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 8 of 14)
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Suppose one year for the preparations. Suppose in ilie
second year one man effects by the machinery as much
as 1,000 men would do with working in the usual
manner, — a very low estimation, considering what has
been stated of the power and means. Suppose the
work of a man for the whole year, to be worth 200
dollars, in an average. Tben one man, with this
machinery, would gain the value of 1,000 times 200, or
200,000 dollars in the second year. But besides this
gain, the machinery may be npjdied to convert all the
raw materials requisite to establishments and ma-
chineries of the new kind, into the finished pieces for
use, so that they require but transporting and putting
them together into machineries, &rc.

The machineries arc sim])lc, and are thus to propa-
gate or multiply themselves without labour: — nine
machineries would be a comparatively small object
for being made by one established machinery in one


year.. Thus there may be in the third year ten lua-
chiilerics or establishments, in the fourth 100, and in
the fifth, 1,000 machineries or establishments. The
revenues would then he, in the tliird year, ten times
200,000, or 2,000,000 dollars; in the lourth, ten times
as much again, or twenty millions of dollars, and so in
the "fifth, 200 millions of dollars. Allo^inp^ the re-
venues of the first four years for purchasing the
required raw materials for the new establishments, there
would still remain a gain of about 200 millions of
dollars ; that is, each dollar for the beginning would
have been increased to 1,000 dollars in five years. The
productions of these establishments would all find
every wher6 a sure market, because they would be but
articles of necessaries, and real comforts of life, pro-
duce of the ground or materials for use, surpassing
what has been in use hitherto ; they would command
the price, and their transport would require but a small
portion of their value, by applying more perfect means
than usual.

A share of twenty or fifty dollars for the beginning,
would thus increase to 20,000 or 50,000 dollars.

But how would it be thereafter, in another period of
five years, beginning with a principal of 200 millions
of dollars ? — The extent of establishments would, at
the supposed rate, increase to the number of millions,
and might consequently comprehend the whole world
and the whole human race, in the greatest perfection
of the idea exhibited. The whole world might there-
fore he really changed into a paradise of the descrihed
kind, surpassing all conceptions hitherto, within the
first ten years, beginning with but 200,000 or 300,000


dollars. If it be not, nothing but ignorance, prejudice,
and dull adherence to custom are the causes of its
being retarded any longer ; for it is not poverty, not
insufficiency of means, as some lazy, prejudiced minds
might plead for their excuse — not one thousandth part
of the means within our possession is wanted ; it is not
want of chance for information on the subject, which
is offered here nearly gratis ; it is not want of clearness
in the proposal, for every explanation that may be
■wished for, is promised to be given satisfactorily, as
soon as an earnest desire and disposition for making
the experiment is shown, hy organizing an association
of a sufficient number of persons , with sufficient means,
for transacting business in an orderly way, in examining
the subject, and forming eventually the resolutions. Or
do the facts exhibited, perhaps, not deserve any such
attention ? — Examine them as close as you please,
and see then whether they are not the most joyful
and the most substantial truths that ever could be
shown to men ?

There is no claim made upon you, so you have no
imposition to fear; you are made acquainted with the
principal ideas of the proposals, and it is offered to you
all the specifications required to a perfect conviction.
All is done, and shall be done, in an honest, sincere
way ; there is no artifice, no enticement for vain and
hazardous speculations. If I be in error, it will be an
easy matter to discover and expose it. I defy any who
thinks himself capable for it to do so; to that purpose
I offer the opportunity for fair and open discussion
upon the subject. But it is a mathematical matter,
and none of vague opinion, or mere wordy dispute,


as some might perliaps fancy. Any assertion witliout
mathematical argument, will, and must be disregarded
by me. For talking at random about mathematical
subjects, and replying to it, is mere trifling, and to no
purpose; and trifling on a subject of so serious and
high an import as exhibited, is no mark of an intelligent
mind desirous after truth.

It will now be plainly seen that the execution of
the proposals is not proper for individuals. Whether
it be qualified for the government at this time, before
the subject is become popular, is a question to be
decided yet by the government itself ; it would certainly
be a great fortune and glory for the nation, if no pre-
judice would prevent the majority of the government
from bestowing attention upon the subject, and pro-
moting to application for the public benefit whatever
be found useful of it, by careful examination of some
committee. But whether this be the case or not, it
will not interfere with the interest of a society formed
for the purpose of investigating, and eventually
executing, the proposals; this might be supported by
the government, and aid the government on their side
in its acts.

The means for making the first experiment on a suf-
ficient large scale, will be a trifle for a larse society:
the principal required for the first establishment may
be laid out in shares, not greater than the price of a
lottery ticket, which may be subscribed previous to the
resolutions of the society ; for the funds must be ascer-
tained, before any resolution can be formed ujjon the
execution of any plan. The subscriptions, however,
need not be obligatory to the subscribers, but may be

K 2

102 V

made on the express condition to withdraw the ohli-
gation, in case general conviction of the practicahTlity
and utility of the proposals he not established, and at
least the majority of the subscribers do not concur in
the assent to the execution of the proposals. Orderly
free deliberations, and mutual communications, must
determine the resolution, as it is the case in ^all well-
regulated associations. For this purpose the following
Constitution is proposed.


Improvement of our condition is, and. ought to he,
our continual aim as long as we live. It behoves not
to rational men to abandon their improvement to
chance, or to the feeble inefficient efforts of individuals,
but to seek and employ the means for it, in the best
way that is in their power. Man, as an individual, is
weak, and whatever his means or abilities be, they
are always very limited, in comparison to those of many
men joined into one body. His contrivances and
pursuits can be but for his separate private interest,
and must therefore be very limited and transient, like
himself. He sees every where his interest opposed by
all with whom he has to deal, and must therefore
oppose his endeavours to all of those who deal with
him. Therefore, nothing great for the improvement
of his own condition, nor that of his fellow-men can
ever be effected by individual enterprises. Man is
powerful but in union with many.

The government of the state cannot interfere with
the domestic concerns ; it can only regulate the means


for keeping the citizens peaceably together, and for
pro'tecting every one in his rights; it may favour and
patronize improvements of any kind, but it cannot en-
force them. Men must concur freely in any measure
or enterprise for their own benefit, or else there is
counteraction and dissatisfaction.

An upion of men who make it their purpose to deli-
berate together upon all means for improvement of
their condition, that may come to their notice, is yet
a great desideratum. They may receive every propo-
sal to this effect, from within and out of their union,
examine the mertt of it, and deliberate upon. Majority
of votes in some cases of minor importance, unanimity
in cases of contribution, may decide the resolutions for
the whole union, while parts of them^ when the whole
union cannot agree, may form separate bodies for their
own purposes, without separating from the whole union
in all their other concerns. Individual prejudices
against new things would thus, by a liberal spirit of
deliberation, be weakened and removed, the minds en-
larged, mutual confidence, good dispositions, and union
promoted, and great things for improving mentally, and
physically, the human condition, effected, which could
never come to existence by mere individual endeavolirs.
Inventions and discoveries of every description may
find due rewards, in allowing a reasonable share of
their advantages, while they are practised by the union,
as encouragements to inventors for communicating
them, which else might never be sought after, or never
be communicated, and lost. The patents of the govern-
ment, for inventions and discoveries, arc but for petty,
private purposes, but not for improving the human

104 ,

condition at large; tlie)' can have, at best, but an in-
direct and remote influence, by chance, upon improve- •
ment in general.

The knowledge that is scattered among individuals,
and employed only in the limited extent which
petty private views will 'admit of, may be thus con-
centrated and made known to all the members of the
union ; a spirit for improvement will then be kindled,
and, by contributing but small sums for enterprises to
the benefit of the whole union, great things may be
effected, without great sacrifices of property, — things of
the greatest benefit, that by separate private enterprise
could never be attempted. " * . '

The benefits of all new things tending to the im-
provement of the human condition, will^hus be open
to all, both to the rich and poor, whoever will pai^ci-
pate of them, for a trifle if one chose, while larger
contributions entitle to proportionate larger shares in
the resulting benefits. The saving of human labour,
the increase of productions, is then no longer a curse
to the many, but a blessing, as it ought to be, to every
one, rich and poor, in the union.

With these views and tendency towards improve-
ment of the human condition, in physical, moral, and
intellectual respects, we unite ourselves by this present,
constitution, as follows:

1. The title of our union shall be,

" Association for the improvement of the human con-
dition J^

2. Every person is admissible to our association

which pays at least one share of dollars into our


105 . :

3. At the end of years, any membev may sepa-
rate, and take his share of the common property out,
. either in cash or productions of tlie estahlishmeuts of

the association, as the majority think proper.
' 4. At the end of every jear, concluding with the

-; — of , each memher is' entitled to receive his

* share of the net profi-t of the establishment which he
■ or she shares in. .

5. The majority of the society decide in all cases,
, without, however, nullifying any existing obligati6n,
in which cases unanimity is required.
' 6. Two-thirds of the members are at least required
. 'ta form a^quorum in any assembly duly published be-
fore to' all members, and are empowered to act for the
' sofc>ej,y. '.

7vln every asserably, the day and place of the next
is to be appointed.

. 8. The society is to have one president, vice-
presidents, one secretary, vice-secretaries, and

one treasurer.

9. The president is the organ through which all
communications to and from the society are to be
made ; in the meetings he has to watch over a proper
decorum, and he may convoke extraordinary meetings
when required,

10. The vice-president has to act in the place of
the president, in case of absence or inability of the

11. The secretary controls and records all trans-
actions of the president.

J2. The vice-secretary performs the ofiice of the


secretary, in case of the secretary's aljsence or in-

13. The treasurer receives and pays the money on
order of the president and secretary conjointly ; he is
subject to the special revision of the president and
secretary fonjoinlly, \Ahenever they judge proper : he
has to keep book in the prescribed method, and to give
account to the society, whenever called for; and he is
responsible for the treasury, for which he has to give

14. The association is limited to no particular coun-
try or place, or number of members, and may extend
to any part of the world, by co-ordinate branches, ccm-
stituied in the same manner; which branches may
be denominated by successive numbers; and every
branch may again be divided into parts, each con-
siliuted in the same manner as the whole. All
branches are connected by deputies, in a central con-
gress of the whole association, and the parts of a
branch likewise by deputies in general meetings of
the branch.

15. All branches, and parts of branches, communi-
cate reciprocally all their informations received, or
experiments made, when of general interest.

16. Any branch, and part of branch, may form
separate establishments independent of more general

1/. Any invention, improvement, or discovery enti-
tles the inventor or discoverer, or his assignees or
heirs, for the first ten years of their application, to one
tenth of the advantages resulting therefrom to the


association, or to any individual or individuals of the
same, making separate or joint use with others of the
invention, improvement, or discovery ; and thereafter,
fur ever, to one-twentieth of the benefits resulting
tlierefrom, to the same extent and meaning as ex-
pressed, or to one-twentieth of the property invested in
the application of the same invention, improvement,
or discovery.

18. If any improvement be made on such invention
or improvement, by some other person, it diminishes
not the original share of the first inventor, as before
stipulated ; but the inventor of the new improvement
is entitled to one-tenth in the ten first years of its
a-pplication, and to one-twentieth ever thereafter, only
of those advantages that his improvement affords to
the society, or any part, or individual or individuals,
over and above the advantages of the original inven-
tion, and so forth with every other, second, third, <Scc.,
improvement on what was known before.

1.9. Every member, as well as every branch or part
ofbranch of the association, obligate themselves to the
same conditions of the two foregoing articles, if they
make use in any way of such invention, improvement,
or discovery.

20. Tiie association, or any branch of it, or any part
of branch of it, cannot dissolve, or dispose of any esta-
blishment, before they have satisfied, as stipulated,
the inventor or discoverer for his share in it.

21. Every member of the society, and every branch,
or part oi branch, is to receive a copy of the Constitu-


Tlur^ you may spread a net over the whole world,
not for ensnaring, oppressing;, and enslaving men, as
has heen done hitherto, but for exercising the most
beneficial influence, for preventing all hurtful and
dangerous consequences, and violent revolutions that
might follow from an introduction of these means
without precaution ; for, by a system of association
that opens the way to all the henefits to he derived
from the new means for the poor and the rich, no
Tiolence or opposition can ensue ; hut all men will
simultaneously enjoy the benefits, wherever they are
introduced, while the first undertakers reap all the
fruits of their enterprises that can possibly be reaped,
in perfect security. You have to offer to the human
iind at large the most substantial gifts, the direct road
to the greatest happiness that man is capable to enjoy
in this world ; not vain, empty, delusive systems or
doctrines, but all the physical enjoyments imaginable.
Man must first be satisfied with his physical wants,
and be liberated from the slavery of work, before his
mind can be accessible to superior culture. After you
have done with the physical wants, then you may
gradually shed the mild beams of better information
into the mind, and render it more and more adapted
to enjoy a superior life of a refined society.

Who has to make a beginning with this great work ?
You yourself, reader, whatever your station in so-
ciety, your fortune, your education, be. You have no
reason to stay behind any of your fellow-men, and wait
for what he is going to do, as soon as you are convinced
of the truth of what has been demonstrated ; for, if
every one would wait for his neighbour, with acting
his part, there would never be any acting, and man

109 .

would be a ver^ ridiculous animal. Did you ever ask,
who is to speak aiul to vote first or last in your public
affairs? If a mountain of gold were shown to you,
accessible to every one, would you ask who is to stir
first, and wait for any of your neighbours ? Is what
is here presented to you, perhaps, of less value ? — Exa-
mine, reflect again. What is then to be done for
your part, to promote this great cause ? — The same
thing you do in public concerns ; express indepen-
dently your conviction wherever you may have some
influence. The constituting of a society, no matter
how small, in your neighbourhood, is to be the first
object; and on notice of it to me, under the direction
given at the end of this book, further communication
will be made. Thus you may give independently the
first impulse to this great work, whatever your circum-
stances be. Do not wail just for men of better learn-
ing, or higher standing, or greater fortune ; for this
is a matter of reason, and sound active reason is not
the exclusive endowment of learning, fortune, or
rank; none of these circumstances exempt from pre-
judice and mental weakness ; experiences prove this
amply every day. The way for putting ihe matter to
the test is pointed out; it is plain, and without ex-
penses: the execution of the proposals itself requires no
fortune; small shares of twenty dollars will be sufll-
cient; and even these may be accepted partly in work,
after a small part is paid to the treasury of the so-

There is then no sacrifice, no risk, but incalculable
fortune and glory attending to this cause. All what
is to be done, is, to slop forth, after mature reflection,



to confess loudly one's conviction, and to constitute so-
cieties, which are to increase hy offering reception to
whomsoever will join, till the suhscribed shares afford
sufficient means for making' the first experiment.

The names of the first supporters of this great and
most glorious cause of human kind can never sink into
oblivion, as long as there will be any record of the
past, and any feelings of gratitude in the human
bosom, and as long as the name of enlightemng
will have a meaning; they will resound Avith grati-
tude and respect in all languages of their cotempo-
raries and after -ages ; they will be celebrated in
feasts of public joy and grateful feelings, from one
extremity of tlje world to the other, like you do now
with those of your first brave assertors of yournational
independence and the rights of man. Those bold
and humane proclaimers of independence and liberty
had put their lives, their fortunes, and their honour
at slake. You have nothing to risk, nothing to en-
counter, except perhaps the feeble efforts of vulgar
prejudices and thoughtless frivolity, which are apt
to throw the ridicule on whatever is above their
little notions. Fouls will glory in ridiculing what
they do not understand, because it gives them the
appearance of wits in the eyes of weak minds ; but
men of good sense will inform themselves before they
judge of the n;atter. Is any of you perhaps afraid of
the little endeavours of such fools ? — They might be
easily silenced ; but you may as well let them have
the little fun, and disgrace themselves as much as they
please : men of good sense ought not ta be impeded
by puerilities of others, in their proceedings for such a


serious and most important cause that ever could
actuate rational men.

Is there, perhaps, any thing* unreasonable or imprac-
ticable in the proposed manner of execution ? — There
are extensive societies in our country for pecuniary
and philanthropical purposes of various kinds. There
are missionary societies for all quarters of the globe,
with great expenses, and no pecuniary gain to the con-
tributors. There are lyceum and other associations
throughout the whole nation for the general improve-
ment of man. There are many societies for humane
purposes. There are societies for constructing canals
and roads, with millions of dollars of expenses, with
but uncertain prospect to immediate gain. There are
social enterprises with large funds for hazardous com-
mercial purposes on land and sea. There have been
voluntary contributions of large amounts for the be-
nefit of foreign peoples.

Arc the objects presented here less worthy of notice
than any of those for which the people have spent vo-
luntarily large sums.^ — Do the objects presented here
not include every object of philanthropy and specula-
tion of any kind, and infinitely more than ever has
been thought of? — Or does the attainment of the
grand objects in view require more means than there
have been spent and are spending for purposes very
inferior in every respect to the present?

The numerous expensive enterprises for improve-
ments by associations, bespeak too manifestly the Ame-
rican character and spirit for social great enterprises,
as to require here my demonstration on the utility and
practicability of social enterprises.


Associations give decided advantages in all cases
over individual enterprises ; and it is only hy associa-
tions lliat our nation achieves great enterprises, and
may gain the superiority over all other nations in every

There is nothing in iny proposals that the Americans
do not practise already, nothing new, but the objects
themselves to be attained. Thus the manner, as well
as the matter, as far as exhibited, leave no reasonable
objection ; and if the execution of the proposals should
be retarded nevertheless, it would be but owing to dull
prejudice that prevents attention and reflection, — a dis-
grace to the American people, which, for its conse-
quences, could never be enough lamented.

Should, indeed, among twelve or thirteen millions of
men that form our nation, not be found enough men
capable of raising their minds above their every day's
concerns! If this should be the case, then it is not
true that the American nation is to be the first and
most enlightened on earth ; for these means would then
inevitably pass into the hands of some other people,
\vhich might easily nsc them for making a prey or
subject province of this country. When then hereafter
the present exultation of the Americans in their na-
tional progress, should be compared with their neglect
of means, offered with all the evidence that can rea-
sonably be desired, for raising them at once to the
highest station of national power and influence over
the whole world, and of general human happiness, —
liow should the intelligent world then judge of our
nation ? — Why, not better than we do now of the
cotemporaries of Columbus, Galileo, and other dis-


coverers of great truths contradictory to tlie vulgar
erroneous notions of their times, when we read their
history of the conllicts between the active reason of
single individuals, and the slothful, brutal adherence
to customary notions of the multitude — we deem our-
selves happy to live in a better enlightened age, and
among a more intelligent people.
I have shown now, —

1. That there are powers at our disposal, million
times greater than all men on earth could effect by
their united exertions of nerves.

I have derived the proofs of them from the most
common experiences.

2. How these powers may be converted into perpe'
tual motions with uniform powers.

3. What system of establishments and machineries
is to be applied for doing all works by machinery,
without hibour; that there are but three or four
simple contrivances required.

4. How by association, and shares of but twenty or
fifty doHars, the first establishment is to be created;

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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 8 of 14)