« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
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,
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. 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
pire to the dignity of authorship. We indulge in abandon, because, as a writer, we have no reputation to jeopard or to lose. But, should this book take, we will mount the antithetical stilts of auctorial dignity-write a book as stale and dry as "the remainder 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.
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 passu.
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
their owners. Thus, the burden of the support of society, so far as the ordinary comforts and necessaries of life are concerned, are thrown on fewer and fewer, as private wealth and luxury increase. It requires a thousand pauper laborers to sustain one millionaire, and without them his capital will produce no profit. This accounts for the great numbers and excessive poverty of the mass in England. Half the boasted capital of England, probably twothirds of it, is but a mortgage of the bones and sinews of the laborers, now and forever, to the capitalists. The national debt, stocks of all kinds, money at interest, and indeed all debts, represent this sort of private wealth, which is national poverty.
Sumptuous houses, parks, and all establishments that are costly to sustain and keep up, and do not facilitate, but check the production of necessaries, are also part of private wealth, and of national poverty. Four-fifths of the private wealth of England, and half of that of our Northeast, is a severe tax on labor, and a constant preventive of the accumulation of national wealth.
Private wealth at the South consists chiefly in negro laborers, and improvements of land, that increase its productive capacities. Fine enclosures, improved stock, good granaries, and machines and implements for farming, comfortable negro cabins, good orchards, &c., are as strictly a part of nation