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for the breast. I have seen, too, generous sacrifices and tender considerations, to which the boasted chivalries of Sydney and Edward were childish ostentation. I have found wrong so exalted, and right so debased--I have seen and known of so much misery, that the faith in good has shivered within me.
For a time, when I urged these things in the circles of the comfortable, I received many various replies. By some it was said that it was the lot of humanity—that it had always been so, and, therefore, always must. That to enlarge on the evil was only to create discontent, and so injure “the better classes.” It was in vain I rged to these reasoners that for hundreds, and, perhaps, thousands of years, creatures little better than Calibans infested the morasses and forests of Europe. That civilization had an onward progress, and that the history of the world proved the one great truth--that man is the creature of circumstances. By some, the evils were denied: by some few, deplored. By all, the discussion was avoided; though the destruction that menaced the Roman empire from the invasion of the barbarian world was
so imminent, nor could the consequence be so dreadful, as that which the wealthy, and civilization itself, would sustain from the insurrection of outraged poverty.
I next tried the politicians. I devoted some years to history and political economy. I even entered the senate. In politics, I found no means of relief. The struggle there was for the preponderance in power, and the reply, “Help us to get into power, and then we will see
what we can do.” The utmost was to institute inquiries; and from the information thus gathered, has been collected a record of misery, such as never was before displayed.
It is true, some steps have at last been taken in the right direction; some few noble spirits have spoken out to the “comfortable,” the dreadful truths. That something must be done, is now acknowledged by all who think. The foolish, the careless, and the truculent, can no longer avowedly declare the cries and groans of the miserable multitude to be seditious discontent; nor ascribe their sufferings to the results of retributive justice.
Baffled in every search for a remedy at home, I determined to search foreign nations, and having carefully journeyed through Europe, I sought successively the East and West, until I had traversed the civilized countries of the world. It was in the remote regions of the East and West that I found a clue to my discovery. I here found mankind as multitudinous as at home, but much more happy. Starvation, except in cases of general famine, was unknown; and, on the contrary, I heard the sounds of revelry and dancing, of mirth and leisure, amongst the lowest classes. How different to the everlasting toil of the superior Englishman! “These, then," I said, “are the concomitants of bondage !" Having thus struck out the idea, I followed it up with logical severity, and enunciated the truth that slavery and content, and liberty and discontent, are natural results of each other. Applying this, then, to the toil-worn, halffed, pauperized population of England, I found that the only way to permanently and efficiently remedy the complicated evils, would be to ENSLAVE the whole of the people of England who have not property.
Of course, I expect a shout of execration and contempt at such a bold proposition; but, as I have already said, I seek only to gain the hearing, at first, of the impartial and the original thinker. That I am disinterested, will at once be allowed, when I declare I do not seek to be one of the enslaved. But let us proceed to examine how this mighty benefit would manifest itself. The first great advantage would be, that the lower classes of society would be placed on an equality with the domestic animals; and by becoming property, become valuable and valued. At present there can be no doubt that a horse that is worth fifty pounds is much more cared for than a man who is worth nothing. We have lately seen a case where a woman was allowed to expire in parturition, because no more than eight shillings was allowed for the midwife's fee; whereas, when a famous racing mare foaled, ten guineas were not thought too great a sum to secure the attendance of a first-rate veterinary surgeon. Now, had the woman been a slave, her offspring would have been worth something, and, of course, her safety secured.
Like all great discoveries, the ramifications of the advantages are found to be endless, and, if once fully entertained, would be irresistible. Entire and complete slavery of the poor would put an end to all the discussions of their rights, and clearly and definitely work out the relative duties of all classes. We should have no more occasion for vague special pleading, such as we find in Paley and other moral philosophers, who endeavor to reconcile dependence and independence, and liberty and obedience. Sedition would be at once annihilated; for where there was no hope nor recognition of equality, there would be no attempt to raise claims which were stifled before born. All vain ambition, such as that now subsisting, between the potboy and the peer, as manifested in Chesterfield's mosaic gold and cigars, would be prevented. The potboy would be a contented slave, and the peer left to his superiority in clothes, trinkets, and sensualities.
It will of course be asserted that the people would not be contented as slaves, but it is only to make a state inevitable, and humanity is soon reconciled to it, as we are to death, governments, and the income-tax. Besides, what is liberty? a word now almost forgotten ; a battle sound used to juggle men in every age and country; in Greece, Rome, and America, the war-cry of slaves to fight for the liberty of slavery. Must we, then, ever remain the tools of words; reject all the true advantages of slavery because we cannot bear the name, and take all its evils, and more, because we wish to renounce the sound? What are soldiers and sailors but bondsmen? *Indeed, they are a happy specimen of slavery; well fed,
clad, and tended; with plenty of leisure and repose. Why, then, should they be happier than the peasant, who pires away his dreary existence on bread and potatoes and water? What is the convict but a slave, who by his crimes has earned his right to be kept well and safe from the elements and want? We reward the criminal with slavery and competence, and leave the honest man to liberty and want.
If, indeed, the old noble cry of “Liberty and Beer" could be realized, then it were vain to urge my discovery; but as Englishmen, in proportion as they have gained their liberty, have lost their beer, it behooves us to see whether they had not better hasten back to that state, when inventoried with their masters' swine they shared also their superfluities.