William Dealtry.

The laborer; a remedy for his wrongs; or, A disquisition on the usages of society online

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Online LibraryWilliam DealtryThe laborer; a remedy for his wrongs; or, A disquisition on the usages of society → online text (page 24 of 33)
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els," he says: "The people of America live well. There

*This history was written in 1795, ^ or circulation in England. It is
in four volumes, quarto size.


are few persons who do not possess more than they need
for their maintenance. Hence the indolence of the inhabi-
tants. * * * There are seldom any poor in Roxborough
County [near Philadelphia]. Laborers are scarce in New-
ark. The district contains no paupers, there exist no poor-
rates. * * * Morristown is seven miles from Philadelphia.
Its jail is only inhabited by the keeper. Poor-rates are sel-
dom necessary. At present no paupers are there. * * *
The laws of the State of New York have established poor-
rates. There are few to be found of this description in
that new country. * * * Herkimer Co. contains 25,000,
persons. Two of these received public relief. * : * John
Schuyler has 1,500 acres of land ; 500 acres are cleared.
He owns three mills, and his yearly taxes were $35.00."

"John Melish gives us two volumes of travels in this
country from, 1806 to 1809. He says: " The people are
remarkably civil and industrious. * The genius of archi-
tecture seems to have shed his maledictions over the land.'*
There are no large towns, there seems to be no occasion for
them. Mankind are better accommodated in small towns
than in large cities. The inhabitants are mostly farmers,
and produce on their farms every necessary of life. One
day's labor was sufficient to keep the family a week."

This writer, by this record, has given us the causes of the
poverty of this country. "'The Ohio Company's pur-
chase' is along the Ohio River seventy miles, from north
to south eighty, and contains 1,000,000 acres. The retail
price of this land was from $2.00 to $20. OO an acre.

"'The Symmes's purchase' is between the two Miamis,

*This writer paid a visit to Thos. Jefferson, and has saved us this one of his
noble sayings. A beautiful store is built by profits the people have not yet
learned to save. That imposing college is often built by speculations on
public lands. The grand public edifice is often built by forced contributions.
Were the common people wise, this excessive labor would be on their homes.


it contained more than 1,000,000 of acres, and was sold for
$5.00 an acre. Mr. Zane, of Wheeling, for surveying a
road, had given to him lands that are the sites of Zanesville,
New Lancaster, and a tract of bottom land opposite Chil-
licothe, one mile square. 'The Scioto Company's pur-
chase* contained 2,000,000 of acres.

"'The Western Reserve lands' were 122 miles long,
and 45 wide, and contained 3,423,360 acres. In 1795,
500,000 acres were given to those on the Connecticut sea-
shore, whose towns were burnt by the British during the
Revolution. The remainder of the land, was sold by the
Connecticut Legislature, to Oliver Phelps and others for
$1,200,000. This, land in, 1810 was re-sold for two and
four dollars an acre.

"'The Holland purchase' was 100 miles square, and con-
tained 4,000,000 of acres, in the vicinity of Lake Ontario,
and the Genesee River. The retail price was $3.50 for an
acre, five per cent, in cash, and the balance to be paid
in six annual payments/'

This writer gives us a pleasing description of the "Rapp
Colony." He says: "'The Harmonist Society' had its
origin in Wurtemberg. The Lutheran religion had be-
come predominate, to which every body had to contribute.
These men maintained that the religion taught by Luther
had been destroyed, and in place of it, to regulate the life,
and regenerate the mind, it was converted into an engine of
power, to the civil government, to keep the people in check.
They were subjected to fines and imprisonments.

"In 1805, they organized a constitution, and founded it
on Acts, ch. iv, v. 32. This society, in their new American
home, in 1809, had 4,500 bushels of wheat, 4,500 of rye,
4,500 of barley, 10,000 of potatoes, 4,000 Ibs of flax,
and 1,000 sheep. In 1810, they numbered 800 persons.


"They owned 9,000 acres of land. Their mills, dwell-
ings, and lands amount to 220,000. They live pure lives,
and resign their offspring to the society at death. They
have no fear of want, no care, no use for money. They
help each other, and are free from the temptations that the
rest of mankind are subject too. There is no crime or im-
morality among them."

Had these people lived in the city, and become chin-
shavers, head-washers, grotesque stone-carvers, toy-makers,
wood-carvers, and frivolous workers, they would have been
poor and miserable, their children drudges, sewing-girls in
shops with the windows in dark, dirty alleys. Some of these
societies are still prosperous and getting richer. The time
may come when laborers will live in "baronial halls/' sur-
rounded with umbrageous walks, grassy lawns, beautiful
conservatories, well filled graperies, abundant vineyards,
bounteous orchards, flowery parterres, productive gardens,
and pleasing apiaries.

The "Zoarites" do not increase, and their children wan-
der off to enjoy gavety elsewhere. There can be no harm
in making their home attractive to prevent this. When a
man has a house, a granary, a fenced field, he may indulge
in the fine arts ; if he creates them with his own hands, then
no one is injured. To take by force or fraud the food and
clothes of another, and give them to scene painters and trifle
makers is an injustice. Those who nourish these artists
never see their wondrous productions.*

The writer resolved he would make a painting by getting up early in the
morning at midsummer, and painting to seven o'clock, the hour for labor. With
pencil I copied a book scene, and put on the varied colored paints. After
sixty mornings I then showed the painting to a "tinner" and a "plumber,"
the two first to see it. One said : " Whoever saw such sharp rocks on a sea-
shore." Said the other: "They are put there to rind freight -for the boat."
The scene was a boat at sea, sailors on the shore, cottage and hills in the dis-


In 1818, a Philadelphia printer, of the name of H. Hall,
printed a series of "-Letters on Pennsylvania," written by
C. B. Johns. He says: "There are no poor here. A la-
borer gets $1.25 for a day's labor. $1,00 will purchase
20 Ibs of beef, or 20 Ibs of pork, or 16 Ibs of flour. The
labor of four days will give him support for a month. I
have been in four houses, and the men are sitting down in-
stead of working. Sheep skins, heads, and breasts are
thrown away."

The laborer of half a century ago did not accumulate a
pile of money to generate stealers. He created a heap of
food, and then ate it. A thief in these improved days stole
some silver-plate. He sent a letter to his victim saying:
41 Allow me, sir respectfully to suggest to you in future you
will content yourself with cheap spoons, and spend your
surplus cash in the cause of humanity and Christ."

Abbe Raynal, when speaking of the criminals sent to this
country, says: " If they had not quitted their country, dis-
grace and shame, which never fail to depress the mind,
would have prevented them from recovering either regular-
ity of manners or public esteem. But, in another country,
where the experience they had of vice might prove a lesson
of wisdom, and where they had no occasion to attempt to
remove any unfavorable impressions, they found, after their
misfortunes, a harbor in which they rested with safety. In-
dustry made amends for their past follies. Men who had
left Europe like vagabonds, and who had disgraced it, re-
turned honest men and useful members of society.

"All these colonists had at their disposal, for clearing
and tilling their lands, the most profligate set of men in

tance. I never painted a cloud, a tree, or a wave before. A determined will
works wonders. My ambition is with my own hands to build a house and
have some home-made paintings.


the three kingdoms, who had deserved death for capital
crimes, but who, from motives of humanity and policy,
were suffered to live and work for the benefit of the state.
These malefactors, who were transported for a term of
years, which they were to spend in slavery, became industri-
ous, and acquired manners, which placed them once more in
the way to fortune. There were some of those who, when
restored to society by. the freedom they had gained, became
planters, heads of families, and the owners of the best plan-
tations a proof of how much it is for the interest of a civi-
lized society to admit this lenity in the penal laws, so con-
formable to human nature, which is frail, but capable of
sensibility, and of turning from evil to good."

Jeremy Bentham, in his * l Theory of Legislation," says :
" The English, before the independence of America, were
in the habit of sending their convicts to that country. This
was slavery to some, to others pleasure. A rogue was a
fool if he did not commit some offense to get an outfit and
a free passage. Some of the convicts gained a home and
property" Penal Code.

Lord Kames, in his u Sketches on Governments," says :
u 0ur American settlements are now so prosperous, ban-
ishment there is scarce a punishment. It may, however, be
now a sufficient punishment for theft."

Mrs. Kitty Trevelyan, in her diary of the "The Times
of Whitefield and Wesley," written in 1745, says: u There
are the convicts, our outcast countrymen, working out their
sentences beside the negroes on the plantations."

Voltaire, in a preface to another's book, speaks of trans-
ported criminals to America as becoming honest.* De
Toqueville, in his writings, alludes to this subject.

*The writer regrets that the note he made from Voltaire is mislaid. Men
are made bad by circumstances. If you change them, men become better.



James I "ordered dissolute persons to be sent to Vir-
ginia." Statutes were enacted that crimes punishable with
death might be commuted by the courts to banishment. A
reason for this act was u in many of the colonies there was
a want of servants, who, by their labor and industry, might
improve the said colonies and make them more useful."

The Legislature of Virginia passed an act, that persons
who disposed of these convicts should give Xioo security
for their proper behavior. Those who purchased them
gave <io security that they should do no harm. In 1750,
about 400 felons were yearly sent to Maryland.

In 1752, the New York "Independent Reflector" says :
"Very surprising that a horde of the most flagitious banditti
upon earth should be sent as agreeable companions to us !
It is intended as a punishment. It is a mistake ; they are
highly rewarded. What can be more agreeable to a wretch,
driven through necessity to seek a livelihood by house-
breaking, and robbing on the highway, to be saved from the
halter, the stench of a jail, and transported to a country
where no man can reproach him for crimes ; where labor
is high, where a little will support him, and all his expenses
will be moderate and low? "

The Revolution put an end to convict emigration. In
1 80 1, Botany Bay had 5,000 convicts and 500 free people.
This was the germ that will be a mighty nation. This in-
fant people was divided into servants, soldiers, and masters.
The poor convict had only a small burden to bear, he be-
came virtuous. When the lawyer, clergyman, scholar,
merchant, physician, philosopher and others are added to the
burdens of the untaught convict, then the heavy, crushing
machinery of government must be brought into requistion
to compel submission. The result is jails, gibbets, gallows,
engines of torture, well-dressed men with clubs, and soldiers


with bayonets. These convicts had in one year 10,000
acres of wheat, 7,000 sheep, 1,300 head of cattle, and 5,000
hogs. The convicts having to eat this themselves would
be virtuous. To fasten on them the various orders of so-
ciety was to make them poor, and cause them to be crim-
inal to their oppressors. In place of soldiers and masters if a
few mechanics had been given them to teach them how to
labor, a greater amount of justice would have been done to
them. Society makes men wicked. Put them in the way
of earning an easy living, and you do much toward making
men better.

O'Hara,in his "Hist, of New South Wales," says: "In
1819, the colony had 20,000 people. They had 170,920
sheep, 44,750 head of cattle, and the acres of land culti-
vated was 47,564. * * * Their u Gazette " tells us that " a
person is desirous of instructing children in polite diction."
In 1822, a commissioner was appointed to inquire into the
condition of the colony. He finds fault with setting con-
victs to work on public buildings with pilasters and pillars,
when many are wanting covering. The convict can buy his
time off the government for seven shillings a week. Sam-
uel Terrey, a convict, has got 1,900 acres of land, 1,450
head of cattle, and 3,800 sheep."*

There are many people who have no governments, and
are virtuous. Lewis and Clark were sent to explore the
Rocky Mountains by President Jefferson. These rnen in
their journal tell us they saw tribes of Indians among whom
the crime of stealing was unknown. A traveler among the

* The avarice and selfishness of this man creates governments. The na-
tives keep the colony together. This, with the sale of lands, makes the convict
a drudge to the more knowing. The discovery of gold in this land has made
bolts and locks necessary, and also governments. This gold caused crime,
which took men fram productive labor to prevent and punish it. This land is
not as virtuous as it was. There are too few at useful work.


Esquimaux Indians says their oars, lances, and every thing
of value was exposed, and none were guilty of stealing. Mr.
Robert Percival says: u The Ceylonese are courteous and
polite in their behavior. I have already exempted them
irom the censure of lying and stealing."

Lord Kames, in his "History of Man," says: "Riches,
selfishness, and luxury are the diseases that weaken pros-
perous nations, that corrupt the heart, and dethrone the
moral sense. Men hesitate at no expense to purchase pleas-
ure, and at no vice to supply that expense. Looking back
to the commencement of civil society, when no wants but
those of nature were known, and when such wants were
amply provided for, we find individuals of the same tribe
living innocently and cordially together. They had no ir-
regular appetites, nor any ground for strife. In that state
moral principles joined their influence with that of national
affection to secure individuals from harm. Savages, accord-
ingly, who have plenty of food and are simple in habitation
and clothing, seldom transgress the rules of morality within
their own tribe.

u Didorus Siculus says the inhabitants of Britain dwelt
in mean cottages, contented with plain and homely fare,
and strangers to the excess and luxury of rich men. In
Holland locks and keys were unknown, till the people be-
came rich by commerce. The Laplanders have no notion
of theft. This crime was unknown among the Caribbees.
In the reign of Edwin, King of Northumberland, an histo-
rian reports that a child might have traveled with a purse of
gold without hazard or robbery. In our days of luxury, so
intolerable is want, that even the fear of death will not
deter men. Paul Carpi, in 1246, said the Tartars were
not addicted to thieving. Pagans in Siberia are a moral,
good people. Among them thieving and fraud are rare."


Lord Kames goes through much reasoning to prove that
governments introduce misery into society. It can not be
denied that the people, before the Revolution, were virtuous
and no crime prevailed. Thomas Jefferson, in his " Notes
on Virginia," makes no allusion to crime or poverty, hence
we may safely conclude there was none.* In these notes,
he says: "I never saw a native begging. A subsistence is
easily gained here. * * * Corruption of the mass of cul-
tivators is a phenomenon, which no age or nation has ever
produced an example."

The fathers of the Revolution, to judge by their acts,
believed in a class u to do the mean duties of life, on which
to build refinement and civilization." The first method is
to let men have large quantities of land, not for the purpose
of cultivation, but to sell for a high value, to get money
without working for it. A laborer has not the time to read,
or the money to purchase Smith's Theory of Moral Senti-
ments, Wayland's Moral Science, or Thomas Brown's
Moral Philosophy. He must reason the question his own
way. A thief wants money, so does a land speculator.
The scheming of the one is legalized, the other is not. To
the mind of a person not versed in moral ethics, as taught
by college men, he must reason thus. The land was made
by the Creator for his children, and he designs all to have
an equal share. That one man should pay another for a
piece of wild land is unjust, and a usurpation on the rights
of men. The Creator designed land to be free.

For the fathers of the nation, to give whole districts to a
few, was an outrage it was giving the common people to be
a prey to speculators. This later government has given to

* If the reader will examine this subject he will find " this is truth. M.
Brissot tells us that Boston took care off 150 old and diseased persons. These
were mostly strangers. Boston then was a seaport town a cause for poverty.


railroads 3,000,000 of acres, from which enormous for-
tunes will be made, and it will make the condition of many
of the Americans but little better than serfs. In an agricul-
tural country the people labor four hours a day. When rail-
roads are built the farmers work ten hours a day. They give
their surplus for foreign luxuries. A poor drudge, who
handles this surplus in its transit, gets as pay for a week's
work what will keep him two. The farmer creates in one
week what will keep him ten. When the railroad laborer
becomes as wise as the farmer, he will say to him, Risk your
own life, do your own carrying. It is the object of legisla-
tion to make a part of men drudges. If the $30,000,000
that has been spent in Illinois on railroads had been used
to introduce the manufacture of the various luxuries that
come from abroad, the people would be happier and better.
The people of Illinois should have built their own roads.
To print $30,000,000 would have cost $15,000. For these
notes the merchants and farmers would support the road-
makers. These two classes fed and clothed the workmen
for the capitalists. They should have done it for them-
selves, and owned the road.

The cost of the railroads in this land is $1,600,000,000.
The cost of the railroads in Massachusetts is $18,000,000;
the earnings yearly are $6,500,000. The New York rail-
roads cost $1,700,000, and earned yearly $50,000,000. The
Pennsylvania railroads cost $222,000,000, and earned one~
fifth of this sum. The Cleveland roads cost $4,868,427,
and earned $2,659,346. The Terre Haute railroad earned
yearly $1,134,549, and cost $1,984,149.

In the island of Guernsey, near France, the authorities, to
build a market-house, issued paper notes which circulated.
The rent was paid in these notes. This same plan would
have gradually filled this land with railroads, the profits of


which would have raised a revenue sufficient fo the pur
poses for which taxes are assessed. The canal built by the
Duke of Bridgewater, a century ago, pays enormous profits.
The 100 share sells for ,1,500. Had the city of Man-
chester issued notes, passed them as money, and built this
canal, the annual revenue derived from it would be equal
the first cost of it.

The u Prairie Farmer " notices some of the large farms
in trre West: " Broadland's contains 23,000 acres. Fow-
ler & Earl's farm, in Benton County, Indiana, numbers
26,000 acres. Sumner's farm contains 13,000 acres. In
the same county is the Boswell farm, containing 8,000 acres.
Many farms in the Wabash Valley contain from 1,000 to
3,000 acres. The owner of Broadland has in Ford County,
a farm of 40,000 acres. Another has a farm of 17,000
acres. Mr. Sullivant's farm, in Illinois, contains 40,000
acres. This man has a large village, and all the inhabi-
tants work for him under overseers." This looks like feud-
alism like scenes in Russia. To see gangs of men work-
ing hard to enrich another, should arouse a feeling of indig-
nation in the mind of every humane man.

It may be said with truth, that the owners of these large
farms give to their hands one-third of the crop. A bar-
gain like this is often made. For three centuries the Afri-
can Moors had a habit of taking vessels, robbing them, and
carrying the sailors into slavery, who were allowed to have
one-third of what they earned. General Eaton, at Tunis, in
1799, writes thus: "Truth and justice demand from me
this confession, that the Christian slaves among the barba-
rians of Africa are treated with more humanity than slaves
in civilized America." These slaves could purchase their
time, and had Sunday and saint days to keep. They were
out of the way of harm. They could believe whatever they


pleased. At home, if they should change from Catholicism
to Protestantism, the Inquisition behaved disagreeably to
them. Even to be a Quaker was. to suffer imprisonment.
These slaves worked at trades, became merchants, accu-
mulated fortunes, and purchased their freedom. In Chris-
tendom a poor man has been punished for stealing a pint of
peas to satisfy hunger. The Algerine was indulgent. Stolen
goods when found were taken away. The Koran said :
"A slave was not a free agent ; if he stole to satisfy hunger,
he could not legally be punished for theft/' Captain Pic-
hellin had 800 slaves, and they had a good time at stealing.
On one occasion a slave stole and sold the anchor of a gal-
ley. Said Pichellin: "You Christian dog, how dare you
sell my anchor?" Said the slave: U I thought the galley
would sail better without the additional weight." This re-
ply caused a laugh.

All of these slaves could not rise above their condition.
A successful expedition was gotten up to deliver them. A
wrong exists among us. A class of men get possession of
the public lands, and compel the most virtuous- part of the
community to work for them eight hours out of twelve.
Sturgis, of Chicago, has 300,000 acres, which will take him
two days to ride around it on horseback. This man has
gone among the Kansas Indians and bought out their claim,
which gives him 8,000,000 of acres more.

Since 1784, land speculators have made thousands of
millions of dollars. Their plunderings are equal in value
to the depredations of the thieves. If the farmers, mer-
chants, and mechanics would unite with the laborers to get
free homes, it would be done. " Harper's Magazine," for
1 868, in an article called " Trip to Colorado," said : u In the
stage was a person looking for lands to locate them." The
stage was attacked by Indians, and found refuge at a fort


The speculators of the nation get the advance of the la-
borers when they locate lands before the Indians leave,
and have the United States soldiers to protect them. The
laborer, to get lands, must go over beyond those of the spec-
ulators, where the Indians will kill him.

Had the fathers of the nation not been so selfish, and
given the lands to those only who would settle them in lim-
ited quantities, or 160 acres, the people of this nation would
be more virtuous and happier. Men's inability to occupy
lands makes them criminal. How noble it would have
been had the fathers of the nation set apart, in every town-
ship two square miles of land for a town site ! It would have
given homes to 1,280 mechanics ; to each two acres, on
which to be happy, and not be the victims of base men.

There is another wrong government does: it encourages
gold-seeking to obtain which takes men from useful toil,
and increases the toils of those who remain to do it. The
amount of gold given us by California is $1,500,000,000.
The labor to seek this gold would have made half of the
American people good homes.

This extract shows how some people do not like to offer
premiums to men to steal : c * They say in Siberia that
a man deserves to be robbed who carries his money in such
a small compass as silver coin in a purse."* This people
find their safety in having their treasures in the form of
goods. Paper money enables those who issue it to double

Online LibraryWilliam DealtryThe laborer; a remedy for his wrongs; or, A disquisition on the usages of society → online text (page 24 of 33)