« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
has been so busy with the worst feature of human nature, that it has not even found a name for this, its better feature. We must fall back on Christianity, which embraces man's whole nature, and though not a code of philosophy, is something better; for it proposes to lead us through the trials and intricacies of life, not by the mere cool calculations of the head, but by the unerring instincts of a pure and regenerate heart. The problem of the Moral World is too vast and complex for the human mind to comprehend; yet the pure heart will, safely and quietly, feel its way through the mazes that confound the head.
SUBJECT CONTINUED--EXPLOITATION OF SKILL.
"The worth of a thing, is just what it will bring." The professional man who charges the highest fees is most respected, and he who undercharges stands disgraced. We have a friend who has been, and we believe will continue to be, one of the most useful men in Virginia. He inherited an independent patrimony. He acquired a fine education, and betook himself laboriously to an honorable profession. His success was great, and his charges very high. In a few years he amassed a fortune, and ceased work. We expounded our theory to him. Told him we used to consider him a good man, and quite an example for the rising generation; but that now he stood condemned under our theory. Whilst making his fortune, he daily exchanged about one day of his light labor for thirty days of the farmer, the gardener, the miner, the ditcher, the sewing woman, and other common working people's labor. His capital was but the accumulation of the results of their labor; for common labor creates all capital. Their labor was more necessary and useful than his, and also harder and more disagreeable. It should be con
sidered more honorable and respectable. The more honorable, because they were contented with their situation and their profits, and not seeking to exploitate, by exchanging one day of their labor for many of other people's. To be exploitated, ought to be more creditable than to exploitate. They were "slaves without masters;" the little fish, who were food for all the larger. They stood disgraced, because they would not practice cannibalism; rise in the world by more lucrative, less useful and less laborious pursuits, and live by exploitation rather than labor. He, by practising cannibalism more successfully than others, had acquired fame and fortune. 'Twas the old tune-"Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands." The more scalps we can shew, the more honored
We told him he had made his fortune by the exploitation of skill, and was now living by the still worse exploitation of capital. Whilst working, he made thirty dollars a day-that is, exploitated or appropriated the labor of thirty common working men, and gave in exchange his own labor, intrinsically less worthy, than any one of theirs. But now he was doing worse. He was using his capital as a power to compel others to work for him-for whom he did not work at all. The white laborers who made his income, or interests and dividends, were wholly neglected by him, because he did not know
even who they were. He treated his negro slaves much better. It was true, he appropriated or exploitated much of the results of their labor, but he governed them and provided for them, with almost parental affection. Some of them we knew, who feigned to be unfit for labor, he was boarding expensively. Our friend at first ridiculed our theory. But by degrees began to see its truth, and being sensitively conscientious, was disposed to fret whenever the subject was introduced.
One day he met us, with a face beaming with smiles, and said, "I can explain and justify that new theory of yours. This oppression and exaction of skill and capital which we see continually practiced, and which is too natural to man ever to cease, is necessary in order to disperse and diffuse population over the globe. Half the good lands of the world are unappropriated and invite settlement and cultivation. Most men who choose can become proprietors by change of residence. They are too much crowded in many countries, and exploitation that disperses them is a blessing. It will be time enough to discuss your theory of the despotism of skill and capital, when all the world is densely settled, and the men without property can no longer escape from the exactions of those who hold property."
Our friend's theory is certainly ingenious and novel, and goes far to prove that exploitation is not
an unmitigated evil. Under exceptional circumstances, its good effects on human happiness and well-being, may greatly over-balance its evil influences. Such, probably, is the case at the North. There, free competition, and the consequent oppressions of skill and capital are fiercer and more active than in any other country. But in forty-eight hours, laborers may escape to the West, and become proprietors. It is a blessing to them to be thus expelled, and a blessing to those who expel them. The emigration to the West rids the East of a surplus population, and enriches it by the interchanges of trade and commerce which the emigration immediately begets. As an exceptional form of society, we begin to think that at the North highly useful. It will continue to be good and useful until the North-west is peopled. Then, and not till then, it will be time for Mr. Greely to build phalansteries, and for Gerrit Smith to divide all the lands. We find that we shall have to defend the North as well as the South against the assaults of the abolitionist--still, we cannot abate a jot or tittle of our theory: "Slavery is the natural and normal condition of society." The situation of the North is abnormal and anomalous. So in desert or mountainous regions, where only small patches of land can be cultivated, the father, wife and children are sufficient for the purpose, and slavery would be superfluous.