William Dealtry.

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

. (page 3 of 33)
Online LibraryWilliam DealtryThe laborer; a remedy for his wrongs; or, A disquisition on the usages of society → online text (page 3 of 33)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

fifty acres, and also 600 acres of wild land. Eighty years
must pass away before this will come into cultivation. It
would be a great benefit to this country if wild lands were
pot sold to any one. The Cin. Gazette, of Jan. a8th, 1868,
says: "Somebody has introduced a bill, to grant a million
of acres, to the District of Columbia, for educational pur-
poses. No one thinks the public lands of any use but to
squander. This has been transferred into the hands of


speculators, to the injury of settlers, until it will fetch, per-
haps, twenty times the cost. This is the most costly way
Congress can devise for school purposes. The system, of
granting public lands to corporations, is the worst system of
internal improvements that was ever invented.' 7 This
same paper tells us Congress has given to railroads lands
to the amount of 305,000,000 of acres. Words can not tell
how wicked is this gift, to the present and to future gen-

Capital has been defined an accumulation of labor. A
laborer wants a house, he creates food and clothes to con-
sume while building it. This builder says to another, if you
will help me, I will give you half of the food and clothes.
The builder has a right to his home, he paid for it with toil.
Those who fed and clothed the workmen, of the Illinois
Central Railroad, ought to possess it. It is said the Roths-
childs have built this road, at a cost of $20,000,000. Did
these men and their partners make clothes and food with
their own hands? No, they have got others to do it. The
printing of $20,000,000 costs $40,000, this is all the cost
put forth to get this road. It takes 34,000 laborers one
year to build the road. It will take a printer two years to
print this amount. This company had from government
3,500,000 acres of land. What has been sold has brought
nearly $30,000,000. The State authorities could have is-
sued $20,000,000, and would have had yearly $2,000,000
for school purposes. These lands, towns, and road will
in twenty years give an annual income of $10,000,000;
when this amount is squandered, its recipients will smile at
the simplicity of the common people. This company has
seventy towns that give revenues from lots.

We are often told that wars with England have been the
means of introducing manufactures among us, to our ad-


vantage. The $30,000,000, that has been spent in 111 nois
for railroads, would have put linen and woolen factories
all over the State. A people who send their wool 1,000
miles to be spun, wear costly clothing. Greeley says " Why
should 500 men be the carriers between 500 farmers and
500 mechanics." A plea is made that giving away lands to
railroads promotes public good ; it is not so. Franklin, in
1739, printed paper money for the authorities of the colony
of Pennsylvania. By means of five loan commissioners this
colony paid nearly all the public expenses. This money
lasted till 1774; it was always good, and uniform in amount.
The colony of South Carolina loaned paper money on silver
plate and lands in 1750. The interest was used for fighting
Indians. Franklin's money was loaned on lands. This
money rendered bankers, carriers, and railroad builders not
necessary; these eat up food, and have the most luxuries.

What the colonies did with paper money, could have
been done in Illinois ; had the State printed the money,
hired the laborers, the people would have a circulating me-
dium and a revenue. This tells how happy were the colo-
nies : tc The economy which is so particularly attended to
in -Pennsylvania does not prevent both sexes from being
well clothed ; there is a constant plenty, and a universal ap-
pearance of easy circumstances. The pleasing view of this
abundance is never disturbed by the melancholy appearance
of poverty. There are no poor in all Pennsylvania. A trav-
eler is welcome to stop in any place, without uneasy sensa-
tions, except regret at departure."* The giving away of the
wild lands should be to those who will cultivate them.

Toussaint Breda, a slave, in the island of St. Domingo, in
the latter part of last century, was taught to read by a slave
who had learned of the Jesuits. Toussaint got from his

*Abbe Raynal's E. and W. Indies, vol. 6th, page 17. Strahan, London, 1798


overseer the writings of Abbe Raynal, he read these words:
" What stiall be done to overthrow slavery. Self-interest
alone governs nations and kings. We must look elsewhere.
These are so many indications of the impending storm, and
the negroes only want a courageous chief to lead them on
to vengeance and slaughter.

"Where is the great man whom nature owes to her vexed,
oppressed, and tormented children ? Where is he ? He
will undoubtedly appear, he will show himself, he will lift
up the sacred standard of liberty. This venerable signal
will collect around him the companions of his misfortunes.
They will rush on with more impetuosity than torrents;
they will leave behind them traces of their resentment. "

In 1787, the island contained 30,000 whites, 20,000 free
mulattoes, the children of planters, and 500,000 slaves.
The Assembly of the French, at the beginning of the Rev-
olution proclaimed, that slavery should cease. The free
blacks sent deputies to the Assembly, with $1,000,000 and
offered to mortgage a fifth of their property for the debts of
France, for the privilege of being equal with the whites in
law. This led to fighting between the two classes. The
English invaded the island under Gen. Maitland. Tous-
saint and his fellow slaves drove them out of the island.
Slavery was ended through the teachings of a slave, who
had been taught to read ; he remembered the teachings of
the good Abbe Raynal. Will some one deliver us.

We have misery around us which may be seen. "A la-
borer has to put forth incessant toil to keep his head above
the rising waters of indigence ; at the first trifling accident
these close around and overwhelm him. For the thousand
casualties of life there is not the scantiest provision. The
indisposition of a day curtails the amount of food that is dealt
out the next day. A week's sickness threatens with starva


tion his wife and little ones."* Strange confession is this.

Relief will come, it is to be inferred from this : "Doubtless,
there are great statesmen ; wizards in bullion and bank-
paper ; thinkers profound in cotton, and every turn and va-
riation of the markets abroad and at home. But there are
statesmen yet to come ; statesmen of nobler aims of more heroic
action ; teachers of the people ; vindicators of the universal
dignity of man ; apostles of the great social truth that knowl-
edge, which is the spiritual light of God, like his material
light was made to bless and comfort all men. And when
these men arise and it is worse than weak, it is sinful, to
despair of them the youngling poor will not be bound upon
the very threshold of human life, and made, by want and
ignorance, life's shame and curse. There is not a babe ly-
ing in the public street on its mother's lap the unconscious
mendicant to ripen into the criminal that is not a reproach
to the state ; a scandal and a crying shame upon men who
study all politics, save the politics of the human heart. "f

The reader can learn from " The Rights of Man," some
of the causes of human woe: u There is a^ family of five per-
sons, the farmer becomes king, the family have no food ; the
weaver becomes a gold seeker, the family have no clothes ;
the hatter becomes a custom-house officer, the family have
no hats ; the shoemaker becomes a banker, the family have
no shoes. Society is a large family, and they must be useful."

* Speech before Cin. Mercantile Library, 1848, by R. D. Owen, f D. Jerrold.






"Mankind is always consuming men for luxury and civilization." COUNTESS IDA.

(ISTORY is a long record of wars and slavery.
How painful is the contemplation of slavery ! the
separation of its victims from friends and home, to
spend a life in unmitigated toil ; without reward, kindness,
or sympathy ; to be treated in life and death like brutes.
We might inquire, why does the Father of us all permit a
part of his helpless creatures to be thus tormented ? None
to defend or vindicate them ! We can not answer.

When man was first placed on this earth, it was in a
part where the climate was warm ; where the fruits were
perpetual, and only needed gathering. In a country like
this invention would not be very rapid, or have no exist-
ence. As men increased they would have to migrate to
climates that changed, from heat to cold ; where the fruits
perished, and only prevailed a part of the year. This
would quicken invention, and improve the intellect. Trees
or caves would not do for habitations. Clothing has to be
comfortable, the houses durable. The people of the new
colony are superior to those they left. The flesh of ani-
mals would be used as food. This would call for instru-



ments to bring down the game, and which can be used
for the destruction of men. When this colony increased
migration again took place, either to ruder climes or back
to the starting point. If these were not received kindly
force can be used with effect. This invaded people fall an
easy prey to the ferocious hunters. Failure of crops pro-
duces a war. Hunger makes men savage and fearless, and
they go where there is food. From war comes the sparing
of the lives of prisoners, on condition of becoming slaves.
It was no doubt hunger that compelled the Northmen to
conquer Normandy and Britain. England was barbarous
before the advent of the Romans. The various conquests
she has undergone has given refinement, learning, and
abundance to a few ; which sometime or other will belong
to the many.

These painful facts will throw some light on the motives
for conquest : " The failure of crops for seven successive
years in Swedish Nordland, has brought some 300,000
persons to starvation, and many of them to death, and now
their miserable bread, made of bark and straw, has given
out. They sit in their cheerless huts and die."*

This suffering described here is calculated to make men
ingenious and frugal. " Indeed it is a fortunate thing that
the people are not more numerous, for bad harvests are
very frequent in this rude climate ; it is impossible to pro-
vide against occasional scarcity of food, and one would not
wish there should be a greater number of poor to suffer from
it. A large population is commonly considered a sign "of
prosperity, but it is only where they are certain of having
bread to eat. The earth will not complain, if she is left un-
cultivated, but man will complain bitterly if he must suffer
the cravings of hunger. When population once begins to

*W. W. Thomas representative to Sweden. Cin. Com. of Mar. 6th, 1868.


advance, it increases rapidly, in a ratio far exceeding that in
which the earth's fertility can be increased, so that in a very
short time all equality ceases between the demand and sup-
ply. Then want begins and advances with the increasing
population, offering this strange problem : ' The less bread
the more children.' * As for the poor old earth, I hope she
is quite insensible to a great deal that passes upon her, or
her emotions must be of a most painful kind. Oh God !
her hardest rocks might be softened by the torrents of tears,
blood, and sweat, which have poured on her in an increased
shower. No, no ! the earth is hard and firm, and sympa-
thizes neither with our sorrow or our joys. Mankind is al-
ways consuming men for its own luxury and civilization,
sometimes by war, maufactures, hunger, sorrow, and care.
Why should we give it any more to consume ? When a
man is born we would wish him to have a little happiness.
Yet it is upon the classes that are the most numerous the
hard-working, industrious classes, that misery is sure to fall.
It is in a strange world we live in. God mend it ! But it
seems to me so much warped on one side, that it will by
and by turn itself quite over on the other. "f

The spirit of conquest is not ended. The occupation of
India will in time fill it with steam engines, and clear its
jungles of tigers. Many parts of Algiers abound with lions;
that take a fourth of the cattle. The French will destroy
these, as they have conquered this land.

One hundred and fifty years ago, some voyagers visited
Patagonia ; they tell us the natives wore no clothing, and
the snow beat on their bodies, and they eat snails, and shell
fish. The deer were in the distance, and they had no power

*This lady has feelings for working people. She has not learned that three-
fourths of the earth is a wilderness, and it is the duty of the rich to work.
[Travels in Sweden, by Bahn Bahn COUNTESS IDA.


to strike them down. A nation too full some will have
to leave. If the country of these savages will sustain more,
it is the duty of the poor Northmen to go there, and use
kindness to the natives. Persuading them to learn better
ways may have no effect. It will not be wrong to use force
to make them improve. " The punishment of nature, hun-
ger and want/' is not any more severe than slavery. In-
dian slavery can only be accomplished if there are no means
of escape. England after it was left by the Romans, from
whom many arts were obtained, was invaded from Scotland.
The Britons wrote to Rome for help, saying: "The barba-
rians are driving us into the sea." No help came the in-
habitants submitted, and learned the ways of the conquerors.

For civilization the Indian has no wish; there he sees the
laborer have no homes, living in cellars and garrets, going
about begging work, often used with contumely. The In-
dian burns trees down for want of an ax ; his hut is made
of peeled bark. In 1621, two of the Pilgrims visited the
Indians, they could give them nothing to eat ; two small
fish were divided among forty, the visitors came away while
they had strength. Savage life is precarious in subsistence,
so is civilization, we need something better. *

These extracts will show what changes and cruelties,
have been used to make man what he is. Slavery existed
in Greece from her earliest history ; it prevailed in the days
of Homer ; in all the Grecian states a majority were slaves.
In Athens there were three slaves to one freeman; in Sparta
the proportion was greater. The Spartans treated slaves
with humanity, the Athenians were the opposite. The in-
troduction of agriculture led to the sparing of the lives of
prisoners to cultivate the earth. The commerce of the

* THOMAS RABOLD, a tailor hanged himself eight miles from Louisville.
Poverty and failure to obtain employment the cause. Com. Mar 25th, 1868.


Chians, the early Greeks, led them to visit parts of Asia
Minor, and the Southern coasts of the Black Sea, where
they purchased slaves. The yoke of bondage was galling ;
the slaves took refuge in the mountains. These bondmen
chose a leader. The Chians could not conquer them, but
suffered defeat. The bondmen made these terms, if their
necessities required it, they should be supplied out of the
Chian stores in an orderly manner. The ruler of the slaves
punished the unruly, and would not allow them to waste the
country. In process of time the Chians were subjugated
by Mithridates,who gave them to their own slaves, to be car-
ried into captivity. The Athenians considered this a just
punishment, for introducing the slave-trade into Greece.

In Athens slaves could indict their masters for assault.
The temples were to them places of refuge for safety. In
times of war the Grecians were good to their slaves, as
flogged slaves go over to the enemy. Slaves were sold at auc-
tion, on tables. Owners hired them out. In Athens slaves
were public and private; clerks and messengers of pub-
lic works ; they were educated, and accompanied the gen-
erals and treasurers of the army, and kept an account of the
expenditures. Slaves, in the dwellings of the wealthy and
luxurious, fanned their masters and mistresses, and drove
away the flies. Slave bakers had gloves on while making
bread, and wore gauze over their mouths, so as they could
not eat what they made. They turned mills, carried water,
and cut wood.

The Helots were named from the town Helos, from it
they were taken 1,000 B. C. They were the property of
the state, who had the disposal of their freedom and servi-
tude, and gave them to different masters. Lycurgus pro-
hibited the Spartans from laboring. If these Helots increas-
ed too fast, the young Spartans, it is said, were sent out to


assassinate them. Their number was estimated at 500,000.
They several times rose against their masters, but without
any success. Plutarch tells us, " Youths distinguished for
ability were sent forth, armed with daggers and furnished
with provisions, to scour the country at night, to slaughter
all the Helots found abroad. Sometimes they fell on them
while they were at their labors in the fields." Sometimes
they were offered the gift of freedom, crowned with gar-
lands, conducted to the temples then they disappeared ;
their fate was unknown.

The Helots were a source of terror ; they revolted when
they could, and joined an enemy when he appeared. Sparta
often stipulated for aid from foreign states. The serfs of
the Syracusans were so exceeding numerous, that it gave
them courage, and they drove out their masters, and re-
tained Syracuse.

The Sicilians treated their slaves with rigor, branded
them like cattle, and gave them incessant toil. Ennius ex-
cited them to a revolution. Houses were pillaged, the in-
habitants slaughtered, and infants dashed on the ground.
At one time 60,000 insurgents were armed with axes and
clubs, and they defeated several armies.

The people of Rome were nobles, plebeians, and slaves.
As Rome extended her domfnions, the nobles acquired
large estates, which were cultivated with the labor of slaves.
Their numbers were so great, that the poor freeman were
unemployed. It was to remedy this evil that some of the
Roman rulers, were for limiting the quantity of land. The
elder Gracchus saw that slavery impoverished the people
and that the nation needed little farms nursing an indepen-
dent race, and the plow in their hands, and not in the hands
of slaves. Some of the nobles possessed 10,000 slaves, some
20,000. The constant wars of Rome increased slaves.


Spartacus was compelled to serve in the Roman army, he
was a Thracian by birth, he deserted and at the head of his
companions carried on a partisan war. He was taken pris-
oner and sold as a slave, to be reserved as a gladiator. He
formed a conspiracy among the slaves and escaped. He
was joined by 10,000 slaves. Spartacus plundered several
of the cities in Italy. He had 60,000 followers, and de-
feated the legions many times that were sent against him.
The various classes of slaves of this period, became the serfs
of the middle ages. Slaves trained to be gladiators show
how wicked is man. These had to fight each other with
short swords, and sometimes engage with wild beasts. At
other times a gladiator would throw a net over another, if
he failed he retreated, the other pursued to kill him. A
hook was fastened into those who were slain, and they were
dragged out of the arena. These scenes were forbidden by
Christian emperors.

Accounts of the wealth and splendor of the first classes,
in Rome, almost exceed belief. A writer of this period, de-
scribing the state of Rome under Honorius, relates that
several of the senators received from their estates an annual
sum of $800,000. Provisions of corn and wine, which, if
sold would have realized one-third of that sum. The estates
of these patricians spread over distant provinces, and, as
early as the time of Seneca, " Rivers which had divided hos-
tile nations flowed through lands of private citizens." With
such resources at their command, there were no bounds to
their extravagances. " Many of their mansions might ex-
cuse the exaggeration of the poet, that Rome contained a
multitude of palaces, and that each palace was equal to a
city; since it included within its precincts every thing which
could be subservient to the use of luxury markets, hippo-
dromes, temples, fountains, baths, porticoes, groves, and


aviaries/'* The house of Scaurus was valued at the sum
$3,603,000. The lower apartments were occupied by at-
tendants. The upper apartments were filled with tables
and couches, and adorned with curtains. Garlands en-
twined with ivy divided the walls into compartments, which
were bordered by fanciful ornaments. Bronze lamps sus-
pended from the ceiling shed a brilliant light. The tables
were of citron-wood more precious than gold, and rested
on ivory feet. The couches were overlaid with silver, gold,
and tortoise shell ; the mattresses were of Gallic wool, dyed
purple ; the cushions of silk embroidered with gold, cost
$150,000. The pavement was mosaic and represented the
fragments of a feast not swept away. Young slaves strew-
ed over the pavement saw-dust dyed with vermillion.

In the fourth century the Roman nobility carried out lux-
ury to the greatest excess. They adorned their houses with
magnificent statues of themselves, their robes were of the
most costly kind, and became a burden to the wearer on
account of the weight of embroidery. When they travel-
ed any distance, so large was their retinue that it was like
the march of an army. Their tables were covered with
the rarest delicacies, and the pleasures of the feast occupied
much of the time. Concerts, visiting, baths, theaters, and
other amusements took the rest of the time. Roman sim-
plicity had been succeeded by oriental magnificence. Ser-
vices of plate set with precious stones, furniture of costly
materials and most elaborate workmanship, banqueting halls
of florid architecture, baths of marble, and villas surrounded
with enchanting gardens, were now signs of greatness in-
stead of valor in the field, or wisdom in the cabinet.

Many of the plebeians forsook all industrious employ-
ments, lived upon the public distribution of bread, bacon,

* Gibbon, vol. iv. page 94.


oil, and wine, which, from the time of Augustus, had been
made for the relief of the indigent. These idlers spent some
of their time in baths and taverns, which great men with
the emperor provided, so as to be popular. " Some passed
the nights in taverns, and under the awnings of the theaters,
they played dice, and went to the circus, and discussed
the merits of the horses and charioteers. " *

Slaves formed a large portion of the population of Rome.
They were artisans and devoted to the professions. They
were physicians, librarians, and secretaries. At one time
the possessors of slaves scourged and put them to death at
pleasure. Under the emperors Adrian and the Antonines,
the shield of legal protection was thrown over this oppress-
ed portion of society. Some amelioration was secured, no
doubt, during the last age of the empire ; but the wrongs
inseparable from slavery were still endured, and a disposi-
tion to be avenged on their oppressors was still nourished ;
for amid the scenes of violence which marked the taking of
Rome by Alaric, when 40,000 slaves joined the Goths in
shedding Roman blood, and in trampling into dust the re-
mains of Roman greatness. That the servile part of the
Roman population, ministering as they did to the luxury,
the extravagance, and the vices of their masters, partook of
.the prevalent moral corruption of the times is certain, f

It was self-interest that induced the rulers of Europe to
put an end to the sale of men with estates. Slavery was to
those who used it troublesome and painful. The owners
of lands knew that rents would give the same results that
slavery did, splendor and magnificence, without whipping or
feigned sickness, or the care of feeble childhood and help-
less age. The lords of Britain knew that, being surround-
ed with water, the laborers could not escape, and that they

*Ammiunu3 Marcellinus, lib., xiv. c. 25. f See Gibbon's Roman Empire.


would still contribute to their idleness and luxury. The
nicety of legislation, wherever used, is to give the laborer
sufficient to keep him alive, and not enough to make him

Online LibraryWilliam DealtryThe laborer; a remedy for his wrongs; or, A disquisition on the usages of society → online text (page 3 of 33)