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equality as subjects for labour. A country could be very prosperous, and replete with all the comforts of life, without either gold, or silver. Our habitations, our farms, our well-stored granaries, our ships, our cattle, our looms, and our ploughs, would be as perfect and as entire without gold and silver, as they would be without diamonds and precious stones. Sparta in the height of her glory and prosperity, banished their meretricious glare from her virtuous and frugal domain. The converse of the proposition will illustrate in a still more striking manner, the truth of this doctrine. Suppose a country filled with gold and silver, but without industry, or labour! It would be utterly worthless:–and if it could even be used in a commerce with foreigners, to purchase all the comforts and luxuries of life, it would be worse than worthless, it would be pernicious, and speedily sink them into a state of sloth and degradation. According to the order of nature, whose unalterable laws never can be violated with impunity; and which serve as the infallible criterion of justice—no man is born for sloth, and none can be slothful without bringing the pain of punishment upon themselves, or upon society.—Ennui is the torture of idle wealth.-The happiness of the moral, as well as the comfort of the physical man depends upon occupation and industry.—Idleness, whether induced by riches and luxury, or the innate apathy of the soul, disturbs the harmony of the divine system—producing confusion and misery; for the idle are never happy. He who labours not, must either perish, or subsist on the labour of others. Hence it is, that the rich lay the burden of their existence upon the poor, whom their riches create; and whilst the one becomes satiated with repletion, the other pines away a miserable existence, stinted of every comfort, and deprived of all enjoyment. No one can be ignorant of what constitutes wealth; houses, lands, roads, and all commodities which command the attainment of other commodities—or their symbols—gold, silver, or paper currency—although the latter is almost too precarious to be classed so high. In the foregoing reasoning I have proceeded on the ground, that all the producers were freemen, entitled to the product of their labour, on the principle of Equal Rights. The results and the consequences would of course vary essentially, as they have done everywhere, if the producers, or labourers, were the slaves or serfs of the lords of the soil;" or of the nobility and higher orders. I would definelabour, the active exercise of the body or mind, in the production of what is conducive to the happiness, comfort, and improvement of man; whether useful, pleasurable, or luxurious. - --* “The ancients, besides those who attended on their persons, had almost all their labour performed, and even manufactures executed by slaves, who lived, many of them, in their family; and some great men possessed them to the number of 10,000.-One Roman nobleman had 400 slaves under the same roof with him.—Then, as is now enforced on the working people, the slaves were forbidden to intermarry; as they were allowed but a bare subsistence out of their la
Coeval with labour itself almost, or very soon after, would be its division into various trades and occupations. The fertility of the land, under the action of one man's labour would yield a superflux beyond what he could himself consume. So with every species of industry; and their producers would seek to exchange with one another, that portion of their superabundant labour, which would otherwise perish, or remain useless on their hands. A very brief experience would in this manner, lead to the complete division of labour. Indeed, the division of labour is so immediately incident to its production, that it may almost be termed one of the instincts of our nature. It is certain that it existed prior to all laws, and civil institutions. The very nature of the human faculties, qualified only for limited and imperfect performances, would dictate this separation of trades and occupations:—in the first instance to a less degree, but as soon as the primary and rude efforts of production were passed, and as man gradually became ambitious of excellence and skill, it would assume the maturity of a more settled system; and that system of the division of labour which we now behold, in the several occupations and trades, would prevail.
To the division of labour, we are indebted for most of our wealth, and for all that we prize as elegant, perfect, complete, and substantial; for all those appen
dages that belong to what we term civilization and re- finement. Without this variety of occupation, we should forever remain in a state comparatively poor, and barbarous. It is not only the parent of wealth, and elegance, but it is the mother of invention; that divine faculty, on the strength of which man seems to pass the barriers of his nature, and create a world beyond him. The vast improvements in machinery, the invention of machinery itself, the application of the power of steam to propulsion, manufactures, and speed, besides other wonderful discoveries, are obviously traceable to the division of labour, the brilliant success of which in the physical sciences, has stimulated the moral philosophers to imitation, as well as physiologists, and physicians; and the division of study, or MIND, is now becoming so general, as to inspire a hope of the most brilliant results from this economy of the attention and faculties of man. The division of labour has no bearing on, or application to the production, or distribution of it. It is a simple modification, and involves no principle from which to deduce justice, or truth. I am aware that a different opinion has been propagated; and that the division of labour has been used as an argument with which to clothe the merchant in imperial robes, as the great father of wealth. The fallacy of this position must be self-evident. The merchant, who is a mere factor, or agent, has no influence either in producing, or controlling the division of labour. But of the merchant we shall speak more at large, under the proper head. o A few more observations are necessary on this subject. It is almost self-evident, that the division of labour must have been long anterior to the existence of merchants. We have the fact historically, and may see it demonstrated in our new settlements in the west, that the division of labour is the first operation of all societies, and always precedes their action of trade into foreign parts, or regions far remote from their vicinity. The division of labour, or its separation into distinct trades and professions, must evidently have been coeval with the first efforts of industry itself; and was never dependent upon the suggestions or functions of the merchant. It is impossible to conceive how these reasoners could have conjured up this idea. We have the history of Sparta, where the division of labour existed without merchants. The history of China a few hundred years back, presents a splendid illustration of the same kind, to a very amazing extent.—Rome had no commerce, and no merchants, at one period of her magnificent greatness; yet the division of labour was complete, and her labour immense. The merchant is the last profession formed by civilized society: he is the finishing of all—he is the result of the preexisting division of labour; but he is not a necessary result. Factors and storekeepers both precede the origin of merchants, and merchants come last.
Equally strange is the assertion that, “without their operations, but few material products would exist.” The merchant is a concomitant of the age of luxury: the fruits of labour are the consequences of the necessity to sustain life. To provide food is the first impulse to labour—to secure shelter the second—to procure raiment the third. Brute nature satisfied on these points, the passions then come in for their wants. What they produce is too well known to require specification.