Imagens das páginas

“As to the time required for the execution of this work, I reason thus—if it would take one hundred men ten years to complete any given work, one thousand men would do the same thing in one year. However, my censors say, that though this may be logic, yet it is not reasonable in practice. But they, and all parties, admit that after allowing ample time for forming contracts, burning bricks, quarrying stone, and casting iron, the work may be completed within two years ; and I have very good authority for stating that if the Government be unwilling, or unable, to advance the money as it is required for the completion of the undertaking, there are capitalists, in the city of London, ready to purchase, on speculation (a plan I strongly deprecate), or to lend the money, as it is wanted, at five per cent., upon the security of the work itself.

* In the estimates of expense, every item is intentionally put at the highest price, and the rate of payment is taken very low.

There are very few persons who would not prefer a railroad in less than four minutes, to an omnibus in half an hour or an hour; or to water conveyance, tedious, and liable to interruption from frost and ice; but I confess it appears to me that the number is very much underrated ; and my advisers (anxious to be within bounds) do not take at all into their consideration the pedestrians who would be tempted, by rapidity and cheapness, to expend 4fd., or those who now make use of cabs and hackney coaches; or the probable flow of passengers from the railways, which do, or soon will, terminate at or near London Bridge; or the certain increase of traffic which always attends greater facility and greater rapidity of communication.

"As to the number of years' purchase at which the income should be rated, these gentlemen think it safer to take twenty years ! But Mr. Higgins, a surveyor of long standing and great experience in these matters, says, ' a ground rent well secured has sold for thirty or thirtyone years' purchase, and I take twenty-five years' purchase as a fair medium.' 'You, my lord, may discuss this point with Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer. But I think both you and he will admit that I have made out the case I stated in the House of Commons on the 10th of June last! and that this great work may be effected without imposing one farthing of tax upon the people, and without any reference to the amount that may be produced from the sale of the land to be gained from the river, and which, at two-pence per superficial foot, would produce £310,000. Now I should wish to let the owners of property on the banks have this land at half its value, and if that sum of £155,000, be added to the surplus of £806,050, admitted in the second estimate, it would make an available surplus of £961,050 arising out of a fare of 4fd. on so very low calculation of passengers; my statement was that a million of surplus might be obtained.

" Petersburgh, Stockholm, Dresden, Naples, Messina, Catania, and every town upon the Continent, great or small, that commands a tolerable reach of water, has its terraces or quays. Paris has ornamented the banks of its narrow Seine; and the still more insignificant Liffy has quays of singular beauty, extending on one side from the Phoenix Park to the Custom House, and on the other, from the Old Man's Hospital to the Light House, a distance of something like three English miles; while the wide and majestic Thames has been condemned to what Civis calls its proper uses, to carry merchandize and coals, and the canal trade ; and to take off the streams of the great sewers!' But the plan I now propose will make this poble river a great feature of beauty as well as a great source of wealth; and (if adopted) the hitherto neglected Thames will become the pride of England and the admiration of the world.”

The Viscount Duncannon is now out of office-his successor, however, would do well to consider the plan. Employ the people, if you would govern the people. Under-consumption means deficiency of employment, or inadequate wages. The hours of physical labour must be reduced in number, and be paid for at a higher rate than formerly. Nor is it inconsistent to demand this; for machinery is substituting all but skilled labour—and skilled labour should be highly paid. Part of its payment consists in its affording leisure for self-cultivation, and furnishing the means for its accomplishment. The skilled labourer is the highest style of man. The poet himself is but the highest kind of skilled labourer. Let us not then revolt against the cry for higher wages, but set about providing the means for affording them.

High wages necessitate high prices ;-high prices, however, only mean cheap money. It is good for money to be cheap on all accounts. Morally, it tends to abate the lust of lucre; and intellectually, it causes us to place more value on the thing bought than on what buys it. What is gold that will not convert into food or raiment? It is well to have the true relations of things thus forced upon us. In a physical point of view, the increased divisibility of the circulating medium is a great convenience. Were wages now at a peupy a day, and half a farthing the smallest coin, a single act of benevolence to that extent in coin would absorb the eighth of a day's income. We place little weight therefore on a repeal of the Corn Laws with a view to lowering the price of bread. Let wages rise, say we, to the price of bread; and so regulate the distribution of the wealth produced by skill and labour, that every individual in the state may have his share, We need care then very little for the foreign market; the demand will then be, at least, equal to the supply at home.

Having satisfied ourselves that food and raiment are more than money, we may easily rise to the higher truth, that the body is more than both, and that the soul is greatest of all. Nothing need be urged in favour of cultivating the common humanity in each individual man. This point is now everywhere insisted upon. All the occupations of man are but so many modes of his education. Their results are for eternity, not for time. Let statesmen recollect that it is for immortal beings they are legislating and proceed in their work devoutly; and as ministers of a heavenly, as well as an earthly potentate. There is no political question which is not also a religious one—and here it is that we are called upon to consider the condition of the Church, its nature and influence ;-a subject which requires a paper to itself.



Vol. VI.]


[No. 35.




Of the Incoherent State of Science in general, and the consequent

Divergency of Public Opinion. When we consider the present incoherent state of science and scientific institutions, it is easy to conceive the cause of contrary opinions concerning political interests.

Even such a thing as a general and correct classification of the various scientific pursuits, and their respective correlativeness, does not exist ; for the abortive attempts at classification, made by Bacon, D'Alembert, and more recently by Ampère, hardly merit notice. Every where, and in every thing, incoherence is predominant. The idea of universal harmony, and the necessity of adapting each particular branch of science to one general principle of unity, are neglected as vague ideas or vain aspirations.

It must, however, be admitted, that so long as science remains in its present fragmentary state, it may be no easy matter to discover a true principle of general co-ordination, and that much confusion might arise from the admission of arbitrary systems, such as those which are current in Germany; but in the absence of a perfect system of classification, would it not be wise to institute two distinct bodies of scientific men-one to profess science as it is now known, and one to devote all their time to making new discoveries in each particular branch, instead of leaving chance to govern absolutely with respect to progression and discovery?

Ifa complete classification of science and scientific research could not be made at once, a partial programme, at least, of such discoveries as are most imminent, might be sketched out, and rewards offered to those persons who might succeed in any branch of discovery.

If each particular class of science had established this method, and drawn out particular lists of such discoveries as were most wanting in their respective departments, the political economists would have found that the most urgent discovery in politics, was that of association, or harmonic combination ; for, as man is destined to live in society, the

N. 8,- VOL. VI.

2 T

advantages and disadvantages of particular forms of social organization must necessarily be the principal cause of social prosperity or adversity. As man is a helpless being when alone, and all-powerful in association, the welfare of society, we repeat, must necessarily depend on the degree of excellence in the mode of uniting private interests so as to produce political unity and power. But a very slight analysis proves that, in the present state of things, private interests, instead of being generally united, are, on the contrary, very often in direct opposition; and, in as much as private interests are opposed to each other, political power is necessarily frail and insecure.

What can have been the cause of so much confusion and contradiction amongst political economists and politicians in general ? is it negligence or indifference, or want of genius, or want of method ? or all these defects combined ?

A very little thought is sufficient to show that the power of nations is intimately connected, in fact, absolutely based upon, the wealth of nations, and the wealth of nations is created by their industry. Whence it follows that the industry of nations is the primary subject of study for economists.

When this question is properly stated, it is evident that there are but two fundamentally different modes of organizing the pursuits of industry:-1. An incoherent arrangement of separate families, pursuing their own individual interests alone, and independently of all others, according to the present prevailing system; 2. An associative organization of different families operating in large numbers and pursuing various branches of industry, according to one general plan of individual and collective interest. (We may here observe, that there are as many different varieties of associative combination, as there are of incoherent aggregation; so that the apprehensions of depressive monotony are totally unfounded. When we say, one general system, then, of association, we must not be misunderstood to mean, one absolute and inflexible form of society.)

If we ask which of these principles approaches nearest to perfection, there can be no doubt of its being that of large associations; for, as every thing in nature is organized on the most economical principles, and, as societary combination is infinitely more economical than incoherence, it follows, as a necessary consequence, that the natural principles of excellence in society, are those of association ; and hence, the chief task of political economy was the discovery of the natural and harmonic laws of combination. As a farther proof of association being the natural form of society, we have actual demonstration of incoherence being its unnatural form: in the present state, we see the interests of each class diametrically opposed to that of all others, and the interest of individuals of the same profession, are equally conflicting. The interest of lawyers is, that disputes and contentions should arise between those who have money to pay for law suits; no matter whether they be strangers to each other or members of the same family: the interest of medical men is, that illness may be every where prevalent, so as to produce numerous patients : military men are constrained to wish for war, that their chances of advancement may be in proportion to the number of their comrades slain in the field : archi

tects, masons, and carpenters, are interested in the ravages of fire, burning down cities, &c., to furnish employment in reconstruction. Besides these conflicting interests of different classes, individuals of the same profession are interested in each other's ruin : each lawyer, doctor, merchant, and shopkeeper, wishes to have all the business of his competitors, that he may secure an independency for himself in the midst of the general uncertainty.

In fact, the present state of incoherent civilization presents a most contemptible scene of conflicting mechanism, in which the interests of each caste are contrary to those of every other ; but it will be impossible to have a thorough notion of the imperfections of this state of things before we are well acquainted with the advantages of a better, in which the interest of the whole nation is identified with the immediate interest of every individual, both rich and poor.

If the private interests of different castes, and those of individuals in every profession are allowed to remain opposed to each other, how can we expect unity or concord in political opinions ? each class necessarily strives to gain political ascendancy, privilege, and advantage, at the expense of all others; and so long as the interests of individuals are opposed to those of society, it would be folly to expect large bodies of men to prefer the public interest to their own private welfare.

This divergency of public opinion is the necessary result of jarring interests, and jarring interests are the inevitable result of incoherent civilization : the absence of social science is the cause of incoherence, and thence the cause of fragmentary science, divergency of opinion, conflicting interests, and social misery.

But, in the absence of a complete social science, politicians might have discovered a general system of guarantee, and mutual insurance, in which each order of separate interests would be directly interested in the general welfare of every other; in which direct fraud would be almost impossible, and by which the greatest possible amount of advantage in a state of unconnected individual interest might be secured to all : in fact, a system in which each particular corporation would be insured against absolute ruin and misery by paying a small premium to a general fund for mutual protection. This system would form an intermediate step between incoherence and association. It is merely a general application, on a political scale, of the principles already applied to private companies for insuring life, property, &c. It would, however, be somewhat more complex, on account of being a political as well as a civil institution. We shall enter into the details of this mode of combining individual interests, when we treat particularly on political guaranteeism ; but we may state at present, that this system is but of secondary importance compared to the superior degrees of association, because it merely guarantees us against fraud and injustice, without realizing a superior organization of industry; whereas domestic association would enable us at once to produce more abundantly, consume more economically, and guarantee both individual and public interests against fraud and injustice.

This universal system of guarantee would place every branch of industry in similar conditions of justice and equity, as those which now regulate the system of coining the metallic currency. Formerly

« AnteriorContinuar »