heir, that the fatherland should have no subjects, and property no proprietor. Such is the problem, such the solution: if to it we add a little of theurgy and metempsychosis, we shall have all the baggage of Leroux, so far as things serious are concerned.
—We have reached the end of those systems, and may judge in what they agree, and in what they differ. Under the names we have mentioned, there now remain but the men for whom socialism was a tool or a pedestal, and the political parties who took up the standard of socialism without seeking to define it. Socialism, indeed, has its day; many were attracted by it as men are attracted by novelty; then the crowd mixed with it with the obscure feeling that it would find its advantage in it, and that in the absence of conviction they should adhere to it from pure calculation. And how could the crowd defend itself against socialism? It was promised higher wages in return for less labor, a quarry to hunt in a society in dissolution, the leveling of conditions, the humiliation of the higher classes, and a general division of private fortunes among all. Is it to be wondered at that such vertigo was contagious, and that it became in some countries, for an instant, an object of alarm? Yet socialism did not deserve so much honor. As a theory, it could not stand examination; as a fact, it was not able to succeed under any circumstances or at any point. The name of Owen is connected with the failures of New Harmony and Orbistan; that of Cabet, with the Nauvoo failure in the state of Illinois; with Fourier's a series of discomfitures which followed on the heels of each other at Condé-sur-Vesgres, Citeaux, in the valley of the Sig, and in America. From the ideas of Louis Blanc, there proceeded only the ateliers nationaux (national workshops), the paternity of which he excepted to; of the boldness and rashness of Proudhon, all that remains is the memory of the bank of exchange or bank of the people, made famous by the most untoward catastrophe. The history of contemporary socialism is but one continual abortion. The principal actors on its stage have disappeared from the scene, and left their places to a few confidants who stammer out their parts. All that socialism and socialists have done is reduced to a few plans of association, to a few commonplaces which are only the weakened echo of their first timorous ideas, to a few formulas whose meaning time changes, and which have become fixed in language as problems or bugbears.
—Thus, all these chimeras gradually depart into the regions of oblivion. It may be that the same vertigo will appear again under other forms and another name; our globe is the seat of an external revolt and of an external wail. But them as now, unless the hour of an irrevocable decline has struck for humanity, the result of such errors can not be doubtful. True, these errors are covered with a mask, the love of the people, the interest of the suffering, the feeling of human perfectibility, the advance of generations to a better state and one less full of shocking inequalities. But behind this mask we find a more living physiognomy. That living physiognomy is the truth of things, whether the inventors of systems be conscious of it or not. Behind the truth of things the public conscience always retreated and always will retreat. This, to its honor, we must hope. The question is of a war to the knife against established civilizations, to the profit of imaginary civilizations; it is a question of destruction for the sole purpose of building up again; it is a question of giddily abandoning ourselves to systems which, scarcely fledged, give battle to one another, and which die out in the shock of rivalry and the weakness of isolation. It would seem, indeed, that socialists supposed that society, such as it exists, is only so much stage scenery which might be made to disappear at the wave of a wand. And what is proposed in its place? Servitude in all its forms. Take all these systems; they have one feature in common, which is to stifle, by their artificial forms, the taste for and the use of liberty. They condemn human activity to carry a yoke of iron. Here man is enticed into a world of fancy, and there he is condemned to devote himself to others without the merit of that devotion being allowed him. He can no longer dispose of the fruits of his labor, nor regulate the employment of his hands or his brain. The state takes possession of his entire person, of his goods, of the products he creates, and determines the portion of them which he shall receive back. Under the régime of socialism the individual disappears, and is absorbed by a collective being. He ceases to be a body or a soul, and becomes a piece of mechanism. Slavery does not more completely than socialism destroy the personality of man. (Compare ATELIERS NATIONAUX, COMMUNISM, FOURIERISM, PROPERTY.)
[108.]"The assailants of the principle of individual property," says John Stuart Mill ("Principles," book ii., §2), "may be divided into two classes: those whose scheme implies absolute equality in the distribution of the physical means of life and enjoyment, and those who admit inequality, but grounded on some principle or supposed principle of justice or general expediency, and not like so many of the existing social inequalities, dependent on accident alone. At the head of the first class, as the earliest of those belonging to the present generation, must be placed Mr. Owen and his followers. M. Louis Blanc and M. Cabet have more recently become conspicuous as apostles of similar doctrines (though the former advocates equality of distribution only as a transition to a still higher standard of justice, that all should work according to their capacity, and receive according to their wants).
—The characteristic name for this economical system is 'communism,' a word of continental origin, only of late introduced into this country. The word 'socialism,' which originated among the English economists, and was assumed by them as a name to designate their own doctrine, is now, on the continent, employed in a larger sense; not necessarily implying communism, or the entire abolition of private property, but applicable to any system which requires that the land and the instruments of production should be the property, not of individuals, but of communities, or associations, or of the government."
—It is in this latter sense, evidently, that M. Reybaud uses the word "socialism" in this article,—ED.
[109.]Among the forms of socialism, German writers on political economy mention what they call staatssozialismus. or state socialism. understanding by the term "that system which would have economic relations regulated as far as possible by the state, and which would substitute state help for self-help" Prince Bismarck has shown a decided leaning to this form of socialism. The French have the expression socialisme d'état, which is the exact equivalent of staalssozialismus, or state socialism. That such a form of socialism has been finding favor with large classes of the people in recent times can not be doubted. Hence it has been not inappropriately styled by Professor Faweett, "modern socialism;" and much of what he says on its growth and probable consequences in certain countries of Europe is true as to its growth and consequences in the United States, but of course not to the same extent as in Europe. He writes: "It is each day becoming more evident that in every European country an increasing number of the laboring population are giving an enthusiastic adherence to certain social and economic principles, which, if carried into effect, will introduce even more fundamental changes than those brought about by the first French revolution. Never, perhaps, was there a time when it was more important to dispassionately consider the ideas. the wants and the aspirations of the workmen who are engaged in this movement, which may be described under the general title of modern socialism. Without such dispassionate consideration, there is certain to arise, instead of a kindly and intelligent sympathy, the rancorous enmity of bitter class prejudice. Those who are prepared to show this sympathy may have some chance of directing to purposes of inestimable good this new movement, which, if met with blind and unreasoning opposition, will at last gradually gather so much strength as to pass beyond control; Europe may then flud herself involved in a terrible war of classes. It has been repeatedly shown that the friends of revolutionary changes derive their motive power from the bigoted opponents of progress, and from the stubborn upholders of unwise laws and unjust privileges. It might as well be supposed that the railway engine would move if it were deprived of steam, that wheat could grow without soil, or that man could live without food, as to imagine that a revolutionary propagandism could be maintained if it were not kept alive by the recollection of some wrong inflicted, and by the continuance of some grievance unredressed. It is perfectly vain to expect that there will not be threatening of coming convulsions so long as the social and economic condition of great masses of the people remains what it is at the present time. England is constantly being glorified as the wealthiest of all nations. From every platform in the kingdom orators delight to parade the well-known statistics about our vast and growing commerce. Each quarterly return from the board of trade shows an augmentation of exports and imports. In spite, however, of all these evidences of accumulating wealth, the majority of our people have a severe struggle for existence, and no inconsiderable minority live in abject misery and in degrading poverty. The more wealthy the nation is admitted to be, the more perilous does it become, and the more ominous of future trouble, that one out of twenty of the nation should be a pauper; that to a great proportion of our laboring classes a life of incessant toll yields no other result than an old age of dependent mendicancy; that millions are so entirely uneducated as to be cut off from every intellectual enjoyment; that in many rural districts horses are stabled far more comfortably than laborers are housed; and that in our largest and wealthiest cities the poor are so crowded and huddled together, that in a countless number of instances all the members of a family herd together in a single room. Can any one who reflects on such facts be surprised that a wide-spread spirit of unrest and dissatisfaction is abroad? Ought it not to be regarded as almost incredible that a social structure resting on such a basis should have stood so long? But it may be said that if things are not as rapidly improving as can be desired, they are certainly not getting worse. Why then, it is urged, should there be this new outburst of discontent? No new laws vexations to the industrial classes have been imposed; many, on the contrary, have been repealed; taxation is not more burdensome, and duties on many of the necessaries of life which added greatly to their cost have been remitted. May it not, therefore, be fairly concluded that things will gradually improve; that the present dissatisfaction is unreasonable, and that the demands of those who are so discontented with society as it is now constituted should be simply met by undeviating resistance? As there is only too much reason to fear that many will assume this attitude of resistance, it is important to give the most emphatic warning as to the consequences which the adoption of such a policy may involve. As it is so frequently supposed that the movement in favor of organic social and economic changes has no solid foundation in reason or in justice, and that it is rather a temporary aberration of certain unsettled and mischievous people who love revolution for revolution's sake, it becomes important, in the first instance, to attempt to discover whether this is a true interpretation of the sentiments now widely prevalent among the industrial classes.
—As previously remarked, it no doubt, at first sight. appears somewhat difficult to account for the fact that this desire for change should have grown up with the repeal of many unjust laws, with the remission of many burdensome taxes, with a great stimulus in the productive industry of the country, and with the more wide-spread desire among those who are in comfortable circumstances to be good, kind and charitable to the poor. But does not the fact that all these circumstances have been in operation without producing any more marked effect upon the general well-being of the people, suggest an explanation of the phenomenon which we are seeking to elucidate? Scarcely any other result can be expected than that there should arise a feeling of angry disappointment, unreasoning distrust and unjust suspicion when favorable agencies like those just mentioned are contrasted with such facts as those previously enumerated, which are only too truly typical of the social and economic condition of the country. For a long time the people were led to believe that the elevation of their class would be secured by bringing into operation various favorable material agencies. At one period it was supposed that the application of steam to manufactures and the improvement of locomotion by the introduction of railways, would so stimulate production as to bring to the laborer an age of golden plenty. At another time it was confidently stated that by the abolition of protection the markets of the world would be thrown open to us, and the supplies of cheap food thus procured would yield an increased store of comfort to every humble home. In one respect these predictions have been fulfilled, in another respect they have been cruelly falsified. Production has been stimulated beyond the expectations of the most sanguine, and supplies of food have been obtained from even the most distant countries in much greater quantities than could have been anticipated. Still, however, so far as the laborer is concerned, the age of golden plenty seems as remote as ever, and in the humble homes of the poor a not less constant war has to be waged against penury and want. From the bitter disappointment thus engendered, there has not unnaturally arisen a feeling of deep distrust of the fundamental principles on which society is based. A wide-spread opinion has grown up that it is no use relying upon the old remedies and the old nostrums. Resort must be had to far more radical changes; the very foundations on which our social system rests must be altered. This feeling of unrest, this desire to do away with the existing order of things, is sure to arise when the mass of the people become dissatisfied with their condition. On many previous occasions they had more reason than now to attribute their misfortunes to political causes. Unjust and vexatious taxation, combined with a reckless expenditure of a profligate and corrupt court, at length accumulated such misery upon the French people that an irresistible movement arose to sweep away every established institution. The first French revolution ought not consequently to be regarded as an uprising to substitute a republican for a monarchical form of government. The people, driven to a frenzy of despair by physical suffering, were not in a frame of mind calmly to reason upon well-devised schemes of relief. They wished to see everything changed, and they consequently waged an unrelenting war with the existing state of things. Again, the revolutionary movement in 1848, although it caused the fall of so many dynasties, was not so much a political as a social and economic movement. The dissatisfaction which prevailed at this period was not mainly due either to unjust laws or vexations taxation. It was the manifestation of an intense desire fundamentally to change the principles from which the vast Industrial system of the present time has been developed. Competition and the separation of capital from labor may be regarded as the most prominent characteristics of modern industry. It might, therefore, have been almost foreseen that these characteristics would be singled out for special reprobation, when the general condition of the industrial classes became unsatisfactory, and the great mass of the people in every country felt that they had to bear an undue amount of suffering, the hardest toil yielding to them a most inadequate share of comfort and enjoyment. There consequently arose a determination to substitute for the industrial system then existing one from which not only competition would be absent, but one in which capital and labor would be united, instead of being separated by the rivalry of hostile interests. The industrial ideas which were thus sought to be carried into practical effect may be described under the general name of socialism or communism. The very mention of these words will no doubt to many minds suggest much that is ominous of danger, and much which is opposed to the well-being of society. Prejudice, however unfounded, often spreads so fast that it becomes most formidable to combat. To many, socialism and communism are supposed to be synonymous with confiscation and spoliation. A socialist exists vaguely in the minds of the comfortable classes as a sort of abandoned creature who wishes to live by robbing other people of their property, and who desires to see general pillage introduced. In the present state of mankind, socialism would do nothing to increase the well-being of the people, and the socialistic schemes which have been propounded would inevitably end in disastrous failure. But, although this may be fully proved, yet nothing can be more unjust than to throw aspersions upon the character of socialists, and to misinterpret their motives. They no doubt have been mistaken enthusiasts, but it is impossible to deny that their motives have been pure and their aims lofty. They have been animated by a desire which must have been felt by all who are not depraved by selfishness, to lighten poverty, to alleviate human suffering, and to diffuse more general happiness among mankind. The injustice which is so generally done to socialists will be perhaps more clearly perceived when attention is directed to the origin of the socialistic sentiment.
—It has been often remarked that the more a country advances in wealth, the wider and deeper seems to be the gulf between the rich and the poor. Not only is this shown by the fact that the augmentation in the number of the very wealthy is not accompanied either by a corresponding decrease in the number of the very poor, or by a proportionate diminution of their sufferings; but the separation between classes seems to become intensified in other ways. The time was when those who were engaged in any industry, master, foreman and workmen, dwelt near to each other, and between them there were often intimate personal relations. which have now completely passed away. Althuogh the introduction of steam and the application of various mechanical inventions have completely revolutionized the conditions on which industry is carried on, yet there has probably been a not less marked change in the social and industrial life of the country. The supplanting of hand-loom weaving and pillow-lace making by vast manufactories filled with complicated and costly machinery, does not represent a greater change than that which is indicated by a comparison between the present mode of life of men of business and that which was adopted by them formerly. The merchant and the manufacturer used to reside close to where the daily work of their lives was carried on. Now, however, each year a greater distance separates the homes of the master and his workmen. Many who have accumulated princely fortunes seldom go within miles of the homes of any of their workmen. All these considerations show that the relations between employers and employed have gradually lost their personal character, and have become more and more commercial. This being the case, there can, of course, be little friendship or comradeship; there is too little of that personal sympathy which often arises among those who are fellow-workers at a common object; but, on the contrary, labor being bought and sold in the same way as any commodity of commerce, the only feelings between employers and employed are too often those which exist between the buyers and sellers of merchandise. It must not, however, be supposed that the present has thus been contrasted with the past with the object of implying that there has been no improvement, nor must it be imagined that it would be desirable to restore a state of things which would in many respects be incompatible and incongruous with the requirements of modern times. But being perfectly ready to admit that there has been progress, yet this should not cause us to lose sight of those drawbacks associated with commercial development, which make the present in some of its aspects compare unfavorably with the past. It is, of course, far more prudent carefully to consider these drawbacks with the view of reaching the causes which produce them; for if this can not be done, if commercial progress is always to be presented to the mass of the people in no other aspect than that in which they now see it, there will certainly arise not only dissatisfaction, but a desire to effect organic changes in the constitution of society. Some idea may be formed of the extent to which discontent must be engendered, when every workman must be constantly reminded of the fact, that, while numbers are unable to obtain a sufficiency of the necessaries of life, others have so much superfluously wealth that they are able to squander it in useless and mischievous luxuries, and never devote themselves to one hour's useful employment. The more the distance widens between the rich and the poor, the more the belief is certain to gain ground that there is something radically wrong in the laws which regulate the distribution of wealth. It can not be wise and just, it is plausibly said, that the produce which the earth yields should be so apportioned among its inhabitants that, whereas many have far more than they need, others have to endure the bitter pangs of want. It is urged that if there was more equality in this distribution, there would be enough for all; if superfluities were taken away from the rich. and given to the poor, all would then enjoy adequate comfort. Those who are influenced by such ideas as these are at once, by natural sequense, led to the conclusion that the circumstances which produce inequalities in wealth are chiefly responsible for all the social and economic evils under which a nation suffers. It is consequently proposed that society should be regulated on principles which would. as far as possible, prevent inequalities in wealth. A feeling thus arises in favor of either abolishing, or greatly curtailing the rights of private property. Various schemes have, from time to time. been propounded with the object of giving effect to these ideas. Those who would not shrink from applying what they conceive to be a complete remedy, propose that society should be reconstituted on an entirely communistic model; associations being established in which there should be no private property, the wealth produced being the joint property of the community. Others suggest less thorough remedies, and propose, that, after a due maintenance has been guaranteed to all the members, any surplus which may remain might be appropriated as private property. St. Simon and Fourier in France, and Robert Owen in England, have identified their names with these communistic experiments. It is scarcely necessary to remark that all such attempts have hitherto failed to obtain any practical success. In fact, it is not too much to say that in the present state of mankind failure is inevitable. Men are not yet sufficiently advanced to work with as much zeal for the good of others as for their own advantage. Those who are industrious will not long remain content if they see that a considerable portion of the fruits of their labor is devoted to the support of those who are as well able to work as themselves, but who are so indolent and improvident that they rely upon others for their maintenance. It must, however, be remembered that such men as St. Simon, Fourier and Owen never proposed the confiscation of other people's property. They always contemplated that their communistic societies should legitimately acquire the land and other property upon which they first commenced operations. Robert Owen, in fact, purchased an estate in Hampshire for a considerable sum of money, upon which he attempted to give practical effect to his socialistic ideas Although these schemes have completely failed, yet failure has done little to weaken the sentiment which gave them birth. The ideas from which they have originated have not been and probably will not be ever extinguished. Each fruitless endeavor to carry them out not only stimulates a fresh development, but also causes them to assume another form. Unlike the socialists of former days, those who are at the present time under the influence of the socialistic sentiment are beginning to place their chief reliance upon state intervention. They seem to think that if individual efforts have been unable to achieve success, this provides the most cogent argument in favor of an appeal to the state. This is the reason which induces me to ascribe such grave importance to modern socialism. There was no cause to feel alarm or misgiving as long as socialism simply caused certain experiments to be tried by enthusiasts, against whom no other charge could be brought than that they showed too much zeal in their efforts to improve society. Even their failure did something to benefit mankind. It can scarcely be doubted that in these first socialistic schemes were sown the germs of a social and economic movement which has already effected great good, and which promises more for the future than any other agency yet brought into operation. It is well known that some of those who were the most strongly imbued with the teaching and doctrines of Robert Owen were the founders, and afterward the managers of our most prosperous co-operative institutions. Co-operation is as yet only in its infancy; it has hitherto been generally applied to the distribution of wealth. but rarely to its production. Enough, however, has been seen of its effects to justify a confident belief that its general adaptation to industrial undertakings would probably mark the greatest advance ever yet made in human improvement. Labor and capital, instead of being hostile interests, will be united, and by this union an incalculable stimulus will be given to production. * * *—Until quite recently there was one most marked and important difference between the continental and the English workman. The former placed his chief reliance on the state, whereas it was the aim of the latter to free himself as much as possible from government control. One of the first uses which the French workmen made of their success in the revolution of 1848, was to compel the government to establish national workshops, and to advance loans to co-operative associations. One of the first things which the English workmen did, when they obtained political power by the reform bill of 1867, was to call upon parliament to repeal all the laws which interfered with the formation of voluntary trade combinations. The continental workman was constantly looking to the state as he would to a powerful friend or benefactor to aid and reward him. The attitude of the English workman has, until recently, been one rather of hostility toward the state. His habit has been to claim freedom from government control, to that he might have a free and open field for the exercise of his energies. This difference, however, between English and continental laborers is becoming less marked. It can scarcely have escaped notice that during the last two or three years English workmen have with much greater frequency asked for government assistance; and the demands for state intervention are constantly enlarging. There are many circumstances which have contributed to bring about this change. In the first place, it is probable, as previously indicated, that the growing tendency shown by so many of our artisans to rely upon the state may be traced to the false hopes excited, some years since. by those who taught the people to believe that the great end to be striven after was a larger production of wealth. This augmented production of wealth has taken place, and when it is found to be unaccompanied by the predicted improvement in the condition of the poor, there is naturally aroused keen disappointment, and there is diffused through the industrial classes a general feeling of distrust. They get into just that frame of mind which causes them to give a ready acceptance to any doctrines differing from those by which they suppose they have been deceived. The opinions in favor of state intervention so current among continental workmen now consequently find a more ready acceptance in this country; these opinions are, In fact, transplanted to our shores under such favorable circumstances that, for a time at least, they seem to have taken root among us. * * *—Fully, however, admitting that among those who hold these opinions are still to be found some of our ablest artisans, yet it can scarcely be denied by any who observe serve the signs of the times that, so far as England is concerned, the demands for state assistance are each year assuming more formidable proportions. This will be sufficiently shown by enumerating some of the many things which the state is, with increasing urgency, asked to supply for the people. It is now, for instance, often said that the government should pay the passage-money of emigrants; should furnish work at good wages for the unemployed; and should secure for laborers comfortable houses and wholesome food at a reasonable rate. Such proposals as these represent the opinions of those who may by comparison be regarded as moderate in their demands. * * *—In one respect this growing tendency to rely upon the state is fraught with greater danger to England than to many other countries. This is not an appropriate place to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of government by party. There is, however, one aspect in which party government may be viewed, as having a very direct bearing upon the subject we are now considering. The two great political sections who contend for place and power have a constant temptation held out to them to bid against each other for popular support. [May not the same be said of political parties in the United States?] When therefore, it is perceived that any particular set of opinions has obtained a great hold upon the masses, place and power will seem to be the lot of the political party which promises to do most to give effect to these opinions. Under the pressure of this temptation, it may, consequently, any day happen that statesmen will accept doctrines and pursue a policy against which, if their judgment was unbiased, they would be the first to protest. This is a peril which hangs over this country, and recent events have shown that I am not conjuring up an imaginary vision of coming danger. During the last year [this was written in the early part of 1872] direct encouragement has been given to some of the most mischievous and alarming features of modern socialism by one who is, and by another who has been, a responsible minister of state. The budget of 1871 was framed in accordance with some of the financial principles of the international association; and no member of this organization ever made more reckless promises to the proletariat than did Sir John Pakington, when, as president of the social science association, he told the workmen, in his address at Leeds, that parliament ought to secure for them comfortable homes and wholesome food at reasonable prices. A few months before Sir John Pakington enunciated these mischievous doctrines, the people had been virtually told by the chancellor of the exchequer, that if they make some demand, the granting of which involves additional expenditure, the majority shall avoid contributing a single shilling toward the outlay, and shall be enabled to throw the whole burden upon the payers of income tax. Under such fostering care it is not surprising that there is rapidly growing up in this country an abnormal development of that new form of socialism, the cardinal principle of which is that all social improvements must be effected by state agency, and must also be carried out by public money."—HENRY FAWCETT.
[110.]This is almost the system extrolled by the famous German agitator. Ferdinand Lasalle. What is said lower of Proudhon applies to some extent to Karl Marx.
Footnotes for SOVEREIGNTY
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 3 Oath - Zollverein Chapter: THIRD ESTATE
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The text is in the public domain.
THIRD ESTATE. The Tiers État in French history. Few political pamphlets made so great a noise as that published by the Abbé Siéyès in 1789, at the moment when France had elected the constituent assembly, and which can be summed up in the following terms: "What is the third estate? Everything. What has it been in the political order up to the present moment? Nothing. What does it ask? To be something."139 There are three grave errors in these words. In the France of 1789, the third estate was not everything. In the political order previous to 1789, the third estate, far from being nothing, was daily becoming greater and more powerful. What M. Siéyès and his friends asked for it in 1789 was not that it should become something, but that it should be everything. That the third estate was not everything is proved by the revolution of 1789, which was its victory. Whatever may have been the weaknesses and faults of its opponents, it had to struggle greatly to overcome them, and the struggle was so violent that the third estate was decomposed in the struggle, and paid dearly for the triumph which it won. Let the reader compare to-day the pamphlet of the Abbé Siéyès with the work of Léonce de Lavergne on the provincial assemblies under Louis XIV. (Assemblées provinciales sous Louis XIV.), and he will see in the light of contemporary documents, that if the third estate was not everything in 1789, it was much, enough indeed to become free and preponderant without destroying everything that was not the third estate. Excessive pretension arouses intractable resistance. The Abbé Siéyès did not tell all that the third estate was in 1789, nor what its flatterers wished it might be. What his words contain is not the truth of things, but a revolutionary lie.
—To take French history in its totality and through all its phases, the third estate was the most active and most decisive element in French civilization. Considered from the social point of view, and in its relations with the various classes which have lived together on French soil, what has been called the third estate progressively extended and raised itself, and first greatly modified and then decidedly rose above the others. If we look from the political point of view, and follow the third estate in its relations with the general government of France, we shall find it at first an ally during six centuries of royalty, laboring incessantly for the ruin of the feudal aristocracy, and putting in its place a single power, a pure monarchy, very near, in principle at least, to absolute monarchy. But as soon as it gained this victory and accomplished this revolution, the third estate sought a new one; it attacked the single power which it had so much contributed to establish, and it undertook to change the pure monarchy into a constitutional one. Under whatever aspect we may consider it, whether we study the progressive formation of French society, or that of its governments, the third estate is the most persistent and most powerful of the forces which presided over French civilization.
—This fact is unique in the history of the world. We recognize in the destinies of the principal nations of Asia and of ancient Europe, nearly all the great facts which have agitated that of France; we find the mingling of various races, the conquest of one people by another, profound inequalities between classes, and frequent changes in the forms of government and the extent of power. But nowhere do we see a class appear which, beginning in a very low estate, weak, despised, almost imperceptible at its origin, rising by a continual movement and laboring without interruption, gaining strength from time to time, acquiring successively all that it lacked, wealth, enlightenment, influence, power; changes the nature of society, the nature of the government, and at last becomes dominant to such a degree that one may venture to call it the country itself. More than once in the history of the world the external phenomena of this or that political society have been the same as these mentioned here, but the similarity is merely apparent. In India, for example, foreign invasions, the passage and settlement of various races on the same soil, were frequently repeated; what was the result? The permanence of castes was not affected thereby; society remained divided into distinct and almost immovable classes—no invasion of one caste by another, no general abolition of the rule of castes by the triumph of one of them. After India take China: there also history shows many conquests similar to those of Europe by the Germans; there also, more than once, barbarous conquerors settled in the midst of a conquered people What was the result? The conquered almost absorbed the conquerors, and immobility remained the ruling characteristic of the social condition. In western Asia, since the invasion of the Turks, the gulf between the victors and the vanquished could not be bridged over; no class of society, no event of history, had the power to abolish this first effect of the conquest. In Persia similar events have taken place; different races have struggled and mingled; they attained nothing but invincible anarchy, which lasts for centuries without change in the social condition of the country and without a prospect of developing a civilization.
—Leaving Asia, we turn to Grecian and Roman Europe. At the first glance, we seem to find some analogy between the progress of these brilliant societies and that of our own; but the analogy is merely apparent; there also we find nothing resembling the third estate and its history. The only fact which has appeared, to ingenious minds, somewhat similar to the struggle of the bourgeoisie of the middle ages against the feudal aristocracy, is the struggle between the plebeians and patricians of Rome; they have been sometimes compared. The comparison is altogether false. The struggle between the plebeians and patricians of Rome commenced in the infancy of the republic; it was not, as in France in the middle ages, the result of a slow, difficult and incomplete development of a class for a long period, very much inferior in power, in wealth and in credit, which gradually grows in extent and prominence, and at last engages in a real struggle with the highest class in the state. Niebuhr has proved, in his "History of Rome," that the struggle of the plebeians against the patricians was a consequence, and, as it were, a prolongation, of the war of conquest, the effort of the aristocracy of the cities conquered by Rome to share in the rights of the conquering aristocracy. The plebeian families were the principal families of the conquered populations; placed, by defeat, in an inferior position, they were none the less aristocratic families, formerly powerful in their city, surrounded by clients, and capable, from the first moment, of disputing power with their conquerors. There is nothing in this like that slow, obscure, painful labor of the modern bourgeoisie emancipating itself with great labor from the bonds of servitude, or a condition bordering on servitude, and employing centuries, not to dispute political power, but to win a civil existence. The more we examine the more we see that the French third estate is a new fact in the history of the world, and one which belongs exclusively to the civilization of modern Europe.
—Not only is this fact new, but it has an altogether special interest for France. Nowhere has the bourgeoisie, the third estate, had a destiny so great, so fruitful, as that which fell to it in France. There were communes in all Europe, in Italy, in Spain, in Germany, in England, just as in France. Not only were these communes everywhere to be found, but the communes of France were not those which, as communes, played the greatest rôle in history under that designation and in the middle ages. The Italian communes gave birth to glorious republics; the German communes became free sovereign cities, which have had their own history, and exercised much influence on the general history of Germany. The communes of England allied themselves to a part of the feudal aristocracy, and formed, together with it, the ruling house in the British parliament; and in this way played, at an early period, a powerful part in the history of their country. The French communes, in their period of activity under this name, were very far from rising through such political importance to this historical rank. And still it is in France that the population, the communes, the bourgeoisie, were developed most completely, most efficiently, and ended by acquiring, in general society, the most decided preponderance. There have been communes in all Europe; there was really a third estate only in France; and the revolution of 1789, surely the greatest of European revolutions, was the work of the third estate.
—Since the outbreak and through all the vicissitudes, liberal or illiberal, of that mighty event, it is a commonplace unceasingly repeated, that there are no longer any classes in French society, but simply a nation of thirty-seven millions of persons. If it is meant by this that there are no longer privileges in France, that is to say, special laws or particular rights for certain families, certain estates, or certain occupations, and that legislation is the same, and movement perfectly free for all through all the degrees of the social scale, it is true; unity of legislation and similarity of rights are the essential and characteristic feature of civil society in France; an immense and excellent fact, new in the history of human societies. But under the rule of this fact, within this national unity and civil equality, there exist evident diversities, numerous and considerable inequalities, which the unity of legislation and the similarity of civil rights neither prevent nor destroy. Among owners of real or movable property, land or capital, there are rich and poor; there are large, medium and small landowners. The great landowners may be less numerous and less wealthy, the medium and small may be more numerous and more powerful than formerly; that does not prevent the difference from being real, and great enough to create, in the social order, conditions profoundly different and unequal. In the professions called liberal, which live by their science and intelligence; among lawyers, physicians, scholars and literary men of every kind; some rise to the first rank, attract business and success, acquire fame, wealth and influence; others satisfy the wants of their families and the demands of their position with difficulty; others yet vegetate obscurely in distress, almost without employment. In other walks of life, in which labor is chiefly material and manual, there are also varieties and inequalities of condition: some, by intelligence and good conduct, accumulate capital and enter into paths of ease and advancement; others, either unintelligent or indolent or disorderly, remain in the narrow and precarious conditions of existence depending on wages alone. In all the extent of French civil society, in the midst of labor as well as property, the diversity and inequality of conditions appear, or continue, and co-exist with the unity of legislation and the similarity of rights.
—How could it be otherwise? Let all human societies be examined, in all places and times: whatever be the variety of their origin, of their organization, of their government, of their extent, of their duration, of the kinds or degrees of their civilization, three types of social condition will be found in them all, always the same in essence: 1, men living from the income of their landed or movable property, from land or capital, without seeking to increase it by their own assiduous labor; 2, men occupied in working and increasing by their own assiduous labor, real or personal property, land or capital, which they possess; 3, men living by their daily labor, without income from land or capital. And these diversities, these inequalities in the social condition of men, are not accidental facts, or peculiar to a given age or country; they are universal facts produced naturally in every human society, under circumstances and under laws differing most widely from one another.
—These facts exist in our time and among the French, as they have in other times and places. Modern society in France includes, and will not cease to include, social situations profoundly different and unequal, whether they be termed classes or not. What redounds to its honor is this, that privilege and immobility are no longer attached to this diversity of conditions; that there are no longer, among Frenchmen, special advantages legally granted to some, and inaccessible to others; that all paths to advancement are open and free to all; that personal merit and labor have, in the career of men, an infinitely greater part than was theirs formerly. The third estate of the old régime exists no longer; it has disappeared in its victory over privilege and absolute power; its heirs in modern society are the middle classes, as they are called to-day; but these classes, inheriting the conquests of the third estate, hold them on new conditions as natural as they are imperative. To protect their own interest, as well as to perform their public duty, they must be both conservative and liberal; they must, on the one hand, attract and rally to their standard the remnants of the upper social circles which have survived the fall of the old régime, and, on the other, accept fully the upward movement which the whole people are taking. Nothing could be more natural than that the third estate of the ancient régime in its intercourse with the aristocratic classes was, and long remained, uneasy, suspicious, jealous, even envious; it had rights to obtain and conquests to make; to-day the conquests are made, the rights are recognized, proclaimed, exercised; the middle classes have no longer a motive for disquiet or envy; they may rely on their dignity and their power. With respect to the lower classes, their situation is not less happy; no barrier separates them from the higher; who can say where the middle classes begin, and where they end? They were formed in the name of the principles of common rights and general liberty; they are recruited, and draw new forces continually from the sources whence they came. To maintain the common rights and liberty of all, against the retrograde follies of absolute power and privilege, on the one hand, and, on the other, against the mad pretensions of leveling and anarchy, is now the two-fold mission of the middle classes, and is for them the sure means of retaining preponderance in the state, in the name of the interests of all, of which they are the truest and most efficient representatives. (Compare BOURGEOISIE, SOCIALISM.)
[139.]The third edition of this pamphlet has this note: "This work, written during les Notables of 1788, was published in the first days of January, 1789.
Footnotes for TREATIES, Fishery