CHAPTER III. —
from Patrick Edward Dove
On the Theory of Human Progression
Section I. Outline of the Argument, that there is a Natural Probability in Favor of The Reign of Justice.
[This argument, the outline of which is given in the present section, is continued to the end of the volume. It is based upon,—
- The analysis of the forms of scientific truth, and the order of the evolution of the sciences.
- On the abstract forms of man’s historic manifestations,
- On the general arrangement of the component faculties of man, and the order in which these come into exercise.]
We have now to make good our argument, that there is a natural probability in favor of a millennium, or reign of justice. We assume from Scripture the fact that there shall be a millennium; and all we have to do is to point out the natural probability of its occurrence, and the probable mechanism by which that condition is to be brought about. We treat, therefore, not of a theological millennium, which may involve spiritual elements only to be known by the light of holy Scripture, but of the second causes which, operating in the world, shall at last bring man into the state most favorable for the operation of Scripture truth. A scriptural millennium is much more than a mere reign of justice, although that is a main element; but here we touch only on that part of the scriptural millennium which involves the improvement of the human race in those qualities and conditions with which we are naturally cognizant.
And we affirm that, beyond a doubt, a reign of justice is to be anticipated on the fairest principles of computation; and that the argument by which it is established will bear the closest scrutiny of the impartial reason. Setting aside Scripture altogether, (if the expression may be allowed.) we maintain that man has, within the range of his natural knowledge, sufficient means for determining, that if the course of human history continue ordinated on the same principles that may be inferred from a consideration of the past and present, then in the future there must come a time when justice shall be the regulative principle of the earth, and man shall carry it into systematic and universal operation.
And though we advance this argument for political purposes alone, we esteem it no mean thing that the good times of prosperity, graciously revealed in Scripture, are actually borne ant to the natural reason of mankind. After all that has been said of the millennium, we cannot help thinking that there is a peculiar satisfaction in finding that nature, history, and reason contribute to authenticate the promise. That the more closely the intellect shall search, and the more widely it shall extend its views, it shall yet learn more and more to bow in simple faith before the divine Word, which, with all its mysteries, does continue to justify itself in each new view we gain of nature, and to unfold perpetual witness of its own divinity. Amid the wreck of empires, the turmoils of society, and the dark labyrinths of deceiving doctrines, it is pleasant to lay hold on a clew of hope which leads to better and happier times, and ends at lust in a kingdom of righteousness, where they “shall sit under their own vine and their own fig-tree, none making them afraid.”
Let us now endeavor to condense the argument, and to place it fairly before the understanding. We believe it valid, and do not fear to present it in its most naked form.
1st. The progression of humanity is in proportion to the acquisition of rational knowledge, and the reduction of that knowledge to practical operation.
2d. Rational knowledge is divided into the various sciences.
3d. A science is composed of nomenclature, (the name.) description and classification, (the proposition.) and reasoning, (the syllogism.)
4th. The sciences have among themselves a necessary coordination.
5th. The measure of this coordination is the relative simplicity or complexity of the objects involved in the science.
6th. In classifying the sciences, the most simple sciences are necessarily placed first, then those that are more complex and so forth.
7th. The sciences have a necessary order of chronological discovery.
8th. The order of chronological discovery is coincident with the order of logical classification.
9th. Consequently, if the logical classification be satisfactorily achieved, and the whole of the sciences are not yet evolved, we can predict what the future order of discovery will be.
10th. The general groundwork of the classification of the sciences is as follows:—
I. The abstract sciences, which give the universal forms of rational necessity. These are called the mathematical sciences, and they occur necessarily in the following order:—
- Logic. The universal form of all science whatever.
- Arithmetic. Logic applied to numbers,
- Algebra. Arithmetic applied to quantities.
- Geometry. Algebra applied to the forms of space.
- Statics. Geometry applied to forces.
Dynamics. Subject, force. Product, motion.
II, The inorganic physical sciences.
– Mechanics. Phenomena, equilibrium, motion.
– The phenomena of solids.
– The phenomena of liquids.
– The phenomena of gaseous fluids.
– The phenomena of imponderable fluids.
Magnetism, chemistry, and electricity. Phenomena, motion, polarization, formation) combination, and decomposition, &c.
III The organic sciences.
1st. Botany. Zoology: Phenomena, life, growth, propagation. &c.
IV: Man science.
– Functions. Action on the external world.
– Functions. Action on man, without interference.
– Functions. Action on man by interference.
– Functions. Actions towards the divine Being.
The principles of correct action, for the first class of these functions, are derived from the sciences that precede man science.
The second class of functions gives rise to political economy, which furnishes the rule of correct action.
The third class to politics.
The fourth class to religion, the scientific groundwork of which is theology.
We posit, then, that human progression is from logic and the mathematical sciences, through the physical sciences, and up to man science.
In estimating human progression as a fact, we can only study it as it has manifested itself since the schoolmen, by the adoption of a rational organon, began to lay anew the foundation principles of human credence, and to develop the general doctrine of method. The schoolmen (notwithstanding the contempt so superfluously heaped on their memory) are undoubtedly the genuine founders of modern science; and Aristotle is the grand master of that association, whose object is to achieve a scheme of rational truth which shall be the same for all human intellect, wherever that intellect can comprehend it. Ontology and logic are necessarily anterior to the sciences of number, quantity, and space; and though the schoolmen attempted to carry their method into regions where it was not applicable, they went no farther astray in so doing than the sensationalists, who apply the method of matter to the phenomena of mind, and thereby attempt to obliterate all morals.
We ask, then, in what way knowledge tends to improve the condition of man upon the globe?
Correct knowledge is the only means whereby correct action can be performed. In advancing, therefore, the probability of a millennium in politics, we must, of course, imply that a millennium in other departments has actually taken place, or is now taking place. And this we do. The definition of a millennium is, for us, not any period of time, but a period of truth discovered and reduced to practice. And consequently, when we speak of a political millennium, we speak of a period when political truth shall be discovered and be reduced to practice; and such a period we maintain to be within the bounds of rational anticipation.
Let us reflect that the constitution of man, and the earth on which he is placed, permits of possible conditions. Some conditions are bad, some better, and some are the best that can exist with such an earth and such inhabitants. No person can, for a moment, maintain that man has achieved the best conditions of which the terrestrial economy (including the inhabitants of the globe) is capable. No country, no tribe, no nation, can lay claim to the horror of having placed itself in the best conditions which Providence had allowed it to enjoy. Now, in speaking of a millennium, we pronounce nothing whatever on the absolute amount of evil that is or is not inseparable from man. All we contend for is, that man is continually progressing towards the best conditions that the terrestrial economy renders possible, and that the day will come when his political condition shall be perfected, on the same principles that he perfects his other conditions.
Knowledge is the only means given to man to evolve correct action; and correct action is the only means whereby the best condition can be attained. And this principle is common to every branch of knowledge.
Let a political millennium then mean, the best political condition to which man can attain. A political millennium cannot mean more than this.
A political millennium, then, will take place whenever political truth is discovered and reduced to practice. We do not say what is political truth, or what is not political truth; but merely determine the general conditions of what we mean by a political millennium.
And we affirm that, according to the past, progression of mankind in other departments of knowledge and of action, there are good grounds for believing that political truth shall be discovered and reduced to practice. In so doing, we treat political science, not as a mystery which refuses to be reduced to system, and which would thereby justify those who appeal to necessity, (whatever course they take,) but as one of the sciences which it behoves man to study, exactly in the same manner that he would study dynamics, or any other branch of knowledge.
Whatever may be the matter of political truth, and whatever may be the condition of society that expresses that truth in outward manifestation, we have only to consider the sphere of political truth to determine that it is as much within man’s reach as truth in any other department.
What in fact, is the problem of politics? To discover the laws which should regulate men in the matter of interference. When those laws are discovered, political truth is discovered. Now, notwithstanding the perpetual misconception of the nature of political science, arising from the fact that it is almost invariably confounded with government, the right to govern, the king’s majesty, the authority of the sovereign, and the other superstitious devices by which men impose on themselves from the force of habit, what reason can possibly be alleged for asserting that the laws which should regulate men in the matter of interference, are not as much within the reach of the human intellect as the laws which should regulate the merchant in carrying on his commercial transactions?
But while we anticipate that the day will come when, political truth shall be discovered, and be as generally acknowledged as truth in any other science, it is important to apprehend the reason why political truth has not yet assumed a systematic form.
If man progress in knowledge from the more simple to the more complex,—and there can be no doubt that he does progress according to this law,—it is plainly evident that man, being the most complex of all the objects that inhabit the earth, must be the last whose phenomena are subjected to analysis. Let the sciences be classed as they may, man, and man’s functions, must always be placed at the extreme end of the scale of natural knowledge; and, consequently, it is no wonder that man science is not completed, when men are only approaching the completion of matter science.
Man first evolves logic and the mathematical sciences, then the inorganic physical sciences, then the organic physical sciences, and, last of all, he makes man his intellectual object, and endeavors to discover the laws of his functions. No matter how long or how short a time may be employed in the evolution, this is the necessary order in which the discovery of science must take place. And it would be quite as absurd for us now to affirm that politics cannot assume exactly the same form and certainty as the other sciences, as it would have been for men to affirm that chemistry could not reach its present perfection when their attention was devoted to mechanics, and the region of chemistry was occupied by groundless superstition.
But while we affirm that political science cannot fail to be reduced to such an unobjectionable system as shall command the assent of the unprejudiced intellect; we have yet to look back on the operation of scientific truth, and to observe how the mere dogma becomes transformed into an external reality—how the mere proposition, which the intellect apprehends, becomes the means of vast achievement, and of vast benefit to the race of man.
It has been well said that “error is the cause of human misery;” and as surely may it be said that knowledge is the antidote of error, and the means of man’s redemption from misery. And though it is true that religion is the cause of individual regeneration, and the true and main cause of man’s progression towards good, we must not, on that account, neglect the study of the mechanism of progression, or fail to note the route by which man must pass in his upward and onward progress. It is true that the Christian religion is what makes men progress; it gives the impulse, but it does not describe the various steps of the course which the human race must take in its passage to an equitable condition of society.
The steps of that course, so far as the race is concerned, must be looked for in the evolution of the sciences one after another. And each new science is not only a revelation to the intellect, but a new power for performing things which could not otherwise have been done; in fact, a new sceptre for man to rule the world, and to bend its elements in obedience to his will.
Let us again repeat, that knowledge is the only means given to man to evolve correct action; and that correct action is the only means whereby man can evolve a correct, and consequently beneficial, condition. Let us also note well, that knowledge does not admit of diversity of opinion; that where knowledge is really attained and properly substantiated, uniformity of credence is its constant and necessary result; and, consequently, wherever we find diversity of opinion, we have a region where knowledge is not yet attained, or where it has not yet met with general acceptance.
Let us now ask, What is the essence of that ultimate condition of man, expressed for brevity’s sake by the word millennium? A period when truth is discovered, acknowledged, and carried into practical operation. In so far as the millennium is a religious millennium, it is a period when religions truth shall be discovered, acknowledged, and carried into practical operation. And in so far as it is a political millennium, it is a period when political truth shall be discovered, acknowledged, and carried into practical operation. And so forth for every other branch of knowledge that is capable of being reduced to practice.
The Sacred Scriptures, it is well known, do not teach man science, nor do they even advert to some of the very greatest earthly consequences that flow from their acceptance. The Scriptures, in a most remarkable manner, confine themselves to religion. Their tendency is moral, not intellectual. As much as is required to convey the moral teaching is explicitly declared; but the most remarkable silence is preserved on many questions or the most intense interest, apparently for the very purpose of never allowing man’s attention to be diverted, even for a moment, from the mighty purpose (or which they were sent. Their province is eternal; and the things of time arc apparently referred to only as they stand connected with man’s eternal welfare. Let us take two circumstances alone to illustrate our position. In every region of the earth where Christianity has not prevailed, woman has more or less been looked upon as inferior to man, and in some regions has been reduced to absolute degradation. Christianity has every where restored woman to her moral equality with man, and it is questionable whether man has not been even the greatest gainer by the change. Again: slavery—or the subjugation of man to man, and the transformation of man from a being into a thing—has been almost universal. Wherever Christianity has prevailed, slavery has gradually disappeared; and there cannot be the slightest doubt that the prevalence of Bible religion will ultimately obliterate every remnant of slavery from the face of the earth. Enough has been already done to assure us of this unmistakable tendency of Bible religion; and though a corrupted Christianity may yet tolerate the abomination, there need be no hesitation in regarding the freedom of man and the emancipation of the slave as the necessary attendants which, sooner or later, will every where follow the acceptance of the gospel.
And if we calmly consider the magnitude of these two social changes, can we estimate their importance, or match them by any other two changes which have taken place in the condition of mankind? Take the first, alone —the emancipation of woman, and her restoration to that place which the divine Being designed her to occupy as the companion and helpmeet for man. And all this man owes to Christianity. It was not man’s doing. It was God’s Word that wrought the change. And yet, where in the whole record of revelation can we point to a single passage that affirms that such a change would follow the acceptance of the gospel? It is, in fact, the greatest change that has ever taken place in man’s domestic condition. If it were possible to allow man to remain as he is, and to return woman to her inferiority and degradation, how long could society remain? Virtue would forsake mankind, and Heaven would hide its face and its favor from the injustice. The good elements of society would at once disappear, and the corrupted mass, putrefying, would return to its base and earthly elements. And yet, if we search Scripture, we shall find only the, principles of the great change, and not one single prediction or its occurrence. And, so with slavery. So little does the letter of Scripture pronounce judgment on the iniquity, that churches have not been wanting which dared to advance Scripture arguments for its justification. And yet who can doubt that the spirit of Christ’s holy religion is certain, wherever it prevails, to emancipate the slave, and to reinstate him in all those natural rights which, as a moral, intellectual, and religious being, are his birthrights, necessary to be preserved to enable him to fulfil the destiny of responsibility?
And so with the millennium. Scripture holds out the promise of a religious millennium; but can we suppose that the period of blessedness will not involve much more than is apparent on the page of Holy Writ? Is it at all illegitimate to infer, that natural truth shall have received a vast expansion; that there shall be a millennium of the intellect—a completion of the process of continual discovery; and, instead, only a process of continual adaptation? Is the field of intellectual research a field where continual warfare must be waged, where conquest after conquest leaves yet as much to conquer? Or is the march of human knowledge not rather the journey from the land of darkness? Is not this the time of the exodus? and may we not surely look forward to the period when the intellect, entering into the promised land of truth, shall journey no longer forward, but rest in the rich enjoyment of her sanctuary?
Such we maintain to be the case (not from Scripture, for Scripture is silent on these points, but) from the past progress of mankind, and from the present elements at work in a direction that cannot be mistaken. Scripture posits a religious millennium as a fact, and in Scripture that period appears isolated, if we may so speak. It appears separated from the anterior periods of history. It does not seem to follow as a natural consequence from the times which precede it. Its preparation is, at best, but slightly alluded to; and, though we are told that knowledge shall be increased, we are by no means explicitly informed what kind of knowledge that is, or what are to be its effects. And why, we may ask, does Scripture confine itself to such narrow bounds? Can we not see the very same principle pervading this position of Scripture that pervades so many others; namely, that Scripture confines its declarations to the religious part of the predicted period, leaving it to man to discover for himself all the other concomitants, all the natural accessories, which are within the range of reason, and which man may estimate with some good degree of probability?
On this ground we maintain, that although the millennium in one sense may be an isolated period, essentially different from all we know of the earth’s past history; yet, in another sense, it is a period for which preparations are continually going on; and if we conceive it to include the discovery and reduction to practice of natural knowledge, as well as of religious knowledge, then the natural portion of the millennium has already commenced, and we may expect it to grow more and more apparent at every future period of the earth’s history. In fact, the religious millennium would in that case be only the completion of a series, the perfection of an evolution that had been going on for centuries, the final addition of the spiritual element over and above all that man could achieve for himself by the exercise of his unaided powers. And when we reflect that. Scripture confines itself to that spiritual element alone, we need not be surprised that the millennium, at there presented, should appear much more isolated than it could possibly be in reality from all those improvements in man’s terrestrial condition, which could not fail to accompany the universal prevalence of Christian piety.
A millennium, then, is a condition of society in which man shall evolve the maximum of good by acting correctly. And man can act correctly only where he has acquired knowledge. If, then, we have a scheme, according to which knowledge must be acquired, we have the means of estimating the order in which the natural portions of the millennium must be successively unfolded.
“Knowledge is power,” power to turn the earth to better and better account; and thereby continually to improve the condition of man upon the globe. The moment, then, we ascertain the order in which knowledge must be acquired, we learn the scheme of human improvement, and ascertain the general outline of his course, in his passage from ignorance, poverty, and depravity, towards knowledge, prosperity, and virtuous action.
All that we have professed to do, was to point out the probability of a political millennium; that is, we have endeavored to show, that if man progress in future, according to the scheme that has regulated his past progress, there will come a time when political truth shall be discovered, acknowledged, and reduced to practical operation.
But to confine ourselves to this view alone, would be to take a very limited survey of the course and mechanism of human improvement.
A political millennium will come, but it will come only because it forms a portion of the still greater scheme of human improvement—of the more general millennium, that involves all human knowledge and all human operation.
The natural millennium, whose probability we maintain to be within the reach of human computation, although more especially to be desired in the region of politics, extends equally to all the sciences, and to every department of man’s systematic action. Nor could a political millennium take place without being preceded by certain knowledge and certain conditions, independent, it is true, of political science, but necessarily anterior and preparatory to the complete evolution of a reign of justice.
When we reflect that the essence of a millennium is, “truth discovered and carried into practical operation,” we have generalized a term applied in Scripture to a period when religious truth should be discovered, acknowledged, and reduced to practical operation.
Consequently, wherever we have truth discovered and carried into practical operation, we have a millennium in that department of knowledge.
Therefore, the past history of human progress must supply us with the beginnings of the natural millennium; and these beginnings we must look for in the sciences that have been already discovered and reduced to practice.
Let it never be forgotten that there is but one truth, and all truth is the expression of the divine wisdom, and the revelation of the divine character and will. All truth is in fact divine. There is not one Deity of Scripture, and another Deity of Nature. Nor call we for a moment coincide with that kind of separation, which some appear anxious to establish, between the revelation in words and the revelation in realities. Both are expressions of the divine intentions, both are revelations of our Creator, both are intended for our guidance and instruction, and both are capable of enlightening man, although not in the same department, nor to the same extent. Admitting all that scriptural theology can teach, there is still a revelation through nature, which we may neglect, it is true, but which we can only neglect to our own detriment, as it is the expression of divine wisdom manifesting itself through actual works, and displaying before our eyes the real exemplification of the abstract principles which, by the same hand, had been impressed upon our reason:
All science, therefore, is divine, and divine, not in the sense of pantheism, but in the sense of its being the correlative object created in harmony with the human reason. Science is the object of reason, and reality is the object of science; and both reason and reality are the productions of the divine Creator.
Error and superstition are human; they belong to fallen humanity; they are not divine; they form no part of the original constitution of the earth; they are darkness, not light. But true knowledge is God’s intention; for that purpose the intellect of man was made, Reason, on the one hand, and reality on the other, are the correlatives of creation, and science is the middle term that unites them; reality giving the matter of science, and reason giving the form. Knowledge therefore, is the divine intention; and all the sciences may be viewed, not as human acquisitions, but as fulfilments of the divine purpose in creating an intellect to comprehend, and an object to be comprehended. Religion in the individual may exist without a particle of science; but can it be maintained, for a moment, that the race of man can reach its highest condition, and achieve its highest destiny, without becoming acquainted with those natural truths in which practical consequences of the most important kind are necessarily implicated?
Let us, then, conclude that all scientific truth is divine, (or, if that term appear too strong, let us say that all scientific truth is the natural intention of the Creator of our system,) that it is the intellect of the creature apprehending correctly the divine arrangements of the created. Natural science is the apprehension of the divine wisdom and power, as St. Paul himself teaches us,—”For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”—Epistle to Romans, 1st chapter.
Immediately, then, that we admit science to be not merely human, science acquires a new character. It becomes the exponent of humanity, and points out the order of human progression. We have here a sure basis of operation, a foundation on which the reason may at last rest in constructing its philosophy of man. Science is stable. It shifts not with opinion, and changes not with lapse of ages. Were all knowledge obliterated, and man to begin tomorrow a new course of research, he could come only to the same truths and to the same sciences; and those sciences would evolve in a similar order, were the experiment to take place a hundred or a thousand times.
Section II.—The Influence of Science on Man’s Terrestrial Condition.
ADMITTING, then, the divinity of science, in so far as science has been really ascertained, we revert to Us connection with man’s practical function, and inquire how the dogma of knowledge is efficient to produce all amended condition of man upon the globe.
Every science has a millennium; that is, a period when its truths are discovered, acknowledged, and carried into practical operation.
First come the mathematical sciences. These, as mere exercises of the intellect, are by no means of a high character. They are little more, in fact, than mechanical reasonings, mere methods of computation performed by the aid of signs. The discovery of the methods has, no doubt, called forth some of the highest exercises of human genius; but genius looks beyond the mere computation of numbers, quantities, and spaces.
When we turn, however, to the application of the mathematical sciences, their influence in enlightening mankind is of the very highest order. Identity, equality, number, quantity, space, and force, mere abstractions of the reason, become fundamental elements of knowledge, by which the observed realities of nature are made to function in man’s intelligent apprehension. Sensational observation furnishes only the very smallest part even of physical science. Strictly speaking, observation furnishes only a momentary image or impression, or a succession of momentary images or impressions. No man ever observed motion. He observes successively in time material substantives in successive positions in space; but the motion he never did observe, and never can observe. Let materialists or sensationalists reason as they may, they cannot tell what physical properties motion has. It has no color, no taste, no smell, no sound; it cannot be felt or appreciated by the senses, and to the sensationalist it has no existence. It is a word he has no right to use; but use it he must, and in so doing he borrows it from the intellectualist. And so with force. Force is inappreciable by sense. Sense never saw force, never felt it, and never can assign one single sensational property to it. It is posited by the reason; and the moment we become sensationalists, we should drop the word and the concept as chimeras of human invention. And, in so doing, we must drop the science of dynamics. No greater absurdity was ever imposed on man, nothing was ever more frantically credulous, nothing that the wildest superstition ever raved in its most intense moments of insane imagination, was more utterly contrary to man’s universal experience, and man’s universal reason, than the attribution of all man’s knowledge to sense. Nor can we approve of those arguments which drag the question into the region of theology. That is not its region. The battle cannot be fought there till won in another field. It must be fought as a question of philosophy in the region of dynamics; for if once we substantiate power, and can show a science of force, and perform with that science of force rational operations whose conclusions are verified in nature, and predict by its aid far-off truths only to occur in reality years after the rational calculation has been made, we have grounded the validity of the reason, and proven beyond dispute its undoubted right to substantiate things hidden from sense, and forever beyond the reach of sensational apprehension
But if sense furnish so little in a sciencc, mind must furnish all that is not mere momentary impression; and the rational operations of mind, applied to the material realities of nature, are expressed in the mathematical sciences when they are brought to bear on physical nature, and to lend the aid of their computing power to systematize the impressions of the senses. Number, quantity, space, and force, (essentially nonphysical concepts,) are absolutely necessary for the formation of physical science; and all the observations that man could make, would be forever dog’s views of nature, were it not for the introduction of those rational elements which tear the veil from the world of matter, and lay bare the mysteries of its divine arrangement.
When man has evolved the mathematical sciences and dynamics, he has acquired a vast power over the world of matter; not merely a power of intellectual apprehension, but, over and above, a power of action—a power to perform things which react intensely on his own social condition, and place him on an entirely different footing as regards his relations to the material universe. His observations, without the mathematical sciences, go for little or nothing. He can neither number, nor measure, nor compute; and without measurement, his observations are mere sensations.
We shall remark only one or two of the effects of the mathematical sciences. The first great achievement, and one whose importance to the world is beyond all human calculation, is “the determination of the physical character of man’s home or residence in space.” Astronomy and general geography are the results. Now, passing over all that could be called mere knowledge, let us look to two practical effects, which forever place the practical influence of the mathematical sciences on man’s condition, altogether beyond the power of question—navigation and the measurement of time. Navigation is possible without astronomical observation, or at least with the very rudest elements of observation. The Northmen were no doubt in the habit of sailing to America (Vinland) five hundred years before Columbus; and that they navigated all the European seas, from Iceland to Italy, is proven by abundant evidence. But what comparison can be established between such navigation, and that which now is one of the most powerful of all agents for the civilization of the earth? Such navigation was an adventure, not an occupation. And the wonder is, how even the boldest, hardiest, and most daring of all races should have undertaken such enterprises. No one can for a moment believe that such navigation as now takes place could possibly have arisen without a knowledge of astronomy and geography, or could possibly be continued were the astronomical elements to be dropped. The navigation of the Northmen was an adventure, and it ceased because it was an adventure. It had no systematic knowledge at the bottom of it, showing how the thing that had been done once could be done again. It passed away, and even the discovery of the western continent, with which they had traded, was all but forgotten. But can any one suppose, that so long as the present knowledge remains, navigation could again cease, or be confined to coasting expeditions? Were all the ships in the world destroyed, a few years only could elapse before the ensign of England would wave in the breeze of every navigable latitude; and the speedy reparation of the great catastrophe would only show the power that man has acquired from knowledge. Between the navigation of former times and the navigation of the present day, there is much the same difference that there is between Alexander’s expedition to India and the unromantic overland journey, reduced to a monthly question of pounds, shillings, and pence.
Closely connected with navigation, and extending its influence throughout nil civilized society, is the measurement of time. The measurement of time is in fact the measurement of the motions of the heavenly bodies. The firmament in one sense is a great clock, with a very singular dinI, and a very curious method of notation. Let it stop, and all means of measuring time accurately, and of being sure that our measurements are correct, fade away forever. And who can estimate the practical influence on the world of the measurement of time?
Geography, astronomy, the measurement of time, and systematic navigation, laid the foundation for the general civilization of the world. And one circumstance we may remark connected with ocean locomotion—the most advanced nations in the world will always be those who navigate the most; and, consequently, advancement, improvement, civilization, knowledge, and art, will always be disseminated through navigation. No instance can be adduced of barbarous nations navigating to a great extent, while at the same time more advanced nations did not navigate. Those who have navigated, in all ages, have been those who were full of life, energy, resolution, and progress. The advanced nations are the goers, the less advanced nations are the stayers at home. Sloth and barbarism are essentially stationary; energy and civilization are essentially expansive, cosmopolitan, and progressive. One circumstance alone shows us that navigation is essential to the regeneration of the earth. The one true religion never could be propagated throughout the world, as there is no doubt it will be at some future period, without navigation.
But to what does man owe geography, astronomy, the measurement of time, and systematic navigation? To the application of the mathematical sciences to the observed conditions of material nature.
Now, although the term may be new, and by some may be considered objectionable, we do not hesitate to speak of a mathematical millennium. A mathematical millennium takes place when mathematical truth is discovered, and reduced to practical operation. Mathematical science is the foundation of man’s intellectual and practical progress, and the region of mathematics is the first region in which a natural millennium takes place. Without mathematics we have no astronomy, no geography, no measurement of time, and no systematic navigation, worthy of the name. That is, we have in those departments ignorance or superstition, instead of knowledge.
Next to a mathematical millennium is a mechanical millennium. And here we leave the knowledge, and turn only to the action, and to the consequent condition of man. The mathematical sciences are absolutely essential to the evolution of mechanics, and mechanical knowledge is absolutely necessary to enable man to turn the earth to the best account. One of the first great spheres of mechanical operation is “locomotion.” The mathematical sciences teach men how to navigate, in what direction to go, how to make maps and charts, how to determine the locality of towns, capes, reefs, ships, &c., &c. But the mathematical sciences do not teach how to make ships. They help, but they do not complete. The properties of matter are involved, and these must be ascertained by observation.
The improvement of locomotion is one of the first essentials in the progression of mankind, and we might almost measure the relative advancement of nations by the condition of their means of locomotion. Advantages of the highest importance to man’s intellectual and moral welfare are involved in facilitating locomotion; and every obstacle placed by governments in the way of perfectly free locomotion, is a barrier erected to defer the advance of civilization. It is a clog placed by ignorant despotism on the emancipation of mankind, not merely from political thraldom, but also from natural ignorance arid natural degradation. It is a crime, not merely against the individual, but against humanity itself. And whoever has the power, has the most undoubted right to break down every such barrier as a duty to his race. Political freedom, in this respect, however, is not the only essential; we must also have the mechanical facility.
Let us consider that the earth, as constituted, permits only of locomotion under certain conditions. It is possible for man to have a maximum of locomotive facility. A certain speed will be found beyond which we lose in safety, and below which we lose in celerity without gaining in safety. And this applies to all systems of locomotion. The problem, then, is to discover the best system; that which combines the maximum of celerity with the minimum of danger. And when we have made as near an approach to this as the circumstances of the earth permit of, we have a locomotive millennium.
All engineering is nothing more than the application of mathematics and mechanics to the world of matter. Roads, bridges, canals, ships, harbors, docks, railroads, tunnels, steam engines, steam vessels, steam locomotives, &c. &c., are the products of mathematics and mechanics. Man, with these, is man armed with the powers of nature. He has vanquished his opponent, and enlisted her forces in his service. Matter is no longer the object that opposes him, but the arsenal from which he draws his weapons and his stores. Coal and water become concentrated forces, whose powers he may develop and control for the extension of his dominion over nature, and for the improvement of his terrestrial condition. One single steam engine constructed by mankind is of more real importance than all the powers of Rome, and one single printing press than all the arts of Greece. They are powers, prodigious powers, placed at man’s disposal. They are products of the reason; and just as reason learns to sec farther and farther into the processes of nature, so does man acquire new power for extracting welfare from the earth.
Again: man makes a few observations on the phenomena of light; these he geometrizes. He makes a few observations on the power of various substances to modify the phenomena; and what is the result? He produces the telescope, which extends his vision to a distance altogether inconceivable; and the microscope, which reveals the minute operations of organic nature.
And if we turn to chemistry, shall we find the practical effects of science one atom less important, or one atom less remarkable? What are the metals, and where do they come from? What is gas? that great moralizer of modern cities, more powerful than all police could be. Mechanics and chemistry furnish us with an endless variety of substances, and an endless variety of productions, all tending to give man more power, more leisure, more comfort; to make him in fact more free, and. to elevate his position on the globe. Instead of being the slave of physical nature, science will make man its master, as the Creator intended him to be when he gave him an earthly dominion.
Electricity, again, has already achieved its wonders; and though we may expect many more practical effects, we have enough to prove that this science, which some years since was a plaything, is a mighty agent that endows man with power which, even a century since, would have been regarded as indubitably magical. The very circumstance that man can now communicate with man almost instantaneously, although separated by the breadth of a kingdom, ought to teach us that time and space, the former tyrants of mankind, may be overcome by means whose simplicity is, at least, as extraordinary as their power.
Nor, if we turn to vegetable physiology, are the practical effects that the advance of knowledge entails for man’s benefit one hair’s breadth less extraordinary. A few observations are made on the growth of plants, on the disposition of the soils, on the effect of moisture, and on the relation of surface water to the productions of the agriculturist. Certain reasonings are made, and certain experiments, to prove whether the reasonings are correct. The practical result, at last, is a general system of drainage, which transforms wretched pastures into fertile cornfields, and in many cases doubles, trebles, and quadruples the value of the produce. To countries like England, Scotland, and Ireland, the practical importance of this draining system is immense. These countries have, within themselves, an almost indefinite power of creating agricultural wealth; and, so far from being in danger of a superabundant population, they could, in ten years, with a tenth part of the annual expenditure of the kingdom on unnecessary armaments, so outrun the increase of the population, that it would be unnecessary to import one single grain of corn. Far more than this is within the limit of possibility, and it is only necessary to ascertain the progress made by Scotland within the memory of the present generation of agriculturists, to be convinced that the natural capabilities of the soil of Britain are abundantly sufficient for all its inhabitants; and that the true reason why the population increases more rapidly than the food is to be found, not in the laws of God, but in the political laws which have made such a disposition of the soil as absolutely prevents it from being turned to account. Under the present system of land occupancy, combined with labor taxation, want and starvation are the natural consequences. They may excite compassion, but they need excite no wonder. And until the present system is broken up, root and branch, and buried in oblivion, the laboring population of Britain and Ireland must reap the fruits of a system that first allocates all the soil to thirty or forty thousand proprietors, and then places the heaviest taxation in the world on the mass of the inhabitants. Let any man inquire of the Scottish agriculturists—the greatest landlord worshippers in Europe—what is the reason that the improvement of the soil does not go on more rapidly and more generally. The answer, we have invariably found, attributes the evil to the political tenure of land. The agriculturists could produce more corn. Everyone of them, except in a few small districts where the land is up to its pitch of production, will attest to this fact. They could make more food—more wheat, more oats, more turnips, heavier sheep, more and better wool, &c., &c. And they would do so,—both for their own profit, and from a spirit of emulation generated by the rapid improvements already achieved,—but they cannot do so, and the country, which allowed the crown to alienate the soil, must be content to see it half cultivated, and to depend for supplies on distant lands. They cannot improve, because, although the improvements would pay, and pay abundantly, in the first place they have not the capital to execute the improvements at the commencement of their lease; and, in the second, it is absurd for them to make permanent improvements during the currency of a lease, the only effect of which would be,—and, as a fact, often is,—that, at the end of the lease, the legal landlord would let the land, with its improvements, by auction. Their improvements would be put up to auction, the only difference being that the biddings are written instead of spoken; and, unless they will give more rent for their own improvements than any other person will give, they are turned out of the land, and, in many instances, carry their skill and capital to far distant countries. The difficulties are neither with the soil, nor the climate, nor the price of produce; they all hinge on the political arrangement that the law has made with regard to the soil and its tenure: and until this arrangement is destroyed, the soil never can produce its maximum. The evil is immensely aggravated, it is true, by the system of entail, but the radical evil, the grand masterpiece of mischief, that requires to be corrected, is the alienation of the soil from the nation, and the taxation of the labor of the country.
With regard to draining the soil, however, a new scheme has recently been carried into execution. The government taxes the population, and lends the money to the landlords to drain the soil. The landlords are to pay a certain interest and quit capital, which discharges the debt in twenty-two years. This percentage the farmer finds to be less than the profit likely to accrue from the improvement of the land, and he agrees to pay it to the landlord. The consequence is, that the country has been taxed for the purpose of presenting the landlords with the clear amount of improvement at the end of twenty-two years. Such is the wisdom and equity of British landlord legislation.
Notwithstanding the political arrangements, however, the advantages of draining are of the highest character. The soil improves, the climate improves. the character and condition of the agriculturists improve, and the amount of food is vastly increased. And to what do we owe draining, with all its sterling advantages? To nothing more than the application of hydrodynamics to vegetable physiology. This is its scientific character—its character as a product. of human ingenuity, exercising itself on the physical world.
It will scarcely be necessary to remark the power of man to modify the animal kingdom, and thereby to produce those animals that serve him better, and make his position more advantageous. The horses, cattle, sheep, &c., of Britain, are even now almost artificial races. The difference between those animals as they are, and animals of the same species as they would have been in a state of nature, is the product of human ingenuity. The Durham ox, or the Leicester sheep, is, in one sense, a machine—a machine for the manufacture of beef, mutton, fat, and wool, out of grass, turnips, and oil cakes. The improvement of the breed is exactly a similar occupation to the improvement of a cotton mill, or the improvement of the soil. If man wants more corn than will grow naturally on the soil, he must improve the soil, drain it, manure it, lime it, irrigate it, &c. It is no longer the same soil; it is the same species, but a different variety from what it was originally. Even let it alone, and it will bear a different series of plants. The original plants die out, and their place is taken by others more useful to man. And when man sows seed of a certain requisite character, he reaps a much better and more abundant crop. And so it is with a sheep, or a bullock, or a fowl. Naturally he grows wild, rough, hardy, and takes far too much exercise to fatten. He is developed in those parts that man esteems the least,—that do not pay. He is unmanageable, has his own way, runs, jumps, tears, flies, and does many things that no doubt amuse himself, but that do not recommend him as all investment. The improved animal, on the contrary, is quiet, solemn, fattens well, appears to understand the end of his existence, and takes to it kindly; bears beef and fat, or mutton and wool, to the very best of his power, and seems pleased with his prosperity. He even learns to look down on his less cultivated companions, and seems thoroughly imbued with a quiet sense of his own superiority. He does as he is bid, and in all respects is a mall server. He does his work, and receives his wages.
The improvements that have hitherto taken place in agriculture, in horticulture, and in the races of horses, cattle, sheep, and the other domestic animals, are the direct results of empirical physiology, which observes and record” the resulting fact, without inquiring into the various steps of the process by which the fact is eventually produced. The empirical physiologist inquires, “Does the earth become more productive by the application of certain substances, (called, generically, manures,) and if so, What are the relative advantages of these substances, compared among themselves?” The scientific physiologist, on the contrary, inquires, “In what manner does the earth become more productive by the application of these substances?” The one fixes his attention on the improvement of his art; the other, on the improvement of his knowledge. The one endeavors to read aright the laws of the practical world, and to apply them to his use; the other endeavors to read aright the construction of the material world, and the laws by which nature carries on her operations. The empiric is satisfied when he has learned the mode by which he can make his bullocks fatten in the shortest time and at the least expense; the scientific physiologist, on the contrary, is never satisfied till he has traced the particles of food from their primary prehension, through the process of their assimilation, to their ultimate deposition in the tissues. The one manipulates a mass, and endeavors to induce certain final consequences; the other attempts to seize a primary atom, and to determine the laws which regulate its evolution.
Empirical physiology and scientific physiology represent two great methods, whose tendency is to approach nearer and nearer to each other, and finally to unite in their results. The former commences with perhaps a great rude fact, plain and obvious, and as far as possible removed from any thing that would be culled science. This fact, perhaps, might be merely the division of the year into its two great seasons—summer and winter; and the observation that domestic cattle thrive better if housed in winter, than if left exposed to the inclemency of the season. This, in many cases, is the first great practical step, or first great division, which is gradually to undergo innumerable subdivisions; and these subdivisions affecting many kinds of food, and many breeds of animals, at last evolve a complete art, whose principles are tolerably well ascertained. Scientific physiology, on the contrary, commences with a fact as far distant on the opposite side from its ultimate application. It begins with the analysis of the atmosphere, with the mysteries of oxygen and carbon, with theories of combustion, with what the air does in the fire, and what becomes of the smoke. And while engaged in these investigations, it knows no mare of the process by which bullocks are fattened than the bullocks know of phlogiston. In course of time, however, it improves both its knowledge and its method; it attacks the fat itself, and begins to discourse of stearine, oleine, &c.; and also begins a series of investigations on the process of respiration, on the possible modes by which animal tissues may be consumed, and on the conditions that accelerate or retard the consumption. This is the first fibre of communication shot across the interval which separates empirical from scientific physiology; and though only a fibre, it is like the ice shooting from opposite sides of the stream, the first frail forerunner of a solid communication. Step by step the two processes go on, the one descending into details more and more artistically minute; the other departing more and more from its elementary compounds, until it succeeds at last in constructing a scheme of knowledge which shall not only explain the results, but serve as a guide for the evolution of a correct systematic practice.
And when once the two methods have come to an identity of result, (as they have in some of the mechanical arts, and as they may soon in some branches of physiology, (a system of truth is developed for the world, for the human race, for humanity; not merely for the discoverers and improvers, but for man as man, for the human being tenanting the world, and gradually learning to read aright the universe, or cosmos, in which he finds himself placed. Man has made a new acquisition, and this new acquisition remains a permanent, stable, and lasting addition to the wealth of humanity.
But empirical physiology does not apply merely to the organized or animated objects that man finds surrounding him. It applies to himself, and to the material conditions of his bodily frame. Of all animals, man is the most subject to disease, the most liable to be cut off from existence before his body has passed through its natural transformations, and at last sinks exhausted from the influence of age. History, however, proves that an immense amelioration has taken place even in this respect—that man has extended the limits of his life—that he has intelligently constructed circumstances less fatal to his organism—that he has diminished, and vastly diminished, his liability to dissolution—in fact, that he has to a certain extent beaten the evils of the physiological world, exactly as he hag vanquished the difficulties of the mechanical world.
This improvement man owes to empirical physiology, partly intentional and partly unintentionally—partly to the exercise of a direct effort, and partly to the general amelioration of circumstances produced by the advance of civilization. Better clothing and better food—better dwellings and a better system of drainage—cleanliness, ventilation, and a more abundant supply of water—prompt treatment under acute disease, inoculation and vaccination—the improvement of jails, workhouses, and all other prisons and similar abominations—a more simple and natural mode of rearing children—in fact, a better and more rational system of treating the human frame both individual and collective, and placing it in circumstances more conducive to its healthy function, has at last evolved a longer life, and secured to the general man a longer tenancy of terrestrial existence.
Section III.—Application of the Theory of Progression to Man’s Political Condition.
WE have said enough, however, to show the direct bearing of science on the improvement of man’s condition on the globe. Knowledge is obtained, an improved system of action is consequently generated, and from that improved system of action an improved condition arises as the necessary result.
But, then, how comes it that, notwithstanding man’s vast achievements, his wonderful efforts of mechanical ingenuity, and the amazing productions of his skill, his own condition in a social capacity should not have improved in the same ratio as the improvement of his condition with regard to the material world? In Britain, man has to a great extent beaten the material world. He has vanquished it, overpowered it; he can make it serve him; he can use not merely his muscles, but the very powers of nature, to affect his purposes; his reason has triumphed over matter; and matter’s tendencies and powers are to a great extent subject to his will. And, notwithstanding this, a large portion of the population is reduced to pauperism, to that fearful state of dependence in which man finds himself a blot on the universe of God—a wretch thrown up by the waves of time, without a use and without an end, homeless in the presence of the firmament, and helpless in the face of the creation. Was it for this that the Almighty made man in his own image, and gave him the earth for an inheritance? Was it for this that he sent his Son into the world to proclaim the divine benevolence, to preach the doctrine of human brotherhood, and to lay the foundation of a kingdom that should endure forever and ever? We do not believe it; neither do we believe that pauperism comes from God. It is man’s doing, and man’s doing alone. God has abundantly supplied man with all the requisite means of support; and where he cannot find support, we must look, not to the arrangements of the Almighty, but to the arrangements of men, and to the mode in which they have portioned out the earth. To charge the poverty of man on God, is to blaspheme the Creator instead of bowing in reverent thankfulness for the profusion of his goodness. He has given enough, abundance, more than sufficient; and if man has not enough, we must look to the mode in which God’s gifts have been distributed. There is enough, enough for all, abundantly enough; and all that is requisite is freedom to labor on the soil, and to extract from it the produce that God intended for man’s support.
But what is the cause of British pauperism? Why are there periodical starvations in Ireland and the Highlands? Why is there a crisis every few years in England, when able-bodied men, willing to work, can find no employment? Why are Britons obliged to be shipped off to other countries? Is it because the natural capabilities of the soil have been wrought up to the highest pitch, and yet there remains a surplus population that the soil will neither employ nor feed? Is it because manufacturing has been carried to its utmost extent, and there really is no further room for the employment of a larger population? Is it, in fact, because man has done his best with Britain, made the most of it, got out of it all the food and all the wealth that it is capable of producing, and yet it will not keep its own inhabitants, either by the food it produces, or by articles of exchange that it might give to other countries for food? Is it a matter of necessity that there shall be paupers (that vile word) in the richest country in the world? Is it true that England can no longer support Englishmen; nor Ireland, Irishmen; nor Scotland, Scotchmen? Have we, in fact, arrived at the last term of population, and must all, over and above, expatriate or starve? Is this true, or is it false? It is false—false from beginning to end.
And what is the cause of human pauperism and human degradation? for the two go hand in hand. It is because the social arrangements of men have been made by superstition, and not by knowledge. The sciences, we have shown, lead to an amended order of action, and an amended order of action leads to an amended and improved condition. But we must have knowledge in the department in which we require the condition to be amended. That is, mechanical knowledge improves man’s mechanical condition, as regards his power over external nature; agricultural knowledge, his agricultural condition; chemical knowledge, his chemical condition, and so forth. But social knowledge—that is social science—is absolutely requisite before we can labor intelligently to improve man’s social condition. These are the conditions under which man tenants the globe. Every department of nature, and of man’s phenomenology, has its laws; and if those laws are infringed, evil is the immediate, invariable, and necessary result. And if man’s social condition is evil; if we find at one end of society a few thousands of individuals with enormous wealth, for which they work not, and never have worked, and at the other end of society millions belonging to the same country, and born on the same soil, with barely the necessaries of life, and too often in abject destitution—there is no other conclusion possible than that this poverty arises from man’s social arrangements, and that poor the mass of the population must remain until those arrangements are rectified by knowledge.
Does any man suppose that the nation wilt much longer believe “that Britain cannot support its inhabitants?” Does any man believe that the men who can make steam engines, and cotton mills, and railroads, and ships, and the largest commerce in the world, and spinning jennies, and steam printing machines, and Skerryvore light-houses, and electric telegraphs, and a thousand other wonders, could not make such a distribution of Britain as should enable every man in it, and many more, to earn an abundant livelihood by their labor? Does any man believe this? And if he does not believe it, does he suppose that any superstitious notions about the king’s right to grant the soil to individuals will long stand in the way of their doing it? If Englishmen discover that pauperism and wretchedness are unnecessary; that the divine Being never intended such things; that the degradation of the laboring population, their moral degradation consequent on poverty, is the curse of the laws and not of nature,—does any man suppose that Englishmen would not be justified in abolishing such laws, or that they will not abolish them? Can we believe for a moment, that if any arrangement would enable the population to find plenty, that such an arrangement will not be made? If any man believe this, he is at all events willing to be credulous. For ourselves, we believe it not.
There are hundreds of thousands of persons in this country who cannot earn above from 7s. to 10s. per week, even when they have constant employment. The wages of the Scottish agricultural laborer—certainly as respectable a man as is found in the whole world in a similar situation, although unfortunately undergoing the same process of degradation that is undermining society in the towns—do not average £26 per annum. This, in fact, is a high estimate; but, to place the question altogether beyond the reach of minute wrangling, let it even be called £30 per annum, and here we are quite sure that we exceed the highest remuneration that the best, steadiest, most sober and most skilful laborer—the man who works a pair of horses—can obtain from the ordinary farmer. With this sum he brings up a family and educates his children. His life is a life of stern economy and he faces it like a man. He respects himself, and feels that he has a right to be respected. He does manage to live like a moral being, and sometimes escapes the degradation of the poor roll in his old age. This is the best position of the laborer, the maximum that the present condition of Scotland can afford to the highest class of her laboring children—milk, porridge, and potatoes, and with these he goes through his life of honest independence.
But what is the minimum, what is the condition of the shoals of Irish peasantry who invade the west coast, and the tribes of Highlanders who have little or nothing to do? What can they earn? What food do they habitually use, and what is their moral existence? Let anyone visit the Western Islands, and inquire into the social condition of the inhabitants, and the arrangements that men have made for the destruction of the population. See scores of men, women, and children gathering shellfish on the shore as almost their only food, while the rent of the island is all abstracted, and spent in London or elsewhere; and they say if it be possible that, with such arrangement, any soil, or any climate, or all profusion of natural advantages, would have compensated for the evil arrangements that men have made. Does any one suppose that those same Highlanders, who find a wretched sustenance on the shore, could not, and would not, extract an abundant existence out of the soil of their native island? The law forbids them; that is, men have made such arrangements with regard to God’s earth, that the stable population must be reduced to destitution, for the purpose of having one man endowed with a wealth which he, perhaps, knows not how to use, nor even to retain.
But what, after all, is the practical conclusion to which we come? What system is it that would obliterate pauperism? On this we do not intend to enter in the present volume. We must first show the probability (a probability which, taken altogether, amounts to a reasonable expectation) that man, placed as he is on the globe, is not necessarily condemned to pauperism and degradation; but that a period will come, ere long, when the natural laws which govern society shall be discovered, and, being discovered, shall lead to a condition of prosperity altogether inconceivable at the present time. Two systems are open to us:—
Either pauperism and degradation are the work of the Creator of our system, the ALLPOWERFUL, who has placed present man in circumstances where the natural capabilities of the earth are insufficient, for his support;—
Or, pauperism and degradation are the work of fallen man, who through ignorance has based his arrangements of the earth on superstitious propositions, and thereby necessarily has rendered it impossible that the amount of good intended by the Creator can be extracted from the earth.
Of these two schemes we may take our choice. We may blasphemously rush to the conclusion, that the earth is for man a terrible prison, with necessary horrors, from which, do what we will, we cannot escape. Or we may believe, with humble reverence, that, notwithstanding man’s transgression, the Almighty God has yet, in the abundance of his compassion, plentifully provided him with the means of terrestrial existence. That man’s doings are the cause of man’s distress; that man’s ignorance, and man’s error, and man’s injustice, and man’s wrong arrangement of the world, is the true and only cause why man is afflicted with poverty, and thereby placed in circumstances almost incompatible with his proper existence as a moral agent and an accountable creature. And if we admit that moral degradation does for the most part, accompany physical degradation, then must we admit, that if any new arrangement of the natural world, which man did not create, would have the effect or obliterating poverty, and, consequently, of obliterating the necessary evils of poverty, that new arrangement is right, just, and good, and ought to be carried into execution, whatever the present arrangements, inherited from past generations, may actually be.
And we affirm, without the slightest hesitation, that the very same kind of improvements that have followed the mathematical and physical sciences, will follow social science, and achieve in the world of man far greater wonders than have yet been achieved in the world of matter. It is not trade Britain wants,—nor more railroads, nor larger orders for cotton, nor new schemes for alimenting the poor, nor loans to landlords, nor any other mercantile or economical change. It is social change. New social arrangements, made on the principles of natural equity. No economical measure whatever is capable of reaching the depths of the social evils. Ameliorations may, no doubt, be made for a time; but the radical evil remains, still generating the poison that corrupts society.
The evil is expressed in a few words; and, sooner or later, the nation will appreciate it and rectify it. It is “the alienation of the soil from the state, and the consequent taxation of the industry of the country.” Britain may go on producing with wonderful energy, and may accomplish far more than she has yet accomplished. She may struggle as Britain only can struggle. She may present to the world peace at home, when the nations of Europe are filled with insurrection. She may lead foremost in the march of civilization, and be first among the kingdoms of the earth. All this she may do, and more. But as certainly as Britain continues her present social arrangements, so certainly will there come a time when—the other questions being cleared on this side and all that side, and the main question brought into the arena—the labor of Britain will emancipate itself from thraldom. Gradually and surely has the separation been taking place between the privileged land owner and the unprivileged laborer. And the time will come at last that there shall be but two parties looking each other in the face, and knowing that the destruction of one is an event of necessary occurrence. That event must come. Nor is it in man to stay it or to produce it. It will come as the result of the laws that govern nature and that govern man. As in the island we have spoken of, the population must be destroyed or the land must be open to their cultivation, and not accorded to the landlord. Of the two parties, one must give way. One must sink to rise no more; one must disappear from the earth. Their continued existence is incompatible. Nature cannot support both. Nature cannot afford to support the population in plenty, and over and above to pay, on a small island, £20,000 a year to the proprietor. Such things cannot be. We may as well attempt mechanical impossibilities as political impossibilities; and, notwithstanding the almost universal prevalence of the current superstition about the rights of landed property, we have no hesitation in affirming that a very few years will show that superstition destroyed, and the main question of England’s welfare brought to a serious and definite discussion.
In politics, there are only two main questions—first, personal liberty: second, natural property. England has been at work for centuries in the endeavor to settle the first, and when that is definitively settled, she will give her undivided attention to the second.
Before the discussion of the question of property, (natural property, the object,) there is, however, a main and principal question of liberty. Englishmen have achieved their liberty in one sense; that is, they are equal in the eye of the criminal law, (nearly so.) have a right to be tried by their peers according to law, and cannot on any occasion be subjected to punishment by the rulers, as such. So far the progress of England has been satisfactory; and, above every country in the world, she has been distinguished for her race of independent judges, whose conduct for many years past has been one of the greatest moral wonders of the world. In the whole history of the administration of justice, there is nothing to compare with the quiet grandeur with which the judges of England have unostentatiously performed their duties. Apart from religion, this has been England’s truest greatness, her most solid claim to the admiration of all mankind. The deeds of her greatest commanders are as dust in the balance, compared with the deeds of her judges. These have been truly great; and England owes to them that moral supremacy of the law, which is the surest basis of civil society, and the grandest natural phenomenon that comes within the limits of man’s cognizance. Long may Heaven continue to favor England with upright judges, and long may Englishmen continue to regard them with the highest honor.
But, in another sense, Englishmen have not achieved their liberty, alia a main question remains to be decided. Its ultimate decision is by no means a matter of doubt, but it may be years before it comes to definite issue. This question is, “the right of the deliberative assembly to make laws for, and impose taxation on, that portion of the population who have no voice in the election of the representatives;” in other words, the question of universal suffrage. It is plainly evident, that those who have no power to elect are not citizens of the state. They are an inferior class, ruled by force; and the emancipation of this class, and their equalization in the eye of the law, is the first great question that will agitate the kingdom. Economical questions as to whether there shall be three soldiers or half a dozen, or whether a certain duty shall be ten per cent. or twenty, or whether the government should give more or less aid to emigration, all these are quite unimportant compared with the main question, of whether two or three millions of men are morally bound to obey and acknowledge a government that excludes them from representation: Let this question be treated as it may, of one thing we are quite convinced; namely, that the non-electing population will either obtain the right by the consent of the present rulers, or ultimately they will take it by force. The change must come as it lies in the order of human progression; but what the means of effecting the change shall be, remains to be determined. In all probability, when once the question is thoroughly a national one, the present rulers will admit the necessity of the change, and place the whole population on an equality as regards their political functions. And when once this last great question of liberty has been disposed of, the country cannot fail to commence another evolution, and to enter on a line of progress that shall ultimately place men on the same equality with regard to natural property that will then prevail with regard to political liberty.
But let the mechanism of the changes be what they may, let our views be right or wrong with regard to the process of improvement, we yet maintain that our major proposition is fully borne out. We allege, as the most general proposition, that the improvement of social science will improve man’s social action, and that the improvement of man’s social action will improve man’s social condition; in fact, that the acquisition of social science will ultimately produce a social millennium. There is a science of man, and of man’s action, if we can only discover it; and the discovery of that science will produce effects analogous to the effects produced by any other science. Let us, then, endeavor to estimate, for a moment, some of the effects that may reasonably be anticipated from the discovery, acknowledgment, and reduction to ordination, of social science.
But, in the first place, let us observe that the natural history of a science always begins at the wrong end. We do not mean that it ought not to do so; on the contrary, it ought to do so, and must do so, because it cannot do otherwise. Nature furnishes us with wholes, and these must first be manipulated as whole individuals. These are named, described, and classed after a fashion. Neither the nomenclature, however, nor the classification, are destined to remain. They serve a temporary purpose; and are of use to facilitate communication. Thus chemistry cannot commence with oxygen, hydrogen, calcium, and potassium, &c. These are the logical primaries, or samples, of chemistry; but they are by no means the chronological primaries. Neither does anatomy begin with fibrine, albumen, nor globules, but with a whole animal, and with a head, a thorax, an abdomen, thoracic members, and abdominal members. Neither does zoology begin with organic substance, its arrangement into the organs of nutrition, locomotion, sensation, reproduction, &c.; but with a great number of different animals, presenting different outward appearances. This principle is universal in science, that the chronological commencement is with a whole, a complex mass; while the logical commencement of the science, properly so called, is with a simple primary, from which we start to build up the complex mass.
To express this in logical formula, let us say that the chronological commencement is with an individual presenting the greatest comprehension and the least extension, and that the logical commencement is with all individual presenting the greatest extension and the least comprehension.
The process of science, therefore, is in the first place analytic, and when the analysis has been carried down to the last elements, the process is reversed, and it then becomes synthetic. And this is true of the mathematical sciences as well as of the physical sciences, although the mathematical sciences are invariably presented in the synthetic form. In them we have the first and most simple appearance of analysis, and the greatest preponderance of synthesis. In the advanced physical sciences, on the contrary, we have the greatest amount of analysis; so great, in fact, that the analytic portion of the science has frequently been mistaken for the whole science. The whole science, however, is not completed until both the analytic portion and the synthetic portion are achieved. Geometry has its preparatory analysis, exactly as chemistry has its analysis; and though no mention is made of this in geometrical treatises, the fact cannot be overlooked when we take a survey of the philosophy of science. Nature does not furnish us with points having no extent, with straight lines having no breadth, with perfect circles, squares, and triangles, &c. On the contrary, nature furnishes us with forms very imperfect for the most part, and very complex for the most part, and these we analyze into the elementary forms of position, (the point,) and direction and extent, (the line.) and with these we proceed to construct extent in two directions, (the superficies.] and extent in three directions, (the solid.)
In politics, therefore, as in every other science, the natural history comes first, and then the science. The most obvious divisions of things as they are, are the first clumsy attempts at analysis; and laws begin, not by constructing the state, as it ought to be constructed; but by attempting to remedy the most obvious evils. This is the case even where laws have been made in a good intention. We do not refer to those bad, and unjust, and despotic laws which have prevailed in all European states, but to the best portion of the laws viewed in their best light; and these we maintain to have begun at the latter end of the question, and not at its beginning.
The first and most obvious requirement in a country is some degree of security for life, liberty, and property. This gives birth to criminal law, the great end of which is ostensibly to prevent crimes. Now here we have the whole evidence of history that law began at the wrong end. Law ought to emanate from ethics, and the very first and most important question to determine is, “What is a crime, and what is not a crime?” Instead of ascertaining what was a crime, men assumed the crime, and then proceeded to enact laws for its punishment. They made a synthesis before making an analysis, and made that synthesis the basis of political enactment, and committed murder and robbery, and every other crime, under the shelter of their legislation. So far as the science of politics was concerned, they were in much the same position as those who make astronomy without observation; that is, they were wholly and totally basing on arbitrary assumption. But wrong proceedings in politics are far more serious than wrong proceedings in other departments, inasmuch as man and man’s welfare are concerned; and the laws of former times, and to a large extent of the present time, being based on, superstition, necessarily produced, and continue to produce, effects the most detrimental to society. Even admitting the major proposition of the law, that “crime ought to be punished,” the minor, “this act and that act are crimes,” was purely arbitrary, it was determined on no principle of stability, was variable, contradictory, often absurd, and very generally unjust. Thus, at one period it was a crime for a man to be free, (as it still is in Russia and the southern states of America;) at another period it was a crime to have a slave. At one period it was a crime to go to church; at another, to refrain from going to church. At one period it was a crime to shoot a deer; at another, no crime. At one period it was a crime to be a witch; at another period it was admitted that there were no witches. Now all this diversity is exactly similar to the diversity that prevailed in the physical sciences before Bacon’s time. The major principles of investigation were not in dispute; but Bacon, with a grasp of magnificent genius, laid hold of the minors of the sciences, and told men that they must first ascertain them before they could arrive at knowledge.
And so it is in law, the exponent of men’s views of political science. The minor proposition, “What is a crime?” requires to be determined on exactly the same principles as we determine “What is a square?” or, “What is the orbit of the earth?” Without this determination, made on principles which are not arbitrary but scientific, law is despotism; and no man in the world is morally bound to obey it, except as Scripture may enjoin him to obey even unjust laws. If legislatures will make arbitrary crimes,—that is, make actions legally criminal which are not naturally criminal,—no population is bound to obey them. On the contrary, it becomes one of the highest duties of man to resist such laws—to use every effort to procure their abolition; and, if he cannot do so by reason, then to do so by force. The welfare of humanity demands this at the hand of every man; and the base and slavish doctrine of non-resistance is fit, not for men who study truth in God’s universe, but for hireling sycophants, who care not what man may suffer so that their vile carcasses are clothed and fed. The liberties we have in England are mainly owing to the fact, that England would not tolerate the determination of crime by the executive rulers, but reserved this for the deliberative assembly; and, in so doing, England has undoubtedly made declaration—not so explicit as it would be now—that she reserves the right to try the issue by force of arms with any government that should make artificial crimes, or punish the population for actions which were neither contrary to the laws of God, of reason, or of nature. The power of the ruler to determine “what is a crime,” is the origin and sole basis of the political degradation of the continent of Europe. Abstract this determination from the power of the rulers,—let it be made on a principle of independent investigation, and let the rulers be the executors of the laws,—and we have the first great practical reform that envelops the germ of all others, and that cannot fail ultimately to entail the best blessings of liberty and security. All the revolutions of the continent, from the day of the Jeu de Paume down to the year 1849, have originated in nothing else than the false determination of crime by the law, and the power of the ruler “not merely to execute laws, but to make, alter, and originate them.
But intimately connected with the theory of crime (much more so than is usually imagined, is the theory of natural property. The law assumed crime arbitrarily, and proceeded to punish it; it assumed property arbitrarily, and proceeded to protect it. The king, who had the power to make or unmake crimes, had the power to dispose of the land that belonged to the state. He sold or gifted it, and thus in the long run the whole of the lands of England, with some trifling exceptions, have been alienated from the nation, and the burden of taxation has been placed upon the people. Superstition—that is, unfounded credence—was at the bottom of the king’s right in both cases; and the present inhabitants of the British islands are bound to observe the laws made in former times, concerning crimes and property, just in so far as those laws are now equitable; or would now be reenacted were there no laws on those subject”. The present possessor of a portion of land derives not one iota of present right from the former gift of a defunct monarch; and his right, to be now valid, must be such, that, were all his titles destroyed, the nation would proceed to place him in possession of the lands, because he, as an individual man, had an equitable claim to them. Just as, if all the laws and statutes of England were destroyed, the nation would proceed as usual to the arrest and punishment of the murderer or robber—those persons being punished, not because there are laws for their punishment, but because it is just that they should be punished, and just that there should be laws to punish. The justice of the punishment does in no case derive from the law, but the whole force and validity of the law derives from the justice of the punishment; and where the punishment is not just, that punishment is a crime, whatever the law may be, or whatever it may declare.
One striking fact is apparent in considering the past history of laws with regard to crimes and property. The laws with regard to crimes have been considered alterable; the laws with regard to property have been considered unalterable. One generation of legislators and rulers made all action a legal crime; but the next generation did not, on that account, consider itself bound forever so to esteem it. On the contrary, every generation of legislators has considered itself at full liberty to alter, revise, and end, and abolish such laws, according to its own judgment. But with regard to the king’s gift of lands it has been quite otherwise. The deeds of past rulers have been supposed to extend to all future generations; and the doctrine now prevalent is, that the lands, once alienated by the king’s gift, could not be reassumed by the nation without a breach of equity —without, in fact, committing that crime abhorrent in the, eyes of aristocracy—”attacking the rights of property. This discrepancy is at once explained, when we reflect that the legislators of Britain have been for the most part the landlords themselves, or those so immediately connected with their interests, that the government was, to all intents and purposes, a landlordocracy. But the question still occurs, and must occur again and again, “If the acts of past rulers were not morally permanent with regard to crime, how can they possibly be so with regard to property? and if they are morally permanent with regard to property, how can they be otherwise with regard to crime?”
We have now to show that crime and property are not distinct; in fact, that, so far as regards legislation, they are identical; and that the laws (or king’s grants, which are, in fact, nothing else than laws, although this fact is overlooked) regarding landed property, are neither more nor less than laws regarding crime. Property is usually regarded as an object—as something essentially distinguished from action. Yet we shall undertake to show that action alone is concerned, and that all laws regarding property are merely laws regarding action. And if we succeed in doing this, we have unhinged the superstition that prevails on the subject of landed property—we have loosened the fabric of aristocracy, and laid open a question that for many years to come will occupy the attention of Great Britain. There is already in the public mind a very extensive suspicion that the present distribution of the land is the true and main cause of England’s distress and Ireland’s wretchedness; but the supposed difficulty of presenting a scheme which should be perfectly just in theory, and practicable and beneficial if carried into effect, appears to have deterred many from openly attacking the question, and from subjecting it to the same kind of calm and rational investigation so lavishly accorded to other questions of incomparably loss importance. The apparent hopelessness, also, of affecting any radical change in the present system, and the fear of advocating “wild” doctrines, have both exerted un influence in repressing investigation. This apathy, however, cannot continue long. Whatever may be the result, the investigation cannot fail to be made; and even if it only terminated in substantiating the validity of the “rights” of the landlords” it would be satisfactory to the country to know that there was truth and not superstition at the bottom of the arrangements. But that such would be the result is, at all events, doubtful; and when the country is thoroughly convinced of the futility of the economical schemes that appear one after another,—and it is fast approaching that conviction,—it will allow the administrators of the government to pursue their course unheeded, while it fixes its own attention on prospective changes far more extensive than ever could emanate from a government constituted like that of Britain.
We now undertake to show that the gift of land by the king is nothing more than a law affecting action, and, consequently, is of the same character as a law relating to crime. And if so, it must follow the general course of the laws relating to crime; and if those laws are not morally permanent, neither is the king’s gift of land morally permanent, but may be revised, amended, or abolished, exactly in the same manner as a law affecting crime. And over and above, we maintain, that neither the one nor the other is one atom more valid, or more binding, on account of legislation, but that they are right now, or wrong now, wholly and solely according to their own merits; that the law cannot make a crime, although the law may call an action by this name, and treat it as such; and that the law cannot make a portion of land property, although it may call it property. Both crime and property are anterior to law, and superior to it; and it was not to make either the one or the other, but to prevent the one and protect the other, that legislative law was called into existence. Law is not the moral measure of right and wrong; but the rule of practice for the policeman, constable, jailer, judge, sheriff, and hangman; and until law is absolutely perfect, there is a canon higher than the canon of law, one more valid and more stable—the canon of reason—to which law itself must be subject.
A law against crime is a public declaration that certain acts ought not to be performed; and that he who performs them shall be visited with certain specified penalties. This, we maintain, is exactly the essence of the king’s grant of landed property. Because,—
1st. The kings grant of land is an authorization to use the land in favor of the grantee. And,—
2d. The king’s grant is a prohibition to all other persons to use the land. And,—
3d. The law declares that if any persons use the land without permission of the grantee, they shall be punished.
Now the essential part of this political arrangement is this: “All persons in the nation are forbidden, under pains and penalties, to use a certain portion of land, with the exception of the grantee, or by his permission.” This, then, is essentially a law against action—a law declaring that to use a certain portion of land is a crime for the vast majority of the population.
Now, if we turn to the effects of this arrangement, we find that the grantee is in no respect bound to make the land produce. He may utterly neglect it; nay, he may, as has actually been done recently in the Highlands of Scotland (and as the king himself did ages ago in the New Forest)—he may drive off the population, drive off the sheep, (the food of man,) and convert the district into a game desert for his own amusement—he having plenty of wealth, derived perhaps from other lands, wherewith to support these costly pleasures—at the expense of the nation.
Such, on the side of the grantee, is the limit of liberty. Let us now ask, what the limit is all the part of the nation. No matter what may be the state of the land—even if it is lying waste, and producing nothing for man’s support, as is actually the case in many parts of the kingdom—no man in Britain may put into it a spade or a potato, to save his family from starvation, without incurring the penalties of the law. He would be a criminal, (the law would call him so,) and he would be treated as such.
This state of affairs represents the extremes; and all that is better than the extremes is due, not to the law, but to the laws of nature. Now, the law has done this grievous injury; it has deprived the poor of the natural remedy whereby they would have corrected so enormous an abuse. Let us suppose that there was no law, and that one man claimed thirty thousand acres (see last note) for his amusement. Other persons require the land for their support. They begin to occupy it, and he endeavors to repel them. Now, what would be the natural consequence? What ought the cultivators to do? Should they retire and starve? or expatriate themselves? They would resist the aggression by force, and in so doing they would only do their duty. But the law will not allow them to resist. The law has first deprived them of the land, and then enlisted a standing army to prevent them from using the natural means of recovering it.
But independently of the specific character of the actual laws and arrangements prevalent in Britain, we take the question up on the most general ground, and we affirm, as a universal proposition, that where there is not a question of action, there is no question of morals. And, consequently, if any object be treated of independently of human action, it does not come within the limits of morals, and can give rise neither to crime nor to duty. And, consequently, if the land be separated from the question of human action, it is no longer property, but a mere physical object that enters the physical sciences. And, consequently, the moment we endeavor to establish a distinction between laws relating to property and laws refuting to action, we have obliterated property, and left only land in its physical character, and not in its moral character. It is the theory or human action alone that can make land, or any thing else, property. The very moment we have used the word property in its moral sense, as giving rise to duties and crimes, (or, rather, becoming the object of duties and crimes,) that moment have we involved it in the theory of human action, from which it can never be separated until we return it to its physical signification. And, when so returned, it can neither be the object or a duty nor of a crime. In its physical sense, land can give rise to no crimes, nor can it ever be property until we consider it as involved in the doctrine of human action.
And this being the case, the laws and arrangements of past rulers relating to property are in no possible respect more binding than their laws and arrangements relating to crime, property being only a concise expression of a proposition that prohibits actions of a certain character. Drop the prohibition of the action, and the property has altogether disappeared. And, consequently, all past arrangements with regard to land are as open to be revised, amended, or abolished, as past arrangements with regard to actions called crimes, and, consequently, there is no such thing as “the rights of landed property” separated from the mere dictum of the law, which the nation has an undoubted right to alter or abolish whenever it shall see fit to do so. And if the nation were to resolve to resume and take back all lands which had been granted by the crown, (with considerations affecting those individuals who had purchased,) the nation would not be guilty of any crime, or wrong, or impropriety, but would be exactly in the same position as it is when it abolishes laws against witchcraft, or laws in favor of the slave trade, or laws which make it a legal crime to be a Jew or a Catholic.
Superstition, on this point, may endure for a few years longer; but no truth can be more certain than that God gave the land for the benefit of all; and if any arrangement interfere with or diminish that benefit, then has man, as man, as the recipient of God’s bounty, an undoubted right to alter or abolish that arrangement, exactly as he alters his arrangements in agriculture, in medicine, in mechanics, or in navigation. No more crime, and no more wrong, attaches to his alterations in the one case than in the other.
We have now, therefore, opened up the way for a consideration of some of the effects that may reasonably be expected to follow the discovery of political science.
1st. The major proposition, “Crime ought to be prevented; and there ought to be laws, and an executive administration of those laws, for the prevention of crime” This major proposition is not in dispute; and the progression of man in his political aspect does not consist in any alteration to be made in the major proposition.
2d. The minor proposition, “What is a crime? This and that action are crimes.” In this minor lies the whole essence of political progression and political amelioration. Political improvement takes place exactly as men discover and definitely determine the true nature of crime; and exactly as they confine their laws to the prohibition of those actions which are crimes, and to the non-prohibition, of those actions which are not crimes. The laws of man cannot make a crime, neither call they unmake a crime. Crime is logically anterior to human legislation; and the very end and intent of legislation, in its first and most essential capacity, is to prevent crime.
All nations with which we are acquainted have punished, as crimes, actions which were not crimes; find the gradual improvement of the laws of man in this respect is one of the great phenomena that we learn from history. On the gradual alteration of the laws (of Britain, for instance) may be based a most conclusive argument, that political science is undergoing a gradual process of discovery, those laws being altered invariably in accordance with a change of credence, gradually gaining ground with the population.
But while we have a positive major proposition, we have also a negative major proposition, which is,—”No action that is not a crime ought to be prevented by the law.”
Now, as legislators and rulers are only men, (there is no divine wisdom nor divine sacredness about them.) they may be the criminals as well as any of the population; and if they assume powers and enforce laws which emanate from their will, (and not from an impartial judgment,) they are exactly in the case of an individual who commits crime by resorting to violence.
It is quite easy for the generality of writers on these subjects to treat of crime as committed by the population. They see so far, and sometimes their views are valuable and correct. But they have first perched the government on a great height, which they do not intend to survey, and then confine their observations to the subject population. To include both at one view appears a stretch beyond their power, and hence their admirable dissertations are unsatisfactory; and by unsatisfactory, we do not mean that they are not distinguished by talent of the highest order, and by upright sincerity, but that they treat only one portion of the phenomenon, and omit its correlative. Exactly as if one were to write an able dissertation on the earth’s motion, furnishing us with a perfect diagram and specification of the orbit, and an exact determination of the velocity, and yet should altogether omit to mention the sun. Such a dissertation, let its details be as perfect as they may, would be, altogether unsatisfactory; because the correlative, the sun, has not been exhibited in its relations to the earth.
And so it is with crime. He who studies crime as a portion of man science, (and not merely as accidentally treated of in this system of law that happens to be in force in Britain, or that system of law that happens to he in force in another country,) must include in his view the whole phenomenon, and must inquire what does man do, as man. And when we turn to Britain with this principle, we must regard the whole population, king, lords, commons, soldiers, judges, laborers, paupers, in fact, the whole mass of society, as merely men. And when we define crime, and find that actions coinciding with that definition are performed by any of these parties, by whatever name they may be called, or under whatever pretences they may appear, we must not hesitate to call the action by the name of crime, and to say, This is a crime committed by men. Reverence for law, as law, as a human rule of action de facto enacted by legislators, is mere debasing superstition; nor, however venerable law may be in some men’s estimation, do we consider either their law or their worship of it at all entitled to respect. Men venerate law and care nothing for justice, just as they venerate the priest and forget the Deity. And if any legislature, or any king, commit an act, which act would not be equitable between two individuals, we no more hesitate to call it a crime in the one case as well as in the other. And when legislators, taking advantage or the superstitious, veneration which men still have for power and human authority, proceed to prohibit actions which are not crimes, and to burden the population with unequal taxation, anti to exclude large portions of the population from equal rights in the eye of the law and in the scheme of the state, we do not hesitate to affirm that such legislation should be regarded exactly in the same light that individual violence or restraint would be regarded. Men are the agents, the actors, in the one case as well as in the other; and the action which is wrong (or individuals without titles) is equally wrong for individuals called by any names that the imagination could devise. Man, as man, is bound by the moral laws of justice, and no arrangements which the human race could make can ever emancipate any portion of that race from the same rules and requirements that are binding on individuals. The whole idea of a ruler, of a man, or body of men, who may interfere with others on principles different from those that regulate individual or private interference, is a mere idolatrous superstition, debasing in its influence, and disastrous in its effects. The almighty Maker and Ruler of mankind will have men subject to justice, and not to men; and the very moment the rules of justice, which vary not, nor can vary, are departed from, that moment is man relieved from his allegiance to the ruler; and if the population have the power, they may arrest the rulers, and bring them to the same judicial trial that would be reserved for the individual.
And hence the necessity for “a science of justice,” that men—definitely ascertaining, on principles which are not arbitrary, the real actions which are criminal—may appoint a first magistrate to carry into execution the laws of justice. And this first magistrate—king, president, or any thing else,—is not to govern men, but to regulate them according to the laws of equity; and, in performing this function, he occupies the highest position to which man may attain, and, performing his unties with impartial sincerity, he merits the constant respect, aid, and support of every person in the land. This portion of the British constitution, the first magistrate king, the independent judges, and the jury from the locality, is unsurpassed, if not unequalled, by any thing in the whole history of man. In England, we have in this portion of our political mechanism the most profound reason for thankfulness to God. And we do not hesitate to make a curious assertion—that if our political rulers (those who tax and restrict us) were brought into the courts of Law as individuals performing certain specified acts towards other individuals, the ordinary process of criminal trial by jury, and judge, and law, would at once rectify nearly every political evil in the country. Had the slave owner been tried, he could not have been convicted because of the law; but had the legislature been tried for making laws to allow slavery, and for using the British arms to support it, there can be no question that, if the ordinary decisions were adhered to, the jury would have found the legislature guilty, and England may proudly say that her judges would not have hesitated to pronounce the condemnation.
Only let the taxer, and the taxee, who is excluded from a voice in the representation, be viewed as two men, or two bodies of men; let them enter the present courts of law, and let the case be tried irrespective of political considerations, and there can be no doubt that the taxee would establish his right to dispose of his property without the interference of the taxer. They are only men, neighbors; and what is not just between two men, never can be just, however great the number of individuals, or however euphonious the names that may be applied to them.
This principle of allowing no man whatever, and no body of men whatever, to emancipate themselves from the strict requirements of justice, but in all their corporate actions to be subject to the same principles of equity that are binding on the individual—this principle is the great end of political amelioration. In advocating it, we teach doctrines, it is true, which are little less than revolutionary; and revolutions, either moral or physical, there must be until the ultimate term of man’s political progression is evolved, and the course of transition from the rule of power to the rule of reason is complete. Wc advocate, not a breach of justice, but its universal extension; its extension to all the acts of man, as man, whether he appear under the form of all isolated individual, or under the more imposing aspect of a deliberative assembly and executive government, ruling the millions of a state. All we ask is, that the same principles that regulate the laws as they affect individuals, should be extended to the political actions of the rulers; and if once this principle were realized, all partiality, class legislation, privilege, commercial restriction, customs laws, game laws, &c., would immediately disappear. These things have no foundation except in the will of the rulers; and man, as man, is neither bound to obey or acknowledge as a dispenser of justice that government that persists in imposing on the population its own superstitious and destructive devices, instead of the impartial laws of equity, made equally for all men and equally administered.
Under these circumstances, it may be affirmed that the first great effect that will follow the discovery of political science, is the definite and non-arbitrary determination of the great minor, “What is a crime?” And this being determined according to a scientific method which shall command the assent of the human intellect, the practical consequence will be that every restriction will be removed from every action that is not a crime. And consequently there will be perfect freedom for every man to exercise his talents and his industry without state interference, or restriction, or taxation of all kind whatever, so long as he shall continue to refrain from those actions which, according to the science of equity, are demonstrated to be crimes. Progression—that is, change—must be anticipated as natural and necessary, until the political aspect of mankind shall present a realization of this condition. Definitely to determine what is a crime, and what is not a crime, is one of the first great problems of political science. We define crime to be, “a breach of equity;” and consequently we maintain that whatever is not a breach of equity is not a crime, and under no circumstances whatever ought to be prohibited or restricted by the laws. Absolute freedom, then, to perform every action that is not a breach of equity, constitutes the great final termination of man’s political progress, so far as liberty is concerned.
But what is man’s final termination with regard to the other great substantive of politics, property?
Here we approach a subject that, in the course of a few years, (in all probability,) will be the great element of strife and contention. Here is the rock on which England’s famous constitution of king, lords, and commons will suffer its final shipwreck. Such an assertion is, of course, at present a mere opinion, but if the scheme we have advanced, be in the main correct, then we do not hesitate to affirm, that if we continue that scheme into the future, we may see that the question of landed property will be the cause of a stupendous struggle between the aristocracy and the laborocracy of Britain, and that its filial settlement will entail the destruction of the constitution. And the question lies in narrow bounds, all that is required being an answer to a question virtually the following: “Is the population to be starved, pauperized, and expatriated, or is the aristocracy to be destroyed?” For ourselves, we have not the slightest hesitation in predicting the final result; but what may he the mechanism of the changes requires altogether a different course of investigation. On the mode of change we pronounce no opinion; but on the matter of change we no more hesitate to prognosticate than we do to predict that, ere a few years longer, the millions of Russian serfs will have gained their emancipation; and surely serfdom is as ancient and venerable an institution as aristocracy.
Serfdom and aristocracy are, in fact, the correlatives of each-other. Wherever there are serfs, there there are aristocrats; and wherever there are aristocrats, there there are serfs; and though the laborers of England are not serfs in one sense, inasmuch as they may emigrate if they can find the means, they are, to all intents and purposes, serfs so long as they remain in England. It is a mere fallacy to suppose that serfdom has been abolished in England. It has not been abolished, it has only been generalized. And here we must have recourse to an illustration to show that serfdom, or even slavery, may be abolished in appearance, and yet retained in reality, the means of compulsion being changed with the advance of society, which would no longer tolerate the open employment of individual force.
Let us suppose an island divided into thirty estates. These estates belong to thirty proprietors, and are cultivated by slaves, by genuine out-and-out salable negroes. These slaves are the property (!) of the white proprietors, each of whom has a stock of one hundred. There are then thirty proprietors, and three thousand laboring slaves, supported by the island—the slaves having sustenance and the labor, the proprietors having indolence and the luxury. As the slaves belong to the proprietors, they are individual slaves, confined to the cultivation of their respective estates. Let us now suppose that the proprietors made a new arrangement of their affairs; that, instead of possessing each a hundred slaves, they thought it would be more convenient to establish a system by which those proprietors who wanted the labor of more at any particular time should be able to have it, and those who at any particular time had not work for a hundred, should relieve themselves of the expense of their keep. To effect this, and to throw the trouble of the new system on the slaves, they abandon the system of individual slavery, and generalize it. Each proprietor gives up his right to his negroes; but the negroes are still to do the work of the island, and the proprietors are still to have the profit. Nor is it difficult to effect this arrangement without compulsion—all that is necessary being to establish the rule, that the negroes shall be fed by those for whom they work, and that their wages shall be their sustenance. All the land being in the hands of the proprietors, the negroes can obtain support only by laboring for the proprietors. But it is found that the new arrangement has still its inconveniences, At certain seasons of the year, there is not work for the whole three thousand laborers, and as they can only obtain support from the proprietors, the latter establish a general or corporate fund for the sustenance of those who happen to be out of employ. This is a poor-law.
But still the system is capable of improvement; that is, more of the trouble may be allotted to the negroes, without the profits of the proprietors being interfered with. The proprietors under the present system are obliged to provide the aliments of the laborers, and this of course is not only troublesome, but the regulation of the quantity is attended with inconveniences. The proprietors, therefore, knowing that they have all the land, and that the laborers cannot find support except by laboring for them, establish an intermediate class, (of shopkeepers,) who receive the provisions from the proprietors and dispense them to the laborers. The shopkeepers are only transformed laborers, employed in a particular department of the economy of the island.
This new system, however, requires a means of exchange to enable the proprietors to be certain that none of the laborers obtain food without doing the necessary work, and labor must therefore have a representation, which shall enable the laborer to obtain his day’s food when he has done his day’s work, This representative is money. The laborer does a day’s work, and receives a coin, a shell, a token, or a piece of paper, the essential character of which is—that it is “an order for a day’s food.”
But the shopkeeper being a laborer, must receive his own food, and this he does by receiving for the tokens which represent labor a larger quantity from the proprietors than the quantity he gives to the laborers.
The figure might be extended, and the system of modern society might be made to grow out of the two primary elements, the proprietor and the slave.
But what we ask is this, Are the laborers, when their slavery has been generalized, and money has been introduced, are they not still the serfs of the proprietors? True, the proprietors have no longer individual slaves, and cannot inflict individual punishments; but the whole body of the laborers still belong to the whole body of the proprietors, inasmuch as the land belongs to the latter, and the laborers cannot obtain their sustenance without laboring for them.
Now, suppose the accumulated profits of the proprietors were sufficient to enable them to live for a certain number of years without the cultivation of their lands, and they should by any mad freak resolve to do so, and not to employ the laborers; the latter would, of course, be reduced to destitution and starvation; so that, although the individual life of a laborer is not in the hands of an individual proprietor, the lives of the whole class of laborers would be in the hands of the class of the proprietors. And if a large proportion of the latter were to absent themselves from the island, and not to cause the “lands to be cultivated, of course a large portion of the laborers would he reduced to want, or perhaps to hunger fever and death. And this is what takes place in Ireland.
Now, are not the laborers serfs under these circumstances? We maintain that they are, and that the laborers of England, Ireland, and Scotland are serfs, though the name is a disagreeable one, and the fact of their serfdom is concealed by the economical arrangements by which the internal business of the country is carried on. The laborers are the serfs, and the proprietors are the aristocrats; and it makes little or no difference whether we have an imaginary island with thirty proprietors and three thousand laboring serfs, or a real island with thirty thousand proprietors and five or six millions of laboring serfs. Let the political arrangements be what they may, let there be universal or any other suffrage, so long as the aristocracy have all the land, and derive the rent of it, the laborer is only a serf, and a serf he will remain until he has uprooted the rights of private landed property. The land is for the nation; and not for the aristocracy.
We affirm, then, that serfdom has not been abolished, but only generalized, in England, Ireland, and Scotland; and this generalization appears to be the step of transition through which society must pass, in its progress from the condition of individual lord and individual serf, to the condition of equitable equality, in which there shall be no lord and no serf, but only freemen without privileges and without oppressions.”
But it is necessary to understand what we mean by a lord and a serf. A serf is a man who, by the arrangements of mankind, is deprived of the object on which he might expend his labor, or of the natural profit that results from his labor and, consequently, is under the necessity of supporting himself and his family by his labor alone. And a lord, or an aristocrat, is a man who, by the arrangements of mankind, is made to possess the object, and who, consequently, can support himself and his family without labor, on the profits created by the labor of others. This is the essential distinction between the lord and the serf; and we maintain that the constitution of the world forbids that any arrangement of this kind should result in any other than an evil condition of society, which must necessarily condemn a large part of the population to physical degradation; and if to physical degradation, to moral degradation. No instance can be adduced of a population reduced to extreme poverty—as must ever be the case where the land, the great source of wealth, is allotted to a few who labor not—where that population has not been also and in consequence reduced to moral and intellectual degradation, and where the spirit of man has not been depraved and home down by the circumstances in which man, and not God, has placed him.
In endeavoring to estimate what must be the ultimate condition of mankind with regard to natural property, we have two methods of deter mination: first, that of political science; second, that of analogy, based on the actual history of the past evolution of mankind with regard to natural liberty. We have already stated that the too great substantives of politics are liberty and property. Each of these gives rise to a course of evolution, and the two courses of evolution are analogous; that is, the process is similar, while the substantives involved in the process are diverse. Thus the lord and the serf present the farthest possible remove from equity, both as regards liberty and as regards property; and the process by which the serf gradually emancipates his personal actions from the power of the lord, may be taken as an indication of the process by which he will ultimately succeed in depriving the lord of his exclusive possession of the earth, and thereby emancipating his own labor from the burdens that oppress it, and from the depreciation of value which it must necessarily experience, so long as the great body of the population are merely laborers for the lords. And laborers for the lords the great body of the population must be, so long as the soil, the mines, the fisheries, &c., are accorded to a small number of individual proprietors.
As regards personal liberty, the lord and the serf present the greatest possible diversity. They are the antipodes, the positive and negative poles, of man’s possible condition. The antagonism cannot be greater; it is absolute, ultimate, final. Man cannot make the disparity more perfect; it is the absolute dominion of strength, and the absolute subjection of weakness. The lord is the possessor, the serf is the possessed; the one is a being who commands, the other a thing who obeys. The one has the profit without the labor, the other the labor without the profit.
Such a condition—contrary as it is to every principle of reason, of equity, and of religion—is not only established by licentious power, but authorized and perpetuated by human law. And thus the iniquity was made to receive a sanction, which, although based on the darkest superstition, yet lent a kind of moral authorization to the system, and enabled the lords to speak of their rights; while the serfs, on the other hand, were impressed with a kind of fear that they might be doing wrong when they resorted to force to rid themselves of the oppression.
And the history of the acquisition of liberty (in Britain, for instance) is only the history of the gradual destruction of the privileges of the lord, and of the legal title which the serf has from time to time succeeded in establishing to those natural rights of which he had been deprived. The vast transformations that have taken place in the social conditions of Englishmen may be concisely expressed in the proposition, that “they have gradually, and through the course of many centuries, been progressing from the extreme of antagonism and disparity towards absolute equality in the eye of the law, so far us the matter of liberty is concerned.” It is true that this process is not yet complete, and that considerable changes must yet take place before the government of the country becomes the impartial administrator of equal law, made the same for every inhabitant of the country, without the slightest distinction of individuals or of classes, except in so far as individuals may be made to fill offices, which offices may have peculiar duties, peculiar responsibilities, and peculiar remunerations attached to them. But this question of official disparity is a mere question of executive administration, similar to the appointment of directors or managers in a corporate concern, where some are appointed to act for all; without, however, establishing any disparity of rights, but only such a disparity of functions as the common judgment or the society may find advisable for the success of its operations.
If, then, the progress of modern society has been a gradual but sure progress from the extreme of disparity towards absolute parity in the eye of the law, so far as personal liberty is concerned, we have only to identify the laws of property with the laws of liberty to arrive at a firm conviction, that the progress will continue in the same direction until parity in the eye of the law shall be evolved, so far as natural property is concerned. If we were to view the laws relating to natural property (the earth) as distinct from the laws relating to personal liberty, then we should base an argument on analogy, and we should maintain that the evolution that has taken place in the matter of liberty would also take place in the matter of natural property. And this argument would be valid, and would afford a high probability that the equalization of natural property was to be anticipated as the conclusion of human evolution in that department.
But if property be considered as one of the substantives of moral dynamics, and if we reason the question on the scheme of human action—inquiring not into the laws that have reference to the object, but into the laws that have reference to man and man’s actions—we thereby identify the laws of liberty and the laws of property, and come to view both as the laws that should preside over human function; because, to allocate a certain portion of the earth to one individual, is only to prohibit all other individuals from using that portion, and the question, viewed in this light, can only be argued as a branch of the more general question, “How can one man justly lay restrictions on another man?” And when the question is viewed in this light, it is plainly evident that there is no such thing as a law of property, distinct and separate from a law of liberty, but that the theory of liberty must include the theory of property; and if the time should come when the law shall be impartial with regard to human action, then of necessity must the law be impartial with regard to natural property; in fact, with regard to every thing that is not created by the skill and labor of the individual.
Let us consider that the very essence of just law is, that it is “no respecter of persons,” and that á priori it acknowledges no difference and no distinction between the individuals who are to be regulated by its enactments. Law, to be just, must be the same for all the individuals who are to be subject to it; and if law be made in such a manner that it imposes on one man a restriction which it does not impose on another, then is that, law not just, nor is man morally bound to acknowledge it or obey it. The validity of law depends exclusively on its equity and impartiality; and wherever the law starts by acknowledging or establishing diversities of privileges, there is the law unjust, partial, and wicked; and it is the duty of man, as man, to destroy that law, and to reestablish the equilibrium of equity, which ought never to have been disturbed. The very end and intention of impartial law is the prevention of the disturbance of the equilibrium of equity; and “where the law, instead of preventing this disturbance, originates, defends, anti perpetuates it” that law has altogether departed from the true intention of law, and its abolition is absolutely necessary before man call attain to the best condition possible for him on earth.
We are fully aware that there exists in the minds of many persons a vague apprehension, that if the present laws relating to landed property were to be disturbed, evils of the most malignant character would invade the society of Britain. Nothing can be more absurd, more puerile, more bastardly. The very same fears have prevailed with regard to every other change that has taken place; and, down to the last change that man shall make in his political arrangements, we may rest satisfied that the craven, the placeman, and the aristocrat will not fail to vent loud lamentations on the evils which, in their estimation, are sure to follow. The oft-repeated quotation from the great bard, ” ‘Tis better to bear the ills we have, than fly to others that we know not of,” is dragged ill to give the sanction of that proud name to fears which he would have regarded with scorn, and to interested representations which he would have rejected with detestation. True, in Shakspeare’s sense, it is better to bear the ills of human life than to rush with the red hand into the presence of the almighty Giver of life. True, this is true. And even ill our own lot it may be better to bear one worldly evil than to make a change which might entail other worldly evils which we know not of. This also is true. But surely none can be so besotted as not to perceive that the question comes in another form, and that a new reading must be adopted before we can have an applicable sentiment. The question, wherever there is injustice, is not, whether it is better to bear the ills we have; but, whether it is better to make others bear the ills we inflict upon them; and, whether it is better for them to bear the ills which men inflict, than fly to changes which deliver the oppressed from the pain, and the oppressor from the sin, of the injustice.
But while we maintain that the continual progress of mankind is towards equality in the eye of the law, and that as men were once at the utmost extreme of inequality, and have been gradually and surely decreasing that inequality; and consequently that we have the evidence of past history to give us the line of progress, and the evidence of reason that, if that line continue, it must terminate in the total abolition of privilege and the establishment of absolute equality; we have also the dogma of political science, which proves equality to be right, and evidence from the other sciences to prove that what is right ultimately comes to be adopted in practice.
This portion of the argument presents itself in the following aspect:—
1st. There is no possibility of establishing a diversity of fights between the various individuals of which the human race is composed, in so far as those individuals enter into relation with each other for the formation of a state or community, acting for the common advantage.
In saying that there is no possibility of establishing such a diversity of rights, we mean that there is no natural source of knowledge whatever from which such a diversity could possibly flow. There may be a diversity of strength, or of intellect, or of skill, or of cunning; but the very moment we admit an abstract or general moral law, we absolutely obliterate the possibility of a diversity of rights. Men find themselves on the surface of the globe, and find themselves also possessed of a reason which furnishes general propositions applicable to the race, and there exists no natural means whatever of determining what individual men should possess more rights than their fellows, or what individual men should possess fewer rights than their fellows. The only possible means by which such a diversity could be established, would be a revelation from the Creator of mankind; and except in the one case, of the Hebrew nation, we have no evidence that the Creator has ever pointed out any individuals, or any families, who were to enjoy specified rights, in contradistinction to the general fights which men derive from the intuitions of the reason.
2d. Men having fallen from the first estate in which they were created, have in their moral actions and political arrangements followed, not the dictates of their impartial reason, but the dictates of their selfish passions; and thus those in power have not only acted wrongfully, but have enacted wrong, bad, and wicked laws, thereby perpetuating the injustice under the formal sanction of legislation.
3d. On this account, human laws and human arrangements, instead of being impartial and for the benefit of human society at large, have originated and perpetuated systems of partiality, whereby power and privilege were accorded to certain individuals, families, classes, castes, &c., at the expense of the other members of the race; who, of necessity, were restricted in their rights in the same ratio that the privileged classes were endowed with privileges.
4th. Human society, therefore, instead of presenting an ethically homogeneous aspect, resulting from the universal prevalence of impartial law, (which laid on all exactly the same moral restrictions, and which accorded to all exactly the same liberty for the development of individual labor, skill, industry, and enterprise.) has exhibited the human race as divided into classes endowed with diverse privileges; and has figured forth the antagonism of the oppressor and the oppressed, instead of the harmony of equal freemen, each developing his own fortunes within those moral restrictions which are immutable.
5th. But the arrangements of mankind have not only established diversities of rights affecting mere action, (in Britain, for instance, we have a franchised class and an un franchised class; that is, a freed class, or class of freed serfs, and an unfreed class, or class of laboring serfs not yet freed,) but they have established diversities of rights affecting the possession of the earth, which the Creator intended for the race; and thus one man was endowed with vast extents of territory, while on the other hand, multitudes were thereby necessarily deprived of every thing except their labor. So singular a system could only originate in the reign of power, and could only be perpetuated through the ignorance of the masses of the population. But the arrangements of mankind with regard to the earth did not stop here. One generation was not content with making arrangements which were to be in force for that generation alone; but laws were enacted, and customs were acknowledged, whereby the arrangements of one generation were to descend to future generations, and to be imposed on men not yet born, who were to be born into a world already portioned out, and, consequently, to which they had no title. Those, therefore, who were born into the world in a country where the land had been accorded to individual proprietors, could obtain their livelihood only by laboring for other men; and as those to whom the land had been accorded could not cultivate it themselves, and as the land was required for the support of the population, the laborers were under the necessity of paying a rent to those who thus procured a vast revenue without labor. This system of diversity of rights to the natural earth, which God intended for the race, being perpetuated from generation to generation, entails with it, as its necessary attendant, that baneful condition of society, in which we have a few aristocrats endowed with vast wealth without labor, and a multitude of laborers reduced to poverty, destitution, and sometimes to actual starvation.
6th. The whole idea of a diversity of rights and privileges originates in the corrupted heart of mankind, and in the darkened intellect that has allowed superstition to dictate its credence, instead of having its propositions on the axioms of the reason.
However long men may be in coming to the conclusion, they must ultimately accord that there are no natural means known by which a diversity of right could possibly be established. A diversity of rights implies, that some individuals are to be endowed with certain privileges not common to the race. And these individuals would require to be recognizable. Now, no natural means whatever, no methods of appreciation known to man, ever did, or ever could, enable the human race to say, á priori, “This individual is entitled to more rights than that individual.” Nothing but a revelation from the Creator could ever establish such a distinction; and consequently all diversities in the human race must be diversities of office, and diversities of condition, produced by the more or less successful result of individual labor, enterprise, or skill. Every other diversity is contrary to reason; and when established by human law, such law is bad, wrong, and wicked, and ought to be abolished.
7th. The whole history of man informs us that the human race is gradually emerging from superstition, gradually acquiring knowledge, and gradually applying that knowledge to rectify the arrangements which were made in times of superstition. And history also informs us, that wherever truth is substantiated, it does, sooner or later, receive the assent of the human intellect; and though the progress has been partial, both as regards the quantity of truth received, and the extent to which it has been received—by the nations of the earth, the advances already made leave no possible doubt as to the system, process, or scheme, according to which man abandons superstition, and adheres at last to those propositions which are properly substantiated. In every department of human action, we may in the present day observe the gradual substitution of scientific method for empirical method, or for the fictions of superstition, and as no doubt can possibly be entertained that men are now approaching man science, we may rest satisfied that the political relations of man will, ere long, be treated according to a scientific method—that fictions will be abandoned, and that arrangements will he made in accordance with the dictates of the reason, instead of emanating from the right of the strongest, confirmed by legislation.
8th. The great theoretic change that must take place in Britain, is the abolition of the belief that one generation of men can be bound’ by the arrangements of past generations; and, instead of that belief, the substitution of a belief that men in every age must be governed by reason; that, whatever the arrangements of laws of past generations may have been, those arrangements or laws are binding now only in so far as they are now right, quite independently of any sanction they may have received from legislation. The acts of past men are no more binding on present men in matters of politics than they are in matters of astronomy or theology; and when we find the soil of Britain disposed of, not according to any scheme that pretends to be now right, but according to the arrangements of men long since dead, who enacted the perpetuity of their arrangements, we may rest satisfied that the nation must ere long turn its attention to the revision of those arrangements, and inquire, “What ought to be the present disposition of the soil, supposing no arrangements whatever has been inherited from past generations.”
No political truth requires to be more strenuously impressed upon the world, than that the men of every succeeding generation have the same right to make their own arrangements, unburdened with any responsibilities, restrictions, diversifies or right and privileges other than those restrictions imposed by the general laws of equity, or those diversities of office which they may agree to make for their general advantage. Nothing can be more absurd than to suppose that a past generation can make arrangements to deprive the present generation (at any given time) of its full right to dispose of the earth in the mode that is best for the present generation; and though the laws of Britain are utterly contrary to reason, in this respect, inasmuch as lands are entailed in particular families, to whom other Britons must pay a rent for the use of the soil, we need not hesitate to affirm, that the moment a scientific method (whether inductive and economical, or deductive and moral) comes to be applied to the question, “Whose is the soil, and how should it be distributed?” that moment will the fabric of English aristocracy be undermined, and the social laws of Britain will undergo a thorough regeneration. Superstition on this point may endure for a few years longer; but so certainly as men achieve equality in the eye of the law with regard to natural liberty, so certainly must they ultimately achieve equality with regard to natural property. And so certainly as men reduce to practice the propositions of knowledge in the other sciences, so certainly will they ultimately reduce to practice the propositions of political science; and instead of being the slaves of superstition, held in awe by the bugbears of hereditary rights, the authority of (wrong) laws and the impositions of legal fictions, they will make reason the ruler, moral science the expositor of reason, and subject themselves to the laws of justice, and no longer to the laws of men.
If, then, we admit that every generation of men has the same free right to make its own arrangements, and to carry into effect the principles it knows or believes to be true, quite independently of the arrangements that have been made by any anterior generations, we must also of necessity admit, that the earth and all it contains belong, [or the time being, to every existing generation, and that the disposition of the earth (as the great storehouse from which man must derive his support and sustenance) is not to be determined by the laws, customs, arrangements, king’s gifts, or prescriptive rights of any past generation of men, but by the judgment and reason of the existing generation, ordering all arrangements according to the rules of equity, which are always valid and always binding, and which at every given moment of time are the rules which ought to determine human action. Consequently the question at every period is, “What is the equitable disposition of the earth?” Is it equitable that any arrangements of past generations should cause one man now to be born heir to a county, or half a county, or quarter of a county, while the other inhabitants of that county are thereby deprived of all right to the soil, and must consequently pay a rent to the one individual who naturally has not one particle of right to the earth more than they have themselves? And if such an arrangement be not now equitable, most undoubtedly it ought not to be allowed to continue; and if any government (in stead of administrating the laws of equity) use the armed power of the nation for the purpose of enforcing such arrangements, such government has departed from its proper intention, and is not entitled to obedience.
If, then, we admit that every generation of men has exactly the same free right to the earth, unencumbered by any arrangements of past ages, the great problem is to discover “such a system as shall secure to every man his exact share of the natural advantages which the Creator has provided for the race; while, at the same time, he has full opportunity, without let or hinderance, to exercise his labor, industry, and skill, for his own advantage.” Until this problem is solved, both in theory and in practice, political change must continually go on.
The great practical termination, therefore, towards which modern societies are continually progressing, is equalization in the eye of the law, both with regard to natural liberty and natural property. And if we view property (natural property—that is, that which is not created by human labor, industry, or skill) as entering the theory of morals—and we must view it in this light when we view it by the aid of a scientific method—we include natural property in the theory of human function, and posit finally that the progression or mankind is towards that political condition in which the law shall be exactly one and the same for all men, without diversities of rights or privileges, and without diversities of condition other than diversities of office, and diversities of condition produced by the more or less successful result of individual labor, skill, or enterprise. And the ground on which we identify the laws of property and the laws of liberty is this: When human laws accord to one man a portion of the earth as property, the essential character of such an arrangement is, that all other men are prohibited or restricted from, using that portion of the earth; and consequently this law is merely a law restricting action, inasmuch as the prohibition is specific, whereas there is no injunction on the proprietor to cultivate the land, or make it produce its maximum for the increase of human welfare.
Absolute equalization in the eye of the law with regard to natural rights, is the final termination of man’s political progress, the last term in that grand series of changes that commenced with the two opposite elements—the lord and the serf; and which will terminate with the one element—the freeman without privileges and without oppressions.
There cannot be the slightest question that the progression of modern states is towards universal suffrage; that is, towards absolute equalization of the political function of the individuals of whom the state is composed. The necessary attendant of universal suffrage must be, “the equal eligibility of every member of the state to fill any office in the state.”—
When a state arrives at this ultimatum with regard to the political function of each individual, the question of natural property must fall to be discussed; and as no possible reason can be alleged why one individual should, á priori, be endowed with more of the earth (which God, the Creator and Father of mankind, has given to the human race) than any other individual; and as every generation of existing men must have exactly the same title to a free earth, unencumbered with all arrangements of past generations, we may rest satisfied that, through whatever transformations men may pass, the ultimate point at which they must necessarily arrive is absolute equality with regard to natural property. And if so, the intention of Providence will then be realized, that the industrious man shall be rich, and the man who labors not shall be poor. Such is the intention of nature, and such is the intention of the almighty Maker of mankind.
The great social problem, then, that cannot fail ere long to appeal in the arena of European discussion is, “to discover such a system as shall secure to every man his exact share of the natural advantages which the Creator has provided for the race; while, at the same time, he has full opportunity, without let or hinderance, to exercise his skill, industry, and perseverance for his own advantage.”
Of this problem, we maintain that there can be but one general solution possible; and the whole analogy of scientific discovery assures us that, sooner or later, the problem will be solved, that the solution will be acknowledged, and that it will be transformed from an intellectual dogma into a practical rule of action, thereby presenting a realization, in outward condition, of those prepositions which the reason has seen to be correct.
The solution we propound (and which we hope to defend more at large at some future period) is the following, although, of course, there is no supposition that any general solution can be immediately applicable to the circumstances of this or any other country.
[For convenience’ sake, we neglect all speculations as to what mayor may not be the geographical arrangements of states at a future period. We shall speak of England alone, and consider the state of England as composed of an indefinite number of members, all equal in the eye of the law, all on a parity with regard to primary political function, and all equally eligible to fill any office to which they may be elected by the suffrages of the majority. All authority of man is of course excluded, and the CANON OF RIGHT is the SCIENCE OF EQUITY; that is, the rules of divine and immutable justice, as capable of being apprehended by the human reason.]
1st. Reason can acknowledge no difference of original rights between the individuals of which the human race is composed.
2d. Equality of rights cannot be sacrificed by any arrangements which one generation of men make for succeeding generations; but equality of rights is perpetual, inasmuch as that equality derives from the human reason, which varies not from age to age.
Even if it were true that there ought to be an inequality of rights among the individuals of the human race, it would be absolutely impossible to determine which individuals of the race should be born to more rights, and which individuals to fewer rights, than their fellows. An inequality of rights can only be based on superstition, and the very moment reason is substituted for superstition in political science, (as it has been in the physical sciences.) that moment must men admit that no possible means are known by which an inequality of rights could possibly be substantiated. Even if it were true, for instance, that there should be an aristocracy and a serfdom, there are no possible means of determining which individuals should be the aristocrats, and which individuals the serfs.
3d, The state of England, then, would present a soil (including the soil proper, the mines, forests, fisheries, &c., in fact, that portion of the natural earth called England) which was permanent, and a population that was not permanent, but renewed by successive generations.
4th. The question, then, is, “What system will secure to every individual of these successive generations his portion of the natural advantages of England?” Of this problem, we maintain that there is but one solution possible.
5th. No truth can be more absolutely certain, as an intuitive proposition of the reason, than that “an object is the property of its creator;” 1) and we maintain that creation is the only means by which an individual right to property can be generated. Consequently, as no individual and no generation is the creator of the substantive, earth, it belongs equally to all the existing inhabitants; that is, no individual has a special claim to more than another.
6th. But while on the one hand we take into consideration the object,—that is, the earth,—we must also take into consideration the subject; that is, man, and man’s labor.
7th. The object is the common properly at all, no individual being able to exhibit a title to any particular portion of it. And individual or private property is, the increased value produced by individual labor. Again; in the earth must be distinguished the permanent earth and its temporary or perishable productions. The former,—that is, the permanent earth,—we maintain, never can be private property; and every system that treats it as such must necessarily be unjust. No rational basis has ever been exhibited on the world on which private right to any particular portion of the earth could possibly be founded.
8th. But though the permanent earth never can be private property,—although the laws may call it so, and may treat it as such,—it must be possessed by individuals for the purpose of cultivation, and for the purpose of extracting from it all those natural objects which man requires.
9th. The question, then, is, Upon what terms, or according to what system, must the earth be possessed by the successive generations that succeed each other on the surface of the globe? The conditions given are—First. That the earth is the common property of the race; Second. That whatever an individual produces by his own labor—whether it be a new object, made out of many materials, or a new value given by labor to all object whose form, locality, &c., may be changed—is the private property of that individual, and be may dispose of it as he pleases, provided he does not interfere with his fellows; Third. The earth is the perpetual common property of the race, and each succeeding generation has a full title to a free earth. One generation cannot encumber a succeeding generation.
And the condition required is, such a system as shall secure to the successive individuals of the race their share of the common property, and the opportunity, without interference, of making as much private property as their skill, industry, and enterprise would enable them to make.
The scheme that appears to present itself most naturally is, the general division of the soil, portioning it out to the inhabitants according to their number. Such appears to be the only system that suggests itself to most minds, if we may judge from the objections brought forward against an equalization of property. All these objections are against the actual division of the soil; and certainly such a division is theoretically erroneous, especially when the fractional parts are made the property of the possessors. But independently of this, the profits arising from trade, &c. would induce many individuals to forsake agriculture, and to abandon their portion to those who preferred the cultivation of the soil to any other pursuit. A purely agricultural population is almost impossible at any period; but when men have made considerable advances in the arts, &c., a general return to agricultural pursuits is a mere chimera, a phantom. Men must go forward, never backward. To speak of a division of lands in England is absurd. Such a division would be as useless as it is improbable. But it is more than useless; it is unjust: and unjust, not to the present so called proprietors, but to the human beings who are continually being born into the world, and who have exactly the same natural right to a portion that their predecessors have. For instance, let us suppose a hundred thousand acres divided into a thousand portions, and accorded as property to a thousand persons. This appears, at first sight, to be an equitable arrangement; and if the persons were immortal, and begot no children, the arrangement might be unobjectionable. But if the soil were made property, it would be alienable, and one of the thousand pet-soils might alienate his hundred acres to another proprietor, who would then come to have two· hundred acres. This might be perfectly equitable between the two parties themselves; but there are others interested in the transaction, and their rights must not be overlooked. Let us suppose that, in a few years, the adult population had increased to one thousand and fifty. The fifty new men have exactly the same right to a fractional share that the original one thousand had —mere priority of time making no possible difference in the right of men to the natural globe. What, then, would require to be done? It would be necessary, either, 1st. to preserve the original proprietors in their so called properties, thereby depriving the fifty new men of all share of the globe; or, 2d, to make a new division of the whole lands, dividing them into one thousand and fifty portions. This, of course, would destroy the proprietorship of the first occupants, and, in the practical division of the lands, would involve the recasting of the whole thousand farms or holdings. Every one would require to shift its boundaries every time that an increase of the population rendered a new division requisite. Such a system would be destructive to the cultivation of the soil; and though perhaps possible, it would be attended with inconveniences which render its reduction to practice out of the question.
The actual division of the soil need never be anticipated, nor would such a division be just, if the divided portions were made the property (legally, for they could never be so morally) of individuals.
If, then successive generations of men cannot have their fractional share of the actual soil, (including mines, &c.,) how can the division of the advantages of the natural earth be effected?
By the division of its annual value or rent; that is, by making the rent of the soil the common property of the nation. That is, (as the taxation is the common property of the state,) by taking the whole of the taxes out of the rents of the soil, and thereby abolishing all other kinds of taxation whatever. And thus all industry would be absolutely emancipated from every burden, and every man would reap such natural reward as his skill, industry, or enterprise rendered legitimately his, according to the natural law of free competition. This we maintain to be the only theory that will satisfy the requirements of the problem of natural property. And the question now is, How can the division of the rent be effected? An actual division of the rent-that is, the payment of so much money to each individual-would be attended with, perhaps, insuperable inconveniences j neither is such an actual division requisite, every requirement being capable of fulfilment without it.
We now apply this solution to England. England forms a state; that is, a community acting through public servants for the administration of justice, &c. In the actual condition of England, many things are at present unjust; and the right of the government to tax and make laws for those who are excluded from representation is, at all events, questionable. However, we shall make a few remarks on England as she is, and on England as she ought to be; that is, as she would be, were the rules of equity reduced to practical operation.
1st. The state has alienated the lands to private individuals called proprietors, and the vast majority of Englishmen are born to their labor minus their share of the taxation.
2d. This taxation of labor has introduced vast systems of restriction all trades and industry. Instead of a perfectly free trade with all the world, England has adopted a revenue system that most materially diminishes both the amount of trade and its profit. And, instead of a perfectly free internal industry, England has adopted an excise that is as vexatious in its operation as can well be conceived, Both the customs and excise laws, and every other tax all industry, have arisen from the alienation of the soil from the state; and had the soil not been alienated, no tax whatever would have been requisite; and were the soil resumed, (as it undoubtedly ought to be,) every tax: of every kind and character, save the common rent of the soil, might at once be abolished, with the whole army of collectors, revenue officers, cruisers, coast guards, excisemen, &c., &c.
3d. Taxation can only be on land or labor. [By land we mean the natural earth, not merely the agricultural soil.] These are the two radical elements that can be subjected to taxation, capital being originally derived from one or the other. Capital is only hoarded labor or hoarded rent; and as all capital must be derived from the one source or the other, all taxation of capital is only taxation of land or of labor. Consequently all taxation of whatever kind is, 1st, taxation of labor, that is, a deduction from the natural remuneration which God intended the laborer to derive from his exertions; or, 2d, taxation of land, that is, the appropriation of the current value of the natural earth to the expenses of the state.
Now, labor is essentially private property, and land is not essentially private property, but on the contrary is the common inheritance of every generation of mankind. Where the land is taxed, no man is taxed, nor does the taxation of land interfere in anyway whatever with the progress of human industry. On the contrary, the taxation of land, rightly directed, might be made to advance the condition of the country to a high degree of prosperity.
4th. For the expenses of a state there must be a revenue, and this revenue must be derived from the taxation of labor, or from the rent of the lands. There is no other alternative, either the rents of the soil must be devoted to the common expenses of the state, or the labor of individuals must be interfered with; and restrictions, supervisions, prohibitions, &c., must be called into existence, to facilitate the collection of the revenue.
5th. In England, exactly the same injustice was practised with regard to natural property that was practised with regard to natural liberty; and though the laws and customs that took away the natural liberty of the laboring serf have been for the most part abolished, the laws and customs that make the land the exclusive property of the aristocracy remain almost intact, and have yet to undergo their progress of abolition. Let us first look at the circumstances of the case. And here we shall make a few quotations from the impartial Blackstone.
The constitution of feuds had its original from the military policy of the northern, or Celtic nations—the Goths, the Huns, the Franks, &c. … … It was brought by them from their own countries, and continued in their respective colonies as the most likely means to secure their new acquisitions; and to that end large districts, or parcels of land, were allotted by the conquering general to the superior officers of the army, and by them dealt out again in smaller parcels or allotments to the inferior officers and most deserving soldiers. These allotments were called feoda, feud, fiefs, or fees; which last appellation, in the northern languages, signifies a conditional stipend or reward. Rewards, or stipends, they evidently were; and the condition annexed to them was, that the possessor should do service faithfully, both at home and in the wars, to him by whom they were given; for which purpose he took the juramentum fidelitatis, or oath of fealty; and in case of the breach of this condition and oath, by not performing the stipulated service, or by deserting the lord in battle, the lands were again to revert to him who granted them.”
This explains the mechanism by which the lands were allocated; but the right to allocate was the right of the sword, or right of the strongest; and consequently any future person who should prove strong enough to overcome the occupiers, would have exactly the same right to allocate them to other individuals. The whole of the feudal system was based on the right of the strongest; and if the unfortunate Irish were strong enough to reconquer the lands of Ireland, they would have exactly the same right that was reduced to practice by the feudal laws.
“But this feudal polity, which was thus by degrees established over all the continent of Europe, seems not to have been received in this part of our island—at least not universally, and as a part of the national constitution, till the reign of William the Norman. … From the prodigious slaughter of the English nobility at the battle of Hastings, and the fruitless insurrections of those who survived, such numerous forfeitures had accrued, that he was able to reward his Norman followers with very large and extensive possessions. … … The king held a great council to inquire into the state of the nation; the immediate consequence of which was the compiling of the great survey called Domesday-book, which was finished in the next year; and in the latter end of that very year, the king was attended by all his nobility at Sarum, where all the principal landholders submitted their lands to the yoke of military tenure, became the king’s vassals, and did honor and fealty to his person. This may possibly have been the era of formally introducing the feudal tenures by law; and perhaps the very law thus made at the Council of Sarum is that which is still extant, … This new polity, therefore, seems not to have been imposed by the Conqueror, but nationally and freely adopted by the general assembly of the whole realm, in the same manner as other nations of Europe had before adopted it, upon the same principle of self-security. And, in particular, they had the recent example of the French nation before their eyes, which had gradually surrendered up all its allodial or free lands into the king’s hands, who restored them to the owners as a beneficium or feud, to be held by them and such of their heirs as they previously nominated to the king; and thus by degrees all the allodial estates in France were converted into feuds, and the freemen became the vassals of the crown. The only difference between this change of tenures in France and that in England was, that the former was effected gradually by the consent of private persons; the latter was done at once all over England by the common consent of the nation. The grand and fundamental maxim of all feudal tenure is this; That all lands were originally granted out by the sovereign, and are therefore holden either mediately or immediately of the crown. The grantor was called the proprietor or lord, being he who retained the dominion or ultimate property of the feud or fee; and the grantee, who had only the use and possession, according to the terms of the grant was styled the feudatory or vassal, which was only another name for the tenant or holder of the lands. … … Besides an oath of fealty, the vassal did usually homage to his lord; professing that he became his man from that day forth, of life, and limb, and earthly honor. When the tenant had thus professed himself to be the man of his superior or lord, the next consideration was concerning the service which, as such, he was bound to render in recompense for the land that he held. This, in pure, proper, and original feuds, was only twofold—to follow or do suit to the lord in his courts in time of peace, and in his armies or warlike retinue when necessity called him to the field. The military branch of service consisted in attending the lord to the wars, if called upon, with such a retinue, and for such a number of days, as were stipulated at the first i donation in proportion to the quantity of the land. … … At the first introduction of feuds, as they were gratuitous so also they were precarious, and held at the will of the lord, who was then the sole judge whether his vassal performed his services faithfully. Then they became certain for one or more years. … … In process of time, feuds came by degrees to be universally extended beyond the life of the first vassal to his sons, or perhaps to such one of them ail the lord should name; and, in this case, the form of the donation was strictly observed; for if a feud was given to a man and his sons, all his sons succeeded him in equal portions; and, as they died off, their shares reverted to the lord, and did not descend to their children, or even to their surviving brothers, as not being specified in the donation. But when such a feud was given to a man and his heirs in general terms, then a more extended rule of succession took place; and, when the feudatory died, his male descendants in infinitum were admitted to the succession.
“These were the principal and very simple qualities of the genuine or original feuds, which were all of a military nature, and in the hands of military persons; though the feudatories, being under frequent incapacities of cultivating and manuring their own lands, soon found it necessary to commit part of them to inferior tenants, obliging them to such returns in service, corn, cattle, or money, as might enable the chief feudatories to attend their military duties without distraction; which returns, or reditus, were the original of rents.
“In this chapter (chap. vi.) we shall take a short view of the ancient tenures of our English’ estates, or the manner in which lands, tenements, and hereditaments might have been holden, as the same stood in force till the middle of the last century; in which we shall easily perceive that all the particularities, all the seeming and real hardships, that attended those tenures, were to be accounted for upon feudal principles, and no other; being fruits of, and deduced from, the feudal policy.
“Almost all the real property of this kingdom is, by the policy of our laws; supposed to be granted by, dependent upon, and holden of, some superior lord, by and in consideration of certain services to be rendered to the lord by the tenant or possessor of this property. The thing holden is therefore styled a tenement, the possessors thereof tenants, and the manner of their possession a tenure. Thus all the land in the kingdom is supposed to be holden, mediately or immediately, of the king, who is styled lord paramount, or above all. Such tenants as held under the king immediately, when they granted out portions of their lands to inferior persons, became also lords with respect to those inferior persons, as they were still tenants with respect to the king; and thus, partaking of a middle nature, were called mesne, or middle lords. So that if the king granted a manor to A, and he granted a portion of the land to B, now B was said to hold of A, and A of the king; or, in other words, B held his lands immediately of A, but mcdiately of the king, The king, therefore, was styled lord paramount; A was both tenant and lord, or was a mesne lord, and B was called tenant paravail, or the lowest tenant, being he who was supposed to make a vail, or profit, of the land. In this manner are all the lands of the kingdom holden which are in the hands of subjects; for according to Sir Edward Coke, in the law of England we have not properly allodium; which, we have seen, is the name by which the feudists abroad distinguish such estates of the subject as are not holden of any superior. So that at the first glance we may observe, that our lands are either plainly feuds, or partake very strongly of the feudal nature.
“All tenures being thus derived, or supposed to be derived, from the king, those that held immediately under him in right of his crown and dignity were called tenants in capite, or in chief, which was the most honorable species of tenure; but, at the same time, subjected the tenants to greater and more burdensome services than inferior tenures did. This distinction ran through all the different sorts of tenure, of which I now proceed to give an account.
“There seem to have subsisted among our ancestors four principal species of lay tenures, to which all others may be reduced; the grand criteria of which were the natures of the several services, or renders, that were tine to the lords from their tenants. The services, in respect of their quality, were either free or base services; in respect of their quantity, and the time of exacting them, were either certain or uncertain. Free services were such as were not unbecoming the character of a soldier or a freeman to perform; as to serve under his lord in the wars, to pay a sum of money, and the like. Base services were such as were fit only for peasants, or persons of a servile rank, as to plough the lord’s land, to make his hedges, to carry out his dung, or other mean employments. …
“The first, most universal, and esteemed the most honorable species of tenure, was that by knightservice, called in Latin servitium militare, and in law French chivalry, or service de chivaler, answering to the fief d’haubert of the Normans. This differed in very few points from a pure and proper feud, being entirely military, and the general effect of the feudal establishment in England. To make a tenure by knight-service, a determinate quantity of land was necessary, which was called a knight’s fee, feodum militare; the measure of which in 3 Edward I. was estimated at twelve ploughlands, and its value (though it varied with the times) in the reigns of Edward 1. and Edward II. was stated at £20 per annum. And he who held this proportion of land (or a whole fee) by knight-service, was bound to attend his lord to the wars for forty days in every year if called upon; which attendance was his reditus, or return, his rent or service for the land he claimed to hold. If he held only half a knight’s fee, he was only bound to attend twenty days, and so in proportion.
“The personal attendance in knight-service growing troublesome and inconvenient in many respects, the tenants found means of compounding for it, by first sending others in their stead, and in process of time making a pecuniary satisfaction to the lords in lieu of it. This pecuniary satisfaction at last came to be levied by assessments at so much for every knight’s fee; and therefore this kind of tenure was called scutagium in Latin, or servilium scuti—scutum being then a wellknown denomination for money; and in like manner it was called in our Norman-French escuage, being indeed a pecuniary instead of a military service. The first time this appears to have been taken was in the 5 Henry II., on account of his expedition to Toulouse; but it soon came to be so universal that personal attendance fell quite into disuse. Hence we find in our ancient histories, that from this period, when our kings went to war, they levied scutages on their tenants, that is, on all the land holders of the kingdom, to defray their expenses and to hire troops; and these assessments in the time of Henry II. seem to have been made arbitrarily, and at the king’s pleasure; which prerogative being greatly abused by his successors, it became matter of national clamor, and King John was obliged to consent by his Magna Charta, that no scutage should be imposed without consent of Parliament. But this clause was omitted in his son Henry III’s charter, where we only find that scutages or escuage should be taken as they were used to be taken in the time of Henry II.; that is, in a reasonable and moderate manner. Yet afterwards, by statute 25 Edw. 1. c.5 and 6, and many subsequent statutes, it was again provided that the king should take no aids or tasks by his common assent or the realm; hence it was held in our old books that escuage or scutage could not be levied but by consent of Parliament; such scutages being indeed the groundwork of all succeeding subsidies, and the land tax of later times.
“Since, therefore, escuage differed from knight-service in nothing but as a compensation differs from actual service, knight-service is frequently confounded with it. And thus Littleton must be understood when he tells us that tenant by homage, fealty, and escuage, was tenant by knight-service; that is, that this tenure (being subservient to the military policy of the nation) was respected as a tenure in chivalry. But as the actual service was uncertain, and depended upon emergencies, so it was necessary that this peculiar compensation should be equally uncertain, and depend on the assessments of the legislature, suited to these emergencies. For had the escuage been a settled invariable sum, payable at certain times, it had been neither more nor less than a mere pecuniary rent; and the tenure, instead of knight-service, would have then been of another kind, called socage; of which we shall speak in the next chapter.
“For the present I have only to observe, that by the degenerating of knight-service, or personal military duty, into escuage or pecuniary assessments, all the advantages (either promised or real) of the feudal constitution were destroyed, and nothing but the hardships remained. Instead of forming a national militia, composed of barons, knights, and gentlemen) bound by their interest, their honor, and their oaths, to defend their king and country, the whole of this system of tenure now tended to nothing else but a wretched means of raising money to pay an army of occasional mercenaries. In the mean time the families of all our nobility and gentry groaned under the intolerable burdens which’ (in consequence of the fiction adopted after the Conquest) were introduced and laid upon them by the subtlety and finesse of the Norman lawyers, For, besides the scutages, to which they were liable in defect of personal attendance—which, however, were assessed by themselves in Parliament—they might be callcd upon by the king or lord paramount for aids, whenever his eldest son was to be knighted, or his eldest daughter married, not to forget the ransom of his own person. The heir, on the death of his ancestor, if of full age, was plundered of the first emoluments arising from his inheritance, by way of relief and primer scisin; and if under age, of the whole of his estate during infancy. And then, as Sir Thomas Smith very feelingly complains, ‘When he came to his own after he was out of wardship, his woods decayed, houses fallen down, stock wasted and gone, lands let forth and ploughed to be barren;’ to reduce him still further, he was yet to pay half a year’s profits as a fine for suing out his livery, and also the price or value of his marriage, if he refused such wife as his lord and guardian had bartered for and imposed upon him; or twice that value if he married another woman. Add to this the untimely and expensive honor of knighthood, to make his poverty more completely splendid. And when, by these deductions, his fortune was so shattered and ruined that perhaps he was obliged to sell his patrimony, he had not even that poor privilege allowed him without paying an exorbitant fine for a license of alienation.
“A slavery so complicated and so extensive as this called aloud for a remedy, in a nation that boasted of its freedom. Palliatives were, from time to time, applied by successive acts of Parliament, which assuaged some temporary grievances, till at length the humanity of King James 1. consented, in consideration of a proper equivalent, to abolish them all, though the plan proceeded not to effect: in like manner as he had formed a scheme, and began to put it in execution, for removing the feudal grievance of heritable jurisdictions in Scotland, which has since been pursued and effected by the statute 20 Geo. n. c. 43. King James’s plan for exchanging our military tenures seems to have been nearly the same as that which has since been pursued, only with this difference, that, by way of compensation for the loss which the crown and other lords would sustain, an annual fee-farm rent was to have been settled, and inseparably annexed to the crown, and assured to the inferior lords, payable out of every knight’s fee within their respective seigniories—an expedient seemingly much better than the hereditary excise, which was afterwards made the principal equivalent of these concessions. For at length the military tenures, with all their heavy appendages, (having during the usurpation been discontinued.) were destroyed at one blow by the statute 12 Car. H. e. 24) which enacts ‘that the court of wards and liveries, and all wardships, liveries, primer seizins, and ousterlemains, values and forfeitures of marriages, by reason of any tenure of the king or others, be totally taken away; and that all fines for alienations, tenures by homage, night’s service, and escuage, and also aids for marrying the daughter or knighting the son, and all tenures of the king in capite, be likewise taken away; and that all sorts of tenures, held of the king or others, be turned into free and common socage, save only tenures in frankalmoign, copyholds, and the honorary services (without the slavish part) of grand serjeantry;—a statute which was a greater acquisition to the civil property of this kingdom than even Magna Charta itself; since that only pruned the luxuriances that had grown out of the military tenures, and thereby preserved them in vigor, but the statute of King Charles extirpated the whole, and demolished both root and branches.”—Blackstone, book ii. chap. 4.
“The abolition of military tenures, which was effected by statute, was one of the most acceptable measures that have been adopted … … The principal and original purpose of these tenures was to secure an efficient military force for the protection of the realm … …
To supply the deficiency in the king’s revenue, which the subtraction of the feudal profits and the successive grants of the crown had occasioned, was of course the next subject of consideration for the legislature. King James conceived the plan of securing an equivalent for the feudal profits by an annual fee-farm rent, which was to have been settled and inseparably annexed to the crown, and assured to the inferior lords, payable out of every knight’s fee within their respective seigniories. This plan appears to have been pursued in regard to inferior lords; but in respect to the king, the principal equivalent for these concessions was the excise.
“The excise was a novel mode of taxing commodities, either immediately on their consumption, or more frequently on their retail sale. It is said to have been first devised in the reign of Charles 1, and was given to the crown by act of Parliament as an equivalent for the profits of the feudal tenures; and although a very unpopular tax, it has been imposed on fresh commodities in every subsequent reign, … In consequence of the abolition of the feudal tenures, a permanent kind of military force was now raised, called a standing army, of which it appears that this king, Charles Il., had not more than the number of 5000.”—Crabb’s Hist. English Law.
“The origin of a permanently embodied military force may be dated from the commencement of this reign. … …. These formed at first a force of about 5000 men; but in the latter part of the next reign this force was augmented to 30,000. Parliament, however, never sanctioned the enrolment of this large army, nor did it vote the money required for their maintenance. They were embodied by the authority of the crown only, and were paid for either out of the civil list, or by diverting money voted for other purposes. It was on this unconstitutional force that James II. mistakenly depended for the success of his anti-Protestant and arbitrary schemes.”—Wade’s British Chronology.
Such is the most concise history that we could lay before the reader, in quotations, of the politics of English landed property. We shall show, presently, what a momentous change is recorded in this little history; but, before proceeding to any remarks of our own, we must advert to another change in the disposition of a large portion of the soil of England.
“In the course of the fourteenth century, the demand for wool to supply not only the markets of the Netherlands, but also the infant manufacturers of our own country, rapidly increased. This circumstance brought about an important change in the distribution of the population. The owners of land, finding sheep-feeding more profitable than husbandry, commenced the same system which we have all witnessed in full operation in the Highlands of Scotland. The peasantry, previously employed in tillage, were turned adrift upon the world; the allotments of arable land, which had afforded them and their families the means of subsistence, were enclosed, consolidated, and converted into sheep-walks; and the policy of Henry VII greatly accelerated a social revolution which had commenced before his accession. The misery and suffering which this change of system inflicted upon the ejected peasantry, have been depicted in beautiful and glowing language by Sir Thomas More, in his Utopia.
” ‘Your sheep,’ says he, ‘which were wont to be so meek and tame, and so small eaters, now become so great devourers, and so wild, that they eat up and swallow down the very men themselves. They consume, destroy, and devour whole fields, houses, and cities; for, look in what part of the realm cloth grow the finest, and therefore dearest wool, there, noblemen and gentlemen—yea, and certain abbots, holy men, God wot!—not contenting themselves with the yearly revenues and profits that were wont to grow to their forefathers and predecessors of their lands, nor being content that they live in rest and pleasure, nothing profiting, yea, much annoying the weal public, leave no ground for tillage. They enclose all into pastures, they throw down houses, they pluck down towns, and leave nothing standing but only the church, to be made a sheep-house. And, as though you lost no small quantity of ground by forests, chases, lands, and parks, those good, holy men, turn all dwelling-places and all glebe lands into desolation and wilderness.
” ‘Therefore, that one covetous, and unsatiable cormorant and very plague of his native country may compass about and enclose many thousand acres of ground together within one pale or hedge, the husbandmen be thrust out of their own, or else, either by cozen and fraud, or by violent oppression, they be put beside it, or by wrongs and injuries they be so wearied that they be compelled to sell all. By one means, therefore, or other,—either by hook or by crook,—they must needs depart away, poor, silly, wretched souls—men, women, husbands, wives, fatherless children, widows, woful mothers with their young babes and their whole household, small in substance and much in number, as husbandry requireth many hands; for one shepherd or herdsman is enough to eat up that ground with cattle, to the occupying whereof about husbandry many hands were requisite. After that so much ground was enclosed for pasture, an infinite multitude of sheep died of the rot; such vengeance God took of their inordinate, unsatiable covetousness—sending among the sheep that pestiferous murrain, which much more justly should have fallen on the chief masters’ own heads. …
“A very considerable portion of the discarded occupiers were thus absorbed; but the remainder, amounting, as it appears from all the records of the period, to no inconsiderable number, either unable to find a small spot of land to rent and occupy, or unwilling to submit to the confinement of towns and manufactories, became wandering beggars, infesting the roads and villages of the country. Hence the English poor-laws. During this memorable period in the history of our peasantry, various laws were enacted for the suppression of vagrancy, and these were finally amended and consolidated in the celebrated act of 43 Elizabeth. … … But another revolution was now approaching, and one which has affected their (the peasantry.) welfare more extensively, as well as more intensely, than even the momentous change wrought under the dominion of the Tudors. The numerous small farms which had escaped consolidation, and consequently supplied an asylum for the peasantry discarded from the larger estates, were now doomed to undergo a similar revolution. Through the operation of too obvious causes, several of the smaller farms in each parish had come to be the property of one landlord. It was then discovered that the division and enclosure of the common fields and wastes of the parish would render this property more profitable, by facilitating the introduction of an improved system of tillage. In 1709, an application was made to Parliament for an act to divide and enclose the common fields and wastes belonging to the parish of Ropley. This served as an encouragement and example, and applications of the same kind became annually more frequent. It appears that, since that period, very nearly 4000 bills of enclosure have been passed; and it is also well known that, in numerous instances, the same end has been reached without legislative interference—by private agreement among the parties interested. In a word, we have scarcely a doubt that about 5000 parishes (a moiety of the whole territory of England) have been subjected to the operation of these measures in the space of about one hundred and twenty years; and as little (however beneficial the division and consequent improvement of this vast territory may have proved to the owners, and to some other classes) that the change has been a woful one for our peasantry. We believe that the final extinction of the class of small occupiers and crofters has, in almost every instance, followed the division of common field parishes.”—Quarterly Review, July, 1829.
The political history of landed property in England, therefore, appears to have been as follows:—
1st. The lands were accorded by the king to persons who were to undertake the military service of the kingdom.
2d. The performance of this military service was the condition on which individuals held the national land.
3d. The lands were at first held for life, and afterwards were made hereditary.
4th. The military service was abolished by the law, and a standing army introduced.
5th. This standing army was paid by the king.
6th. The king, having abolished the military services of the individuals who held the national laud, resorted to the taxation of articles of consumption for the payment of the army.
The lands of England, therefore, instead of being held on condition of performing the military service of the kingdom, became the property of the individuals who held them, and thus the state of England lost the lands of England. And the military service of the kingdom, instead or being performed by those individuals who held the national land, was henceforth (after the reign of Charles II.) to be paid for by the general taxation of the inhabitants of the country.
Therefore the present system of taxation, and the national debt, the interest of which is procured by the forcible taxation of the general inhabitants of England, are both due to the alienation of the lands from the state, inasmuch us the national debt (incurred for war expenses) would have been a debt upon lite lands, and not a debt upon the people of England. If,mtherefore, the legislature had a right to abolish the military services of those who held the national land, and thereby to impose on the general community all the liabilities of the military service of the kingdom, the legislature has the same right to abolish the general taxation of the community, und to allocate to those who hold the land all the expenses that have been incurred, and are still incurred, for the war charges of the kingdom.
The alienation of the land from the state, and its conversion into private property, was the first grand step that laid the foundation of the modern system of society in England—a system that presents enormous wealth in the hands of a few aristocrats, who neither labor, nor even pay taxes in proportion to those who do labor, (land pays no legacy duty on being transmitted;) and a vast population laboring for a bare subsistence, or reduced sometimes by millions to the condition of pauperism.
So long as this system is allowed to continue, it appears from the constitution of the earth, and of man’s power to extract from it a maintenance, an absolute impossibility that pauperism should be obliterated; inasmuch as the burden of taxation necessarily falls on labor, and more especially as the value of labor is necessarily diminished wherever there is a soil allocated to an aristocracy.
The abolition of the military tenures, however, did not complete the great evolution by which the lands of England have been transformed into the property of a few thousand aristocrats. That evolution consisted of three great facts,—
1st. The allocation of the church lands to individual proprietors.
2d. The abolition of military tenure, and the substitution of the taxation of articles of consumption; in other words, of the taxation of labor.
3d. The enclosure of the common lands, whereby vast numbers of the peasantry were ruined, deprived of their legal rights, which were quite as valid as the entails of the aristocracy, and, being separated from the land, were sent to propagate pauperism in the towns and villages. Such were the great political events that terminated in the separation of the people of England from the soil of England, and such was the price paid for that personal freedom and personal independence which has been gradually evolving from the time of the Norman formation of the state of England, and which will come to a natural termination the moment men are equalized in their political functions. The moment the law becomes impartial, and recognizes no á priori difference between the individuals of whom the state is composed, that moment has the grand evolution of liberty come to a conclusion, and the evolution of natural property will then enter on its course.
On the three events which have at last left the lands of England in the hands of a small number of aristocrats, we shall make only one or two observations.
Every one of these events has a right side as well as a wrong side; and unless we learn to estimate impartially the value of the changes, we are in danger of taking a distorted view of the morals as well as of the matter of the changes.
1st. It was right to abolish the monasteries.
2d. It was right to abolish the military tenures.
3d. It was right to enclose the common lands.
And it was wrong,—
1st. To allocate the church lands to individuals.
2d. To allow the lands to remain as the property of those who neither cultivated them, nor were liable for the performance of the military service of the kingdom.
3d. To make such a disposition of the common lands as disinherited the peasantry, and at last left the common lands in the hands of the aristocracy as property.
So soon as the Roman religion was supplanted in England, there can be no question that it was right to abolish the monasteries; and though many hardships were no doubt inflicted on some excellent men and women, (for the church in England contained both,) the system had grown old. It had outlived its time, and the day of its departure had arrived. Man was to take a new expansion; to enter on a course of thought; to begin to exercise his reason, and no longer to believe on mere authority. And the removal of the Papal church. of England was the first great requirement for the commencement of a course that must terminate at last in absolute liberty of thought, and absolute non-interference of the legislature with the credence of any individual. But the iniquity of the mode in which the monasteries were suppressed was in the fact, that the lands were transformed into the property of the aristocracy. If the king resumed them in his official character of head of the state of Englamd, he could not justly transform them into his own private property, nor could he justly transform them into the private property of any individual members of the state. Such a transaction is utterly beyond the intention of civil government, and its toleration could not take place in a community governed by reason. And when we take into consideration that there are but two objects of taxation, namely, individual labor or the natural earth, the allocation of these lands as private property was only tantamount to the prospective abstraction of the value of the lands from the future laborers of the country. Were there no such thing as taxation, the gift of lands would be comparatively a matter of indifference, (provided there was no restriction whatever on its sale and purchase;) but so long as taxation on labor exists, the gift of lands is exactly equivalent to the present abstraction of the present annual value of those lands from the present laborers of England. And herein lies the injustice and evil of the king’s gift of the abbey lands.
Again: the abolition of military tenures was right, because that system had also grown old. It was inefficient; useless for the military service of the kingdom; it did not work; its evil remained without its good. But the transformation of the lands into the property of the aristocracy, and the establishment of a system of taxation that has entailed the heaviest debt and the heaviest taxation in the world on the laborers of England—these were the evils that entailed England’s pauperism. Had the lands of England been liable (as most justly they should have been liable) for their own defence, there can be little or no doubt that the national debt (at all events, the 600 millions incurred in attempting to arrest the progress of Europe) would not have been incurred at all. Had the land been liable, the aristocracy, who held the land, would never have plunged into a war, the principal effects of which appear to have been the deferring of the requisite changes on the continent of Europe, and the infliction of a debt on England which will ultimately effect the destruction of the aristocracy. The king never could justly, as the head of the state, abolish the liability of the land to defray the war charges of the state, by attaching those liabilities to the individual laborers, while the land holders were allowed to carry off a free land. This, in fact, is the greatest political change that has taken place in England—of infinitely more importance to the present generation than the revolution that expelled the Stuarts. The prerogatives of the crown could not have failed to undergo changes in the natural order of evolution. As knowledge progressed, the king, from a ruler, must have become an administrator. But the legal establishment of labor taxation, and the accordance of the land as the property of the aristocracy, fixed upon the country a system that had the appearance of right, and that brought with it the impress of imperial legislation; while it originated in the darkest ignorance or the most licentious overstretch of power, and could not fail to produce ultimately the most pernicious results. The tax-payers of England can never be sufficiently reminded, that there need have been no taxes had it not been for the alienation of the land from the state.
The enclosure of the common lands, again, was a proper measure, inasmuch as the lands were producing little; and every measure that caused the lands to produce more for the consumption of the country was so far beneficial. It would have been quite absurd to leave the common lands in pasture, while their enclosure would produce for the service of the country a much larger quantity of food. And the same argument that took away the lands of the peasantry, would now take away the lands of those proprietors who allow their lands to lie uncultivated.
On the effects of the enclosure of the common lands, we quote another passage from the same article in the Quarterly Review, July, 1829;—
“Here, no doubt, it will be observed, that in every instance an allotment of land was, on the division of the waste, assigned to the owners of common rights,” (incumbents, rather than owners;) “and that an allotment in severalty, if properly attended to and cultivated, must have proved much more valuable to the cottager than what he had lost. If such had been the case, we readily admit that the division could not have proved detrimental to him; but, unfortunately, this very rarely happened. These allotments were assigned, under enclosure acts, not to the occupier, but the owner of the cottage. Few cottages were in the occupation of their owners; they generally, indeed, we may say universally, belonged to the proprietors of the neighboring farms; and the allotments granted in lieu of the extinguished common rights were generally added to the large farms, and seldom attached to the cottages. The cottages which were occupied by their owners had, of course, allotments attached to them; but these have by degrees passed by sale into the hands of some large proprietor in the neighborhood. De facto, in ninety-nine cases out of the hundred, the allotment has been detached from the cottage, and thrown into the occupation of some adjoining farmer.
“That such a change should have been attended with most important consequences, can excite no surprise in any reflecting mind. So far as it goes, a complete severance has been effected between the English peasantry and the English soil. The little farmers and cottiers of the country have been converted into day laborers, depending entirely upon daily earnings, which may, and frequently in point of fact do, fail them. They have now no land, upon the produce of which they can fall as a reserve whenever the demand for labor happens to be slack. This revolution is unquestionably the true cause of the heavy and increasing burdens now pressing upon parishes in the form of poor-rates. Independently of all reasoning founded upon general principles, this is a truth capable of being substantiated by a mass of evidence, so clear and so well authenticated as to leave no room for doubt. In almost every instance the increase of poor-rates has kept pace visibly with the progress of enclosures.”
The passage we have underlined—”a complete severance has been effected between the English peasantry and the English soil”—points out the great economical cause of England’s periodical distress; a distress which, were it not for the poor-laws, would occasionally manifest itself (as it did in 1830-31) in tumultuous assemblages and breaches of the law. And assuredly that severance between the subjective labor and the objective soil will yet rectify itself. No class of society can be visited with long-continued evils, without entailing evil on the other classes. And though the manufactures of England, taking an expansion altogether unprecedented in the history of the world, were able to consume the redundant population, the time must come when the rate of increase will diminish, when the population shall find no maintenance either in the towns or in the country, and social changes, attended with a more equitable distribution of the sources of wealth, will result ill spite of all that men can do to prevent them.
While the increase of the poor rates in England reached to such an extent, that in not a few cases the half of the rental, and in the case of the parish of Cholesbury the wbole of the rental, was absorbed; and while new legislative enactments were absolutely necessary to prevent the ruin of the land holders—it is singular to observe how little inquiry was made into the radical cause of England’s pauperism. Rates and paupers are correlatives, and the rates increase because the paupers have increased. No remedial measure that attempts only to supply the wants of those who are paupers will ever reach the depths of pauperism; and while there is of course an imperative necessity to relieve a famished population, there is quite as great a necessity to inquire, “Why does it happen, that in the richest country in the world a large portion of the population should be reduced to pauperism?” Until the causes of pauperism are satisfactorily ascertained, and until the remedy is applied to the cause, no remedial measure can do more than alleviate the evil. Apply the remedy to the cause, and the evil is eradicated. The cause, or at least one of the great causes, is that expressed in the words of the reviewer, “the severance between the English peasantry and the English soil;” and until the peasantry recover that soil, the inhabitants of England may rest satisfied that the curse of pauperism will pursue them; and if the remedy be not applied in time, that the vengeance of Heaven will be manifested—against a nation with so many privileges—that allows her children to be condemned to want, and ignorance, and moral degradation.
Although we have presented the reader with this sketch of the historical politics of landed property, we attach little or no importance to it. No historical argument is ever capable of deciding a present question of equity. Men must go forward; never backward. History may enlighten, may instruct, may teach us what has been, and may afford us the groundwork of an argument for anticipating what shall be in future; but history will not supply the motive for action, nor can it ever furnish the rule of action. For these we must look to the present times: the motive must be a living one, not a dead one; and the rule must be a rule that depends, not on one age rather than another, but a rule that always was valid had man been able to see it, that is valid now, and that will be valid when we shall have passed away, and our places are supplied by the generations that come after us. In the past we see the concrete manifestations of man’s phenomena, we see the phases through which he has passed, and we may learn to extract or evolve the law of the direction in which he is progressing. In man’s actual history, all variable as it is, like the outward appearances of nature, we behold a stupendous series of real phenomena, in which men and nations are the actors. The rulers and the ruled, the monarch, the aristocrat, and the serf, the priest, the artist, the merchant, and the soldier, all play their respective parts in man’s political drama. Events roll on, and history records the scenes.
But beneath the outward variety of man’s historic representations, can we not plunge below the surface and seize some stable element, some scheme, some law, some generalized fact, some plan or principle on which the drama has been constructed, some permanent truth that evolves amid all the apparent diversity of images? Can we not transform the real elements as they appear into some abstract form that enables us to state them in a rational equation? Can we not apprehend the essential character of the changes, as well as their empirical character, and derive instruction for the reason, as well as materials for the memory and the understanding?
No truth appears to be more satisfactorily and more generally borne out by the history of modern Europe, than that the progression of men in the matter of liberty “is from a diversity of privileges towards an equality of rights;” that is, that the past progress has been all in this direction since the maximum of diversity prevailed in the aspect of individual lord and individual serf. And if this be the case, it cannot be an unreasonable conclusion, that if sufficient time be allowed for the evolution, the progress of change will continue to go on till some ultimate condition is evolved.
And that ultimate condition can only be at the point where diversity of privilege disappears, and every individual in the state is legally entitled to identically the same political functions. Diversities of office there may be, and there must be, but diversity of rights there cannot be without injustice.
Such, then, is the theoretic ultimatum that satisfies the reason with regard to its equity, and such is the historic ultimatum that the reason infers from the past history of mankind. Such, then, is the point towards which societies are progressing; and when that point is reached, the ultimatum of equity is achieved, and the present course of historical evolution is complete.
But while on the one hand we cast our eyes on the ultimate object to be obtained—on that which is theoretically right—it should never be forgotten that two other questions nearer at hand claim as urgent an attention—the questions, “Where are we at present in the line of progress?” and “What are the next steps that require to be taken to lead society towards its final destination? “These are questions for the practical statesman and for the present generation, who require to deliver themselves from the evils that have grown to a height, and whose real character has been apprehended by the nation. On these questions we shall only make a passing remark.
Diversity of opinion may arise between two men who are both apparently in the right, if the attention of the one be directed to what is theoretically right, and the attention of the other to what is practically expedient as the next step which the present balance of powers in the state renders possible. At every period there are some men in advance of their age, some suited to the practical requirements of their age, and others behind their age—the gepidae or loiterers, who remain in the rear. The latter class, for the most part, are composed of those whose interests are implicated in the present disposition of affairs, and who dread change of every description, perhaps from a vague apprehension that they may lose their present powers, while the increase of those powers is an event not to be anticipated. This class is gradually losing its influence, gradually receding from the direction of the state, and submitting to a current that it can no longer control, but which it may to a certain extent impede. The other two classes are the real laborers; with them lies the motive of progression, and the judgment to determine in what particular direction change ought to be effected. For the loiterers, every change is bad; and the whole of their practical function is to retard, to contrive obstacles, to find impediments, and if possible to prevent investigation. But for the other two classes, not only is the impulse necessary, but on them lies the burden of devising new conditions, which shall be more beneficial than the present conditions, of exploring, pioneering, preparing the way, and finally of dragging onward the cumbrous car of state, held back as it is by those who inherit from darker ages the power of retardation. Between the first two classes, however, there must ever be diversity of opinion, so long as the one class is bent on what is theoretically right, and the other on what it deems to be practically expedient. The first regards the measures of the second as unsatisfactory, as half measures, as mere sops to allay the Cerberus of popular discontent. The second, on the contrary, regard the measures of the first as impracticable schemes, as theoretic measures, good enough perhaps in the abstract, (that is, measures that satisfy the reason,) but which, from some peculiarity in present circumstances, are quite incapable of application. The one professedly takes reason for his criterion, and rejects even measure that falls short of its requirements; the other extends his view no farther than to the single point that enables him to take due step in advance. The one takes the unchangeable and imperishable element of man, the objective reason, crowns it with imperial authority, and demands that all should at once acknowledge its supremacy. The other takes the variable element of man—his subjective condition—and, rejecting every dogma that claims to be absolute, discourses only on the proximate possibility of improving that condition. The one sees the transparent image of truth divested of the garb of humanity; the other sees the outward raiment in its frailty and imperfection, and heeds not to draw aside the drapery that conceals the divinity of reason.
Between these two parties, therefore, there is not so much a perpetual warfare as a perpetual misunderstanding. Their point of view is different; They stand on different elevations, and have quite a different range of horizon. Granting that some of both parties (and who can doubt it 1) have the honest and sincere desire to advance society in the right direction, there is between them an incompatibility both of conviction and of feeling, which forbids that they should cooperate as laborers in the same field, and for the same ultimate object. The one views society as in a state of transition, and presses forward towards an ultimatum. The other views society as engaged in its ordinary labor, believes in no ultimatum, but acknowledges that certain changes are rendered necessary by a change of circumstances. The one views the revival of learning as the passage out of Egypt, and the present time as the journeying through the wilderness towards the promised land of rest. The other believes in no Egypt and no promised land, but feels that the daily labor must be done in the world of politics as well as in the world of matter. The one stands on the top of Pisgah, and beholds afar off the Canaan of his hopes, the land of long expectation, and the land for which the past journeyings of the race have been but the necessary preparations. The other, like Lot, beholds the plain of Jordan that it is well watered every where, and journeys eastward that he may find sustenance for his flock. The one is an intellectualist, who believes in the supremacy of reason, and attributes the systematic errors of society to erroneous propositions. The other is an empiric, who admits no absolute criterion, but admits that the conditions of mankind may be gradually improved. The one fixes his eye on truth, and forgets the intermediate distance that separates man from its realization. The other fixes his eye on man as he appeals at present, forgetting alike the history of his transformation and the probable goal that must form his destination.
To a certain extent, both are necessary; both are workers in the great field of human improvement and of man’s amelioration. Incomprehensible as they must ever be to each other, (till the last final item of change shall bring both to an identity of purpose.) they are fellow-laborers in the scheme of human evolution. The one devises afar off the general scheme of progress; the other carries the proximate measures of that scheme into practical operation. The one is the hydrographer who constructs the chart; the other, the mariner who navigates the ship, ignorant, perhaps, what may be its filial destination.
Between the man of theory and the man of practice, therefore, there is (at present) a perpetual though fluctuating difference. Seldom is it given to man in this world to understand aright his own position; and though he may labor, and labor well, it is rate that he call appreciate correctly the true position of his labors. And thus in the field of politics, the theorist and the man of practice appear to misunderstand the bearings of their respective occupations. The theorist, too often trusting to his individual perceptions, forgets that propositions which appear to him of absolute certitude can never be accepted by the world until they have received a far wider authentication than any one man could possibly bestow upon them. And though perchance he might evolve some propositions which should ultimately be able to stand their ground, experience will prove that the diffusion of truth is no less necessary than its discovery. Truth, like leaven, must pervade the mass before the requisite transformation is effected. On the other hand, the man of practice moves, for the most part, as he is impelled by the convictions of the multitude, and his object is not to theorize but to design the requisite changes, and to carry them into execution. The theories of to-day he regards with indifference or aversion; they are of no practical avail, he is pressed with the necessity of action, and act he must, or his place must be ceded to another. But he also forgets. He forgets that the very measures which he now reduces to practical operation were the theories of the past generation, and that he is only carrying into execution the schemes which the practical men of other times regarded in the same light as he regards the theories of to-day; and the very theories (some of them at all events) which he regards with aversion, are destined to become the measures of some future man of practice, who bestows on the theories of his day the same characteristic abhorrence. He forgets that he moves in action because the multitude have moved in mind; and that the multitude moved in mind because they had imbibed the theories of former speculators, and changed their credence under the influence of conviction. He forgets that change of action comes from change of credence, and that change of credence comes from theoretic speculation. He forgets that if there were no theories there would be no change, and if no change, no necessity for him to execute it.
In assigning, then, a theoretic ultimatum to man’s political progress, we posit,—
1st. That this ultimatum is the only one that satisfies the reason.
2d. That its probability is borne out by the history of the past changes that have taken place in the relative conditions of the various political classes of which society has hitherto been composed.
3d. That if society continue to progress on the same scheme or plan that may be inferred from an observation of its past progress, and if sufficient time be allowed for the completion of the evolution, there must come a period when the equilibrium of equity shall be restored, and every individual in the state shall be exactly equal in his primary political function.
4th. That all diversities of rights and privileges, being contrary to the theoretic reason of mankind, shall altogether disappear; and the law, which is (in its proper sense) the expression of the theoretic reason, shall acknowledge no political difference whatever between the individuals who form the state, except such diversities of office as may be found advisable for conducting the business of the body politic. And this diversity of office to be determined exclusively by the free election of the whole associated individuals who form the state.
5th. That law derives from the general or abstract reason of the human race, and therefore it can never acknowledge a political difference between the individuals of the race without being guilty of partiality and injustice.
6th. Absolute equality in the eye of the law, without the slightest distinction of individuals or classes, is, therefore, the ultimatum of political progression; and this ultimatum is the only condition that satisfies the requirements of the reason, and the only condition that presents a rational termination to those changes which, according to history, have been gradually taking place for centuries.
 Logic and statics mayor may not be considered as mathematical sciences, according to the signification given to that term. But this is a mere question of the see of a name. Logic is purely abstract, and being the most general form of science, is necessarily anterior to arithmetic; so that, if the term mathematic be applied to all the sciences involved in the rational investigation of numbers, quantities, and spaces, logic (or syllogistic) is a mathematical science. Again, statics superadds to space the concept force, and there are á priori propositions with regard to force, of a character exactly similar to the axioms of mathematics; e.g., two equal forces acting in the same straight line, but in opposite directions, will neutralize each other. Thus, statics may be considered as that portion of the general doctrine of force which has an intimate connection with the sciences of space and quantity; while dynamics may be considered as more nearly related to the matter sciences. Or a genus may be made for statics and dynamics, as in the table in the Appendix. To this genus there can be no objection, when we remember that science rends nature backwards, and takes the fundamental categories in all inverted order, so that force may be abstracted in thought from matter.
 These we have previously termed vegetable and animal physiology, for the purpose of insisting on the fact, that descriptive botany, descriptive zoology, anatomy, &c. are not sciences. They are mere classifications and descriptions of objects whose functions must be studied before we have science, properly so called.
 When an action is so utterly defenceless that no reason can be alleged in its favor, its abettors usually fall beck on necessity. “It is true the thing might not be quite right; but, after all, you must allow it to have been necessary.” Such is a concise summary of the political reasonings of a class. As if any thing could be necessary whereby we interfered with others, unless it were based on the most clear and indisputable rational truth, As an instance, we give the following paragraph:–
“The Solas Removals.–It was previously stated that Lord Macdonald had desired the removal of his smaller tenantry from the Solas district. We have since learned that the people are to remain over the winter, on condition of emigrating in the spring of next year. They have given up their stock, and Lord Macdonald allows them to remain in their houses, retaining also their grain and potato crops, a cow to supply milk, and a garron or horse to convey their winter peats. The destitute are to be supplied with meal and clothes, and all arrears of rent are abandoned. We have no wish in any way to encourage wholesale clearances, and sincerely regret that Lord Macdonald should find it necessary to remove large bodies of an attached tenantry; but where the means of emigration are provided for a depressed, poverty-stricken, and almost starving community, the true philanthropist will not be in haste to censure. This is the case in Solas”–Inverness Courier.
 It is never expected, and indeed it is not possible, that the mass of mankind should be acquainted with the process by which any kind of investigation whatever is carried on. The search after truth–even the truths of the phenomenal world–is a process to them completely enveloped in darkness; all they have to do is to reap the practical fruits of any discovery when it is made, without casting one single thought upon the steps by which others have arrived at it. If we look for a moment at the law by which thought is propagated, we find that it always descends from the highest order of thinkers to those who are one degree below them. From these, again, it descends another degree, losing, at each step of the descent, something more or the scientific form, until it reaches the mass in the shape of some admitted fact, of which they feel there is not a shadow of doubt;–a fact which rests on the authority of what all the world above them says, and which, therefore, they receive, totally regardless of the method of its elucidation. Take, for example, any great fact, or law of nature, ascertained by means of physical science. Such a fact is, first of all, perchance, wrong from the most close and laborious mathematical analysis. A few, perhaps, may see the trouble to follow every step of this process; but the mass, even of natural philosophers themselves, are content to see what is the method of investigation, to copy the formulas in which it results, and then put it down as so much further accession to their physical science. The mass of intelligent, educated minds, again, with a general idea only of mathematical analysis, accept the fact or law we are now supposing, as one of the many beautiful results of investigations which they acknowledge to be far beyond the reach of their own powers; and from them, lastly, it descends to the rest of the community as a bare fact, which they appropriate to their own use, simply as being a universally acknowledged truth.”–MORELL’S Hist. Mod. Philosophy–Introduction.
 For a character of slaveholding religion, see: “The Life of Frederick Douglass,” written by himself.
 See Chambers’s Tract on Slavery.”–Edinburgh.
 Of course we speak here, not of the nature of the religions millennium, not of its internal qualities: but of its external characteristic; that it is a period of the reign of religion, following the development of natural truth. In its internal details, it may be a period when man shall act on religions motive to an extent altogether inconceivable in the present day. But in its character, as a fact, it appears to be tile last final termination of the progress that man can make on earth. It is, in fact, the completion of human evolution. And the completion of human evolution takes place logically, whenever the human race nets systematically under the influence of the highest sentiments of human nature. Whenever the highest sentiments of human nature are systematically the springs of human action, man has completed his possible progress, he has fulfilled his destiny, (we do not say his duty,) he can rise no higher, he can do no more, until the Creator, renewing man’s spiritual nature, abolishing the evil character of the desires, shall emancipate the soul from sin and restore the freedom that was lost by man’s transgression, and repurchased by the merits of the divine Redeemer.
 It is one of the changes which the reason includes in the general law, (necessary form of thought.) “Every change must have a cause.” This is the condition under which man thinks. He may deny the proposition, or mystify it, from his inability to appreciate mental phenomena; but it is as much a condition of his thought while engaged in the denial, as it is while engaged in its admission. In mechanics, the Change is motion, the cause is force.
 “The most certain method that can guide us in the research of truth consists in rising, by induction, from phenomena to laws, and from laws to forces”–LaPlace, Essai Philosophique sur les Probabilités.
 While mentioning locomotion, it is, perhaps, impossible to refrain from remembering the late Mr. Waghorn, (with whose name the title of lieutenant appears like that of exciseman in connection with the name of one Robert Burns,) as brave a heart and as true a genius as England has seen for many a long day. Mr. Waghorn was the Napoleon of communication; and when those who did not reward him have been long forgotten, his name will appear as one of those heroes to whom the world owes its progress. It is sickening to think that Waghorn should have died as he did, overborne by the material cares of this life; but when prime ministers, and first lords of the admiralty, and chartered East India companies, shall be mere matters of history, the name of Waghorn will appear with those of Eric the Red, and Mareo Paolo, and Christopher Columbus, and Richard Chancellor, and La Salk, and Brindley, and Watt, and Telford, and those other heroes who have bequeathed the world’s good, by stamping the impress of their genius on the destinies of humanity. To think that the wealth of England should have bowed before a Hudson, and brought rich offerings to the shrine of pampered sycophancy, and yet should have seen a brave man and as did Waghorn, when a few thousands might have gladdened the last days of the intrepid Englishman! But enough–he will not be forgotten.
 Letters, newspapers, &c., are entirely dependent on the means of locomotion; and who can possibly estimate the influence of postal communications on the civilization and advancement of mankind? But even the prodigies of steam have been eclipsed by the electric telegraph.
 “In order to enumerate only a few of the instruments whose invention characterizes great epochs in the history of civilization, I would name the telescope, and its too long-delayed connection with instruments of measurement; the compound microscope, which furnishes us with the means of tracing the conditions of the process of development of organs, which Aristotle gracefully designates as ‘the formative activity of the source of being;’ the compass, and the different contrivances invented for measuring terrestrial magnetism; the use of the pendulum as a measure of time; the barometer; the thermometer; hygrometric and electrometric apparatuses; and the polariscope, in its application to the phenomena of colored polarization in the light of the stars, or in luminous regions of the atmosphere.”– Humboldt’s Cosmos, p. 473.
 See Mr. Caird’s Pamphlet on “High Farming.”
 Since the drainage money was advanced by the government, advertisements have appeared in the “North British Advertiser,” in which the landlord offers to drain the lands on the payment of ten per cent. per annum by the tenant.
 “Comment en serait-il autrement quand les belles recherches publicés par M. Arngo dans l´annuaire, ont démontre que les défrichements et les grands travaux agricoles suffisaient pour diminuer les chaleurs de l’été et les rigueurs de l’hiver, et pent ètre même influer sur la température moyenne de tout un royaume.”GAVARRET, Principes Generaux de Statistique Medicale, p. 182.
 Were the governors of England open to any scheme that would permanently improve the country, without being made a job, a very simple means is at their disposal. Take one million a year from the army and navy. This might be done without impairing the real security of the country. Let this money be expended on drainage and permanent improvements. Let it be lent to no person in the first place. But, wherever tenants in occupancy were willing to pay the interest of the money, let them be judges under inspection what drains are requisite, and whether they are properly executed. No person is so competent ns the tenant to see that the work is well done, where his interest is so much involved. When the drains are specified, let their execution be done by contract. The tenant and inspector giving their certificate that the land is properly drained according to bargain, the contractor receives his money. The difference between the common interest of money, say three and a half per cent., and the quit per centage, say six and a half per cent., to be paid by the landlord, who receives the permanent benefit. The land itself to be accountable for all the liabilities. This scheme would prodigiously increase the produce of the country; and, as the land is so little taxed, the landlords would have no right to complain. With a landlord legislature, however, we fear there is but little chance for schemes of this nature.
 The difference between the empirical and the scientific method is expressed with logical accuracy, as follows:–
- The empirical method manipulates those substantives (in any particular course of inquiry) which present the greatest comprehension.
- The scientific method manipulates those substances which present the greatest comprehension.
Thus an animal frame comprehends the processes of combination, decomposition, respiration, the development of heat, &c., &c.; while the natural history of oxygen or carbon extends to all the objects in which oxygen and carbon are comprehended, although that natural history in reality comprehends nothing but its own series of phenomena.
The antagonism usually set forth as existing between the inductive and the deductive process of reasoning, is not only based on a misunderstanding of the methods of pure syllogistic, but absolutely opposed to the methods which are pursued in matters of induction. There is really only one process of reasoning, although this may be read in different manners, What is called the inductive process is only the inductive process of observing; and when the observations are made, the reasonings are all made, by the same process.
Let the logician apply to any man in the practical departments of life, and he will find him reasoning from a major premiss; which will be found to consist of two propositions, and not, as the Baconians affirm, of one, which has been inferred from many observations.
For instance :
Major.–In every case that I have given this food to my cattle, they have thriven well.
Minor.–This is a new case, in which I give the same food to my cattle,
Consequent.–Therefore they will thrive well, (the probability being greater or less according to circumstances.)
The Baconians divide the major premiss and call it a reasoning, whereas it is no more than an observation.
The essential difference, however, between the empirical and the scientific methods is this–the one classifies events, the other classifies substances. The empiric endeavors to find the law of the events; the man of science, the law of the substances; and in this light both pursue exactly the same method.
 M. Moreau de Jonnês, in a notice on the mortality of Europe, has given the following table, which tends equally to prove tile influence of civilization on the number of deaths:–
–QUETELET’s Calculation of Probabilities. Notes by Mr. Beamish. See the whole note. (v.) p. 114.
 The class, perhaps, which suffers most in agricultural districts is that of single women; whose wages, when employed as out-workers in the vigor of life, are not more than sufficient to furnish them, in the scantiest measure and humblest style, with the necessaries of life; and who thus, in the absence of any of those resources, such as spinning and knitting, to which in old age females had recourse in former times, have no prospect before them, if they remain unmarried, but that of living in their latter days supported by parochial aid.”–Report on Increase of Pauperism. Edinburgh: A. & C. Black.
Such is the prospect which Britain holds out to her laboring children–a life of semi-starvation, and an old age of pauperism. The American republic is, at all events, clear of this evil.
 In some of the Western Islands the people are little or no better than bondsmen or serfs. In one island (and perhaps the practice is common, but on this we cannot speak) it is said that the tenants are not allowed to sell their grain except to the landlord. What is this but serfdom? It was of course proper to introduce law into the highlands; but no principle, either of natural right, or religion, or social economy, could ever justify the law in giving the property of thr clan to the head of the house, to be used by him us private property. This is the origin of all the Highland distress. No economical improvements are worth a farthing until this radical evil is corrected.
 A fact. The greater part of an island, the rental of which part was about £20,000 a year, has recently been found insufficient to support a family. The capital was spent, and the estate is for sale. On that same island we have seen the native population in numbers gathering their daily food on the shore. This island, in miniature, is a very exact representation of the social condition of Great Britain, It may take a little time for the mass of the population to see exactly how things really do stand; but they will discover the truth at last.
 The theory of Highland pauperization is one of the simplest things imaginable. Nature has only so many sources of wealth; and if these are taken away, by the laws, from the inhabitants of a district, it stands to reason that the inhabitants must be poor. Were the wealth produced in the highlands to remain in the Highlands, the inhabitants would he rich; hut the annual profits, for the most part, go away and never return. There is a perpetual drain outwards–an export without a corresponding import, either of money or goods. If the money produced by the sheep, cattle, grouse and salmon, actually returned in any form to the districts producing them, the inhabitants would receive the remuneration intended by nature, As it is, pauperism is the natural and necessary result.
“Since the period that the Highlands were brought under the dominion of the law, the inhabitants have been found by all who have visited them from other quarters of the country to be a people annually on the brink of starvation, and annually, to a greater or less degree, feeding on shellfish or seaware. Their indolence and their dirtiness have also been observed by all observers during this whole period. Their ignorance of the arts of bettering their condition, and of the comforts enjoyed in other quarters of the kingdom, have also been uniformly taken notice of. Their destitution was an annual thing, but the usual and ordinary distress was every now and then aggravated by a recurrence of a bad season for the crops on which they principally lived. They were cheerful in the years when they could get any thing like a fair supply of the coarsest and meanest food, hut they never labored for any thing more; and hence an unfavorable season, when it came, found them with nothing, and reduced them to starvation. When the season was what might be called good, they never taxed their industry to devise measures for warding off the fatal effects of the bad season which might be close at hand. Such a season was that of 1836, in which, if the potatoes were not a total failure, there was a more general failure of crops in the country. It was followed by the destitution of 1836-7, which called forth the bounty of the other parts of the kingdom, and directed much attention to the state of the Highlands. When I ask the people here, whether the present destitution of 1847 or that of 1837 was the worst, they all declare that the present is far the worst; but when I inquire how those people lived in 1837, I find good reason to believe that it was about as bad as 1847.” –Scotsman; February 17, 1847.
 We hope, at some future time, to be able to lay before the public some remarks on the equalization of actual property. An absolute equality of actual property is neither possible, nor desirable, nor just. We do not believe that there is an insuperable difficulty in showing how a system, perfectly just in theory, can be carried into practice, and yet preserve to every man tile absolute control of the fruits of his personal skill, labor, and industry. The great question of modern times is, “What is the theory of a perfect political state?” Admitting man’s fallen nature, and all the elements that might be supposed to interfere with the realization of a perfect state, what is its theory? There must be a theory, be what it may. That theory is the great desideratum of modern times. It settles definitely and forever what must he the end of man’s political progress. For ourselves, we believe assuredly that God has made man’s logical reason to harmonize with man’s condition; and thus, whatever the reason can ascertain to be true, must, when reduced to practice, produce good, and not evil. The more men advance, the more will they perceive that truth, the intellectual proposition, is the foundation of good, the outward condition.
 The term discovery is perhaps liable to be misunderstood, or perhaps rather to be objected to. We do not mean that any object called a science is to be discovered like a fossil or a new planet. Science exists in the mind, not in external nature; and the discovery of science is the discovery of the truths of a science, and of the process by which those truths are substantiated. Thus, Aristotle discovered logic when he laid bare the process of reasoning; and exhibited the necessary forms under which man’s intellect works. Aristotle did not discover that man could reason; neither did he discover a new object; but he discovered a science, a mode of knowledge. Newton did not discover the sun or the moon, nor the earth; but he discovered the mode of their operations. The sun, the moon, and the earth remained unaffected by the discovery; they performed their functions as usual, without the slightest attention to the great philosopher. The change was in the credence of mankind. And so it is with all science. The change is in the credence of mankind. Now, intellect (taken as intellect, without regarding the moral influences that may bias its judgments) is of that nature that it is convinced by evidence. All human intellect is radically the same, only variable in quantity. And scientific discovery is the discovery of that mode of presenting propositions which necessarily leads intellect, or any number of unbiased intellects, to the same identical conclusions. There is but one truth, and consequently there is but one scheme of knowledge; and the great final result of scientific discovery, is the restoration of the unity of human credence. Men may differ in taste, in likings, and in dislikings; hut their intellect cannot differ in judgment, except through superstition or error. The discovery of science, therefore, is the discovery of the knowledge itself, and of that mode of presenting it that shall convince intellect as intellect. On this account it has been said, that “he discovers who proves.” As science advances, diversity of opinion dies away, and unity of knowledge takes its place. To produce this unity of knowledge for the whole race of man, is the magnificent destiny of science; and the humblest cultivator of natural knowledge is, like the coral insect, helping to rear an edifice, which, emerging from the vexed ocean of conflicting credence, shall be first stable and secure, and, at last, shall cover itself with verdure, flowers, and fruits, and bloom beautiful in the face of heaven.
 All, or almost all, the substances found on the globe of the earth have been subjected to chemical investigation. The result has been, that all the animal and vegetable substances, without exception, and by far the greatest number of mineral bodies, are compounds.”
 To Sir William Hamilton, of the University of Edinburgh, the logical world is indebted for an exposition of the theory of comprehension and extension.
Among the individual objects of natural science, man is the one that presents the greatest comprehension; but the name, man, extends only to himself. The name animal on the contrary, extends to an immense variety of organized beings, but comprehends only u sensitive organized individual. A blood globule, as a matter of real science, has a great extension, but comprehends only a very simple form of organization. The word being (nom substantive) is that which presents the greatest possible extension and least possible comprehension. What is called the universe, on the contrary, presents the greatest possible comprehension, and the least possible extension. There can only be one universe; but there may be an infinity of beings, or rather an indefinity. Extension appears to represent number, where we begin with unity, and repeat indefinitely, and comprehension appears to represent quantity, where we begin with infinity, and subdivide indefinitely. The difference between number and quantity has been far too much overlooked, apparently from the circumstance that unity is (absurdly) allowed to be divisible. That is, we divide one unit into two units. Now, the fact is, we have doubled the number and halved the quantity. Unity in pure arithmetic is absolutely indivisible until we assign it a value, or quantity, and then it may represent any number; but in pure arithmetic, unity is the one simple.
 Space, as an unlimited solid, we take to be, not simple, as usually represented, but as compound. The concept space is composite, and may be analyzed into position, direction, and extent. These three concepts are simple, cannot be defined, and form the elementary substantives of geometry. Direction and extent give rise to two different methods. For instance, by measuring the distances (extent) between all the points of a country, (suppose by chain,) we may construct a map, and the map shall have a scale; but we shall not be able to tell, in the least, how to place the map–that is, we know nothing about the direction: And if we measure only the direction (suppose by compass) of the various points, we shall also have a map, and this map we shall place correctly, but it will not have a scale–that is, we know nothing about the extent. To have both the direction and the extent, we must combine both methods; and on this account a survey by triangulation requires a measured base line, the only use of which, however, is to give the scale, the form being determined by the direction of’ the points.
 James I. considered that, “as it is atheism and blasphemy in a creature to dispute what the Deity may do, so it is presumption and sedition in a subject to dispute what the king may do in the height of his power. Good Christians will be content with God’s will revealed in his Word; and good subjects will rest in the king’s will, revealed in his law.”–(Works, 557-531.) This profane comparison was familiar to the servile lawyers of the day. (See Finch, Law. 81. 3.)–Euc. Met.
 As an instance of the manner in which the lands of England have been disposed of, and consequently the taxation placed on the industrious classes, we give the following from the Biographia Britannica:–
“In the year 1695, King William made this nobleman (Lord Portland) a grant of the lordships of Denbigh, Bromfield, Yale, and other lands, containing many thousand acres, in the principality of Wales: which, being part of the demesne thereof, the grant was opposed, and the House of Commons addressed the king to put A stop to the passing it, which his majesty accordingly complied with, and recalled the grant, promising, however, to find some other way of showing his favor to Lord Portland, who, he said, had deserved it by long and faithful services; and this promise the king after made good. … It was not long after King William recalled these grants, before his majesty found means to make Lord Portland others in recompense for the revenues of the principality of Wales, namely, a grant of certain buildings in Whitehall, for forty-five years, at the rent of six shillings and eight pence; a grant of the manor of Grantham, in the county of Lincoln; Honor of Penrith, in the county of Cumberland; manor of Dracklaw and Rudneth, in Cheshire; manor of Torrington, in Norfolk; manors of Partington, Bristol, Garth, Hornsey, Thwing, Burnisley, and Leven, in the county of York–all parcel of the ancient revenue of the crown of England; the manor of Pevonsey, in the county of Sussex, parcel of the duchy of Lancaster; and all the lands and tenements, &c thereunto belonging, to hold to his lordship and his heirs; and also his majesty’s manor of East Greenwich, in the county of Kent, under the rent of £4 13s, 4d. a year.”
The present effect of these grants is exactly equivalent to the addition of the present annual value of those lands to the present taxation of the community of Britain, Had the lands of England not been alienated from the state, there need not have been one penny of taxation on the industrious clauses.
 “The Marquis of Breadalbane’s forest of Corrichebach, or the Black Mount, in Glenorchy, was restored at great cost (having been previously converted into sheep walks) in 1820; it covers 35,000 acres.”–Quarterly Review.
That is, if we understand the passage aright, these 35,000 acres were formerly wild, and without sheep. Afterwards, sheep were introduced, and consequently so much more food was produced. And in 1820 the sheep were driven off, and the land again made a game desert for the amusement of a single individual. Rights of property!
 This principle, however startling in words, is universally acknowledged and acted on by civilized communities. When they form colonies in lands inhabited by tribes which do not cultivate the soil, but occupy it as a hunting-ground, the cultivating colonists always repel the aggression of the hunters.
 Exactly as the laws of Britain did, and the laws of the southern States do, first deprive a man of his natural liberty, and then use the power of the state to prevent his recovering it by force. One of the most curious superstitions in the world is the belief that we may lawfully go to war with foreign men for a very slight cause; and that we must not go to war with what people call our own countrymen, even when they wrong us ten times more than the foreigners.
 James I. was so accustomed to regard himself, and to be addressed by his flatterers as ‘the Lord’s anointed,’ ‘the vicegerent of God upon earth,’ in fact, a kind of deputed deity, that he was constantly tempted to accuse his subjects of blasphemy and irreligion when they presumed to oppose his will, or to call in question his lawless assumptions of authority; at the same time, there was no form of impiety, from the light and irreverent mention of the sacred name in familiar speech, to profane cursing and swearing, and to the blasphemous–and audacious assumption of a kind of purity with the Supreme Being, by which the lips and mind of the prince himself were undefiled. … James was the first of England to whom the unappropriate title of sacred majesty was applied.”–MISS AIKIN’S Mem. Court, James I.
 As an instance of the manner in which lawyers regard the social institutions of men, we may give the following quotation from Crabb’s “History of English Law,” p. 7.–
“It is worthy of observation, that all the Saxon lawgivers skowed great wisdom in the business of legislation, by admitting no laws into their selections but what were adapted to the temper and manners of their subjects, being for the most part taken from people that were nearly allied to themselves.”
On the very next page, we have illustration of the great wisdom of the Saxon lawgivers. “The Saxon people were divided into freemen and slaves.”
Slavery, servitude, villenage, and every one of its modifications, is a political institution, though this fact is apt to bc overlooked when the slave comes to be viewed as the property of another man. But what is politics? The system of rules which ought to prevail between man and man; and law ought to consist of those rules reduced to human enactment. Individual injustice may makes man a slave, and the action is a crime; but the criminality does not in the slightest degree diminish, when the action is authorized by human laws. Now, in a country that has assumed the form of a state, slavery could not exist unless it were authorized by the law; and the evil influence of human law has been, that it sanctioned this, and many other abominations, using the armed force of the state for their continuance, and transmitting them to posterity as institutions under which men were born, and which, to a certain degree, were to them natural, or, rather, habitual.
 This principle, although frequently represented as seditious, is not only clearly acknowledged, but reduced to specific law in Magna Charta. The principle is acknowledged, although the application of it is restricted to twenty-five barons, chosen by the whole of the barons; and a reservation is made in favor of the persons of the king, queen, and royal children. Chapter xxxviii. specifies the manner in which four barons, chosen out of the twenty-five, shall notify any grievance, and petition to have it redressed without delay: “And if it is not redressed by us, (the king,) or if we should chance to be out of the realm, if it is not redressed by our justiciary within forty days, &c., the four barons aforesaid shall lay the cause before the rest of the twenty-five barons, and the said twenty-five barons, together with the community of the whole kingdom, shall distrain and distress us all the ways possible; namely, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions,” &c.
 It may, perhaps, be necessary to add, “or of decency.” The repression of offences against decency forms, however, a very small portion of man’s political action. With the exception of these, and the observance of the Sabbath, we believe our definition to be general. It is the true political definition; but the political definition does not exactly include every thing that men in society have to take into consideration. Political science is abstract; but the real substantive, man, is concrete; and his conditions must be considered in applying the science to his circumstances.
 By the destruction of the aristocracy, we do not mean the destruction of the aristocrats, any mere than by the destruction of pauperism, we should moan the destruction of the persons of the paupers. It is to the system that we refer exclusively, and only as either system has been created by the arrangements of men.
 General statement in acres of the cultivated, uncultivated, and unprofitable land of the United Kingdom.–(From the Third Report of the Emigration Committee.)
 By laborers, of course, we mean all who labor for their bread, whether merchants, manufacturers, professional men, artisans farmers, agricultural laborers, operatives, &c.
 “These villeins, belonging principally to lords of manors, were either villeins regardant,–that is, annexed to the manor or land,–or else they were in gross, or at large; that is, annexed to the person of the lord, and transferable by deed from one owner to another. They could not leave their lord without his permission, but, if they ran away or were purloined from him, might be claimed and recovered by action, like beasts or other chattels, They held, indeed, small portions of land, by way of sustaining themselves end families, but it was at the mere will of the lord, who might dispossess them whenever he pleased; and it was upon villein services, that is, to carry out dung, to hedge and ditch the lord’s demesnes, and any other the meanest offices; and their services were not only base, but uncertain, both as to their time and quantity. A villein, in short, was in much the same state with us as Lord Molesworth describes to he that of the boors in Denmark, and which Stiernhoak attributes also to the traals or slaves in Sweden, which confirms the probability of their being, in some degree, monuments of the Danish tyranny. A villein could acquire no property either in lands or goods; but, if he purchased either, the lord might enter upon them, oust the villein, and seize them to his own use, unless he contrived to dispose of them again before the lord had seized them, for the lord had then lost his opportunity.
“In many places, also, a fine was payable to the lord if the villein presumed to marry his daughter to anyone without leave from the lord; and, by the common law, the lord might also bring an action against the husband for damages in thus purloining his property.”–BLACKSTONE’S Commentaries, book ii, chap. 6.
 Poverty and want are evils, inasmuch as they produce human suffering; but they are far greater evils, as they tend to produce the deterioration of man. And when this deterioration is produced by the political arrangements of a country, with regard to the land and the other natural sources of wealth, the alteration of those arrangements becomes a moral duty of the very highest character. As an illustration of this deterioration of man, we quote the following passage from the Edinburgh Review, October, 1848, where the writer is treating of man scientifically, and without reference to politics. Let the reader contrast this passage with a political article in the same number of the Edinburgh Review, where the writer appears to assert, that “of a hundred honest, industrious, and upright men, the vast majority are certain to do well.” According to the laws of nature they would do well, but according to the laws of Ireland no personal qualifications would relieve the masses from hopeless poverty so long as the present political arrangements are allowed to remain. In Ireland, the object of labor (the land) has been taken from the inhabitants, and vast districts are lying unimproved and uncultivated in the face of a population willing to work for the lowest wages. On the one hand is the land lying idle, and on the other is the labor lying idle; and the landlordocracy is the obstacle that prevents the two from being brought into contact, and thereby securing an abundant provision for the population, So long as the land is unimproved and uncultivated, it is nonsense to assert that Ireland is overpopulous, or that she could not support a much larger population. It is the law, and not nature, that reduces Ireland to starvation.
“Races which have advanced the farthest in civilization, and attained the greatest. perfection of physical form, produce also examples of physical inferiority in individuals or families. Among other consequences of long-continued want und ignorance, the conformation of the cranium appears lo have been affected. The Sanatory Commission would arrive at this conclusion, we believe, were it to examine the worst part of the population of our great towns; the most convincing proof, however, is unfortunately furnished by the lowest classes of the Irish population.” There are certain districts in Leitrim, Sligo, and Mayo, (as pointed out by an intelligent writer in the Dublin University Magazine, No. 48,) chiefly inhabited by the descendants of the native Irish, driven by the British from Armagh and the south of Down, about two centuries ago. These people, whose ancestors were well grown, able bodied, und comely, are now reduced to an average stature of five feet, two inches, are potbellied, bow legged, and abortively featured, and are especially remarkable for “open, projecting mouths, with prominent teeth and exposed gums, their advancing cheek bones and depressed noses bearing barbarism on their very front.” In other words, within so short a period they seem to have acquired a prognathous type of skull, (“the third type of configuration of the skull has been very happily named by Dr. Prichard prognathous, to express its most distinctive character, namely, the forward prominence of the jaws,”) like the savages of Australia, “thus giving an example of deterioration from known causes, as almost compensates by its value to future ages for the suffering and debasement which past generations have endured in perfecting its appalling lesson!” “The hordes of wretched Irish, whom famine has driven to seek subsistence in the seaports and manufacturing towns of Great Britain, must have enabled many of our readers to make this observation for themselves: every gradation being perceptible, from the really noble type of countenance and figure seen in some of them, to that utterly debased aspect which can be looked at only with disgust. … … In both cases (the Irish and the Australians) the same cause–a long-continued deficiency of food and social degradation (where a sufficient elevation to resist these depressing agencies had not been previously attained)–has terminated in the same results.”–Edinburgh Review, October, 1848, p. 443.
 “The rest of their slaves have not, like ours, particular employments allotted to them. Each is the master of a habitation and household of his own. The lord requires from him a certain quantity of grain, cattle, or cloth, as from a tenant; and so far only the subjection of the slave extends. His domestic offices are performed by his own wife and children. It is unusual to scourge a slave, or punish him with chains or hard labor. They are sometimes killed by their masters; not through severity of chastisement, but in the heat of passion, like an enemy, with this difference, that it is done with impunity. Freedmen (manumitted slaves) are little superior to slaves, seldom filling any important office in the family; never in the state, except in those tribes which are under regal government. There they rise above the freeborn, and even the nobles; in the rest, the subordinate condition of the freedmen is a proof of freedom.”–TACITUS, Manners of the Germans, xxv (Aikon’s Translation.)
 “La condition des paysans; est des plus malheureuses. Los fortune s sont tellement disproportionnées, qu’on ne voit que des riches et des pauvres, les petits propriétaires sont fort rares. Il en résulte un manque d’émulation et de courage pour fonder des établissements d’industrie et pour améliorer l’agriculture.”–Dict. Geog. Univ., Art. Calabre.
 One would scarcely imagine that in London, the wealthiest city in the world, people could be starved to death. We mention an incident that came within our own experience. Some years ago we were present at a dispensary, and of those admirable und unostentatious institutions established to afford medical relief to the poor in London, and supported principally by the efforts of the medical officers, A widow appeared as a patient. She stated that she had six children to support, and that her whole earnings amounted to 7s. a week. We saw the medical officer shake his head, doubting that the case was beyond the reach of medicine. The surgeon was a humane man, and he did what he could for her. Some months after, we saw him again, and inquired for the widow. She had died. We asked the nature of her disease; and the reply was, “She died of starvation!” With the hand of death upon her, she had labored for her children, and at last she died for want of food. Such is London.
Does the reader suppose such things do not occur? Let us take a sketch by the great depictor of modern manners, Mr. Charles Dickens:–
” ‘Ah!’ said the man, bursting into tears, and sinking on his knees at the feet of the dead woman, ‘Kneel down, kneel down–kneel round her every one of you, and mark my words. I say she starved to death. I never knew how bad she was till the fever came upon her, and then her bones were starting through the skin. There was neither fire nor candle; she died in the dark–in the dark! She couldn’t even see her children’s faces, though we heard her gasping out their names. I begged for her in the streets, and they sent me to prison. When I came back, she was dying, and all the blood in my heart was dried up, for they starved her to death, I swear it before the God that saw it–they starved her!’ He twined his hoods in his hair, and with a loud scream rolled grovelling upon the floor, his eyes fixed, and the foam gushing from his lips.” –Oliver Twist.
Fain would we express a hope that Mr. Dickens, to whom God has given so admirable a genius, might one day turn his attention to the condition of the laboring classes in the manufacturing towns of England. He might then become indeed a benefactor to his country, and, as no pen can command a more powerful interest than his own, he might reap the noble satisfaction of alleviating those dreadful evils that prey on the population. The warning voice might, it is true, be heard in vain; but so certainly as those evils are not removed by better social conditions, accompanied by moral and intellectual education, so certainly will they one day produce their natural fruits of frantic revolt.
 Identify–to make one; or to establish an identity between two things that appear under different names or different aspects.
 “Whilst we maintain the unity of the human species, we at the same time repel the depressing assumption of superior und inferior races of men.” [The very cheerless, and, in recent times, too often discussed doctrine of the unequal rights of men to freedom, and of slavery as an institution in conformity with nature, is unhappily found most systematically developed in Aristotle’s Politica; i. 3,56.’] “There are nations more susceptible of cultivation, more highly civilized, more ennobled by mental cultivation, than others, but none in themselves nobler than others. All are in like degree; designed for freedom–a freedom which, in the ruder conditions of society, belongs only to the individual, but which, in social states, enjoying political institutions, appertains as a right to the whole body of the community.” If we would indicate an idea which, throughout the whole course of history, has ever more and more widely extended its empire, or which, more than any other, testifies to the much contested, and still more decidedly misunderstood perfectibility of the whole human race, it is that of establishing our common humanity–of striving to remove the barriers which prejudice and limited views of every kind have erected amongst men–and to teach all mankind, without reference to religion; nation, or color, os one fraternity, one great community, fitted for the attainment of one object, the unrestrained development of the psychical powers. This is the ultimate and highest aim of society, identical with the direction implanted by nature in the mind of man towards the indefinite extension of his existence. He regards the earth in all its limits, and the heavens as far as his eye can scan their bright and starry depths, as inwardly his own, given to him as the objects of his contemplation, and as a field for the development of his energies. Even the child longs to pass the hills, or the seas, which enclose his manor house; yet, when his eager steps have borne him beyond those limits, he pines like the plant for his native soil; and it is by this touching and beautiful attribute of man, this longing for that which is unknown, and this fund remembrance of that which is loot, that he is spared from an exclusive attachment to the present. Thus deeply rooted in the innermost nature of man, und even enjoined upon him by his highest, tendencies, the recognition of the bond of humanity becomes one of the noblest lending principles in the history of man kind.”–HUMBOLDT’S Cosmos, vol. i. p. 368; Bohn’s edition.
 In the arts man creates form; in political economy he creates value; and in politics he creates property. And as the evolution is in this order–1st, the Arts; 2d. Political Economy; 3d. Politics; the laws of political economy must be discovered before there can be a system of property rational in its theory and scientific in its form.
 We have no hesitation whatever in predicting, that all civilized communities must ultimately abolish an revenue restrictions all industry, and draw the whole taxation from the rents of the soil. And this because (as we shall endeavor to show in a future portion of the subject) the rents of the soil are the common produce of the whole labor of a community.
 Every Englishman should diligently peruse the first few chapters of the second book of Blackstone’s Commentaries, “Of the Rights of Things,” and, in addition to these, all article in the Quarterly Review for July, 1829, on the condition of the English peasantry. From these, and a history of the resumption and subsequent alienation of the church lands, he will gather a tolerable idea of the circumstances that have led to the present condition of England. The lands of England have been disposed of according to two laws–the law of the strongest and the law of the most cunning; hence England’s pauperism and England’s moral degradation. There yet remains another law, and its reduction to practice will, one day or other) regenerate the social condition of the population–the law of equity.
The article on the “condition of the English peasantry” is well worthy of republication in a separate form. Its appearance in that periodical prevents all suspicion of its having been written for the purpose of exciting discontent; und yet we do not hesitate to affirm, that if once the laboring classes were seriously to take up the questions on which it treats, they would resolve never to rest satisfied till they had abolished the landed aristocracy of England, and emancipated their own labor from the burdens that have been imposed upon them from the allocation of the land to the aristocracy, and of the taxation to the laborers of the country.
 This, in fact, was the formation of the state of England, after its conquest by the Normans. But it was the construction of the state on false principles. This formation, so far as the landlords were concerned, was legally dissolved in the reign of Charles II., when the lands became the property (in law) of the aristocracy. The state is now beginning to be reformed on true principles; and it appears probable that its ultimate form will be that of n republic with universal suffrage, with all the lands rented from the state, and consequently without any other taxation of any kind or character whatever
 Villeins were not protected by Magna Charta; nullus liber homo capiatur$ vel imprisonetur, &c., was cautiously expressed to exclude the poor villein; for, as Lord Coke tells us, “the lord may beat his villein, and if it be without cause he cannot have any remedy.”–Note in Christian’s Blackstone.
“He that holds in pure villenage shall do whatsoever is commanded him, and always be bound to an uncertain service.”
The villein was originally a serf or slave, whose political condition gradually underwent improvement with the progress of society. The villeins of England have attained to personal liberty; that is, the present laborers who do the work of England–who create its wealth–are no longer subject to the personal tyranny of either lord or king. But from the generalization of serfdom they are compelled by natural causes, starvation, hunger, &c., to do the work for a bare subsistence, in contradistinction to the law of nature and the law of God, that he who does the work shall reap the profit which the Almighty has annexed to labor expended on the natural earth. Aristocracy, like serfdom, has also been generalized; that is, instead of individual aristocrats ruling individual serfs, a general court or assembly of aristocrats now rules the whole mass of laborers, and taxes their labor to an extent equal to the whole rental of the country.
“Under the Saxon government there were, as Sir William Temple speaks, a sort of people in a condition of downright servitude, used and employed in the most servile works, and belonging, both they, their children, and effects, to the lord of the soil, like the rest of the cattle or stock upon it. These seem to have been those who held the folk-land, from which they were removable at the lord’s pleasure. On the arrival of the Normans here, it seems not improbable that they, who were strangers to any other than a feudal state, might give some sparks of onfranchisement to such wretched persons as fell to their share, by admitting them, as well as others, to the oath of fealty; which conferred a right of protection, and raised the tenant to a kind of estate superior to downright slavery, but inferior to every other condition. This they called villenage, and the tenants villeins, either from the word viles, or else, as Edward Coke tells us, a villa; because they lived chiefly in villages, and were employed in rustic works of the most sordid kind, resembling the Spartan helots, to whom alone the culture of the lands was consigned, their rugged masters, like our northern ancestors, esteeming war the only honorable employment of manhood.”–Blackstone, book ii, chap. 6.
 Total Expense of the Army, Navy, and Ordnance, from 1790 to 1815, inclusive, in millions sterling, (round numbers.)
To this it may be added, that the war charges of the kingdom, from the year 1813 to 1848, amounted to 484 millions sterling; and the advantage to the country of an aristocratic House of Commons, having an unlimited power to tax the labors of the community, may be inferred from the fact, that from 1835 to 1847, (inclusive.) the expenses of the war establishments increased rather more than a million every two years. Nothing less than miracles could save the country from pauperization under such a system of government.
No reformation of the public expenditure, however, can possibly be anticipated until men of an entirely different class form the majority of the House of Commons; and this change can only be secured by a total revision of the whole system of representation.
 Political economists have insisted much on the small matters that affect the value of labor. By far the most important is, the mode in which the land is distributed. Wherever there is a free soil, labor maintains its value. Wherever the soil is in the hands of a few proprietors, or tied up by entails, labor necessarily undergoes depreciation. In fact, it is the disposition of the land that determines the value of labor. If men could get the land to labor on, they would manufacture only for a remuneration that afforded more profit than God has attached to the cultivation of the earth. Where they cannot get the land to labor on, they are starved into working for a bare subsistence. There is only one reason why the lobar of England, Ireland, and Scotland is of so little marketable value, and that reason is, the present disposition of the soil. Were the soil disposed of according to the laws of equity, there cannot be the least doubt that the labor of the laboring classes would at once rise to at least double its present value.
 Axiomatic truth is subjective when in spontaneous operation, but it is objective when reduced to language, and expressed in propositions. This fact is altogether overlooked by those who descant on the subjectivity of axiomatic truth. On the very same principle, heat, color, sound, &c., &c:., matter, mind, and every thing else, are subjective according to these philosophers, so that there really is nothing–in fact, it is quite a mistake to suppose that there can be any thing–the universe being only a great delusion. If the simplicity of a philosophical system be the criterion of its perfection, this system can scarcely be excelled.