This article was last modified on March 22, 2009.

Rights and Duties of Property

The following is a copy of Sangster’s The Rights and Duties of Property. It was put online by another source, though the person who typed it up was a bit sloppy — Sangster is written as “Sangstek” and the book is titled “The Eights and Duties”, for example. If the author and title can be mistyped, the book itself is surely a mess. So, here is my attempt to clean up the typographical errors. (This book, to the best of my knowledge, is in the public domain.)

Rights And Duties of Property




SOCIETY has ever been in a transitory state ; sometimes it presents itself on the page of history as having been
advancing towards civilization, again to have been retro-
grading into barbarity; and in all the variously modified
forms which have been impressed upon it, in the orbit
of its perpetual destiny, the predominance of one, or the
other, of these tendencies is perspicuously delineated,
in exact proportion to the degree of knowledge or of
ignorance which may have preponderated in the minds of
men at those epochs.

Through the general diffusion of knowledge at the
present day, and the unprecedentedly advanced position
of the science of political economy, society seems to be
far better prepared, than ever it has yet been, to sustain
permanently a social reformation; and already it has
entered upon a period of no ordinary advancement in
the career of social civilization. If any doubt this phasis
of the social body, let them, in order to be convinced of
its reality, carefully look at, and duly estimate the effects
which have been produced in Europe within these last
few years; during which, by the influence of political
knowledge, and the power of the advancing tide of society,
monarchs have been hurled from their thrones, dynasties
obliterated, and property itself brought to the very verge of destruction, only to be spared amidst the banishments of kings and the crush of empires, through the magnanimity and the forbearance of an intelligent people.

The aspect of this transitive and belligerent state of society, resolutely and strenuously maintained by the labourers on the one side, demanding the restitution of the rights of labour and of social justice, and as detenninately and dogmatically prolonged by proprietors on the other part, asserting their ancient prerogatives and their present irresponsibility, would naturally lead us to the conclusion, that a momentous social collision must inevitably take place at no remote time between those two classes of society, and such a collision will not be without serious results! The refusal of necessary reformation has often
led to revolution; and experience has proved, that, justice suddenly executed on delinquents, (often degenerates into cruelty, and even injustice.

The object of this Treatise, is, to avert such a consummation. We wish for the reformation of abuses, rather than for the punishment of those implicated in their maintenance, and to impress upon society that there can be no rights apart from responsibilities, no property without its duties. We wish to aid the inquiring, to awaken the unthinking, and to warn the reckless.

In pursuing these objects through an almost untrodden path, we shall expose this truth, that the rights and duties of property are the foundations of social organization, and that their consistent developments are the superstructures of all just, social, and political governments; and in elucidating these truths, we shall protect the real interests of proprietors, and maintain inviolate
the just rights of all classes of the community.

Had the subject of the rights and duties of property been, in our opinion, amply and philosophically treated by political economists, we should have considered it superfluous, if not to say impertinent, to have offered our opinion; but as they have mostly left this momentous and all-important question in abeyance, we take upon ourselves the grave and sacred responsibility of grappling with the Achilles, who has apparently intimidated the most intrepid of the English school of economists. Should we succeed in slaying the dragon which now guards the golden apples in the garden of property, we shall have the satisfaction of seeing the industrious classes rewarded, in future, with a fair and full share of the results produced by their labour.

The differences which have been created in society between the interests of labour and those of capital, have been conducive of forming two distinct classes of men, one which lives by its own industry, and another which exists upon the industry of other men. These two classes have become, of late years, so marked by antagonism, and the chasm which now separates them has
grown so wide, that, unless an amicable reconcilement of their pretensions is effected, social peace cannot long be preserved, but civil war must be the priest who will offer, upon the altar of social justice, the sacrifice of class interests.

In the present work, we shall endeavour to shew that the interests of labour and capital are not naturally repugnant to each other, when under the control of social laws; that an amicable and advantageous reconcilement might be effected between their champions, who now threaten to subvert constitutional order, and to plunge society into chaotic disorganization.

But the evils which necessarily arise in society from labour having been divorced from its rights, and property exonerated from its duties, have been further aggravated by the National Debt a debt fraudulently contracted, and more fraudulently attempted to be perpetuated through a drawling discharge of the capital, and an ignominious payment of interest. Notwithstanding all the
hereditary perversions in our funding system, we are
disposed to manifest more benevolence towards the fund-
holders than strict justice would warrant, considering
many of them, as well as the people, the ignorant victims
of a vicious system; and therefore, we shall propose the
means whereby their claims may be fairly and justly
dealt with, and a repayment of the debt made to them,
consistently with the rights and duties of property, and
in accordance with the beneficial interests of industry.

We conclude, by expressing an earnest wish, that, our endeavours to promote the welfare of our fellow-men, may meet with a fair and candid interpretation, on the rest of our readers; and if we succeed in eradicating even a few errors, or prejudices, from the minds of inquirers after truth, our labour will not have been in vain and the luxury of having done good will be our ample reward.

POLITICAL Economy is a science that derives its name from the Greek; the etymology of which shews it to be a compound derivative, in which three roots of that language are combined.

1 Political’ is a derivation from woXiriKs, the science of
government, and TnA/rys-, a citizen, which have their
roots in Polis^ a city; and signifies the practice, customs,
and government of a city. ‘Economy/ springs from
o/kov/K,/a, which comes from Oikos^ a house, and Nornos,
a law; and means the management of a house, a family,
also of a state or nation; or the law by which a family,
state, or nation is ruled and governed.

Taking, therefore, into consideration the original meaning and separate imports of these words, and comparing them with their present amalgamated and scientific signification, we are enabled to judge with more certitude than otherwise could be attained, what must logically and scientifically be circumscribed as the boundary within which the political economist ought to confine
his survey, and what the nature of the subjects are to which he may direct his investigation, with a reasonable prospect of benefiting society, without vitiating in the smallest degree the principles of the science by intermixing with it other subjects, which do not directly fall within the province of his investigation.

Now as society is the compact family of mankind, naturally and socially organized into different races and kingdoms, the science of c political economy’ may be said to embrace a full knowledge of the laws and customs by which families, cities, states, and nations are governed and united for a common good under the general name of society.

It is very obvious, that as soon as the first family had
been formed, there must have been prescribed rules for
its due government; and whatever those precepts or
rules may have been, or however few the number of the
family under mutual obligations and interests to obey
them, they must have been in principle as binding on a
small number of individuals as they would have been on
any larger number. Domestic economy therefore must
necessarily be as old as man himself; and next in progression would be that of the patriarchal families or tribes.
The government of cities inevitably had its origin at a
much later period of man’s existence, and could not have
been till subsequent to the time when men with the object of developing a more perfect sphere of mutual protection, began to form themselves into larger and more
compact bodies, under the name of citizens, enjoying
equal benefits individually, and corporal and civil rights
as citizens living together in towns or cities, each
member being individually bound to fulfil reciprocal
obligations for the mutual benefit of the particular
society or social corporation of which he had become a

In consequence of the natural construction and combination of our language, we place the word political before
economy. The French, however, designate the science of
political economy, “Economic Politique.” And if we may
conclude from the original precedency of economy, or
household management in the practice of the science, this
arrangement of the terms by the French would seem to
be the more natural, and perfectly in accordance with
the opinion previously expressed, that economy must
have been fully practised long before politics could have
had any existence at all, and certainly very long anterior
to these two words becoming conjoined under the desig-
nation of political economy.

Though economy, the first evolution of social science,
must, from the very nature of the conditions imposed on
man, when he entered into a state of society, have been
partly understood, and to a certain degree practically
carried out; and though political economy, the synthetic
form of social government, in its long incubation through
the ancient and modern ages, was faintly but imperfectly comprehended, yet, till towards the end of
the last century no analysis of its elements had been
successfully attempted, or any systematic composition
of its principles into one comprehensive system been
promulgated, by which the economist might regulate his
course of investigation in tracing the movements of so-
ciety, and in searching out the causes of the misgovern –
ment through which societies, nations, and empires had
been corrupted, and finally ruined and destroyed.

During the eighteenth century, however, our illustrious countryman, Dr. Adam Smith, arose; and, in
the full effulgence of that luminary, was dissolved the
obscurity which till then had enveloped the science, and which had impeded through previous ages the progress
of the students of political economy, and concealed
from their view the true and fundamental principles,
on which now clearly rest one of the most important
sciences which man has yet discovered, and on the
right understanding and application of which the greater
part of his comfort and happiness depend. It is to him
that the world is indebted for embodying in a scientific
and comprehensive form the principles on which the
science reposes. Before he published his immortal work,
the ” Wealth of Nations,” society was constituted on
unknown and unascertained principles, and was groping
its way by hazard, unconscious and ignorant of the ac-
tions of the laws which produced its every impulse,
and despotically governed its every movement. Many
philosophers of great eminence had written before him
on the subject of political economy, and not a few among
them had treated the subject with great perspicuity of
intellect : still, lucid as many of them appear on differ-
ent parts of the science, there is a want of combination
in each of their various systems, which clearly demon-
strates that the subject was beyond their full comprehen-
sion, and too vast for them definitely to fathom, and that
they were unable even to lay a systematical foundation
for future investigation.

Such was the position of the writers on political
economy when the great architect of the science ap-
peared to mould the rude blocks which had bid defiance
to the chisel of his predecessors, and to substantially lay
that foundation which they had previously failed in ac-
complishing, and on which most subsequent writers have
mainly rested for support in rearing the superstructure which was to render the science practically beneficial to
society. We may, therefore, call Adam Smith the father
of the science of wealth ; because it was he who first
organized and gave a systematic concatenation to the
principles which now justly entitle it to be called a
science, and even to rank first in the order of sciences on
account of its paramount importance; and also on account
of its being that science which has for its object the true
and perfect understanding of the social body in its various
ramifications and developments, as well as an exact
comprehension of the multifarious tendencies of the laws
by which it is influenced : and because, if at any time
through misgovernment any individual part of that body
be affected, or become diseased, it is the duty of the poli-
tical economist to be able with promptitude to point out
the origin and cause of the evil, and to rectify any unna-
tural disorganization of the social system.

The political economist has also another most impor-
tant and essential duty to fulfil, namely, that of perfectly
keeping the public accounts. It is to him that society
looks for a perfect system of national book-keeping, so as
that he at any time may be able clearly to state what the as-
sets and liabilities of the nation are when those assets may
be realized and how they can be most economically col-
lected, whether or not a saving could be effected in the
expense of collecting the taxes, and of paying the liabilities;
and also, if the debts due by the nation could be liquidated
by some more economical and Christian -like system, than
that now in practice of making the poor pay more in pro-
portion than the rich, thus unjustly abstracting taxes from
the producers of wealth to hand over to the producers of
misery. He also ought to be able to say, who are the best and most profitable customers for the nation to deal
with what are their various resources the different
commodities they require, and to what extent they can
consume advantageously; and he ought to know, at what
price other nations can produce the same commodities of
which the nation to which he is accountant is a producer.
If he be ignorant of these things, the society to which
he belongs will be exposed to inevitable losses, by often
sending its products to those who cannot pay for them,
or to overstocked markets, or to those markets where
these products will come into competition with cheaper
produced commodities.

On the principles inculcated by Dr. Smith, most of
the economists who have since written, in any degree
understanding their subject, have adopted the leading
principles laid down by him. To say, However, that
he is always right, would be doing an injustice to the
science, and assigning to him a mind superior in cha-
racter to that assigned to the human race. However,
taking into consideration the novel difficulties he had
to contend with at every stage of his researches in the
untrodden path by which he arrived at the great truths
discovered and demonstrated by him, no one will deny
him the honour of having advanced the science more than
any previous writer on political economy. Even where he
has been shewn to have fallen into error, in grappling
with and illustrating some few of his principles, it will gene-
rally be allowed, that his sole aim seems to have been to
find out the truth, and to state it fearlessly, without
prevarication or favour to party views, or class interests ;
and sometimes, when he may seem to be doubtful of the
way by which truth was to be arrived at, no sooner in those few instances does the least reflected ray from
reason light on his obscure path, than he is instantly
attracted to it, and eagerly pursues it with a steady eye,
eager to find out the truth, in order to demonstrate it to
others, as clearly as language could. This is so conspi-
cuous in his Wealth of Nations, and he writes with such
good effect, even on some points which occur in his work,
where he does not seem exactly to have seen the primary
cause of the result he delineates, that at those times he
appears more as if he were revealing the truth than as if
he had found it out himself. This, no doubt, arose from
his paramount desire to abide as closely by what his
reflective mind suggested to him as the most approximate
to the truth ; and in case he should be misunderstood in
any of his novel expositions, he almost invariably illus-
trates his propositions by examples, which generally are
made simple and lucid, so as to be easily comprehended
by those for whom he wrote.

We have limited the domain over which the political
economist has a right to travel, as comprising the govern-
ment of man living in separate families, or societies,
and that of his social rights as a citizen of the world. To
these two subjects analytically and synthetically in their
various relations, dependence and cooperation with each
other, we shall endeavour to confine ourselves. In order,
therefore, that we may seize on, and put ourselves in
possession of what we consider to be our province,
namely, the domain with its contents originally given to
man, we shall premise by avering that labour was the
original producer of every thing possessing value this
was the primitive constituted law : and as nature is per-
petuated by revolutionary and reactionary laws, it must naturally follow, that labour will one day be, as it bat
partially is now, the only means by which man shall earn
his bread. Nature itself is now kept alive by toil; and
the world itself was at first created by labour ; for during
the six periods that the great Creator took to complete
his work, he must have laboured with a steady and
unceasing purpose in order to accomplish the mighty
design. This world, therefore, was produced by labour ;
and, as labour and the production of new wealth can
only be carried on by the consumption of that which is
already in existence, and as all products valuable in
exchange ought to compensate the amount of consump-
tion in making them the amount of labour, or consump-
tion necessary to change the matter out of which the
world was formed, could only be estimated by the value
of the world when made; but as it is the facility with
which commodities can be exchanged which gives them
value, the world has no upset price, and only became va-
luable when man by labour appropriated it, and divided it
into small lots. Any attempt to arrive at even a conjec-
ture on a subject so far beyond the reach of human
comprehension, as that of the value of natural products,
would only shew how circumscribed and limited our
minds are ; and our finite and futile attempts to compre-
hend the labour of the great infinite Creator would only
prove the insignificancy and inadequacy of our powers ;
and besides, would lead us into a subject widely irrelevant
to political economy, which has only to deal with man the
day it finds him on the earth, emanated from the Creator’s
hands, and constituted a family. Though man at first
was reared by labour, and was a part of the capital of the
world, afterwards given to him as a donative by its great Creator, still it is beyond the province of political economy
to investigate whether the world or man was created by
labour ; and man cannot properly be appropriated by the
political economist, till the time that the obligations under
which man was to have sovereign possession, and to hold
dominion over the earth, were promulgated “Be fruitful
and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” Had
Adam reflected on the import of the introduction, to the
indenture by which he received his dominion, and by
means of which his happiness in the world was to be
guaranteed, he might have seen the decree of his own
dissolution and decomposition ” Replenish the earth ;”
clearly demonstrating that as the world had been made,
so the purposely created void was to be filled up by
labour ; and that, by the law of nature which had been
established in the universe, all the produce of labour
was doomed to decay and to decompose ; so even man
himself was not destined to be an exception to that
law. In order, however, to secure his happiness, nature
had provided him with every thing necessary towards
his comfort ; she had not been parsimonious of her gifts :
but partial in their distribution, had disseminated them in
different regions of the world, so that mankind might be
mutually dependent on each other for their realization.
To obviate the wants occasioned by the irregular distribu-
tion of her products, and that the produce of one clime
should be freely exchanged for that of another ; that the
sugars of one country might be bartered for the husban-
dry tools of another; and the silk manufactures of one
nation exchanged for those of the cotton or any other pro-
duce of the country requiring silks the exchange of com-
modities through means of labour must have been a part of the design of nature. Nature thus designed that man
should continue and perpetuate the work which she had
begun ; and on condition of his doing so, seed-time and
harvest were guaranteed to him. With this promise man
finds himself placed on the earth to carry on the labour
commenced by nature on his behalf to act in harmony
with the laws of natural production to aid and assist na-
ture to the extent of his bodily strength ; and by the force
of his intellect, to direct his labour so as to operate in
unison with her’s, that the greatest possible benefit may
thereby accrue from their harmonious and combined
operations. Man is not therefore placed in the world, as
some have supposed, to carry on by compulsion a declared
war against the parsimony of nature, but only to co-
operate with her, and to apply his knowledge of her laws
and mode of operation so as to modify and control them,
that they may thereby produce the greatest amount of
happiness to himself, and to his fellow men.

The indenture by which mankind received the world for
an inheritance, constituted each unit of the family equally
entitled to its possession ; and though the physical and
mental development of individuals may differ a little, yet,
taking mankind as a whole, it is impossible to say the exact
point where one power differs from another, -to shew where
one begins and another leaves off, or to draw a line of
demarcation between different capacities. One thing,
however, is certain, that whatever apparent difference
there may seem to be, still men are all possessed of the
same faculties, though modified in degree; influenced by
the same feelings and passions; subject to the same
natural results when acted upon by the same causes.
They are all equally helpless when first ushered into the world; and though, during the development of their faculties, some may indicate more aptitude to learn, or to seize on anything presented to them, by the peculiar quality or temperament of their minds, still in the apprehensive faculty of their minds, the judgment, they will be found to be all undistinguishably the same as to quantity and force, when their education has been similar. These inequalities in physical development and mental force are
the natural symbols and harbingers of perfect equality,
and are only given by nature to render men mutually
dependent on each other. Supposing, however, that in
a natural state some of these forces might rise superior
to, and subjugate the weaker developments then to
obviate this domination, and to protect the weak against
the strong, society itself was instituted ; thus destroying
the inequality, if any exist, in nature, and thereby esta-
blishing society on the principle of equality. Then if
society were instituted to correct the inequality existing in
nature, how has it been brought about that it has become
infidel to its principle, in bolstering up the irresponsible
rights of the holders of property, merely as such, irrespec-
tive of the equilateral claims of the great body of its in-
dustrious members thus disinherited of any share in the
rights of all.

Since nature has given the earth and its products
equally to all, any natural right to personal property is
destroyed ; for where unlimited equality of possession
exists, there can be no personal property. As it is the
right of one individual, or corporate body, to enjoy
certain privileges to the total exclusion of every one
else that legally constitutes property; and as there


can be no natural right to personal property, it neces-
sarily follows that property must be of social creation,
having its foundation on social rights, and those rights
cannot be otherwise based than on conventional recipro-
city. By legal appropriation, therefore, personal property
y does not exist but by social right only. In order, there-
fore, that property may be tolerated by society, it must
fulfil and discharge through the medium of its posses-
sors, the conventional conditions implied by the social
compact. If it fail to do this through any of its holders,
it has broken the compact, and must revert to the sove-
reign head of the society, that he may put his executive
prerogative in force, and compel the recusant party to
fulfil its obligations to that society whose property it ori-
ginally was, and who only parted with it on certain re-
cognized conditions and considerations. If any of the
parties, who tacitly undertook by their act of taking
possession to fulfil those conditions, should refuse or
wilfully neglect to perform them, then have they forfeited
the right to the property which they hold ; and the
property equitably reverts to the original granters ; that
is, to society in the aggregate. The very act of the
possessors of property invariably appealing to society for
its protection when at any time it is assailed, proves that
they themselves really feel and understand from whom
they received it in trust, and for the benefit of whom
they are indulged in holding possession. If they hold
it not from and for the benefit of society, why appeal to
society to arise and protect it? for if it were not held by
them for the benefit of society, this call to arms by the
possessors of property would be tantamount to sum-


moning society that had been expropriated and plundered
of its rights to put on its buckler, and unsheath its sword
in order to enslave and annihilate itself.

Property is the social share guaranteed Iby the laws of
property to each individual proprietor, in exact propor-
tion to his perseverance and dexterity in prosecuting the
unsocial struggle between capital and labour. Property
was created by society, and is now perpetuated and
augmented by it from the surplus revenue of the labour
of the industrious classes; or rather, itmight be described
as proceeding from the savings effected by society on its
gross revenue by the people not living up to their income;
in other words, by the producers of wealth abstaining
from spending the full amount of their production, and
thus denying themselves the present enjoyment of the
whole of the fruits of their labour for the future grati-
fication of becoming proprietors, and thereby recompen-
sing themselves for their present self-denial by the inter-
est and compound interest which property bestows on its
possessors. This interest, compound interest, and rent,
which property holds out to its votaries, and actually puts
them in possession of, through means of its laws, exclusive
of society, are the source of the evils which at present
render society a turmoil and a warfare of capital against
labour; f6r by these laws the proprietor obtains a com-
manding position, from which he finds it easy to subjugate
the labourers; and the higher he ascends the hill of pro-
perty, he is able with greater effect to hurl the weight
of capital on the labourers in the valley ; so that they are
obliged to labour not only for their simple existence, but
also to produce wealth for him, which he at his pleasure
(not being responsible) may forge into future chains to


bind them still faster, or to annihilate them by its weight.
Property, with its concomitant good and evil, has had
a very remote origin ; and as history gives no positive
information whatever as to the date of its first constitution,
or with respect to the actual circumstances from which
the motives sprang which induced man to organize and
constitute it, all therefore that we can now possibly
ascertain as to what those circumstances may have been,
must be, not only through the medium of any faint
glimpses of information which we may derive from ancient
history, as to what were considered at different times to
be the rights by which man held possession of any par-
ticular commodity or local situation ; but more especially
through the medium of our senses, by bringing common
sense and reason to bear on, and by scrupulously investi-
gating the natural condition and successive development of
the wants of man. By common sense men are enabled to
judge with certainty the immediate effect of the external
circumstances by which in a natural state they are in-
fluenced ; and having, through the faculty of perception
inherent in this sense, acquired an accurate knowledge as
to their immediate situation, and finding that position
often exposed to attacks by aggressive force, they
would naturally analyse their actual condition by the
aid of experience acquired during the past ; and from the
result of this analysis, they would be enabled to constitute
society on principles derived alike from reason and ex-
perience, forming an harmonious whole, congruous and
homogenous, and productive only of happiness to man.
It would be superfluous to follow property through its
historical changes and progressions, as these are so very
numerous that many of them must be familiar to every


one. And as these changes and reorganizations of the ti-
tles and rights of property are taking place daily by every
successive change of the law, they are therefore infallible
proofs, that even in its present state property is defective
and susceptible of many beneficial changes; and that,
notwithstanding all that has been done by the laws of
England to constitute, determine, and settle its rights,
many of them have only tended to widen the breach
between its present possessors and the representatives
of labour, its original owners. So continually and clearly
is this the fact, that at present property is placed over a
volcano, which threatens to burst forth and inundate its
present possessors by an overwhelming current of labour-
ers demanding their original rights.

The cause of this pressure on property by labour is
on account of the greater part of the labouring classes,
who are the creators of property, having been deprived
of all right or possession in it whatever; and besides
their having been excommunicated from any just parti-
cipation in its rights, it is made in the hands of its
possessors an engine and a means of estranging them still
further from every reasonable prospect of ever enjoying
its privileges, or tasting its sweets.

Man being, as we have shewn, in primitive possession
of the earth, and its products, he could have had no
right of himself, even had he been so disposed, to alien-
ate his share of it for ever from his posterity, without he
had secured to them reciprocal conditions by which they
should be guaranteed the right of sharing in its products:
and if the holders of property be in possession by any
other agreement or conditions whatever than that of
reciprocal advantages, their titles are totally defective,


and the sooner they conform to the conditions of the
social compact by which alone their possession can be-
come sociable property, so much the better will it be for
themselves and society.

‘There is nothing,’ says Sir William Blackstone, one
of our best authors on English law, and the constitution
of the rights of property, ‘ which so generally strikes
the imagination, and engages the affections of mankind,
as the right of property, or that sole and despotic dominion
which one man claims and exercises over the external
things of the world, in total exclusion of the right of
any other individual in the universe. And yet, there
are very few that will give themselves the trouble to
consider the original and foundation of this right. Pleased
as we are with possession, we seem afraid to look back
to the means by which it was acquired, as if fearful
of some defect in our title ; or, at least we rest
satisfied with the decision of the laws in our favour,
without examining the reason or authority upon
which those laws have been built. We think it
enough that our title is derived by the grant of the former
proprietor by descent from our ancestors, or by the last
will and testament of the dying owner ; not caring to
reflect, that accurately and strictly speaking, there is no
foundation in nature, or in natumi law^ why a set of
words upon parchment should convey the dominion of
land why the son should have a right to exclude his
fellow-creatures from a determinate spot of ground
because his father had done so before or why the occu-
pier of a particular field, or of a jewel, when laying on his
death-bed, and no longer able to maintain possession,
should be entitled to tell the rest of the world which of


them should enjoy it after him. These enquiries, it must
be owned, would be useless and even troublesome in
common life. It is well if the mass of mankind will
obey the laws when made, without scrutinizing too nicely
into the reasons of making them. The earth, and all
things therein, are the general property of all mankind,
exclusive of other beings, from the immediate gift of the
Creator; and while the earth remained bare of inhabi-
tants, it is reasonable to suppose, that all was in common
among them, and that every one took from the public
stock to his own use such things as his immediate neces-
sities required.’

The earth, bequeathed as it was by its Creator, cannot
be considered strictly speaking as property, but only as a
general free gift to man ; and, as it was given alike to all
equally, without any effort of labour en their part, it
cannot therefore be appropriated by any individual, or
class of individuals, by any act of their’s which can de-
bar others at any time from claiming their patrimonial
rights, namely, a fair share in the benefit of that which
the labour of nature gave them gratuitously. It was freely
given to all as the air which they breathe, and as uncon-
ditionally as the light of day, which defy exclusive appro-
priation. Such being undeniable facts, how has it been
brought about that the will of the great and bountiful
Testator has been so grossly violated, and a large portion
of his legitimate children disinherited, and that portion
too who labour most, and who ought therefore to be
in possession, if any preference were to be shewn, as
labour is the source of all wealth? And if the world was
formed by labour, and given to man in order that he
might advantageously continue that labour, certainly it is


reasonable to suppose, that nature must consider those
most worthy to be in possession who follow out and per-
Vpetuate that labour which she carried on before man was
called into existence, and which she still continues to
hold in that natural course which was given to matter by
the powerful impetus of the great Original, that nature was
to live and reorganize its decomposed parts by means of
labour. As society, however, is at present constituted,
its natural course is superseded, and the rights of labour
totally reversed by those being in possession who do not
work at all, but who craftily take advantage of the abused
powers of property to live on the labour of others, and
to withhold from them their rightful dues. Social and
individual property in the soil was at first invented, and
ever since has been guaranteed, only because the original
design was for the advantage of all, anA therefore practi-
cally to carry out the primitive purpose is the reason of
its present toleration. This origin ought not to be lost
sight of, because property is only legitimate in so far as it
is administered conformably to the end for which it was

‘But/ says Mr. J. R. M c Culloch, ‘ The property of the
landlord is violated when he is compelled to adopt any
system of cultivation, even though it were really preferable
to that which he was previously following; the property of
a capitalist is violated when he is obliged to accept a par-
ticular rate of interest for his stock ; and the property
of a labourer is violated when he is obliged to employ
himself in any particular occupation, or for a fixed rate
of wages. The finest soil, the finest climate, the finest
intellectual powers, can prevent no people from becoming
barbarous, poor, and miserable, if they have the misfor-


tune to be subjected to a government vvbich does not
respect and maintain tbe rigbt of property/

In order to render tbe proprietor absolute lord and
master of his property, and not responsible to the govern-
ment for its use, Mr. M c Cullocb, in his mistaken zeal to
save the proprietor, has unknowingly laboured with all
his might to destroy the rights of property by degrading
the proprietor to the condition of a monopolist by ren-
dering him irresponsible to the state and his property
not only unsocial, in being in his possession, but also
unsocial in its production. For, says he, the proprietor
is robbed of his rights if he be forced to adopt a beneficial
and social system of production; clearly establishing,
that if the proprietor be not responsible to the state, he
must be a monopolist. We would, however, ask Mr.
M c Culloch, if the consumer be not robbed if the pro-
prietor, by his egotistic right keep back from the consu-
mer what the land if fully cultivated would produce for
the market of consumable commodities and if the pro-
perty of the capitalist be not violated, when he is obliged
to accept a lower rate of interest for his stock? Mr.
M c Culloch is inconsistent to invoke government to main-
tain and to cause to be respected the right of property
which lately reduced the interest of funded property, and
thus robbed the fundholders by conversion without in-
demnification. The proprietor’s last resource is to plead
for aid from such an enemy.

Oh ! poor property, save thyself from thy friends;
for their hands, like the Philistines, be upon thee.

After having established the right of property in ego-
tism, and the right of the capitalist in concord with sel-
fishness, Mr. M c Culloch, to prove that he did not tho-


roughly comprehend the inherent nature either of pro-
perty, capital, or lahour, endeavours to organize labour in
the kingdom of interested capital and irresponsible pro-
perty, infatuatively forgetting that monopolies in property
and capital are both hostile to labour; and that credit,
in place of benefiting the labourer, has deprived him of
the rights of labour, by the capitalist, through means of
interest, stealthily drawing the fruits of his labour from him.
But if proprietors, according to Mr. M c Culloch, are not re-
sponsible to society for their acts, what becomes of the con-
vention by which property was at first conceded to them,
and now legally guaranteed ? Because, if it be legally
and justly given over to their care and control, this legal
concession is nullified by the proprietors refusing to fulfil
their part of the compact ; for an agreement, which does
not stipulate conditions to both parties, is invalid in law,
and in no respect obligatory on either party. Such
being the case, the proprietor, who claims the right of
property unconditionally, has mistaken his true position,
and has sunk to the state of an individual or monopolist,
whose right may be contested by society, or by any
individual more powerful than himself, who may coerce
him, and take his property from him.

Territorial and other property were given up to the
management of particular individuals, in order that they
might thereby increase production, and augment the social
revenue. The proprietor, then, does an unjust, unso-
cial, and illegitimate act if he abuse the privilege thus
granted to him by restricting production, or by making it
the means of amassing for himself a revenue, not from his
share of the bounties of the earth, but by that which
he abstracts from the share of other men. Territorial


property has been guaranteed to him, in order that
by his having a perpetual right in it, he might always
administer it with a view towards the future benefit of
society. He makes an unjust and illegal use of his property
if he abandon it to those who have only a fugitive and
temporary interest in it, either by short leases or other-
wise ; and if he thus deprives society of the full advan-
tages of that social right, which was only ceded to
him because he guaranteed in return a constant pro-
gression of agricultural riches, society has the right
to annul the compact.

Thus, we hope, are clearly established what must have
been the original principles on which property are founded,
namely, that it was created, is tolerated, and guaran-
teed by society for the mutual benefit of mankind. Ad-
mitting, therefore, that the appropriation by particular
individuals was necessary to fulfil more perfectly and be-
neficially the object of society, by enabling each indi-
vidual to follow out his particular vocation with better
success after the division of labour had been established,
still, the act of appropriation, either of the soil, or of
any other natural product, was equally necessary to all ;
hence the right of possession ought to be equal, and
so far as practicable the divisibility of property, and the
benefits derivable from it, guaranteed to every one ;
whereas, by the present existing law of entail, the persons
actually in possession have not even the power to divide
any portion of their property, or to share with others its

Thus far we have traced the right by which the
present possessors of the soil, and the possessor of all
other sorts of property, are in possession; and having


recognized the principle, that the earth and all its products
belong by right of inheritance equally to all mankind, let
us now endeavour to find out the means by which it came
into the hands of its present occupants under the form of
exclusive property ; and it will also be our duty, as
defenders of social property, to investigate what its
present real constitution is.

Property is the foundation and corner-stone of the
social edifice into which all have an equal right to enter :
if any be excluded, or prevented from entering, by difficul-
ties being thrown in their way, then property is no longer
property absolutely, as it has ceased to be held by legiti-
mate and social rights, and can thenceforth be held only
by the power of usurpation ; and as it may then be said
to have lost its surest guarantee, namely, the good will
and respect grounded in the hearts of the -people, its only
security, after having forfeited that respect, is the iron
hand of the law supported at the point of the bayonet.
If the majority of the people is dissatisfied with the way
in which property is distributed and appropriated, though
the government, as a faction, may support and maintain
that distribution, it is nevertheless unsocial, tending to
create discord in society, as those two parties will be
brought into continual collision, and a struggle for the
mastery will inevitably be the result. Therefore, the re-
cognizance of the rights of property is essentially neces-
sary by the people, in order to consolidate and confirm
the rights in the hands of its possessors ; and that recog-
nizance must not be a passive adhesion, but a heartfelt
satisfaction and content. If a perfect contentment of
this sort towards property be not impressed on the
public mind by the just and equitable conduct of the


possessors of property, ebullitions of dissatisfaction will
from time to time be manifested, so that proprietors will
never under such circumstances be able to rest fully at
their ease.

4 The right of property/ says Mr. J. R. M c Culloch,
‘is perfected only by degrees/ This is an admission by
a supporter of property in its present form, that its
rights are only being perfected by gradual change; and
therefore, we may warrantably conclude, in judging from
what he says, that the rights by which property are at
present held are yet far from being perfect, and that
great injustice is perpetrated by proprietors, towards
labourers who have no property, in their having entirely
excluded them from their just share of social rights, and V
only permitting those rights to be by slow degrees re-
stored to labour, exactly in proportion to the impressive
demands made by those who have hitherto been excluded
from all participation in social rights.

In the same paragraph he seems to halt between
two opinions ; if, however, we can gather anything out
of the ambiguity of the language used, as to which
opinion he has the greater leaning, we should rather
conclude that he is of opinion that there is a principle
implanted in the nature of man which urges him on,
and dictates to his natural powers, so that they at
once prompt him to respect the rights of property.
He says, ‘ We shall not undertake to decide whether
there be, or be not, a principle inherent in man that
at once suggests to every individual not to interfere v
with what has been produced or appropriated by the
labour of others; it is sufficient to know, that the


briefest experience would point out to every one the
necessity of respecting this principle/

If there be a principle in man’s nature suggesting
and prompting him not to interfere with what has been
appropriated by others, and if the briefest experience
would besides inculcate this principle of non-interference,
how comes it to pass that so long time has been wasted
in establishing the rights of property, and which are
allowed to be yet imperfect, and only being perfected
by slow degrees ?

To suppose such a principle inherent in man, and at
the same time to say that the rights of property, which
must be emanations from that principle, are being per-
fected only by slow degrees, is to say, that this principle
was formed in man with such impuissance, that the
effects which were designed to be prodiiced by its agency
have not yet arrived at their climax, though it has been
in full operation for nearly the last six thousand years.
But, in not further insisting on the power of this inherent
principle, the existence of which he does not positively
affirm, he then comes to what he does know sufficiently
to be positive upon, and that is, that the briefest experi-
ence would teach the necessity of respecting this principle.

If the respect paid to property is based upon a neces-
sity to do it homage, then as soon as the individuals
coerced can repulse the aggressor, they are acquitted
by the inherent principle of conscience, because necessity
is not a law which binds conscience. Necessity is, how-
ever, the mother of invention ; and therefore to create
what nature never implanted in the breast of man,
namely, respect for property, proprietors have invented


all sorts of coercive laws to teach others by experience
not to interfere with property. These pedagogues of
exclusive rights have long heen inculcating to mankind
the monopolist principle of non-interference, yet huma-
nity appears at this moment a professor of infidelity,
having acquired a more accurate and humane knowledge
of social rights, and established its school on the prin-
ciple of universal justice.

Mr. MCulloch attempts to account for the origin of
the rights of property, by stating, that c If a number of
individuals be set down together on the shore of an un-
occupied and unappropriated island, each will have quite
as good a right as another to take the game or the fruit.
But those who do so, or who have through their skill
and industry appropriated a portion of the common stock,
will obviously be entitled to the exclusive use of such

This promiscuous horde of individuals, Des enfante
trouves, par la nature, are supposed to be abandoned in
order to free them from any obligations towards those who
left them : and as it does not appear that there was any
agreement among them about social government, each
individual would have a perfect right to act for himself
unencumbered by social restraints, and therefore at li-
berty to use his physical dexterity and mental skill in
any way that suited his particular purposes. ‘ But,’ says
Mr. M c Culloch, ‘under such circumstances it will be
obvious that if any of those selfish and unrestrained
individuals think fit to appropriate any portion of the
common stock, they would be entitled to retain such
portion.’ Certainly under circumstances of selfish legis-
lation and physical force government, each would be


entitled to take and hold as much of the common stock
as he was able to defend, but he could not exclude any
more powerful than himself from retaking it. This could
be done only by society, that is the social tomb of egotis-
tically maintained rights ; nevertheless, Mr. M c Culloch
before he forms his abandoned horde of humanity into
/a society, attempts to establish the rights of property,
thereby reversing the order of cause and effect, because
in the progression of mankind society is the cause of the
rights of property being established, and property is the
effect of that cause created by society subservient to it,
and to be always administered for its advantage.

Mr. M c Culloch having perceived that there was no
sure guarantee for property out of the pale of society,
tndeavours to shew the reason which induced man to
form society, and to establish the rights of property.
‘ If,’ says he, ‘ A. climbs a tree, and brings down fruit,
which as soon as he comes to the ground is taken from
him by others, he will not again engage in any similar
undertaking till he be well assured that he shall be per-
mitted exclusively to profit by what has been obtained
through his sole exertions, nor will others engage in any
such undertaking without a similar assurance/ No doubt,
therefore, the right of property has had a very remote
origin! The necessity for its establishment is so very
obvious and urgent, that it must have been all but coeval
with the formation of society.

We have previously shewn that Mr. M c Culloch endea-
vours to substantiate a right to property anterior to the
time when men formed themselves into society, and we
hope have satisfactorily proved that this was inconsistent
and impossible. In the portion of the same paragraph


now under our consideration, that writer has adopted
more natural and far more logical propositions in advancing
that property, and society are so very closely linked toge-
ther, that the rights of property must have heen all but
coeval with the formation of society. The chain of rea-
soning hy which he arrives at this longevity of the rights
of property is very clear and sound ; hut in his eagerness
to establish the right of A. who may have stript the tree,
and monopolised the fruit, he forgets that others did not,
nor could guarantee A. in unmolested possession, but
upon conditions which he has omitted throughout his
special pleading. Society, in giving to A., and others,
possession of the common stock under a guarantee of
supporting them in undisturbed possession, made A. and
others its debtors, because society is constituted on the
principle of parting with none of the common rights,
without a sufficient quid pro quo, or exact equivalent for
the thing ceded. And in individuals asking to be gua-
ranteed by society, before they engaged in any undertaking,
it is shewn that they are its suppliants, that they consent
to do it homage, and become its obedient servants. This
conditional right of possession has been accorded to them
bv their legitimate sovereign, upon whom they have
imposed, by construing their conditional right into a
monopoly ; and on that hypothesis, they have again
duped society by asserting that they were irresponsible
to society for what belonged individually to themselves,
and thus they have constituted proprietors, princes of
their own possessions and domains, by reducing society
their sovereign into subjection.

Property is, as has been previously stated, the conco-
mitant of toddy ; and as society arose out of the various


circumstances under which man has been placed, it is
quite evident, that as mankind multiplied their wants
would increase, and society would extend the principle
of mutual protection, and by its development the rights
of property would necessarily be expanded. In all that
can be gathered from history, it appears, that as society
y’ advances, new forms of property spring up, and old ones
disappear. As men progressively formed themselves
into societies in the primitive ages, slavery, the vilest of
all species of property, appeared, and almost universally
extended its power. However, in modern times the re-
verse tendency has prevailed, till it has now become a
policy to extirpate it by paying money to one class of
slaveholders to liberate their slaves, and compelling
another section by force of arms to leave over the dis-
graceful and inhuman trade. Ancient slavery has been
abrogated; but, in its stead a new species of it has
recently manifested its gigantic power, under the form of
the centralization of capital, combined with monopolies;
so that, though the labourer be freed from the lash, he is
actually punished more severely, by long hours of toil
and low wages, which destroy both his mental and bodily
frame. The old Hydra was obliged to see that its victims
were at least well fed ; the modern Cerberus squeezes as
much work out of the labourers as it can, and when they
are wrought up and useless, it turns them over to society
to be maintained.

It is quite evident, that moveable commodities would
in the first ages of society be of paramount importance
to man, and consequently they would for a time be ap-
propriated, before appropriation of land was resorted to.
We find, however, that partial possession of land under


certain circumstances was recognised so early as the time
of Abraham, who bought of the family of Heth the cave
of Machpelah as a burying-place, for ” four hundred she-
kels of silver, current money of the merchant.” There
are certain striking impressions left on the mind by the
narration of this agreement, which would engender the
idea that an exchange of land had been generally prac-
tised among those eastern tribes, either by bartering one
field for another, or by indirect barter through the me-
dium of money. This is obvious from the tenure of this
contract ; for, if land had not a marketable value, natu-
rally there would have been some doubt as to the upset
price. No such uncertainty, however, appears to have
at all existed. Ephron speaks of the absolute value of
the cave, with its avenues, trees, and fences, in a most
unhesitating and positive way, as a merchant prince
who was well accustomed to sell land. He at once
states the price at which he would sell his right of
possession ; and Abraham, unlike his race, does not
higgle about the price, but at once concludes a bargain,
and weighs the money, ” current money of the merchant.”
That permanent property in land was not universally
recognised in the East, in the time of Abraham, is quite
evident from what took place between him and Lot
when their servants quarrelled. He willingly gave his
nephew the first choice of the district he preferred. ” Is
not the whole land before thee ? separate thyself from
me ; if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to
the right.” Blackstone says, that this plainly implied an
acknowledged right in either to occupy whatever ground
he pleased that was not pre-occupied by other tribes.


This practice is still retained among the wild and uncul-
tivated nations that have never been formed into civil
states, as the Tartars, and others in the East, where the
climate itself, and the boundless extent of their terri-
tory, conspire to retain them in the same savage state of
vagrant liberty, which was universal in the earliest ages ;
and which, Tacitus informs us, continued among the
Germans till the decline of the Roman empire.”

Mr. M c Culloch, who seems to make no distinction
between possession of land as recognised in a simple
state of society, and that of property in land completely
organised in the present age, confounds their distinct
imports, and falling into the erroneous idea that they are
identical, he states, that property in land was guaranteed
by the laws of the most primitive nations of which
history has furnished us with any account of their usages.
‘ The author of the book of Job,’ says he, in quoting from
Goguet, ‘ placed those who removed their neighbours’
landmarks at the head of his list of wicked men ; and
the early Greek and Roman legislators placed these marks
under the special protection of the God Terminus, and
made their removal a capital offence.’ He follows up,
and confirms this effort to canonize property, and render
it sacred, by abandoning the law as its foundation. ‘ It
is obvious/ says he, c from what has now been stated,
that the law of the land is not, as Dr. Paley has affirmed,
the real foundation of the right of property/ We shall
not enter into any investigation as to the sacred rights
of property, considering, as we do, that the political
economist has no right whatever to use the sacred
records for any other purpose than to quote it as matter


of authentic history ; and if. at any time in the discharge
of our duty, we may be obliged to make any refer-
ence to it, we shall only do so in that sense.

Very few will at all question the authority of the phi-
losopher who lived in Uz., upon the rights of possession as
practised in his age and country ; but the doubtful way
he has been introduced by Mr. M c Culloch as a witness,
and the illogical inference attempted to be derived from
his evidence, leads us to scrutinize it, and also to examine
the import of its corroboration by Moses, when he says,
” Cursed be he thatremoveth his neighbour’s landmark.”
The former, though the most perfect among the learned
Chaldeans, and the latter learned in all the wisdom of the
Egyptians, and besides especially tuitioned on Mount
Sinai by Him who taught Solomon legislation, yet neither
could use the term ‘ property,’ as it was not in their lan-
guages, nor even in any of their writings do they appear
to have ever heard of it, except it were under its abusive
synonyme oppression, against which Job deliberately ful-
minates invectives; and the consummate Hebrew legis-
lator unmistakably ratifies his profound knowledge of the
evils produced through unlimited credit and territorial
centralization by his decree, that a free release from debts
should take place every seven years and by the jubilee
edict, or restitutional act, he effectually prevented the
stealthy aggression of appropriators on the social patrimo-
ny, and securely established the primitive and equal right
of each and all to a share in the common domain. And the
rich man of the East, though despoiled of all his wealth by
the hordes of banditti that like locusts fell upon him, and
took his oxen from the ploughs, and his camels from
his fields, yet in all preserved his judicious patience;


therefore we would ask those who affirm that he placed
landmark removers at the head of his list of wicked men.
Hast thou considered Job as a perfect and an upright man?
who has not, as stated, placed landmark removers at the
head, but who has assigned them their position near the
end of his list of bad men ? Long previously to Job
enumerating those that removed landmarks, he has most
pathetically described, and philosophically classified as
being more prominently unjustifiable the actions of those
who oppressed the poor. c What the oppressor of the
poor has laboured for shall he restore, and shall not.
swallow it down ; according to his substance shall the
restitution be/ This denunciation against the oppressors
of the poor might be said to be applicable to the present
age, and demonstrable in the conflict between poverty
and riches ; that is practically going oir^and now being
consummated through the effect of the eternal law of na-
tural reaction, in our being forced lately to vomit up eight
millions of our accumulated and bilious capital, as restitu-
tion to Ireland. On account of the poverty to which the
people of that country is reduced, a reactionary movement
is progressing in that unhappy portion of the United
Kingdom, in which, with a most fertile soil, and a fine cli-
mate, its proprietors are absolutely pressed for money to
pay the interest on mortgages. The Encumbered Estates
Ireland Bill and the Poor Law Bill, lately passed for Ire-
land, are part of the portion which by nature’s law must
inevitably fall to the lot of wicked men, whose forefathers
have for ages oppressed and destroyed labour, dsinherited
the labourers of every right in the soil which their pre-
decessors have tilled from time immemorial, and upon
which they were born, and who are not yet satisfied with


the havoc and desolation which they and their progeni-
tors have produced ; but at present are exhausting their
ingenuity in devising plans whereby they may farther
victimize those they have impoverished and ruined, by
driving them like slaves from their native homes, and
who are regardlessly shipping them pennyless to foreign
lands in crowded and crazy vessels to seek for that pro-
tection and happiness which has been ruthlessly taken
from them by their countrymen on their own native
plains. ” Oh ! man’s inhumanity to man, makes countless
thousands mourn.”

With regard to the respect paid to property by the early
Greeks, who were the descendants of marauders and pira-
tical hordes, who came out of Egypt, Phenecia, and Asia
Minor, and took forcible possession of the soil of Greece
under the name of the Pelasgi, who were at first governed
by chiefs, then by kings, and afterwards by republics, all
of whom defended the rights of slavery, the most inhuman
and despicable species of property. The few aristocratic
families by whom property was held, fought with and
destroyed each other about it. War was the delight of
nobles, and piracy was an honourable profession ; they
despised trade, and with them labour was menial, and
only proper for slaves ; therefore they could procure
property by no other means than by fraud, robbery,
and plunder. However, though the rich in Greece had
acquired their wealth by plundering others, and by com-
pelling the slaves of Athens, and the helots in Sparta, to
produce wealth for them, which gradually effeminated the
free citizens, and paved the way for the fall of Greece,
still, in looking at the errors, and the political faults of the
Grecians, let us not forget some of their virtuous actions.



Minos, the lawgiver of Crete, who lived before the
Trojan war, decreed the community of property; Lycurgus,
the Spartan lawgiver, obtained from the rich citizens a
surrender of their property, and made an equal division
of the land into 39,000 lots (855 years B. C.), and as-
signed to each citizen his portion, which was constituted
henceforth inalienable. Luxury was suppressed, and
credit abolished. Solon, one of the seven sages of Greece,
and the Athenian lawgiver, (600 years B. C.) divided
his legislation into two main branches ; the first was, to
abolish debt; and the second, to prevent its reorganization.
He cancelled the national debt of Athens, lowered the
rate of interest, and reduced the standard of the silver
coinage ; he then repealed the cruel laws of Draco, and
gave the Athenians a new constitution, founded on the
principle that the people were the supreme source of all
legislative power. Themistocles (582 years B. C.) and
the year after the ostracism of Aristides, obtained from
the Athenians the revenues of the silver mines of Laurion
for the use of the state, and with which he built ships
of war, which two years after proved the safety of Greece
at the battle of Salamis.

From Greece, let us follow Mr. M c C.ulloch into Rome,
and to the side of the shepherd Faustulus, and the she-
wolf respectively the dry and wet nurse of Romulus and
Remus, on the banks of the Tiber, and what do we find ?
At first, an equal division of property ; but afterwards,
a gradual appropriation by the aristocracy of the property
of others, and Rome ultimately merged into two classes
rich and poor, debtor and creditor. Its armies became
the general plunderers of mankind, the ravagers of in-
offensive nations, and the appropriators of the fruits reared


by the labour of other states and kingdoms. The diplo-
macy of Rome was to subjugate and oppress ; its principle
of civilization was to organize servitude in every country
into which its tyrannical and blood-thirsty armies could
carry the principle of spoliation. Such were the repro-
bate actions of those who placed land-marks under the
guardianship of their God Terminus. Had they acted
consistently by uniting in harmony their principles with
their practice, they would have placed land-marks under
the especial care of Mercury.

It is quite clear from what has now been stated, that
it is erroneous to assert that Job placed the removers of
land-marks at the head of wicked men ; and it is a proof
positive, that the defence of the present social condition of
property is desperate and hopeless, when its defenders are
driven to the necessity of associating it with the barbarous
usages of proprietors, who in ancient Greece and Rome
acquired it by slavery and plunder, and where they
nursed it by a vigorous monopoly and a despotic legis-
lation executed against those who offended the deity

The law of the land made by proprietors for the protec-
tion of their property, is the only real foundation of its
rights, on which alone the present constitution of property
must depend for its strength, as all other subterfuge sup-
ports will only translate the weakness of its actual position,
and tend to dismember its legions. If the rights of property
are not founded on and guaranteed by the laws, then it is
no longer property ; because if it be without the pale of
the law, it is thereby outlawed, and doomed to become
promiscuous possession. Dr. Paley has, therefore, most
philosophically stated his opinion, ‘ That the law of the


land is the real foundation of the rights of property/ Mr.
M c Culloch seems, however, of a different opinion, when
he says, 4 That the right of property is based on an older
and better foundation than that of the law, namely, that
it grows out of the circumstances under which man is
placed ;’ yet, though he here wished to differ with Dr.
Paley, he unknowingly to himself agrees with him, c that
the law is the foundation of the right of property, because
it is the circumstances under which man is placed which
engender and produce the laws/ It was the circumstances
in which William, the bastard Norman, and his accom-
plices, found themselves after they had robbed the old
Saxon proprietors, which laid the foundation of the present
evolution of property ; and the circumstances in which
the plunderers and the plundered were placed, forced
them to adopt the necessity of assembling aty Old Sarum
to league themselves together, and to devise means for
their common protection against another foreign brigand,
that by a Dutch invasion threatened to take the property
which they had so recently by force taken from the
Saxons. The barons at this council bound themselves
by oath to bear scot and lot for the defence of property.*
Had the descendants of those barons, and the inheritors
of the property represented at the council of Old Sarum,
fulfilled the obligations which devolved on them by the
tenure of this oath, we should have had no irresponsible
proprietors in England, and most certainly the people
would have had no imposition laid on them under the
name of a national debt.

The a priori defenders of property are radically wrong
when they imagine that they can either canonize property,

* See Blackstone, vol. ii. p. 49.


or make its social defence perfect, through any other
means than that of the law ; because the practice of
society proves that the law is its only guarantee. If the
rights of property rest on a more solid basis than that
of the law, why always search in the law for pre-
cedents to support and defend it ? Why not go directly
to that more solid foundation, and on it establish, vindi-
cate, and defend its rights.

The law of the land is the present foundation of the
rights of property ; and the reason why property does
not repose more quietly and solidly on its basis, but is
continually exposed and harassed as if it were in a state
of siege, is, that the laws by which it is supported are
neither in accordance with primitive usages and natural
obligations, nor formed in unison with the interests of
the great body of society which they pretend to protect,
and purport to govern. If the people found the laws
equitable by which property was governed and guaran-
teed, property could not have a better basis than the
respect entertained for it by the people, by making the
surety of every one’s property dependent on the indivi-
dual assistance rendered by each to protect the interests
of all. This was the opinion of Solon, who replied,
when asked by what means injustice could be banished
a commonwealth ? ‘ By making all partakers in the
injustice done to each/

The law is the collection of the confirmed customs and
usages of bygone ages, and the experience of the present,
modified and rendered applicable to carry out the opinion
of society in regard to the best means of social govern-
ment. The rights of property in being founded on the
law has, therefore, not only its support and guarantee


as it now is constituted, bat ought at the same time to
derive strength from, and to participate in all the good
that is to be found in the laws of antiquity. If such
were actually the position of property, then its rights
could not be placed on a better, a more remote, or on a
more solid foundation than on that law which embraced
the experience of the past and present ages.

‘ The establishment of property is’, says Mr. M c Cul-
loch, ‘ to borrow the statement of one of the ornaments
of the English Church, the source from which all the
arts of civilization proceed.’ If this were true, civiliza-
tion, according to Mr. M c Culloch, proceeds from a most
disreputable origin ; for, says he, * It would be east/ to
produce a thousand instances of individuals who have
been enriched by monopolies, as they are sometimes by
robber $ and plunder < though it would be not; a little rash thence to conclude without further enquiry that the community may be enriched by such means/ If mono- polies, robbery, and plunder can be instanced by thou- sands, as being productive of riches and property, then they undoubtedly must be among the arts that constitute property, which, when once constituted, this ornament of the church thus describes its effects on civilization : 4 From this period he,' that is the proprietor, ; is conti- nually impelled by his desires from the pursuit of one object to another, and his activity is called forth in the prosecution of the several arts which render his situation more easy and agreeable/ In the present bent of pro- perty, these arts which render the proprietor's position more easy and pleasant, are the quintessence of the mental faculties of man, developed on the plan of get- ting as much value for as little as possible in exchange. OF PROPERTY. 30 In other words, selling in the dearest, and buying in the cheapest market, regardless of who may be the suffer- provided the proprietor finds such a system easy and agreeable. Mons. Michelet, the professor of Political Economy, in the College of France, disagreed with Mons. Proud hon, for promulgating the maxim, "Lapropriele c'est le vol." We have, however, a more substantial reason for dissenting from the political doctrine taught by this orna- mental divine, whose divinity teaches, c< Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, nor anything that is his, but whose political religion is, that the desires of man in the pursuit of wealth, are to have free and uncon- trolled exercise in the prosecution of the several schemes which may conduce to render his position in society more easv and agreeable, irrespective of the claims of his fellow men, whom he may trample down by the continual impulse of his passion in the pursuit of pro- perty. The practical essence of this political divinity is, to acquire property by becoming a cosmopolite in the objects through means of which it is to be made ; to stimulate the desires by all means in their activity to realize property, without which it will be impossible for individuals to rise superior to their fellow men, to enter the sacred precincts, nor to taste the milk and honey which flow through the region of property. Besides, Mr. M c Culloch assures us, that property is often ac- quired by such unsocial and unchristian! ike means as robbery and plunder; and therefore, cannot be the means of spreading civilization. The less the defenders of property, under its present constitution and development, resort to the Christian reli- gion or its ministers for proofs or examples, to establish 40 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES either the divine, or the human rights of property, the greater will be their chance of success. The political economist who endeavours to establish property in its existing form on the Christian religion, will only tarnish that religion, do a serious damage to the recognized rights of property, and instead of giving stability to them, will most certainly weaken his cause. However elo- quent the language, and ingenious the reasoning of a mi- nister of the English Church might be in defence of the existing constitution of property, we should consider him out of his sphere ; and, instead of his being an ornament to it, we should rather say, that a divergent speck had marred its creed. What official or proper right had he to say, that property was the source of civilization, whose Master's command was, that each and all his ministers should devote their life to go and teach the principles of civilization to all nations, and to every class of individuals, instructing them to observe the principles of religion and morality as the means to civilize the world; and who, in prosecuting their mission, as property would be a hindrance, were ordered to free themselves from its ligaments by carrying neither purse nor scrip, and having each one coat who Himself refused to become a territorial proprietor when offered a kingdom, though so poor that he had no habitation or spot that he could call his property; and who, in order to prevent the ornaments of the Christian religion from leaguing themselves with the religion of property, told them emphatically and imperatively, that his " kingdom was not of this world," and therefore could not be conjoined with property for which mankind fought. As a proof of this, he gave his opinion, that property was guaranteed by the sword ; OF PROPERTY. 4) that if his kingdom was established on the principle of property, then his followers would fight in order to de- fend him as its head thereby clearly proving that the law, or the sword, is the best and surest guarantee for property under an imperfect and unequal administration of social justice. Those who endeavour to establish an union of principle between property and the Christian religion, with the purpose of strengthening the existing rights of property, are awkwardly labouring to destroy the present rights of property, and to expose both to ridicule, by bringing together two antagonistic principles that are quite contra- dictory, and whose constant tendency must be to annihi- late each other. The generous principle of the one is, that all mankind are brothers, entitled to share equally its benefits. The egotistic principle of the religion of property is exclusion and non-fraternity. They who are in possession of property, are naturally jealous of those who have been excluded, because, if the whole public body were to become proprietors, they would lose the distin- guished position they now occupy, and with that the power of controlling and governing others, and of feeding on the sweat and sinews of their copartners in society. Thus, the principle of property is not to unite mankind as brothers, but to separate them by creating broad distinc- tions, and by establishing different castes and sections of men in what ought to be one undivided society, co-opera- ting to fulfil one mutual patriotic and social design. The whole purport and spirit of the Christian religion, in regard to property, is embodied in the inscription which the na- tion has selected and engraved over the portals of the Royal Exchange, the temple dedicated to property, "The 42 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." This motto, over our temple of wealth, is the condemnation and con- fiscation of property as it now exists, and the worship- pers of property were infatuated, when they hypocriti- cally wrote it up. Had any of the tribe been half so wise in their generation as the sapient jews were eighteen hundred years ago, they would have protested and ex- claimed, write not, " that the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof;" but write, that the earth belongs to the lords) and the fulness thereof. Both of these aphorisms are literally correct when exhibited from a different point of view. However, we shall accept the inscription on the temple of Mammon as it actually stands, a testimony of the sins of proprietors engraven with an iron pen ; and, as the defender^ of the existing forms of property have nailed their colours to the mast, we perfectly agree with them in vindicating the truth of this sublime inscription, and we call on them for a proof of their faith and sympathy for humanity by sacrificing egotism and submitting to justice, whilst we write this im- mortal truth under their sacred maxim " The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof," and the people are his heirs. If proprietors be not heartily disposed to say amen to the people's version, then they are void of faith, and hypocrites in Christian love and brotherhood, being rooted and grounded in the rituals of the selfish religion of pro- perty, whose condemnation they have written on its temple, and they are like the Athenian philosophers that Paul says had an inscription on their altar, which he understood, but which they ignorantly worshipped. If the earth and its fulness, were by the free donation of nature given equally alike to all men, in order that they might live in brother- OF PROPERTY. 43 hood, hovv can the advocates of the present rights of property explain satisfactorily, consistently, and in accord- ance with the principles of the Christian religion, and the impartial distribution and dispensation of providence, the apparent anomaly of cotemporary riches and misery existing in society; that in exact ratio as wealth increases, so in the same proportion does misery inversely progress? The defenders of the present organization of property can only justify the enormously great differences which exist in society by setting aside the natural rights of man, and by denying that centripetal tendency towards syn- thetic equality is the regenerative law of nature; because, were they to admit either, or both of these principles, then they must abandon the present constitution of property ; and, if they totally repudiate both, the only course left for them is to become, a priori reasoners, by seizing on, and vindicating the rights of property as they exist without asking any questions as to how those rights were obtained ; what the circumstances and causes were from which they originated, or by what means they have been perpetuated and conveyed to those who never la- boured for them, but who are only the progeny of those who were the first usurpers, and who despoiled society of its rights by appropriating them to their own special use. We deny, however, that any contemptible syllogistic defence, made either by the possessors of property, or by the advocates of its rights as now constituted, can bar in the smallest degree the claims of those who have no pro- perty, or prevent the disinherited from appealing against existing wrongs, as recognized and perpetuated by pro- prietors, toman's primitive and common patrimonial right 44 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES to prove their just claim, to share in the benefit of that property which is protected by society. There was a natural law of inviolable and inalienable liberty existing by which man was enabled to regulate his conduct and operations, before his social rights and liberties were created and established by society ; and however imperfect that natural law may appear to us to have been, or however erroneous our notions of its im- perfectibility may still be, that law had for its principle centripetal organization or centralization towards equal- ity. Liberty, therefore, based on equality, is the primitive state of mankind, and all deviations from equality are violations of liberty, and inroads on the inherent rights of man. The present law of society, by which we are being forced along, is the centrifugal anomaly of society, namely, a movement which is progressively dispersing society further and further from its innate centre towards an immeasurable and unbounded inequality, so that the farther it is thrown from this centre, capital increases in hypothetical power, and the rights of property become more rarified and sublimated, till at last they are only sustained by a baseless fabric of chaotic fiction and de- lusion. Such is exactly our position in respect to funded property, which was surreptitiously imposed on the people, and only exists through their complacency in paying the interest. As complacency, however, is an abstract idea, which has nothing certain or substantial, and as real credit must of necessity be based on realities, our false system of national credit may suddenly, if care be not taken, vanish from the grasp of its possessors, ' like the baseless fabric of a vision leaving no wrack behind/ but only a nation benefitted by the scales having OP PROPERTY. 45 fallen from its eyes, and the fund holders taught a lesson of philosophy, that credit requires a real, and not an imaginary guarantee. The law of nature has for its principle, equilibrium ; and its practice is equality, or relative distribution among its antagonistic powers. It is the strict influence of nature over all its constituent forces, by restraining an over increase of any to the de- triment or destruction of another, which establishes that beautifully systematic development of power, and which causes them to work together in regularly organized har- mony ; thus, by unequal tendencies, establishing equal laws, and securing the return of day and night, summer and winter, seed-time and harvest. The law of society, in so far as it is founded on that of nature, ought to have love for its principle ; thus it was taught by Moses, when he copied nature in the desert, and established his merciful system of release. Solon, Lycurgus, and Plato taught the same doctrine ; it was thus that it was ratified by Christianity, and now understood by those who have the good and happiness of mankind sincerely at heart. " Love thy neighbour as thyself," and society would be perfect. " Love thy neighbour as thyself," and the rights of property would endure like the sun, and spread its fertile and benign influence over the whole face of society. Is this principle acted on by the disinheritors of man, and by the appropriators of his na- turally patrimonial possessions ? Possessors of property, who made you proprietors ? Who are you ? Where do you spring from ; and, what is your creed and practice ? What is the reason, that when you are summoned before the tribunal of equity and justice to state what your prerogatives are, that you 46 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES invariably reply by faltering and babbling ' I am, I am, a proprietor, and am not responsible to society, because I exist in myself by rigbt of exclusive possession, gua- ranteed by tbe law which gives me the sole rioht of using and of abusing my property, in fact of using it in any way I choose, as every person has a right to do with their own as they please, provided they do not break the laws/' Proprietors ! Is this the illogical prattle which you are necessitated to proffer in your defence, and an answer to the grave questions so often and so justly put to you ? Do you expect to stifle further enquiry by syllogistically and circuitously answering, ' I am a proprietor; and be- cause I am a proprietor, I am, therefore, entitled to an exclusive proprietorship/ It is these, and similar asser- tions made by yourselves, which awaken our curiosity to ascertain fundamentally what you are? who created you irresponsible possessors ? where did you come from ? with what mission, what and where is your destination ? If your rights be founded on exclusive right of pos- session, as you assert, then jou are the negation of so- ciety, and the enemy of social rights ; and by the deve- lopment of your functions, you aspire to confound society and to abrogate the social compact ; in fact, you are truly the fiend of social order, and to society your utinie is death. If, however, your rights are not founded on exclusive possession, but rest on the due performance of reciprocal duties, such as that which the father of a family has to perform towards his children ; then, \\\\ that we wish to know is, whether you faithfully discharge those obligations, in supporting the weak, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, instructing the ignorant! In short, are you what your name as proprietor would OF PROPERTY. 47 lead us to anticipate ? namely, an affectionate husband of your property, and a tender father towards those that were born your inheritors, and brought up as your chil- dren, and which were dedicated to you and placed under your care and protection by society, when the marriage compact was made between you and society ; that con- tract, by which alone you are made secure in your pos- session, and on the faithful keeping of which on your part, and a rigid discharge of all your obligations as pro- prietor, you can alone call on society to fulfil its duties towards you in maintaining and protecting you in your rights ? The proprietors of unconditionally vested, exclusive, and perpetual rights in property, have self- elected themselves vicegerents and chancellors of the earth and its exchequer; and when the original function- aries call in question the titles of these usurpers, they naturally feel uneasy in their possessions, as if conscious of a defect in their tenures, and their whole influence is spontaneously enlisted against the appellants, and the vulgar cry instantly excited, that they are Socialists, Communists, and Revolutionaries, who are agitating society in order to serve their own selfish and Utopian designs ; whereas, the vindicators of man's equal right to possess and to inherit a -fair participation in the fruits spontaneously produced by the earth and by labour, are only philanthropists, who, in order to relieve the present proprietors from the constant and prolonged dispute so fiercely carried on between them and labour, are making search among the records and rights of property, with a view to establish an undisputed title, and thereby bring about a reconciliation between society and property which 48 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES are at present belligerents, and whose respective armies have recently shaken Europe to its very foundation. The object of all enquiry is to arrive at truth ; and if it is found, on full investigation, that numberless abuses are perpetrated by proprietors on the rights of labour, certainly it is within the province of the political econo- mist to expose and condemn those encroachments and invasions on the free development of labour, and to endeavour by every constitutional means to have them redressed as soon as possible, and in the most effectual way. ' The right of property/ says Mr. M c Culloch, ' gives no advantage to one over another. It deals out justice impartially to all. It does not say, labour and I shall reward you ; but it says, labour and I shall take care that none be permitted to rob you of the produce of your exertions/ Labour is the source of all wealth : this fact being established, then those who labour ought naturally to be the possessors of wealth ; however, the practice of soci- ety proves the inversion of the rule, and that under the present constitution, and predominant rights of property, the proprietor has got the law and capital so much in his favour, that the labourer, the producer of wealth, is dis- placed, and the object of his toil subverted, so that he is scarcely able to earn a bare existence for himself and his family. Such being undeniably the fact, it is, there- fore, mockery to say that the labourer shall not be robbed of the produce of his labour, which actually yields no surplus revenue over his consumption that he might be plundered of. If the law of property dealt justly and OF PROPERTY. 49 impartially to all, it ought to affix to its rubrics this just encouragement to the labourer and incentive to the pro- duction of weafth : ' Labour, and you shall be amply rewarded ; nay, I promise you, that if you will but exert yourself in producing, I will take special care that you shall be guaranteed a fair and equitable share in the produce of your exertions.' By the constituted rights of property, the labourer does not labour for himself; in a majority of circumstances, he is only used as a machine to produce wealth for others, as the allotted share of his productions is simply as much as will enable him to accomplish his task most advanta- geously for the benefit of those who profit by his labour. Every machine, besides its original cost, requires an amount of expenditure to keep it in working order ; thus, the labourer must be kept in efficiently working condition, so as to produce the most profitable amount of work. When he is able to labour, he is sustained in motion for tbe advantage of the wealthy, who do not at all take into consideration, in paying him his wages, that they have al- lowed him nothing on his original cost, which they did not pay, as they were obliged to do when they purchased their machines, and which they must repair and renew at their own expense; neither do they count on allowing him a recompense over and above what is necessary for his actual consumption, so that he may provide a fund to support himself in his old age. Such being the case, the labourer when exhausted and unfit to perform any longer the work assigned to him, is sent to the hospital to be re- paired, or to the workhouse to break up by the course of nature at the public expense, thereby rendering the last asylum of the labourer one of the authors of his misery, 50 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES in the victims who are being driven on towards the same altar, being obliged ultimately, (as labour only is produc- tive) to bear the expense of keeping up workhouses, and all other charitable institutions. This baneful system is in full practice under the shield of society, and has not escaped the notice of many of the ablest writers on political economy, especially of Sismondi, who, when investigating the justice of the ex- pulsion-system carried on by proprietors against the pea- santry, says, "As the territory of a nation is circumscribed by its neighbours, the quantity of ground which it can put under cultivation is always the same ; thus, every saving which is effected on the quantity of agricultural labour necessarily displaces a relatively proportionate number of labourers; they migrate from the country into towns when there is room for them ; tmt if the towns are unable to furnish them with work, it becomes necessary that the nation which has declared their existence useless should expel them far from her bosom. England, of all the countries in the world, is that where the saving of agri- cultural labour has been carried to the greatest extreme. Its whole arable land is not only put under cultivation, but it is enriched by every improvement in scientific manure, and it produces considerable returns. The whole of this work is accomplished by about one- fourth of the English nation, whilst the cultivation of the soil forms three- fourths or four-fifths of the labour of the other nations of Europe. In England, there is calculated to be 34,250,000 acres of land under cultivation, and 1 ,055,982 day-labourers employed on land, which shews a little more than three labourers per hundred acres, or 21 dny labourers per square mile. In Tuscany, the cultivation OP PROPERTY. 51 of a thousand acres occupies from 300 to 700' individual?. How is it that no one has ever asked what hecomes of oil those cultivators that England has driven from its fields? Whilst the school crematisqve of capitaliza- tion would economize men, in order to increase riches, we do not in the least hesitate to say, that it is prefer- able to sacrifice riches in order to have men. If they di- minish the numher of happy, intellectual, and moral in- dividuals, which are produced on a given space, it is an evil ; and it is in this point of view that we have always opposed this system of industry, which has reduced the life of man to a discount ; and therefore, we cannot allow this occasion to pass without demonstrating once more that the system is false, even in admitting the bar- barous supposition that we ought only to calculate the profit or the loss of nations, not the lives and happiness of their inhabitants. Our opponents will agree with us, that production cannot be continued if consumption does not closely follow as a counterpoise to it that riches cease to be riches when the markets are overstocked with pro- ducts that the consumers are not less necessary to pro- duction than the producers themselves. However, every effort that those evictors make, tends either to limit the number or the power of the consumers. Whether they drive them from their homes, or reduce them to a state of slavery ; or whether they are compelled to content themselves with the smallest possible portion of enjoy- ment and sustenance on which it is possible for man to exist, we arrive always at the same result either in di- minishing or stopping the consumption, the equilibrium upon which the social organization is founded is deranged, a drag is put upon one of the wheels of the social car, 52 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES which is no sooner stopped than the whole social mecha- nism is stopped at the same moment. Some of our readers will, perhaps, be unwilling to believe that ever any one proposed, as an expedient for the amelioration of agricultural distress, to dispense with the peasantry that made the land valuable, by obliging them to migrate to other countries. However, this operation is effected in various ways, and in different localities, in Great Britain and Ireland. Goldsmith's affecting poem of the " Deserted Village," has for a long time faithfully painted the scene to the imagination. At the present time, the newspapers are often filled with the particulars of the half-military proceedings, designated, " The Clearing of an Estate!' The expulsion of the Scotch Highlanders from their ancient homes is considered legal; but will any one dare to say that it is just ? Is there not a striking resemblance, as well as a strange contrast, between the Slave Trade and the expulsion of the Whites ? and ought not the crime of those who export the unhappy Africans to South America, there to till foreign soils, be compared to that of those men who transport far from the coasts of Europe the unhappy Scotch that ancient nation of Celts, or Gauls, which was mistress not only of the British Isles, but also of Gaul, and a part of Spain and Italy whom they will not allow to till their own soil. Shall it be ex- pelled in the name of the law, even from those bilk where it never was conquered; from those mountains where it maintained that independence which every other nation besides had lost? The offspring of the most ancient masters of Europe, ought they to be banished to foreign soils? It is by a cruel abuse of legal forms; it is by un- OF PROPERTY. 53 precedented usurpation, that the Scotch Tacksmen are considered as having no right to the ground they have occupied for centuries, and that their leaders are autho- rized to violate the contract which had united the culti- vator with his lord for so many generations. The English legislators have constantly assimilated all political rights to property ; and on that ground they have taken up its defence. They have wished to recognize a political property in aristocracy, as they have pretended to discern one in the exclusive right of certain citizens to elect members of parliament, or municipal magistrates. They have also pretended to see a property in the right of the church to its dignities and revenues, forgetting that when public offices are instituted for the advantage of the people, it is to the people that the funds belong out of which they are paid. The English legislators would scarcely admit that society as it advances has the right to abolish useless and expensive offices ; at least, they wish that in doing away with appointments, the emoluments attached to them may be retained. It must not be forgotten that, in fact, the Highlands of Scotland, the Gaelic Mountains, have never borne the yoke of foreign invasion ; that the feudal system has never become the law of the country, though the national customs which were there observed from time immemorial may have been assimilated to those observed in neighbouring countries. The word klaan, means, in Gaelic, children ; all their customs and reciprocal intercourse, their whole affections, are founded on the tradition that leads them to believe that they are the children of the same family : in reality, all their rights were those of children of the same dither, entitled to one common patrimony. They were 54 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES not subjected to an^y other subordination than that which their common defence rendered necessary. The instability of the division of the land did not weaken the right of property of the seignorial family ; it was to it that ap- pertained the district where it was established. Such was the public right of the Celts, as likewise of the Germans ; and among the latter, who were organized much more for war than for agriculture, for fear lest families should attach themselves too much to the ground which they tilled, they were obliged frequently, or even annually to change lots. In Scotland, all had a right to all ; but the ground of each might pass to his neighbour, whether it were assigned by lot, or whether he extended or dimi- nished his glebe, in proportion to the power of his family to cultivate it ; or whether some portions of it were as- signed as a recompense for public services. There is not, however, any country in Europe where so recent traces are to be found of the temporary and variable division of the common domain. In Scotland, the desire was, that the division and subdivision of land might shew and maintain the subordination between the soldiers and their chief. The leader of each clan exercised, perhaps he even usurped, from the people the right of individually making these distributions; he gave and retook the different tacks of his land to his officers, according as they displayed greater or less prowess for war. The favoured individuals were different ; but the obligation of service was always equal. The tenure of land was always the same. Their contri- bution for the public defence ; their rent to the chief wha led them to the combat, and who maintained domestic order, was never augmented. When civilization began to progress, the landlords also OP PROPERTY. 55 commenced with the language to adopt the usages and manners of the English. They understood no longer, or they did not care any longer to understand, the national Celtic contract ; and, in order to impress it with the form used by civilized nations, they remodelled it by writing, at the same time they gave to their vassals their tacks or por- tions of land for a determinate time. They thus appeared to concede a great privilege to them ; for previously, they could turn them out at pleasure. This was, however, the contrary, being an usurpation upon the people; since aforetime, in turning them out, they were always obliged to replace them by others on absolutely the same condi- tions. Whereas, from the time they commenced to let the ground to farm, they insinuated into the contract that at each renewal of the lease they could make new con- ditions, or increase the rents of their tenants. By this rigorous usurpation, the Gaelic landlords, who actually had only a right to an invariable rent on the property of their clan, changed it for the illimited property in the do- main, for the occupation of which this rent had been paid. Nevertheless, they were far from foreseeing, or their vassals were far from fearing, that one day or the other, at the epoch of the renewal of their leases, they would take advantage of it, not to increase the rent of the la- bourers, but to evict them. The Scotch farmer has never been conquered ; he does not hold his land by the liberty of his lord ; but originally, he was co-proprietor with his captain, or much more so, with his clan. Notwith- standing, this captain which he accompanied in war, and which he obeyed for their common advantage, looked on him, at first as his friend and relation, then as his soldier, afterwards as his vassal, still latter as his tenant, and in 56 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES the end as a paid labourer, -which he chose to suffer for his own advantage, to remain on the soil of the com- O ' mon country ; but that as soon as he had no more in- terest to retain him, being his master, he might drive him away. Before landlords could have arrived at such a barbarous resolution, they must absolutely have ceased to entertain the opinions and the sentiments, and to be influenced by the inflexible honour of their pro- genitors ; they must not only have ceased to consider themselves their fathers and their brothers, but even Scotchmen ; it must have been a base desire that had extinguished in them that sentiment of consanguinity upon which their common ancestors reckoned, when they had confided to their good faith the destiny of their people. Whenever a similar change takes place in the opinions, the interests, and the respective positions of the divers members of society, the legislature ought to interfere, in order that the entire nation might not be delivered up ta the mercy of a small number of covetous and impru- dent men. To solicit the pity of the landlords, is not our object ; but to establish the rights of the Gaelic people, that in time to come the landlords should not conclude, according to the principles of the centralization school, (lecole chrematistique) that there may be too many men in human society ; that there could be economy, progress >
and prosperity in diminishing the inhabitants of their
country. If the Marquis of Stafford has had the right to-
replace the people of a whole province by twenty-nine
strange families, and some hundreds of thousands of
sheep, it is necessary to hasten to abolish a right so odious
for it and for all others.

To have allowed the accumulation of landed property


in so few a number of hands is of itself a great evil for
a state. When one man only possesses the territory
which ought to suffice for several hundreds of families,
his luxury replaces their easy circumstances, and the in-
comes, which would have nourished their virtues, are dis-
sipated by his follies. But what will become of the state,
if the proprietor of a county imagines that his interest is
in opposition to that of its inhabitants, and that it is for
his advantage to replace men by sheep or oxen ? It is
not with this intent that territorial property has been es-
tablished, or that it is guaranteed by the laws. The people
accepted it, under the persuasion that it would be useful
to those who had nothing, as well as to those who had
something ; but society is shaken, when the rights of
property are put in opposition to national rights. A duke
has no more right to drive away from their own fire-
sides the inhabitants of a county, than a king to expel
from his country the inhabitants of his kingdom. The
most despotic of monarchs, were he to make the attempt
at the present day, would very soon learn the cost of
having overstepped the boundary of his authority. Let
the great lords of England take care ; the fewer they are,
the greater will be their danger in putting themselves in
opposition to the nation, and in preferring themselves
to it. Let them not say, when it is a question of their
interest, as the agent of the Marquis of Stafford said,
” Wherefore (in this case of expulsion) should a diffe-
rent rule be adopted to that which has been followed in
every other? Wherefore ought the absolute authority of
proprietors over their property to be abandoned and sacri-
ficed for the public interest, and for objects \\hich only
concern the public ?” If tliey should arrive at this



day, to believe that they have no use for the people, the
people in turn may believe that they have no use for them.
If they estimate, that three-hundred-and-forty thousand
brave Highlanders of the Gaelic race could with profit to
them be replaced by four millions of sheep, these High-
landers might, with yet greater facility, find useful substi-
tutes for thirty or forty, perhaps for three hundred lords,
who have ceased to be their compatriots.”

The system of ‘ clearing estates/ by spoliating the ori-
ginal possessors of all right whatever in their native soil,
and turning them out on the world by an armed force,


whether by soldiers with horse-hair caps, or by lawyers
with grey mare’s-tail wigs under the semblance of justice,
is the most demoniacal and unjust that was ever practised
by man, and is a perversion of the rights of humanity; be-
cause there is a natural connection which exists, or which
ought to exist, between the landlord and tenant ; that is,
between the employer of labour, and the labourer who
tills the soil. That this natural bond of union has been
broken, there can be no doubt, as through its dissolution
evident marks of social desolation and wide-spread misery
manifestly present themselves in England; but more espe-
cially at the present time in Ireland, where the natural
connection between the landlord and tenant is all but
destroyed, and the remuneration of -labour is at par
with misery. Therefore, until such time as the tenant far-
mer and the labourer have their lost rights restored, the
breach that has been opened, and which has led to so much
insecurity both of life and property, will never be closed,
unless either of the contending forces were to annihilate
the other ; which, being a natural impossibility, the strug-
gle must be an interminable one, except an adjustment of


the differences can be effected through the instrumentality
of government, whose duty it is to facilitate, and forward
by every possible means, the restoration of justice to la-
bour, and of social protection to life and property. The
paramount duty, therefore, of those who govern Ireland, is,
to restore that natural connection of interests which ought
to exist between the labourer and the employer of labour ;
to prevent the fruitless employment of labour on those
lands and works which do not yield a remunerative re-
turn for the labour spent on them ; and to direct labour
into useful channels, especially that of the cultivation of
the soil, which was the original employment of man,
and his general occupation at the time when the basis
of society were laid, when he had only a very limited
capital, and was therefore obliged to cultivate the ground,
as being the cheapest and most profitable raw material
that he could get to work upon. If, then, a regeneration
of social peace and order can be effected in Ireland, it
must not be attempted through any new-fangled schemes
of propagating the happiness of the labourer, but by fol-
lowing as closely as possible the old example of society,
when, on account of its original poverty, it studied agri-
culture as its only progressive alternative, when as yet
the terms, middle-men, clearing an estate, evictions,
emigration, and poor laws, &c., were wanting in its
vocabulary. However black the records of parliament
may be, with foul and unjust acts towards the people
of Ireland, a period has at length dawned, when we
can trace in the legislature the lineaments of a better,


wiser, and more just line of policy towards Ireland.
Whether it were the irresistible force of circumstances,
which urged on the government to adopt a different


line of policy to that hitherto pursued ; or the con-
viction and recognition of the principle, that the land
is for the benefit of the people, and ought to maintain
them ; that if the landlord cannot produce sufficient to
sustain the population, he is bound to relinquish his
right to labour, and to allow the labourers to produce for
themselves that he can have no absolutely justifiable
right to the soil whilst the labourers are starving and large
tracts of land lying waste which might be cultivated,
or, if not altogether uncultivated, yet tilled in a com-
paratively unproductive manner to what it might be if
labour were properly applied on it ; from whichever
cause the motive sprung which induced government to-
change its diplomacy towards Ireland, it is evident from
recent legislation, that the principle is now recognized,
that the proprietors are responsible to the people through
means of the legislature.

It will readily be admitted, that the labourers of England
excel every other nation in the world in their constant,
unceasing, and laborious attention to their clitFerentoccu-


pations; yet, scarcely a speech emanates from the Throne
in which allusion is not made to some existing distress
among the labourers in the manufacturing or in the agri-
cultujal districts. In the Speech with which Her Majesty
Victoria opened the Session of Parliament for 1850, she
says, ” It is with regret that her Majesty has observed the
complaints which in many parts of the kingdom have pro-
ceeded from the occupiers of land.” It is seldom, or ever,
that regret touches the feelings of monarchs ; and if we
may judge, from the construction of this paragraph in the
royal speech, we should imagine that grief did not press
heavily on the Queen’s heart ; for, if it be true, that ” out


of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” why
should not the sense of her Majesty’s words be clearer?
As they appear to have been uttered, they may mean,
either that her Majesty regrets that complaints have pro-
ceeded from the occupiers of land, when, at the same time
she had observed that there was no just cause for their
being made; or, they may mean, what we suppose they
were intended to convey, namely, that it was with regret
that her Majesty had observed the just complaints which
were made by the occupiers of land. This, no doubt, is
the import of what was intended to be conveyed to the
minds of the agricultural classes. Notwithstanding, the
very next sentence, in the Speech from the throne, proves,
that the regret which her Majesty felt was only of the pro-
fundity of her lips a sorrow, through which the beams
of delight were shining, resembling a royal speech dis-
solving view : for, changing the scene from the grumbling
landlords and farmers, to that of the great body of the
people who live upon the produce of the land, she says,
” But it is a source of sincere gratification to her Ma-
jesty to witness the increased enjoyment of the neces-
saries and comforts of life which cheapness and plenty
have bestowed upon the great body of the people.” By
the modern school of diplomatists, who seem to consider
vacillation and deception in politics as an essential virtue,
this paragraph in the royal speech might be regarded
as a perfect model of a two-faced political commise-
ration proceeding from the Throne, which being the
fountain of social government, the stream proceeding
therefrom cannot be expected to be pure. Her Ma-
jesty, however, must have been misinformed when she
was led to believe that increased comforts were rea-


lized by the labouring population, and that cheapness
and plenty were the cause. Her Majesty’s Ministers
ought to have known that cheapness is correlative to low
wages and want of employment, consequently, want of
means to buy the cheap commodities, which ought to be
given for nothing, if they were reduced to a par with the
means of the labourer who is out of work. Plenty is
the precursor of cheapness, which ultimately leads to low
wages. This being the inevitable law of supply and de-
mand, which regulates the wages of the producer, and
the value of the commodities brought into the market
for consumption, which are constantly fluctuating as to
quantity and value, yet still kept in the equilibrium be-
tween their electric poles, supply and demand ; which
constantly keep them gravitating, like the squirrel in its
cage, towards the centre of value ; \where both forces
meet upon the pivot of price, and each having deposited
its weight in the scale of exchange, a bargain is con-
cluded upon the principle that equal justice has been done
both to the buyer and to the seller ; therefore, if either
party exact more value from the individual with whom
he exchanges than what he delivers, he has commer-
cially duped him, and committed a fraud against society.
To this law of supply and demand, there is only one
exception, and that is, of those who do neither labour nor
produce commodities, but who contrive to live on the
labour and products of others : in their case, the prin-
ciple of the law of supply and demand is to act inversely.
Plenty with them being equivalent to dearth with the
producer, or, in other words, his being obliged to give a
great deal of his labour for very little enjoyment. Cheap-
ness with the non-producers being synonymous to high


wages and abundance in the hands of the industrious
classes. We have plenty of national debt ; and were
government to take up its ledger, and debit the nation
twice the present amount, it would have increased the
superfluity of the fundholders, and added twofold to
their means of enjoyment, at the same time that it would
have thrown upon the market double the present amount
of funded capital, and extended the limit of the specu-
lators and gamblers on the exchange; but, by thus dupli-
cating the public funds, artificially producing plenty for
those it chose to favour, and increasing the facility of
gambling for those who look for their fortunes, not from
commerce or trade, but from a throw of the dice at the
national gambling shop, would thereby be increased the
means of enjoyment for the great body of the people ?
Would not rather, in so far as was increased the power
of the fundholders to purchase enjoyments, that of
the people be diminished, they having to pay the new
stakes or dividends out of their hard earnings to those
newly created non-producers, who could have nothing to
give in exchange which was subjected like commodities
to the social law of supply and demand? Cheapness in
the fundholders’ vocabulary, means, reduction of interest.
And when the Queen would endeavour to fascinate the
labourers, by recounting the wonderful effects of cheapness
on the condition of the people, we would ask them,
Are her Ministers consistently carrying out this doctrine
of universal cheapness? Do they give us cheap govern-
ment? Have they reduced the interest on the national
debt commensurately with the general fall in the price of
commodities? Fundholders! you who have been given
to understand that the national faith was to be kept with


you, are you prepared, without vociferating, C 0h, perfidy!
Oh, robbery!’ to placidly submit to have your property
and enjoyments diminished, or perfidiously sacrificed, on
the altar of cheapness ; in order, that through a breach of
contract, and at your expense, others may live cheaply ?
Let it not be misunderstood, that, in regard to the non-
producers of commodities, and those who live on the
interest of stocks, the social law of supply and demand
acts inversely ; and may therefore be denominated the
inverse or unsocial law of supply and demand, as its
principle is antagonistic to production, and its results
are, to devour society through vested rights and monopo-
lies supported by class legislation. Oh property ! what
foul deeds are done in thy name, and what a multitude
of contradictions and antagonistic principles have to be
judiciously solved, before you can enter the social haven
of repose, and be henceforth looked upon in your virgin
purity, as the true reward of labour and the friend of
humanity !

It is seldom that Monarchs meditate upon the causes
of distress which from time to time afflict certain classes
of their subjects ; and when they have time for reflection,
their minds are so often previously impregnated by poli-
tical sycophants who, were it possible, would seduce
even truth itself, that it is still more rarely that they
can discover the full extent of the privation and suffering
endured by the people, so as to enlist their sympathies,
and make them so really pungent that they are thereby
led to examine thoroughly into the extent of the evil.
They are surrounded by the rich and affluent who live
at ease, too far removed from the most distant chance
of ever falling into want themselves to have any fellow-


eling or pity for those who are crushed by the force
of suffering and distress; therefore, when any infor-
mation reaches the Throne that distress and suffering are
felt by the industrious population, they, who ought to be
the vehicle of communication between the Sovereign
and the people, are generally not the parties to afford it ;
rather, they frequently use every means in their power
to make it appear for a time that no real cause of com-
plaint exists, till the sound of distress becomes so loud
that it is usually wafted to the Throne by the impetuous
voice of a suffering people, whose enjoyments, notwith-
standing that the intensity of their labour has been gene-
rally increased, have been commensurately diminished ;
and who, the harder they toil, the deeper and deeper they
sink into poverty and wretchedness, and are daily becom-
ing more and more the slaves of capital and the subjects
of those who are their copartners in society. Vested
rights and capital having taken all from the labourers,
proprietors are criminally culpable in insulting them
by quoting the opinion so plausibly put forward by Mr.
M c Culloch : ” I, (that is, property) shall take care that
none be permitted to rob you of the fruits of your exer-
tions.” Quelle deraison! helas depuis longtemps pro-
priete vos bons services et votre charite envers les ouv-
riers ont fait fausse route.

Long previously to Dr. Adam Smith so admirably illus-
trating the beneficial results to be obtained by society from
a division of labour, the industrious classes were practically
divided into separate vocations, in order to carry out for the
benefit of one and all what they had discovered through long
experience was for their mutual good ; namely, that judi-
cious practical division of their labour which was necessary


to carry forward and promote the interests of the social
body. However, in opposition to the old school that
advocated the division of labour, a new one has arisen,
adopting the principle of dispensing with manual la-
bour as much as possible through means of machinery,
which is the antagonist of the division of lahour ; being,
in reality, the very concentration or reunion of labour, by
making one machine serve the same purpose and accom-
plish the various operations which used formerly to be
done by the manual labour of five, ten, or twenty men.
But some parties will certainly say, * there can he nothing
wrong in this, when we have such authorit} 7 as Mr. M c
Culloch inculcating the principle, that there is no differ-
ence between manual labour and that done by machinery ;
that the improvement of the science, skill, and industry
of the labourer is synonymous witt that of a piece of
iron or machinery.’ In speaking scientifically, that there
can be no economical difference between a man and a
spinning jenny, arretons-nous. Let the apostle of unli-
mited machinery speak for himself.

“Various bad consequences,” says Mr. M c Cuiloch,
” have been supposed to result from the continued exten-
sion and improvements of machinery. But a presumption
arises at the outset that they must be in a great degree
fallacious, inasmuch as they would equally follow from
the continued improvement of the skill and industry of
the labourer. If the construction of a machine, that
would manufacture two pairs of stockings for the same
expense that was previously required to manufacture one
pair, be in any respect injurious, the injury would obvi-
ously be equal were the same thing accomplished by
increased dexterity and skill on the part of the knitters :


were the females, for example, who were in the habit of
knitting two or three pairs in the week, able in future to
knit four or six pairs. There is really no difference in
the cases. And Sismondi could not consistently, with the
principles he has advanced, hesitate about condemning
such an improvement as a very great evil, as a means of
throwing half the people engaged in the stocking manu-
facture out of employment. The question respecting
the improvement of machinery, is therefore, at bottom, the
same with the question respecting the improvement of the
science, skill, and industry of the labourer. The princi-
ples which regulate our decision in the one case, must
also regulate it in the other.”

To refute the principle laid down by Sismondi, that
machinery in its too extended, or unlimited develop-
ment, is injurious to society, Mr. M c Culloch, in his
usually safe way, commences the combat in presumption
and doubt, placing himself without the pale of reason ;
so that, should he be foiled in proving his premises, he
may have a safe retreat by agreeing with those who hold
different opinions to those of his advocacy. He does
not positively say that the views entertained by those
who differ from him are totally fallacious ; but admits
that there may be some degree of truth in them, by
saying, that they must be in a great degree fallacious. Mr.
M c Culloch seems to have forgotten that he was investi-
gating a subject into which the relative powers of two
antagonistic principles enter, that must be harmoniously
blended, if happiness to mankind be the desideratum ;
he, however, presumes, that, in discussing the principles,
and shewing the effects of the development of the one,
the other is naturally demonstrated and explicitly dis-


posed of; consequently, he endeavours to explain the
happy effects on society of production, whilst he forgets
that, that only comprises half the happiness of society ;
he does not at all take into consideration the happy
results that society would experience, were it beneficially
able to consume, and economically to use, all that could
be produced. Reason forbids us to agree with his pro-
position, that to increase production through means of
machinery, is synonymous to that of increasing it by means
of a division of manual labour ; because, it is obvious, that
the labourer by increasing his production is thereby ena-
bled to make additional purchases from other tradesmen,
who may require his extra productions: but a machine,
through its having been made more perfect, and thereby
capable of producing more commodities than it previously
was adapted for ; or, if a newly invented machine, by its
superior mechanism, may for a time, till it is superseded,
confer a benefit on the inventor, and give an increased
vivacity to that particular section of commerce, to which
it had been made more applicable ; notwithstanding that
science has made a visible stride, and productions have
been multiplied, yet the machine, which has caused this
superfluity, does not require to buy for its consumption,
the production of tradesmen in other branches of com-
merce, the same as the labourer would have required had
he executed the labour done by the machine. Therefore,
tLe object of machinery is to increase production, heed-
less of the economical law of consumption, to which the
elemental law of nature has eternally decreed it to be an
alien ; so that it is a natural impossibility for machinery
ever to take part in consumption, as the labourers do,
whose very object in producing is to enable them to


exchange mutually their various products. It cannot,
therefore, reasonably be contended, that there is really
no difference between the labourer and a machine pro-
ducing commodities ; because, it is consumption which
determines the natural value of all commodities : and of
the two determinators of value, supply and demand,
which adjudicate upon the relative proportions of the
value in use, and value in exchange, contained in every
commodity brought into the market, that of demand is
the chief, and is the main spring of every commercial
transaction : as it is the desire to possess things of utility
which causes value in exchange to be, as it were, reflected
from useful commodities, in exact form to the intenseness
of the demand, which is sometimes artificially fostered ;
so that society becomes feverish, fearing that an adequate
supply of the desired commodity will not be procured :
this leads to a competition among the producers, who
often rush furiously into the market like a fire insurance
brigade driving towards a fire, more with the impulse of
reaching it first, or in time to be placed, in commercial
phraseology, to catch the market, in order to gain their
fire money, than with a design of benefiting society by a
steady and speedy supply of the needful commodity.

As consumption is the chief element in constituting
value, it is to be lamented, that those old machines which
have been rendered almost useless by the invention of
new, and those which the improved mechanism of other*
have partly driven out of use, cannot buy the superabun-
dant productions of their new competitors ; yet it is still
more deeply to be deplored, that all those superior ma-
chines in different trades, which are the first in their vari-
ous orders and in relative position to maintain a fair ba-


lance of exchange among themselves, cannot buy from
each other and exchange their various products. Besides,
when any of these machines, at a time, produces more
than the market required, what an economical pity it is,
that its competitors and associates cannot buy up and con-
sume the over production, and thus create the antidote ;
namely, the perpetual facility of being able to produce
an adequately increased consumption ! For, as the
division of labour is the source of that stream, which,
like the waters of the Nile, spreads itself over social
institutions, and fertilizes production; so the increased
division of the resources of consumption, by means of
reciprocal exchange, is the only adequate absorbent for
relieving the social system, when in a state of plethora,
through the division of labour, with an exuberant produc-
tion. Therefore, to increase the power of consumption,
is to evoke the industry of the producer In other words,
to extend the means, and augment the various ways of
consumption, are the most effectual means of develop-
ing the energies of an industrious and enterprising

Could the Utopia be reached, of making machinery
equally beneficial to society, by its power of consuming
being rendered co-equal to that of man, then we should
have a spinning-jenny walking in of a morning to a silk
mercer’s shop, and after being bowed to, and a chair set
for it by a steam engine, requesting to be served with a
silk dress, or perhaps, if it were a protectionist, to a
cotton one of its own filature. Machinists ! you who
support the theory, that there can be essentivlly no differ-
ence between mechanical and manual production, the
realization of this hypothetical irony (on our part) would


assuredly be to you the completion of social happiness,
as then all our commerce and exchange could be effected
by metal machines, and man could then repose under
the vine and fig-tree : and the condition imposed upon
him in Eden, of perpetuating his existence by sweat
furrowing his brow, would, to all intents and purposes,
be abrogated; and he, the noblest mechanism in nature,
would be rendered nominally superfluous for labour and
production. Oh ! deprivation of man, and exaltation of
machinery! We ought rather in ec>tacy to exclaim, ‘ Oh !
exaltation of man to his primitive state before the con-
dition of labour was imposed upon him for committing
evil, when he was partly idle through being gratui-
tously supplied by nature, and was not therefore com-
pelled, as at present, to labour for his livelihood. Hence-
forth the millennium of labour is begun, in which, the la-
bourer will not be dependent upon manual exertion for his
daily bread ! Corn will be sown and reaped ; bread will
be baked and buttered for him, by machinery ! Tailors’
bills will no longer be the annoyance of the dandy, who
will be regularly furnished with elegant suits a la mode
sans V argent et sans prix ! Society may then fold its
hands in sloth ; it will not have the trouble even of con-
sideration ; it will only have to wish, and all its desires
will be amply gratified by machinery !’

In this state of contemplative plenty and happiness,
secured to man by machinery, the professor of Nantes,
le bon fear Mons. Cabet, the father of Icarie, and founder
of Icara, might confess himself surpassed. Because, in
his Icarie, all the Icarians were educated ; so that, each
was equally well disposed to cheerfully execute his por-
tion of work for the commo:i good : whereas, in Mr.


M c Culloch’s Metallurgy, man will have his toil super-
seded by machinery ; and the happy Metallurgians, who
will inhabit his mechanical country, will be far superior
to the Icarians whom Mons. Cabet thus describes: * Icarie
is a country hitherto unknown, and which has very re-
cently been discovered. It is a sortof new world ; a country
of marvels and prodigies. Its roads, rivers, and canals
are magnificent ; admirable fields, beautiful gardens ; ele-
gant residences, charming villages, and magnificent towns
with monuments ; which remind us of Rome and Athens,
of Egypt and Babylon, of India and China. In fact, its
industry surpasses that of England, and its arts are su-
perior to that of France. No where does one see so many
immense machines: their people travel by balloons;
and the aerial pleasure fairs which are there held, eclipse
the most brilliant magnificence of terrestrial holidays.
Trees, fruit, flowers, and all sort of animals are admirable.
The children are charming ; men, vigorous and beautiful ;
women, fascinating and divine. There, all social and poli-
tical institutions are marked in the corner with reason,
justice, and wisdom. Crimes are unknown ; every one
lives in peece, pleasure, joy, and happiness. In a word,
Icarie is really a second Promised Land, an Eden, an
Elysium, a new earthly Paradise.” Consequently, there
would be no taxes to be paid. Mons. Cabet, in his
voyage to Icarie, informs us, ” That after a violent tem-
pest, during which the steward of the vessel warded off
the fears of the passengers by telling them that his
government was a thousand times more interested about
individuals than goods ; that the safety of the passen-
gers was the principal object of its solicitude ; that it set
apart its best ships for the transport of the people ; and


that with such class of vessels, shipwrecks were almost
impossible; and that, during six years, though violent tem-
pests had frequently happened,no disaster had taken place.
” Observing,” says le Ion pcre cTIcarie, Mons. Cabet,
“several large vessels which appeared to watch us, I asked
the captain if they were revenue -cutters ? ‘ Revenue
cutters !’ replied he, with an air of astonishment ‘ It is
fifty years ago since the custom-house was abolished ;
le bon Tear has destroyed that den of robbers, who were
more unmerciful than pirates and tempests. These
vessels that you observe, are safety ships, which put to
sea during storms, to pilot, or assist vessels which may be
in danger. As the storm is beginning to subside, you
see they are steering away from us.”

The communism of M. Cabet, as promulgated in his
travels in Icarie, is to instruct and rear up mankind on
the principle of fraternity, so as, that by an efficient di-
vision of labour, each member of the social body could,
by applying his intellectual faculties, aid and assist his
physical powers, in perfectly accomplishing that share of
labour which had devolved upon him as a member of
society, and may therefore be defined as the communism
of the division of labour, because in Icarie we find no
idlers. Pas de paresseux en Icarie.

The communism of Mr. M c Culloch is to organize a
perfect monopoly of machinery, and the principles of that
organization are to constitute, increase, and improve ma-
chinery, so as to be able. to dispense with manual labour ;
and thus to elevate the labourers to a state of equality
with the non-productive classes, who are at present in that
blessed state of idleness. And because that the labour-
ers now complain of excessive toil, on account of their



productions having been put into competition with those
of machinery, they are to be emancipated through means
of machinery which is destined to do the work for them,
and thereby to put an end to the war between capital
and labour, by uniting them as brothers ; henceforth
enabling mankind to eat their bread, not by the sweat
of manual exertion, but by the force of machinery;
which, with little or no consumption, will produce enough
for all ; and the consequent effect will be, that produc-
tions will have little or no value. And if stamped with
any exchangeable worth, they will still be beyond the
purchasing power of the unoccupied labourers.

This system of producing by machinery, irrespective
of the claims of manual labour, is not only entirely op-
posed to Mons. Cabet’s organization of industry; qui
soumettait tous les Icariens a la communaute de travail,
de devoirs et de charges ; but by its development the prin-
ciples also of the respective schools of Saint Simon and
Fourier are rendered absurd and untenable; and the words
in which these principles are embodied void of sense.

A chacun selon sa capacite, a chaque capacite selon ses

A chacun selon son capital, son travail, et son talent.
To every one according to his capacity ; to each ca-
pacity in proportion to his works.

To every one according to his capital, his labour, and
his talent.

The Saint Simonians hold, ” that the ancient state of
society was constituted by, and for war; that the new
organization ought to be constituted by labour and for

The Phalansterians,orFourierists, affirm, that society as


it actually exists is an organized system of oppression for
the labourers, and that the remedy consists in organizing
the labourers into small societies, called commons ; pre-
serving to each as his wages, a proportional share of his
labour, thereby rendering him proprietor and capitalist;
thus securing his co-operation to sustain inviolate the
civil establishment, and to promote unity of religion and
universal suffrage ; a chacun selon^ sa capacite, fyc.

” To every one according to his capacity,” would be
impracticable and unjust in the metalurgian system, be-
cause, we assert, that there is a wide difference between
manual and machine labour. ” To each capacity accord-
ing to its work,” is barbarously inhuman, if manual la-
bour is to be arrayed against machinery; ” to each accord-
ing to his capital,” means, that he who has the most
capital can have the greatest quantity of machinery, and
consequently, will get the lion’s share in the production.
” To each in proportion to his labour,” is only applicable
to a state of society in which machinery does not come
into competition with the labourers ; because machinery
cannot strictly be said to labour, which implies an ex-
haustion of physical force. Machinery is only an inex-
haustible instrument of production ; consomme qui peut.
” To every one in proportion to his talent/’ With those
who are accredited, through popular vulgarity, to advance
and advocate such unphilosophical and absurd doctrines,
as that there is no essential difference to the community
between labour executed by machinery, and that done
by the hand, we might be permitted to be a little ironi-
cal, and to ask whether the talent of man and machinery,
which is directed by man, are identically comparable.
Where is the point of comparative analogy ? Where


are your Homers, Platos, Luthers, Foxes, and Chatharas,
&c. of machinery ? Vous navez pas etudie^ scientifique-
ment, les questions, dcconomie politique. What is it
to produce by capital, by machinery ? Neither have you
proved your thesis, when you say, ” Suppose that the
productive powers of industry are doubled; nay, suppose
they are increased in any greater proportion, and that
they (machinery,) are exerted to the utmost, it would
not occasion any lasting glut of the market. Double or
treble the quantity of one commodity would be given
for double or treble the quantity of another commo-
dity. There would be a general augmentation of the
wealth of the society ; but there would be no excess of
commodities in the market, the increased equivalents on
the one side being balanced by a corresponding increase
on the other. But if, while one class , of producers were
industrious, another chose to be idle, there would be a
temporary excess. It is clear, however, that this excess
would be occasioned by the deficient production of the
idle class. It would not be a consequence of production
being too much, but of its being too little increased”

The whole question of over-production is here ad-
mitted ; and the blame is attached, not to the productive
powers either of manual or machine labour baving been
exerted to the utmost, but to that of its being too little
increased ; in other words, the evil is attributed to that
of the power of consumption not having been increased
proportionately with the power of production. If, while
machines were producing, and throwing the labourers out
of employment, so that they were deprived of acquiring
the means of consumption, any excess in the commodi-
ties produced must be occasioned, through machines not


taking an efficiently active part in the demand, commen-
surate to their contributions towards the supply, which
they had heaped upon the market ; and instead of there
being a general augmentation of the wealth of the society,
there inevitably would be a diminution of riches ; and
the manufacturer who should be the most active in thus
increasing his productions, and who had spent most capital
in producing, would be hastening the fastest towards his

But, it is asserted, ” that were the manufacturer to
increase his powers of production, and exert them to the
utmost, it would not occasion any lasting glut of the
market.” How very imperfect. is yet the dialect of the
science of political economy, when we have one of its
promulgators in treating the subject of gluts, using
such indefinite expressions as fc lasting glut of the market.’
Every one must perceive, that as society in its eternal
march never stops on account of any of those perturba-
tions called ‘ gluts,’ which disturb the commercial and
political worlds ; and as labour, the companion of society,
never stops in the exercise of its functions over all kinds
of commodities possessing value, but is constantly changing
them, and re-establishing any equipoise which may have
been lost through overtrading or underselling ; therefore,
it is the productive powers of labour, or the purchase
power of labour, to consume, which regulates the econo-
mical system of commerce, annihilates gluts, and teaches
the heedless producer and speculator, that, in unduly
estimating the labourer’s power to consume, they reckoned
without their host ; inundated society with extravagant
produce, filled the workhouses with paupers, and en-
tailed ruin on themselves.


It is not the invention of machinery, and the progres-
sive augmentation in the powers of production with
which we find fault ; these are the offspring of genius,
talent, and industry, which will continue to fructify, pro-
pagate, and increase, as the age of reason advances, and
as the mind of man through the force of intelligence
subjugates nature to his will, by gradually establishing
his dominion over its yet undiscovered powers. What we
complain of, is, that machinery, in place of aiding the
workmen to produce commodities for their own advantage,
is turned against them ; thereby transposing its original use
and design, which were to enfranchise labour, and to esta-
blish the rights and liberties of mankind, and converting it
into an engine of oppression, and a forge to produce
chains, to reduce the labourers into a state of subjuga-
tion and slavery. ^

It is rarely that even the inventors of machines reap
the advantage of their inventions : often after years of
laborious mental toil, during which they may have neg-
lected the trades or professions by which they gained
their livelihood; and too often it is to be lamented,
brought themselves into pecuniary embarassments, they
are obliged to sell their discoveries, for a small pecuniary
trifle, to capitalists, who are thus enabled to gather in
the harvest of those mighty minds, who sowed in men-
tal struggle over the midnight oil, tracing, like Archime-
dians, in their laboratorial imaginations, the lineaments
of these new machines, and there nicely adjusting every
pinion, and placing every screw, before they were made,
These inventive geniuses are the pioneers of science,
who, with a beneficent design towards society, are deve-
loping their innate powers of intellectual force, which


must be emanations from that eternal fountain of har-
monic combination and spiritual energy, which harmoni-
ously systematised the chaotic elements; and, with a
benediction for the use of man, planted every tre^ before
it grew. These forerunners of social progression, toil
in order to put into the hands of labour those natural
instruments which ought to conduce towards the eman-
cipation of the labourers, from the present circumscribed
limits of production; and which, if justly organised,
would confer on them an additional amount of enjoyment.
The inventors of machinery, generally labour with a
good design, and the workmen, who practically use these
machines in producing, are actuated by praiseworthy mo-
tives ; yet all of them that are destitute of capital, which
is the golden calf of commerce, and the idol of machi-
nery, only labour in vain : they plant vineyards, and make
the wine ; but the capitalists drink the nectar. The in-
ventors of machines are by imagination and contemplation
betrothed to their inventions ; but the capitalists, who are
by profession polygamists in the objects of their affections,
marry them, and from that connubial union by which the
inventions of genius are prostituted to capital, is born the
omniverous race of monopolists and proprietors. After
these giants are born into society, to whatever side the
labourers turn for protection, nothing is presented to them
but bayonets of capital, supported on the right, and on the
left, by the flaming sword of the law. Therefore, machi-
nery, which should have been a blessing to them, and
productive only of abundance, is, through the aberrations
of society turned into their curse, and only productive to
them of misery. Machinery, “like Eden’s dread proba-
tionary tree, slavery and freedom spring from thee.”


The principles which Mons. Sismondi has advanced
in regard to excessive production through means of ma-
chinery, are not that an increase of production is bad in
itself, if judiciously balanced by a corresponding con-
sumption ; but that an over increase, in the production
of those commodities which are not wanted, and for
which therefore there can be no market, is the evil
which occasions so many perturbations, and convulsions
in commerce, and which often leads to the ruin of the
producers themselves, through their being obliged to
force on an overstocked market the unrequired quantity
of goods manufactured, in the anticipation of a demand,
either at home or abroad. But some parties will say,
that it is impossible for the manufacturers to do other-
wise than employ his workmen to make goods during
the dull seasons, so as to have a mass of goods in their
warehouses to be ready to sell when the demand arises.
As business in this country is too much conducted on the
go-a-head principle, it is very difficult for any manufac-
turer who will not do as others do to maintain his trade,
and preserve the reputation of his firm. Besides, the
manufacturers have pushed trade to such an extent in
opposition to each other, that, in order to suit the de-
mands of the wholesale merchants who buy of them,
they manufacture goods on chance ; arid when the sea-
son arrives for their sale, if a purchaser cannot be in-
duced to buy them at a remunerating profit, they must
be sold at a loss, made a job lot of, which means,
that the buyer may almost have them at his own price
by merely making an offer for them. To such an ex-
tent is this sort of trade carried on, that some wholesale
houses purchase a great part of their goods as job lots, and


often the manufacturers are driven to the expedient of call-
ing their regular and perfect goods, as job goods; other-
wise, the merchant would not even look at his patterns.
This peculiar job-lot trade is indigenous to England. In
France, a different line of commerce is pursued by the
manufacturers, who solicit orders by patterns from the
wholesale merchants, and then make the goods in time
for the season in which they are required. Thus,
some of the largest manufacturers will scarcely have
a single piece of goods on hand at the end of the

As the principles of Mons. Sismondi have been called
in question on the manufacturing system, let us see what
the patriarchal economist has to say for himself in his
own peculiarly pastoral style.

” It is not,” says Mons. Sismondi, “industry; it is not
manufacturing improvements which directly causes all
these calamities; it is the two operations -which at pre-
sent characterize the whole mercantile spirit in England,
and which have no other names than their English ones
to overtrade and to undersell (sur commercer). That is,
pushing business to excess, to produce, or import, dispro-
portionately to the wants of the consumers, to overstock
the market. To undersell (sous vendrc) is done in
order to obtain trade ; to effect a clearance of the goods;
to part with them at a lower price than any other pro-
ducer ; to ruin him, and drive him out of the markets by
means of being pleased to work on a less profit, or even
at a loss. We have already shewn, that we do not par-
take of that zeal for manufacturing industry which seems
so universal.

” In estimating that which forms the riches and hap-


piness of a nation, we have placed very low its manufac-
tures, which are considered at the present day as the
most beautiful development of human genius ; that
commerce which has been celebrated as the universal
agent of civilization ; that supplying of foreigners ; that
exportation which has been proclaimed as so many vic-
tories gained over our rivals. We have not, however,
the intention of depreciating any of the efforts made by
man, or his successes ; above all, we would blush had
we, on so grave a subject, so intimately bound up with
general happiness, any disposition to maintain paradoxical
opinions, any desire to astonish by their novelty.

” We know that manufactures in their actual develop-
ment presents to us a succession of victories which man
by his intelligence has gained over matter; we admit
that commerce has spread over the entire world a new
moral influence, that it has remotely extended familiar in-
tercourse, has drawn together the cords of frater-
nity between different races of men. But we must not
allow a blind admiration for one of the developments of
human power to hinder us from submitting to a just
appreciation, the diverse social circumstances that accom-
pany it, to point out the relation of one with another,
and to bring back the attention to the great end of human
association ; this in fact was not organized to discover
how men could accomplish things, but how things could
serve men. We wish to guard ourselves against that
common disposition of men, and which often deceives
them ; they feel so sensibly their weakness and incapacity
that they cannot endure to see effects produced dispropor-
tionate to that weakness, without abandoning themselves
to enthusiasm. All that bears a character of greatness and


power is sure to gain their admiration, notwithstanding
that such grandeur is sometimes developed at the expense
of those who admire. The throne of the tyrants of Asia,
perhaps only owed its stability to that admiration which
their subjects felt for a human will which nothing re-
sisted. The works produced by that will excite, perhaps,
more admiration still ; because there is only to be seen
the impress of their grandeur, and not the sufferings of
those who executed them. The pyramids of Egypt, during
four thousand years, have drawn the admiration of every
successive generation, though they possess neither beauty
nor utility, solely because they are a monument, which
seems eternal of the triumph of one of the most feeble
among beings over the immense force of nature.”

A Scotch economist, who loves to clothe his reasoning
with severe and abstract forms, has said, 6< Exchanges ne- cessarily increase with the accumulation of riches; thus, the field A, the first year has produced a hundred sacks of corn, and the manufacturer B, the same year has produced a hundred yards of cloth ; accordingly, the hundred sacks are exchanged at par against the yards. The next year the same field has produced a thousand sacks of corn, and the same loom has produced a thousand yards of cloth. Wherefore is the exchange not equally made, if it be a matter of ten thousand, or of a hundred thousand ? According to his custom, the Scotch philosopher, in his reasoning, has forgotten man. If he had recollected that it was not a field and a manufactory, but two men ; the one a farmer, and the other a manufacturer, who were obliged to exchange the produce which they did not re- quire for their own use, he himself would have perceived that he was stating an absurdity. One of these two men 84 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES after having bought the corn that he required for food, would have satisfied his wants, and would have no more of it, whatever the quantity produced by the field of his neighbour might be ; the other, after having bought cloth with which to clothe himself, would be protected from the cold, and would not take more, whatever might be the activity of the manufacturer." It is quite evident, that the principle embodied in the reasoning of Mons. Sismondi is not to prohibit the use of, or to destroy machinery, but to prevent its being made the means of increasing productions disproportion- ately to the wants of society, thereby choking the eco- nomical channels of commerce, by subverting the use of manual labour, destroying the rights of the labourer, and depriving him of the power to consume. Machinery in its present development and progressive tendency is supplanting manual labour, spreading misery among the labourers in its advance, and leaving society in its wake like an uprooted forest, or a desolated waste, where the giant towers of capital and credit appear with more conspi- cuous elevation amidst that low servile.degraclation to which the bulwarks of society, the people, have been reduced. "With machines/' says Mons. Proudhon, "commences the distinction of masters and salaried servants, of capi- talists and workmen. The labourer that ought to have been extricated from the brutishness into which the identity of labour had reduced him, is thereby engulphed more and more ; he loses, with the character of man, liberty ; and falls into the condition of a tool. The easy circmmstances of the chief augment the misery of the subalterns : the distinction of castes commences, and a monstrous tendency is created, that which consists, in OF PROPERTY. 85 multiplying mankind would fain do without him. Thus, the universal distress is aggravated ; already begun by the classified division of labour ; misery enters officially into the world, from that very moment it becomes the soul and nerve of society. " Then, humanity, in re-clothing its vagabond bar- barity with civilized forms, has only changed the misery of its inactivity for the misery of its combinations; man perishes by the division of labour, which increases his force tenfold, and by machines which increases his powers a hundred-fold ; as he perished, in days of yore, by sleep and idleness. The first cause of his misfor- tune is always in himself; then it is this cause that he must overcome, before declaiming against destiny. If, then, misery is the peculiar fault of labour, it is neither nature nor providence that is to blame ; it is economical practice, which wants equilibrium; it is it alone that must be accused. Political economy itself, is aware of it ; and it is on that account, that it has been so anxious to call to its aid a new organ, machines." In order to get rid of the evils which a too extended division had entailed upon the labourers, machinery has been resorted to ; and political economy, that is itself a conservative, with the design of saving the manufactu- rers from ruin, when they had produced a superabundance of articles, organized a system of foreign trade, and some- times even now pays bounties on exportations, which is equivalent to ordering the people to buy the goods of the manufacturer, or commanding them to pay so much to him ; so that he may be able to sell his goods cheaper to foreigners than he would do to themselves. As foreign trade is the only means by which the surplus productions 86 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES of machinery can be absorbed, on account of the labourers having heen incapacitated from purchasing them ; it has attracted the attention, and obtained the support not only of manufacturers, but also of some political economists ; these, without duly considering its influence on ourselves, and also on foreign nations, are loud in praise of its un- limited extension : those have been drawn into lauding it through ignorance, selfishness, or necessity. Mr. M c Culloch in treating this question of foreign ex- portation, has forgotten not only man but society, and the rights of nations, by supposing that any one nation has a right, should it be able, of imposing either by hook or by crook its cheap productions on another, which may be its rival in these productions, for the purpose of giving vent to that increased and cheapened produce which has been thrown on the home market through the extended power of machinery, and the reduction of wages ; and, in stating his opinion on this subject, he has given publicity to a principle which we should have much rather preferred had its birth been announced by any but an Englishman, and had been recorded in any language but English. Proudhon, whose principles are yet but very imperfectly understood in England, and even not fully comprehended by many of his countrymen, but ivho has, notwithstanding, been execrated, as the French Casca of property, by proprietors, both in his own and in other countries, has not, amongst all his Casca-like thrusts at property, said anything which is calculated to injure it so much as the ungrateful, the unkindliest cut of all inflicted on it by the English Brutus, when he thus stabs it " Those who subsist by their labour," says Mr. M c Cullocb, " and whose command over necessaries and OF PROPERTY. 87 luxuries, is always comparatively limited, form an immense majority of the population of every country ; and any considerable reduction in the price of a commodity in general use, has uniformly almost been found to extend the demand for it in a much greater proportion. This has been eminently the case in the Cotton manufacture. It is impossible, perhaps, to name another branch of in- dustry in which the powers of production have been so much increased ; and yet it is certain, that the extension of the market consequent on every new invention for saving labour and expense, has always occasioned the employment of an additional number of hands. Such a reduction of price as has been supposed would give a prodigious stimulus to the manufacture. Our cottons would obtain a still more incontestible superiority in every market than they now enjoy, and would be brought within the command of an immensely increased number of con- sumers. Foreign governments would in vain attempt to prohibit their introduction. Cheap goods never fail of making their way through every barrier, per medios ire satellites amant. In the words of Sir Josiah Child, " They that can give the best price for a commodity, shall never fail to have it by one means or the other, notwith- standing the opposition of any laws, or interposition of any power by sea or land ; of such force, subtilty and violence is the general course of trade." Had an inveterate smuggler been advocating the legality and justice of smuggling, or the slave merchant, the rights and humanity of the slave trade, they could not have advanced more favorable arguments : the smuggler is the personification of selfishness, being a law to himself; he, therefore, makes his way through all op- 88 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES posing barriers, sneers at and holds in contempt the Custom-house, and all the revenue laws of social govern- ment. He is the Robin Hood of import duties, who in carrying out in practice his principles of universal free- dom in trade, sits on the opposition benches when the Custom's return is being made out, and bids defiance to the barons of her Majesty's Exchequer. The slave dealer is not particular as to the race of animals he deals in, though he has a peculiar fancy for dark shades on account of the price ; he prosecutes his traffic in the commodity of human flesh, contemptuously disregarding every law, human and divine. With these two classes who consider themselves all honorable men^ Mr. M c Cul- loch identifies the manufacturer, when he says, "that every new invention saves labour and expense, and yet increases the number of hands." TJiis is equivalent to stating, that the labour and expense saved by the capital- ist in producing commodities, is so much more capital to the manufacturer to employ, and keep in pay a greater number of individuals, or smugglers, to introduce, by subtility and violence our productions into other countries in spite of their laws, and regardless of driving out of employment their native labourers. " It may be said by those who advocate an extension of foreign trade, regardless of the principles by which it is to be carried on, that the limit of the foreign market is nothing short of the boundary of the known world ; wherefore then does not a nation try to introduce its manufactures as far as the means of its commerce will extend ? Wherefore should it not take advantage of the progress which it has attained in the arts and sciences, to prosecute against foreigners, a ruinous war in their own OF PROPERTY. 89 markets, to undersell their manufacturers, their artisans, their women, to force them to shut their workshops, and to content themselves with that which it offers them ? Where- fore ? Because that our duties towards human society are analogous to our duties towards our own countrymen ; because that we ought no more to speculate upon the ruin of the Turk, or of the Indian, than on that of the French and the English. Finally, hecause that which is unjust is never fundamentally profitable, and that if we ruin the industry and the artisans of other nations, we ruin with them our own consumers. An over-production is the inverse to an under-consump- tion ; and if, regardless of the powers of the labourers to consume and to pay the producer for his products, the manufacturer goes on producing, calculating all the time on being able to effect sales of his goods, either in the home or in the foreign market ; at the same time that his tactics are to dispense with manual labour, he is hurrying on to an impassable barrier, hastening towards his ruin, and paving the way for the dissolution of society. Supposing that he produces goods sufficient for a hundred consumers during a year, whilst there are only fifty that are provided with work, and the means of paying for his productions, he must suspend his operations for the year, till such time as his fifty customers can take his over-production off his hands ; at the same time he oc- casions an overstock of commodities in the hands of other producers by his labourers being thrown idle, and thereby disabled from buying the manufactures of the other branches of trade, Thus, by a vicious system of mo- nopoly, he victimizes himself, and becomes the means of ruining others with him. The labourers of Ireland 90 THE BIGHTS AND DUTIES being without sufficient employment, have been obliged to confine their wants to what is barely necessary to sustain animal existence, and like savages to be satisfied with the least possible means of sustaining life. Instruct- ed by the fatal example of their parents, the present race of labourers in Ireland, has through necessity grown up in idleness; and that praiseworthy emulation which in- duces the labourers in other countries to properly furnish their houses, and to gather around them things necessary for their comfort and happiness, has been through disap- pointment almost extinguished among them. c< I have never read,'* says Mons. Proudhon, "anything more sad and stupid than the heart-breaking spectacle of the effects of monopoly, to see the unhappy labour- ers reciprocally accusing one another of their misery, and imagining that by creating strikes, and forming unions to support each other, they can prevent a re- duction of wages. And what would you have those labourers to do ? The Irish are arrived at such a state ; must they be massacred ? Their wages have been re- duced. Must they refuse them, and die ? Necessity commands, you yourself say it. Then are developed the interminable scenes, disease, deformity, degradation, brute- faction, and all the signs of industrial slavery. All these calamities are born of monopoly and of its melancholy antecedents, opposition in trade, machinery, and the divi- sion of labour : and you accuse the Irish. The extermina- tions en masse by monopoly have not yet found poets. Our rhymers, strangers to this world's affairs, without feelings in their bosoms for the workman, continue to breathe forth to the moon their melancholic rhapsodies. What a subject for meditations, however, would be the OF PROPERTY. 91 miseries engendered by monopoly. It is Walter Scott v/ho speaks, et quest, ce quit dit ? " Formerly, it is now many years ago, each villager had his cow and a pig, with a small piece of ground around his house. There where now only one farmer la- bours, formerly thirty small farmers lived ; so that, for an individual richer in himself, it is true, than the thirty farmers of former times, there are now twenty-nine miser- able day-labourers, without employment for their intelli- gence and their arms, and of whom the half is more than enough. The only useful function which they fill, is to pay sixty shillings a year for the huts which they inhabit. A modern ballad, cited by E. Burritt, sings the solitude of monopoly " Le rouet est silencieux dans la vallee ; C'en est fait des sentiments de famille, Sur un peu de fumee le vieil aieul Etend ses mains pales; et le foyer vide Est aussi desole que son coeur." The reports produced by parliament rival those of the romancer and poet! They clearly demonstrate what monopoly has produced in effacing from the suface of the soil that gallant yeomanry of England that Sir Walter Scott said was u known in no other land." Each boasts his hearth and field as free as the best lord his barony, owing subjection to no human vassalage, save to their king and laws. How wonderfully have the times changed since this happy period of merry England's history. Times have changed, and we must change with them ; but, unfor- tunately for the peasantry, they must have changed very much for the worse ; therefore, in direful doxology to the song of monopoly they may vocalize their desolated 92 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES fields, and sing the effects of unremunerated exertions, with a new version of the hopeful and lullaby song. " There's a bad time coming, boys :" nay, actually has come. c< Cheap goods never fail of making their way through every barrier." This motto, on the standard of a smug- gler, would be fully as appropriately placed, as that of " England expects that every man will do his duty, 1 ' was judiciously signalled by the hero of Trafalgar. However, the philosophical economist will easily perceive, that in forcing our productions on other nations, we are thereby increasing their public inactivity, and adding to their misery : and at the same time, that monopolists are in- creasing their individual riches, we are augmenting our public burdens by pursuing a system of forced, unnatural, and illegitimate trading, which requires an additional force of sailors, soldiers, and police to facilitate, or to force the sale of our goods in foreign markets, and to put in force the laws against the intruders on the rights of monopoly at home. It may be very true, that the producer of a certain article may be able to undersell all other producers of that kind of commodity in every market of the world. Who then has the advantage of his monopoly ? Certainly not those to whom he sells; for he will just take as much from them as they can afford to give ; and, in many instances more. It is at their expense, therefore, that he enriches himself. Even supposing that the foreign consumer should reap a small share of the benefit of the exchange, yet in the aggregate, for the nation which buys, there will be a loss, if it be not in a condition to protect its citizens from being re- duced to indigence through foreigners underselling them, OF PROPERTY. 93 and expelling them from their own markets : thus re- ducing them to the condition of having no other commo- dity than gold to give in exchange, thereby actually selling the nation, not for gold, but with gold. A nation which buys goods of foreigners, and pays for them in gold, parts with that commodity which con- trols all others, and surrenders that which renders its possessor king of the market ; because, it is the prince of commodities that subjugates them, and like Aaron's rod swallows them all up : it is this princely dignity in com- modities, which has produced aristocracy in humanity. Gold may be said to be the only really definitively con- stituted riches ; constituted, set apart, and shielded by society, as far as possible from the effects of that cruci- ble in which all other commodities are compounded, namely, the crucible of disputation ; that is, the offer and the demand. The principle of every bargain being a dispute in which a rigorous analysis of the value in use and the value in exchange, is made by the buyer and seller, the peace of that war being the reconciliation of both combatants at the altar of money, the cherubim of commerce, and the idol of society, by which they both swore in commencing the bargain that each of their respective commodities had the nearest affinity. The concrete of that analysis is the creation of a new synthesis in which the respective proportion of value in use, and value in exchange, are harmoniously blended under the form of real value, or market price, which common phrase means, the value fully debated and ad- justed for the time being, by the free offer and demand. Every new transaction, therefore, is distinctly a new dis- pute, or the preliminaries of a bargain disputable, on the 94 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES same principles as all previous bargains have been, but totally unfettered by any previous price or value what- soever; and is a positive refutation of the notion enter- tained by some economists, that there is such a thing as a fixed standard of value. Gold, the god of commerce, is not even itself unchangeable in value; how then can other commodities which do it homage be fixed ? Gold has no more influence over the establishment of value, than the thermometer has over heat and cold. La- bour is the only fountain of real value ; and gold, the cream of that fertile spring, if nature were not reversed, could not be superior to its source. Gold can create nothing; therefore, Aristotle was perfectly philosophic on this question of political economy, when he said, " Half crowns do not beget half crowns." As to our forcing commodities at; low price upon fo- reign nations, let us ask ourselves, how the manufacturers of this country would be likely to feel, if they were as- sailed in the same way by foreigners? If the time shall arrive when they will be undersold in the English market, is it likely that they would be satisfied by being told that it was in vain to attempt to prohibit their introduction? Would they not be perfectly warranted, in responding to such an impuissant government, c lf we are not to be pro- tected, then it will be in vain for you to attempt to collect taxes, since you have allowed us to be deprived of the benefit which the payment of these taxes led us to expect at your hands? The people submitted at first to taxation, because it was imposed for the purpose of protection; they are now obliged to bear the burden, after protection has been withdrawn. No protection without taxation, was the burden of the song which deluged Europe with OF PROPERTY. 95 blood, steeped England in debt, and damnified the labour- ers ; no taxation without protection, must now be the vi- gil-hymn of resuscitation, as the day is breaking, and the shadows of impositions are fast being dispelled be- fore the rising sun of intelligence, when retribution will be awarded to proprietors, for having shrunk at first from their duty of bearing the expenses of those wars into which they so unjustly plunged the nation, and by levy- ing taxes from those who were not equally protected to themselves, or who had nothing in the shape of property to protect; and now, through laws made to perpetuate the wrong, and to serve their own interests, they force the generations of those men to pay taxes for that debt from which neither their forefathers nor themselves ever de- rived any benefit, and also to pay the larger proportion of the necessary daily expense of defending property and preserving social order. As we have previously considered property in regard to its forms and relations, we shall now give our atten- tion to the more complicated and difficult parts of the subject, trusting that we may have that indulgent and good feeling accorded to us which the beneficial considera- tion of so vast and intricate a subject requires : as this section of political economy is that which demands the greatest consideration of the reader, if it be thoroughly studied, and requires a patient attention and forbearance towards the individual who may treat it. With the full assurance, therefore, that we are favored with this good- will to enter, without prejudice, on an enquiry into the origin and rights of property, we shall endeavour to trace the principles on which its original constitution was founded, and also that on which it now rests ; and if 96 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES^ in that investigation, we may be led into an expression of any opinions which may be considered unorthodox, by the present school of economists, we shall endeavour, in every instance, to be as explicit, as the language of the science will permit, leaving the verification of our opinions to the trying scrutiny of time ; and, if we may be found in error, we shall only say, that had we consi- dered ourselves infallible, we should not have craved for indulgence ; and that, from our errors, let others learn to avoid the faults in which we have fallen, in surveying the sinuous path by which the political economists must travel, if he desire to arrive at truth. Without a knowledge of the origin and rights of pro- perty, all political opinions as to the justice and sound policy of existing laws can only be based on vague and uncertain notions, and all legislation entered into in ignor- ance of these rights, will only be like writing in the sand ; the first advancing wave of society will scarcely leave its trace visible. In order, however, to facilitate the re- placing of this theoretical legislation by a system of practical and just laws of more permanent duration, we shall endeavour to ascertain what this property really is, which devours society by its operations, and that is crushed in its turn by the progressive and eternal march of society ; and in prosecuting our enquiry, we shall divide it into three branches. What is the origin of property ? What is the nature of property ? What are the rights and duties of property ? The creator of property is society ; labour being as we have already shewn the origin of all wealth, therefore, the well-being and happiness of man, with all the riches OP PROPERTY. 97 of the world, is the offspring of labour. Yet, though labour produced the commodities from which wealth and property are formed, it was powerless in itself either to create or to organize property ; that could alone be done by the labourers in the aggregate united in society. Be- fore society existed, the produce of labour was wealth to the individual producers, so long as they were able to use it by retaining possession ; still this use was in common possession, none being as yet excluded by society from indiscriminate participation in the fruits produced by na- ture, or in that of those which were produced by manual exertion ; therefore, whichsoever of these two powers pro- duced the commodities which then constituted the well- being, or wealth of man, is immaterial, as neither of them could engender property, which is the child of society, that absolutely bears on its ensign the post date of soci- ety; and has for its mark and title guaranteed exclusion, because society became bound for property; whereas wealth, when unsocialized, depended on the power of the possessors to protect it. As society, therefore, could only create property, it alone could establish its rights ; and but for society, property must relapse into simple possession. What now constitutes the wealth, only for- merly held through individual possession, property, is that it has been appropriated by society for a common use ; therefore, every individual member of society has an equal right to that property ; and in guarding and protecting each individual portion of the common stock, he is protecting his own individual interest; because pro- perty, being the common stock of society, every isolated, or united portion of property implies an original com- monality of right; through the consolidation of which it 98 THE RIGHTS .AND DUTIES became property ; and if it have degenerated, and made a recantation of common obligations, then it has ceased to be property, unsocialized itself, and receded to simple possession. If society was pleased, or if it were urged on through necessity to establish the rights of pro- perty by guaranteeing to all its members a share in those rights, or by assigning to any limited number of them an exclusive right of possession, to any portion of that which had been appropriated by it, and considered as belonging by common right to the whole body, it could have made this concession only on the conditions of those particular individuals fulfilling certain obligations for the common good of the social union. Had society not had these considerations, both expressed and understood in the implied contract with those particular individuals to whom it thus accorded possession, then the object of the common original right of possession^ on which alone society itself was modelled and founded, would be there- by lost sight of; and society would have nullified the natural convention of its constitution, and destroyed itself by the very act of relinquishing all its power and control over that portion of the common property which had un- qualifiedly fallen into the hands of those individuals. And were it even possible for that portion of wealth to remain as property after its secession 'from the pale and recognition of society, then it must exist in itself as ex- social property, which is an impossibility, because out of society is to be found the absolute negation of all pro- perty. Besides, if society could have parted with, or had actually parted with any of its rights to particular individuals, tinder no conditions whatever, for the purpose of their exclusive use, in either case, the right in the pro- OF PROPERTY. 99 perty,/tfs in re, would yet be vested in society ; because a contract, which does not impose obligations on all parties to it, is not obligatory on either party to respect, and the right to possession, Jus ad rem, reverts to its original possessor. And if society has conceded to pro- prietors their property under certain obligations, which they have neglected, or refused to fulfil, then society as one of the parties to the social compact, and the guardian of the rights of property, would have just grounds to pronounce that property anti-social, barred from the pro- tection of society, and excluded from social rights, con- sequently leaving it to be defended by its possessors, or promiscuously appropriated by those who could, either by previous right of possession, or by force, establish them- selves in it, as possessed of the best title, In any case of dereliction of social obligations by proprietors, society would necessarily through its primitive possession of all property, have the best and most preferable right: pro- perty must, therefore, naturally revert to it. Hence, society is the absolute sovereign and administrator of the rights of property ; because, deprived of its protection, as has been previously shewn, it could only be simple possession ; and having ceased to be property, that possession could only be maintained and guaranteed by the power of each indivi- dual to keep at bay all claimants, who might covet it, and attack the possessor. Under such a state of possession, so long as the possessor, like the strong man armed, was able to defend the thing possessed, and to exclusively hold it for himself, it \\ould owe him the debt of its defence, which would be fully discharged through the defender en- joying exclusive possession ; and, in accordance to the value which he attached to its possession, so in exact 100 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES proportion would he sacrifice the enjoyment of other things in order to retain it. Property, being defended, and its rights guaranteed by society, owes a debt to society for this defence ; and so far exactly, and no farther, ought society to defend it, than the public find it advantageous, and for its benefit, to sacrifice other considerations and duties, in order to maintain it. Whenever any kind of property requires at the hands of society a greater price to be paid for its re- tention than it is advantageous to pay, then has it become a burden on society, and ought no longer to be recognized as property, because property is only really so, as long as it is a social benefit; if deprived of that benefit, society still persists in upholding it, it is wilfully doing an injus- tice to a portion of its members, and thereby hastening humanity and itself on the road to ruin. Society is, and ought to be, the guardian of real pro- perty, and of the rights of proprietors, as well as of the rights of all those in society for the benefit of whom pro- perty was instituted. This portion of the bases of our social compact is even admitted by proprietors, who in- variably appeal, whenever property is in danger, to society for aid and protection, through the medium of the state, which society has delegated its representative, and the protector of its rights. Whenever proprietors call on the government to stand forward, and to put the law in force for the protection of their property, they thereby manifest their belief, that the law is the best and surest title they have to the exclusive possession of property. As the state can only be regarded, in its official capacity, as the representative of society, it is, therefore, bound to demand that the interests of the great body of the people OF PROPERTY. 101 are protected ; and when the possessors of the inheritance of that body claim the special interference of the law for their exclusive protection, in conditionally vested rights, it is the duty of the government, previously to their plaint being retained, to examine minutely whether or not they have fulfilled the conditions of the compact on which they rest their claim for protection ; and if, upon examination, it should be found, that they have not discharged their duties towards society, then, in justice to the injured party, and as umpire between the discordant copartners, it ought to decide, that as the conditional possession has not been fulfilled, the possessors have forfeited all equit- able claim to protection ; because they, having been en- trusted with it by society, as trustees to use it only for the purpose of promoting the greatest amount of mutual advantage, have by lapse of time so identified themselves with the particular property conceded to them, on reci- procal conditions, that they have now set up an arrogant and monopolising pretension to claim it as property, ex- clusively existing in and solely dependent on themselves : thus endeavouring to disinherit society, and to establish without it what can only exist through a perfect fulfilment of the social compact. We can form no conception whatever of property being able to exist apart from society ; property must be an institution of society, and has been established by it as its most perfect effort towards harmonizing mankind into a state of social organization. Societv did not fail in its . design ; for there can be no dispute whatever, that were property administered in harmony with its original import, for the general good of society, and as it must yet again be governed, or cease to exist as property, then would it be a blessing to mankind, by its natural tendency to dif- 102 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES fuse happiness and plenty throughout the remotest rami- fications of society ; and neither abject misery, crime, nor a plethora of riches and debauchery would be, at all, traceable in a society where wealth merited the worthy appellation of property. But property has fallen from its primitive state, be- come degenerated, and instead of its being the crowning reward of labour, it has been made the enemy and the bane of the labouring classes. Society says, e there can be no legitimate property beyond the limits of my juris- diction ; I created property, and established it on the only principles that it were possible to maintain it upon, namely, common rights, and equal justice : property had its duties to perform towards me its guardian, the least of which was, that it should defray the expense of its own protection. Has it ever fulfilled this one duty, leaving all others in abeyance ? Nearly eight hundred millions of pounds sterling of a National Debt repudi- ates the fulfilment, by proprietors, of the duties of pro- perty ; and, en rougissant asks, When will I, The Mys- tery of Credit^ The Curse of Industry^ and The Mother of Fundholders, be justly liquidated, and cease to be an abomination to labour, and a reproach to England among the nations of the earth ? Am I to be an eternally living monument of the consummate baseness of those prin- ciples which gave me birth, and an everlasting millstone about the neck of posterity, to subjugate industry to privation, toil, and slavery ; because proprietors dastardly shrunk from performing their duty, under the pretext, that generations then unborn, that never created me, nor could have had any connection whatever with my forma- tion, would consent to pay for their delinquencies and follies? OP PROPERTY. 103 ft is now a notorious fact, that it is intended by pro- prietors never to "pay off the National Debt ; but as a palliation for injustice, and a cloke to conceal the wrong perpetrated on industry, proprietors have changed the debt, not into a substantial deity, like property, but, in the plenitude of their power, into an image of property, and passed off their Dagon under the name of Funded Property. The golden mantle being gone, they put on the debt this incomprehensible cloak of credit, that they might thereby be the better able to impose on society the surreptitious right of one portion of the human family to plunder another by means of this mythological credit. That all property supposes a common reciprocal inte- rest, will neither readily nor easily be called in question by political philosophers; neither will it be disputed by them, that credit requires, and must have a real, and not an imaginary basis. As Funded Property is entirely founded on the imaginary supposition of the people's complacency and ability to pay, it therefore must be a false system of credit, the operation of which cannot be reciprocally advantageous to the community at large, and society has been imposed upon by a false shadow, in the disguise of credit, having been palmed upon it, under the deceptive title of Funded Property ; as if property itself had no foundation^ but that the thing more serial than the shadow, the subterfuge, Funded Property, had a substantial foundation. As there can be no property but that which society recognizes ; and as society, the guardian of equal rights, ought to tolerate no kind of propert}' which is not bene- ficial towards the general prosperity of its members, does it consider, that they all have an advantage derivable 104 THE BIGHTS AND DUTIES from Funded Property ? Does it think it social, and for the good and benefit of all classes, when only one indi- vidual in every hundred of the population participates in its spoils? Does it believe it to be a humane institution, when ninety-nine per cent of its members are allowed, through a strange aberration of duty on its part, to be legally, but immorally, plundered for the benefit of the other one per cent ? We affirm, that it is above the power of any govern- ment of itself, or of society, with the consent of all its members, to constitute the public funds as property ; and when government, through its power, abstracts taxes from the people to pay over to the fundholders, it is only conniving at and abetting the evil perpetrated upon an in- dustrious, but deluded people, who are bruised under the ponderous wheels of the four quarterly dividends upon which ride the deities of the funding system ; and, like the worshippers of Juggernaut, whilst they see their fellow- creatures by their devotion immolated one after another, they often fold their hands in admiration of the genius of a system, which, on account of its sublimated construction, is beyond their comprehension ; and some- times they may be heard to vociferate with infatuated fervor the fundholders' fallacious maxim, ignis fatuus that the National Debt is the cause of our national wealth. Society has, under various forms, constituted the pro- ducts of labour, and bestowed on them the appellation of property, investing them with certain rights, and ex- acting from their holders peculiar duties; because it con- sidered, that when regulated under its control by social laws, they would produce a greater amount of happiness OF PROPERTY. 105 and prosperity than when isolated and unprotected. So- ciety, however, could not, nor ever will be able to con- stitute credit, or the public funds, as property, because property does in substance exist, and is a reality; but credit, though it may really exist in the mind by antici- pation, as "the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen," yet, in whatever assumed shape or imaginative form it may present itself to the mind, it is nevertheless untangible, uncertain, and there- fore can only be an imaginary property which society cannot organize, parce que sa constitution est dehors le pouvoir cfe la societe. As to public credit, it is the poli- tical superstition of the age, the mysteries of which be- wilder its victims, and confound the priests of political economy. It is the Gordian knot in the harness of the fundholders* chariots, by which the people are so intri- cately attached, that though the collar presses them se- verely, the traces are so imperceptible and complicated, that, like Alexander, they cannot disentangle them. However, as " there is nothing new under the sun," let the Pheatons of the people beware, lest some day or other, the horses, through their being overdriven, do not prove too headstrong for their ignorant and arrogant dri- vers, and assume the part of Jupiter, by plunging them headlong into their own bottomless funds; or, like Alex- ander in his impetuosity, they do not shew their power by cutting the harness to pieces. Were government, a thousand times every year, to substitute public credit for property, and decree that it should be called Funded Property, still that credit would only be founded on the guarantee, or hope, of the cre- ditor participating in the fruit of labour yet to be done ; F 2 106 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES whereas property is the fruits of work already perfected, and therefore something certain and definite for society to take cognizance of. Funded Property, otherwise credit, in its most rari- fied and vague form if indeed funded property can be said to have any real existence is nothing else than a hope, the value of which depends, not only on the strength of the faith entertained by the creditor, of realizing a participation in the products of future labour ; but also on the strength of the incredulity of the labourer in be- lieving, that the debt was contracted on his account and for his benefit; and moreover, in his complacency, should he discover that he has been imposed upon, in still con- tinuing to part with a portion of his earnings to those who have deceived and defrauded him, by taking advan- tage of his weakness. It is the degree of this faith on the part of the public creditor, and the^weakness of scep- ticism on that of the public debtor, which give funded property its exchangeable value. Devoid of that faith, and of this scepticism, funded property would stand un- veiled, as the Ass that had once been covered with the Lion's Skin. It is not, however, the nature of a chimerical phan- tom such as funded property, which is an exotic defini- tion of property, totally unintelligible in the language of the science of political economy, that we consider our- selves pledged to investigate. Though we do not shrink from an investigation of this imaginary creation, which nevertheless produces great changes on society, yet this may be more appropriately entered upon when we come to investigate the subject of the National Debt : our object now being to ascertain the real constitution and OF PROPERTY. 107 nature of property ; and, as we have previously demon- strated that the principle upon which it was alone pos- sible for society to constitute it, was that of man's equal and natural rights of possession, we shall proceed to examine it in its natural development under the protec- tion of society, which brings us in presence of the great social question What is the Nature of Property ? The nature of property is essentially changeable. As society, on account of its progressive nature, must neces- sarily be changeable in its movements; so property, being based on society, of which it is a principal institution, must unquestionably partake of its nature, and vacillate with it. When society progresses under sage and just laws, property will spread its roots and flourish ; but when the social administration is conducted on foolish and unjust principles, society must retrograde, and pro- perty will participate in the social debasement, in exact proportion to the contempt and disrespect entertained by the people towards a weak and unjust administration. As nothing which is mutable can exist in itself, so neither can property endure through itself, but must be dependent on society, which also being fluctuating, and in the change of its laws must ever revert on its crea- tors, common sense, reason, and experience, for support and resuscitation, when its governing power has been impaired through unwise government and unsocial legis- lation. Neither property, therefore, nor society on which it is based, is perfectly stable in itself, but must fall back successively when its foes assail it, in order to be reor- ganized and renovated under the guidance of common sense and experience, united under the control of reason. 108 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES These primitive constituents and directors of all with which man has been associated retain property in chains, though its tendency is to overstep the limits which they have assigned it. On account of this disposition in pro- perty to overreach society, and to render labour subser- vient, it has been in constant struggle with reason, which has ceaselessly condemned it, since its deprivation, because of its depredatory tendency to devour society, and to spoliate labour of its adequate reward. Besides, property in its corrupt state has ever pretended to exist by itself, and not to be accountable to society, reason therefore, the vigilant protector of social rights, has as perseveringly condemned and exposed this egoism and non-accounta- bility on the part of proprietors, as they have insidiously encroached on the human domain, and amassed together its wealth. , The cause why property has failed in the object of its mission, which was, to produce order and happiness in society, has been the pride and arrogance of proprietors, who have looked upon society as unconditionally made and existing solely for their behoof, instead of regarding property as constituted by and made for the benefit of society. Viewing the matter thus, they have set aside the claims and the interests of the majority of mankind, and regardless of the reclaimants, the disinherited la- bourers, they have made appropriations after aggressions, till labour has been reduced to a parallel with slavery ; and the earth, in place of being enjoyed by man, is inter- dicted by brick walls and fences ; even the common and abbey lands of England have not been held sacred ; nei- ther by government, that had no right to either give or to sell them, in permanence, nor by the appropriating OF PROPERTY. 109 instincts of proprietors, whose profession is to worship property, and their first mandate, Appropriate every- thing, and hold fast that which has been amassed. The nature of the common law of entail is, to render property unchangeable, by establishing and fixing it as the perpetual lineal right of certain individuals and families, to enjoy eternally. However, this very law, which has for its constituent principle the immutability of property, is one of the most sublime proofs of its transitive nature, and of the unreasonable pretensions of proprietors to invest themselves with a cloak of immor- tality. Entailed property, in its multifarious forms, is the apex of property, on attaining which its decadence and dissolution is inevitable : this is deducible simply from the fact, that the tendency of entailed property is to devour society, by whom it can alone be supported and guaranteed in the hand of its possessors ; and through its having established an isolated and self-existent family property, it thereby endeavours to abstract so much pro- perty from society, which can secure the rights of pro- perty, only so far, and so long, as that property remains social ; when it becomes unsocial, society by its consti- tution can no longer recognize it as property, and it must be considered as excommunicated from participating in social rights. Et d'ailleurs regarde comme une bete fa- rouche dont la gueule est bdillant pour englouter touts les bienfonds des autres. The very acts of individuals entailing their property are unsocial and unconstitutional attempts to deprive so- ciety of any future power or control over the entailed property. Moreover, they are acts of injustice towards the individuals in whose favour they are made, because J 10 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES the property is thereby rendered unsocial, and thus sub- jected to the law of primitive possession, which had for its support physical force, lex talionis. As no property whatever can of possibility exist without the full juris- diction of society, entailed property, which is vulgarly called property, and believed to be such, is really nothing more substantial than family possession, and the incum- bent is only tenant during the courtesy of society. Entailed property must be considered by every one who knows thoroughly what society is, as anti-social. It has been set apart by selfish men for the sole benefit of their favorite heirs, in order that they might be through its instrumentality enabled to live anti-socially, and to be exempt from the usual operation of the laws which take cognizance of other individuals when they contract debts. The possessor of an entailed estate^ who receives the rent, and squanders it, may besides take advantage of the lugubrious deception, consequent on possessing an estate which he has no power to dispose of, in order to facili- tate the contraction of debts with industrious tradesmen, who may thereby the more easily be induced to give him credit, on the simple hope of rents, which he may never live to realize ; therefore, as the substance that they looked to, as the only source from which value could be produced to pay their just claims, must necessarily fall into the possession of another individual, they can have no legal claim against that possession, beyond the Jordan of the law, given for ever to the promised seed of him who entailed the land. The only equitable alternative for the creditors of the holder of an entailed estate is, to take their possession of him whilst he is alive, by making him pay a hazardous premium for his accommodation. OF PROPERTY. Ill This alternate evil, consequent upon the practice of en- tail, renders the last worse than the first, and establishes the fact, that it is prolific of demoralization. The holder of an entailed estate has not inherited the fee simple, feodum simplex. He is only in possession, not by purchase, but by gift of the individual who effected the entail, and the reversion in fee simple is in the donor; for, if the possessor in general tail die without issue, the individual who entailed the estate, or his heirs, can claim the estate as in their reversion. The tenant of an en- tailed estate, feodum talliatum^ is simply entitled to the produce of the estate for the time being. He is no more the proprietor, than the traveller, who lodges in an inn, and partakes of the best fare and accommodation that the house will afford, is the landlord. The incumbent of an entailed estate is invested with the privilege of using the produce without having ever paid any consideration : he reaps from another's sowing: he does not pay for his enjoyment, but is a receiver of what has been wrested from society. The practice of entail is a futile attempt to create a private property apart from society, and a selfish inven- tion of man to render his memory immortal, by his en- deavour to induce his posterity to revere and gratefully to remember him who abstracted the property from the control of society, and devised it to the special use of his progeny. However, through the various operations of these customs, it not unfrequently happens, that the apple of discord is thrown into the family, and the elder brother is rendered the curse of the younger brothers and sisters, for in him they often see portrayed their doom of exclusion from any participation in the family property 112 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES Whilst their father was alive they were gathered around the paternal hearth, and united, as brothers and sisters should be, and in him they found the centre of their love and affections ; but, in their father dead, they recognize each other as enemies, and, like Hannibal, who was made by his father to swear on the altars of Carthage an eternal hatred to Rome, so they, the children of the same parent, are often led, through their father's instrumentality, to immolate on his grave the bond of fraternity, and to swear an implacable hatred and disaffection towards their elder brother. The younger sons and daughters are sometimes obliged quietly to submit to their degradation ; for, if they were to be recusants, magistrates and the whole legal fraternity are primed, not only with powder in their wigs, but with cartridges enveloped in statutes in their briefs, and the judge sits, prepared with the flaming sword of the law, eagerly panting to be let loose on the offending brothers or sisters, to drive them from their once happy home. If entailed property be founded on justice, then, when justice shall have rendered to all their rights, it will have perished by justice. But, as force is the chosen field upon which entailed property has taken its stand, unfold- ed its banners, and reared its fortifications, it is on this ground where justice, the subduer of physical force, must raise its ramparts ; and, by the force of justice, disarm its enemy, burying it in contumely below the ruins of that immense mass of abject misery, which it has piled over the human race. That physical force is the principle upon which the common law of entail is founded, cannot be denied; this is even admitted by its warm supporter, Mr. M c Culloch, OF PROPERTY. 113 who, when writing on the nature of entail, endeavours to palliate the evils of this bad custom, by stating, that u It has long been customary in this as well as in many other countries, when estates consist of land, to leave them either wholly, or principally, to the eldest son, and to give the younger sons and daughters, smaller portions in money. Many objections have been made to this cus- tom, but mostly as it would appear without due consi- deration. That it has its inconveniences, is no doubt true ; but they seem to be trifling, compared with the advantages which it exclusively possesses. It forces the younger sons to quit the home of their father, and makes them depend for success in life on the fair exercise of their talents ; it helps to prevent the splitting of landed property into too small portions, and stimulates the hol- ders of estates to endeavour to save a monied fortune adequate for the outfit of the younger children, without rendering them a burden on their senior. Its influence, in these and other respects, is equally powerful and salu- tary. The sense of inferiority, as compared with others, is, next to the pressure of want, one of the most powerful motives to exertion. The younger sons of our great landed proprietors are particularly sensible to this sti- mulus. Their inferiority in point of wealth, and their desire to escape from this lower station, and to attain to the same level with their elder brothers, inspires them with an energy and vigor they could not otherwise feel. But the advantage of preventing large estates from being frittered down by a scheme of equal division is not li- mited to its influence over the younger children of their owners. It raises universally the standard of competence, and gives new force to the springs which set industry in 114 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES motion. The manner of living amongst the great land- lords is that in which every one is ambitious of being able to indulge; and their habits of expense, though sometimes injurious to themselves, act as powerful in- centives to the ingenuity and enterprise of the other classes, who never think their fortunes sufficiently ample, unless they will enable them to emulate the splendour of the richest landlords ; so that the custom of primogeni- ture seems to render all classes more industrious, and to augment at the same time the mass of wealth, and the scale of enjoyment. The business of those who inherit . considerable fortunes is rather to spend than accumulate; and while, on the one hand, the desire to attain to an equality of riches with them, is a powerful spur to in- dustry : the manner of living which they render fashion- able, prevents, on the other, the groJwth of those sordid and miserly habits that are subversive of every generous impulse." Custom at last becomes law ; that is to say, if it has lasted time out of mind. Such is the common law of entail, which, though it may not be statute law, is still as injurious to society. However, in order to palliate the nature of the common law of entail, Mr. M c Culloch enumerates what he considered to be its most prominent merits, without having perceived even in the smallest degree that what he was erroneously supposing to be its virtues were, strangely to say, its inherent vices. He instances force as being one of its executive merits, by which the younger brothers are forced to quit the home of paternity ; besides that it stimulates the holders of estates to save a monied fortune. The first operation of this custom is an action of force, an ejectment by the OF PROPERTY. 115 elder brother, turning the younger branches of the family out of doors, to seek their fortune in society. The se- cond result, after having turned the younger sons of the aristocracy adrift on society, is, that of creating a miserly incentive on the part of the holders of entailed estates, so as to abstain from spending money, or as little as pos- sible on its improvement, and by this means conduce to throw the labourers out of employment. These are the two first dividends paid to society for the property monopolized by entailed estate holders. The first, that of turning out of their father's home, and quartering upon the nation the younger sons of the aristocracy, is to the dishonor and burden of society too frequently realized. The second instalment, that of the proprietors of entailed estates saving a monied for- tune, is a mere hypothetical delusion; and Mr. M c Culloch, when he says, that " the custom of entail stimulated the holders of estates to endeavour to save a monied for- tune," is not very consistent, for he thereby refutes at the bottom of the page what he affirmed at the top; for ex- ample, he states subsequently, that " the business of those who inherit considerable fortune is rather to spend than accumulate/' He furthermore, after having enumerated the beneficial effects on society of the law of entail, ex- presses a doubt as to its efficacy to produce any good at all. " But to whatever cause" says he, u it may be owing, we may safely affirm, that an interest in the wel- fare of others has never been more strongly manifested in any age or country than in our own." We are most willing to bear our testimony to the be- nevolent spirit of Englishmen, and also to give to the charitable institutions of this country all the culogium 116 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES which they merit ; but, at the same time, we dissent from the attempt made by Mr. M c Culloch, to elevate them at the expense of the character of other nations which have no workhouses, nor poor laws like ourselves. Besides, it is a question whether or not our numerously charitable institutions be not an index, which clearly de- monstrates the baseness of a system which has called into existonce so many workhouses and bridewells, and which has placed on the statute-book such severe and stringent poor laws. Give the people justice, and labour its just rights, and we would have no need of workhouses, nor poor laws. The people do not want charity ; they demand only justice : they deny your charity; and be- lieve it to be only hypocrisy, through the profession of which you preserve your own monopolies by paying a small premium towards the maintenance of those charit- able institutions, which prevent thei poor disinherited labourers from laying rough hands on you. Between the rich and the poor, charity is simply a matter of account, which is balanced with the most scrupulous exactness, of how much the rich owe to the poor, and how little the obligation can be paid with. If the great landlords were so very benevolent, as Mr. M c Culloch would have us believe, then the people themselves must be irre- claimably depraved; for we find, that in 1842 the popu- lation of France was thirty-four millions. The number of persons committted for trial during that year was 6353. In 1842 the population of England and Wales was sixteen millions. Committed for trial 31,309 persons ; or, in pro- portion to the population, eleven times as much crime in England as in France. If crime were as prevalent in France, as it is in England, the number of persons that OF PROPERTY. 117 would be committed for trial every year in France, would be 68,406 In Ireland, from 1835 to 1849, crime has been, in proportion to the population, twice as much as in England, or twenty-two times greater than it is in France. In the United Kingdom, every twelfth Scotch- man, every ninth Englishman, and every sixth Irishman is a pauper ; and yet Mr. M c Culloch boasts of the unpa- ralleled and unprecedented interest which the aristocracy of this country take in the welfare of others. The allowance of the practice of entail is a disgrace to our legislation, as its tendency is to spoliate society by abstracting its property, and bestowing its utility upon isolated individuals. This gift is nothing else than the usurpation, through a pretension of constitutional law, of the rights of society, and is an arrant imposture under the garb of a territorial proprietor. We have shewn that property could only have origi- nated in society ; and that, if it were used in accordance with its primitive intent, it would be a blessing to the human race. But, were we to trace the origin and deve- lopment of the law of entail, we should find its founda- tion firmly based on ambition and selfishness; producing, as its fruits, hatred between children of the same father, a curse to society, and the apex or consummation of mis- applied property. Entailed estates, being the first kind of misguided property, that, in the decadence of the dominant right of property, over labour, will suffer on account of its exotic and over- advanced position, which stretches far beyond the power or right of society to pro- tect; it having been made by its original constitution anti-social, and the antagonist of social rights. Society only could organize, constitute, and establish 118 THE EIGHTS AND DUTIES property, by subjecting it to certain prescribed laws. Property, therefore, of every sort, must recognize soci- ety as its parent and guardian, and submit to its laws, otherwise it has forfeited all claim for protection, by re- fusing to conform to the laws which constitute it pro- perty, and as they were understood in principle, when man at first merged his common or personal right to a participation in the produce of the earth, into that of a common right to self-preservation, out of which property has arisen, and on the fulfilment of which it only can claim its right to be at present tolerated by society ; as all denominations of property, howsoever plausible and imposing their appearances may be, which have not a common right afforded and guaranteed to each member of society to share in its benefits, are not really property, but so many various means and systems of organised spoliation, established not for the ostensible good of so- ciety but for occult and selfish purposes. We have previously said, and here we again repeat it, were it only for the edification of proprietors, on whose obdurate minds it cannot be too often impressed, that property cannot exist in itself, or then it would be omnipotent. It cannot exist in them, for then it would only be simple possession, and not property. It is of social organization, and exists solely through the instru- mentality of society. If it have not its foundation and existence in society, then it does not exist at all as pro- perty, but has been transmuted into a different form. Even when property remains social, and is guarded and protected by society, a true understanding of its nature is very difficult on account of its changeableness, which each successive opinion of society modulates into confer- OP PROPERTY. 119 mity with itself. Need it then be wondered at, that property, in its present constitution and development, which is quite at variance with its original principle, should present to the political economist such a multitude of contradictory forms, which defy the reconciliation of customs with principles. The design of society, in establishing the rights of property, could have proceeded from no other motive than to facilitate the progress of man, by rendering him more certain of enjoying the fruits of his labour, than when unprotected by social laws. The origin of pro- perty, therefore, is founded on a principle of benevolence and justice ; and to facilitate the dissemination of this good and generous principle amongst mankind, is a duty which devolves upon society. Were it not for the cry of distress which vibrates from the oppressed labourers, in accusation of society, we should have rested satisfied, that all had been done to complete the happiness of man that could be devised, or executed, in order to carry out to the fullest extent the benevolent purpose of the institution of property ; and that the duties of society in effecting that purpose had been fulfilled with a success beyond even what might have been anticipated, when we take into account the various difficulties it had to struggle against, before learning was at all diffused among the great body of its members, had we not found upon minute examination into the developments of property, that many of its present laws were subversive of social happi- ness. On detecting this renegade tendency, in the laws by which property is administered, we are induced, for the sake of property and labour, to institute further en- quiries into the nature of that wealth which society has 120 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES called into existence under the social appellation of property ; and which for a length of time has adopted the principle of oppressing labour, and is even now de- Touring in vast numbers the children of the social family from whom it originated, and which stood sponsor for it at its initiation into society, that it should keep the laws of society, resisting the temptations of exclusive property, with all its pomps and vanities ; and by whose permission and indulgence it is still permitted to retain its primitive title property. Labour was in full fruition of natural rights; and wealth, the product of labour, existed to a certain degree before society was formed, and they could yet exist in that state independently of society ; however, that could only be to a very limited extent, and their influence could embrace only a circumscribed circle of individuals ; for without the aid of society, to secure to man the peace- able and certain enjoyment of the fruits of his labour, and to foster and facilitate through its protection the peaceable extension of a reciprocal exchange of products between the various members of society, man could have little or no inducement to produce more than what his more immediate wants demanded ; in fact, without this protection, the more the labourers produced over and above what their daily wants required ; so, in proportion, would they be exposed to the inroads of the indolent, or non-producing classes, who would find a sufficient over- plus in production, to enable them to live without labour- ing themselves. Labour has been constituted by nature king of the world, and man, the chief of nature's works, has been brought into existence, and reared up to manhood by OF PROPERTY. 121 means of labour : even before be has been born, be has a certain degree of labour expended on him in various ways; us, for instance, bis mother requiring during ber pregnancy care and attention to be paid to ber, which may have necessitated die engagement of an additional number of servants to assist ber in the discharge of ber domestic duties, when she was incapacitated from per- forming them herself. Man himself, therefore, is the personification of labour; and the reason why he through its instrumentality becomes master of creation is solely m account of the origin of all wealth being inherently biaed in him, by immediate gift from the Creator, in a much greater propoition than in any other creature. Many of the animals have far superior corporeal strength than man ; but he, by that intellectual mind which God has bestowed only on him, has thereby the facility of turning his inferior bodily strength to an infinitely supe- rior advantage than any of the instinctive animals. "Subdue the earth, and have dominion over it," uas the first precept imposed on man. In other words, labour, and you shall be rewarded for that toil, by your corning into possession of the world, through the very act of appropriation which requires a certain amount of labour on the part of the appropriates Society recog- nizes the right of appropriation as being equal in all, and respects the industry of those who appropriate, by the free exercise of labour, the unappropriated gifts of nature, by pledging itself to support and guarantee the right of each individual to possess unmolested whatever be may have acquired through his exertions that is not prejudicial to the rights of others. "It is to labour," says Mr. MCulloch, *' and to it only, that man owes 122 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES every thing possessed of value. Labour is the talisman that has raised him from the condition of the savage, that has changed the desert arid the forest into cultivated fields, that has covered the earth with cities, and the ocean with ships, that has given us plenty, comfort, and elegance, instead of want, misery, and barbarism. Here we are in accord in principle with Mr. M c Cul- loch as to the powerful effect of labour in changing the face of nature, and in influencing the destiny of social happiness ; our only difference being a slight shade of opinion as to the natural influence of labour over matter. He has compared it to a talisman, whose influence and operation may be often very uncertain and irregular: we have assigned it a loftier prerogative, and designated it, the Sovereign of the world, that has made all things of utility not provided for man by nature, and that has stamped its ensign upon all that the globe contains of exchangeable value, comparing and adjusting with the nicest scrupulosity the relative proportions of exchange- able value which each product of labour respectively contains. With labour as the sovereign of every thing possessing value in use and value in exchange, the kingdom of pioperty, as at present existing, is shaken to its very foundation : its princes sink into insignificance ; their thrones topple, and the crowns on their heads become dim before the rays of the sun of labour advancing to take possession of his inheritance. If labour be sove- reign of our social vineyard, what is the value of the prerogative of those husbandmen who do not labour at all ; but who, nevertheless, claim a right to wield the sceptre of power, and to possess it irrespectively of the OF PROPERTY. 1?3 rights of die lieirs at la\v, tlie labourers? As labour is the producer of every thing which is valuable, either in use or in exchange, lio\v has it been brought about that the labourers have been shorn of ail which is considered as possessing intrinsic value in exchange; and that, in proportion as their labour increases in intenseness, so in an inverse proportion does their wages generally decline? It is quite evident that labour was carried on by man for the perpetuation of his existence long previously to the formation of society ; so that, independently of so- ciety, he must then have been in possession of the fruits of his industrj^, and every individual must have been wealthy in proportion to the extent of die produce of his labour over and above what he consumed in pro- ducing, and in so far as he was able to hold self-posses- sion, and to defend the appropriated commodities. Had it been practicably beneficial for man to have remained in primitive relations with his fellow man, the formation of society would not have taken place, but \vould have been repulsed by mankind as an unnecessary invasion of primitive rights, however, a primitive state of possession was not possible to be preserved, along with the increase of population, and the perpetuation of that principle of domination and acquisitiveness which we find so naturally dominant in man, even when he is controlled through living in society. This principle would more and more develop its latent power as men began to multiply in the world, and to migrate towards the poles. They would find the difficulty greater of being able to satisfy all their various wants by individual labour, the more they were pressed by J2-4 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES towards rude and inclement climes: and thus finding themselves located in peculiar positions, under unfavor- able auspices, on account of their isolated exertions, and the difficulties of producing as abundantly as those who might have taken up a more favorable position, they would naturally resort to all sorts of wiles and frauds in order to supply themselves either by stealth, or by open violence, with what they required to satiate their real, or supposed wants. Man finding himself in want of, or deprived of those necessaries which nature required that he should have a share of, in order to render him happy, and observing them in the custody of others, whilst he was excluded from any benefit in them, would naturally be urged on, through want, to prosecute aggressions on others to make up his deficiency : other individuals similarly circumstanced would make the same sort of reprisals, and through course of time these would become fashionable, and even be considered as an ho- norable profession, till at last bad-intentioned individuals ivould, solely for the love of plunder, infest the honest labourer and spoliate his wealth ; thus leaving him desti- tute, whilst those depredators would enjoy the fruits of his exertions, by robbing him to save themselves the trouble of earning their bread by the sweat of their brows. Iso doubt society arose not from any spontaneous act of mankind, but \vas naturally and gradually formed, through the necessity of affording individual protection to life and property? as the increase of population ad- vanced, and as men found themselves by reason thereof unfavorably circumstanced on account of the new comers and the idlers venting their selfish propensities upon them, who had honorably and laboriously toiled in IU ' OF PROPERTY. 12.3 barinir the burden and expense of producing useful and beneficial commodities for the existence and the comfort of mankind. These strangers to wealth, that mankind for their pleasure had called into existence, as naked of property as Job, not feeling disposed patiently to submit to their privation, and in adoration of those who had occasioned their fate to placidly quit the scene as equal in misery as they were ushered into life, would to a certain extent make common lot with the idlers in spo- liating the wealth produced by the labour of others, and in committing aggressions and depredations upon the lividual liberties of man. To counteract the evil tendency of these attacks on industry, and with a view towards establishing an adequate protection to life, liberty, and property, men found themselves gradually compelled to organize themselves into associations or societies for the purpose of mutual protection against their common enemy, and to promulgate social laws by which their objects should be accomplished. During this formation of society, which may be denominated the period of property, we find the vestiges of wealth in the various social strata, under multifarious forms, decomposed by the advancing tide of society as it gra- dually swept over them towards the present progressive era of property. The laws which society successively adopted for the purpose of social government, were no doubt modelled on the previously existing customs that men l)ad indivi- dually put in force for self-preservation,, and which had gradually sprung up as the earth was progressively popu- lated, and as the various wants of that population mani- fested themselves ; whether it WQVQ. frpui natural causes^ ]2 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES or through artificially created wants, on account of iv bat each individual necessarily required a share of, having been monopolized by a class. The progress of population, therefore, and the fear of want, are the parents of society ; and to prevent mankind from being exposed to want, or reduced to a common condition of misery, society has been instituted on the principle, that there was abundance on the earth for all, and that it was responsibly bound to justly administer the wealth of the world for the benefit of those deservedly entitled to possess it, and for whose use it was primordially be- queathed. Should it be contended for, that society has been instituted to protect property, for the sole benefit of its possessors, then the consistent obligation of those who Lave no property to conform to the laws, which are made for the protection of property, mny be successfully dis- puted, in antagonism to this absurd theory of the exclu- sive and unconditional right of property. In the primitive state in which men must have existed previously to the formation of society, common rights were no doubt recognized, and equal eligibilities to possession manifestly and practically carried out, by which every fa- mily would have a right to its fair proportion of the sur- face of the globe, in ratio to the number of families, and to the respective force of each family, to beneficially cul- tivate the soil, and to retain possession. Without this, there could have been no commonality of interest; and any one who had appropriated more than his fair share \vould have usurped that possession, as it could only have been acquired through aggressive appropriation : from which possession the approprintor might have been dis- lodged by any whose acquisitive powers were predominant. OF PROPERTY. 127 The objects men must Lave Lad in view in instituting society, and in consenting to be governed by its laws, no doubt were to facilitate the division of labour, to gua- rantee the common rights of the labourers, and after that the division of labour had been fully carried out by the labourers devoting their attention to different occu- pations, to appoint a government as arbitrator between contending interests that might be rightly or wrongly in possession of any portion of the social stock. Labour, though naturallv constituted sovereign of the world, would often, as men increased, find its kingdom desolated by individual oppression and party feuds, through the desire of certain individuals to acquire pos- session of that which, by the rights of labour, belonged to those who had produced it. Society having descried the immense advantage which would be derivable to all its members, by protecting industry from those conflicts which from time to time threatened to destroy its effi- cacy and to annihilate its power, was naturally induced by common sense, and prompted by reason, to institute laws for the adequate protection of life and property, and to enforce the due observance of primitively recog- nized and equal rights, by securing to each and to all its members an equal protection to the produce of their industry, and the right to enjoy the benefits which might be derived from its free and unfettered development. By observation and experience, men would discover, that, for the effectual protection of labour and its pro- ducts, they required a more powerful and energetic body, to enforce obedience and to repeal aggression, than the isolated and individual power of each labourer to defend his possession ; and giving credence to the supposition 128 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES that they would find in a society constituted bv them- selves, for the protection of each, the surest and hest means of carrying out their purpose of happiness, they parted with their primitive rights and powers, vesting them in society, under the conditions,that it should govern for the common good ; and that it should do no act what- ever whereb}' the commonality of the rights of labour might be in any way compromised. As the commonality of labourers thus thought properto merge into society, and to delegate to it their sovereign prerogative, society could have undertaken that responsibility under no other con- sideration, than that of exerting its united power to render primitive possessions more equal in their tenure, and more certain in their duration, by conferring on the possessors a conditionally vested property in them ; and as all pro- perty necessarily implies a common primitive possession, the consent of the primitive possessors, he labourers, and of society, either expressed or implied, was absolutely necessary to form and to consolidate the social union ; which, through its natural development, has created pro- perty. Without the pledge of society to guarantee the rights of property, all acquisitions of wealth must have remained in the same exposed condition they were in previously to social organization ; which was, simply individual possession secured only so long as that indi- vidual's strength was adequate to defend his possession against the aggressor. In labour assigning its rights of possession to its de- legate, society, in order to be constituted property, it acted on the very same principle, and with the same design and precaution, which animated the An^lo-Saxon and Norman barons, at the council of the landholders of : OP PROPERTY* 1 20 England, hold at Old Sarnm, in the autumn of 1080; hen the territorial survey, designated Doomsday Book, was. completed. The property assigned as the share of each landlord was hy this compilation clearly defined, as far as was practicahle and necessary, at the time this social compact was made with William the Bas.*ard, Dtike of Normandy. The barons were the then actual lords of the soil ; Guillome le bdtard. William the Bastard, bv his conquest, having been only in provisional po-st'S- on ; as he could not miike the land his vested property, ,'ithout the consent of the possessors, and the old Saxon rons. However, many of the old barons had fallen at the battle of Hastings ; some had fled, and not a few Lad been deprived of their estates through their futile insurrections to throw off the yoke ; so that, the ancient possessors of the soil were, at this time, reduced to a small number, which enabled the Conqueror, as Black- stone has said> * c to reward his Norman followers with
very large and extensive possessions, which gave a handle
to the monkish historians, and such as have implicitly
followed them, to represent him as having, by the right of
the sword, seized on all the lands of England, and dealt
them out again to his own favorites. A supposition
grounded upon a mistaken sense of the sword conquest,
which, in its feodal acceptation, signifies no more than
acquisition^ and this has led many hasty writers into a
strange historical mistake, nixl one which upon the slightest
examination will be found to be most untijne.”

That he had nominally made himself master of the
property of the country, is quite clear; for at this coun-
cil, most of the landlords tendered their possessions to
him, so that they might receive them back in fee simple;


nml he, in returning their possessions and rights, reesta-
blished them in those respective privileges, without any
pecuniary consideration, at the time of transfer, hut
simplv, on a promise or covenant, that he was to he re-
cognized hv them as sovereign of the state, and as head
of die civil government; and that lie, on his part, recog-
nised them as the representatives of the wealth of the
notion, and the protectors of the rights of the people.
He agreed to guard and defend them in the peaceable
enjoyment of their rights and possessions, and to distri-
hnte justice equally among them, by making each respect
his neighbour’s rights and property, as the only equiva-
lent to his own being protected. And they assented, on
their part, to do their utmost, in order to support him,
in carrying on the government for the mutual benefit of
the whole nation ; and, in case of civil or foreign wars,
or invasions, each was to contribute his fair share towards
the common defence. This is the nature of the foedal
tenure, on which property in England is based. The
foedal compact positively defined, that, protection to pro-
perty was to be maintained at the expense of property;
and paid for by the owners of property, at the very time
that, that protection was required. Protecting property,
by rnciins of its proprietors obtaining credit, is no part
of the foedal system, whose principle is the immediate
and imperative fulfilment by proprietors, of obligations
and duties, when demanded by the state. The modern
idea of shifting the duties of property, and the obligations
of proprietors upon the industrious labourers, owes its
origin to n much more recent date than the time of
William the Norman. Even, in those rude times, had
any of the barons assembled at Old arum, hinted at, or

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C Jnt. Acnts.

37 ) or Pub.Co’s. 2000 .. 3000 5000 185,000

18) Persons 3000 .. 4000 7000 126,000

> Jnt. Acnts.

8 ) orPub. Co.’s 3000 .. 4000 7000 203,000


Persons 4000 .. 5000 9000 56,000
Jnt. Acnts.
orPub. Co.’s 4000 .. 5000 9000 117,000

14) Persons 5000 & exceeding 95,017 1,330,280

> Jnt. Acnts.
41 ) orPub.Co.’s 5000 .. 95,017 3,895,697

206 Annuitants receive the aggregate sum of . . 6,152,977
Average Annuity per annum to each 29,869.


Whichsoever of these tahles we adopt as a standard
to draw deductions from, we shall find, that to five-sixths
of the fundholders receive only one-fourth of the amount
of interest paid on the national debt ; and that the other
one-sixth in number of large fundholders is paid the re-
mainin^ three-fourths. That is, 4-5,600 annuitants re-

O ‘

ceive 20,705,327, whilst the smaller fundholders,
though five times as numerous, being 223,738 persons,
receive only 6,886,205. And if some of those large
annuitants, specified in the last table as being joint
accounts, or public companies, receive those dividends
for the use of the shareholders, that, instead of palliating
the evils of the funding system, is an aggravation of its
perpetrations; for all those public establishments and
insurance companies’ are maintained in the first instance
by the industrious classes, and many of them are like
lotteries, they always take more than they give. Be-
sides, by investing their money in the government funds
they make the industrious classes pay the insurance for
its protection. Labourers ! whilst property has its va-
rious insurance companies, you have got your’s in the
funding system ; but it is to you, the assurance institu-
tion of your misery. Your resignation is the preserva-
tion of social order, by which society is enabled to con-
tinue its present march in support of your privileges,
and the rights of monopoly. Your privations aro nicely
balanced in society by the enjoyments of those for whom
you labour. Apart from your sufferings, the mysterious
glory of the funding system would languish, pine, and
die. Console yourselves, therefore, and cheerfully carry
your load, for the day of your deliverance may be at no
great distance.


Sir Charles Wood, the Chancellor of the Exchequer,
in promulgating his second and reformed edition of the
financial budget for 1851, states, in reference to the
national debt, and the effects which it produces upon the
community, u I feel most seriously on this point,” says
he, ” because I have within the last six months heard
doctrines broached in quarters whence I little expected
to hear them not certainly from members of this House,
for I believe no member of this House would be likely
to entertain them which I consider most dangerous.
Those opinions have been expressed in the organs of
public opinion, and at public meetings ; and, I think, we
are bound to hold different views ; to protest against the
very beginning of such a system, lest it should gain too
strong a hold upon public opinion. The delusion which
has been so general, is, that the non-payment of a public
dividend would injure only the rich. The late Lord
Ashburton called the attention of the country to a return
of the amount of dividends paid upon the public debt,
which shewed that the greater number of public creditors
were not of the richer class ; and I find, from a recent
return, that five-sixths of the persons who are in the
receipt of dividends, receive an amount not exceeding
fifty pounds per annum, and that a considerable number
receive not more than five pounds per annum. It is,
then, not the rich only, but the widow and the orphan,
the retired shopkeeper, and even the artisan, who have
invested their all in the public funds in entire dependence
upon the maintenance of public faith: and what would
be the effect upon so large a class, if there were any
failure in the punctual payments of the dividends, or any
prospect of the extinction of their capital ? Do not let


us think, then, that such an evil would affect only the
rich and the wealthy; it would be felt far more exten-
sively by those who ought to be among the principal
objects of our solicitude and care.”

We certainly could never have expected, that, in the
present advanced position of political economy, any mem-
ber of the British House of Commons should have de-
monstrated, in so few sentences, so much shallowness in
relation to the principle of the funding system ; far less
could it have been imagined, that the Chancellor of the
Exchequer, who has every possible means of obtaining
accurate information, and who from his position ought to
be aware of what is the present state of the fundholders,
and also what is likely to be their future prospects,
would have authoritatively stated that five-sixths of the
fundholders received the greater u amount of dividends
paid upon the public debt,” and that these ” five-sixths of
the fundholders receive only fifty pounds per annum.”
He surely must have known, that five-sixths of the fund-
holders receive half-yearly dividends not exceeding fifty
pounds, as the previous tables will shew, making the ave-
rage yearly annuity paid to each annuitant thirty pounds
per annum. Besides, he is the party deluded, if he
supposes that the organs of public opinion entertain any
such notion, as that ‘ the non-payment of public dividends
would injure only the rich.’ They know very well, that
there is a certain class of fundholders which are not in-
dividually rich, and that, were public dividends not paid
to them, they would lose the present means whereby
they live. What the organs of public opinion are con-
tending for, is, that the rich annuitants, who do not la-
bour at all, are receiving the greater portion of what the


millions of poor labourers pay every year in taxes ; and
that, were the funding system abolished, though some
few thousands of small fundholders would lose their
dividends, nevertheless millions of poor industrious indi-
viduals who are not fundholders would be benefited by
the change; and therefore, in the reasoning of these organs
of public opinion, it is advocated, that the benefit of the
many, and not the self-preservation interest of the insig-
nificantly few, ought to be the object of a government’s
care and solicitude. However, though the House of
Commons ought to be the reflex of public opinion, the
Chancellor of the Exchequer, from the fear lest that
opinion should gain the ascendant over what his notions
of rectitude are, considers, that it is the bounden duty of
that House to hold different sentiments, and to frustrate
the march and development of public opinion, which in
its eternal progress is advancing towards the truth, and
all the futile efforts of conventional legislation will be
ineffectual to retard its onward course.

If the late Lord Ashburton called the attention of
the Country to returns made by the Bank of England, to
shew, that the greater number of public creditors were
not of the richer class, the industrious part of the na-
tion has no thanks to render to any who, whilst they sit
at the fountain of information, use their influence to per-
petuatively promulgate the delusive and fatal idea, that
because the small fundholders are five-sixths in number
that of the large ones, consequently that they must be
receiving the greater proportion of the interest paid on
the national debt. Whereas, it has been proved by the
previous tables of public annuitants, that quite the reverse
is the fact.


The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in making these
statements, appears to have felt that he was beyond his
depth, for immediately he quits the field of reason,
changing his arguments from figures to figures of speech,
and rhetorically asks the House of Commons to define what
would become of the widow and the orphan, &c., were the
dividends not regularly paid to the public creditor ? It was,
however, the duty of the Chancellor of the Exchequer
before he thus pathetically addressed the feelings of the
House, in calling for its decision, to have clearly stated the
number of widows and orphans that were fundholders, and
to what amount they were annuitants ; and whether or
not they were entirely dependant on the public funds for
their support. We can feel as sensitively and as tenderly
as the House of Commons for the weak, unprotected,
and destitute ; but were we, blindfoldedly, to have that
pity and sympathy for the fundholders, whoever they
may be, whilst they are the means of causing multi-
tudes of others much more helpless than themselves to
live and die, in misery, degradation, and crime, we
should thereby be supporting a system which took the
mite of the poor widow from her, and that turned her
fatherless children into the streets, to beg, to steal, and
to prostitute themselves to all species of crimes. The
widows of the just were commanded to put their trust
in Providence ; but, in the case of the widow fundholders,
the Chancellor of the Exchequer seems to doubt Provi-
dence, and points to public faith as the only sure anchor
of their independence ; and, as the alpha and omega of
his theories, system, and science. Let him, therefore,
scientifically, systematically, theoretically, and philoso-
phically describe, what is public faith ? Without this


credence, he and the fundholders would be like Peter
walking on the sea. And assuredly, his belief in the
maintenance of public faith with the fundhclders is
weak, when it is so seriously shaken by the advocation,
as he says, of delusive doctrines for six months, by in-
significant individuals. Ayez lafoi et vous serez forts ;
la foi transports les rnontagnes. ” And what would be
the effect on so large a class of fundholders, were any
failure jn the punctual payment of the dividends, or any
prospect of the extinction of their capital ?” This is
philosophically stating the problem; however, instead
of grappling with so grave a question in an adequate
spirit, he avoids it by pathetically pourtraying the ma-
jority of the fundholders as widows and orphans, and
therefore deserving of a nation’s solicitude and care.
If widows and orphans are the peculiar objects of
the care of government, and if the Chancellor of the
Exchequer has ever demonstrated by ( works his partici-
pation in that anxious solicitude by ordering a return to
be made of the number of widows and orphans who are
fundholders, he must know, that there are only about
nine per cent, of the fundholders widows, and twenty per
cent, spinsters, making together twenty-nine per cent,
or nearly 80,000 annuitants who are widows and spin-
sters ; and if we estimate the average annuity paid to
each at thirty pounds per annum, we shall demonstrate,
that a sum of not more than 2,400,000 is paid out of
the interest on the national debt to widows and spinsters.
Yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer draws a veil over
the mystery of credit, by propagating the delusion, that
it is the helpless and poor class of fundholders who are
receiving the greater share of the amount paid annually
as interest on the national debt.


The funding system is not an institution of charity,
nor never was organized with the intention of being ulti-
mately converted into a refuge for the nominally poor
capitalists ; and if it were so, we have now proven, that
the poor and helpless are not those who reap the great-
est benefit. Let us, however, carry this proof a little
farther, in order to meet the allegation, that apart from
the fundholders there is a very numerous class of public
creditors who are depositors in savings’ banks, friendly
societies, and charitable institutions, and that therefore


there is a considerable portion of the interest on the
national debt paid to those individuals who have invested
their savings in those institutions. This is true to a cer-
tain extent, as regards the number of depositors, but
very fallacious as to the amount of interest received.

Mr. G. R. Porter, in his valuable work, ” The Progress
of the Nation,” has shewn that these savings’ banks have
been a loss to the Exchequer ; and that the amount of inte-
rest paid to them during twenty-four years has been com-
paratively small. ” The amount paid,” says he, ” by the
public for interest on the sums due to the trustees of sav-
ings’ banks and friendly societies from 6th August, 1817,
to 20th November, 1S4J, was 13,086,472 16s 9d;
and as the amount of dividends in public securities in-
vested by the Commissioners for the reduction of the
National Debt, in respect of the same, amounted only
to 11,191,323 14s Id, there had resulted a loss at
that time to the public from those institutions of
1,895,149 2s 8d, by reason of the rate of interest
allowed being greater than that yielded by the securities
in which the deposits have been invested. The value
of these securities, according to a return made to Parlia-


ment in May, 1842, was 24,4-71,085. The rate of
interest allowed by the public to depositors was lowered
from November, 1844, to twopence per cent, per diem,
or 3 Os lOd per cent, per annum/’

The number of depositors in savings’ banks and chari-
table institutions in the United Kingdom in 1849, was
1,087,354 individuals, and the amount of deposits
28,537,010, yielding an interest of 1,018,381. The
average amount invested by each depositor being 26 5s.,
and the average annual interest 18s 9d. There were of
the above number of depositors 609,800 individuals,
whose average amount deposited did not exceed ,6,
interest thereon 4s^3d. And 254,600 depositors, the
average amount invested not exceeding 30, interest
thereon 21s 5d ; so that more than one-half of the depo-
sitors in savings banks receive each on an average 4s 3d
interest per annum ; and one-fourth of the number
receive each 21s 5d interest per annum.

The fact is, therefore, undeniably proven, that neither
the poorer class of fundholders, nor the depositors in savings’
banks, are the individuals who receive the greater portion
of the public dividends : and, in claiming a victory over
the popular delusion, fostered by the Chancellor of the Ex-
chequer, we for the present quit the commercial pounds,
shillings, and pence falsifications of the funding system,
and assume still loftier grounds of accusation against it,
by asserting its immorality; if that immorality is to be
judged of by the purest system of morality which has ever
yet been inculcated to man, namely, the sacred writings ;
for, from the time of Moses down to the days of the exile
John, in the island of Patmos, the purport of the writings
of all those worthy men, whose instructions have been


conserved, as examples to teach pure morality to mankind,
are diametrically at variance with the principle of our fund-
ing system; therefore, those fundholders who go to church
with sedate faces, and make long prayers, should examine
their deeds, and see if their actions are not more reprobate
than those of David, when he was ” in the horrible pit
and in the miry clay.” But were we to preach sermons on
morality to the inexorable fundholders, we fear, that the
same answer might be given to us, which was given to the
Priest by Gil Bias, when pistol in hand on the highway,
he demanded his purse, or his life. ‘ Stop your moralizing,’
says Gil Bias, ‘ it is your money and not your sermons
that 1 want/ Oh ! que cequedad ! Escuchame, y te hare
presents el infeliz eslado en que te hollas. Oh, padre
mio ! le interrumpi con precipitation, no se tome miesa
reverencia ese trabajo, y dejese de moralizar, que no
vengo a los caminos publicos a que me prediquen ;
quiero diner o y no sermones.

The charity of government towards its creditors is
established by its actions to be only a selfish solicitude,
for it has repeatedly set public faith and charity aside,,
in regard to its creditors, and it is studiously on the
watch to embrace the first opportunity of again reducing
their means of living. The public creditor is in turn
distrustful of government, and public faith is thus cruci-
fied between them. If, then, public faith is not indige-
nous to either of their characters, but nevertheless is*
that by which they both exist, the grand problem, what
is public faith ? ought to be solved by reason, and not
evaded by sympathetical declamation.

46 What would be the effect upon the fundholders were
any extinction of their capital to take place?” To tliis


question, it is our duty to give an answer; first, as regards
the fundholders, and secondly, as to the effects which
an extinction of the national debt would have upon the

Were a repudiation of the debt effected, it is quite
evident, that the fundholders would lose the whole amount
of their claims, and become so much the poorer, as nei-
ther capital nor interest would any longer be paid to them.
The nation, however, as a body would lose nothing; for,
in exact proportion to the loss which the fundholders
would sustain, the rest of the community would become
so much richer : and the industrious portion of the na-
tion would have added every year to their revenue a sum
equal to the interest which they now pay upon the debt,
thereby enabling them to increase their production, and
thus annually to augment the wealth of the nation which
would be freed from its present responsibility.

The effect upon the fundholders, were any failure to
take place in the punctual paymentnof the dividends,
would be felt in exact ratio to the extent of that failure;
and, if consummated through an act of Parliament, would
be exactly similar to that which overtook them in 1844,
by the Act 7th Victoria, cap. 4? & 5, by which the three
pounds ten shillings per cent, per annum annuities were
confiscated, and three and a quarter and three per cent,
per annum annuities were granted instead for a pe-
riod as per recited act. “Which said annuities shall
continue to be paid at the rate of three pounds five shil-
lings per cent, per annum until the 10th day of October,
1854 ; and from and after that date, the said annuities
shall carry interest at the rate of three pounds per cent,
per annum, and shall be called c New Three Founds per


cent. Annuites,’ which suid last-mentioned annuities
shall not be suhject to reduction until from and after the
10th day of October, 1874.”

By this act, the fundholders were subjugated to the
alternate losses, either to accept new stock which was
to bear a lower rate of interest than that of which they
had been deprived ; or, in case of refusing to accept the
proposed reduced annuity, they were obliged to accept
payment in full of the amount which they held in the
stock which had been cancelled by the said act. And
certainly, at first sight this appears to have been rigidly
equitable ; but, veto, says the annuitant, public faith is
infringed, as there can be no equitable right shewn why
government, after having kept my money so long, should
dictatorially pay me off, at a time when were I to reinvest
that money in any sort of security whatever, I must do so
to a very great disadvantage, and at a sacrifice of interest.
And vet, government delusively descants about its soli-
citude and care for its creditors, all the time that it is
scheming how it can get rid of its debts, and pay the
interest with as little money as possible.

The real friends of the fundholders are those who
warn them of their pending danger, by exposing the
hollow sophistry of their pretended friends, who lay in
watch to defraud them. Fundholders ! your position is
pitiable; government is attentively watching and pressing
on your rear to take advantage of your anomalous
situation by curtailing the means by which you live ; and
the people in your face are boldly advancing and declaring
that they have no right to be eternally taxed in order
that you may live in luxury. Neither of your antagonists
will have any commiseration on you ; you are. therefore,


unconsciously sleeping over a volcano, if you trust in the
philanthropy of government; or, if you believe that an
intelligent people will continuously submit to be wronged
for your advantage, you are fatally deluding yourselves.

The funding system is adverse to the rights of humanity,
and ultimately must through eternal justice perish ;
therefore, the real repudiators of the national debt are
those who vindicate the integrity of the present claims
of the fundholders, thereby inducing them to postpone
making any compromise with the nation till it shall have
been too late. But wherefore, some will say, propose
any compromise with the fundholders? why not let them
continue their system a short time longer ? and they will
be, in respect to their dividends, similarly situated to
what the landlords were, who would not accept of an
eight shillings per quarter protection duty on Corn, but
who were shortly afterwards obliged to surrender protec-
tion altogether ? So will it be with the fundholders ! The


cup of their iniquity is well-nigh filled; they have ridden
the pale horse long enough, and the fifth seal is about
being opened, when the people will discover under the
altar of public stocks, the havoc which the funding sys-
tem has wrought amongst them. Wait a little longer,
labourers ! eternal justice is on its march to your rescue ;
and the funding system, with all the false philosophy
and unscientific political economy by which it is bastion –
ed, will fall and be crushed like grains of sand before the
pulverizing wheels of the advancing car of immutable

The industrious classes have to pay yearly out of
their labour the interest on the national debt, which is
a grievous clog on the wheels of industry, and must
very materially retard its free and unfettered progession;


and so long as it is allowed to press down labour, so
long will Englishmen be placed at a disadvantage in
competing with foreigners in a free trade market. Be-
fore we can justly have a free trade in the importation
of commodities, we must previously establish a free trade
amongst the various producers, so that they may be
enabled to produce on equal terms, that is to say, En-
glishmen, who compete with foreigners in this market, if
justice is to be done to them, must be admitted to labour
as free from taxation, and under as advantageous means
as those foreigners have laboured whose productions
come freely into competition with theirs. To allow a
partial, or an unlimited free trade, whilst the national
debt is fastened on the backs of Englishmen, would be
to decree, that they should carry a prodigious weight,
and should run over the same ground as the foreigners
who carried little or no weight at all. Englishmen may
compete, and even may outstrip the foreigner in a free
trade market ; but then, this must be accomplished
through greater bodily exertion, either in working more
fervently, supposing both to work an equal length of
time ; or, by labouring twelve hours to maintain himself,
and to produce for sale an article equivalent in Gallic
to that which the foreigner can produce in eight hours,
and maintain himself.

The principle of free trade is in harmony with nature,
and is that by which nations must ultimately expect to
be able to extend and propagate the happiness of their
people; but, under the present conventional state of
society, without the producers of each respective na-
tion have equal advantages conferred on them, so as to
enable them to exchange their various productions oa


reciprocal terms with foreigners, there can be no sem-
blance of justice in free trade. Devoid of this right, that
those labourers who produce commodities which are to be
sold in the same market ought to have equal facilities of
producing at the same cost, free trade is only the free
organization of injustice, the free reign of capital over
labour, and the free league of the monopolists of the
world against the labourers, let in through the flood-gates
of this unequal free trade, to inundate and monopolize
the markets of our heavily. taxed producers with their
more cheaply-produced commodities; to undersell our
merchants in the home market, through means of re-
presentatives, that many of the large foreign capitalists
are sending into this country, and as they keep up no
establishments here, they therefore avoid paying an ade-
quate proportion of the taxation ; they thus throw our
labourers out of workj whilst the foreign labourers are
fully employed, well fed, living in comfort, and increas-
ing their stocks of wealth, so as one day orlother to enable
them to become masters themselves.

We. can never in justice to the producers of this
country establish a free trade with foreign nations, un-
less *we are first prepared to afford our labourers the
facilities of producing commodities at the same value as
foreigners. This, therefore, can only be accomplished
by reducing the taxation; not only on those articles that
the labourer consumes whilst he is producing, but also
through means of an unqualified and impartial reduction
in taxation, which can only be done with safety to the
constitution by paying off the national debt. So long
as the interest on the debt has to be paid, the producers
must ultimately pay it, let government place on whoso-
ever it may the first advancement of the taxes. Indivi-


duals do not pay taxes in proportion to their consumption ;
they only advance the money to the government, after-
wards to draw it with interest out of the produce of
labour. Production, therefore, is the reservoir out of
which the consumer draws the nectar, and, in libations,
pours it into the treasury for the use of the Christian
deities, the fundholders ! What is erroneously called
direct taxation, is, therefore, the most indirect, as it is the
round-about and most expensive mode of taxation, for
by it the producers are fatally doomed to pay ultimately
the gross amount of taxation, with a benefit thereon
to the non-producers, who may have advanced the sum
in the first instance.

The actual position of the producers of this country
is, that whilst the debt remains unpaid they cannot pro-
duce so cheaply as the workmen of less taxed nations.
For instance, France has little more than one-third the
amount of national debt that we have; and, as it has often
contemned the payment of such public demands, it is
very likely, that at no far distant period, a repudiation
will take place, or some means will be resorted to in
order that it may be cancelled. When this shall have
been effected, then will her producers be enabled to
compete with ours to a still greater advantage than even
now. It is utterly impossible for the French Republic
to perpetuate its principles of Liberty, Equality, and
Fraternity, and simultaneously to preserve faith with the
fund holders of that antagonistic dynasty which the
Republic destroyed, but lift the hornets riest entire,
Egalitc point de tout. The fundholder is the archet} T pe
of inequality ; because, what government abstracts from
the people in taxes for his sole benefit, is thrown into


the scale in his favour, by which operation the equality
is destroyed in a double ratio. It was a grave error that
the provisional government; of France made when the
Republic was established, that it did not insist upon
some arrangement for the liquidation of the then na-
tional debt of France ; and so long as it does not take
this subject under its consideration, liberty, equality,
and fraternity are words void of sense, and the Republic,
so far as equality is concerned, a dead letter.

National Bankruptcy ! Whenever any efforts are
made to expose the pernicious practice, or to condemn
the chronic evils of the funding system, this flatulent and
delusive assumption of national bankruptcy is advanced
by those who support the present system, either through
a sinister motive to enlist the patriotic sympathies of
the weak-minded in favour of the government, or with
a view to mislead the public into the belief, that what
is stupidly termed, national bankruptcy, is synonymous
with national revolution, or the breaking asunder of all
social ties.

We shall not here enter upon any erudite disquisition
to establish the purport of the term bankruptcy, as we
consider our duty will be performed if we investigate
the nature of the adulterate union of national with bank-
ruptcy, which has neither been consummated on the
principles of truth, nor in unison with those of political
economy. We, therefore, sturdily claim the divorce, in
asserting, that it is as political an impossibility for a
nation which borrows money of its own subjects ever to
become bankrupt, as it is an economical absurdity to
suppose that the husband who borrows money of his
(naturally married) wife, can or will ever be made a
bankrupt by her.


Were it possible for England ever to become bankrupt,
it Lad done so in 3711, when the South Sea Company
was feignedly established for the purpose of trading in
the South Seas, and with the North West Coast of
America : its real object having been to assist the
government of Queen Anne in the French war that we
had been led into, through our interference in attempting
to dictate to France and Spain who was to be King of
Spain. This war occasioned such an expense, that, at the
formation of the South Sea Company the government
had contracted debts to the amount of 9,000,000, for
the payment of which no scheme of taxation had been
enacted. The Company paid this amount for the Govern-
ment on an interest of six per cent.; and an annual sum
of 8000 for the management of the scheme : and thus
disinterestedly, without further interest in the matter,
it saved the government the trouble of paying its debts,
or of telling those it had connived with, and had had the
money of, that the money was all spent in their service,
and that such being the case, the public owed them
nothing. A nation that had such able friends to aid it
in its hour of need, had no necessity to become a bankrupt.
When the debt was only fifty millions in 1736, Sir
John Sinclair, in his work on the Public Revenue, draws
the following miniature picture of what we at the present
time behold in extension, in respect to the national debt.
” The vast load of debt under which the nation still groans,
is the true source of all those calamities and gloomy
prospects of which we have so much reason to complain.
To this has been owing that multiplicity of burthensome
taxes which have more than doubled the price of the com-
mon necessaries of life within a few years past, and


thereby distressed the poor labourer and manufacturer,
disabled the farmer to pay his rent, and put even gentlemen
of plentiful estates under the greatest difficulties to make
a tolerable provision for their families.”

The predictions even of political writers coincided in
by Mr. S. Hannay, who supposed, in 1756, when the debt
was 75,000,000, that the nation might go on borrowing
till the debt reached 100,000,000, but that then it
must inevitably become bankrupt, were soon after proven
to have been erroneously founded. In 1759, the debt
passed the Rubicon 100,000,000 strong, yet no fiat
in bankruptcy was issued ; rather, we perceive, that
government discovered on the other side of the Alps,
“that the more it borrowed, the more friends it had;”
that, the deeper it advanced into debt, its facility of
borrowing was expanded, and its allurements became
more fascinating. The philosophy which government had
been taught was dexterously reduced to practice, so that
it went on borrowing hundreds of millions after hun-
dreds of millions, till it has reached a sum which ex-
cites the wonder of the other nations of the globe.
And if government could procure credulous lenders, it
might warrantably continue borrowing till the debt was
more than three times its present amount, without any
risk of a national bankruptcy. ” The more it borrows,
the more friends it will have ; interest is a stronger tie
than principle.” We are sometimes told that the govern-
ment borrowed the money of the fundholders, who lent it
for the benefit of the nation. But, to borrow money,
means however, that it is to be repaid within a given
period ; and to lend it, implies, that the money was parted
with by the fundholders on condition of its being repaid ;


and if the money was to be repaid with interest, it was for
the benefit of themselves that the fundholders lent the
money; besides, it was more to their ad vantage that govern-
ment consented to accept ofthemoncv, by way of a friendly
loan, than that it should have levied it by direct contributions
on property ; which government, had it acted fairly towards
future generations, should have caused to have been done.
The lender of money reserves to himself a future
power of demanding a restoration of it : when he parts
with this right, he is not a lender; neither is the party
with whom he contracts, a borrower ; they both stand
quite differently situated in their relations to that of a
borrower, or a lender. The national fundholder has lost
his right of demanding a repayment of his money ; and
the government, the imaginary borrower, received it
under the express agreement that it could not be called
upon to refund it ; they, therefore, stand in relation with
each other, as buyer and seller, the government as the
purchaser, and the fundholder as the disposer of his
money. The government, as buyer of the debt, must
have had an equivalent to offer in exchange, so as to com-
plete the bargain. The fatal mistake, therefore, in this
transaction was, that the government, who contrived to get
the money, had nothing to pay it with ; it thereby made
a purchase beyond its means of paying, and laid itself
under obligations which it could not discharge. But, in
order to redeem the pledges it gave to the fundholders
when it contracted the debt, it sold to them, and to
their order for ever, in fee simple, the labour, industry,
and sweat of future generations ; and pledged to them
the rights of those calling themselves free-born English-
man, as a guarantee for deeds done before thcv were born.


” What are those credits npon the public,” asks Mons.
Sismondi, ” upon individuals which continue to exist after
the riches which founded them have been dissipated. One
cannot doubt that they have not a positive value, for it is this
\vhichforms the riches of all those who are vulgarly called
capitalists ; and it is even these riches which are most com-
monly employed to establish all useful enterprises. It
is a strange phenomenon, that a quantity, which in the
general inventory of a nation could not be reckoned but
as a negative quantity, appears to have, for stimulating
industry, all the effects of a positive quantity. It is not
to be wondered at, if this phenomenon has bewildered a
great number of economists.”

In order to understand it, we must impress on our
minds a clear idea, that credit, or that immaterial value
which a creditor receives from his debtor in exchange
for his money, is nothing else than an assignation upon
the products of future labour. Human labour produces
every year an increase of riches, which forms the revenue
of the society : the borrower promises to give yearly to
the lender a portion of that revenue which is not yet in
existence, in exchange for the capital which he receives.
However, what is this assignation upon* a revenue
which does not yet exist ? Only a hope, which is consi-
dered as real riches. A hope, which, if any calamity
befall the nation to prevent its labour being executed,
would never be realized ; and the capital, which is sup-
posed to represent that perpetual assignation upon time
to come, is the value for which that hope can be sold.
This system is, therefore, nothing else than the alienation,
executed by society, of its prospects ; the dissipation,
beforehand, of that which the labour of future generations


to perpetuity will produce. It is, without doubt, a very
commodious property for capitalists to possess ; besides,
it is a merchandize which is bought and sold to advan-
tage; also, the agents, brokers, and all those who make
a business of it, consider the public funds as the source
of their riches. . But, apart from those private advantages,
it is a great national calamity; it is a big injustice com-
mitted by the nation which borrows, and that dissipates
at the expense of future generations, which will have to
pay ; it is a great cause of the deprivation which goes
on increasing with the apparent opulence. To the enor-
mous mass of debt with which all nations are loaded, we
must lay to account the gradual diminution of salaries,
of profits, and of the interest of money, the rent of land,
and of all revenues whatever; for those revenues have
been alienated before being created ; and those who now
labour, those who will labour in future, shall be compelled,
not only to create their own subsistence, they will then
be obliged to pay for the follies and debts of their pre-

The real function of credit is solely to transmit to one
the disposal of that which belongs to another ; but, in the
way that we make use of it, credit transmits to us the
disposition of that which belongs to those that are not
yet born, of that which in justice could not belong but
to them through their labour. Upon this foundation
credit has created some colossal fortunes, which adds no-
thing to the real prosperity of a nation, which are even
frequently for it a great cause of ruin ; but which causes
really to swim in abundance those that are possessed
of them ; and which, at the same time, puts afloat in
commerce double the value of those which exist in


The fruits of the funding system are nothing else than
the share that the borrower has promised to the lender
in the productions of his future labour ; and, when it is a
question of a public loan that is under consideration, it
is the part of the revenue of each contributor that public
force will succeed in wresting from him, to hand it over
to the lender; nevertheless, all this immaterial riches is
hypothetically based upon positive wealth. Let us sup-
pose an abolition of debts, the fortune of one would
have passed to the other ; but society, in its totality,
would neither have lost nor gained. The con tributaries
would cease to pay to the lenders a part of their revenue,
the land and labour would be free ; and, if an obstinate
scrutiny is made what capita! the latter represents, the
nation as a body, the nation capable of labouring would
really be worth more than before, by a sum equal to that
of the immaterial capital which would have vanished,
because it. is a portion of its personal liberty which had
been perpetually alienated at that price. En abolissant
lesfonds publics, la nation ne serait ni plus riche ni plus
pauvre. Les emprunts publics sont une grande injustice
commise aux depense des generations futures.”

” Borrow what you can ; the more you borrow, the
more friends you make ; interest is a stronger tie than
principle/’ If Napoleon Bonaparte said to Mons. Ouvard,
that he had lowered royalty to the level of commerce,
through his pecuniary bargains with Charles IV. of
Spain, we may well say, that William III. lowered
rovaltv to the level of peculation ; and, by his becoming
the mouth-piece of utterance to such unsocial principles,
he proved himself worthy of being the abettor in this
country of a system of constitutional swindling, the ho-


norable operation of which is manifested by its admirable
adaptation to make the people part with their money in
conformity with and under the auspice of the laws.

Many of the kings of this country previous to Wil-
liam III. had borrowed money for the purpose of as-
sisting them in their wars, which had been repaid through
setting aside the revenues of the crown for that purpose,
or by taxing the people. However, when this modem
and refined mode of taxation of levying taxes from the
industrious class was first resorted to ; various insur-
rections and rebellions took place, which laid the foun-
dation of that untameable spirit, which has ever since
characterized the people of this country in support
of their privileges and rights. Mr. D. Hume, in his
History of England, records, that ‘ The first instance of
a debt contracted upon parliamentary security occurs in
the reign of Henry VI. The commencement of this
pernicious practice deserves to be noted, a practice the
more likely to become pernicious the more a nation ad-
vances in opulence and credit. The ruinous effects of it
are now become apparent, and threaten the very exist-
ence of the nation.’

The Parliament to whom William III. had given such
a liberal commission, very soon after voted 750,000 for
the support of the war in Ireland. This money was to
have been repaid in three years ; it has not yet, however,
been paid, and now forms a part of what is foolishly
named c the permanent debt/ The original darkness
which mantled the world at its birth was at length dis-


pelled, since which time nothing has remained perma-
nent under the sun; and when political science shall
have diffused its rays into the economical darkness which


now broods over the minds of the people, reason will
say, ‘ let there be no more an eternal debt ;’ and its man-
date will be obeyed by a dissolution of the funds and
the funding system into their natural state, ” without
form, and void.*’

In 1694, the Bank of England lent its capital,
1,200,000 at 8 per cent, to government. The bank
not having reserved to itself the power of demanding
repayment, unless the charter which had been granted
by the government was withdrawn, it may therefore be
presumed that the bank at that time was intended as
an engine of government, to facilitate the prosecution of
wars which without its aid must have been relinquished.
William seems to have lent his dignity to whatever
schemes might be best calculated to raise money to carry
on his wars : in fact, the diplomacy of his reign was to
raise money irrespective of principle, for under him the
abominable principle of bribing a majority in Parliament
was successfully introduced, and considerable sums of
money were spent with desired effect. The treaty of .
Ryswick, in 1697, put an end to the French war, and En-
gland once more enjoyed a glimpse of peace, with a national
debt accumulated to 21,500,000. In 1698, the East
India Company paid government 2,000,000 for their
charter. The Company lent the money on very similar
terms as the bank had done, and at the same rate of
interest. The government, however, reserved to itself
the power, after a certain time should have elapsed, of
cancelling the charters, both of the Bank of England
and of the East India Company, and of repaying the

At the close of the reign of William III. in 1701,


though the money obtained from the East India Company
had been made use of to pay off a part of the debt, and
the surplus revenues bad also been applied to tbe same
purpose, still it amounted to 16,394,702.

Tbe next war into which the nation was being
plunged at the accession of Queen Anne, was tbat of
the Spanish succession. Charles II., of Spain, having
no issue, left his kingdom by his will to Philip, Duke de
Berry, grandson of Louis XIV. of France. Louis sup-
ported the claims of his grandson, who had mounted the
throne of Spain in 1700 under the title of Philip V.
England engaged in this dispute of dynasty, and was
drawn into a war, which led to the contraction of liabi-
lities which, to this day, it has not been able to discharge,
and which laid the foundation of our funding system.
Previously to this time, money had always been bor-
rowed by the government, with the apparent intention
and prospect of repaying it; but in 171 1, government had
borrowed 9,000,000, without the means either of
paying it, or the interest thereon. This state of finance
paved the way to the establishment of the South Sea
Company, which took in the debts of the government
to the amount of its capital ; and may therefore be said
to have been the commencement of the ” funding sys-
tem,” as the parties who took shares in the Company
entered into an agreement, unprecedented in its tenure,
namely, that they could not demand repayment of the
capital lent. By this artful scheme, government was
exonerated from paying its liabilities, and was enabled
to prosecute the war at greater expense than it had pre-
viously done, so that, at the inglorious treaty of Utrecht,


in 171 3, the national debt had been raised to 54, 145,363.
This treaty was anything but honourable to Great Bri-
tain, for by the war we had gained very little, and had
expended a great deal. During the war, Louis XIV. of
France, and Philip V. of Spain, sued for peace ; but the
conditions offered by Great Britain were too stringent
for the proud Bourbons to accept : war was, therefore,
prolonged, and terminated in favour of France, as we were
obliged to acknowledge Philip as king of Spain ; and,
as a pacific recompence, England had conveyed to the
South Sea Company, by the French Assiento Company,
the exclusive right during thirty years of supplying
one hundred and forty-four thousand negro slaves of
both sexes between fifteen and twenty-five years of
age for the Spanish West Indies. George I. purchased
10,000 stock in this slave-monopoly company, and be-
came its governor. Since then, we have abolished pro-
perty in slaves by paying twenty millions to the chris-
tian dealers in humanity. Thus the nation has been
made to pay dearly for the monopoly of slavery, and
more so for its abolition, by the emancipation act which
abolished property in human flesh.

A small diminution of the debt was made during the
peace which followed the treaty of Utrecht, so that, in
iiie year 1717 it had been reduced to 48,500,000.
Exchequer bills were first issued in 1G96 for amounts of
5 to 10. In 1717 the first funding of those bills
was effected by private arrangement with the Bank of
Jffingland, which held a large amount of them, and agreed
fto fund 2,000,000 of them at five per cent. Exche-
quer bills have always since, from time to time, been
funded by private arrangement with the parties holding

OF PROIT’l-TY, 105

The South Sea Company had, a little after its forma-
tion, increased its capital to 10,000,000. In 1720, it
was, however, empowered by act of Parliament to buy
in the debts of the nation, and to augment its capital to
any required amount. The amount of new capital
added to the Company’s stock by this license was
26,000,000; this additional amount of capital enabled
the Company to buy in hirge portions of the government
debt. At first all went on as if some new mine of
wealth had been discovered, which had such an inebri-
ating effect on the public mind that shares were reck-
lessly bought at any price, and gigantic frauds were
resorted to by the managers of the company, by selling
shares at fictitiously high prices to enrich themselves.
But in a very short time, the unsoundncss of its trading
vspeculations were discovered;, and, similar to the rail-
way mania of 1845, shares fell enormously, and thou-
sands were ruined. Several members of Parliament
were implicated in the deceptions which had been per-
petrated upon the public. The Chancellor of the Ex-
chequer was expelled the House of Commons for the
part that he had taken in the nefarious plunder of the
public. Parliament saw fit to equalize as much as was
possible the gains and losses among the innocent parties,
and public confidence after a time resumed its usual
course. Thus ended the South Sea Bubble, which the
secret committee, appointed by the House of Commons
to scrutinize its proceedings, reported as being of the
deepest of ” villany and fraud that hell ever contrived to
ruin a nation.”

The Continental wars during the reign of George *.
were not so expensive as former campaigns had beeu


and the amount added to the debt was more than ba-
lanced by the expiration of terminable annuities, and by
reducing the rate of interest. The yearly burden was also
considerably lightened, so that, at the close of this reigu
in 1727, the debt was 52,092,238, and the annual
interest was less by 1,133,807. During the peace
which followed, a small portion of the debt was paid
off, so that when war was declared against Spain in
1730, it was below 50,000,000.

The cause of this war was, that a few English mer-
chants carried on a smuggling trade with the Spanish
West India Colonies ; and the Spaniards, in order to
suppress this illegitimate traffic, searched, in accordance
with the rights of treaty, the English merchant’s ships
which they found on those coasts. However, in doing
this, they had made some aggressions which caused
dissatisfaction in England, and war was therefore de-
clared against Spain. This war began favourably for
the English arms ; but very soon a series of blunders
in its direction ensued, till at length great losses were
suffered by our armaments; and the expedition against
Carthagena having signally failed, hostilities were sus-
pended, and the blame of mismanagement laid on Sir
Robert Walpole, who was ineffectually accused by the
House of Commons of ” Undue influence in elections,
granting fraudulent contracts, peculation, and profusion
in the expenditure of secret service money.”

The Emperor Charles VI. of Germany, died in 1740,
and the male issue of the house of Hapsburg having
became extinct, the government of the hereditary Aus-
trian dominions descended to his daughter Maria The-
resa. France supported the pretensions of the Elector


of Bavaria to a part of the late Emperor’s dominions, and
sent an army to oppose Maria Theresa’s claim. From
the great success of the French and Bavarian army which
took possession of Prague, and crowned the Elector
king of Bohemia, George II. considered his possessions
in Germany in danger, and in 1743 an English army of
forty thousand men was dispatched to the Continent
under the command of the Earl of Stair, not to fight
the battles of Great Britain, but those of an Austrian
dynasty and a few petty Hanoverian successions. The
French, provoked at such unwarrantable interference on
the part of England, projected an invasion in ^favour
of the Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart, which being
frustrated, France declared war against England, which
was rigorously prosecuted with alternate successes, till
the humiliating treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, when both
found, that, after losing many men, and expending
large sums of money, neither had gained any perceptible
advantage : they, therefore, agreed to relinquish what-
ever possessions each had taken from the other, and to
return to exactly their position previously to the war.
The national debt was augmented by this war from
.50,092,238 to 78,000,000. By reducing the rate of
interest during the peace which succeeded, three millions
had been paid off the debt ; so that, at the commence-
ment of hostilities in 175G, it had been reduced to
seventy-five millions.

At this time war may scarcely be said to have ceased,
for on the coast of Malabar the English and French had
never left off fighting ; and France, without having made
a declaration of war, was continually annoying our Co-
lonies in the West Indies and in North America. We


were irresistibly compelled to arm for their defence ;
and this may, therefore, he said to be the only justifiable
war the expense of which forms any portion of our na-
tional debt. Active hostilities commenced in 175G, and
lasted until the peace of Paris in 1703. By this war,
sixty-four mLlions were added to the debt, which then
amounted to 138, 865,430, bearing interest 4,852,051.

By this war, which terminated successfully for Great
Britain, its possessions were very considerably enlarged,
though very little benefit was afterwards derived from
some of them on account of their mismanagement by
government ; which proved, that British soldiers were
better adapted for their employment than were its states-
men fit to govern.

From 1703 to the commencement of the American
war of independence in 1775, there was paid oiF the
debt 10,281,795, reducing it to 128,583,035, when
hostilities began at Lexington, near Boston, between the
American militia and the King’s troops.

The object America had in view in this war was, to
assert its independence. In 1704, the British government
imposed upon the American colonies a stamp tax, to which
they refused to submit; in consequence of which it was
repealed next year : but the Americans supposed that this
relinquishment only proceeded from fear. A tax of three-
pence per Ib. on Tea was afterwards essayed ; this also
failed. It was not the amount of the tax the American*
looked on with such abhorrence ; what they contended
against was, the right of a British Parliament, in which
they were not represented, to impose taxes on them who
received no benefit from the objects for the maintenance
of which those taxes were to be paid. The first cargo,
of Tea sent to Boston was seized by the Americans, and


thrown into tho sea; the excisemen were tarred, fea-
thered, and indignantly used.

The infatuated ministry pushed things from bad to
worse, by immediately passing the Boston Port Bill,
which was to close it as a shipping port, and thus ruin
its trade. When the official announcement, that this
Bill had passed, was made known in America, all future
hopes of peace being preserved, vanished ; the Americans
gathered on their armour, and hurled defiance at the
principle of taxation attempted to be fastened on them.
War now raged with terrific fury in all parts of America ;
the result of which was, that, after seven years of con-
stant campaigns, during which Great Britain expended
139 millions, and left bleaching in the woods of America
the bones of 43,500 Englishmen, the British army
under Lord Cornwallis surrendered in 1781 to General
Washington, and thus ingloriously ended a war in which
we had engaged with the intention of forcing those
to pay a part of our taxation who had never derived
any advantage from the impost; and, as if eternal justice
had stood by to defend the cause of rectitude, we re-
ceived from its unerring hand, as a retribution, the loss
of men, money, and colonies, with a national debt raised
to 249,851,628. Interest on the funded and unfunded
debt, 9,451,772.

During the ten years, which elapsed between the ter-
mination of the American excise war in 1783, and the
commencement of the French revolutionary anti-despotic
war in 1793, only 10,501,380 of the debt was paid
off; so that its amount was 239,350,248, and the
annual charge ‘9,437,862, when Great Britain unwar-
rantably precipitated itself into a foreign civil war, which


instead of being checked, or the evils mitigated by our
interference, was thereby immensely increased ; the revo-
lutionary spirit in France provocatively fanned into a
blaze, and the reign of terror established.

The origin of this war, like the American, sprang
from taxation, though assuming a different form in its in-
fantile development. The industrious classes in France,
or what were called the tiers-etat, and the sans-culottes,
were obliged not only to bear the whole burden of tax-
ation imposed by the king, which was exacted from them
to the last, farthing by the farmers-general, who con-
tracted for the taxation, and were therefore detested
by the people ; but they were also subjected to feudal
exactions by the nobility, who were the First Estate in
the council of the States General. The clergy, who
were the Second Estate, were free from all contributory
burdens except what they pleased to pay. Yet this
nominally exonerated clergy, at the birth of the revolu-
tion, were possessed of property valuedhat five thousand
millions francs, (two hundred millions sterling) which
was afterwards sold for the benefit of the state, and
mostly applied towards the support of old institutions of
charity, and in founding new ones. The Tiers Etat was
the Third Estate : in other words, they were the com-
monalty, the representatives of the people, or what we
call in England the House of Commons. The sans-
culottes, the breechless multitude, were the lower orders
of the people, who were nothing better than the servile
dependents of the nobility and clergy, as they were not
at all represented at the States General previously to
that of 1789.

The assemblages of the States General were very rare>


on account of the monarchs who had the summon in


of it dreading its power in curbing their despotism ;
therefore, when the deplorable financial and social con-
dition of France rendered it absolutely necessary in
1789 to call together the three orders of the state;
namely, the nobility, clergy, and tiers-etat, as such a-
council had not been assembled since 1614, it became a
problem what its usages were, and how its deliberations
were to be conducted. Various writers entered into
erudite disquisitions as to its modulation and customs.
The Abbe Sieyes put forward two questions which had
a wonderful effect on thepublicmind; he asked) ‘What is
the Tiers-Etat?’ His answer was, ‘Nothing.’ Whatought
it to be ? ‘ Everything.’ When the States General met
in 1?89, the Tiers-Etat was introduced to Louis XVI.
differently to the other two estates ; whilst the barons
and clergy were admitted into the king’s cabinet, they
were only permitted to enter the antechamber, from
which they were hurried in file past the throne, amidst
the sneers and contemptuous formalities of the courtiers.
At the opening of the States General, the Tiers-Etat
were kept standing without till the nobility and clergy
were seated, and then admitted by a side-door into the
hall. And whilst the nobility were arrayed in gold cloth,
feathers, and plumes, and the clergy in purple and fine
linen, both orders being seated and covered, the Tiers.
Ktat was compelled to wear black linsey woolsey cloaks,
and to be uncovered. The Marquis de Breze, the master
of the ceremonies, beckoned to the Tiers-Etat to be un-
covered, but in vain, the prestiges of despotism were ut
an end, as the epoch had arrived when the pith of sense
:vid the pride of worth were to burst their bands asunder.


Whilst the nobility and clergy were pusillanimously
disputing in separate halls how the States General
should proceed in its deliberations in conformity with
their ancient seignorial and ecclesiastical privileges, the
Tiers-Etat, being composed of men of intelligence, be-
came disgusted at the way they had been used, and being
wearied out with such trivial formalities when the public
peace was in danger, took possession of the hall of the
States General, and boldly summoned the other two
orders to take their seats in the National Assembly.
The order of the clergy voted by a majority that they
should join the Tiers-Etat ; the nobility, however, de-
clined to do so, and appealed to the sovereign, who sus-
pended the sitting of the States General for a few days ;
when he re-opened it with a dictatorial speech, and at
the conclusion, as he retired, he ordered the whole
body to leave the hall and to meet again next day in
their respective orders. The Tiers-Etat, however, kept
their seats; and when the Marquis d^Breze reiterated
the order to retire, Mirabeau rose, and said, ‘ Go, tell
your master that we are here by command of the people,
and will not leave unless expelled at the point of the
bayonet/ All further resistance by the nobility and the
minority of the clergy was at an end ; they, in a few
days, reluctantly joined the National Assembly, which im-
mediately set about framing a constitution; while the king,
and the disaffected nobility, were collecting an army to
overawe the Assembly. Civil war was soon kindled,
and Louis XVI. suffered on the scaffold the 2 1st Jan.,
] 793. England, that had been sympathetically watching
the falling cause of dynastic despotism; and which had,
with pity, beheld the triumph over lordly oppression, of


an order of human beings, that had, till then, been con-
sidered by a titled aristocracy, as a menial race, fit only
to pay taxes, could no longer refrain from espousing the
cause of the anciennes noblesses de la France. There-
fore, to restore the fallen order of nobility in France, and
to reinstate on its throne the exiled descendants of the
absolute monarch Louis XIV., who reigned fifty-four
years without any prime minister, in exact accordance
with his own opinion the state, ( C I am,’ said he, ‘the
state!’ U etat) c 1 est moi). Great Britain entered upon
a bloody and expensive war, the evil effects of which
are sensibly felt to the present day.

The revolutionary war was carried on with variable
success until 1796, when Napoleon, a man hitherto un-
heard of, appeared on the stage of European tragedy, to
amaze like Garrick all the other actors. So unprece-
dentedly successful was he in his campaigns, that Great
Britain, in order to crush his rising power, in the year
1797, spent in war .55,432,826, whereas, the nett
revenue paid into the Exchequer was only 21,454,728;
shewing an excess of expenditure over the income of
33,978,908, equal to the value of 226^ tons weight of
gold. This enormous expenditure had such an effect on
public confidence that consols fell to 47f ; a run on the
Bank of England took place, which reduced the amount of
bullion in the Bank on the 20th February to 1,086,170.
The drain of bullion continued up to Saturday 25th,
when the directors found, that if the Bank was opened
again on Monday morning, they must suspend bullion
payments for the bank’s notes; accordingly, application
was made to government for relief, whereupon an order
of Council was issued on Sunday morning, prohibiting


the Bank in future to pay its notes in bullion ; and de-
claring Bank of England notes a legal tender.

It was this act which gave government the facility of
carrying on the war, and of borrowing in future prodi-
gious sums of money ; and which has entailed upon the
industrious population a debt, which belongs only to them
by moral imputation and legal imposition. The Currency
Bill passed in 1819, for which Sir Robert Peel was so
much accused, has not produced a tithe of the evils which
this Sunday Act of 1?97 has yielded to the labouring
portion of this country.

Napoleon, in 1799, wrote to George III. suing for
peace ; but he was answered thus by Lord Granville, the
then Foreign Secretary, ” that in the unsettled state in
which the French government then was, any treaty which
might be entered into could not be depended on, that
his Majesty was solely desirous to maintain his domi-
nions, those of his allies, and the safety of Europe. Un-
happily no such security hitherto exists ; no sufficient
evidence of the principles by which the new government
of France will be directed; no reasonable grounds by
which to judge of its stability!” Napoleon clearly saw
that England wished to restore the Bourbons. He accord-
ingly wrote an answer, in which he vindicated the French
government from the imputations brought against it, and
asserted the right France had to choose its own rulers
without being dictated to by other states ; a right which
could not with propriety and justice be gainsayed by En-
gland, whose crown was held by no other tenure.

In consequence of Great Britain refusing to enter upon
terms of peace, the war was prolonged till 1802, when


it was brought to a temporary termination by the peace
of Amiens. Between 1793 and 1802 there was added
to the capital of the debt -264,200,230, and the annual
charge was increased by 10,509,762. The amount of
the debt was thereby raised to 503,550,478, and
the yearly burden, for interest and management, to

The peace of Amiens has been wrongly designated so,
as it was only feigned by the parties thereto, in order to
give them time to breathe and to recruit their strength.
They endeavoured, for nearly fourteen months, ineffec-
tually to conceal their future intentions, and, under a
hollow semblance of wishing to perpetuate a mutual
and beneficial friendship, to hide from each other the
secret preparations they were making for war. During
this fictitious peace France was organizing its conscripts,
whilst Great Britain was watching with jealousy its.
rival, drawing out the militia, and gathering its volunteers.
Simultaneously and secretly was each nation preparing
with lively activity for the pending and final contest,
which was openly declared by England on the 18th of
May, 1803. Hostilities lasted with but little intermission
till the battle of Waterloo in 1815, when the war was.
finally closed, and permanent peace regained.

From the breaking of the pretended peace of Amiens,
until the termination of the war after the battle of Wa-
terloo, there was added to the debt 381,635,486,,
making the gross amount of the national debt (inclu-
sive of 39 millions the amount of the unfunded debt)
885,186,324, equal to the value of 6940 tons weight
of gold ; and the annual burden of interest and manage*
mcnt 32,938,751.


The amount of permanent taxation paid into the Ex-
chequer in 1793, the year that the French dynastic war
of interference broke out, was 19,258,814. This war
necessarily led to the imposition of new taxes, so that,
during the nine years’ war which followed, the permanent
taxation was doubled in amount, and in 1803 had reached
the sum of 38,609,392. When war was again de-
clared after the peace of Amiens, it became imperative
to impose additional taxation ; therefore, in 1 803 new
taxes were voted to the yearly amount of 12,500,000,
being nearly one- third of the gross amount realized by
previous taxation. This enormous amount of increase
in taxation imposed in one year upon any nation is unpa-
ralleled in history ; but though it stands at the apex of
rapidity in impost duties, it was nevertheless well- sup-
ported by the imposts of the two previous and the three
subsequent years, for we find, that during the six years
ending in 1806, no less a sum than 26,780,000 of
annual new taxation was laid upon th6 people: on an
average for each of those six years, the burden of taxation
was augmented 4,464,000.

The population of the United Kingdom at that time
may be estimated at 16 millions; it is now upwards of
28 millions, being an increase of 75 per cent. The
amount of new yearly taxation imposed since 1801 up
to 1849 was 44,807,027; and the amount of taxes
repealed or expired from 1814 to 1849, was54,889,911,
shewing 10,082,884 yearly reduction of taxation in fa-
vour of a population which has increased 75 per cent.
Yet we find that the ministers of the crown, in 1851,
were obliged to resign their offices; not because the
revenue was deficient, but on account of its having been
2,500,000 more than the expenditure, and they could


not satisfy the nation as to the mode of expending this
surplus revenue. Let philosophers ponder the cause of
such an antagonistic change in political government,
and we think that they will trace its cause to the effects
produced on the minds of the people, who are, through the
development of knowledge, beginning clearly to see, the
damnifying results of taxation upon their daily avoca-
tions and permanent interests.

There was paid into the Exchequer the produce alono
of taxation, between 1803 and 1816, the sum of
859,260,4-49. The average annual taxation during
those fourteen years being 61,375,746, a sum equal
to the value of 481 tons of gold. Part of this absurd
expenditure \vas incurred through our profuse loans and
subsidies to foreign nations; for, during twelve years
ending in 1814, we spent in loans and subsidies
30,898,957. Average expenditure for each of those
years, in subsidising foreign states, 2,574,913.

The largest amounts of revenue, the produce of tax-
ation paid into the Exchequer, were for the three last
years of the war, as follows :

Total nett revenue paid into the Exchequer in

1813 68,742,363.

1814 71,134,503.

1815 72,210,508.

Sudsidies arid loans paid to foreign nations during the years

1813 6,786,022.

1814 8,442,578.

1815 1,582,045.

This last sum of 1,582,045 was spent to purchase nrma
and clothing for foreign states.

The current expenditure for the year ending 5th Jan., 1814 ??,406,919

Interest on the deht funded and un-
funded, 5th Jan., 1814 30,051,305

Total 107,458, 284
Equal to the value of 842 tons of gold.

In 1814 the sum of 200,000 was advanced to Louis
XVI II., to enable him to return to France, and take pos-
session of that throne which the French people hurned,
sur la place de la Bastile in 1848, triumphantly burying
in its ashes, all that, for the maintenance of which
Great Britain had squandered millions of her treasures
in money, rendered thousands of her children fatherless,
made her wives widows, and sacrificed the rights of her

We have now, as briefly as was consistent with an in-
vestigation of such magnitude, glanced at the causes which,
in rapid succession, led to the creation of ^he national debt.
We have likewise shown that its formation was begun on
base principles, and that it has been used, by monev-
mongers and fundholders, during the whole progress of its
accumulation and development, as an engine to facilitate
their selfish aggrandisement, whilst it has not conferred
on the people those advantages that the supporters of
the funding system allege. The industrious classes of
England have never gained any advantage whatever by
its existence ; and they are, through its instrumentality
at the present day, subjugated and kept under the grasp
of the fundholders, who are thereby legally empowered
to force the people to give up a certain portion of their
produce every year to them as interest on money lent to


protect property ; which government, in place of borrow-
ing, should have made property pay for itself at the time
that, that protection was demanded.

The majority of the people was against all the wars
which have entailed on the nation such an enormous debt;
even the French anti-revolutionary war, though at first
it was considered just and necessary, and was eulogised
by the popular party in Parliament ; still, when the real
objects which had caused the French people to throw off
their yoke, and instigated our interference in their quar-
rels, began to be understood by the people of England,
they became turbulently clamorous for peace ; so much
so, that in 1795, George III., in proceeding to open par-
liament, was pelted with stones, and on his return the
same indignities were renewed ; but when he alighted
from his carriage, it was attacked, and broken to pieces.
Therefore, though this may be said to be the only war
into which the people ever entered without great repug-
nance, yet, when they found out that it was only liberty,
and not anarchy, that Frenchmen were contending for,
they became anxiously desirous that Britain should not
prolong an unjust war against the liberties of the sub-
jects of other states, and which was besides subversive
of the freedom of mankind. The people also saw, that,
as they were the producers of wealth, the onerous duty
of paying for the Avar would be laid on them ; they no
doubt, therefore, wished for peace, not only for the sake
of humanity, but likewise for their own, as the public
expenditure had been increased to j4S,4J4,177, where-
as the previous year, 1 794-, it had only been 27,742,1 77.

The system of exacting interest on money advances
for the common good of a state is no newly-fledged do-


vice by Christian fundholclers. It owes its origin to that
people which ruined the Egyptians by borrowing, and
to which Moses taught the science of money so effec-
tually, that they became to the world the general in-
structors in the financial power of credit, ” Thou shalt
lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and
thou shalt reign over them, but they shall not reign over
thee.” The Jews, however, had imbibed such an ardent
desire for gold, by drinking the dust of the golden calf,
that they did not keep credit within the prescribed
limits of lending to foreign states and foreigners of whom
payment might have been exacted : ” Of a foreigner
thou mayest exact it again ;” for we find, that in the time
of Nehemiah the labouring Jews had a national debt
imposed on them by the nobles, which in part resembled
our own, as the money had r been lent to pay the national
tribute and expended for, and on account of the defence
of Jerusalem, the native home of the Jews. Nehemiah
raised a league against this arch-usury,” and encouraged
the people to rise en masse, and repudiate its payment,
which they effectually did. 4i Pie set a great assembly
against them .” Then he charged them in the name of
God, not only to leave off exacting any more taxes, but
to make a restitution. The Jewish fundholders relin-
quished their claims, made restitution, and the people
became tranquillized and contented.

Our national debt, like that which the Jews repudiated,
serves only a base purpose ; namely, that of rendering
the poor industrious man poorer, and making the rich
capitalist richer. To effect the collection of the taxa-
tion, the yearly sum of 4,103,959 is paid to revenue
officers, being 7:ls:0^d per cent. on. the gross amount


collected. As the charge on the national debt absorbs
one-half of the ordinary revenue, consequently, there is
2,051,9?!) paid to the servants of the crown to legally
exact money from the industrious classes, and to hand it
over to the government creditor, alias, government dis-
truster, for his share in having abetted a constitutionally
recognised system of imposition on the rights of man.

As it is from produce only that taxes can be paid, the
producers therefore, and not the consumer, must discharge
the impost ; he must likewise pay the salaries of those
who collect it, and sometimes bear their insolence, whilst
they execute the depredation. Modern governments
have learned scientifically the art of levying taxes, from
the ancient practice of savage chiefs, who used to reple-
nish their exchequer by issuing from the mountain or the
desert, in personal command of their efficient staff of
officers, to rudely levy an impost on merchants, or others,
whom they might find at certain passes in the mountains,
or caught at the fords of rivers. Every one must live
by their profession, and those who are idle, or who do
not produce themselves, must lay on industry the impost
of their existence.

We arc, however, living in a state of society, and
therefore each member of the union has duties to perform
towards the state; and if he delegate those duties to
certain individuals, he ought to pay that delegation by
parting with a portion of his wealth for that purpose;
beyond this proportional contribution no one ought to be
made to pay. But the people are, by our present sys-
tem of taxation, compelled to pay taxes under the pre-
tence that they have certain protection and advantages
oiForded them. Nevertheless, these pretended benefits


are only actually conferred on property in its real and
assumed forms ; however, tins state of transition cannot
last mucli longer as men are now more fully aware of
their rights and duties ; and, in proportion as they de-
velop their intellectual powers, reforms will he effected
in the principle of taxation.

Fundholders would therefore do well not to oppose any
reasonable change in the present funding system ; for, if
they foolishly do so, they may ultimately excite that feeling
in the people which is ahle to deprive them of that which
they now only enjoy hy sufferance. To prevent such a
disastrous result for them, as that of expunging the debt,
it would be desirable and judicious that some scheme
should be adopted, in due time, whereby a fair, equitable,
and just liquidation of the national debt might be ef-
fected, without either doing an injury to the fundholders
by acting harshly and unjustly towards them, or by de-
stroying the rights of property.

To propose a plan whereby the national debt might
be practically and speedily liquidated, without in its ope-
ration pressing unequally and unjustly on property, or
unduly interfering with the rights of any individual, or
class of individuals, will be the purport of the subsequent
suggestions. Believing, as we do, that great and un-
warrantable injustice is done to the people, in compelling
them to pay the interest of the debt which they did not
contract, nor now derive any benefit from ; still, as that
debt was contracted at a period when the rudiments of
political economy were imperfectly understood, and at
times of great emergency, when the nation was under
circumstances of extraordinary excitement ; and besides,
as the original holders of stock have mostly sold it to


others, who bought it on the faith of the nation main-
taining inviolate the original conditions of the contract;
under these circumstances, we consider, it would neither
be politic of the government, nor honourable on the part
of the nation, to refuse a just payment of the claims of
the landholders. A repudiation of the national debt
will, we hope, never be resorted to by the nation, which
is well able to pay it off by a just and equitable property
tax. This, instead of being dishonourable to the nation,
would establish us higher in the estimation of foreign
states than we have yet attained by integrity, or by
force of arms.

Whatever means may be used for changing the fund-
ing system, or for liquidating the national debt, it must
be distinctly visible to every cogent mind, that political
events are rapidly following each other in corroboration
of the inevitable fact, that at no very distant time, the
pressure, under which industry now suffers through the
unjust operation of the public funds, must be mitigated,
or totally removed. We ought, therefore, now to meet
the question of payment in an equitable and patriotic
spirit, by each and all contributing their just share to-
wards its payment, in proportion to their real means.

The present effect of taxation upon the industrious
classes is unequal and insupportable ; and the excruciat-
ing miser) 7 which it disseminates amongst the labourers
renders many a family miserable that otherwise would
be enjoying plenty, and living in happiness. Let us,
then, for the love of justice, and in vindication of the
rights of humanity, endeavour to remove this apparent
cause of oppression by a liquidation of the national
debt through means of an equalized tax on realized


property, so as to repay the fundholders, and thereby
to free industry from the burden of paying the interest
on the debt.

In order that we may arrive at as correct a conclusion
as possible on so momentous a subject, it will be indis-
pensable that an estimate of the nation’s resources be
made, so that we may be able to judge of our ability to
pay off the debt, without seriously interfering with, or
deranging the currency. And as we believe that much
of the statistical information in regard to the value of
property is far from being correct, we shall, consequently,
in making our estimates, and in forming our conclusions,
adopt more as our guides reason and observation, than
solely to depend on parliamentary returns. Being per-
suaded that, in pursuing this course, the result to which
we shall thereby be led, will be as near an approximate
to truth, as can reasonably be anticipated on so vast and
intricate a subject.

The first estimate which we shall make of property
will be that of the value of land in the United King-
dom, which we compute at sixty millions of arable acres;
the average rent of which we reckon at twenty-five
shillings per acre per annum, yielding a yearly rent of
seventy-five millions, which, if taken at thirty years’
purchase, will produce 2250 millions, as the real value of
all the land in the Kingdom.

We shall divide the landlords into three categories.
First, those whose lands have come into their possession
either by purchnse, or through inheritance from those
who had purchased it subsequently to the peace of
Amiens. Secondly ; those who are in possession by
purchase or by transmission through inheritance, from


those who bad purchased it between the commencement
of the American war and the peace of Amiens. The
third class of the possessors of land we reckon to be
the most numerous, as it comprises that portion of landed
proprietors who hold their lands by purchase, by gift,
or through inheritance from those who were in the pos-
session of it antecedently to the American war in 1775.

The first division of the possessors of the soil we es-
timate as holding three-tenths of the land ; and on the
value of this portion of the public resources, amounting
to 075 millions, we propose to take 6^ per cent., produ-
cing a sum of 43,875,000. The second division we
compute at two-tenths of the land, value 450 millions,
and on those retaining it we propose that 7^ per cent
should be levied, producing a tax of 33,750,000.
The quantity of the third division, into which we have
apportioned the whole of the land in the country, we
estimate at one-half of the whole ; and on the value of
this category of property, valued at 1125 millions, we
propose to lay a tax of at least 8^ per cent., which would
raise a sum of 95,625,000. The total amount, there-
fore, of taxation derivable from land, to be made appli-
cable towards the liquidation of the national debt, would
be 173,250,000.

The next sort of property upon which we propose
to raise money towards paying off the national debt, is
that of the Mercantile Navy of the United Kingdom,
which, on the 31st December, 1850, consisted of 25,131
vessels, bearing a tonnage of 3,504,944 ; (exclusive of
9,150 vessels, tonnage 728,018, belonging to British
plantations, and the Isles of Guernsey, Jersey, and J\!an,
which we do not reckon in this computation.) On the


registered tonnnge of the United Kingdom, and on the
value of all fishing and river boats not included in the
above estimate of tonnage, we propose that a tax of five
per cent, should be imposed, which, on 80,000,000,
the computed worth of our mercantile navy and river
boats, would yield a sum to the Exchequer of 4,000,000.

There are about 7,000 miles of Railway opened in
the Kingdom, which have cost on an average 33,000
per mile; representing a sum of 231,000,000 as having
been expended in the construction of those gigantic
works of internal communication. But, as the present
average value of Railway property has fallen consider-
ably below its original cost, we estimate its present worth
at 20,000 per mile, which we consider rather above
than below its actual value ; therefore, the value of the
whole Railway property in the nation would be ninety-
one millions below prime cost, and now only represent-
ing a capital of 140,000,000. On this kind of pro-
perty let 5 per cent be imposed, whicirwill produce the
sum of 7,000,000.

We propose, that an impost of 5 per cent, should be
collected from the proprietors of household property,
and we calculate that there are five millions of families
in the Kingdom ; and that on an average each family is
possessed of a house and furniture worth 200 ; there-
fore, according to this computation, the household pro-
perty and furniture of the nation will represent a capi-
tal of 1,000,000,000, producing a property tax of

Next will devolve on us the duty of grappling with
a very difficult, and at the same time most abstruse part
of our estimates, in calculating the value of capital


invested in banks, insurance, and other joint stock com-
panies, roads, canals, docks, mines, c. ; also to form an
approximately true estimate as to the value of all goods
deposited in warehouses and shops ; horses and cattle,
with all other tangible property (except the crown lands)
which has not already been charged with the proposed
property tax.

We have previously calculated that there are five mil-
lions of families in the United Kingdom, and we estimate
the average revenue of each family at 75 per annum.
But as many of those families derive their revenues
solely, and others partly, from property which has pre-
viously been included in our estimates, we calculate the
national revenue derivable from productive capital not
yet included in those estimates at two hundred and fifty
millions ; and, that to produce this amount of revenue by
a return of five per cent, on the capital, would require an
amount of property equal to five thousand millions. On
this kind of property a tax of five per cent, would bring
into the exchequer two hundred and fifty millions. On
this kind of property, as it is daily changing hands, the
amount of duty imposed ought to be levied at once, and
a discount of five per cent, allowed off the tax paid by
each contributor. This would amount to a reduction of
12,500,000 upon the gross amount of the tax, conse-
quently reducing the net amount to 237,500,000.

The Crown Lands unquestionably ought to be sold,
and the proceeds applied towards paying off a portion of
the public debt. These immense domains are so despi-
cably managed, that the gross receipts arising from the
whole of Her Majesty’s Woods, Forests, and Land Re-
venues, in the year ending 5th January, 1851, was only


365,809, and the charge of collecting this portion of
our public revenue was 47,228, being 12 : 18s : 2|d.
per cent, upon the gross amount. The payments made
for pensions, &c. out of these revenues in its progress to
the Exchequer, other than charge of collection, amounted
to 146,130, equal to forty per cent, on the gross reve-
nue. Net produce of the Crown Lands 172,451, being
less than one-half of the gross revenue*

The value of the revenues of the Crown Lands from
the year 1805 to the year 1815 amounted to 215,541.
From 1816 to 1826 they produced the sum of 2,374,321,
out of which sum only 8,624 found its way into the
Exchequer, being about l-270th part. The woods of
Chopwell, for a period of thirty years ending 1832,
yielded 11,306, while the expenditure was 17,339.
The woods of Gillingham produced 24,765, while the
expenditure was 22,961. Meopham woods produced
9,505, while the expenditure was 11,133. Bere
forest produced 26,425, amount expanded 45,436.
Delamere forest has produced 6,136, amount of expen-
diture 50,504.

The average rent per annum of Whittle wood Forest,
containing 4010 acres, during twenty- five years ending
in 1846, was 4s : 2d per acre. In 1846 the rent of the
whole was 1 4s, or one-fourth of a farthing per acre.
In 1848 the income was 851, and the ordinary expen-
diture 856. Nevertheless, the soil is good, and might
be let for at least 1 per acre. The timber on it is va-
lued at 360,000.

The average receipts of Whichwood Forest, which
measures 3741 acres, was, for the twelve years ending
in 1846, 103 per annum. In seven years of these


twelve there was an actual loss. The income for 1848
was 426, whilst the ordinary expenditure was 303,
leaving only 123 as the yearly benefit to the Exche-
quer from such an immense tract of land, on which the
value of the timber alone is 290,000.

The New Forest is twenty miles long and fifteen
miles wide, containing 66,291 acres, the average receipts
per annum for the last forty-six years was ninepence
per acre. In 1848 the income was 9228, and the or-
dinary expenditure 10,562. The yearly rent and value
of timber may be estimated at 57,000, and the fee
simple at 1,583,750.

The other royal Forests and Domains, though gene-
rally less extravagantly managed, are nevertheless nomi-
nally unproductive to the public. The total net amount
paid into the Exchequer for the year ending the 5th
January, 1850, was 157,94-9 ; and for the year ending
5th January, 1851, it, was 172,451 ; thus giving a fair
specimen of how the crown lands are farmed.

Let us now briefly enquire how these lands came into
the possession of the crown; under what obligations they
were held; how this property has been abused; and by
what means the crown has alienated it. At the original
distributions of landed property, the demesne, or crown
lands, were either the reservation by the sovereign of a
certain extent, or the share which fell to the part of the
crown at those allotments; or, such as merged to it
afterwards through forfeitures, or other circumstances.
Previously to the Normans taking physical-force posses-
sion of England, there were 1422 manors, besides other
estates, which appertained to the crown. William the
Norman became possessed, as portion of his victory over


Harold, of 68 forests, 13 chases, and 781 parks, which
then produced a revenue of 400,000, equal to the va-
lue of 1,170,724 of the present day. William distri-
buted part of these lands amongst his participators in
the conquest and plunder of a portion of the old Saxon
barons; the rest he reserved to himself to defray the
current expenditure of the government. And so it was
appropriated for centuries afterwards; for we find, in
1467, Edward IV., on opening the parliament, say-
ing, ‘ Sirs, ye come to this my court of parliament for the
commons of this my realm ; the cause why I have called
and summoned this my present parliament is, that I pro-
pose to live upon mine own, and not to charge my sub-
jects, but in great and urgent causes, concerning more
the weal of themselves, and also the defence of them,
and of this my realm, rather than my own pleasure/
By the act 43rd Elizabeth, cap. 1., all the grants and
conveyances made by her, for which considerations had
been given, were confirmed with this proviso, that in
case of defalcation of male issue, the inheritance was to
revert to the crown. Very likely many of her grants
are abrogated by this stipulation.

When Queen Anne came to the throne in 1701, the
revenues of the crown lands were absolutely the property
of the crown for the purpose of paying certain charges
of government; however, they had been very much re-
duced by the extravagant gifts of previous monarchs, so
that, parliament in order to save what remained, stepped
in, and by the act, 1st Anne I, c. 7, established the
charge of the civil list to be henceforth paid out of the
Exchequer. And, in consideration of the annual sum
of 700,000 being settled upon her majesty for life, she


relinquished all the proceeds of the crown lands for the
benefit of the public exchequer. The above annuity
was to defray the household expenses of the queen ; to
pay the salaries of her ambassadors and representatives
at foreign courts; to pay for the administration of jus-
tice at home, and some minor expenses. By this act, it
was decreed that no grant should be made of any ma-
nors, lands, &c. belonging to the crown unless for thirty-
one years, or three lives ; that the ancient rents were to
be retained, or instead one-third of the yearly value,
the remainder of the yearly value to be paid as a fine.
However, this well-intended act did not prevent gross
abuses and considerable diminution of the crown lands’
revenue, which continued till 1782, when Mr. Burke
proposed in parliament to sell the crown lands. This
bill was rejected ; however, an enquiry into the manage-
ment of these lands was soon afterwards instituted;
and in 1793 an act was passed reorganizing it upon the
present principle of management. From that time down
to the present reign, various acts of parliament have been
passed to regulate the administration of the crown lands,
and unprecedented appropriations have been made of
those domains by royal favorites.

On the accession to the throne of Queen Victoria in
1837, an act was passed, in conformity with the prin-
ciples laid down in 1830 on the accession of William IV.,
which placed on the consolidated fund the expenses of
her Majesty’s ambassadors and representatives in foreign
countries amounting to 172,351, besides 1,094,981
for the administration of justice, which had previously
to 1830 been discharged out of the revenue of the civil


Though the amount of the civil list is not now exor-
bitantly large, still it would appear that the nation in a)I
its bargains with the crown has ever found that the ex-
change was against it ; and if it be now hindered by the
crown from selling what belongs to the public by act of
parliament; or if it be, under any pretence whatever
on the part of the crown, prevented from taking abso-
lute and unfettered possession of the public domains,
called the crown lands, then has the crown usurped the
rights of the people by assuming to claim special rights
in a property which has been conveyed by royal assent
to the public.

There are enormous forests, parks, and patches of
land all over the country, which if properly farmed would
be worth an annual rent of 1,200,000, being more

777 O

than three times the amount of revenue which is at pre-
sent paid into the exchequer on their account. And if
we take their value, if efficiently managed, at thirty
years’ purchase, the fee simple would be equal to

The crown has become invested with certain peculiar
rights to the titles and revenues of the duchies of Lan-
caster and Cornwall which are, subject to legal restraints,
the property of the Prince of Wales, and of the reigning
monarch. These estates and titles have devolved to the
crown through the house of Lancaster, by whom they
were distinctly possessed in the reign of Edward III.
John Plantagenet, the fourth son of Edward, having
married Blanch, the heiress of the Duke of Lancaster,
became, on the decease of the duke, possessed, through
that alliance, of his immense domains. The county of
Lancaster having been constituted into a county palatine,


conferred on the duke rights over it equal to those pos-
sessed by the sovereign in other parts of the kingdom.
And as the Duke of Lancaster was one of the regents
during the minority of Richard II. he obtained from him
the privilege of establishing within the county, a treasury,
a court of chancery, and ecclesiastical courts, with an
efficient staff of officers.

On the death of John Plantagenet, duke of Lancaster,
styled, after the name of the town where he was born,
John of Ghent, his eldest son Henry duke of Hereford,
surnamed Bolingbroke, though he had been banished for
six years by Richard II, had nevertheless received from
that monarch letters patent ensuring him the right to any
inheritance which might fall to him during his banish-
ment ; consequently, by his father’s death he became
duke of Lancaster. The king, however, revoked his
letters patent, and seized upon the estates of the duke,
who soon found means to return from his exile in Ire-
land, and in revenge, by physical demonstration, he an-
ticipated and intimidated the king, and usurped the
crown which his father had contributed his share in
weakening, by ten years of a pusillanimous regency.
And in heaping indignities on the sovereign, he deposed
him, with this accusation, ‘My Lord the King, your
people say that you have for one-and-twenty years go-
verned with rigour and indiscretion ; but, if it please
God, I will help you to govern them better for the time
to come/ At his coronation, a proclamation was issued,
in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, stating
in evidence that he was the rightful heir to the crown;
and that God of his grace, by and with the help of his
friends, had sent him to recover the possession. Accord-


ingly, by the help of God, supported by an army clad in
mail, he ascended the throne, assuming the title of
Henry IV.

To suit the purposes of those who reign ‘by the
grace of God/ they sometimes find it very conve-
nient and influential to espouse the guardianship of such
a potent patron ; but, becoming oblivious of the attri-
butes of their assistant when shielded by this patronage,
par me reges regnant, et potenies decernunt jmticiam,
they frequently perpetrate deeds irreconcileable with
justice, and utterly repugnant to moral rectitude.

As Henry well knew that he was not the legal heir
to the crown, he therefore kept his regal usurpation
distinctly separate from his rightful heirship to the title
and revenues of the duchy of Lancaster, and through
precaution they were not amalgamated with the rights
of the crown till the succession of Edward IV., in whose
reign they were annexed by statute; and in the first
year of the reign of Henry VII, an act of parliament
was passed for a resumption by the crown of all the
royal domains, titles, and lands which had been alien-
ated during the previous wars; besides, an act of parlia-
ment was passed in the reign of Mary I. restoring the
duchy to its former magnitude.

The Duchy of Cornwall previously to the time of Ed-
ward III. was an earldom, the extensive domains and
rights thereof having been in the possession of Edward’s
brother, John of Eltham, upon the death of whom the
earldom reverted to the king, who changed it into a
dukedom in favor of his son Edward, styled, from the
colour of his armour, the ” Black Prince.” This grant
was confirmed by parliament on the covenant that every


eldest son of the reigning monarch should thenceforth
be heir to the title and revenues of the duchy, and that
during his minority the revenues were to he vested in
trustees for his benefit; hut in default of the sovereign’s
male issue, the revenues were to revert to the crown,
again to be relinquished when a male heir should be born.

The ” Black Prince” having died before his father, his
son Richard could not, in accordance with the above set-
tlement, claim the inheritance; however, to repair this
unconcatinated link in the descent, Edward III. created
his grandson Duke of Cornwall, who afterwards ascended
the throne as Richard II. But Henry Plantagenet, the
Duke of Lancaster having subsequently deposed Richard,
took possession of the crown under the title of Henry IV.,
thereby the titles and revenues of the duchies of Lan-
caster and Cornwall became united, and have uninter-
ruptedly continued so ever since, having been enjoyed
by Henry V., Henry VI., Edward the son of Henry VI.,
Edward V., Edward the son of Richard III., Arthur
son of Henry VII., Henry son of James I., Charles II.,
George II, , Frederick, Prince of Wales, George IV.,
and Albert Edward, the present Prince of Wales.

The aggregate revenues per annum of the duchies is
about 35,000, of which sum the duchy of Cornwall
yields on an average 20,000 ; and, during the minority
of the Prince of Wales, the revenues of Cornwall are
vested in trustees for the benefit of the heir apparent.

These royal possessions in the duchies of Lancaster
and Cornwall, are not alienable, either by the Prince of
Wales, or the crown ; and a statement of their revenues
is required annually to be laid before parliament ; conse-
quently, they are exceptions to the law of property, that



every man has a right to do with his own as he pleases ;
besides this surveillance of parliament, the chancellors of
the duchies may be impeached in case of maladministra-
tion, which is a negation to the formula of property.
The right of using it, and the right of abusing it.

The estates and revenues of the duchies are amongst
those royal appendages which cannot be bought and sold ;
their revenues are for the use of royalty, and their con-
stitution is quite distinct from that of the crown lands,
the revenues of the latter being paid into the consoli-
dated fund for the benefit of the nation. Therefore, in
the sale of the Crown Lands for the liquidation of the
national debt, we do not include the property in the
duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster, the revenues of
which belong by peculiar rights to the royal family as
exclusively its property, subject to certain legal restraints.
But as we have excluded no share of property from its
rights, we shall exempt none from its duties, in bearing
a just and equitable proportion of the property tax, by
which we propose, for the salvation of the fundholders,
and for the peace and happiness of the nation, to pay off
the national debt ; therefore, the lands belonging to the
crown which are not included in the returns made to
parliament of the revenues of her Majesty’s Woods and
Forests, we have previously included in our estimate of
the value of land, under the third division of landed

We have now estimated the value of all the property
in the nation, and proposed a proportional tax upon it,
for the purpose of freeing industry from the impost of
the national debt ; but whilst we tax property for that
object, we do not intend to exempt from retribution the


nationally -forged property which passes current in vul-
gar estimation as funded property. To attempt to tax
this national delusion, called funded property, would
clearly demonstrate our political ignorance of the science
of taxation, which is hased upon realities ; the foundation
being production, and the edifice reared by the hands of
those who impose the taxation, and who levy the exac-
tions upon the devoted labourers. Nevertheless, though
we cannot scientifically tax funded property, we may
philosophically dispute, in the name of industry, the
whole, or any part of the claims of the fundholders to a
participation in the productions of what the labourers
are now producing. And therefore, in offering payment
of a disputed claim to the fundholders, the nation pos-
sesses the right of demanding in consideration that the
fundholders relinquish a small portion of their demands.
In case of the capital of the national debt being repaid,
we propose that the following deductions should be made
from the amounts of the various stocks.

The total amount of the unredeemed debt on the 5th
Jan., 1851, was 769,272,562, interest paid thereon
27,528,162. Charge of management 92,287. Total
charge 27,620,449.

The aggregate amount of the public stocks, bearing an
interest of 3 per centum per annum for the year ending
5th January, 1851, was 518,485,654, being more than
two-thirds the whole amount of the unredeemed debt.
The average value of this stock for the last thirty years
has been 88^ per centum, therefore, in paying the fund-
holders they could have no just cause for complaint
were 12<| per centum deducted from, every hundred pounds that they held in the 3 per centum stocks, 228 THE BIGHTS AND DUTIES which would be only paying them three quarters per centum less than the average value of their stock during a period of thirty years. This diminution of 12^ per cent, from the gross amount of the 3 per cent, stocks would be 63,810,831. The 3^ per cent, annuities (inclusive of 2,630,769 debt due to the Bank of Ireland at 3 J per cent.) amounts to 250,353,782. On this class of public stock we deduct ten pounds per cent., thus reducing the amount of this stock by 25,035,378. The 5 per cent, per annum annuities amount to 433,126, on which we propose a reduction of 8^ per cent, amounting to 36,815. The annual charge of the Terminable Annuities for the year ending 5th January, 1851, was 3,808,862, which we value at six years' purchase, representing a sum of 22,853,172, on which we deduct 7^ per cent, producing 1,713,987 in favour of the liquidation of the national debt. Upon the unredeemed capital of the national debt, amounting to 769,272,562, the reduction which has now been proposed would amount to 88,883,024, equal to 11 lls Id per cent, on the capital of that portion of the debt. And, if to this we add the sum of 1,713,987 resulting from the deduction made on the value of the Terminable Annuities, the total reduc- tion in the amount of debt at present standing against the people will be 90,597,011 in favor of the nation's ability to pay off the fundholders. We have now made an estimate of the gross amount of wealth in the nation, and enumerated the various and graduated rates of taxation to be imposed upon each OP PROPERTY. 229 denomination of property ; also having proved that by a just and proportional deduction from the amount to be paid to the fundholders, means may be brought in aid towards the payment of the national debt; we shall con- centrate these estimates into a tabular form ; so as to place them more directly before the reader. Value of property in the United Kingdom, and the amount of duty required of it, with the amount of im- post to be levied upon the public stocks, towards paying off the national debt. Millions. Value of Land . 2250 Amount of duty 173,250,000 Value of House Property and other Buildings . 1000 Amount of duty 50,000,000 Value of Capital invested in Banks, Warehouses, Shops, Mines, Docks, Farm stock, &c. . . 5000 Amount of duty 237,500,000 Value of Railway Pro- perty . ... 140 Amount of duty 7,000,000 Value of Ships and River Boats ... 80 Amount of duty 4,000,000 Total Value of Total Amount Property 8470 of duty 471,750,000 Amount realizable by the sale of Crown Lands . 36,000,000 507,750,000 Amount of 3 per ct. Amount of reduc- stocka . 518,485,654 tion thereon . 63,810,831 Ditto 3| ditto . 250,353,782 Ditto ditto . 25,035,378 Ditto 5 ditto . 433,126 Ditto ditto . 36,815 Amount of the Ter- minable Annuities per an.3,808,862, valued at . . 22,853,172 Ditto ditto . 1,713,987 Total Amount available towards paying off the National Debt . . . 598,347,011 230 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES By tins table it appears that the tax to be levied upon property, with the reduction on the amount of the public stocks, is only 598,347,011. Whereas the amount of the unredeemed debt is 769,272,562 ; thus leaving a balance unprovided for of 170,925,551, which we pro- pose to raise by the following means : Whilst so great a right is being restored to the in- dustrious classes, as that of the emancipation of labour from the unjust burden of the national debt, and of hav- ing to fulfil the duties of property without an adequate participation in its privileges, we do not intend to permit the labourers to go scot free ; therefore we propose, during the ten years over which the taxa- tion for the liquidation of the national debt is to be equally divided, that the people shall continue to pay annually the same rates of taxes as at present, so as to keep up the revenue to its current amount. And as the debt is yearly being paid off, thereby diminishing the charge to be paid thereon, let the surplus ordinary re- venue be annually made use of to purchase a portion of the debt. Having imposed upon property its duties, and levied from the people theirs, thereby placing in the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for economical disposal an enormous sum of money, we should expect that he would make use of it, not only to pay the fundholders, but also on the Exchange in purchasing stock on the most advantageous terms, with a view towards the economical liquidation of the public burdens. We are of opinion that the Chancellor of the Exche- quer, or the commissioners for the reduction of the debt, with forty or fifty millions of money at their command, OF PROPERTY. 231 by judiciously investing it in the public stocks, could so raise tbeir value above par, that the rate of per centage payable tbereon migbt easily be reduced. And we are surprised tbat successive Chancellors of the Exchequer have so seldom made themselves masters of the money market. With twenty or thirty millions it might be effected ; but with fifty millions in the Exchequer, the Stock Exchange would be under the control of the government. The amount of the tax upon moveable property being immediately levied subject to a reduction of five per cent-, would bring into the Exchequer the sum of' 237,500,000. The balance of the amount of re- sources, namely 360,847,011, we propose should be paid in equal yearly instalments of 36,084,701, ex- tending over a period of ten years; each yearly pay- ment to be made in advance ; thus placing at the disposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or the commissioners for the liquidation of the national debt, at the beginning of the first financial year, the sum of 273,584,701. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, with even less than half the above amount of money at his command, would not certainly require, yearly to fight for, or to defend his financial budget behind contemptible barricades in the House of Commons. He could, by buying in the funds, assume an independent and commanding position in the money market, and demonstrate to the country, on a grand scale, the verification of the proverb, that " it is money which makes money ;" and thus, by forcing upon the money market so much superabundant capital, he could raise the price of stocks above par, as 232 THF- RIGHTS AND DUTIES the fundholders, knowing that they were sure of being paid in full, would not sell below par, but naturally would demand as much above it as any purchaser could be induced to give. Having once, through the natural effects of the law of supply and demand upon the money market, raised the price of stocks above par, the Chancellor of the Exchequer could ask the House of Commons to reduce the interest payable on the 3 per cent, stocks to 2^ per cent, per annum, or even less, thereby effecting a saving every year of at least ,2,592,428, being one- sixth of the amount now paid on the 3 per cent, stocks. The interest payable upon the 3^ per cent, stock will, by the act 7th Victoria, cap. 4 & 5, be reduced on and after the 10th October, 1854, to 3 per cent. This re- duction will effect an annual saving of 625,884. However, by the said act the interest to be paid to the holders of this kind of stock, cannot be again reduced before the 10th October, 1874 ; therefore, in case of a superabundance of money on the Exchange, the 3 per cent, stocks might be reduced to 2^ per cent, but the present 3^ per cent, stock would not be subject to the same influence, whilst the said act was in force. In the subsequent tables, we shall demonstrate the gradual operation by which we propose annually to pay off, during a period of ten successive years, the whole of the National Debt. Were we not certainly persuaded that there is abun- dance of means in the nation to pay off the national debt in some such way as that which we have proposed, we should consider it unjustifiable to endeavour to experi- ment upon society by financial schemes, which might tend, if abortive, to retard it in its onward march. We do not, however, pretend to say that our plan of liquida- tion is the only one, or the very best which might be adopted ; we only proffer it as an example to endeavour to draw the attention of the nation towards some such just and practicable settlement of a dispute, which vivi- fies every day more and more, and which will inevitably lead to a disruption of our constitution, if not harmoni- ously settled by proprietors fulfilling the duties of pro- perty, in paying a debt, which they have shifted from themselves, upon industry. The rights and duties of property are essentially linked together, and so much is this concatenation absolute, that it is only by a fulfilment of obligations, and on a discharge of certain duties, that wealth can be entitled to claim, or to possess any rights. On payment of those imposts or duties, wealth becomes as it were possessed of the rights to enter the social sphere, arid to circulate freely in it, under the name of property, being shielded from aggression by social laws. The French designate taxation by the appellation of impost, " U impot" and call duties levied at the Custom House, ' c Les droits d* entre" the rights of entering. It is not, however, the price of the rights of entering into the country which is imposed upon goods when they pass the scrupulous hands of the revenue officers ; but it is the purchase worth of the rights of recognition to share OF PROPERTY. 237 in an adequate protection as property, after they have passed into, and become a portion of the wealth of the social union whose barrier they may have passed. And that purchase money is to defray the expenses of the government, whose function is to spend, as its servants are non-producers, though not useless members of society. Therefore, to buy social protection for life and property, by privation, is the principle upon which taxation is founded. The smuggler as a model free trader, introduces his goods, contemning the rights, " le droit d' entre," which should have been paid on importation ; but his goods are, by the revenue laws legally bastardized; and not having received Custom House baptism, they are under the ban of excommunication, excluded from the church of pro- perty, and denied any participation whatever in the rights of its covenants, because they have despised and evaded its duties. If property is to be recognised, as being within the sacred precincts of the social sanctuary, it can only be so by shewing credentials, that it is stamped with the seal of society ; social obligations have been fulfilled, and social duties are expiated. When property shall have been thus faithfully stamped, the tomb of the national debt will have been effectually sealed, and the glorious reigri of property begun. " Then let us pray, that come it may, and come it will for a' that." Through the utter derelictions of proprietors in exon- erating property from its duties, the people are at pre- sent compelled by law, under the semblance of justice, to fulfil the duties of property, whilst it goes quite free. But were the incubus which has been immorally 238 THE BIGHTS AND DUTIES placed upon labour removed, through property either being compelled to fulfil its duties, or being deprived of its assumed rights, the industrious classes in future would only have to bear their equitable proportion of the current expenses of the nation; which ought to be levied in pro- portion to the amount of protection afforded by govern- ment to each individual; first, in proportion to the amount of protection which he required in the prose- cution of his daily avocations; and secondly, in graduated proportion to the nature and extent of his realized pro- perty. This principle of taxation involves the necessity of rigidly protecting property ; because, if proprietors are to be made to pay taxes in proportion to their property, those who contribute largely must be guaranteed certain rights in proportion to the extent of their payments ; or if not, proportional taxation would be an organised sys- tem of oppression against the possessors of property. Though we have asserted that it is ^ paramount duty of property to pay the national debt, ancl maintained the principle, that, until it shall have recognised and discharged this obligation, it is not property, but a patenteed mono- poly ; still we do not consider when it shall have fulfilled this duty which has been so long in abeyance, that it will be entitled to social recognition unless it shall be prepared to discharge its duties for the future ; therefore, it is pro- posed, that immediately on the national debt having been paid, all excise imposts and customs duties shall be abo- lished, and the revenues of the country raised by taxation on property and incomes. It would, therefore, devolve on realized property, to pay the greater proportion of the amount of taxation required for the ordinary expen- diture of our civil and military establishments, which OP PROPERTY. 230 must be efficiently organised and maintained, if social order and peace be desirable, and an adequate protection to commerce vouchsafed. As the possessors of realized property not only require personal protection, but like- wise, in proportion to the extent of their property, do they require from government an extended amount of expen- diture, in order to guard, protect, and defend it ; they ought, therefore, to be doubly taxed by a graduated scale made applicable to each of those principles of taxation. A tax of one quarter per cent, upon the realized pro- perty of the country would produce upwards of twenty millions annually; and an income tax, founded on a graduated scale, would yield at least seven millions, and if properly levied ten millions. By these means more revenue could be raised than would be required to meet the current expenditure of the country, which for the year ending the 5th January, 1851, amounted to 22,1 14,290, exclusive of the charge upon the funded and unfunded debt. Some small savings might be effected in various go- vernment departments, however, retrenchments in the Army, Navy, and Ordnance cannot with safety to the best interests of the nation be carried to such an extent as to afford any very perceptible or lasting benefit to the people ; and^ those who exaggerate the expenditure of government on these branches of the public service, with a view to effect small savings by hazardous re- trenchments, are ineffectually diverting the public mind from the real cause of the evil, which lies concealed in the funding system, and is unquestionably the serpent which insidiously bites the people, and whose deadly and envenomed sting must be removed before they can have any permanently healthful constitution, or freedom from oppressive taxation. It is not, therefore, the current expenditure of the forces necessary to preserve social order at home, and to maintain public peace abroad, to which political economists and patriots ought primarily to devote their energies ; for, though a trifling advantage may be gained to the people by such a paltry line of action, still, it is that radical evil which besets the nation, the national debt, which ought to have their first consideration. That would be a subject more wor- thy of them, and calculated to lead to far greater benefits than any small amount of saving which they may be able to effect by huckstering with government. Besides bearing the expense of social government, property has other duties to discharge towards society; and were they properly fulfilled, then it has unques- tionably purchased of society a title to certain rights, which society is bound to respect and to guarantee ; but if property have not rendered those dutie&to society, then it can claim no peculiar rights whatever. It is on the evidence of the non-fulfilment of the duties of property that we have arraigned it at the bar of social justice for derelictions of duties, through which its rights have become forfeited to society, and its possessors reduced to the grade of monopolists. Property is by society accounted sacred ; monopoly is almost universally condemned ; yet proprietors, though degenerated and fallen, are useful in the development of social progress ; because monopolists are one of the con- stituent parts of society, that without them would retro- gade into primitive barbarity, were it not that monopoly acts as a spur to urge it on, in its invariably progressive -course. Monopoly, by ensuring to capitalists the fruits of their speculations, has been the means of increasing the wealth of the world; but this augmentation has often been effected at the sacrifice of the labourers, who are made prisoners to capital by free trade, and hanged or smothered by monopoly, which, being the scourge of industry, urges on the labourers to produce commodities to feed it ; and when they have done so, it sucks those productions from them as voraciously as .the horse-leech bleeds its victim. Monopoly lives on the parings it slices off industry, and when its grinding policy is called in question by philanthropists, it pleads its 'irresponsibility, Ego sum qui ego sum. Property, however, in essence, is neither a hastard nor an imposture, for originally it was the legitimate offspring of society ; hut on account of its having ultimately ava- riciously sold its birthright for monopoly, we have brought the accusation of breach of faith against it, conscious nevertheless of the forensic prejudice of our jury, who have all more or less heen brought up in the present reli- gion of property, and many of them imbued with its dog- mas, as taught by the interested pedagogues of property. However, we do not wish to destroy the rights of pro- perty, for did we entertain so a^urd and ^malicious an intention, we should be attempting the -annihilation of society which would become all but extinct were the sustenance which it derives from property withdrawn. All that we wish and labour for, is to establish the rights of property upon renovated and sound principles, know- ing, as we do, that its present constitution and develop- ment are based upon principles which are unsound and unjust. M. A. Thiers, in his work, " Du Dr6it de Propriete" has ably stated many of the advantages which property is calculated to confer upon man, and the beneficial effects which it has upon society ; yet he has very ina- dequately pourtrayed property, because, in his special pleading in vindication of the immaculate rights of pro- perty as at present developed, he has, through infatua- tion, studiously avoided all consideration whatever, as to what its duties are, and therefore, instead of philosophi- cally investigating property, he has exhibited it but on one side, parading before his readers its beauties, but leaving them ignorant of its defects. In taking up the defence of the rights of property, he asks this question, 6 How- has it been brought about that property, the natural instinct of man, of the child, of the animal, only end, indispensable recompense of labour, was called in ques- tion in our age?' In striking the lyre of property, M. Thiers has laid his fingers bewildered amongst the strings, and uncon- sciously exposed the present rights of property to a simple and untenable defence ; ' for/ says he, ' pro- perty is the natural instinct of man, of the child, and of the animal/ If the natural instinct of man urges him forward in the attainment of property, then every ob- stacle which is thrown in his way is a frustration of natural propensities and a subversion of the free deve- lopment of natural instinct, which is pretty equally divided in various forms and modifications amongst man- kind, so that they are all more or less dependant upon one another. The talent of a Homer being scrupulously equipoised by natural laws with those of a Solon, a Herodotus, a Demosthenes, or an Alexander ; and the works of the learned Lave their equivalent in nature with those of the husbandmen. Were it not, therefore, for artificial compacts, which have no affinity with nature, property would be naturally divided, and protection and liberty secured for all. The rights to a free develop- ment of natural instincts, if not injurious to the rights of others, were born with man ; but if natural instinct be the reservoir which leads to property, then non-pro- prietors may either justly hlame nature for bestowing upon them inadequate functions, or else accuse society of having sanctioned their disinheritance. If natural in- stinct begets property, how stands it with those who had property assigned to them before they were conceived? It may be said, society by its laws has given them this right; if so, then property must be of social creation : but we are told by M. Thiers, that it is a natural right, proceeding from man's natural instinct. Property must have its origin either in nature or in society; and if it have its origin in nature, then to under- stand it we must have clearly stated to us what are our natural rights, and the economy of our instincts; until this be done, and their origin defined, it is premature to attempt to establish the rights of property on nature. For if to attain property be natural to the animal, as well as to man, how comes it to pass that the animals do neither possess the power nor the right of disposing of it by gift, or assignment, to whomsoever they please ? 'for,' says M. Thiers, 'the giving or bequeathing of property is one of the necessary ways of using it, qu9 le don est I une des manieres necessaire & user de la propriete.' M. Thiers, however, mistakes possession for property, and therefore, he confuses himself with the idea 244 THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES that animals become through instinct proprietors, whereas they are only possessors for the time being of whatever they may hold. Property exists only in society, and without its limits there is no property; therefore, as soci- ety was founded on principles of equality in the asso- ciated, property as an institution of society must have for its principle equality. M. Thiers, doubting after a long and studious inves- tigation, that the origin of property was neither to be found in the natural instinct of man, Dans les besoin* de r homme^ nor by an exact observation of the deve- lopment of human nature, L' exacte observation de la nature kumaine est done la metkode d suivre pour de- couvrir et demontrer les droils de I homme, he endea- vours to trace its origin to labour, man having been born as he says naked into a naked world. Qa il r^salte de tout ce qm precede, que le travail est le vrai fondement du droit de propriety. La propritte, recompense indis- pensable du travail. Nature was clothed in verdant robes before the age of Adam, and she still puts on seasonably the same rich vestments, though the labourers are now often clothed in rags, notwithstanding the additional production with which they impregnate her, and which she brings forth ; and, as it has been admitted, that property ought to be the reward of labour ; but this not being the case, that is the reason why property, like a criminal, has been put on its trial, and that M. Thiers has been driven to the neces- sity of making all sorts of suppositions and assertions to account for its origin, and of playing fast and loose alter- nately to establish its present rights. If labour be the origin of property, how, in the name of justice is it that those who labour hardest are generally worst paid; and that property is found in abundance in the possession of those who do not labour at all, but who contrive by scheming to make others labour for them, and who take the lion's share in the production? If labour be the origin of property, and if property be called in question, then, the better course for proprietors to pursue, is, not to quote their disputed titles, but to shew their handiwork, in order that it may be weighed, measured, and valued, by the proportion which it bears to the productions of other men's labour. With natural instinct as the origin of property, its equality is inevitable ; and with labour, as its parent, many of the present holders are usurpers, whose titles have been justly called in question by the labourers. M. Thiers, not being able to establish a satisfactory origin for property in either of those, endeavours to fix the rights of a certain amount of property to the law of prescription. Que si lafraude et la violence sont quel- quefois I'origine de la propriety la transmission pendant quelques annees t sous des lois regulieres, lui rendlecarac- terc respectable el sacre de la propriete fondte sur le travail. That property is sometimes acquired by fraud and violence, is here admitted by M. Thiers; but he has signally failed to prove, that its transmission from hand to hand for a few years, renders its character as respec- table and sacred as that property which had been pro- duced by labour. Besides, no length of time can destroy the Jus in re, which man has to the earth, and its natural products, and also to the fruits of his labour; therefore, all that we see around us belongs equally to all men as the free gift of nature, and to men individually in pro- portion to their labour ; consequently, all statutes of limitations are only conventional sliding-scale barriers, set up to bar the claims, jus od rem, which the labourers have, through the donation of nature and of labour, to be reinstated in their rights. Proprietors ! can you form statutes of prescriptions to curb the mind of man, and to limit his ideas by any conventional measures of restraint? You know your impuissance to fabricate such laws. Then avow, frankly, that all prescriptions and limitations in your code of jurisprudence, are only fleeting compacts to which the disinherited have not subscribed their con- sent. When the individuals, who are created proprietors by statutes of prescriptions, after their having been in possession ten, twenty, a hundred years, or to whatever length of period the statutes of limitations may be confined, began the period of probation fixed by the law, they were in the eyes of the law only possessors of a part of the social property. If so, then statutes, of limitations can only confirm that possession; but they cannot change the possessor into a proprietor, except by presuming to legislate upon what did not previously exist. Therefore, every statute of limitation, in so far as it attempts to establish the rights of property, is an act to create a new order of. beings, made after the image of proprietors; in fact, it is an innovation of a new, or an eight day's creation in society, of which political economy, in defence of natural and social rights, denounces the evening and the morning, to be very bad. ' How was property called in question in our age ?' To this philosophical question, we reply, that the rights of property are not disputed at the present day ; but, that it is the rights of monopoly which are assailed with greater force and vigour than they have usually been in any age ; and, that not even in Rome, when the patricians monopolized the whole of the land, and reduced the plebeians to be farmers of their own inheritances, did the dispute create so much noise within the limits of the Roman empire, as the resuscitation of that giant invigora- tion of the claims of labour, which has recently been evoked in Europe, is creating throughout society. The rights of monopoly have been called in question since the day that Abram and Lot's herdsmen strove about the possession of their common territory. Had M. Thiers, therefore, drawn the line of demarcation between property and monopoly, he would have discovered, that it was only the rights of monopoly, more scientifically speaking, the pretensions of monopoly, which were called in question, * Quifut mise en question dans notre sieclej and not the legitimate rights of property. Had he per- spicuously understood the heterogenous principles of the two systems which were rolling under his pen, he would not have mixed them up together so indiscriminately, and thereby have imposed upon his readers the labour of analysing them. Another fundamental error into which M. Thiers has fallen, in his investigation of the rights of property, is, that he states, that none of the causes which led, very justly as he says, to the revolution of 1789, remained to cause that of 1848, ' cherchez done, cherchez dans cetle societt (Icfaiie^ refaite tant defois depuis quatre-vingt- neuf, et je vous dcfie de trouver autre chose a sacrifier que la propriety' Learn then, M. Thiers, learn by the science of political economy to distinguish between pro- 248 THE BIGHTS AND DUTIES perty and monopoly, and you will easily discover, that monopoly is now rampant under the escutcheon of pro- prietorship ; and though it may not be possible to sacri- fice it altogether, still, the rescue and preservation of society demands of us to bridle the unmerciful dragon of monopoly, which is sucking the blood from industry, and devouring society. If, therefore, society requires a sacri- fice, wherefore not let monopoly be garnished and made the oblation? that execrable monopoly, whose hand is against every man, and, with a few exceptions, every one's tongue against it. The French Revolution, in 1789, was a rebellion of the people against monopoly; the nobles paid only a small portion of the taxes; the clergy, notwithstanding that they were the second order in the state, had been exempted from paying any taxes at all. There were distinct laws for different orders of individuals, and the aristocracy enjoyed innumerable monopolies. The people emanci- pated themselves from the iniquitous burdens which had been imposed upon them by the nobles and clergy; and had it not been for the interference of England, the government and destinies of France would have assumed a different form, and iti aspect at the present would have been totally unlike what it is. The revolution of 1830, was a faint and ineffectual throb of France to breathe more freely the atmosphere of freedom, which was being gradually contracted. By this social throe, it passed into another state of transition until 1848, when, in its struggles against monopoly and oppression, it bore that Republic, which had been begotten in 1789, and which France will baptise in blood when the mature time for its christening shall have arrived. The social organization of 1848 was the natural concrete of the centripetal beat which was engendered in the social atmosphere by the refraction of society in 1789. Those two dates include one epoch, and serve like stations on the way to shew the progress of the social train, where the passengers refresh themselves before taking their places for the next station. Were we to judge precipitately as to what the rights of property are, from the quantity of matter that M. Thiers has verbosely piled up as a barricade in its defence, we should be infatuously deluded from the field of philoso- phical investigation; but no, we judge of the worth of his advocacy by its quality, and not by its plethoric quantity. Therefore, in estimating the gravity and value of what he has written on the subject of property, though he has said much which merits the respect of society, the result is, that he understands better the art of writing popu- larly about property than that he comprehends its nature. And if his theoretical knowledge of the rights of property is defective, his practical government of it, when he was prime minister of France in 1840, was weighed in the balance of European politics, and found wanting. M. V. Considerant, in scrutinizing the political ability of M. Thiers, says, * we have explained why and where- fore there are individuals who believe in the political abilities of M. Thiers. In France, agility, skill, and genius, joined to an upright conduct, have always for a time conferred reputation and authority; but let any one instance an act, the management of government, or of party, anything in fact which may be for Mr. Thiers a title of superior ability, I will be most happy to be in- formed of any thing.' 4 1 have watched him for these last eighteen years. Often I have shewn that ahsurd disputes were raised against him ; I feel myself perfectly inclined to praise him to-morrow, if this evening he would do something good ; but at present, I know nothing which points him out as a public man of any superiority. Quite otherwise, and his inconsistency has only yielded to him mystifica- tions in Europe, where no one has ever taken him to be serious ; and they have had good reason/ 'As to ability, other than the juggle of the tribune, and the talent of a diffuse writer, placing facts in the place of right, and his inventions in the place of facts, I totally deny it to him. Never man has more woefully governed a country and a party. In power, M. Thiers has ruined French politics ; and for being allied to him, the parliamentary opposition saw itself fall into that species of political annihilation, which invariably follows the abandonment of principles. Let any one cite to me a political act of M. Thiers, one only, denoting a superior man, and I will engage to cite a hundred, and again a hundred, arid a hundred besides, shewing inferiority, narrowness, wild vanity, contempt of principles, and an inconstant and confused representation of the subject. ' Behold the saviour of the country, the Hercules com- missioned to crush the hydra of Socialism !' 6 M. Thiers has spent eighteen years in being continu- ally the compeer and dupe of Louis Philippe; and his last act of complicity, his last coquetry, to reestablish him- self, if possible, under the father, or at least, to prepare himself to be the minister of the regency, has bereaved the Orleans dynasty of the only chance of safety that it retained. M. Thiers, was, nevertheless, well-disposed. Listen to some of his expressions, in the discussion of the regency, 20th August, 1842 : 4 Pour moi, quand la charte a institue la royaule comme nous Vavons cest une institution profonde, ad- mirable^ qu aucun docteur de droit public n a inventee, que la nature seule a inventee dans les grands pays. Pour moi, cest V invention admirable du genie, non- pas de tel on telgenie^ mats du vrai genie de I homme. * Je adhere a la charte, non pas seulement comme a une lettre ecrite, mais de toute la puissance de mon esprit. Je crois que la royautt, quelle a fait est la bonne royaute la senle que le bon sens moderne put conseiller, la seule qui satisfait a tons les inte'rets* [Poor Babelfish translation: "I adhere to the charter, not only as has a written letter, but of all the power of my spirit. I believe that the royautt, which fact is the good royalty the senle has that the modern good sense could advise, the only one which satisfies has tons the inte' snares"] If, with those opinions M. Thiers has not been ahle to save the monarchy, we demand how, with these same convictions (without douht they were too profound and too absolute to have been changed) how M. Thiers will save the Republic ? We ask how, a man who admired to this degree the charter and the monarchical govern- ment, to whom that model was the only idea, the only philosophy, the only religion, how, that man has dared to come into a republican organization, and there assume the air of wishing to associate himself at the foundation of a Republic? In conclusion, we ask, at all the simple- tons who admit, that, after all, their dearest interest at present is the consolidation and tranquillisation of the Republic ; that none other form is henceforth possible ; that all attempts of imperial restorations, legitimists, or Orleanists, are only pregnant with devastation, bloodshed, and misery ; we demand of them, why they do not com- prehend that they ought to leave the establishment of the Republic to the democrats, and not to throw intrigues and embarrassments in their way by supporting such men as have the antecedents, the habits, and the species of political faculties of M. Thiers ? 4 M. Thiers has ruined, we repeat it, the policy of France by his deplorable and extravagant administration of the 1st March ; the opposition in associating itself with him was destroyed; he at last ruined the monarchy by repul- sing the regency of a respected and popular woman in France, only to leave in reserve, to the monarchy, at the first casualty, of the unpopularity of Louis Philippe, the unpopularity of the Duke de Nemours ; u Vantez nout done la haute capacite politique de M. Thiers^ et sauvez- moi la socicte avec un pareil sauveurJ * M. Thiers supposes that the revolution of 1789, in destroying the corporations and wardenships, and in con- fiscating the properties of the nobles and clergy to distri- bute them amongst the victorious citizens, bourgeoisie, has exhausted all that there was to take ; that there are no longer any spoils to divide, no more privileges to de- stroy, no more morsels of any cake to offer to the masses/ 4 1 remark to him, that Europe is at the commencement of a revolution to which that of 1777 was a simple prologue ; that this revolution has a social character ; that the question propounded is, that of labour, and of the constitution of property ; that the opinions of the socialists, even the most negative in regard to the privi- leges of property, cannot appear to M. Thiers, and to all the defenders of old society such as it is ; more illegiti- mate, more false, more spoliatory, and more detestable, than that of the philosophy, the politics, and the orators of the Bourgeoisie appeared false, illegitimate, spoliatory, and odious to the nobility, clergy, royalty, to all the ancient privileged classes; that nevertheless these last opinions have had, and still have, the support of the classes which they have freed and enriched by the destructions that they have consummated, by the spoliations that they have practised, accomplished, and legalized. They have even for them the historians, who have related these practices, affranchisements, destructions, spoliations.' Such are some of the opinions entertained in regard to M. Thiers' political philosophy by a most powerful school in France. It is not, however, with M. Thiers' tergiversations in politics that we have to deal, in prosecuting our enquiries into the rights and duties of property ; but, as he has written on the rights of property so unphiloso- phically, taking a one-sided view of so momentous a subject, and struggling amongst his propositions as if he were contending for a victory at the expense of truth, through the suppression of evidence, and the concealment of facts, which ought to have been cogently before his mind ; we have, therefore, considered it requi- site, in vindication of political integrity, and for the main- tenance of the rights and duties of property, which have been more so put in jeopardy by his unscientific elucidations of their peculiar natures, than they have been explained and substantiated, to prove by the evidence of his own countrymen, that his theories ought not to be readily adopted by political economists without circumspect in- vestigation; because, through their practical development in France, they have become very much distrusted by many profound politicians, and they are only partly accre- dited in Europe by those who do not thoroughly examine and comprehend them ; but who, notwithstanding, admit them as truths, simply because they emanate from a popular political writer, whose style is fascinating, and whose diction is versatile and plausible. In resuming the investigation of the rights and duties of property, in order to draw our subject to a conclusion, we shall briefly state their relative positions when placed in hostile antagonism, and also when united in social orga- nization. These two social bulwarks were reared together to fulfil one and the same design ; but, through the neglect of society, the fulfilment of the duties of property have been allowed to fall into disuse and decay, therefore, the expense of social government has been gradually and in- sidiously removed from property, and imposed upon labour, thereby placing the existence of society itself in imminent danger through means of its own defalcations and neglect of duty. Unless the rights of property are strictly maintained in their social spirit, by preserving to the producer the just reward of his labour, society must slowly decline and perish by a natural and social death. And if the duties of property be not fulfilled by proprietors, society runs the risk of being extinguished by violent and rapid social insurrections. It, therefore, behoves the adminis- trators of social government to watch circumspectly that the rights of property are not unjustly invaded, and that the duties of property are rigidly performed ; if either of these duties are neglected by government, to the extent of that neglect there will be disorder and misery in society. Under the present constitution of society, property is protected by the laws, but it is not obliged to fulfil its duties; therefore, through the derelictions of society, proprietors evade the performance of their obligations, and a hostility between the producers of wealth and the occupiers of property has been created, which is likely to pave the way towards a disruption of the present rights of property; and may lead ultimate!-' to a social revolution, if it be not averted in time, by property being bound to fulfil the duties originally and socially imposed upon it. The movement by which economical science is at pre- sent actuated, is not, as has erroneously been supposed by superficial thinkers, to destroy property which is too respectfully and justly grounded in the affections of the industrious classes, and too closely bound up with their hopes and aspirations to admit of any doubt as to its perfect preservation. The present bent of political economy is to restore, confirm, and consolidate the rights of property, which have been put in danger through the insinuative aggressions of proprietors ; and, in prosecuting their philanthropic labour, the pioneers of social organization and civil rights consider it a paramount duty to impress upon the mind of society the momentous facts, that property has not fulfilled its duties, and that society is bound, in defence of its own existence, and in vindication of the rights of labour whose protection has been delegated to it, to compel proprietors to pay the expense of the social administration of property. If society refuse to afford the people equitable social justice and civil rights, then the labourers are no longer morally obliged to respect either society, or the rights of property. However, they are bound by the legal force of the law, not the moral law, to pay respect to the rights of property, and to be obedient members of society, so long as the civil government of the nation considers that it is for the benefit of society to maintain those laws; and no man has a legitimate prerogative, when he may think fit, to set the laws of society at defiance, because his opinions of what justice ought to be do not exactly coincide with the civil law. At the same time, every individual who is governed by laws over which he has no power in making, or in unmaking, is not a freeman of society. Were the duties which devolve upon property fulfilled by proprietors, the labourers would respect and defend the rights of property, because they would then be convinced that, in doing so, they would at the same time be defending their own ; and we should have no more chartist gatherings, fortifications of the Bank of England by sand bags, nor the trouble of orga- nizing and swearing in of special constables for the maintenance of social order. Besides, we should be enabled to dispense with, if not totally to disbandon our indocile army of pen and ink scribblers, on printed forms, who, under the designation of excise and custom house officers, ferret, if they think proper, into every house in the kingdom, so that no lady's bedroom is even sacred ; search passengers on the frontier ; thrusting their hands into their pockets, or below the folds f the ladies' dresses ; unfolding with their rude hands, and repacking still more rudely the linen, Les chemises et les chemisettes^ of every lady or gentleman who has had the misfortune to be careful in folding their clothes, or in packing their trunks. The duties of property have not been fulfilled, and the nation has been subjected to a debt which was con- tracted for the benefit of the possessors of property, and in defence of th e then existing rights of property. It is, therefore, to property that this debt entirely belongs ; and until the possessors of property shall have paid it off, rights of property must be considered as being held in pledge by those who are made to pay the taxes; and that those calling themselves proprietors, are only in possession, through the sufferance of industry, and not by inherent right. The rights that property is entitled to, were it to fulfil faithfully its duties, having been forfeited to the people, one would suppose that property would have been com- pelled to bear the expense of the civil government ; but, through an aberration of society, that charge has been shifted from property and imposed upon labour, there- fore, while proprietors have become exempt from the performance of their duties, the productive classes have been subjugated to bear the burden of taxation instead of the possessors of property. This unsocial position of property, rather we might say, that the social organization of monopoly under the name of property, will be methodically perpetuated in nearly the same form as long as the people are not repre- sented in the legislature. Therefore, by extending the elective franchise to the people, the powers of monopoly would be weakened, the assumptive rights of monopoly put in danger, and society exposed to be renovated by the free development of the rights of labour. We trust that we have now demonstrated that the old world of property requires reorganization, because its possessors have become monopolists, and do not fulfil their functions for the well-being of society. Also, we have endeavoured to shew some of the practical benefits which would result to the nation, were property to fulfil its duties, not the least of which would be, the liquidation of the national debt, thereby emancipating industry from a burden of unjust and unequal taxation. We likewise, have expressed our opinion, that the aspect of the nations of the earth, and the progress which philosophy and true political knowledge have recently made among the people, and in the minds of statesmen, indicate, that the old world of monopoly is about being dissolved into its original elements, in which the present race of self-existent, antediluvian proprietors, will either be suffocated by free trade, or drowned by the elective voice of the people. Proprietors ! it has been very far remote from our intention, in philosophically surveying your position amidst the dissolving views which are being exhibited in the laboratory of society, to wish to deprive any of you of your legitimate rights, or to rob you of your property, by fostering a spirit of malicious envy and animosity against your order ; rather, we have endeavoured, you will have perceived, were you able to appreciate unvar- nished truth and candour, to substantiate your claims, by expostulating with and warning you of the imminent danger which you have brought yourselves into, through neglecting the performance of your duties towards soci- ety, by whom alone your rights and property can be perpetuated. If we have, in the fulfilment of our duty, said any thing which may in the least have given you offence, we assure you, it has been undesignedly done and solely with a view to promulgate truth, therefore, merit we your indulgence ; and when political science shall have advanced, and society shall have outgrown its present ligaments, then shall what we have said be fully appreciated and lauded by the holders of property. Labourers ! to whom the patrimony of the world was given, but who are become disinherited, your title is still good, as neither time nor circumstances have obliterated your claims, or cancelled your rights. Therefore, in suing to be reinstated in your inheritance, be calm and firm, as men contending for their just rights; and do not nourish vindictive feelings, neither foment hatred against proprietors, nor maliciously disturb the peace of society ; but, in claiming your social rights, assume an honorable and dignified position, and though your deprivation may last for a short time longer, be assured, that, by pacifically and steadily urging your claims on the attention of soci- ety, you cannot ultimately fail of success in so just a cause. For, unless the rights of labour are restored, the rights of property must inevitably rest insecure; consequently, the interests of proprietors will induce them, in proportion to the appreciation of this fact, to conform property to the conditions of the social compact, and to relinquish their infringements on the rights of labour. Be steadfast, therefore, and reasonable in your social demands, con- forming your actions to the laws, until such time as you are able constitutionally to reform what may be unjust in those laws. Let prudence, moderation, and justice, be your policy; integrity the guide in all your actions, and society will become regenerated under your potency! THE END.

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