William Dealtry.

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

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amount sufficient to rind furnished homes for all Americans who become of age.



garden for exercise, played on a fiddle. He heated his house
by steam, slept in a sack, and thought the common law the
perfection of absurdity.

J. Stuart -Mill, a political writer, gives us this piece of sat-
ire : " The lot of the poor, in all things, should be regulated
for them, not by them. TJiey should not be required to
think for themselves. It is the duty of the higher class to
think for them. This function the higher class should pre-
pare to perform conscientiously, and their whole demeanor
should impress the poor with reliance on them. The rela-
tion between rich and poor should be only partially author-
itative; it should be amiable, moral, sentimental ; affection-
ate tutelage on the one side, respectful, grateful deference on
the other. The poor should be called on for nothing, but to
do their day's work. Their morality should be provided
for them by their superiors.

"The poor have come out of their leading strings, and
can not be treated like children any more. I can not con-
ceive how any person can persuade himself that the major-
ity will much longer consent to hew wood and draw water
all their lives in the service and for the benefit of others."

Dr. Chalmers, writing on political science, says : " Be-
cause of a fertility in the earth, by which it yields a surplus
over and above the food of the direct and secondary laborers,
that we command the services of a disposable population,
who, in return for their maintenance, minister to the pro-
prietors of this surplus all the higher comforts and conveni-
ences of life"

Dr. Paley, in his u Political Philosophy," taught" That
the condition most favorable to population is that of a la-
borious, frugal people, ministering to the demands of an op-
'ulent and luxurious nation; because this situation, whilst it
leaves them every advantage of luxury, exempts them from


the evils that naturally accompany its admission into any

Blackstone, in his u Commentaries," declares: "Among
the many acts men are daily liable to commit, 160 are pun-
ished by death." If any should be hung through mistake,
Dr. Paley kindly advises their friends: "To reflect that he
who falls by a mistaken sentence may be considered as fall-
ing for his country."

Robert Owen believed that the drunkard and thief were
victims of circumstances. In his "New Moral World,"
he maintained that money was an evil, a source of injustice,
oppression, and misery to the human race makes some the
slavish producers of wealth, and others wasteful consumers.
He believed that u men divided into employed and employ-
ers, masters and servants, would cause ignorance and pov-
erty to pervade the world." Owen prepared two memori-
als for the Congress at Vienna, in 1815, in which were these
words "Wealth, privileges, and honors are the playthings
of infants." This made some impression on it.

MaryWollstonecraft,in her "Vindication of the rights of
Women," says : "Such combustible material can not long
be pent up. Getting vent in foreign wars and civil insur-
rections, the people acquire some power in the tumult, that
obliges their rulers to gloss over their oppressions with a
show of right. Agriculture, commerce, and letters expand
the mind. Despots are compelled to make covert corruption
hold fast the power which was formerly snatched by open
force. A baneful gangrene is formed, spread by luxury and
superstition, the sure dregs of ambition. The indolent pup-
pet of a court first becomes a luxurious monster or a fas-
tidious sensualist and an instrument of tyranny. It is the
pestiferous purple, which renders the progress of civilization
a curse^ and warps the understanding, till men of sensibility


doubt whether the expansion of intellect produces a greater
portion of happiness or misery."

Thomas Carlyle, a "Writer of Books," said : "An earth
all around, crying, come and till me ; yet we sit here en-
chanted ! The sun shines and the earth calls; and, by the
governing powers and impotences of England, we are for-
bidden to obey. * * * The Continental people are export-
ing our machinery, and beginning to spin cotton for them-
selves. Sad news, but irremediable. The saddest news is
that we should find our national existence depends on sell-
ing cotton a farthing an ell cheaper than any other people.
Cotton cloth is already twopence a yard or less ; and yet bare
backs were never more numerous among us. Let invent-
ive men cease to spend their existence incessantly contriv-
ing how cotton cloth can be made cheaper, and try to in-
vent how cotton cloth, at its present cheapness, could be
divided a little more justlier among you."

Thomas Paine hated injustice and oppression. He was
secretary to Congress during the Revolution. He wrote
then the "Crisis" and "Common Sense," to induce the
Americans to revolt. In his "Rights of Man" is found this :
"We see in countries that are called civilized, youth going;
to the gallows and age to the workhouse. * * * To make
one rich, many must be made poor; neither can the system
be supported by any other means."

Rousseau, born in 1711, and dying in 1 788, was hated by
the authorities for his opinions. His "Emille," a treatise on
education, could not be tolerated. He was banished for it.
His "Social Contract" says: "Supply an administration
with money, and they will supply you with chains. The
very term of taxes is slavish. Foreign commerce is pro-
ductive only of a delusive utility to the kingdom in general.
It may enrich a few individuals, and perhaps some city.


The whole nation gains nothing by it, nor are any of the
people any better for it. It is required that no greater quan-
tity of land be given than is necessary for the subsistence
of the occupiers."

Earl Stanhope, born in 1753, and dying in 1816, invented
a printing press and a calculating machine, and was the im-
prover of canal locks and stereotyping. He was full of
enthusiasm for the improvement of the social institutions,
and looked with complacency on the French Revolution as
an attainment of that end. Lord Holland says of him : il He
was in some senses of the word the truest Jacobin I have
ever known. He not only deemed the monarchy, clergy, and
nobility, but property, or at least landed property by descent,
as unlawful abuses. He sometimes gave me a glimpse of
his designs in proposing measures apparently preposterous,
by hinting their tendency to subvert the fundamental prin-
ciples of society."

His daughter, Lady Hester Stanhope, lived in Syria, and
said : "Your Europe is so insipid ! Leave me to my des-
ert ! What should I do in Europe? See nations worthy of
their chains, and kings unworthy to reign ? Wait a little,
and your old continent will be shaken to its base. Every
thing is worn out in Europe. The kings do not make dy-
nasties ; they fall by their own fault. An aristocracy, soon
to be effaced from the world, is giving way to a mean and
ephemeral middle class, without productivity or vigor. The
people, the hard-working people alone, still preserve a char-
acter and some virtues. Tremble you, if they become aware
of their strength !"

Lord Byron despised his own class, and said: " One of the
noblest sights of earth was to see a man go forth in the
morning to toil for his family." In 1824, he went to fight
for the Greeks, to deliver them from the Turks. He died


in Missolonghi. This line denotes his humanity: "The
drying up of a single tear had more of honest fame than
shedding seas of gore."

Montesquieu was born in 1689, and died in 1753. His
principle works are "The Spirit of the Laws," and "Persian
Letters." These are some of his teachings:

" Luxury is always in proportion to the inequality of

41 Indolence and inaction is a consequence of being de-
prived of our labors.

"Nothing can reconcile those who have nothing to those
who are in affluence.

" Commerce was only the profession of mean persons,
that of knaves. It is only making those who do it dis-
honest. Aristotle.

"So great is our luxury that people adorn with embroid-
ery the shoes of boys and girls. The employing of so many
persons in making clothes for one person is the way to pre-
vent others from getting clothes. There are ten men who
eat the fruits of the earth to one employed in the means of
agriculture, and is the means of preventing others from get-
ting nourishment." Kiavanti

Voltaire died in 1778, after writing seventy books. From
a dialogue between a man worth forty crowns and another
worth five thousand, is this language :

"Whence comes this dearth of laborers?

"Because every person who has the least inclination to
industry, becomes an embroiderer, watchmaker, silk weav-
er, lawyer, divine, beggar, or a monk. Every one as much
as possible has avoided the laborious employment of hus-
bandman, for which we were created by God.

"Our new wants are a cause of our poverty. What a
cursed thing is this tax, which has reduced me to beg alms !


There are three or four hundred taxes, whose names it is
impossible to remember. Was there ever a legislature, upon
founding a State, that thought of creating the counselors of
the king, coal measurers, gaugers of casks, assizers of wood,
overseers of salt, butter, etc. of maintaining an army of
scoundrels twice as large as that which Alexander com-
manded by sixty generals, who laid the country under con-
tribution ? Such a legislation takes away from me one-half
of my property. Upon a nice calculation, it will be found
that the establishment takes away three-fourths by detail."

St. Simon was a French nobleman, and was at the siege
of Yorktown. He was born in 1760, and died in 1825.
He laid down this principle: "That society is composed of
idlers and laborers, and that a policy should be aimed at for
the moral, physical, and intellectual amelioration of the la-
borers, and a gradual extinction of the idlers. The means of
accomplishing this was the abolition of the privileges of
birth, and the classification of laborers."

Louis Blanc obtained an office under the French Gov-
ernment. At a party of the aristocracy he was introduced
to a lady. She stood on her tiptoes, and looked over him, ex-
claiming, "I can not see him." He was so offended that
he threw up his office, and commenced to write on the
"Organization of Labor." Louis Philippe has often been
heard to say, that it acted like a battering ram to royalty.

His plan was for the government u To erect social work-
shops to employ the idle men, and to loan them money."
Tailors were set to work on clothing for the Garde Mobile.
The King of France had to run away in 1848. He was
succeeded by Louis Blanc, whose plans led to idleness and
extravagance, and he, too, had to leave. A civil war was
producd in which two officers, and ten thousand soldiers
were killed. Both rulers found refuge in England.


Lamartine says: "Political economy ought not to be, as
formerly, the science of wealth. The democratic republic
ought, and will give it another character. It will make it
a science by the results of which not only will labor and
its fruits be increased, but by which a more general, equi-
table, and universal distribution will be accomplished. An-
cient science tended only to render individuals wealthy, but
our new science will apply itself to make the entire people

Raymond, a writer on political economy, in 1823, says:
"How many people do we see in each community who, in-
stead of supporting themselves by their own industry, con-
trive to supply themselves with the necessaries and com-
forts of life from the industry of others ! Some do this by
fraud and overreaching, by direct violence, by the exercise
of their wits, by the permission of the law, or in violation
of it. What a host there would be, if all the people of the
United States, who live by the labor of others, were col-
lected together!

"The history of mankind, in all ages of the world, shows
that some will never labor for subsistence if they can ob-
tain it by plunder that they will never labor for them-
selves as long as they can compel others to do it for them.*'

Robert Southey, the English poet, when a boy could say :
"When I look at the mansions of the great, with all their
splendor and magnificence ; when I look at the cottage of
the husbandman, and see him dividing his scanty morsel
among his infants, I blush and shudder at the patience of
humanity." His uncle said to him: "Robert, if you write
democratic eclogues you will be poor; choose the Church
and State, and you will be rich." Poverty compelled him
to do this. His plan was to settle on the Ohio. The per-
son who was to advance the money died, which compelled


him to be a pen drudge. His best poem is "Joan of Arc."
In it is described the ravages of war, and its desolating influ-
ences on the country, its besieged cities, famines, ruined
homes, and impoverished people. In one of his rural poems
is described the plow-boy, his visit to the fair, and how the
recruiting sergeant saw him and gave him punch. He por-
trayed to him the glory of war " flags flying, drums beat-
ing, cannons roaring, and the French retreating." The boy
lists and "sets off for fame," then he is drilled, marched,
and countermarched. After enduring hunger and misery,
he returns home, and is robbed of his money. He com-
mits a crime, and ends his days in a penal colony. The
sufferings of England's toiling classes are told in mournful
poems by Southey.

"It was Shelley's creed, that human nature is capable of
being made perfect; that kings and priests have hindered
that glorious consummation for the attainment of their own
selfish purposes ; that religion is hostile to the develop-
ment of feelings of charity and fraternity; and that if the
inherent goodness of the human heart was free to work out
its mission, the Golden Age would be realized. There is no
doubt Shelley believed his principles to be correct, and his
views attainable. His untiring benevolence in visiting the
cottages of the poor during his residence at Marlow, stamps
with sincerity and disinterestedness his eloquent pleading
for humanity.

" ' Queen Mab,' the most generally known of Shelley's
works, is a poem abounding in fine passages. He supposes
the soul of a female character, called lanthe, to leave the
body during sleep, and to ascend, under the guidance of the
fairy Mab, to the latter's cloud-roofed palace, from whence
she contemplates the earth, and surveys the ruins of Jeru-
salem, Palmyra, Athens, and Rome. Then she beholds a


battle-field, a town destroyed in the conflict and the death-
bed of a tyrant. The poet descants upon the horrors of
war, the vices engendered by competitive commerce, and all
the social errors and evils of the present life. The spirit
describes the auto-de-fe of an atheist. Mab, after defending
materialism, summons the wandering Jew, who relates the
crimes, abuses, and consequent misery, which are alleged
to have resulted from Christianity. Having thus passed in
review the past and present, the fairy queen favors lanthe
with a glimpse of the future, when all the moral and mate-
rial beauty of the Golden Age, and all the prophetic antici-
pations of the millennium are realized and fulfilled. The
earth, in the language of St. Simon, is re-habilitated, and no
longer produces rank weeds and poisonous fungi, but every-
where flowers and fruits. Fens and marshes, which had
exhaled malaria, are covered with waving grain ; the whirl-
wind and the storm are known no more; the burning des-
erts of Arabia v are rendered cultivatable ; the polar ice is dis-
solved ; and the wild denizens of the forest have forgotten
their thirst for blood the lion sports with the kid. The na-
ture of man has experienced a change corresponding with
this beautiful picture of the external universe. War, slavery,
commerce, and all the evils of the present society are no
longer known ; his passions are tempered and harmonized ;
temperance has banished disease from his frame, and pro-
longed his life, and his existence has become a long mid-
summer's day a dream of Arcadia or Paradise realized.

" 4 The revolt of Islam' is of a different cast. The poet
arises from slumber visited by unquiet dreams, and meets on
the sea-shore a beautiful female form, by whom the story
is related. She is beloved by a spirit, who conducts her to
the glorious senate of the departed friends of the human
race, where she meets Laon, a patriot of Argolis, who re-



lates the story of the revolt of his countryman against the
tyrant of Islam. This poem is far superior to Queen Mab,
and is replete with passages of extreme beauty. The hymn
in the fifth canto of the nations who have liberated them-
selves by revolt, is a complete exposition of Shelley's views
and opinions. It declares fear to be the cause of man's
misery and degradation, proclaims the moral beauty of
equality, and announces the advent of peace, love, freedom,
and universal brotherhood.

" l Prometheus Unbound,' is as metaphysical and mystical
as are most of Shelley's poems. The atheistic tenets of
the poet are boldly proclaimed. The idea of the perfecti-
bility of human nature is here reproduced. The overthrow
of Jupiter, and the unbinding of Prometheus harbinger the
restoration of the Golden Age. These three poems pre-
sent us with a complete view of Shelley's social philosophy,
and the whole tenor of his life." Chambers'* Works.

Extract from Shelley's Queen Mab.

" Those gilded flies",

That, basking in the sunshine of a court,
Fatten on its corruption ! What are they ?
The drones of the community : they feed
On the mechanic's labor. The starved hind
For them compels the stubborn glebe to yield
Its unshared harvests j and yon squalid form,
Leaner than fleshless misery, that wastes
A sunless life in the unwholesome mine,
Drags out in labor a protracted death,
To glut their grandeur ; many faint with toil,
That few may know the cares and woe of sloth."

Hugh Miller's "School and Schoolmasters " teaches us to
escape poverty by workihg directly on the soil, which will
give us plenty of food, fleeces, and candles. He says: "I
found myself standing before a life of labor and restraint,


The prospect appeared dreary in the extreme the necessity
of toiling from morning to night, and all for a little coarse
food and homely raiment ; and I fain would have avoided
it. * * * In less than a fortnight I succeeded in obtaining
a very considerable mastery over the mallet. I astonished
Uncle David [his teacher in stone-cutting] by setting myself
to compete with him, and by hewing nearly two feet of
pavement to his one. * * * We found twenty-four work-
men in a corn-kiln, open at the gable ends, and a row of
beds on the sides. Over each bed hung a sack of oatmeal,
which was their summer's food, without milk or meat.

"The oatmeal was boiled in water, and made into cakes,
which were baked before the fire. ' The uncle grumbled
because the meal went so fast ; he laid it down as a law that
only two cakes a week should be eaten. I mixed up a peck
of meal. During the baking the uncle came in, and ex-
claimed, 'What's this, laddie, are ye baking for a wadding?'
* Just baking one of the two cakes, master,' was the answer.
This raised a laugh, and cured uncle of two cakes a week.
There was a diversity of opinion how much salt should be
put in the porridge, and how long it should boil. A cook
contrived, in the same pot, to make half of the porridge
without salt, the other half very salt. When the two men
sat down to eat, one exclaimed, c He has given me por-
ridge without salt.' The other exclaimed, 'He has given me
porridge as salt as brine.'

"Candle-light indulgences could not be afforded. To
pass fifteen hours in darkness was no easy task. Exploits
were told. A stone-cutter, on his night journey home, fell
into a grave. On getting out, he was pursued by some body-
stealers, who wanted him for a 4 subject.' Another time
he was attacked by robbers, from whom he escaped, and was
lost in a mist. To keep warm he went among some sheep."


Mr. Miller tells us he "had all his fingers oozing blood
at once; and labor was torture handling dirty stanes. My
poor master suffered more than I did. The wall went up
painfully with his chopped and bleeding hands, which made
him fretful."

Mr Miller became editor of a paper, and his best essays
are made into a book of 500 pages, called "Literary and Po-
litical Essays," in which he describes a farm laborer's cot-
tage as no better than a shed no window frames, the roof
lets in the rain, which makes the floor quite soft, and keeps
the beds damp. It does no good to keep fire, as this abode
is so open. It is owned by the land-owner for a yearly ten-
ant, and contains a father and mother, four daughters, and
two sons. These have only one room.

Mr. Miller worked on " hanging stone-steps with torus
ami mouldings formed on them," and also on stone columns.
It seems not to have ever occurred to him, that were men
to work less on stone-carving, and more on homes for those
who support men by useful toil, human happiness would be
promoted. He chose rather to flatter the vulgar rich. In
his essays, he speaks well of Wellington, and gives us an
amusing account of a Burns' festival in a shower of rain.
He heaped ridicule on the Chartists, whose plans were well
meant, and were trials to mitigate human misery. He seems
to have no remedy for the social ills of life.

This author writes beautifully on "Ptericthys, Anadontas,
and Unionidtz" This kind of knowledge would be well if no
misery were to be found. If this writer had told the gentle-
men to do something useful, as a means of lessening the bur-
dens of the poor, he would have been of more utility to men.




'* Let tyrants know there exists a place on the earth, where oppressed men
may escape from their chains'" ABBE RAYNAL'S address to Americans.

JOUNT VOLNEY, in his "Ruins of Empires,"
says : " I perceived in the extremity of the Medi-
terranean, in one of the nations of Europe, a pro-
digious movement, such as when a violent sedition arises
in a vast city a numberless people rushing in all directions
to the public places. My ear, struck with the cries that
resounded to the heavens, distinguished these words : 'What
is this new prodigy ? What cruel and mysterious scourge
is this ? We are a numerous people, and we want hands !
We have an excellent soil, and we are in want of subsist-
ence ! We are active and laborious, and we live in indi-
gence ! We pay enormous tributes, and we are told they
are not sufficient ! We are at peace without, and our prop-
erty and persons are not safe within ! What is the secret
enemy that devours us?'

" Some voices, from the midst of the multitude, replied:
4 Raise a discriminating standard, and let all those who main-
tain and nourish mankind by useful labors gather around
it, and you will discover the enemy that preys upon you.'


"The standard being raised, the nation divided itself into
two unequal bodies, of a contrasted appearance one with
sunburnt faces, the marks of misery and labor; the other,
a little group, an imperceptible fraction, in rich attire covered
with gold and silver, .and in sleek and ruddy faces, present-
ing the signs of leisure and abundance.

"Considering these men more attentively, I found that
the great body was composed of farmers, artificers, mer-
chants, and all the professions useful to society. The little
group was made up of the ministers of worship of every or-
der, financiers, nobles, men in livery, commanders of troops,
and other hireling agents of governments.

"These two bodies being assembled face to face, they
regarded each other with astonishment. I saw indignation
and rage arising on one side, and a sort of a panic on the
other. The larger body said to the smaller one :

ct ' Why are you separated from us ; are you not of our
number?' 'No,' replied the smaller group, 'you are the
people; we are the privileged class, who have our laws,

Online LibraryWilliam DealtryThe laborer; a remedy for his wrongs; or, A disquisition on the usages of society → online text (page 28 of 33)