J. A. (John Adolphus) Etzler.

The paradise within the reach of all men, without labour, by powers of nature and machinery : an address to all intelligent men online

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Online LibraryJ. A. (John Adolphus) EtzlerThe paradise within the reach of all men, without labour, by powers of nature and machinery : an address to all intelligent men → online text (page 10 of 14)
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power will be of a nature quite different from what it
is now. Other means, other powers are at your dis-
posal ; and prudence will compel you to keep your
superiority in power over other nations safe, by a due
regard to the application of the new means.

Your present constitution is sufficient for the new
order of things ; and it is the most favourable for po-
pulating your country to the greatest general happiness
of the inhabitants.

You may lay out your wilderness into convenient
districts of moderate extent: every district will rise
into an independent state, as soon as its population will
amount to 50,000 individuals ; and may then make its
own laws. Thus people who are assimilated in lan-
guage, dialects, manners, and customs, may unite
themselves at their emigration and settling for the
same district, until they arc numerous enough to form
a slate.

Thus your wilderness, now not of the least use to
you, may be, within ten years, filled with intelligent
inhabitants of many different tongues, in separate


states, uuitinj^ with you under your wise constitution
into one oreat nation, and keeping- in awe the rest of
the world.

Your objects will then be, to have effected, with
your g:igantic means, every thing that may contribute
to the convenience and happiness of tlie inhabitants,
and to render your whole country a paradise as much
as possible.

Not only wealth and physical means for the general
benefit, but chiefly increase and diffusion of useful
knowledges and intelligence throughout the whole
population will then be the objects of your government.
For you and your new settlers will then be no more
slaves to labour; there will be no poor rapacious being
in human shape, that must be kept by compulsive
means and dread in submission ; for whatever man
sees there, he may freely partake of, without trouble
or pay. They will be all wealthy, and a great deal
wealthier than the wealthiest among you now. So
there will be no object of robbery and cheat. Men
have then time to receive instruction, to pursue the
road towards the increase of their intelligence ; they
may do it without exertions: for real knowledges re-
quire but observation; and this is always excited in
placing the things themselves before the eyes of men,
who are naturally too curious, as not to observe what-
ever strikes their minds. This is all what will be re-
quired : and you will be under no limit of wealth to
effect it. Thus it is, that the most intelligent class
among you may spread intelligence (knowledge of real
things) through the mass of men, by proper institutions
for education and public instruction, by museums, Sec. ;



and ignorance and its offspring, superstition, will be
dispelled without other efforts, like mist is dispelled
by the rays of the sun.

Besides your own benefits, that must result in the
highest degree of happiness that your nature be capa-
ble to enjoy, and of which you can have at present no
perfect idea, look at the great, fortunate effect that you
will produce upon other peoples ! Europe is fraught
with bloody revolutions and wars : you will cause
outlets to its dense, distressed population, and save
thereby great bloodsheds. The slaves in your country
will cease to be slaves, without any effort, without any
new law, without any loss to their masters ; for the
new mechanical means will supersede their employ-
ment : there will be no use for slaves any longer to
any purpose ; they will be of no value whatever to
their masters ; they will have no occasion for them.
You may then easily dispose of this unfortunate race
of men in the manner you please: send them to some
distant part of the world, if you think proper; colonize
them, make them as happy as they can be, and make
some amends for the grievous wrongs they have suf-
fered in this country.

While you are sending away this race for your own
benefit, you may fill your country with the most ci-
vilized and most intelligent part of the European po-
pulation. The sciences and arts which tend to the
improvement of the human condition, in physical and
intellectual respects, will then flourish in your land and
be diffused, not merely among a small, fortunate class
of men, as hitherto, but throughout the mass of the
people, who are no more under the ignominious yoke


of hard labour for their subsistence ; but who will then
have leisure and means in plenty for the cultivation of
their minds. Europe is almost overstocked with men
of learning, so that the greatest part of them have to
take recourse to meaner employments for their sub-
sistence, and who would find themselves very happy
in employments suitable to their talents and know-
ledges, being provided with plenty of every thing to
their reasonable wishes, in a situation of all the re-
finements of human enjoyments and social pleasures,
abounding with means for study and investigation in
their respective branches of useful learning. Present
them such situation, that will cost you nothing, and
you will see thousands of teachers emigrating, and
many of the most eminent acquirements.

Thus your nation will rapidly increase, not merely
in bulk, but with intelligent people of all civilized na-
tions. Such will be your glorious conquests : you will
conquer the minds of the most intelligent part of man-
kind, without fire and sword, but by your superior in-
stitutions and geographical advantages, and by your
means for general human happiness ; they will come
to you, and join you, not as mean subjects, but as
brethren and sisters. Humanity, mutual benevolence,
will no longer be stifled by mean, sordid avarice, the
necessary consequence of want, and fear of want. They
will enjoy their lives in your new, happy land : its
products will he as cheap and as free as air and water ;
for they will require no longer the human exertions.
In return for these benefits, you may reap the advan-
tages of their knowledges, and thus gradually increase
and difi'use intelligence throughout the nation.


Is this, perliaps, but a (.lieain : — Europe will be
approached to you within three or four days' jour-
ney. Your powerful floating islands will rapidly
increase at your coasts to the east and west. Your
immense forests will, without labour or expense, be
quickly converted into large, massy floats of convenient
timber : they may carry away from Eurojte millions
of men within a few weeks. No power can prevent
them from so doing. There is no danger, no tedious
journey, no expense, no inconvenience, no hardship
on these floats, no uncertainty in speed, no fear of
attack ; they may be rendered impregnable fortresses.
Where should then be the reason to deem the exhibited
idea a dream ? — The powers are immense, of no ex-
pense, the means for their application to such effects
simple without expense ! — No — ignorance and preju-
dice only may deem such things impossible, because
they never reasoned — but I appeal to reason. Should
this, my appeal, be in vain among you, what then ? —
Why, the eff"ect will, and must then turn against you.
What would become of your nation, if the same means
should be turned against you from populous Europe?
Neither your distance, nor your extensive woods, nor
your gunpowder, could protect you against the means
that these powers aff'ord. — Look to this while it is lime!
llenceforth it is no more the strength of the human
arm, or the number of men, nor personal courage and
bravery, nor the talents of military commanders, nor
the advantages of geographical situations, that give
power to a nation, but it is intelligence (knowledge of
useful things). Those who will not advance with the
progress of the time, but who pride themselves in


adhering blindly to old notions, are like crazy men,
who would run with their eyes shut : both must get

Our present time has brought forth the knowledge
of new things; is it wise for any man to slight them,
under any pretence whatever?

Europe will almost come into contact with America,
within three days' journey ! — It depends now from you
whether you will take advantage of this approach, or
give it away. If you take it in time, you will have
it for ever; — if you leave the chance to other nations
before you, you will have lost it for ever : for what
could you do against an inundation of armies with
new kinds of weapons, against which you are defence-
less — with migrations of millions, headed by irresisti-
ble engines and foreign despots ?

The powers and means presented to you here may
prove, in the hands of barbarity, a curse, a slavery of
nations, and in llie hands of intelligence, the greatest
blessings for mankind.

There is yet another danger to be apprehended, if
these means should be left to chance, without some
social arrangement. JNIan's laboui' will lose all value;
there will be no demand for it ; things will become
cheaper and cheaper : but wherewith shall the la-
bouring class buy, if they have nothing to pay with ?
Violences will be consequences of necessity, and the
end hurtful on all sides; therefore, some social arrange-
ments are to be made for preventing bad conse-
quences; and it is rational to introduce the most
pr()])cr system for applying these discoveries to the
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greatest benefit that can be derived from them, before
it is too late.

A now state of society, anew constitution of state,
entirely different from any extant, without, however,
being in contradiction with the constitution of the
United States, is to be inseparable from the general
practice of the new means.

What this new statfe of society, this new constitution
of state, is to be, will the necessary effects of the prac-
tice of these means suggest of themselves. The new .
state of society, the new institutions and laws, are to be
far less artificial and less complicated , than they are
at present. What perplexity is there now in raising
taxes, in enacting and applying laws for ilie protec-
tion of persons and property ! How frequently is it
not a matter of the greatest sagacity and historical
knowledges of jnridicial decisions, and the most subtle
scrutiny, to discern right from Nvrong, even in the most
important cases ! What volumes of laws, and deci-
sions of courts, arc not often to be searched and con-
sulted for instruction in law cases ! Old laws of times
which we now call barbarous and superstitious, even
of Old England and the ancient Roman Em])ire, are
often to be the guides in this country, contradictory as
they be among themselves and to a mo're enlightened
age ; and how little good "ensues very often from their
application ! How scanty are the provisions of public
institutions for the general weal, for want of means !

How different must be the new state of things? —
All the physical wants are supplied abundantly, in a
general way, without manual labour, A .small com-

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pensiUion, at most, is perliaps for a time required from
tliereccivers of the bencCits; which .may consist in a
few, days' superintendence of. machinery in twelve
months, of every one, by rotation. Jt will not more be
the business of the individual to provide for himself;
but it will be the concern'of the state or community
to provide with a sufficient store of every thing neces-
sary or desirable forall its members. For the produces
of the soil, and their preparation for food and use are
. the objects of general establishmeilts, that require no
labour and no further expense. The surplus of the
productions are to be applied to furnish, by exchange,
the articles wanted from foreign climates. This again
is to be done, not by small conveyances of individuals, '
but l)y new means of transport, of great powers, and
the superintendence of but a few men, which are ade-
quate to do tlie commercial or exchanging business
for many communities, or a whole state at once. The
exchanged articles, again, are the pvoperty of the com-
munity at large, and to be applied or distributed ac-
cording to individual wants, so as to afford equal be-
nefits to all members. Elxtraordinary desires of indi-
viduals may be satisfied thereby, by giving timely
notice of it, provided the objects be not out of

Thus all the articles of fbod, of dress, of commodity^
of fancy, of pleasure, of instruction, Sec, the habita-
tions, the use of the gardens and pleasure-grounds, all
the social pleasures and benefits imaginable, are (jratisj
to be had by every member of the community.

In like manner are the state's concerns relative to
the communities to be conducted Manv coaimunitiesj

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form a state. The state has to provide for general esta-
blishments concerninp; the whole state, inasmuch as
they need not be in ever}' community. For instance*
means of rapid and easy communication, roads, large
convenient vehicles on land, and large floats, or
floating islands on sea, canals, mines, and any other
improvement for the benefit of the state, are to be the
objects of the state's government, composed of depu-
ties or representatives of the communities. All such
aff"airs, again, require no contributions of individuals ;
but the powers and means of the proposals are to be
properly applied for effecting the general state's

Thus, whatever may be wanted for the general
welfare of the state, for the highest improvement of
men., in physical, intellectual, and moral respects, is
the affair of the state, and obtainable, if it can be
found or produced any where on the globe, without
tax- gathering, without sacrifice of any individual in
the state.

Means of protection may be in the hands of every
single state, under the direction, however, of the
whole Union, in cases of general interest.

This is the simple mode that \\ill lead directly to
the creation and full enjoyment of a paradise such as
is pointed out in the first part ; and this is accessible
to all, to tlie inhabitants of our own country, and to the
emigrants from foreign nations, without hurtful dis~
turbancc, or any violence, or loss to any individual.

Where arc such new communities and states first to
be founded ? —

Evidently, the most conveniently, in our best parts
west of the Mississippi.


To give II clear concoption of the proceeding (osvards
accomplishing these purposes, from the beginning,
gradual progress, to the ultimate result of the practice
of the proposed means, 1 siuill trace a distinct image
for the consideration of reflecting men, as a natural
deduction from what has been stated.

J shall first state, how a community is to be formed
and governed, so as to produce the possible greatest
henelit for every individual; and next to this, the
formation of the state, and general government.

The beginning and progress of the new state of
things may be divided into jieriods : each subsequent
period will produce new means ; and therefore is
each period to be distinctly considered by itself. These
periods are the following : —

F^rst period. An association of an unlimited num-
ber of members is to be formed, for the purpose of
spreading the knowledge of these means throughout
the country, and inviting the attention of the public
to the subject ; proposing meetings in convenient
places, for further examination and deliberation, and
causing a subscription of small shares for the first ex-
periment, on a suftlciently large scale, so as to be of
utility. A mathematical examination of the invention
to be applied is then to be made, and all its details to
be investigated, so as to ensure success, and establish
general conviction, before any money is to be ex-
pended. After the funds to be employed are ascer-
tained, the simplest experiment is first to be made.
Cultivation of soil being the most important object,
and in the same time practicable, in certain circum-
stances, with the least expense, the first experiment


may be confined to it. For this purpose, the most
convenient spot is to be selected, so as to subject it
to the possible least expenses. A piece of level
ground, witliout requiring a purchase for this pur-
pose, of 100 acres at least, or of several hundred
acres, somewhere near the Atlantic coast, is eligible.
There the proper arrangements are to be made, under
the direction of a commission, cliosen by the majority
of the association, by ballots ; with sufficient security
for any money or other valuable property to be trusted
into their hands., and provided with well-deiined in-

The result of the progress of this first experiment is
to be published throughout the association in fixed
periods, so as to afford perfect knowledge of it to every
member. This may be done by printed reports. After
this experiment has realized the expectations, it is to
be published in America and Europe.

Second period. Arrangements are then to be made
to extend the application of the proposed means. And
though it be confined at first to mere cultivation of
soil, the same means being adapted for all works of
excavating or elevating earth, it will be in the power
of the association to make contracts with the govern-
ment of the United States, highly advantageous both
to the nation and association, for general improve-
ments of various kinds. The payment for them may
be taken chiefly in lands of Congress, at the usual
rate. Patents for the new inventions to be applied
may be obtained for the association, in order to pre-
vent private speculators from using the new means
to the prejudice of the labouring class of the people.


This protection of the association being no more than
what the constitution and laws of the United States
grant for new inventions and discoveries, intended
for the benefit of the community at large, there is
no reason to apprehend a refusal of this lawful pro-
tection ; on condition, however, that any individual is
accessible to the association, by paying a share, which
may be done in cash, or in work for the purpose of the
association ; so that even the poorest may have access
to the enjoyment of the full benefit of the new means,
whenever he choses. The work to be done for the
association consists in constructing the first machine-
ries, the first moulds for moulding, in transporting
materials and men, and finally in superintending es-
tablished machineries, as mentioned.

After the first experiment is made, the means for
extending the application of the new inventions will
rapidly increase ; for the moderate shares to be paid,
and the certainty of great gain, will induce the people
to join the association.

It will then soon become a matter of necessity to
make great avnangements for extensive new settle-
ments by means of the new inventions. While the
association may thus acquire large tracts of unculti-
vated land in the west by contracts with Congress, for
forming new settlements, it may, in the same time,
make contracts with owners of land in the eastern
states for the application of the new means, increasing
thereby their body and collective wealth.

The contracts with the landowners are to be made
in such a manner, that many farms adjoining each
other are cultivated by one single establishment under


the supcriiUoiulence of a few individuals, engaged by
the association ; so that many thousand acres are to be
transformed into the linest gardens imaginable, and
yielding, consequently, far richer crops on the same
area than hitherto was possible. The compensation for
such culture and preparation of produces for food and
use to be made by the owner of the ground, is to be
a certain stipulated share of the produces.

Thus the farmer will see his farm changed into the
finest garden, with produces ten times as great and as
valuable as he could derive hitherto therefrom ; he
will have a store of produces, for his own use and for
sale, without trouble, without expense. He may then
spend his time in the manner he pleases: no work, no
hiring of labourers, nor feeding of horses or oxen for
work, is any more required of him. Dwellings and
store-houses are to be built for him by the new means.
The surplus of his produces may be transported over
land and sea by new means of transport, through the
agency of the association.

The association will have an affluence of real wealth
in this way, that will soon enable it to accomplish the
greatest purposes imaginable, by the new means. An
immense surplus of necessaries and comforts of life
will be created thereby for the association and single
farmers, which is to be exported on floating islands,
to supply whole nations in all quarters of the globe
with them, in exchange for produces of their own.

Wealth begets wealth ; and it will thus soon be-
come so superabundant, that all avarice, or fear of
want, will cease, and all real wants of human life will
be so cheap, or so free, as air and water is now. All


this will be tlius effected witliout any hurtful conse-
quence or violent revolution. The most stupid and
most inveterate prejudices, and blind adherence to
customs, will see themselves defeated without combat ;
the change will gradually be from good to better. The
poor class, the mechanic, and all others depending
now on their labour, will sec the plain road to the in-
crease of their happiness without trouble. They have
only to pay a small share in money or work, and then
be members of the association, and sharers in all the
benefits resulting from the application of the new
means. They may emigrate to the west of our coun-
try, if they choose ; and enjoy, after a period of two to
five years, a paradise without labour. The wealthy
may take at once a large share in the application of
the new means, and satisfy his desires for wealth to
their utmost.

The contracts with Congress may be made in the
following way, for deriving from the new means the
greatest benefits for both parties.

The association may select lands wherever they
choose beyond the Mississippi, among Congress lands,
within a certain period, say within ten years, which is
then to be their property, provided they pay a certain
price, stipulated by Congress, within the same time.
The payment may be made by preparing a certain
tract of land for Congress ; for example, one-fourth of
the land so bought by the association for the recep-
tion of new settlers; such land, with all the improve-
ments the new means afford thereon, is to be the pro-
perty of the Congress : these improvements will chiefly
consist in the finest gardens, edifices of the described



kind, &c. ; or an equivalent may be effected, by
making rail-roads of a superior kind, for large loco-
motive engines, large floats with engines for transport
on sea, canals, draining swamps,, making dams along
rivers, or other improvements or establishments for the
general benefit of the nation.

Thus the nation will have acquired, in less than ten
years, improvements which could not have been ef-
fected in 10,000 years with all the money in the
world. For there will be level roads, consisting of
large tables, many feet thick, and hard as flint, in
every direction, from one extremity of the United
States to the other, with vehicles for transporting
many thousand tons at once, and travelling 1000
miles per day ; to cross the ocean, at the same rate, on
beautiful floating islands, with perfect security and in
all imaginable enjoyments and comforts. The im-
mense wildernesses beyond the Mississippi will be
changed into gardens with produces of incalculable
value, and filled with establishments for producing
things in far greater quantity and of greater value
than all the world can produce now : and all such
improvements will be at the disposal of the govern-

The increase of the funds and members of the
association are to be applied to increase the settle-

Third period. It will then be time to make proper
arrangements for settling the territories beyond the
Mississippi in the most beneficial mode.

It is evident, from what has been stated of the new
means, that the inhabitants of the new country need


not to dwell in separate houses by families, as hitherto
has been the case. The half of the advantages of the
new means would thus be lost, besides the induce-
ments to a more refined social life.

Although it is not necessary that the new means be
applied in their full extent at once, yet preparations
ought to be made, so that they can come to full
application as soon as desired, or as practicable. When
I say here practicable^ it is not to be understood with
respect to the means themselves, for these are practi-

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Online LibraryJ. A. (John Adolphus) EtzlerThe paradise within the reach of all men, without labour, by powers of nature and machinery : an address to all intelligent men → online text (page 10 of 14)