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William Dealtry.

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

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The food of this man is the finest and the best. There is
no doubt that some part of it is coated with white sugar,
and covered with sugar angels, cupids, birds, and flowers,
at a great cost. It is self-evident that this costly food, dur-
ing its preparation took much labor which should be bet-
ter employed. The luxury of this man is misery to some
one else. Says one, Does not this give employment ? It
does ; it is unnecessary employment. The wages that are
paid should be employed in creating comforts for those who
bought his lots and farms, to get which they suffered pain.

We can very justly question the fitness of such a man
to be above the humble ones, to make rules for them, or to
rule them. In the first place, he has no sympathy for them,
34



390 THE LABORER;

no feelings in unison with theirs, nor been a partaker of
their sufferings. He has never been rudely repulsed when
he asked for work, or reproached for not doing it well, or
having the quantity deficient. He has never experienced the
painful feelings of begging for work, or those when dis-
charged. This man receives prompt obedience from sub-
missive servants, pleasing adulation from compliant mer-
chants, and good wishes from kind friends, who enjoy his
grapes and pine-apples, his conversation, books, gardens,
conservatories, elegant pictures, luxurious seats, and abun-
dant dinners. A man thus surrounded with all that heart
can wish or desire, and continually greeted with the smiles
of friends, his wishes gratified, and plans carried out, will in-
sensibly lead him into the opinion that he is a superior per-
son, which will be increased by seeing his well fed, com-
fortably clad appearance of his servants. He will give his
money to mechanics for his grottoes and other fancies,
which will procure for him the title of benefactor from flat-
tering friends, who ignore the fact that these benefits are
from his tenants that eat butterless bread, from interest-pay-
ing men whose houses are unadorned.

This man's person in his baby-hood and boy-hood, was
covered with fine linen, and costly velvets. The world
to him was full of playthings to destroy. He could roll on
the grass in ecstacy, gather flowers, or chase butterflies.
His youthful back never ached with gathering potatoes; his
little fingers never were numbed with cold, gathering apples;
he never shivered in the cold, feeding cattle, or groaned at
chopping wood. Servants did his bidding, which taught
him to command. To improve his faculty of observation,
to give his education a finish, to give him a lofty mien
among men, parental fondness sent him on a tour of for-
eign travel.



A REMEDY FOR HIS WRONGS. 391

A person thus nurtured and trained becomes effeminate,
indolent, luxurious, and selfish. This class, not knowing
how to labor, when they are made statesmen will make the
laws so that they need not work. That legislators get bribes
is well known. Lobbyists have received $20,000 for get-
ting bills through legislatures. If a man applies for a bank
charter, or a life and fire insurance permit, he gets a mine
of wealth. The member who gets these granted by the
legislature receives a reward of him who is the recipient of
these privileges. Hence it is often said that legislators make
fortunes.

The Romans erected a temple of honor, and those who
trod its courts were pure and unsullied. If this luxurious
man, whom we have described, should present himself at the
door of the temple, this conversation might ensue with the
door-keeper :

"Upon what do you base your right to tread these courts?"

"I have got the learning of the colleges."

"How do you spend your time?"

"After I rise in the morning I go into the grottoes and in-
hale the perfume of the flowers. I also go into the grap-
ery and eat grapes."

"Do you not know that the laborer goes forth to till the
soil ; he returns in the evening with aching bones, and without
his labor you will soon perish ? Why do you not assist him ? "

"My education forbids it."

"The laborers strangely believe that legislatures can shor-
ten the hours of labor ; your reason teaches you that if you
assist them it will shorten their laboring hours."

"I do head work."

"Your head work makes some people slaves ; do you not
see some part of the female community poor and thinly clad,
whilst another part are richly and gorgeously clothed, the



392 THE LABORER;

fashion of which is often grotesque, wavy, inordinate in
quantity and length, dragging over the walks, gathering up
brush, cabbage leaves, cigar stumps, etc ? Have you ever
expostulated with the vain female, who shows her want of
humanity and sense, by covering her person with spangles,
ribbons, tags, and feathers, and shown how absurd it was to
follow the frivolous fashions when so many can be made
happy by the excess of labor they demand and consume ? "*

" No'."

" Then the gates of the temple of honor are closed against
you. Its courts are easy of access. Have only a few hab-
its, and supply them with the labor of your own hands. In
this temple is the door of the temple of fame, and in it are
some vacant niches ; you can get one if you will vindicate
the laborer's cause. How painful is the thought that he who
performs the hardest toil gets the poorest pay ! It is time he
should have more of the comforts of life. Teach him that
it is not paper or gold money that will benefit him, but uni-
versal labor at something useful."

Says the Commercial: "Dr. Price, Abbe Mably, and M.
Turgot gave the framers of this government some good ad-
vice." It is a source of sorrow it has not been observed.
These men, judging from their acts, believed they had no
moral right to riches. Abbe Mably was born in 1709. He
displayed sound moral principles, and a regard for the good
of mankind. He was fond of applying ancient, political
maxims to modern States, which gave great offense.

Jaques Robert Turgot was born in Paris, in 1727, and

*Chaucer, in his "Persone's Tale," has some keen satire on woman's dress.
" The cost of embroidering, endenting, ounding, paling, bending, and cost-
lewe furring on the gounes, their moche superfluitee in length, trailing in the
dong and myre, wastes, consumes, wears threadbare and are rotton with dirt,
all to the damage of the poor folk who might be clothed out of the flounces
and draggle -tailes of these children of vanitee." In the time of Richard II.



A REMEDY FOR HIS WRONGS. 393

died in 1781. When a boy, he determined to sacrifice all
advantages to liberty and conscience. He wrote on the
goodness of religion for mankind. He was a disciple of
Quesnay,* the head of a political sect called "Economists."
In 1761, he was appointed Intendant of Liomoges. He was
made Comptroller of the finances in 1774. In a time of
scarcity he distributed food, and introduced the cultivation
of potatoes. He made new roads without burdening the
people, established charitable workshops, opened schools of
instruction for women in the art of midwifery, moderated
the duties on articles of first necessity, freed commerce of
its fetters, enlarging the rights of men to follow industry,
abated the rigor of direct imposition on the profits of con-
tributors, and promoted an equal distribution of the taxes.
He made salt free, reformed the royal household, and made
many reforms in political economy.

His plans were turned into ridicule, by making little snuff-
boxes, and calling them "Turgentines." The good Louis
said of "him: "No one loves the people but M. Turgot
and I." La Harpe says of him : " He was a man of strong
mind ; nothing could divert him from doing justice. He
had only two passions, science and public good." During
the few years he was occupied as minister of finance, he
bent all his views to the v relief of the people. Attached to
the doctrines of the Economists, f he developed them in
edicts that tended to their encouragement and improvement.

* Francis Quesnay, physician of Louis XV, taught, that only those who
cultivate the earth, or 'otherwise bring into use the natural powers of the min-
eral, animal, and vegetable kingdom, can be regarded as really increasing the
wealth of the community.

} Those who analyzed the frame of civil society, gathered light from those
who lived before them, and tried to form a more liberal social system than
those that were known. One of them, M. De Gournay, attacked a system
which compelled a man to get a privilege to sell a commodity.



394 THE LABORER;

He changed acts of sovereign authority into works of rea-
soning and persuasion. His reforms created him many ene-
mies. He lies under the stigma of promoting the French
Revolution, and he is charged with making innovations in
favor of the people. He died at forty-nine.

Dr. Price, a Welsh Protestant minister, was born in
1728, and died in 1791. In 1785, he gave to the world
"Observations on the American Revolution, and the means
of making it useful to the world." He gave us plans how
to pay the national debt, to preserve and perpetuate this na-
tion. He showed that absence from foreign commerce would
make us virtuous and happy. He said: "No man can be
raised to an elevation above others without danger. They
who trust their rights to others trust to enemies."

After a lapse of ninety years, this people have degener-
ated, and we can not now be called a free nation. The revo-
lutionary sires would not pay to Britain threepence a pound
duty on tea, or use their stamped paper. The usages of our
society are so contrived that millions can live and riot work
at any thing useful, and become very rich. Jay Cooke
is supposed to be worth $10,000,000; William B. Astor,
$60,000,000; Com. Vanderbilt, $50,000,000 ; Dan. Drew,
$15,000,000. The interest on these sums is $10,000,000,
and will keep from useful labors 25,000 persons. This
is only a small part of those who live on the labor of others
who obtain it without reflection on the part of those who
create it. These distinctions were introduced in this way :
Our fathers were a plain people, and were content with the
productions of home. Franklin's wife used to boil his milk,
and pour it on bread for his breakfast. Merchants have
taken away cloth, blankets, leather, etc., and exchanged
them for tea leaves, which are refold to the poor, who are
injured by this exchange. Were this to cease blankets and



A REMEDY FOR HIS WRONGS. 395

clothing would be more abundant among us. The Pacific
Railroad is an example of what Mr. Price said, to prove the
danger to us in delegating civil power to others. Our re-
presentatives have given away to a company of men land
sufficient to make four States as large as South Carolina,
which contains 19,000,000 of acres. This transaction, in
the future, will make hundreds of thousands of Americans
slaves. The "N. Y. Ledger" says "the Pacific Rail-
road will make such private fortunes as the world never
saw." James Rothschild died, in 1868, worth $400,000,000.
This sum will find homes, implements, and land sufficient
for 40,000 families. This paper means the time may come
when some men will have the maintenance of eighty, per-
haps 100,000 families. The benefits of this road are to
him who works doubtful. It is not improbable we pay for
what China sells us $100,000,000 worth of our most use-
ful goods. $150,000,000 of products will go over this road
to buy gold. These two amounts, if saved, will give half
of our people, who are without homes, at the end of ten
years, a home worth $850. This calculation supposes the
nation to number 6,000,000 families, and that five persons
form a family. These two sums are a year's traffic.

This road will introduce luxury, the desire to be covered
with laces, ribbons, and fine cloths, Near the city of New
York a farmer gets a dollar for a bushel of corn. The far-
mer on the Pacific road will sell five bushels of corn for a
dollar. When this distant farmer spends his dollar, he can
not get as much for it as the New York farmer. It is the
duty of every one to obtain all the comfort he can in ex-
change for his labor. Hence it is the duty of poorly-paid
mechanics to go among the distant farmers and exercise his
trade where provisions are cheap, where his labor will sell
for a higher value. It is not the duty of either of these two



396 THE LABORER;

classes to give any part of their earnings to enrich railroad
men who live in magnificent style. These wealthy railroad
owners were once merchants, became land speculators, and
issuers of paper money. If the laborers will sweep the mer-
chants away, they will become the owners of railroads.

Were the cost of the Pacific Railroad spent along its
route in all kinds of manufactories, the people would be-
come rich and happy. This merchants will prevent, as it
will send them to the plow and workshop.

Merchants have a way of taking the subsistence of our
people to Europe and exchanging it for trifles, to the injury
of the poor of those countries, who, to make silks, laces, and
fine shawls cheap, must live and work in cellars and attics.
Says a Commissioner: "Their chambers look like caves,
in which the air is never renewed. The poor man is in
rags, his children are lean and puny, with emaciated limbs,
ulcerated fingers, and crooked, softened bones." The di-
rector of the Prussian king's factories, M. Mayet, in 1796,
said: "The cessation of work causes some to steal, others
to emigrate. Their vices are the offspring of others' lux-
ury, which are produced by some acquiring riches. Work-
men must not be suffered to enrich themselves. In becom-
ing so he is difficult and exacting, enters into combinations,
imposes laws, and becomes dissipated. The rich stuffs he
makes should be watered with his tears." Were Ameri-
cans to do without foreign goods, their makers would emi-
grate to other lands to cultivate them.

John Adams took great offense at the advice and plain-
ness of Mably, Price, and Turgot. He wrote as a reply,
"The Defense of the State Constitutions." M. Turgot
said : "The Americans have imitated the English Govern-
ment without any motives." Mr. Adams wrote more than
1,500 pages showing that mankind should be governed by the



A REMEDY FOR HIS WRONGS. 397

superior classes. He wrote in favor of three powers ruling
this people : a Governor, Senate, and House of Represen-
tatives. The Senate were "to be rich and high born," so
that they could protect their property from the aggressive
poor. The House of Representatives was to be composed of
the poor, who would be a check on the oppressiveness of
the rich. It is a beautiful fiction, two houses a check on
each other. Both are rich now and plunder toiling men.

Mr. ADAMS said: "They [the rich] have rights as well as the others. They
have as clear and sacred rights to their large possessions as others have to theirs,
which are smaller. Oppression is to them as possible, and as wicked as to
others. The rich, therefore, ought to have as an effectual barrier in the con-
stitution against being robbed as the poor."

This acknowledges that the rich are not just to laboring
men. That we have degenerated from happiness, virtue,
and freedom, may be inferred by reading Mrs. Grant's book
on America in 1760: "Every one in town or country had
a garden, with all kinds of vegetables. After it was dug no
man intruded. I have often seen a minister's wife with a
basket of seeds and a rake over her shoulder. A woman
in easy circumstances would plant, sow, and rake.

" Each family had a cow. Nothing could be more pleas-
ing to a benevolent mind than to see the inhabitants of a
town containing not one very poor or very rich, very igno-
rant or very knowing, very rude or very polished -individ-
ual; to see all these children of nature enjoying themselves
in easy indolence, or social intercourse.

"Fraud and avarice are the vices of society, and do not
thrive in the forest."

Mr.Winterbottom, in his " History of America," printed
in 1797, savs mucn n the happy condition of the people.
The Americans should feel shame at having lost so much

liberty, which comes from delegating political power to men
oo



398 THE LABORER;

of wealth. In Vol. Ill is this : "The American States fur-
nish a smaller proportion of rich and poor than any other dis-
trict in the known world. In Connecticut the distribution
of wealth is more equal than elsewhere, and will apply to
all New England. The great body of the land-holders are
cultivators of the soil. They are removed from temptations
of luxury. Their industry and frugality exempt them from
want. The people of New England obtain their estates by
hard labor, and none are better furnished with the conven-
iences of life. Idleness with those of independent fortune
is disreputable."

The writer has read much to find out if any crime ex-
isted in the beginning of this nation. Mr.Winterbottom tells
us, in 1792, Boston had seventy-seven convicts making nails,
on a small island guarded by sixty soldiers. This city then
contained 35,000 persons. New York City had a greater
proportion of bad people than this. It was caused by this:
u The Governors of this [N. Y.] State were many of them
land-jobbers, bent on making their fortunes ; and being in-
vested with power, they engrossed for themselves, or pa-
tented away to their favorites, a great part of this province.
The genius of this State still favors large monopolies of
land . ' ' Winterbottom .

This same author tells us: " That young people marry
early without obstacles, and are not tempted to dishonor
themselves. Disgusting disease was almost unknown be-
fore the Revolution. Foreign armies naturalized it. * * *A
grandmother at twenty-seven is often seen.

"Georgia gave away her land on condition of cultivation,
residence, and defense. When the male line expired, the
land was to go back to the government, so as to prevent one
person having more land than another. This was null and
void if it did not make the female heir's possession too large.



A REMEDY FOR HIS WRONGS. 399

u In Kentucky, in 1780, if a man staid a year in that
State, and raised a crop of corn in it, he was entitled to 400
acres of land. In this State towns were laid out, the min-
ister, schoolmaster, tavern-keeper, and magistrate had each
a building lot given them. Judges and Congressmen had
more than one given them."

Why should social distinctions exist in human life ? Is
not the laborer who prepares the fuel to keep us warm, the
bricks and mortar that constructs the home which shelters
us from the pitiless storm, as good as they are, and just as
useful ? Is not the mechanic who makes the leather that
protects the feet, and he who makes the clothing that keeps
us warm, entitled to lots as well as Judges and Congressmen
who corrupt human society, and live by its corruptions.*

"John Locke was forced by the proprietors of Carolina
to make them a government. He gave to each county a
landgrave and two caciques, who could only own two-fifths
of it. The three-fifths were to belong to the people. Vir-
ginia gave to settlers 1,000 acres, who were to pay a penny
an acre rent." Winterbottom s American History.

* Hon. B. F. Wade seems to be an exception. These are his sayings : " That
system of labor which degrades the poor man and elevates the rich ; which drags
the very soul out of him for a pitiful existence, is wrong. We must elevate the
laborer and give him a share in the proceeds of his labor. The shadow of a
great struggle is upon us, and we must meet it. There is a deep discontent,
a feverish excitement, a restlessness with their lot among the poorer classes we
can not disregard. The people want more recreation, enjoyment, and relief
from their monotonous, half-starved condition, and they will have it."

This philanthropist made attacks on slavery, when our religious people
were dormant. He battled with prejudice in high places, and made a part of
the colored people of the District of Columbia men by obtaining for them
the privilege of voting. He caused laws to be made that the wild lands should
be free to those who would settle them. This he might have done sooner ^ad
he not been surrounded with Southern Senators, whose rule of action was to
suppress all plans that would ameliorate the condition of Northern laborers,
because the contrast with their slaves would be too great.



400 THE LABORER;

If this author could collect this information, so could the
Fathers of this nation do the same. Their conscience and
reason should have taught them that they should have given
building lots to mechanics, and limited farms to laborers.
The Fathers seemed to think that the toiling part of com-
munity should pay the nation's expenses. To illustrate this :
The Fathers gave 160 acres of land to a church, if the mem-
bers should rent this land and pay the pastor his salary out
of these rents. Where is the justice in making a few tenants
pay for the preaching that many enjoy? To a school dis-
trict is given 160 acres, and it is sold to two persons for
$1,600. This sum, when at interest, will pay the teacher.
Why should injustice be practiced on these two men, and
they paying the teacher's salary exempting the parents who
get the benefits, and are able to pay the teacher. The Rev-
olution benefited all, who should equally pay its expenses.
To make laborers pay for land was unjust. The unculti-
vated land is God's gift to man, and no body of men have
the right to sell lands, on which there has been no human
labor, nor has any one a right to more than he can cultivate.
Selling the wild lands to pay for past wars to exempt "the
rich and well-born" from taxation, has filled this country
with woe and crimes.

John Adams, in his ''Defense," says: "The people of
Bilboa [in Italy] arose and killed the officers appointed to
collect the duty on salt. They defeated 3,000 soldiers sent
against them, and drove them into the sea.

"In the Swiss republic of Grisons, the inhabitants live to-
gether in a perfect equality, exempt from the refinements
of luxury. There are none so rich as to gain an ascendency.
There are noble families who live by cultivating the earth."

Mr. Adams gives us a sketch of more than fifty republics
and states, which he thought were not suitable for us to



A REMEDY FOR HIS WRONGS. 401

imitate. He also wrote much to ridicule the opinions of
Plato, Milton, Sidney, Locke, and Franklin, who thought
men would be happier without cumbersome governments.
John Adams while in England, from 1784 to 1787, wrote
to prove that we needed such a government as now exists,
which has brought this people from innocence to crime,
from a period when all had homes, to now when half of the
nation have none. It has introduced crime and a state of
insecurity that is alarming. It was not so once. The Mar-
quis Beccaria, a French political writer, in his book, says:
u Criminals in the English colonies become honest people.
We are astonished at the change, yet nothing can be more
natural. The condemned are forced to continued labor;
opportunities to vice are wanting. They marry and multiply.
Oblige men to work, and you make them honest.'*

John Adams and his friends got plenty of land, and the in-
stitutions of the nation were so framed that the people would
be poor and work their land. The first method was to de-
stroy "The Penn. Loan Office," where poor men could
borrow money to begin farming with on land rented at one
cent per acre. The second method was to cause them to
buy land of a speculator at a high rate.

The theory of government is, men wanting happiness
must find it in society, useful industry, and assisting each
other. At a public meeting, one says: If we build a rail-
road to the coal-mines it will save our time. A majority vot-
ing for it, the expense is met by the people pledging their
property to the State for the money, or it can be built by an
annual contribution for ten years. Suppose a tribe, num-
bering thirty, want to have a war. They debate and con-
clude that seven soldiers can be fed, clothed, and equipped,
out of their number.

One says I will lend to you the money. After awhile a



402 THE LABORER;

thinking mind sees that it is unnecessary to keep a paper
money lender. This little community, by making its own
paper money, will compel the lender to become a soldier or
a producer. This applies to 30,000,000. Future genera-
tions can not give back this generation the food and clothes
which they have paid to soldiers. It is very simple to give
the cost of the war, two or three times over, in the form
of interest, wfth the hope of getting in the future that which
has been spent in the past. It is the duty of a people to



Online LibraryWilliam DealtryThe laborer; a remedy for his wrongs; or, A disquisition on the usages of society → online text (page 31 of 33)