Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“increase,” or profits, might be charged to the Heathen, but not to the Jews.

The whole arrangements of Moses were obviously intended to prevent competition in the dealings of the Jews with one another, and to beget permanent equality of condition and fraternal feelings.

The socialists have done one great good. They enable us to understand and appreciate the institutions of Moses, and to see, that none but Divinity could have originated them. * The situation of Judea was, in many respects, anomalous, and we are not to suppose that its political and social relations were intended to be universal. Yet, here it is distinctly asserted, that under certain circumstances, all profits on capital are wrong.

The reformers of the present day are all teetotalists, and attempt to banish evil altogether, not

* Not only does Moses evince his knowledge of the despotism of capital, in forbidding its profits, but also in his injunction, not to let emancipated slaves “ go away empty.” Deuteronomy xv. 13, 14.

“And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty. Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy wine-press: of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.”

People without property exposed to the unrestricted exactions of capital are infinitely worse off after emancipation than before. Moses prevented the exactions of capital by providing property for the new free man.

to lessen or restrict it. It would be wiser to assume that there is nothing, in its essence, evil, in the moral or physical world, but only rendered so by the wrongful applications which men make of them. Science is every day discovering that the most fatal poisons, when properly employed, become the most efficacious medicines. So, what appear to be the evil passions and propensities of men, and of societies, under proper regulation, may be made to minister to the wisest and best of purposes. Civilized society has never been found without that competition begotten by man's desire to throw most of the burdens of life on others, and to enjoy the fruits of their labors without exchanging equivalent labor of his own.

In all such societies, (outside the Bible, such selfish and grasping appropriation is inculcated as a moral duty; and he who succeeds best, either by the exercise of professional skill, or by accumulation of capital, in appropriating the labor of others, without laboring in return, is considered most meritorious. It would be unfair, in treating of the relations of capital and labor, not to consider its poor-house system, the ultimate resort of the poor.

The taxes or poor rates which support this system of relief, like all other taxes and values, are derived from the labor of the poor. The ablebodied, industrious poor are compelled by the rich and skillful to support the weak, and too often, the idle poor. In addition to defraying the necessary expenses and the wanton luxuries of the rich, to supporting government, and supporting themselves, capital compels them to support its poor houses. In collection of the poor rates, in their distribution, and in the administration of the poor-house system, probably half the tax raised for the poor is exhausted. Of the remainder, possibly another half is expended on unworthy objects. Masters, in like manner, support the sick, infant and aged slaves from the labor of the strong and healthy. But nothing is wasted in collection and administration, and nothing given to unworthy objects. The master having the control of the objects of his bounty, takes care that they shall not become burdensome by their own crimes and idleness. It is contrary to all human customs and legal analogies, that those who are dependent, or are likely to become so, should not be controlled. The duty of protecting the weak involves the necessity of enslaving them-hence, in all countries, women and children, wards and apprentices, have been essentially slaves, controlled, not by law, but by the will of a superior. This is a fatal defect in the poor-house system. Many men become paupers from their own improvidence or misconduct, and masters alone can prevent such misconduct and improvidence. Masters treat their sick, infant and helpless slaves well, not only from feeling and affection, but from motives of self-interest. Good treatment renders them more valuable. All poor houses, are administered on the penitentiary system, in order to deter the poor from resorting to them. Besides, masters are always in place to render needful aid to the unfortunate and helpless slaves. Thousands of the poor starve out of reach of the poor house; or other public charity.

A common charge preferred against slavery is, that it induces idleness with the masters. The trouble, care and labor, of providing for wife, children and slaves, and of properly governing and administering the whole affairs of the farm, is usually borne on small estates by the master. On larger ones, he is aided by an overseer or manager. If they do their duty, their time is fully occupied. If they do not, the estate goes to ruin. The mistress, on Southern farms, is usually more busily, usefully and benevolently occupied than any one on the farm. She unites in her person, the offices of wife, mother, mistress, housekeeper, and sister of charity. And she fulfills all these offices admirably well. The rich men, in free society, may, if they please, lounge about town, visit clubs, attend the theatre, and have no other trouble than that of collecting rents, interest and dividends of stock. In a well constituted slave society, there should be no idlers. But we cannot divine how the capitalists in free society are to be put to work. The master labors for the slave, they exchange industrial value. But the capitalist, living on his income, gives

a

nothing to his subjects. He lives by mere exploitation.

It is objected that slavery permits or induces immorality and ignorance. This is a mistake. The intercourse of the house-servants with the white family, assimilates, in some degree, their state of information, and their moral conduct, to that of the whites. The house-servants, by their intercourse with the field hands, impart their knowledge to them. The master enforces decent morality in all. Negroes are never ignorant of the truths of Christianity, all speak intelligible English, and are posted up in the ordinary occurrences of the times. The reports to the British Parliament shew, that the agricultural and mining poor of England scarce know the existence of God, do not speak intelligible English, and are generally depraved and ignorant. · They learn nothing by intercourse with their superiors, as negroes do. They abuse wives and children, because they have no masters to control them, and the men are often dissipated and idle, leaving all the labor to be done by the women and children for the want of this same control.

Slavery, by separating the mass of the ignorant from each other, and bringing them in contact and daily intercourse with the well-informed, becomes an admirable educational system-no doubt a necessary one. By subjecting them to the constant control and supervision of their superiors, interested

.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »