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of the wealthy into the pockets of the rapacious and the needy. In calculating the income of the Custom-house Collector at three or four thousand dollars a year, they declare this is at least two thousand dollars too much ; they declare also, that one thousand or fifteen hundred dollars a year, is quite sufficient in New-York as a compensation for the duties of an office that brings in eight thousand dollars. Hence, it is fair to conclude that they consider two thousand dollars a year, as the highest income that any man need to possess; and no doubt in their bed of Procrustes the superfluities will be cut off whenever the millennium arrives that the operatives shall control the wealth of the nation. These writers may inveigh as much as they please against the more honest, because the more open proposals of Messrs. Skidmore and Ming; but the public will not be at a loss to guess at what remains behind, when the mechanics are advised to urge nothing more for the present, than this notable system of republican education.
In our opinion, no points of political economy are more firmly established than, first, that population, power, civilization, improvement, depend essentially on the quantity of wealth accumulated in a nation by the industrý; energy and frugality of the individuals who compose it: that this wealth forms a mass of capital constantly seeking for productive employment, and giving birth to all the improvements of civilized society, affording demand for labour, wages and subsistence, and maintaining a population that would never be brought into existence without it: that the wealth and capital thus accumulated, is the produce of individual industry and frugality, exerted, not so much for the sake of the individuals who thus labour to acquire it, as for their families, the offspring they must, in the common course of nature, leave behind them: that, knowing the advantages and comforts attendant upon wealth, the parent is desirous that his children shall, in a reasonable degree, enjoy them; and therefore, and we may almost say therefore only, does he employ the energies of his mind and body to accumulate. We are fully persuaded that this most natural propensity, operating upon individuals, is the main source of national wealth every where and at all times; and that no man will undergo exertions of mind and body, and all kind of voluntary privations, in order that he may accumulate for the benefit of the offspring of strangers-that he may hold sacred the idleness of the idle—or that he may place the children of the vagabond and the wicked, upon the same terms of equality with his own. He will prefer, in such case, his own gratifications, his own comforts and enjoyments; he will cease to exert laborious in
parent to the spects the pa reformers remedied,
dustry or self-denying frugality, and he will be content to leave no more behind him than his widow may require for her personal wants. Upon the plans of education proposed by these reformists, all the associations that incessantly and habitually bind the parent to the child, are snapped asunder; the child of a parent may, as respects the parent, be as well the child of any other parent. But let these reformers succeed in their proposals, and the inequality of wealth to be remedied, will be ?, effectually cured by substituting the republican equality of poverty; and the happy era will soon arrive when it will no longer be necessary to mark a man out for public scorn and detestation, who puts a broad-cloth coat on his own or his son's back, or who regales on an ice-cream in the month of July.
In our opinion, secondly, it is among the greatest of national evils to overstock the market of labour beyond the demand : it is the cause of most of the misery so pretalent in Europe and in this country at this time : it is the real, the only source of the outcries of these operative-reformists. They enter into the most determined, the most thoughtless competition-they elbow each other in their respective employments, till a large portion is either “crowded out,” or the wages lessened below the price of comfortable maintenance. Whose fault is this but their own? If I possess capital only to employ ten operatives at reasonable wages, and twenty offer at half price, is the defalcation of wages, consequent upon this competition, owing to my want of capital, or their injudicious pressing to share it ?
The plan of national education, proposed by the combined mechanics of New-York, Albany, Troy, Utica, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Delaware, and detailed in the New-York “Sentinel," in the series of Essays during May, 1830, republished in the “Free Enquirer," and in the “Mechanics' Free Press," of Philadelphia-by taking away the reasonable checks to early, and thoughtless marriages, will inevitably multiply the com- '; petitors for employment to such a degree, as to increase enormously the competition in the market of labour, and all the wellknown evils consequent upon that competition. If the administration of public affairs should be placed (as universal suffrage will place it) exclusively in the representatives of the needy, the inevitable temptation to Agrarian equality, can neither be avoided nor resisted. We do the editors of the Sentinel the justice to believe, that at present they are no more the advocates of an equal division of property on the Skidmore plan than we are; but we must do ourselves the justice also to state, that their plan of national education, founded upon a denunciation, whether open or insinuated, of the privileges of wealth, inevitably tends in this
euthanasia of the predominance of property, to the doctrines of Messrs. Skidmore and Ming; and we believe it of public importance to state this tendency: the one plan and the other is substantially and in fact, based upon the right of the poor to rob the rich. The proposers may deny or disguise it as they please; we have no disposition to dispute their assertions, or impeach their motives; but they cannot blind our eyes to the tendency of their proposals. They already boast of their power of votes, and look forward exultingly to that happy state of things, “when the saints shall govern the earth!”
So well are we persuaded of the benefit the public would derive from a good system of national education, that we are as anxious as these reformers can be, that the poorest person in the country should be taught reading, writing, arithmetic in all its rules and branches, mensuration, the elements of algebra and geography. If the parents, from misfortune and accident involving no crime, are unable to pay for such an education, let the public maintain such children as paupers till twelve or fourteen years
and then bind them out to some industrious calling. But where this is not the case with the parent, he should be compelled inexorably to pay his fair proportion toward the expense attending this first of duties. Beyond the branches now indicated, education is a luxury, not a necessary of life. You might as well say that a child has a natural right to plum-pudding and custard after dinner, as to Greek, Latin, the Oriental languages, and the higher calculus. We would even go so far as to provide teachers and apparatus at the public expense for every branch of knowledge without exception, but the public expense should be defrayed from the produce of impartial taxation. To such national schools, every person might send his children to be taught whatever branches of knowledge the parent thought necessary to the future destination of the child.
A man of wealth might bring up his son as a literary man, and keep him under tuition till adult age, being at the expense of his maintenance and clothing ; but to make every child in the state a literary character, would not be a good qualification for those who must live by manual labour? Would youth thus educated, condescend to manual labour? Is this the
way to produce producers ? Would a ploughman, a blacksmith, or a bricklayer, be better qualified for his destination by a classical education, with the accomplishments of music, drawing and dancing? How it may strike our readers we know not, but to us, this plan of gratuitous and learned education till adult age for every person in the community, seems a plan to
annihilate the whole class of labourers, mechanics and producers. Men, thus educated, would not stay at home and work with their hands, but would roam abroad, and endeavour, like the pretenders who swarm as schoolmasters throughout our country, to live by head-work; because they have been rendered too idle by the very superficial knowledge they possess, to live ! by the labour of their hands. Upon this plan of the “Free Enquirer” and “Sentinel," in twenty years you would not have a person fitted for manual labour throughout the state; agriculture and gardening, as school amusements, notwithstanding. To us it is manifest, that these are the wild theories of persons ignorant of human nature, and, therefore, presumptuous; void of experience in the conduct of society, and restless because they envy the more eligible situation of men of property, of men who are or have been more industrious, more frugal, more talented, more far-sighted, or more fortunate than themselves.
They forget that nature has made no two men equal in strength of body or strength of mind: that the education, in its largest sense, of no two men can be exactly alike: that the fluctuating incidents of society, offer advantages to one man which another cannot possess; and that unless you can annihilate these sources of inequality, you cannot annihilate the results of it. parent inequality of condition, whether of wealth or of station, does not necessarily produce correspondent inequality of happiness; that depends much more upon idiosyncrasy of disposition than upon the inequalities of nature, or the accidents of society.
Moreover, these reformers forget that wealth is necessary to scientific pursuits and to literary leisure ; that the improvements of society, and the additions to human comfort and enjoyment have proceeded far more from the persons who have been exonerated from manual labour, than from the operatives and mechanics; and that to destroy this class of society, would be to make war upon the benefactors of mankind.
There can be no literary, there can be no scientific classes of society, without that leisure which wealth only can bestow. There can be no persevering experimenters but among those who can afford to become so: there can be no men who dedicate the results of their laborious leisure to the accumulation of useful facts or investigations, except those whose competence of means puts them above the necessity of manual labour. Without wealth, who could afford to write, to print, to purchase, to read books; to accumulate libraries, collections or apparatus ; and dedicate their time to the acquisition and communication of useful or ornainental knowledge ? The history of human imVOL. VI.-NO 11.
provement will shew that wealth accumulated and protected, is a necessary ingredient in the means of adding to the happiness of our contemporaries and of posterity. The insinuated invectives against wealth generally, are the results of want of information, or of some worse feature in the human character. Those who are acquainted with the history of human improvements, well know that they have been chiefly due to men of talent, who have been considered by their ignorant contemporaries as idlers, and as persons dedicated to useless pursuits. Without wealth, a literary class of society, comprising science in all its departments, cannot exist.
We are by no means blind to the prodigious inequality of wealth and condition in human society. We know the miseries of the class called the poor, in every known community, on this and on the other side of the Atlantic. We are aware of the abominable ignorance, the deplorable want of knowledge in legislatures, and the general lack of wisdom in the conduct and management of all political societies. Every day's experience convinces us of the truth of Chancellor Oxienstern's observation, "nescis, mi fili, quam parva sapientiâ regitur mundus."
We see all around us that the imperfection of human laws and institutions permits some classes of society to prey upon the rest, and to live in luxury at the expense of their more laborious and deserving neighbours. We are fully aware both of the benefits and the evils attendant on labour-saving machinery: we see in our own country and in Great-Britain, that with many desirable conveniences attending it, the present system of banks, banking, money brokerage and paper money is, upon the whole, a curse upon the community, occasioning perpetual fluctuations in the value of property, which fall most heavily upon the poor, whose wages never rise on a just equality with the occasional rise of property, while, on the contrary, the artificial dearness of produce, is too often a reason assigned for the compulsive fall of wages. We know and see all this, and we know and see too that gradual experience and gradual increase of knowledge is operating, though slowly yet surely, in the amelioration of those evils: the prospect before us is cheering; and there is no occasion to tear up the very basis of all society for the purpose of curing the partial evils which, ere long, will compel their own cure, by inilder and more gradual remedies. The summary of our own theory bearing on these questions is,
1. The power, the population, the health, the comfort of society depend on the quantity of wealth in it, the produce of industry in acquiring, frugality in using, and self-denial in saving