Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

why are our Abolitionists and Socialists so hot and so active in upsetting and re-organizing society? They have pronoụnced, with entire unanimity, that free society is intolerable, whether a country be densely or sparsely settled.

The Abolitionists boast, that lands are dearer and labor cheaper in free than in slave society. Either proposition contains the admission that free laborers work more for others and less for themselves than slaves-in effect, that they are less free than slaves. The profits of land are what the land-owner appropriates of the results of work of the laborer. Where he appropriates most, and leaves the laborer least, there lands are dearest, labor cheapest, and laborers least free. In Europe, lands sell much higher than at the North; hence, laborers are less free in fact than at the North. In the North they sell higher than in the South, because the slaves co me more of the results of their own labor than laborers at the North, and leave less profit to the land-owner. The high price of land is, in the general, an unerring indication of the poverty and actual slavery of the laboring class. Its low price, equally proves that the laborers, whether called slaves or freemen, work more for themselves, and less for the land-owners, than where lands are dear. In settled countries, where all the lands are appropriated, this theory is undeniable and irrefutable.

As this is a short chapter, we take the opportunity to apologize and account for our discursive, immethodical and unartistic manner.

In the first place, the character of the enemy we have to contend with prevents anything like regular warfare. They are divided into hundreds of little guerrilla bands of isms, each having its peculiar partizan tactics, and we are compelled to vary our mode of attack from regular cannonade to bush-fighting, to suit the occasion.

Again, we practiced as a jury lawyer for twentyfive years, and thereby acquired an inveterate habit of cumulation and iteration, and of various argument and illustration. But, at the same time, we learned how “to make out our case," and to know when it is made out.” The lawyer who observed the Unities in an argument before a jury would be sure to lose his cause; and now the world is our jury, who are going to bring in a verdict against free society of “guilty.”

We admire not the pellucid rivulet, that murmurs and meanders, in cramped and artificial current, through the park and gardens of the nobleman; but we do admire the flooded and swollen Mississippi, whose turbid waters, in their majestic course, sweep along upon their bosom, with equal composure, the occupants of the hen-roost and the poultry yard, the flocks, the herds, the crops, the uprooted forest, and the residences of man. The Exhaustive,

[ocr errors]

not the Artistic, is what we would aspire to. And yet, the Exhaustive may be the highest art of argument. The best mode, we think, of writing, is that in which facts, and argument, and rhetoric, and wit, and sarcasm, succeed each other with rapid iteration.

Intonuere poli, et crebris micat ignibus æther!

Again, Artistic execution is un-English. It neither suits their minds nor their tastes. Discursiveness and prurient exuberancy of thought and suggestion, they often possess, but always fail when they attempt a literary or other work of Art. Indeed, we have a strong suspicion that Art went out of the world about the time the Baconian Philosophy came in.

A continuous argument, without pause or break, on a subject profoundly metaphysical, equally fatigues the writer and the reader. Nobody likes it, and very few read it. “Desipere in loco" is not only a very agreeable maxim to the author, but a very wise and prudent one.

Lastly. Like Porthos, when we have an idea, we are at once seized with a feverish anxiety to communicate it, and we think it better to break in on the regular thread of our discourse, and do so at once, than to spoil our whole discourse by having our minds occupied with two subjects at a time.

Another idea strikes us. As yet we hardly as

[ocr errors]

pire to the dignity of authorship. We indulge in abandon, because, as a writer, we have no reputation **87) wount the antithetical stilts of

the reto jeopard or to lose. But, should this book take,

digmainder biscuit after a long voyage," and as free from originality, wit, thought or suggestiveness, as the Queen's Speech, the President's Message, or a debate in the United States Senate. We do not as yet bore the world with “respectable stupidity,” because our position does not authorize it.

a

CHAPTER XXXIV.

NATIONAL WEALTH, INDIVIDUAL WEALTH, LUXURY

AND ECONOMY.

It is a common theory with political economists, that national wealth is but the sum of individual wealth, and that as individual wealth increases, national wealth increases, pari pas8u.

We think this theory false and pernicious, and the more so because it is plausible.

All profit-bearing possessions or capital, tend to exonerate their owners from labor, and to throw the labor that supports society on a part only of its members. Now, as almost all wealth is the product of labor, this diminution of labor diminishes wealth, or, at least, increases poverty, by placing heavier burdens on the laboring class.

This, however, is a very small part of the evil effects of individual wealth. Society requires it of the rich to live according to their income, to fare sumptuously, to have costly dress, furniture, equipage, houses, &c., and to keep many servants.

Their incomes are spent in luxuries, and thousands of laborers are taken off from the production of necessaries to produce those luxuries, or to wait on

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »