Imágenes de páginas

- CHAPTER XIV. Of Simple and Compound Labour—Of Internal


© - - - No feature of the social economy is so interesting, as well as productive of the comfort and wealth of a community, as the system of internal improvement. Of the two species of labour that add to the opulence, comfort and refinement of a people, that which produces compound industry, is unquestionably the most valuable, and the most curious. Simple labour terminates in the production of what is immediately useful, and which ends in consumption: compound labour is that which gives existence to what may be used as a means of extended labour, and augmented industry. The objects of simple labour are commodities of food, beverage, furniture, &c.; those of compound labour are machinery, carriages, boats, ships, bridges, canals, roads, rail roads, &c. Nations are noted for being advanced in comfort, civilization, and affluence, in proportion as they abound in compound labour. Those which possess the best roads, the best bridges, the most facile methods of conveyance and transportation, the most perfect machinery for the fabrication of manufactures, are universally pronounced to have reached the highest point of civilization, and happiness. Nor is this opinion to be wondered at. It is the homage of mankind, to the highest effort of intellect and invention. Simple labour is the exercise of the most humble faculties; but to derive the means of compound labour, requires science, genius, and invention, of the most exalted class. The application of steam to the propulsion of boats, looms, mills, &c. is of the most sublime character of intellect. The structure of a bridge on arches, the erection of a road on rails, or the formation of a canal by locks and feeders, display a colossal power of mind, and a faculty of compound labour; destined to place mankind on the highest pinnacle of enjoyment, if properly cherished, and judiciously directed. Being, thus far, rather in the infancy, than the maturity of compound labour, its effects upon the happiness of mankind remain yet to be developed. Thus far, however, its consequences promise the most auspicious results to human happiness. Whatever saves time and labour, must by so much increase the sum of our comforts and property, and add to the general happiness. All improvements in the instruments made use of by mechanics and manufacturers, and which lessen or abridge labour, add to the stock of industry, and extend the general enjoyment. If we can produce twice the labour in half the usual time, by these inventions, we become richer, and have leisure to cultivate our intellect, and enjoy the beauties of nature. It is by compound labour, that the working classes are destined, in this manner, to rise in the scale of science, intellect, and knowledge: when by the same labour, their earnings shall be doubled, and but half the time consumed in its performance. Hitherto the sons of industry have viewed with a jealous eye, the rapid improvements in compound labour, under an erroneous impression that it would reduce their wages, and deprive them of employment. Where its profits are exclusively engrossed by monopoly and capital, this will prove its immediate consequence: but the ultimate and general effect cannot fail to benefit the productive classes, by an enlargement of their comforts, an increase of their intelligence, and an accession to their importance and knowledge in the scale of society. Internal improvements, therefore, ought to unite all classes in their prosecution; and no boundary should ever be affixed to their extension, for none can ever be objected to their utility. In fine, all MacHINERY and IMPRoveMENTS constitute in themselves an immense stock of industry, and add immeasurably to the national wealth. These constitute a part of what is so appropriately and emphatically styled the American System; a system which has for its basis, independence, industry, virtue, diffusive comfort, and general happiness. Its aim is the moral and physical, as well as political independence of the country; and what can be more noble, laudable, and virtuous ! Internal improvements are so closely linked with the growth and prosperity of American manufactures, that they are never spoken of separately. Wherever canals and rail roads lead, there will manufactures erect their dwelling place, there will industry fix her chosen abode, and gladden the land by her smiles; for she will cause the desert to bloom like the garden; she will spread riches and abundance in the lap of penury and sloth; she will shed knowledge upon the mind of ignorance, and lead benevolence to chase away barbarism and ferocity. It is an axiom in morals, that the more a people intermix with one another, S

the more refined and virtuous they become; so that the extension of improvement is literally the promotion of civilization The most sociable people are always the most polite and accomplished, as the most reserved are always eminent for energy, talent, power and grandeur. It is preferable to be polished and humane, than to be ferocious, warlike and grand. With what different emotions do we read of a people who are pacific, hospitable and happy, and one that is warlike, implacable, and only renowned for carnage and conquest ! How much more to be desired is it, then, that we should devote our attention to manufacturing industry and internal improvement, than to war, rapine and desolation


Distribution of Labour.

Nothing is more self-evident, than this proposition: that labour being the parent of all wealth, industry ought to be the principle of its distribution, instead of laws that have their origin in despotism, and customs founded upon the antiquated relations of master and slave.

Law, power, conquest, royalty, discovery, fraud, force, corporations, despotism, these have been, and still continue the cause of the unequal distribution of labour, or wealth.

Yet the principle of justice, which establishes right to property, is universally recognised in all the acts of society. It is decreed, that what the ingenuity or labour of a man produces, shall belong to him exclusively, with right of devisement and alienation. Here we perceive a full acknowledgment of the principle which ought to distribute wealth; the INDUSTRY or GENIUs that creates it. But when we come to the primitive source of property—LAND, all this apparent sense of justice vanishes, and fraud and force stare us in the face. Looking to the earth, as the origin of the elements of labour, its original tenure and possession tends more to establish the principle of the distribution of wealth, than all other causes combined; and when this tenure and possession was effected through means

« AnteriorContinuar »