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HN 


UfcJ^ 


>n 


HARVARD  COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 


THE  GIFT  OF 

JOHN  TUCKER  MURRAY 
CLASS  OF  tesa 

PROFESSOR  OF  ENGUSH 


PRINCIPLES 


POLITICAL   ECONOMY 


V 


PRINCIPLES 


OF 


POLITICAL    ECONOMY 


SOME    OF  THEIR   APPLICATIONS    TO    SOCIAL 
PHILOSOPHY 


JOHN    STUART    MILL 


PEOPLE'S    EDITION 


LONDON 
LONGMANS,     GREEN,     AND     CO. 

AND  NEW  YORK:   15  EAST  16*^  STREET 
1894 


HARVARD  COLLEGE  LIBRARY 

GIFT  OF 

PROF.  JOHN  TUCKER  MURRAY 

JUNE  13,  (938 


Printed  by  BALLANTVNE,  HANSON  &  Ca 
jit  the  BaUantyne  Press 


PB15FACE. 


The  appearance  of  a  treatise  like  the  present,  on  a  subject  on  whiob  so 
many  works  of  merit  already  exist,  may  be  tbougbt  to  require  some 
explanation. 

It  might  perhaps  be  sufficient  to  say,  that  no  existing  treatise  on 
Political  Economy  contains  the  latest  improvements  which  have  been 
made  in  the  theory  of  the  subject.  Many  new  ideas,  and  new  applica- 
tions of  ideas,  have  been  elicited  by  the  discussions  of  the  last  few 
years,  especially  those  on  Currency,  on  Foreign  Trade,  and  oiw  the 
important  topics  connected  more  or  less  intimately  with  Colonization : 
and  there  seems  reason  that  the  field  of  Political  Economy  should  be 
re- surveyed  in  its  whole  extent,  if  only  for  the  purpose  of  incorporating 
the  results  of  these  speculations,  and  bringing  them  into  harmony  with 
the  principles  previously  laid  down  by  the  best  thinkers  on  the  subject. 

To  supply,  however,  these  deficiencies  in  former  treatises  bearing  a 
similar  title,  is  not  the  sole,  or  even  the  principal  object  which  the 
autlior  has  in  view.  The  design  of  the  book  is  different  from  that  of 
any  treatise  on  Political  Economy  which  has  been  produced  in  England 
sin^  the  work  of  Adam  Smith. 

The  most  characteristic  quality  of  that  work,  and  the  one  in  which  it 
most  differs  from  some  others  which  have  equalled  and  even  surpassed 
it  as  mere  expositions  oi  the  general  principles  of  the  subject,  is  that  it 
invariably  associates  the  principles  with  their  applications.  This  of 
itself  implies  a  much  wider  range  of  ideas  and  of  topics,  than  are 
included  in  Political  Economy,  considered  as  a  branch  of  abstract  specu- 
lation. Por  practical  purposes.  Political  Economy  is  inseparably  inter- 
twined with  many  other  branches  of  social  philosophy.  Except  on 
matters  of  mere  detail,  there  are  perhaps  no  practical  questions,  even 
among  those  which  approach  nearest  to  the  character  of  purely  econo- 
mical questions,  which  admit  of  being  decided  on  economical  premises 
alone.  And  it  is  because  Adam  Smith  never  loses  sight  of  this  truth; 
because,  in  hia  applications  of  Political  Economy,  he  perpetually  appeals 
to  other  and  often  far  larger  considerations  than  pure  Political  Economy 
affords — that  he  gives  that  well-grounded  feeling  of  command  over  the 

a 


ri  PREFACE. 

principles  o^  the  subject  for  purposes  of  practice,  owing  to  which 
the  "  Wealth  of  Nations,"  alone  among  treatises  on  Political  Economy, 
has  not  only  been  popular  with  general  readers,  but  has  impressed 
itself  strongly  on  the  minds  of  men  of  the  world  and  of  legislators. 

It  appears  to  the  present  writer,  that  a  work  similar  in  its  object  aiid 
general  conception  to  that  of  Adam  Smith,  but  adapted  to  the  more 
extended  knowledge  and  improved  ideas  of  the  present  age,  is  the  kind 
of  contribution  which  Political  Economy  at  present  requires.  The 
"  "Wealth  of  Nations"  is  in  many  parts  obsolete,  and  in  all,  imperfect. 
Political  Economy,  properly  so  called,  has  grown  up  almost  from 
infancy  since  the  time  of  Adam  Smith :  and  the  philosophy  of  society, 
from  which  practically  that  eminent  thinker  never  separated  his  more 
peculiar  theme,  though  still  in  a  very  early  stage  of  its  progress,  has 
advanced  many  steps  beyond  the  point  at  which  he  left  it.  No 
attempt,  however,  has  yet  been  made  to  combine  his  practical  mode  of 
treating  his  subject  with  the  increased  knowledge  since  acquire4  of  its 
theory,  or  to  exhibit  the  economical  phenomena  of  society  in  the  relar 
tion  in  which  they  stand  to  the  best  social  ideas  of  the  present  time,  as 
he  did,  with  such  admirable  success,  in  reference  to  the  philosophy  of 
his  century. 

Such  is  the  idea  which  the  writer  of  the  present  work  has  kept  before 
him..  To  succeed  even  partially  in  realizing  it,  would  be  a  sufficiently 
useful  achievement,  to  induce  him  to  incur  willingly  all  the  chances  of 
failure.  It  is  requisite,  however,  to  add,  that  although  his  object  is 
practical,  and,  as  far  as  the  nature  of  the  subject  admits,  popular,  he 
has  not  attempted  to  purchase  either  of  those  advantages  by  the 
sacrifice  of  strict  scientific  reasoning.  Though  he  desires  that  his 
treatise  should  be  more  than  a  mere  exposition  of  the  abstract  doctrmes 
of  Political  Economy,  he  is  also  desirous  that  such  an  exposition  should 
be  found  in  it. 


The  present  edition  is  an  exact  transcript  from  the  sixth,  except  that 
all  extracts  and  most  phrases  in  foreign  languages  have  been  translated 
into  English^  and  a  very  smaU  number  of  quotations,  or  parts  of  quota- 
tions^ which  appeared  superfluous,  have  been  struck  out.  A  reprint  of 
an  old  controversy  with  the  "  Quarterly  Review"  on  the  condition  of 
landed  property  in  France,  which  had  been  subjoined  aa  an  Appendix, 
has  been  dispensed  with. 


^ 


CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

PsSIiDflNABT  KSMARSS  1 

BOOK  I. 

PRODUCTION. 

Chapteb  T.     Of  the  Bequisitss  of  Production. 

91.  Kequisites  of  production,  what 15 

2.  The  function  of  labour  defined 16 

3.  Does  nature  contribute  more  to  the  efidcacy  of  labour  in  some  occu- 

pations than  in  others  ?    17 

4.  Some  natural  agents   limited,  others  practically  unlimited,  in 

quantity 17 

Chapter  II.     Of  Labour  as  on  Agent  of  Production^'— 

§  1.  Labour  employed  either  directly  about  the  thing  produced,  or  in 

operations  preparatory  to  its  production 19 

2.  Labour  employea  in  producing  subsiBtenoe  for  subsequent  labour  .  20 

8.  — in  producing  materials 21 

4.  —  or  unplements 22 

6.  —  in  the  protection  of  labour 23 

6.  —  in  the  transport  and  distribution  of  the  produce 24 

7.  Labour  which  relates  to  human  beings 25 

8.  Labour  of  invention  and  discovery 26 

9.  Labour  agricultural,  manufacturing,  and  commercial 27 

Chapter  III.     Of  Unproductive  Labour,     ^f^ — ^ 

1 1.  Labour  does  not  produce  objects,  but  utilitieB 28 

2.  —  which  are  of  three  kinds 29 

3.  Productive  labour  is  that  which  produced^ utilities  fixed  and  em- 

bodied in  material  objects 30 

4.  All  other  labour,  however  useful,  is  classed  as  unproductive       .    .  31 

6,  Productive  and  Unproductive  Consumption 32 

6i.  Labour  for  the  supply  of  Productive  Consumption,  and  labour  \sx 

the  supply  of  Unproductive  Consumption 33 

Chaptbe  IV.     Of  CoipitaL 

§  1.  Capital  is  wealth  appropriated  to  reproductive  employment  .     .     .  34 

2.  More  capital  devoted  to  production  than  actually  employed  in  it  .  36 

3.  Fixamination  of  some  cases  illustrative  of  the  idea  of  capital     .    .  87 

a  2 


viii  COi^TENTS. 

Chapter  V.     Fundamental  Propositions  respecting  Capital. 

PAG£ 

g  1.  Industry  is  limited  by  Capital 39 

2.  —  but  does  not  always  come  up  to  that  limit 41 

3.  Increase  of  capital  gives  increased  employment  to  labour,  without 

assignable  bounds 41 

4.  Ciipit«3  is  the  result  of  saving 43 

5.  All  capital  is  consumed 44 

6.  Capital  is  kept  up,  not  by  preservation,  but  by  perpetual  repro- 

duction       46 

7.  Why  countries  recover  rapidly  from  a  state  of  devastation    ...  47 

8.  Effects  of  defraying  government  expenditure  by  loans     ....  47 

9.  Demand  for  commodities  is  not  demand  for  labour 49 

10.  FaUaoj  respecting  Taxation 55 

Chapter  VI.     Of  Circulating  and  Fixed  Capital, 

%  1.  Fixed  and  Circulating  Capital,  what 57 

2.  Increase  of  fixed  capital,  when  at  the  expense  of  circulating,  might 

be  detrimental  to  the  labourers 58 

3.  —  but  this  seldom  if  ever  occurs 61 

Chapter  VII.     On  what  depends  the  degree  of  Productiveness 
of  Productive  Agents, 

§  1 .  Land,  labour,  and  capital,  are  of  different  productiveness  at  diffe- 
rent times  and  places 63 

2.  Causes  of  superior  productiveness.     Natural  advantages      ...  63 

3.  —  greater  energy  of  labour 65 

4.  —  superior  skill  and  knowledge 66 

&.  —  superiority  of  intelligence  and  trustworthiness  in  the  commu- 
nity generally 67 

6.  —  superior  security 70 

Chapter  VIII.     Of  Co-operation^  or  the  Combination  of  Labour,  ^^ 

§  1.  Combination  of  Labour  a  principal  cause  of  superior  productiveness  71 

2.  Effects  of  separation  of  employments  analysed 73 

3.  Combination  of  labour  between  town  and  country   , 74 

4.  The  higher  degrees  of  the  division  of  labour 75 

6.  Analysis  of  its  advantages       77 

6.  Limitations  of  the  division  of  labour 80 

Chapter  IX.     Of  Production  on  a  Large,  and  Production  on 
a  Small  Scale. 

§  1.  Advantages  of  the  large  system  of  production  in  manufactures     .  81 

2.  Advantages  and  disadvantages  of  the  joint-stock  principle   ...  84 

3.  Conditions  necessary  for  the  large  system  of  production  .     .    .     ,  87 

4.  Large  and  small  farming  compared 89 

Chapter  X,     Of  the  Law  of  the  Increase  of  Labour.  -/ 

8  1.  The  law  of  the  increase  of  production  depends  on   those  of  three 

elements,  Labour,  Capital,  and  Land 96 

2.  The  Jjaw  of  Population 97 

3.  By  what  checks  the  increase  of  population  is  piHctically  limited   .  98 


CONTENl^S.  13C 

Chaptee  XI.     Of  the  Lava  of  the  Increase  of  Capital, 

1.  Means  and  motives  to  saving,  on  what  dependent 100 

2.  Causes  of  diversity  in  the  effective  strength  oF  the  desire  of  accu- 

mulation         ^ 102 

3.  Examples  of  deficiency  in  the  strength  of  this  desire 103 

4.  Exemplification  of  its  excess  ....         107 

OHAPTBJi  XII,     ()fthe  Law  of  the  Increase  of  Production 
from  Land. 

1.  The  limited  quantity  and  limited  productiveness  of  land,  the  real 

limits  to  production 108 

2.  The  law  of  production  from  the  soil,  a  law  of  diminishing  return 

in  proportion  to  the  increased  application  of  labour  and  capital  .     109 

3.  Antagonist  principle  to  the  law  of  diminiBliiag  return;  the  pro- 

gress of  improvements  in  production 1 11 


Chaftes  XIII.      CoTuequences  qf  the  foregoing  Laws.  ^^^ 

1 .  Bemedies  when  the  limit  to  production  is  the  weakness  of  the 

principle  of  accumulation 117 

2.  Necessity  of  restraining  population   not   confined  to  a  state  of 

inequality  of  property 117 

3.  —  nor  superseded  by  free  trade  in  food 119 

4.  —  nor  in  general  by  emigration r 121 


BOOK  II. 
DISTRIBUTION. 

Chapter  I.     Of  Property. 

I  1.  Introductory  remarks 123 

2.  Statement  of  the  question 124 

3.  Examination  of  Communism 125 

4.  —  of  St.  Simonism  and  Fourierism 130 

Chaptbb  II.      The  same  subject  continued. 

§  1.  The  institution  of  property  implies  freedom  of  acquisition  by  con- 
tract      133 

2.  —  the  validity  of  prescription 134 

3.  —  the  power  of  bequest,  but  not  the  right  of  inheritance.     Ques- 

tion of  inheritance  examined 135 

4.  Should  the  right  of  bequest  be  limited,  and  how  ? 138 

5.  Grounds  of  property  in  land,  different  from  those  of  property  in 

moveables 140 

6.  —  only  valid  on  certain  conditions,  which  are  not  always  reahzed. 

The  limitations  considered 141 

7.  Bights  of  property  in  abuses .    ^    •    .    ;    144 


I        ^^  CONTENTS. 

Chapter  III.     Of  the  Classes  among  whom  the  "Produce 
is  distributed, 

pi.ea 

§  1.  The  produce  sonietimes  shared  among  three  classes 145  ^ 

2.  —  sometimes  belongs  undividedly  to  one 145  fr 

3.  —  sometimes  divided  between  two 146  «^ 

Chapter  IV.     Of  Competition  and  Custom, 

§  1.  Competition  not  the  sole  regulator  of  the  division  of  the  produce  .  147  *^ 

2.  Influence  of  custom  on  rents,  and  on  the  tenure  of  land       .     .     .  148 

3.  Influence  of  custom  on  prices       149 

Chapter  V.     Qf  Slavery, 

%  1.  Slavery  considered  in  relation  to  the  slayes 151 

2.  —  in  relation  to  production 152 

8.  Emancipation  considered  in  relation  to  the  interest  of  the  slave- 
owners        153 

Chapter  VI.     Of  Peasant  Proprietors. 

§  1.  Difierence  between  English  and  Continental  opinions  respecting 

peasant  properties       155 

2.  Evidence  respecting  peasant  properties  in  Switzerland    ....  156 

3.  —  in  Norway 159 

4.  —  in  Germany .161 

5.  —  in  Belgium 164 

6.  —  in  the  Channel  Islands 167 

7.  —  in  France 168 

Chapter  VII.  Continuation  of  the  same  subject, 

§  1.  Influence  of  peasant  properties  in  stimulating  industry    ....  171 

2.  —  in  training  intelligence 172 

3.  —  in  promoting  forethought  and  self-control 7  73 

4.  Their  effect  on  population 174 

5.  —  en  the  subdivision  of  land 180 

Chapter  VIII.     Of  Metayers. 

I  1.  Nature  of  the  metayer  system,  and  its  varieties      ..«•..  183 

2.  Its  advantages  and  inconveniences 184 

3.  Evidence  concerning  its  effects  in  different  countries 185 

4.  Is  its  abolition  desirable  ? 191 

Chapter  IX.     Of  Cottiers. 

§  1.  Nature  and  operation  of  cottier  tennre       193 

2.  In  an  overpeopled  coontry  its  necessary  oonseqneiwe  it  nonnfial 

rents 195 

3.  —  which  are  inconsistent  with  industry,  fragality,  or  restraiirt  on 

population 196 

4   Ryot  tenancy  of  India .     .    .  197 


CONTENTS.  « 

Chaptes  X.     Meant  of  abolishing  Cottter  Tenawep, 

PAOI 

§  1.  Irish  cottiers  should  be  converted  into  peasant  proprieton   ...     199 
2.  Present  state  of  this  question 204 

Chapter  XI.     Of  Wages.  —4^ 

S  1.  Wages  depend  on  the  demand  and  supply  of  labour — ^in  other 

words,  on  population  and  capital 207  v« 

2.  Examination  ot  some  popular  opinions  reRpPctinp  wagfc 9       .     .     .    208  <«• 

3.  Certain  nire  circumstances  excepted,  high  wages  imply  restraints 

on  population *^^^    . 

4.  — whicn  are  in  some  cases  lepal       213 

5.  —  in  others  the  effect  of  particular  customs 214 

6.  Due  restriction  of  population  the  only  safeguard  of  a  labouring 

class 216  •- 

Chaptbe  XII.     Of  Popular  Remedies  for  Low  Wages, 

§  1.  A  legal  or  customary  minimum  of  wages,  with  a  guarantee  of 

employment       .    ! 218  *^ 

2.  —  would  require  as  a  condition,  legal  measures  for  repression  of 

population 219 

3.  Allowances  in  aid  of  wages 221 

4.  The  Allotment  System 223  w 

Chaptbb  XIII.     The  Remedies  for  Loto  Wages  further 
considered, 

S  1.  Pernicious  direction  of  public  opinion  on  the  subject  of  population    2S5 

2.  Grounds  for  expecting  improvement 227 

3.  Twofold  means  of  elevating  the  habits  of  the  labouring  people : 

by  education       .•     •     •. '     ^^^  ** 

4.  —  and  by  large  measures  of  immediate  relief,  through  forei;;n  and 

home  colonization 231*^ 

CfiAPTEK  XIV.     OftJie  Differences  of  Wages  in  different 
Employments. 

I  1.  Differences  of  wages  arising  from  different  degrees  of  attractive- 
ness in  different  employments 233 

2.  Differences  arising  from  natural  monopolies 236 

8.  Effect  on  wages  of  a  class  of  subsidized  competitors    .    .    .    .    «    238 

4.  —  of  the  competition  of  persona  with  independent  means  of  sup- 

port            ....     240 

5.  \^  ages  of  women,  why  lower  than  thos^of  men 242 

6.  Differences  of  wages  arising  from  restrictive  laws,  and  from  oombi' 

nations 248 

7.  Caoes  in  which  wages  are  fixed  by  custom     •••««<..    244 


Chaptbe  XV.     Of  ProflU. 

I  1.  Profits  resolvable  into  three  parts;  interest,  insurance,  and  wages 

of  superintendence 245 

2.  The  minimum  of  profits  ;  and  the  variations  to  which  it  is  liable  .    246 


-V- 


xU  CONTENTS. 

PASE 

§  3.  Differences  of  profits  arising  from  the  nature  of  the  particular  em> 

ployment .  247 

4.  General  tendency  of  profits  to  an  equality 248  V 

5.  Profits  do  not  depend  on  prices,  nor  on  purchase  and  sale     .     .     .  251  (X 

6.  The  advances  of  the  capitalist  consist  ultimately  in  wages  of  labour  2t52  ^ 

7.  The  rate  of  profit  depends  on  the  Cost  of  Labour 263  ^X' 

Chaptee  XVI.     Of  Bent. 

§1.  Rent  the  effect  of  a  natural  monopoly 255 

2.  No  land  can  pay  rent  except  land  of  such  quality  or  situation,  as 

exists  in  less  quantity  than  the  demand 255 

3.  The  rent  of  land  consists  of  the  excess  of  its  return  above  the 

return  to  the  worst  land  in  cultivation 257 

4.  —  or  to  the  capital  employed  in  the  least  advantageous  circum- 

stances       2r)S 

5.  Is  payment  for  capital  sunk  in  the  soil,  rent,  or  profit  ?    .     .     .     .     259 

6.  Rent  does  not  enter  into  the  cost  of  production  of  agricultural 

produce 262 


BOOK  III. 
EXCHANGE. 

CHiLPTEE  I.     Of  Value, 

§  I.  Preliminary  remarks 264 

2.  Definitions  of  Value  in  Use,  Exchange  Value,  and  Price ....  265 

3.  What  is  meant  by  general  purchasing  power      . 265 

4.  Value  a  relative  term.    A  general  rise  or  fall  of  Values  a  contra- 

diction   266 

5.  The  laws  of  Value,  how  modified  in  their  application  to  retail 

transactions 267 

Chaftes  H.     Cf  Demand  and  Stipply,  in  their  relation  to  Value. 

§  1.  Two  conditions  of  Value :  Utility,  and  Difficulty  of  Attainment    .  268 

2.  Three  kinds  of  Difficulty  of  Attainment     .^ 269 

3.  Commodities  which  are  absolutely  limited  in  quantity     ....  270 

4.  Law  of  their  value,,  the  Equation  of  Demand  and  Supply     .    .    .  271 

5.  Miscellaneous  cases  falling  under  this  law .  272 

Ohaftbe  III.     Of  Cost  of  Production,  in  its  relation  to  Value. 

§  1.  Commodities  which  are  Busceptible  of  indefinite   multiplication 

without  increase  of  cost.    Law  of  their  Value,  Cost  of  Production  274 

2.  —  operating  through  potential,  but  not  actual,  alterations  of  supply  275 

Chaptee  IV.     Ultimate  Analysis  of  Cost  of  Production, 

§  1.  Principal  element  in  Cost  of  Production — Quantity  of  Labour   .     .  277  ^^ 

2.  Wages  not  an  element  in  Cost  of  Production 278 


OONTENTa  xfii 

§  3.  —  except  in  so  far  as  they  yary  from  employment  to  emplojrment  279 
4.  Profits  an  element  in  Cost  of  Production,  in  so  far  as  tney  vary 

from  employment  to  employment 280 

6.  —  or  are  spread  oyer  unequal  lengths  of  time 281 

6.  Occasional  elements  in  Cost  of  Production :  taxes,  and  scarcity 

▼alue  of  materials 283 

Chafteb  y.     Of  Rent,  in  its  Belation  to  Value, 

1 1.  Commodities  which  are  susceptible  of  indefinite  multiplication,  but 
not  without  increase  of  cost.  Law  of  their  Value,  Cost  of  Pro- 
duction in  the  most  unfayourable  existing  circumstances  .    .    .    285 

2.  Such  commodities,  when  produced  in  circumstances  more  fayoui^ 

able,  yield  a  rent  equal  to  the  difference  of  cost  ^ 286 

3.  Kent  of  mines  and  fisheries,  and  ground-rent  of  buildings     .    •    .    288 

4.  Cases  of  extra  profit  analogous  to  rent 289 

Chafteb  YI.     Bummary  of  the  Theory  qf  Value. 

§  1.  The  theory  of  Value  recapitulated  in  a  series  of  propositions     .    .    290 

2.  How  modified  by  the  case  of  labourers  cultiyating  for  subsistence .    292  ^"^ 

3.  —  by  the  case  of  slave  labour 293^^ 

Chapteb  VIL     Of  Money. 

i  1.  Purposes  of  a  Circulating  Medium 293 

2.  Gold  and  Silver,  why  fitted  for  those  purposes 294 

3.  Money  a  mere  contrivance  for  facilitating  exchanges,  which  does 

not  affect  the  laws  of  Value 296 

Chaptbb  YTTL     Of  the  Value  of  Money,  cu  dependent  on 
Demand  and  Supply, 

§1.  Value  of  Money,  an  ambiguous  expression 297 

2.  The  value  of  money  depends,  caeteris  paribus,  on  its  quantity    .    .  298 

3. — together  with  the  rapidity  of  circulation 300 

4.  Explanations  and  limitations  of  this  principle 301 

Ghaptxb  IX.     Of  the  Value  of  Money,  as  dependent  on 
Cost  of  Production. 

§  1.  The  value  of  money,  in  a  state  of  freedom,  conforms  to  the  value  of 

the  bullion  contained  in  it 303 

2.  —  which  is  determined  by  the  cost  of  production 304 

3.  This  law,  how  related  to  the  principle  laid  down  in  the  preceding 

chapter 306 

Chapteb  X.     Of  a  Double  Standard,  and  Subsidiary  Coins. 

§  1.  Objections  to  a  double  standard 307 

2.  The  use  of  the  two  metals  as  money,  how  obtained  without  making 

both  of  them  legal  tender 308 


-^ 


riv  CONTENTS. 

Chaptbr  XI.     Of  Credit,  as  a  Substitute  for  Money. 

PAOB 

5  1.  Credit  not  a  creation  but  a  transfer  of  the  means  of  production .    .  309 

2.  In  what  manner  it  assists  production 310 

3.  Function  of  credit  in  economizing  the  nse  of  money     .    .    .    .     .  311 

4.  Bills  of  exchange 312 

5.  Promissory  notes ,    .  314 

6.  Deposits  and  cheques 315 

Chaptek  XTI.    Influence  of  Credit  on  Prices, 

§  1.  The  influence  of  bank  notes,  bills,  and  cheques,  on  price,  a  part  of 

the  influence  of  Credit 316 

2.  Credit  a  purchasing  power  similar  to  money 317 

3.  Eflects  of  great  extensions  and  contractions  of  credit.    Phenomena 

of  a  commercial  crisis  analysed 318 

4.  Bills  a  more  powerful  instrument  for  acting  on  prices  than  book 

credits,  and  bank  notes  than  bills 320 

5.  —  the  distinction  of  little  practical  importance 322 

6.  Cheques  an  instrument  for  acting  on  prices,  equally  powerful  with 

banknotes /    .     .     324 

7.  Are  banknotes  money? 326 

8.  No  generic  distinction  between  bank  notes  and  other  forms  of  credit    327 

Chapter  XIII.     Cfan  Inconvertible  Paper  Cv/rrency. 

§  J.  The  value  of  an  inconvertible  paper,  depending  on  its  quantity,  is 

a  matter  of  arbitrary  regulation 328 

2.  If  regulated  by  the  price  of  bullion,  an  inconvertible  currency 

might  be  safe,  but  not  expedient 330 

3.  Examination  of  the  doctrine  that  an  inconvertible  currency  is  safe 

if  representing  actual  property 331 

4.  —  of  the  doctrine  that  an  increase  of  the  currency  promotes 

industry 332 

6.  Depreciation  of  currency  a  tax  on  the  community,  and  a  fraud  on 

creditors 334 

6.  Examination  of  some  pleas  for  committing  this  fraud  .     .    •    •    •  -  334 

Chapteb  XIV.     Of  Excess  of  Supply, 

§  1.  Can  there  be  an  oversupply  of  commodities  generally?     ....    336 

2.  The  supply  of  commodities  in  general,  cannot  exceed  the  power  of 

purchase ^ 337 

3.  —  never  does  exceed  the  inclination  to  consume 338 

4   Origin  and  explauation  of  the  notion  of  general  oversupply  .    .     .    339 

Chapteb  XV.     €fa  Measure  of  Value. 

§  1.  A  Measure  of  Exchange  Value,  in  what  sense  possible     ....    841 
2.  A  Measure,  of  Cost  of  Production 342 

Chapteb  XVI.     Of  some  Peculiar  Cases  qf  Value. 

§  1.  Values  of  commodities  which  have  a  joint  cost  of  production     .     .    845 
2.  Values  of  the  different  kinds  of  agricultural  produce 344 


OUJNTENTB.  ^y 

Chafteb  XVII.     Of  Intemaii&nal  Trade, 

rAOM 
§  1.  Cost  of  prodaction  not  the  regulator  of  international  yalues  .     .     .     347 

2.  InterchaDge  of  commodities  between  distant  places,  determined  by 

differences  not  in  their  absolute,  bat  in  their  oomparatiye,  cost 

of  production 348 

3.  The  direct  benefits  of  commerce  condit  in  increased  efiBciency  of 

the  productive  powers  of  the  world 349 

4.  —  not  in  a  vent  for  exports,  nor  in  the  gains  of  merchants  .    .    .    350 

5.  Indirect  benefits  of  commerce,  eoouomical  and  moral ;  still  greater 

than  the  direct 851 

Chaptbb  XVin.     Of  IntenuUional  Valuei, 

$  1.  The  values  of  imported  commodities  depend  on  the  tenna  of  iniep- 

national  interchange 352 

2.  —  which  depend  on  the  Equation  of  International  Demand  .    .     .    353 

3.  Influence  of  cost  of  carriage  on  international  values 356 

4.  The  law  of  values  which  holds  between  two  countries,  and  two 

commodities,  holds  of  any  greater  number 356 

6.  Effect  of  improvements  in  production,  on  international  values   .     .    358 

6.  The  preceding  theory  not  complete 360 

7.  International  values  depend  not  solely  on  the  quantities  demanded, 

but  also  on  the  means  of  production  avafiable  in  each  country 

for  the  supply  of  foreign  markets 361 

8.  The  practical  result  little  affected  by  this  additional  element    .    .    363 

9.  The  cost  to  a  country  of  its  imports,  on  what  circumstances 

dependent 866 

Chaptbb  XIX.     Of  Money,  eonsidered  cu  cm  Imported 
Commodity, 

%  I.  Money  imported  in  two  modes ;  as  a  commodity,  and  as  a  medinm 

of  exchange 367 

2.  As  a  commodity,  it  obeys  the  same  laws  of  value  as  other  imported 

commodities ,    ,     .    , 367 

8.  Its  value  does  not  depend  exclusively  on  its  cost  of  production  at 

the  mines 369 

Chaptbb  XX.     Of  the  Foreign  Exchanges. 

§1.  Purposes  for  which  money  passes  from  country  to  country  as  a 

medium  of  exchange 370 

2.  Mode  of  adjusting  international  payments  through  the  exchanges .    370 
8.  Distinction  between  variations  m  the  exchanges  which  are  self- 
adjusting,  and  those  which  can  only  be  rectified  through  prices .    373 

Chaptbb  XXI.     Of  the  Distribution  of  the  Precious  MetaU 
through  the  Commercial  World. 

%  1.  The  substitution  of  money  for  barter  makes  no  difference  in  exports 

and  imports,  nor  in  the  law  of  international  values 374 

2.  The  preceding  theorem  further  illustrated 376 


xn  CONTENTS. 

PAGB 

§  3.  The  precious  metals,  as  money,  are  of  the  tame  value,  and  dis- 
tribute themselves  according  to  the  same  law,  with  the  precious 
metals  as  a  commodity 379 

4.  iDternational  payments  of  a  noo-commercial  character      ....     379 

Chaptbs  XXII.     Influence  of  Currency  en  the  Exchanges  afid 
on  Foreign  Trade, 

§  1.  Variations  in  the  exchange,  which  originate  in  the  currency    .    .     380 
2.  Effect  of  a  sudden  increase  of  a  metallic  currency,  or  of  the  sudden 

creation  of  bank  notes  or  other  substitutes  for  money    ....     381 

5.  Effect  of  the  increase  of  an  inconvertible  paper  currency.    Real 

and  nominal  exchange 384 

Chaptee  XXIII.     Of  the  Rate  of  Interest, 

i  1.  The  rate  of  interest  depends  on  the  demand  and  supply  of  loans    .    385 

2.  Circumstances  which  determine  the  permanent  demand  and  supply 

of  loans 386 

3.  Circumstances  which  determine  the  fluctuations 388 

4.  The  rate  of  interest,  how  far,  and  in  what  sense,  connected  with 

the  value  of  money 390 

5.  The  rate  of  interest  determines  the  price  of  land  and  of  securities .     393 

Chapteb  XXIV.     Qfthe  Regulation  qfa  Convertible 
'Fajper  Cwrrency, 

§  1 .  Two  contrary  theories  respecting  the  influence  of  bank  issaes    .    .    394 

2.  Examination  of  each 395 

3.  Reasons  for  thinking  that  the  Currency  Act  of  1844  produces  a 

part  of  the  beneficial  effect  intended  by  it 397 

4.  —  but  produces  mischiefs  more  than  equivalent 400 

5.  {Should  the  issue  of  bank  notes  be  confined  to  a  single  esta- 

blishment?  408 

6.  Should  the  holders  of  notes  be  protected  in  any  peculiar  manner 

against  failure  of  payment? 409 

Chatteb  XXV.     Ofth9  Competition  of  different  Countries 
in  the  same  Market, 

§  1.  Causes  which  enable  one  country  to  undersell  another     ....  410 

2.  Low  wages  one  of  those  causes 41 1 

3.  — when  peculiar  to  certain  branches  of  industry 412 

4.  —  but  not  when  common  to  all 414 

5.  Some  anomalous  cases  of  trading  communities  examined .     .    .    .  414 

Chapteb  XXVI.     Qf  Distribution,  as  affected  by  Exchange, 

§  1.  Exchange  and  Money  make  no  difference  in  the  law  of  wages  .     .416 

2.  — in  the  law  of  rent 417 

3.  —  nor  in  the  law  of  profits 418 


CONTENXa  XTii 


BOOK  IV. 

INFLUENCE  OF  THE  PROGRESS  OF  SOCIETY  ON 
PRODUCTION  AND  DISTRIBUTION. 

Chaptkb  I.     General  Characteristics  qf  a  Progressive  State 
of  Wealth, 

piei 

<$  1.  Introductory  Remarks 421 

2.  Tendency  of  the  progress  of  society  towards  increased  command 
over  the  powers  of  nature ;  increased  security ;  and  increased 
capacity  of  co-operation 421 


Chaptbb  II.     Influence  of  the  Progress  of  Industry  and 
Population  on  Values  and  Prices, 

§  1.  Tendency  to  a  decline  of  the  value  and  cost  of  production  of  all 

commodities 424 

2.  —  except  the  products  of  agriculture  and  mining,  which  have  a 

tendency  to  rise 426 

S.  —  that  tendency  from  time  to  time  counteracted  by  improvements 

in  production 426 

4.  Effect  of  the  progress  of  society  in  moderating  fluctuations  of  value     427 

5.  Examination  of  the  influence  of  speculators,  and  in  particular  of 

com  dealers 428 

Chapter  III.     Influence  of  the  Progress  of  Industry  and 
Population  on  Rents,  Profits,  and  Wages, 

8  1.  First  case;  population  increasing,  capital  stationary 430 

2.  Second  case ;  capital  increasing,  population  stationary     ....     432 

3.  Third  case ;  population  and  capital  increasing  equally,  the  arts  of 

production  stiationary 433 

4.  Fourth  case ;  the  arts  of  production  progressive,  capital  and  popu- 

lation stationary     433 

5.  Fifth  case ;  all  the  three  elements  progressive 437 


Chaptee  IV.     Of  the  Tendency  of  Profits  to  a  Minimum, 

§  1.  Doctrine  of  Adam  Smith  on  the  competition  of  capital     ....  439 

2.  Doctrine  of  Mr.  Wakefield  respecting  the  field  of  employment  .     .  44P 

3.  What  determines  the  minimum  rate  of  profit 441 

4.  In  opulent  countries,  profits  habitually  near  to  the  minimum     .     .  443 

5.  —  prevented  from  reaching  it  by  commercial  revulsions  ....  444 

6.  —  by  improvements  in  production 445 

7.  —  by  the  imj^ortation  of  cheap  necessaries  and  instruments      .     .  446 

8.  —  by  the  emigration  of  capital 447 


zim  CONTENTS. 

Chapter  V.     Consequences  of  the  Tendency  of  Profits  to 
a  Minimum. 

PAOB 

§  1.  Abstraction  of  capital  not  neceBsarily  a  riatlonal  loss 448 

2.  In  opulent  countries,  the  extension  of  machinery  not  detrimental 

but  beneficial  to  labourem 450 

Chaptbb  VI.     Cf  the  Stationary  State. 

§  1.  Stationary  state  of  wealth  and  popalation,  dreaded  and  deprecated 

by  writers 452 

2.  —  but  not  in  itself  undesirable 463 


CHAPTm  VII.     On  the  Probable  Futurity  of  the  Labouring 

Cla&ses. 


§  1.  ITie  theory  of  dependence  and  protection  no  longer  applicable  to 

the  condition  of  modem  society 466 

2.  The  future  well-being  of  the  labouring  classes  principally  dependent 

on  their  own  mental  cultiTation 458 

3.  Probable  effects  of  improved   intelligence   in   causing  a  better 

adjustment  of  population — Would  oe  promoted  by  the  social 
independence  of  women 459 

4.  Tendency  of  society  towards  the  disnse  of  the  relation  of  hiring 

and  service 459 

5.  Examples  of  the  association  of  labourers  with  capitalists.     .     ,     .     461 

6.  —  of  tne  association  of  labourers  among  themselves     ....     *    465 

7.  Competition  not  pernicious,  bat  useful  and  indispensable .     •    •    .    476 


BOOK  V. 
ON  THE  INFLUENCE  OF  GOVERNMENT. 

Chaptbr  I.     Of  the  Fwnctions  of  Government  in  genenU. 

§  1.  Necessary  and  optional  functions  of  government  diatlngaished  .  .  479 
2.  Multifarious  character  of  the  necessary  functions  of  government  .  480 
8.  Division  of  the  subject 482 

Chapter  II.     Of  the  General  Principles  of  Taxation. 

§1.  Four  fnndamental  rules  of  taxation 483 

2.  GrTOunds  of  the  principle  of  Equality  of  Taxation 484 

8.  Should  the  same  percentage  be  levied  on  all  amounts  of  income?  .  486 
4.  Should  the  same  percentage  be  levied  on  perpetual  and  on  termi> 

nable  incomes  ? 488 

6.  The  increase  of  the  rent  of  land  frcwi  natural  causes  a  fit  subject  of 

peculiar  taxation .     .  492 

6.  A  land  tax,  in  some  cases,  not  taxation,  but  a  rent<;harge  in  favoor 

of  the  public 493 

T.  Taxes  falling  on  capital,  not  necessarily  ohgectioDable      ....  494 


> 


CONTEJNTS.  xh 

Chaptbb  III.     Of  Direct  Tax9B. 

1 1.  Direct  taxes  either  on  income  or  on  expenditure 495 

2.  Taxes  on  rent 496 

3.  — onprofita 496 

4.  —  on  wages 498 

5.  An  Income  Tax 499 

6   A  House  Tax 50J 

Chaptke  IV.     Of  Taxes  on  Commodities. 

§  1 .  A  Tax  on  all  Commodities  would  fall  on  profits 504 

2.  Taxes  on  particular  commodities  fall  on  tne  consumer 5U5 

3.  Peculiar  effects  of  taxes  on  necessaries 506 

4.  —  how  modified  by  the  tendency  of  profits  to  a  minimum     .    .    .  507 

5.  Effects  of  discriminating  duties 510 

6.  Eiffects  produced  on  international  exchange  by  duties  on  exports 

and  on  imports 512 

Chaptes  v.     Of  some  other  Taxes, 

9  1 .  Taxes  on  contracts    .         517 

2.  Taxes  on  commanication     .     .     .     .    •• 518 

8.  Law  Taxes 519 

4.  Modes  of  taxation  for  looal  purposes 520 

Chapteb  VI.     Comparison  between  Direct  and  Indirect 
Taxation. 

§  1.  Arguments  for  and  against  direct  taxation 521 

2.  Wliat  forms  of  indirect  taxation  most  eligible 623 

3.  Practical  rules  for  indirect  taxation 524 

Chaptee  VIL     Of  a  National  Debt. 

§  1.  Is  it  desirable  to  defray  extraordinary  public  expenses  by  loans  ?  .  526 

2.  Not  desirable  to  redeem  a  national  debt  by  a  general  contribution  528 

3.  Id  what  cases  desirable  to  maintain  a  surplus  revenue  for  the 

redemption  of  debt                         529 

Chaptbb  VIII.     Of  the  Ordinary  Functions  of  Ghvemmeni, 
considered  <w  to  their  Economical  JEffects. 

§  1.  Effects  of  imperfect  security  of  person  and  property 531 

2.  Effects  of  over-taxation 532 

^  Effects  of  imperfection  in  the  system  of  the  laws,  and  in  the  admL- 

nistration  of  justice 533 

Chaptbb  IX.     The  same  subject  continued, 

g  1 .  Laws  of  Inheritance 526 

2.  Law  and  Custom  of  Primogeniture 537 

8.  Entaik 539 


XX  CONTENTS. 

§  4.  Law  of  compulsory  equal  division  of  inheritances 540 

6.  Laws  of  Partiiersnip 641 

6.  Partnersliips  with  limited  liability.    Chartered  Companies  .     .     .  642 

7.  Partnerships  in  eommandite 545 

8.  Laws  relatmg  to  insolvency ,     .  548 

Chaptee  X.     Of  Interferences  of  GoiJenvment  grotmded  on 
JErroneous  Theories, 

§  1.  Doctrine  of  Protection  to  Native  Industry ,  562 

2.  Usury  Laws 658 

3.  Attempts  to  regulate  the  prices  of  commodities  .    ......  661 

4.  Monopolies .    •  662 

5.  Laws  against  Combination  of  Workmen 663 

6.  Bestraints  on  opinion  or  on  its  publication 566 

Chaptbb  XI.     Of  the  Orotmds  and  Limits  of  the  Laisser-foM 
or  Non-Interference  Principle, 

§  1.  Governmental  intervention  distinguished  into  authoritative  and 

unauthoritative 567 

2.  Objections  to  government  intervention — the  compulsory  character 

of  the  intervention  itself,  or  of  the  levy  of  funds  to  support  it .     .  568 

3.  —  increase  of  the  power  and  inBuence  of  government 570 

4.  —  increase  of  the  occupations  and  responsibilities  of  government  .  570 

5.  —  superior  efficiency  of  private  agency,  owing  to  stronger  interest 

in  the  work 571 

6.  —  impoi-tance  of  cultivating  habits  of  collective  action  in  the 

people 572 

7.  Laisserfaire  the  general  rule 573 

8.  —  but  liable  to  large  exceptions.     Cases  in  which  the  consumer  is 

an  incompetent  judge  of  the  commodity.    Education    ....     575 

9.  Case  of  persons  exercising  power  over  others.     Protection  of  chil- 

dren and  young  persons ;  of  the  lower  animals.     Case  of  women 

not  analogous 577 

10.  Case  of  contracts  in  perpetuity 579 

11.  Cases  of  delegated  management 579 

12.  Cases  in  which  public  intervention  maybe  necessary  to  give  effect 

to  the  wishes  of  the  persons  interested.     Examples  :  hours  of 

labour ;  disposal  of  colonial  lands 5B1 

]  3.  Case  of  acts  done  for  the  benefit  of  others  than  the  persons  con- 
cerned.   Poor  Laws 588 

14.  Colonization 685 

15.  —  other  miscellaneous  examples 589 

16.  Government  intervention  may  be  necessary  in  default  of  private 

agency,  in  cases  where  nrivate  agency  would  be  more  suitable  .     690 


PEINCIPLES 


POLITICAL   ECONOMY. 


PRELIMINARY  REMARKS. 


In  OTeiy  department  of  human  affaira, 
Practice  long  precedes  Science :  sys- 
tematic enquiry  into  the  modes  of 
action  of  the  powers  of  nature,  is  the 
tardy  product  of  a  long  course^  of 
efforts  to  use  those  ■j^w^n  for  practical 
ends.  The  conception,  aocordinglyy  of 
Political  Economy  as  a  branch  of 
science,  is  extremely  modem  ;  but  the 
subject  with  which  its  enquiries  are 
conyersant  has  in  all  ages  necessarily 
constituted  one  of  the  chief  practical 
interests  of  mankind,  and,  in  some,  a 
most  unduly  engrossing  one. 
\  Tht»,t  pTiKjftfit  iff  WAaltb  Writers 
{OnPolitical  Economy  profess  to  teach, 
lor  to  investigate,  the  nature  of  Wealth, 
'^and  the  laws  of  its  production  and  di»- 
itribution:  including,  directly  or  re-, 
'motely,  the  operation  of  aJl  the  causes 
by  which  the  condition  of  mankind,  or 
of  any  societ;^  of  human  beings,  in 
jrespect  to  tins  uniyersal  object  of 
'human  desire,  is  made  prosperous  or 
ithe  reyerse.  Not  that  any  treatise  on 
Political  Economy  can  discuss  or  eyen 
enumerate  all  these  causes;  but  it 
undertakes  to  set  forth  as  much  as  is 
known  of  the  laws  and  principles  ac- 
cording to  which  they  operate. 

Eyeiy  one  has  a  notion,  sufiBciently 
correct  for  common  pmrposes,  of  what 
is  meant  by  wealth.  The  enquiries 
which  relate  to  it  are  in  no  danger  of 
being  confounded  with  those  relating 
to  any  other  of  the  great  human  in- 
terests. All  know  that  it  is  one 
thing  to  be  rich,  anoUier  thing  to  be 
enli^tened,  braye,  or  humane;  that 


the  questions  how  a  nation  is  made 
wealtny,  and  how  it  is  made  free,  or 
yirtuous,  or  eminent  in  literature,  in 
the  fine  arts,^  in  arms,  or  in  PoHty, 
are  totaUr  distinct  en(]^uiries.  Those 
things,  indeed,  are  all  mdirectly  con- 
nected, and  react  upon  one  another. 
A  people  has  sometmieB  become  free^ 
because  it  had  first  grown  wealthy ;  or 
wealthy,  because  it  had  first  becomA 
free.  The  creed  and  laws  of  a  people 
act  powerfully  u^n  their  economical 
condition ;  and  this  again,  by  its  influ- 
ence on  their  mental  deyelopment  and 
social  relations,  reacts  upon  their  creed 
and  laws.  But  though  the  subjects 
are  in  yery  close  contact,  they  are 
essentially  different,  and  haye  neyer 
been  supposed  to  be  otherwise. 

It  is  no  part  of  the  desi^  of  this 
treatise  to  aim  at  metaphysical  nicety 
of  definition,  where  the  ideas  suggested 
by  a  term  are  already  as  determinate 
as  practical  purposes  require.  But, 
little  as  it  might  be  expected  that  any 
mischieyous  confusion  of  ideas  oould 
take  place  on  a  subject  so  simple  as 
the  question,  what  is  to  be  considered 
as  wealth,  it  is  matter  of  history  that 
such  confosion  of  ideas  has  existed — 
that  theorists  and  practical  politicianfl 
haye  been  e<|ually,  and  at  one  period 
uniyersally,  infected  bjr  it,  and  that 
for  many  generations  it  gaye  a  tho- 
roi^hly  fiuse  direction  to  the  policy 
of  Europe.  I  refer  to  the  set  of  doc-l 
trines  aesignated,  since  the  time  of 
Adam  Smith,  by  the  appellation  of  tbe( 
Mercantile  System. 

B 


PRELIMINARY  REMARKS. 


While  this  system  prevailed,  it  was 
assumed,  either  expressly  or  tacitly,  in 
the  whole  policy  of  nations,  that  wealth 
consisted,,  solely  of  inoney ;  or  of  the 
precious  metalfl,  which,  when  not  already 
m  the  state  of  money,  are  capable  of 
bein^  directly  converted  into  it.  Ac- 
cording to  the  doctrines  then  preva- 
lent, whatever  tended,  to  heap  up 
money  or  bullion  in  a  country  added  to 
its  wealth.  Whatever  sent  the  precious 
metals  out  of  a  country  impoverished 
it..  If  a  country  possessed  no  gold  or 
silver  mines,  the  only  industry  by 
which  it  could  be  enriched  was  foreign 
trade,  being  the  only  one  which  could 
brin^  in  money.  Any  branch  of  trade 
Which  was  supposed  to  send  out  more 
Ittoney  than  it  brought  in,  however 
ample  and  valuable  might  be  the  re- 
iunus  in  another  shape,  was  looked 
t^n  as  a  losing  trade.  Esqwrtation  of 
goods  was  favoured  and  encouraged 
(even  by  means  extremely  onerous  to 
tbe  real  resources  of  the  country),  be- 
cause the  exported  goods  being  stipu- 
lated to  be  paid  for  in  money,  it  was 
hoped  that  the  returns  would  actually 
be  made  in  gold  and  silver.  Importa- 
tion of  anything,  other  than  the  preci- 
Dos  metals,  was  regarded  as  a  loss  to 
the  nation  of  the  whole  price  of  the 
things  imported;  unless  they  were 
Wought »  to  be  re-exported  at  a  profit, 
or  unless^  being  the  materials  or  in- 
straments  of  some  industry  practised 
in  the  country  itself;  they  gave  the 
power  of  producing  exportable  articles 
at  smalls  cost,  and  thereby  effecting 
a  larger  exportation.  The  commerce 
of  the  world  was  lookeX  u^on  as  a 
struggle  among  nations,  which  could 
draw  to  itself  the  largest  share  of  the 
gold  and  silver  in  existence ;  and  in 
this  competition  no  nation  could  gain 
anything,  except  by  maldng  others 
lose  as  much,  or,  at  the  leasts  prevent- 
ing them  from  gaining  it. 

It  oflen  happens  that  the  universal 
belief  of  one  age  of  maokiad — a  belief 
from  which  BO  one  tea«,  uer  without 
an  extraordioAry  effiirt  of  genins  and 
courage,  otmld  «i  that  time  be  free — 
becomes  to  a  eubsequent  age  so  palna- 
ble  an  absurdity,  that  the  only  dimculty 
'  then  ia  to  imagine  how  such  a  thing 


can  ever  have  appeared  credible.  It 
has  80  happened  with  the  doctrine  that 
money  is  synonymous  with  wealth. 
The  conceit  seems  too  preposterous  to 
be  thought  of  as  a  serious  opinion.  It 
looks  like  one  of  the  crude  fancies  of 
childhood,  instantly  corrected  by  a 
word  from  any  grown  person.  But  let 
no  one  feel  confident  that  he  would 
have  escaped  the  delusion  if  he  had 
lived  at  the  time  when  it  prevailed. 
All  the  associations  engendered  by 
common  life,  and  by  the  ordinary  course 
of  business,  concurred  in  promoting  it. 
So  long  as  those  associations  were  the 
only  medium  through  which  the  sub- 
ject was  looked  at,  what  we  now 
think  so  gross  an  abnirdity  seemed  a 
truism.  Once  questioned,  indeed,  it 
was  doomed ;  but  no  one  was  likely  to 
think  of  questioning  it  whose  mind  had 
not  become  familiar  with  certain  modes 
of  stating  and  of  contemplatii^  econo 
mical  phenomena,  which  have  only 
found  their  way  into  the  general 
understanding  through  the  influence  oi 
Adam  Smith  and  of  his  expositors. 

In  common  discourse,  wealth  is 
always  ,  expressed  in  money.  If  you 
ask  now  rich  a  person  is,  you  are 
answered  that  he  has  so  many  thousand 
pounds.  All  income  and  expenditure, 
all  gains  and  losses,  everything  by 
which  one  becomes  richer  or  poorer, 
are  reckoned  as  the  coming  in  or  going 
out  of  so  much  mcmey.  It  is  true  that 
in  the  inventory  of  a  person's  fortune 
are  included,  not  only  the  money  in 
his  actual  possession,  or  due  to  him, 
but  all  other  articles  of  value.  These, 
however,  enter,  not  in  their  own  cha- 
racter, but  in  virtue  of  the  sums  of 
money  which  they  would  sell  for ;  and 
if  they  would  sell  for  less,  their  owner 
is  reputed  less  rich,  though  the  things 
themselves  are  precisely  tne  same.  It 
is  true,  also,  that  people  do  not  grow 
rich  by  keeping  their  money  unused, 
and  that  they  must  be  willing  to 
spend  in  order  to  gain.  These  wiio 
enrich  themselves  by  commerce,  do  so 
by  giving  money  for  goods  as  well  as 
goods  for  money ;  and  the  first  is  as 
necessary  a  part  of  the  process  as  the 
last  But  a  person  who  buys  goods 
for  purposes  of  g^n,  does  so  to  sell 


PREUMINAKY  REMAAKa 


them  agfdn  for  money,  and  in  the  ex- 
pectation of  receiying  more  money  than 
nelaid  out:  to  get  money,  therefore, 
seems,  eren  to  the  person  mmself  the 
ultimate  end  'oTIEq  -whole.  It  often 
happens  that  hols  not  paid  in  money, 
hut  m  something  else ;  naying  hougnt 
goods  to  a  valne  equivalent,  which  are 
set  off  against  those  he  sold.  Bnt  he 
excepted,  these  at  a  money  valuation, 
and  in  the  hehef  that  they  woijld 
bring  in  more  money  eventually  than 
the  price  at  which  they  were  made 
over  to  him.  A  dealer  doin^  a  large 
amount  of  business,  and  turning  over 
his  capital  rapidly,  has  but  a  small 
pK>rtion  of  it  in  ready  money  at  any  one 
time.  But  he  only  feels  it  valuable  to 
him  as  it  is  convertible  into  money :  he 
considers  no  transaction  closed  until 
the  net  result  is  either  paid  or  credited 
in  money :  when  he  retires  firom  busi- 
ness it  is  into  money  that  he  converts 
the  whole,  and  not  until  then  does  he 
deem  himself  to  have  realized  his 
gains :  just  as  if  money  were  the  only 
wealth,  and  money's  worth  were  only 
,  the  means  of  attaining  it.  If  it  be  now 
asked  for  what  end  money  is  desirable, 
unless  to  supply  the  wants  or  pleasures 
of  oneself  or  others,  the  champion  of 
the  system  would  not  be  at  aU  embar- 
rassed by  the  question.  True,  he  would 
say,  these  are  the  uses  of  wealth,  and 
very  laudable  uses  while  confined  to 
domestic  commodities,  because  in  that 
case,  by  exactly  the  amount  which  you 
expend  you  enrich  others  of  your 
countrymen.  Spend  ^our  wealth,  if 
you  please,  in  whatever  indulgences 
ybti  Mtve  a  taste  for ;  but  your  wealth 
18  not  the  indulgences,  it  is  the  sum 
of  mone^,  or  the  annual  money  incomoj 
{with  which  you  purchase  them. 

While  there  were  so  man^  things  to 
render  the  assumption  which  is  the 
basis  of  the  mercantile  system  plausi- 
ble, there  is  also  some  small  foundation 
in  reason,  though  a  veir  insufficient 
one,  for  the  distmction  which  that  sys- 
tem so  emphatically  draws  between 
money  and  every  other  kind  of  valua- 
ble possession.  We  reaUy,  and  justly, 
look  upon  a  person  as  possessing  the 
advantages  of  wealth,  not  in  proportion 
to  the  useful  and  agreeable  things  of 


which  he  IB  in  the  actual  ex^joymeut. 
bnt  to  his  command  over  the  general 
fund  of  things  useful  and  agreeable; 
the  power  he  possesses  of  providing  for 
any  exigency,  or  obtaining  any  objeci 
of  desire.  Now,  money  is  itself  thai  i 
power;  while  all  other  things^  in  a 
civilized  state,  seem  to  confer  it  only- 
by  their  capacity  of  being  exchanged' 
for  money.  To  possess  any  other  arti- 
cle of  wealth,  is  to  possess  that  par- 
ticular thing,  and  nothing  else :  if  yon 
wish  for  another  thin^  instead  of  it, 
you  have  first  to  sell  it,  or  to  submit 
to  the  inconvenience  and  delay  (if  not 
the  impossibility)  of  finding  some  one 
who  has  what  you  want,  and  is  willing 
to  barter  it  for  what  you  have.  But 
with  money  you  are  at  once  able  to 
buy  whatever  things  are  for  sale:  and 
one  whose  fortune  is  in  money,  or  in 
things  rapidly  convertible  into  it^  seems 
both  to  himself  and  others  to  possess  not 
any  one  thing,  but  all  the  thmgs  which 
the  money  places  it  at  his  option  t« 
purchase.  The  greatest  part  of  the 
utility  of  wealth,  beyond  a  very  mode- 
rate quantity,  is  not  the  indulgences  it 
procures,  but  the  reserved  power  which 
its  possessor  holds  in  his  nands  of  at- 
taining purposes  generally;  and  this 
power  no  other  kind  of  wealth  confers 
so  immediately  or  so  certainly  as « 
money.  It  is  tne  only  form  of  wealth 
which  is  not  merely  applicable  to  some 
one  use,  but  can  be  turned  at  omce  to 
any  use.  And  this  distinction  was  the 
more  likely  to  make  an  impression 
upon  governments,  as  it  is  one  of  con- 
sideraJble  importance  to  them.  A  civi-i 
lized  government  derives  comparativelj 
little  advantage  from  taxes  unless  it 
can  collect  them  in  money :  and  if  it 
has  large  or  sudden  payments  to  make, 
especially  payments  m  foreign  countries 
for  wars  or  subsidies,  either  for  the  sake 
of  cpnqneringor  qf  not  bein^^hquered 
(the  two  chief  objects  of  national  policy 
nntil  a  late  period),  scarcely  any 
medium  of  payment  except  money  will 
serve  the  purpose.  All  these  causes 
conspire  to  make  both  individuals  and 
governments,  in  estimating  their 
means,  attach  almost  exclusive  im- 
portance to  money,  either  in  esse  or  in 
posse,  and  look  npon  ail  other  things 
B2 


f^RfiLlMrsTAKt  REMARKS. 


(when  viewed  as  part  of  their  resources) 
scarcely  otherwise  than  as  the  remote 
means  of  obtaining  that  which  alone, 
when  obtained,  affords  the  indefinite, 
and  at  the  same  time  instantaneous, 
command  over  objects  of  desire,  which 
best  answers  to  the  idea  of  wealth. 

An  absurdity,  howerer,  does  not  cease 
to  be  an  absurdity  when  we  have  dis- 
covered what  were  the  appearances 
which  made  it  plausible ;  and  the  Mer- 
cantile Theory  could  not  fail  to  be  seen 
in  its  true  character  when  men  began, 
even  in  an  imperfect  manner,  to  explore 
into  the  foundations  of  things,  and  seek 
their  premises  from  elementary  facts, 
and  not  from  the  forms  and  phrases  of 
common  discourse.  So  soon  as  they 
asked  themselves  what  is  really  meant 
bv  money — what  it  is  in  its  essential 
characters,  and  the  precise  nature  of 
the  functions  it  performs — they  reflected 
that  money^  like  other  things,  is  only 
a  desirable  possession  on  account  of  its 
uses ;  and  that  these,  instead  of  being, 
[as  they  delusively  appear,  indefinite, 
J  are  of  a  strictly  defined  and  limited 
Idescription,  namely,  to  facilitate  the 
^distribution  of  the  produce  of  industry 
kccording  to  the  convenience  of  those 
pmong  whom  it  is  shared.  Further 
consideration  showed  that  the.  uses  of 
money  are  in  no  respect  promoted  by 
increasing  the  q^uantity  which  exists 
'  and  circulates  in  a  country ;  the  service 
which  it  performs  being  as  well  rendered 
by  a  small  as  by  a  large  aggregate 
amount.  Two  million  quarters  of  com 
will  not  feed  so  many  persons  as  four 
millions;  but  two  millions  of  pounds 
sterling  will  carry  on  as  much  traffic, 
will  buy  and  sell  as  many  commodities, 
as  four  millions,  though  at  lower  nomi- 
nal prices.  Money,  as  money,  satisfies 
^no  want ;  its  worth  to  any  one,  consists 
its  being  a  convenient  shape  in  which 
receive  his  incomings  of  all  sorts, 
vhich  incomings  he  afterwards,  at  the 
imes  which  smt  him  best,  converts  into 
;he  forms  in  which  they  can  be  useful 
him.  Great  as  the  cufTerence  would 
between^  a  country  with  money,  and 
a  country  altogether  without  it,  it  would 
be  only  one  of  convenience ;  a  saving  of 
time  and  trouble,  like  grinding  by  water 
power  instead  oi  by  nand,  or  (to  use 


Adam  Smith's  illustration)  like  the 
benefit  derived  from  roads :  and  to  mis* 
take  money  for  wealth,  is  the  same  sort 
of  error  as  to.  naistake  the  highway' 
which  may  be  the  easiest  way  of  get-) 
ting  to  your  house  or  lands,  for  the] 
house  and  lands  themselves. 

Money,  bein^  the  instrument  of  aw 
important  pubhc  and  private  purpose^ 
is  rightly  regarded  as  wealtn;  but 
eicerything  else  which  serves  any  hu 
man  purpose,  and  which  nature  does 
not  afford  gratuitously,  is  wealth  also. 
To  be  wealthy  is  to  have  a  large  stock 
of  useiul  articles,  or  the  means  of  pur* 
chasing  them.  Everything  forms  there- 
fore a  part  of  wealth,  which  has  a  power 
of  purchasing ;  for  which  anything  use- 
frd  or  agreeable  would  be  given  in 
exchange.  Things  for  which  nothing  f 
could  be  obtained  in  exchangej^how- 
ever  usefbl  or  necessary  they  may  be, 
are  not  wealth  in  the  sense  in  which 
the  term  is  used  in  Political  Economyi 
Air,  for  example,  though  the  most  ab- 
solute of  necessaries,  bears  no  price  in 
the  market,  because  it  can  be  obtained 
^atuitously :  to  accumulate  a  stock  of 
it  would  3deld  no  profit  or  advantage  to 
any  one  ;  and  the  laws  of  its  produc- 
tion and  distribution  are  the  subject  of 
a  very  different  study  from  Political 
Economy.  But  though  air  is  not  wealth, 
mankind  are  much  richer  by  obtaining 
it  ^atis,  since  the  time  and  labour 
which  would  otherwise  be  required  for 
supplying  the  most  pressing  of  all  wants, 
can  be  devoted  to  other  purposes.  It 
is  ]^ossible  to  imagine  circumstances  in 
which  air  would  be  a  part  of  wealth. 
If  it  became  customary  to  sojourn  long 
in  places  where  the  air  does  not  natur- 
ally penetrate,  as  in  diving-bells  sunk 
in  the  sea,  a  supply  of  air  artificially 
furnished  would,  like  water  conveyed 
into  houses,  bear  a  price :  and  if  from 
any  revolution  in  nature  the  atmosphere 
became  too  scanty  for  the  consumption, 
or  could  be  monopolized,  air  might  ac- 
quire a  very  high  marketable  value.  In 
such  a  case,  the  possession  of  it,  beyond 
his  own  wants,  would  be,  to  its  owner, 
wealth;  and  the  general  wealth  of 
mankind  might  at  first  sight  appear  to 
be  increased,  by  what  would  be  so  great 
a  calamity  to  them.    The  error  would 


PRELIMINARY  REMARKS. 


lie  in  not  oonBiderin^,  that  howeyer 
rich  the  possessor  of  air  might  become 
at  the  expense  of  the  rest  of  the  com- 
munity, all  persons  else  would  be  poorer 
bj  all  that  they  were  compelled  to  pay 
for  what  they  liad  before  obtained  with- 
out payment. 

r  This  leads  to  an  important  distino- 
\  tionm  the  meaning  of  the  word  wealth, 
las  appHed  to  the  possessions  of  an  in- 
(dividual,  and  to  those  of  a  nation,  or  of 
/mankind.  In  the  wealth  of  mankind, 
\  nothing  18  included  which  does  not  of 
litself  answer  some  purpose  of  utility  or 
Weasure.  To  an  individual,  anything 
^8  wealth,  which,  though  useless  in  it- 
Iself,  enables  him  to  claim  from  others 
'a  part  of  their  stock  of  things  useful  or 
'pleasant.  Take,  for  instance,  a  mort- 
gageof  a  thousand  pounds  on  a  landed 
estate.  This  is  wealth  to  the  person 
to  whom  it  brings  in  a  revenue,  and 
who  could  perhaps  sell  it  in  the  market 
for  the  fall  amount  of  the  debt.  But 
it  is  not  wealth  to  the  country ;  if  the 
engagement  were  annulled,  the  country 
would  be  neither  poorer  nor  richer.  The 
mortgagee  would  have  lost  a  thousand 
pounds,  and  the  owner  of  the  land  would 
nave  gained  it.  Speaking  nationally, 
the  mortgage  was  not  itself  wealth,  but 
merely  gave  A  a  claim  to  a  portion  of 
f^e  wealth  of  B.  It  was  wealth  to  A, 
and  wealth  which  he  could  transfer  to 
a  third  person ;  but  what  he  so  trans- 
ferred was  in  fact  a  joint  ownership,  to 
the  extent  of  a  thousand  pounds,  in  the 
land  of  which  B  was  nominally  the 
sole  proprietor.  The_  position  of  fund- 
holders,  or  owners  of  the  public  debt  of 
a  coimtry,  is  similar.  They  are  mort- 
gagees on  the  general  wealth  of  the 
country.  The  cancelling  of  the  debt 
would  be  no  destruction  of  wealth,  but 
a  transfer  of  it :  a  wrongfal  abstraction 
of  wealth  from  certain  members  of  the 
community,  for  the  profit  of  the  govern- 
ment, or  of  the  tax-payers.  Funded 
property  therefore  cannot  be  counted 
as  part  of  the  national  wealth.  This 
18  not  always  borne  in  mind  by  the 
dealers  in  statistical  calculations.  For 
example,  in  estimates  of  the  gross  in- 
come of  the  country,  founded  on  the 
pfooeeds  of  the  income-tax,  incomes 
oerired  from  the  fionds  are  not  always 


excluded;  though  the  tax-payers  ait 
assessed  on  their  whole  nominal  income^ 
without,  being  permitted  to  deduct  from 
it  the  portion  levied  from  them  in  taxiv> 
tion  to  form  the  income  of  the  fund- 
holder.  In  this  calculation,  therefore, 
one  portion  of  the  general  income  of  the 
country  is  counted  twice  over,  and  the 
aggregate  amount  made  to  ^  appear 
greater  than  it  is  by  almost  thirty  mil- 
lions. A  country,  however,  may  include 
in  its  wealth  aU  stock  held  by  its  citi- 
zens in  the  funds  of  foreign  countries, 
and  other  debts  due  to  them  from 
abroad.  But  even  this  is  only  wealth 
to  them  by  being  a  part  ownership  in 
wealth  held  by  others.  It  forms  no 
part  of  the  collective  wealth  of  the  hm- 
man  race.  It  is  an  element  in  the  dis- 
tribution, but  not  in  the  composition, 
of  the  general  wealth. 

It  has  been  proposed  to  define  wealth 
as  signifying  "instruments :''  meaning 
not  tools  and  machinery  alone,  but  the 
whole  accumulation  possessed  by  indi- 
viduals or  communities,  of  means  for 
the  attainment  of  their  ends.  Thus,  a 
field  is  an  instrument,  because  it  is  a 
means  to  the  attainment  of  com.  Com 
is  an  instrument,  hei^  a  means  to  the 
attainment  of  flour.  Flour  is  an  instm- 
ment,  being  a  means  to  the  attainment 
of  bread.  Bread  is  an  instrument,  as  a 
means  to  the  satisfaction  of  hunger 
and  to  the  suppoi^  of  life.  Here  we  at 
last  arrive  at  things  which  are  not  in- 
stnunents,  being  desired  on  their  own 
account,  and  not  as  mere  means  to 
something  beyond.  This  view  of  the 
subject  is  philosophically  correct;  or 
rather,  this  mode  of  expression  may  be 
usefully  employed  along  with  others,  not 
as  conveying  a  different  view  of  the  sub- 
ject from  the  common  one,  but  as  giving 
more  distinctness  and  reality  to  the 
common  view.  It  departs,  however,  too 
widely  from  the  custom  of  language,  to 
be  likely  to  obtain  general  acceptance, 
or  to  be  of  use  for  any  other  purpose 
than  that  of  occasional  illustration. 

Another  example  of  a  possession 
which  is  wealth  to  the  person  holding 
it,  but  not  wealth  to  the  nation,  or  ta 
mankind,  is  slaves.  It  is  by  a  strange 
cenfusion  of  ideas  that  slave  property 
(as  it  is  tenned)  is  counted,  at  so  muc¥ 


PRELIMINARY  REMARKS. 


per  head,  in  an  estimate  of  the  wealth, 
or  of  the  capital,  of  the  country  which 
tolerates  the  existence  of  such  property. 
If  a  human  heing,  considered  as  an 
ohject  possessing  productive  powers,  is 
part  01  the  national  wealth  when  his 
powers  are  owned  by  another  man,  he 
cannot  be  less  a  part  of  it  when  they 
are  owned  by  himself.  "Whatever  he 
is  worth  to  his  master  is  so  much  pro- 
perty abstracted  from  himself,  and  its 
abstraction  cannot  augment  the  posses- 
sions of  the  two  together,  or  of  the 
country  to  which  they  both  belong.  In 
propriety  of  classification,  however,  the 
people  of  a  country  are  not  to  be  counted 
in  its  wealth.  They  are  that  for  the 
sake  of  which  its  wealth  exists.  The 
term  wealth  is  wanted  to  denote  the  de- 
sirable objects  which  they  possess,  not 
inclusive  of,  but  in  contradistinction  to, 
their  own  persons.  They  are  not  wealth 
to  themselves,  though  they  are  means 
of  acquiring  it. 

Wealth,  thexv  may  be  defined,  all 
useful  or  agreeable  things  which  possess 
exchangeable  value ;  or,  in  other  words, 
all  useful  or  agreeable  things  except 
those  which  can  be  obtained,  in  tho 
quantity  desired,  without  labour  or  sa- 
crifice. To  this  definition,  the  only 
objection  seems  to  be,  that  it  leaves  in 
tmcertainty  a  question  which  has  been 
much  debated — whether  what  are  called 
immaterial  products  are  to  be  considered 
as  wealth:  whether,  for  example,  the 
skill  of  a  workman,  or  any  other  natural 
or  acquired  power  of  body  or  mind,  shall 
be  called  wealth,  or  not :  a  question, 
not  of  very  great  importance,  and 
which,  m>  far  as  requinng  discussion, 
will  be  more  conveniently  considered  in 
another  place.* 

f  These  things  having  been  premised 
^respecting  wealth,  we  shall  next  turn 
jOur  attention  to  the  extraordinazy  dif- 
^ferences  ia  respect  to  it,  which  exist 
:  between  nation  and  nation,  and  be- 
.tween  diflerent  ages  of  the  world;  dif- 
i  ferences  both  in  the  quantity  of  wealth, 
and  in  the  kind  of  it ;  as  well  as  in  the 
'manner  in  which  the  wealth  existing 
in  the  community  is  shared  among  its 
meoibaB. 

lliere  is,  perhaps,  no  ^ple  or 
Infra,  b(Mk  L  otaap.  iU. 


munity,  now  existing,  which  subsists 
entirely  on  the  spontaneous  produce  of 
vegetation.  But  many  tribes  still  live 
exclusively,  or  almost  exclusively,  on 
wild  animals,  the  produce  of  hunting  or 
fishing.  Their  clothing  is  sldns ;  theit 
habitations  huts  rudely  formed  of  logs 
or  boughs  of  trees,  and  abandoned  at 
an  hour's  notice.  The  food  they  use 
being  little  susceptible  of  storing  up, 
they  have  no  accumulation  of  it,  and 
are  often  exposed  to  great  privations. 
The  wealth  of  such  a  community  con-I 
sists  solely  of  the  skins  they  wear ;  a 
few  ornaments,  the  taste  for  which) 
exists  among  most  savages ;  some  rudel 
utensils ;  the  weapons  with  which  they' 
kill  their  game,  or  fight  against  hostile 
competitors  for  the  means  of  subsistence ; 
canoes  for  crossing  rivers  and  lakes,  oi 
fishing  in  the  sea ;  and  perhaps  som^ 
fiirs  or  other  productions  of  the  wilder4 
ness,  collected  to  be  exchanged  with 
civilized  people  for  blankets,  brandy, 
and  tobacco ;  of  which  foreign  produce 
also  there  may  be  some  unconsumed 
portion  in  store.  To  this  scanty  in-, 
ventory  of  material  wealth,  ought  to  be 
added  their  land;  an  instrument  of 
production  of  which  they  make  slender 
use,  compared  with  more  settled  com* 
munities,  but  which  is  still  the  source 
of  their  subsistence,  and  which  has  a 
marketable  value  if  there  be  any  agri« 
cultural  community  in  the  neighbour- 
hood requiring  more  land  than  it  pos- 
sesses. This  is  the  state  of  greatest 
poverty  in  which  any  entire  community 
of  human  beings  is  known  to  exist ; 
though  there  are  much  richer  commu- 
nities in  which  portions  of  the  inhabit- 
ants are  in  a  condition,  as  to  subsist- 
ence and  comfort,  as  little  enviable  as 
that  of  the  savage. 

Thfi  first  great  advance  beyond  this' 
state  consists  in  the  domesticatbaof' 
the  more  useful  animals ;  giving  rise  to ' 
the  pastoral  or  nomad  state,  in  which] 
mankind  do  not  live  on  the  produce  of' 
hunting,  but  on  milk  and  its  products, ' 
and  on  the  annual  increase  of  fiocks- 
and  herds.    This  condition  is  not  only 
more  desirable  in  itself,  but  more  con- 
ducive to  further  progress ;  and  a  much 
more  considerable  amount  of  wealth  is 
acoami^ted  under  it.    Sb  Kmg  as  the 


PRELIMINABY  REMARKS. 


raat  natural  pastures  of  the  earth  are 
not  yet  so  fmlj  occupied  as  to  be  con- 
sumed more  rapidly  than  they  are 
spontaneously  reproduced,  a  large  and 
constantly  increasing  stock  of  subsbt- 
ence  may  be  collected  and  preserved, 
with  little  other  labour  than  that  of 
guarding  the  cattle  from  the  attacks  of 
wild  beasts,  and  from  the  force  or  wiles 
of  predatory  men.  Larp  flocks  and 
herds,  therefore,  are  in  time  possessed, 
by  active  and  thrifty  individuals  through 
their  own  exertions,  and  by  the  heaSt 
of  families  and  tribes  through  the  ex- 
ertions of  those  who  are  connected  with 
them  by  allegiance.  Thfiifi.thM.arise8, 
\m  Jbe^^shfifmeid  itate^  inequality,  of 
noBsessions.;  a  thing  which  scarcely 
.■exists  in  the  savage  state,  where  no 
lone  has  much  more  than  absolute  n^ 
'cessaries,  and  in  case  of  deficiency  must 
share  even  those  with  his  tribe.  In  the 
nomad  state,  some  have  an  abundance 
of  cattle,  sufficient  for  the  food  of  a  mul- 
titude, while  others  have  not  contrived 
to  appropriate  and  retain  any  super- 
fluity, or  perhaps  any  cattle  at  all.  ^t 
subsistence,  has  r<^asftd  t,n  be  pEecarions, 

^J^  ihfi  mom  ini^''^B«fnl  Iiava  m^niliar 

naejfbich  they-^aa  make  of  their  aur- 
pIuB  than  if>  fead.  the  leaa  ibrtunate, 
while  every  increase  in  the  number  of 
persons  connected  with  them  is  an  in- 
crease both  of  security  and  of  power : 
and  thus  they  are  enabled  to  divest 
themselves  of  all  labour  except  that  of 
government  and  superintendence,  and 
acquire  dependents  to  fi^ht  for  them  in 
war  and  to  serve  them  m  peace.  One 
f  the  features  of  this  state  of  society 
that  a  part  of  the  conununity,  and 
some  degree  even  the  whole  of  it, 
jisesgJfiifiUZ^.  Only  a  portion  of  time 
re(^uired  for  procuring  food,  and  the 
remamder  is  not  engrossed  by  anxious 
thought  for  the  morrow,  or  necessair 
repose  from  muscular  activity.  g]]fih 
a  life  is  highly  favourable  to  the  jpuxseth 
s£mw  wanta.  and  open?  «|^  "ppflp^'bility 
of  their  gpratmcation.  A  desire  arises 
1^  l>etter  dotiung,  utensils,  and  imple- 
ments, than  the  savage  state  contents 
itself  with ;  and  the  surplus  food  ren- 
ders it  practicable  to  devote  to  these 
Biirposes  the  exertions  of  a  part  of  the 
bril^.     In  all  or  most  nomad  commu- 


nities we  find  domestic  munifaetnrei 
of  a  coarse,  and  in  some,  of  a  fine  kind. 
There  is  ample  evidence  that  while 
those  parts  of  the  world  which  have 
been  tne  cradle  of  modem  civilization 
were  still  gencrallv  in  the  nomad  state, 
considerable  skill  nad  been  attained  in 
spinning,  weaving,  and  dyeing  woollen 
garments,  in  the  preparation  of  leather, 
and  in  what  appears  a  still  more  diffi- 
cult invention,  that  of  working  in  metals. 
Ev^n  specijlatiYe  science  took  its  first 
be^nnin^s  from  the  leisure  character^ 
istic  of  tnis  stage  of  ^  social  progress. 
The  earliest  astronomical  observations 
are  attributed,  by  a  tradition  which  has 
much  appearance  of  truth,  to  the  shep- 
herds of  Chaldfiea. 

From  this  state  of  society  to  the( 
agricultural  the  transitfon  is  not  indeed!') 
easy,  (for  no  great  change  in  the  habits  i 
of  mankind  is  otherwise  than  difficult, 
and  in  general  either  painM  or  very 
alow,)  but  it  lies  in  what  may  be  called 
the  spontaneous  course  of  events.  The 
growth  of  the  population  of  men  and 
cattle  began  in  time  to  press  upon  the 
earth's  capabilities  of  yielding  natural 
pasturo :  and  this  cause  doubtless  pro-l 
duced  the  first  tilling  of  the  ground,^ 
just  as  at  a  later  period  the  same  cause 
made  the  superfluous  hordes  of  the 
nations  which  had  remained  nomad 
precipitate  themselves  upon  those 
which  had  already  become  agricul- 
tural ;  until,  these  having  become  suf 
ficienUy  powerful  to  repel  such  inroads, 
the  invading  nations,  deprived  of  this 
outlet,  were  obliged  also  to  become 
agricultural  communitiea. 

But_  after  this  great  step  had  bees 
completed,  the  subsequent  progress  of 
mankind  seems  by  no  means  to  have 
been  so  rapid  (certain  rare  combina- 
tions of  circumstances  excepted)  as 
might  perhaps  have  been  anticipated. 
The  quantity  of  human  food  which  the 
earth  is  capable  of  returning  even  to 
the  most  wretched  ervstem  of  agricul- 
ture, so  much  exceeds  what  could  be 
obtained  in  the  purely  pastoral  state, 
that  a  great  increase  of  population  is 
invariably  the  result.  But  this  addi-* 
tional  food  is  only  obtained,  by  a  great 
additional  amount  of  labour ;  so  that 
not  only  an  agricultural  has  much  less 


8 


PRELIMINARY  REMARKS. 


ieisnre  than  a  pastoral  population,  but, 
with  the  imperfect  tools  and  unskilful 
processes  which  are  for  a  long  time 
employed  (and  which  over  the  greater 
part  of  the  earth  have  not  even  yet 
been  abandoned),  agriculturists  do  not, 
unless  in  unusually  advantageous  cir- 
cumstances of  climate  and  soH,  produce 
so  great  a  surplus  of  food  beyond  their 
necessary  consumption,  as  to  support 
any  lax^  class  of  labourers  engaged  in 
other  departments  of  industry.  The 
surplus,  too,  whether  small  or  great,  is 
usually  torn  from  the  producers,  either 
by  the  government  to  which  they  are 
subject,  or  by  individuals,  who  by 
superior  force,  ~  or  by  availing"  them- 
selves of  religious  or  traditional  feel- 
ings of  siibordihatron,  have  established 
themselves  as  lords  of  the  soil. 

The^rst  of  these  modes  of  appro- 
pnation,  by  the  government,  is  char 
racteristic  of  the  extensive  monarchies 
which  from  a  time  beyond  historical 
record  have  occupied  the  plains  of 
Asia.  The  government,  in  those  coun- 
'  tries,  though  varying  in  its  qualities 
according  to  the  accidents  of  personal 
character,  seldom  leaves  much  to  the 
cultivators  beyond  mere  necessaries, 
and  often  strips  them  so  bare  even  of 
these,  that  it  finds  itself  obliged,  after 
taking  all  they  have,  to  lend  part  of  it 
back  to  those  from  whom  it  has  been 
taken,  in  order  to  provide  them  with  seed, 
and  enable  them  to  support  life  until  an- 
other harvest.  Under  the  regime  in 
question,  though  the  bulk  of  the  popu- 
lation are  ill  provided  for,  the  govern- 
ment, by  collecting  small  contributions 
from  great  numbers,  is  enabled,  with 
any  tolerable  management,  to  make  a 
show  of  riches  quite  out  of  proportion 
to  the  general  condition  of  the  society; 
land  hence  the  inveterate  impression, 
W  which  Europeans  have  only  at  a  late 
period  been  disabused,  concerning  the 
^eat  opulence  of  Oriental  nations.  In 
this  wealth,  without  reckoning  the 
large  portion  which  adheres  to  the 
hands  employed  in  collecting  it,  many 
persons  of  course  participate,  besides 
the  immediate  household  of  the  sove- 
reign. A  lar^e  part  is  distributed 
among  the  various  functionaries  of  go- 


vernment, and  among  the  objects  of 
the  sovereign's  favour  or  caprice.  A 
part  is  occasionally  employed  in  works 
of  public  utility.  The  tanks,  wells, 
and  canals  for  irrigation,  without  which 
in  many  tropical  climates  cultivation 
could  hardly  be  carried  on ;  the  em- 
bankments which  confine  the  rivers, 
the  bazars  for  dealers,  and  the  seraees 
for  travellers,  none  of  which  could  have 
been  made  by  the  scanty  means  in  the 
possession  of  those  usin^  them,  owe 
their  existence  to  the  liberality  and 
enlightened  self-interest  of  the  better 
order  of  princes,  or  to  the  benevolence 
or  ostentation  of  here  and  there  a  rich 
individual,  whose  fortune,  if  traced  to 
its  source,  is  always  found  to  have  been 
drawn  immediately  or  remotely  from 
the  public  revenue,  most  frequently  by 
a  direct  grant  of  a  portion  of  it  from 
the  sovereign. 

The  ruler  of  a  society  of  this  descrip- 
tion, after  providing  largely  for  his 
own  support,  and  that  of  all  persons  in 
whom  ne  feels  an  interest,  and  after 
maintaining  as  man^  soldiers  as  he 
thinks  needful  for  his  security  or  his 
state,  hag  a  disposable  residue,  which 
he  is  glad  to  exchange  for  articles  of 
luxury  suitable  to  his  disposition :  as 
have  also  the  class  of  persons  who 
have  been  enriched  by  his  favour,  or  by 
handling  the  public  revenues.  A  de- 
mand thus  arises  for  elaborate  and  costly 
manufactured  articles,  adapted  to  a 
narrow  but  a  wealthy  market.  This 
demand  is  often  supplied  almost  ex- 
clusively by  the  merchants  of  more 
advanced  communities,  but  often  also 
raises  up  in  the  country  itself  a  class 
of  artificers,  by  whom  certain  fabrics 
are  carried  to  as  high  excellence  as 
can  be  given  by  patience,  <]^uicknes8 
of  perception  ancf  observation,  and 
manual  dexterity,  without  any  con- 
siderable Imowledge  of  the  properties 
of  objects :  such  as  some  of  the  cotton 
fabrics  of  India,  ^ese  artificers  are 
fed  by  the  surplus  food  which  has 
been  taken  by  the  government  and  its 
agents  as  their  share  of  the  produce. 
So  literally  is  this  the  case,  that  in 
some  countries  the  workman,  instead 
of  taking  the  work  home,  and  being 


PRELIMINARY  REMARKS. 


paid  for  it  after  it  is  firuBhed,  vrooeeds 
with  his  tools  to  his  customer  s  house, 
and  is  there  subsisted  until  the  work  is 
complete.  The  insecurity,  however,  of 
all  possessions  in  this  state  of  society, 
induces  even  the  richest  purchasers  to 
give  a  ptreference  to  such  articles  as, 
Being  oT  an  imperishable  nature,  and 
containing  great  value  in  small  bulk, 
are  adapted  for  being  concealed  or  car- 
ried oft.  Gold  and  jewels,  therefore, 
constitute  a  large  proportion  of  the 
wealth  of  these  nations,  and  many  a 
rich  Asiatic  carries  nearly  his  whole 
fortune  on  his  person,  or  on  those  of 
the  women  of  his  harem.  No_jiaie, 
except  the  monarch,  thinks  ofliDvest- 
in^  his  wealth  in  a  manner  not  suscep- 
tible of  removal.  He,  indeed,  if  he 
feels  safe  on  his  throne,  and  reasonably 
secure  of  transmitting  it  to  his  descen- 
dants, sometimes  indulges  a  taste  for 
durable  edifices,  and  produces  the 
Pyramids,  or  the  Taj  Mehal  and  the 
Mausoleum  at  Sekundra.  The  rude 
manufactures  destined  for  the  wants  of 
the  cultivators  are  worked  up  by  vil- 
lage artisans,  who  are  remunerated  b^ 
land  given  to  them  rent-free  to  culti- 
vate, or  by  fees  paid  to  them  in  kind 
from  such  share  of  the  crop  as  is  left 
to  the  villagers  by  the  government. 
This  state  of_societj,  howeverj  is  not 
destituie,dr'a  mercantile  class;  com- 
posed of  two  divisions,  ^nm^  dealers 
and  money  dealers.  The  gram  dealers 
do  not  usually  buy  grain  from  the  pro- 
ducers, but  firom  the  agents  of  govern- 
ment, who,  receiving  the  revenue  in 
kind,  are  glad  to  devolve  upon  others 
the  business  of  conveying  it  to  the 
places  where  the  prince,  his  chief  civil 
and  military  ofiOcers,  the  bulk  of  his 
troops,  and  the  artisans  who  supply 
the  wants  of  these  various  persons,  are 
assembled.  The  money  dealers  lend 
to  the  unfortunate  cultivators,  when 
ruined  by  bad  seasons  or  fiscal  exac- 
tions, the  means  of  supporting  life  and 
continuing  their  cultivation,  and  are 
repaid  with  enormous  interest  at  the 
next  harvest:  or,  on  a  larger  scale, 
they  lend  to  the  government,  or  to 
those  to  whom  it  has  granted  a  portion 
of  the  zevenue,  and  are  indemnified  by 


assignments  on  the  revenue  coUectors, 
or  by  having  certain  districts  put  into 
their  pos8ession,that  they  may  pay  them- 
selves from  the  revenues;  to  enable 
them  to  do  which,  a  great  portion  of 
the  powers  of  government  are  usually 
made  over  simultaneously,  to  be  exer- 
cised bv  them  until  either  the  districts 
are  redeemed,  or  their  receipts  have 
liquidated  the  debt.  Thus,  the  com- 
mercial operations  of  both  these  classes 
of  dealers  take  place  principally  upon 
that  part  of  the  prodticw  of  the  country 
which  forms  the  revenue  of  the  govern- 
ment. From  that  revenue  their  capital 
is  periodically  replaced  with  a  profit, 
and  that  is  also  tne  source  from  which 
their  original  frmds  have  almost  always 
been  derived.  Such,  in  its  ^nend 
features,  is  the  economical  condition  of 
most  of  the  countries  of  Asia,  as  it  has 
been  from  bevond  the  commencement 
of  authentic  nistorv,  and  is  still,  wher- 
ever not  disturbea  by  foreign  infiu- 
ences. 

In  the  agricultural  communities^  ofl 
ancient  Europe  whose  early  condirionl 
is  best  known  to  us,  the  course  oo 
tEn^s  was  different.  These,  at  iheiv 
origin,  were  mostly  small  town-commu- 
nities, at  the  first  plantation  of  which, 
in  an  unoccupied  country,  or  in  one 
from  which  the  former  inhabitants  had 
been  expelled,  the  land  which  was 
taken.,  possession  of  was  reguJafTy 
divided,  in  equal  or  in  ^duated  allot- 
ments, among  the  fEtmilies  coiopodng 
the  community.  In  some  cases,  in- 
stead of  a  town  there  was  a  confedera- 
tion of  towns,  occupied  by  people  of  the 
same  reputed  race,  and  who  were  sup- 
posed to  have  settled  in  the  country 
about  the  same  time.  Each  family< 
produced  its  own  food  and  the  mate- 
rials of  its  clothing,  which  were  worked 
up  within  itself,  usually  by  the  women 
of  the  family^  into  the  coarse  fabrics^ 
with  which  the  age  was  contented.' 
Taxes  there^  were  none,  as  there  were 
either  no  paid  officers  of  government, 
or  if  there  were,  their  payment  had 
been  provided  for  by  a  reserved  portion 
of  land,  cultivated  by  slaves  on  account 
of  the  state;  and  the  army  consisted 
of  the  body  of  citizens.    The  whole 


10 


PRELIMINARY  REMARKS 


prodnce  of  the  soil,  therefore,  belonged, 
without  deduction,  to  the  family  which 
cultiyated  it.  So  long  as  the  progress 
of  events  permitted  this  disposition  of 
property  to  last,  the  state  of  society 
was,  for  the  majority  of  the  free  culti- 
vators, probably  not  an  undesirable 
one ;  a^d  under  ^it.  in  some  cases,  the 
advance  of  manHna  in  intellectual  cul- 
ture was  extraordinarily  rapid  and 
brilliant.  This  more  especially  hap- 
pened where,  along  with  advantageous 
circumstances  of  race  and  climate,  aiNd 
no  doubt  with  many  favourable  acci- 
dents of  which  all  trace  is  now  lost, 
was  combined  the  advantage  of  a 
position  on  the  shores  of  a  great  inland 
sea,  the  other  coasts  of  which  were 
already  occupied  by  settled  commu- 
nities. The  Knowledge  which  in  such 
a  position  was  acquired  of  foreign  pro- 
ductions, and  the  easy  access  of  foreign 
ideas  and  inventions,  made  the  chain 
of  routine,  usually  so  strong  in  a  rude 
people,  hang  loosely  on  these  commu- 
tiities.  To  speak  only  of  their  indus- 
trial development ;  they  early  acquired 
variety  of  wants  and  desires,  which 
stimulated  them  to  extract  from  their 
iown  soil  the  utmost  which  they  knew 
;how  to  make  it  yield ;  and  when  their 
{soil  was  sterile,  or  after  they  had 
reached  the  limit  of  its  capacity,  they 
often  became  traders,  and  bought  up 
the  productions  of  foreign  countries,  to 
'^ell  them  in  other  countries  with  a 
profit. 

The  duration,  however,  of  this  state 
of  things  was  from  the  first  precarious. 
These  little  communities  lived  in  a 
state  of  almost  perpetual  war.  For 
this  there  were  many  causes.  In  the 
ruder  and  purely  agricultural  commu- 
nities a_fregBent  cause  was  the  mere 
pressure  oFtheir  increasing  population 
upon  their  limited  land,  aggi-avated  "as 
that  pressure'  so  often  was  by  deficient 
harvests  in  the  rude  state  of  their  agri- 
culture, and  depending  as  they  did  for 
food  upon  a  very  small  extent  of  coun- 
try. On  these  occasions,  the  commu- 
'nity  olten  emigrated  in  a  body,  or  sent 
forth  a  swarm  of  its  youth,  to  seek, 
sword  in  hand,  for  some  less  warlike 
pie,  who  could  be  expelled  from  their 
or  detained  to  cultivate  it  as 


slaves  for  the  benefit  of  their  despoileni. 
What  the  less  advanced  tribes  did 
from  necessity,  the  more  prosperous' 
did  from  ambition  and  the  military 
spirit :  and  after  a  time  the  whole  of 
'tnese  city-communities  were  either 
conquerors  or  conquered.  In  some 
cases,  the  conquering  state  contented 
itself  with  imposing  a  tribute  on  the 
vanquished:  wno  being,  in  considera- 
tion of  that  burden,  freed  from  the  ex- 
pense and  trouble  of  their  own  military 
and  naval  protection,  might  enjoy 
under  it  a  considerable  share  of  econo- 
mical prosperity,  while  the  ascendant 
community  obtained  a  surplus  of 
wealth,  available  for  purposes  of  collec- 
tive luxury  or  majmificence.  From 
such  a  surplus  the  Tarthenon  anXtRe 
Propylaea  were  buiTli^TEe  sculptures  of 
Pheidias  paid  for,  and  the  festivals 
celebrated,  for  which  iEschylus,  Sopho- 
cles, Euripides,  and  Aristophanes  com- 
posed their  dramas.  But  this  state  of 
political  relations,  most  useful,  while  it 
lasted,  to  the  progress  and  ultimate 
interest  of  mankind,  had  not  the  ele- 
ments of  durability.  A  small  conquer- 
ing community"'which  does  not  incor- 
porate its  conquests,  always  ends  by 
being  conquered.  Universal  dominion, 
therefore,  at  last  rested  with  the 
people  who  practised  this  art — with  the 
Komans;  who,  whatever  were  their 
other  devices,  always  either  began  or 
ended  by  taking  a  great  part  of  the 
land  to  enrich  their  own  leading  citi- 
zens, and  by  adopting  into  the  govern- 
ing body  the  principal  possessors  of  the 
remainder.  It  is  unnecessary  to  dwell 
on  the  melancholy  economical  history 
of  the  Roman  empire.  When  in- 
equality of  wealth  once  commences,  in 
a  community  not  constantly^  engaged 
in  repairing  by  industry  the  injuries  of 
fortune,  its  advances  are  gigantic ;  the 
great  masses  of  wealth  swallow  up  the 
smaller.  The  Roman  empire  ulti- 
mately became  covered  with  the  vast 
landed  possessions  of  a  comparatively 
few  famihes,  for  whose  luxury,  and 
still  more  for  whose  ostentation,  the 
most  costly  products  were  raised,  while 
the  cultivators  of  the  soil  were  slaves, 
or  small  tenants  in  a  nearly  servile 
condition.    From  this  time  the  wealtb 


PRELIMINARy  REMARKS. 


11 


oLthe  empii^.progressivelj  declined. 
In  the  beginning,  the  public  revenues, 
and  the  resources  of  rich  individuals, 
sufficed  at  least  to  cover  Italy  with 
splendid  edifices,  public  and  private: 
bat  at  length  so  dwindled  under  the 
enervating  influences  of  misgovemment, 
that  what  remained  was  not  even  suffi- 
cient to  keep  those  edifices  from  decay. 
The  strength  and  riches  of  the  civilized 
world  became  inadequate  to  make  head 
against  the  nomad  population  which 
skirted  its  northern  frontier:  they 
overran  the  empire,  and  a  different 
order  of  things  succeeded. 

In  the  new  frame  in  which  Etropean 
society  was  now.  cast,  the  populalion 
of  each  countemay  be  consige red  as 
compo8e3i~in  unequal  proportions,  of 
two  distinct  nations  or  races,  the  con- 
^uerorsand  the  conquered  :  the  first  the 
j^ropnetors  o?  the  land,  the  latter  the 
tillers  of  it.  These  tillers  were  allowed 
to  occupy  the  land  on  conditions  which, 
being  the  product  offeree,  were  always 
onerous,  but  seldom  to  the  extent  of 
absolute  slavery.  Already,  in  the  later 
fimes  of  the  Roman  empire,  predial 
slavery  had  extensively  transformed 
itself  into  a  kind  of  serfdom :  the  coloni 
of  the  Romans  were  rather  vUlsiBs  than 
actual  slaves ;  and  theLincapacity  and 
distaate  of.  the  barbarian  conquerors 
for  personally  superintending  industrial 
occupations,,  left  no  altexBAtive  but^to 
allow,  to  the.cultiYators^  as  an  incentive 
to  exertJQji,  Rome  teal  interest  in  the 
Bofl.  If,  for  example,  they  were  com- 
pelled to  labour,  three  days  in  the 
week,  for  their  superior,  the  produce  of 
the  remaining  days  was  their  own.  If 
thej  were  required  to  supply  the  pro- 
visions of  various  sorts,  ordinarily 
needed  for  the  consumption  of  the 
castle,  and  were  often  subject  to 
requisitions  in  excess,  yet  after  sup- 
plying these  demands  they  were  suf- 
fered to  dispose  at  their  will  of  what- 
ever additional  produce  they  could 
I  raise.  Under  this  system  during  the 
Middle  Ages  it  was  not  impoasible,  no 
I  more  than  in' modern  iBussia  (where, 
op  to  the  recent  measure  of  emancipa- 
tion, the  same  system  still  essentially 
kn^evailed)  for  serfs  to  acquire  property ; 
and  in  factj  their  a^^ftnmnlftfjftn^  Ar«  the 


primitive   source    of   the   wealth   ofl 
modem  Europe.  ' 

In  that  age  of  violence  and  disonler, 
the  first  use  made  by  a  serf  of  any  small' 
provision  which  he  had  been  able  tot 
accumulate^  was  to  buy  his  freedom! 
and  withdraw  himself  to  some  town  or. 
fortified  village,  which  had  remained^ 
undestroyed  from  the  time  of  the  Ro^ 
man  dominion ;  or,  without  buying  hi^ 
freedom,  to  abscond  thither.  In  that 
place  of  refuge,  surrounded  by  others  of 
nis  own  class,  he  attempted  to  live,  se- 
cured in  some  measure  from  the  out- 
rages and  exactions  of  the  warrior  caste, 
by  his  own  prowess  and  that  of  his  fel- 
lows. These  emancipated  serfs  mostly 
became  artificers;  and  lived  by  ex- 
cBan^ng  the  produce  of  their  industrv 
for  the  sitrplus  food  and  material  whion 
the  soil  yielded  to  its  feudal  proprietors. 
This  gave  rise  to  a  sort  of  European 
counterpart  of  the  economical  condition 
of  Asiatic  countries;  except  that,  in 
lieu  of  a  single  monareh  and  a  fluctua- 
ting body  of  favourites  and  employ^s^ 
there  was  a  numerous  and  in  a  consider 
able  degree  fixed  class  of  great  land- 
holders ;  exhibiting  far  less  splendour, 
because  individually  disposing  of  aj 
much  smaller  surplus  produce,  and  for 
a  long  time  expending  the  chief  part  of 
it  in  maintaining  the  body  of  retainers 
whom  the  warlike  habits  of  society,  and 
the  little  protection  afforded  by  govern- 
ment, rendered  indispensable  to  their 
safety.  Th&.gceatfir.§tability,  the  fixity 
of  personal  position,  which  this  state 
of  society  afi'orded,  in  comparison  with 
the  Asiatic  polity  to  which  it  economi- 
cally correspondedi  wa8_  one  main  rea- 
son  why  it  wag_idBO  fqund  more  favour-l 
able  to  improvement.  From  this  timei 
the  economical  advancement  of  societyj 
has  not  been  further  interrupted.  Se-I 
curity  of  person  and  property  grew 
slowfy,  but  steadily;  the  arts  of  life 
inade  constant  progress ;  plunder  ceased 
to  be  the  principal  Bourceofaccumura- 
tioii;  and  feudal  Europe  ripened  into! 
commercial  and  manufacturing  Europe/ 
In  the  latter  part  of  the  Middle  Ages, 
the  towns  of  Italy  and  Flanders,  the 
free  cities  of  Germany,  and  some  townt 
of  France  and  England,  contained  a 
lai^  and  energetic  population  of  arti- 


sans,  and  many  ricn  burghers,  whose 
wealth  had  been  acquired  by  manufac- 
turing industry,  or  by  trading  in  the 
.produce  of  such  industry.  ITbe  Com- 
Imons  of  England,  the  Tiers-Etat  of 
^France,  the  bourgeoisie  of  the  Conti- 
nent generally,  are  the  descendants  of 
phis  class.  Asthese  were  a  saving 
class,  wijle  l^e  pQfiferitjjjriiEi35cba.l 
^aristocracy  were  a  9qui9.ndeiing.  class, 
|he  former  by  de^gQ£Lsuhstituted  theiA- 
Iselves  for  the  latter  as  the  owners  of 
|a  great  proportion  of  the  land.  This 
natural  tendency  was  in  some  cases 
retarded  by  laws  contrived  for  the  pur- 
pose of  detaining  the  land  in  the  fami- 
lies of  its  existing  possessors,  in  other 
cases  accelerated  by  political  revolu- 
tions. Gradually,  though  more  slowly, 
the  immediate  cultivators  of  the  soil,  m 
all  the  more  civilized  countries,  ceased 
to  be  in  a  servile  or  semi-servile  state : 
though  the  legal  position,  as  well  as 
the  economical  condition  attained  by 
them,  vaiT  extremely  in  the  diflferent 
nations  of  Eurojpe,  and  in  the  great 
communities  which  have  been  founded 
beyond  the  Atlantic  by  the  descendants 
of  Europeans. 

I  The  world  now  contains  several  ex- 
Iteiisive  "regiohs,  provided  with  the  yar 
pious  ingredients  of  wealth  in  a  degree 
jof  abundance  of  which  former  ages  h^ 
pot  even  the  idea.  Without  compulsory 
labour,  an  enormous  mass  of  food  is 
annually  extracted  from  the  soil,  and 
maintains,  besides  the  actual  producers, 
an  equal,  sometimes  a  greater  number 
of  labourers,  occupied  in  producing 
conveniences  and  luxuries  of^  innumer- 
able kinds,  or  in  transporting  them  from 
place  to  place ;  also  a  multitude  of  per- 
sons employed  in  directing  and  super- 
intending these  various  labours;  and 
over  and  above  all  these,  a  class  more 
^numerous  than  in  the  most  luxurious 
"ancient  societies,  of  persons  whose  oc- 
cupations are  of  a  Wd  not  directly 
productive,  and  of  persons  who  have 
no  occupation  at  all.  The  food  thus 
raised,  supports  a  far  larger  population 
than  had  ever  existed  (at  least  in  the 
same  regions)  on  an  equal  space  of 
ground;  and  supports  them  with  cer- 
tainty, exempt  from  those  periodically 


PRBLIMINAEY  REMARKS. 


recurring  famines  so  abundant  in  the 
early  history  of  Europe,  and  in  Oriented 
countries  even  now  not  unfrequent. 
Besides  this  great  increase  in  the  quan< 
tity  of  food,  it  has  greatly  improved  in 
quality  and  variety;  while  conveniences 
and  luxuries,  other  than  food,  are  no 
longer  limited  to  a  small  and  opulent 
class,  but  descend,  in  great  abundance, 
through  many  widening  strata  in  so- 
ciety. The  collective  resources  of  one; 
of  tnese  communities,  when  it  chooses; 
to  put  them  forth  for  any  unexpected 
purpose ;  its  ability  to  maintain  fleets 
and  armies,  to  execute  public  works, 
either  useful  or  ornamental,  to  perform 
national  acts  of  beneficence  like  the 
ransom  of  the  West  India  slaves;  to' 
found  colonies,  to  have  its  people; 
taught,  to  do  anything  in  short  which  j 
requires  expense,  and  to  do  it  with  no 
sacrifice  of  the  necessaries  or  even  the 
substantial  comforts  of  its  inhabitants, 
are  such  as  the  world  never  saw 
before. 

But  in  all  these  particulars,  charao* 
teristic  of  the  modem  industrial  com- 
munities, those  communities  differ 
widely  from  one  another.  Though 
abounding  in  wealth  as  compared  with 
former  ages,  they  do  so  in  verj[  different 
degrees.  Even  of  the  countries  which 
are  justly  accounted  the  richest,  some 
have  made  a  more  complete  use  of  their 
productive  resources,  and  have  obtained, 
relatively  to  their  territorial  extent^  a 
much  larger  produce,  than  others  ;  nor 
do  they  differ  only  in  amount  of  wealth, 
but  also  in  the  rapidity  of  its  increase.' 
Tlie  diversities  in  the  distribution  of 
wealth  are  still  greater  than  in  the 
production.  There  are  great  differences 
m  the  condition  of  the  poorest  class  in 
different  countries ;  and  in  the  propor- 
tional numbers  and  opulence  of  the 
classes  which  are  above  the  poorest. 
The  very  nature  and  designation  of  the 
classes  who  originallv  snare  among 
them  the  produce  of  the  soil,  vary  not 
a  little  in  different  places.  In  some, 
the  landowners  are  a  class  in  them* 
selves,  almost  entirely  separate  from 
the  classes  engaged  in  industry:  in 
others,  the  propnetor  of  the  land  is 
almost  fodversally  its  cultivator,  ow» 


PREUMINABT  REMARKS. 


18 


Ing  the  plough,  and  often  himaelf  hold> 
ingit.  Where  the  proprietor  himsolf 
does  not  caltiyate,  there  is  sometimes, 
between  him  and  the  labourer,  an  in- 
termediate agency,  that  of  the  farmer, 
who  advances  the  mibsistenoe  of  the 
labourers,  supplies  the  instruments  of 
production,  and  receiyes,  after  paying 
a  rent  to  the  landowner,  all  the  pro- 
duce :  in  other  cases,  the  landlord, 
his  paid  agents,  and  the  labouren,  are 
the  only  sharers.  Manufactures,  again, 
are  sometimes  carried  on  by  scattered 
individuals,  who  own  or  hire  the  toob 
or  machinery  they  require,  and  employ 
little  labour  besides  that  of  their  own 
family ;  in  other  cases,  by  large  num- 
bers working  together  in  one  building, 
with  expensive  and  complex  machinery 
|Owned  by  rich  manufacturers.  The 
same  difference  exists  in  the  operations 
lof  trade.  The  wholesale  operations  in- 
deed are  everywhere  carried  on  by  large 
capitals,  where  such  exist;  but  the 
zetail  dealings,  which  collectively  oc- 
cupy a  very  great  amount  of  capital, 
are  sometimes  conducted  in  small  snops, 
chiefly  bv  the  personal  exertions  of  tne 
dealers  themselves,  with  their  families, 
and  perhaps  an  apprentice  or  two ;  and 
sometimes  in  large  establishments,  of 
which  the  funds  are  supplied  by  a 
wealthy  individual  or  association,  and 
the  agency  is  that  of  numerous  salaried 
shopmen  or  shopwomen.  Besides  these 
dijBerences  in  the  economical  pheno- 
mena presented  by  different  parts  of 
what  IS  usually  called  the  civilized 
world,  all  those  earlier  states  which  we 
previously  passed  in  review,  have  con- 
tinued in  some  part  or  other  of  the 
world,  down  to  our  own  time.  Hunt- 
ing communities  still  exist  in  America, 
nomadic  in  Arabia  and  the  steppes  of 
Northern  Asia;  Oriental  society  is  in 
essentials  what  it  has  always  been ;  the 
great  empire  of  Russia  is  even  now,  in 
many  resjpects,  the  scarcely  modified 
image  of  feudal  Europe.  Every  one  of 
the  great  types  of  human  society,  down 
to  that  of  the  Esquimaux  or  ratago- 
nians,  is  still  extant. 

These  remarkable  difierences  in  the 
■tate  of  different  portions  of  the  human 
race,  with  regard  to  the  production  and 


distribution  of  wealth,  must,  like  ail 
other  phenomena,  depend  on  causes. 
And  it  is  not  a  sufficient  explanation 
to  ascribe  them  exclusively  to  the  de- 
sprees  of  knowledge,  possessed  at  dif- 
ferent times  and  places,  of  the  laws  of 
nature  and  the  physical  arts  of  life. 
Many  other  causes  co-operate;  and 
that  very  process  and  unequal  dis- 
tribution of  physical  knowledge,  are' 
partly  the  effects,  as  well  as  partly  thej 
causes,  of  the  state  of  the  production 
and  distribution  of  wealth. 

In  so  far  as  the  economical  condition 
of  nations  turns  up<m  the  state  of  phy- 
sical knowledge,  it  is  a  subject  for  the 
physical  sciences,  and  the  arts  founded 
on  them.  But  in  so  far  as  the  causes 
are  moral  or  psychological,  dependent 
on  institutions  and  social  relations,  or 
on  the  principles  of  human  nature, 
their  investigation  belongs  not  to  phy- 
sicalj  but  to  moral  and  social  science, 
and  IS  the  object  of  what  is  called  Po- 
litical Economy. 

The  production  of  wealth ;  the  ex- 
traction of  the  instruments  of  human 
subsistence  and  enjoyment  from  the 
materials  of  the  globe,  is  evidently  not 
an  arbitrar;^  thing.  It  has  its  neces- 
sary conditions.  Of  these,  some  are 
physical,  depending  on  the  properties 
of  matter,  and  on  the  amount  of 
knowledge  of  those  properties  possessed 
at  the  particular  place  and  time.  These 
Political  Economy  does  not  investigate, 
but  assumes;  referring  for  the  grounds, 
to  physical  science  or  common  expe- 
rience. Combining  with  these  facts 
of  outward  nature  other  truths  relating 
to  human  nature,  it  attempts  to  trace 
the^  secondary  or  derivative  laws,  by 
which  the  production  of  wealth  is  de- 
termined; in  which  must  lie  the  ex- 
planation of  the  diversities  of  riches 
and  poverty  in  the  present  and  past, 
and  the  ground  of  whatever  in- 
crease in  wealth  is  reserved  for  the 
future. 

Unlike  the  laws  of  Production^  those 
of  Distribution  are  partly  of  human 
institution :  since  the  manner  in  which 
wealth  is  distributed  in  any  given  so- 
ciety, depends  on  the  statutes  or  usages 
therein  obtaining.   But  though  govern- 


14 


PRELIMINARY  REMARKS. 


ment8  or  nations  hare  the  power  of  de* 
ciding  what  institutions  shall  exist) 
they  cannot  arbitrarilv  determine  how 
those  institutions  shall  work.  The  con> 
ditions  on  which  the  power  they  possess 
over  the  distribution  of  wealth  is  depen- 
dent, and  the  manner  in  which  the  dis- 
tributiou  is  affected  by  the  yarious  modes 


of  conduct  which  society  may  think  fit  to 
adopt,  are  as  SMich  a  subject  for  scien- 
tific inquiry  as  any  of  the  physical  laws 
of  nature. 

The  laws  of  Pit)duction  and  Distri- 
bution, and  some  of  the  practical  con- 
sequences deducible  from  them,  are  the 
sabject  of  the  followiag  treatiia. 


BOOK    L 


PKODUCTION. 


CHAPTER  L 


OF  THB  BKQUXSITBB  OF  PRODUCnOV. 


{  1 .  The  requisites  of  production  are 
Iwo:  labour^  and  appropriato  n&tural 
otgecta. 

Labour  is  either  bodily  or  mental; 
or,  to  express  tbe  distinction  more  com- 
preheninyely,  either  muscular  or  nerv- 
joub  ;  and  it  is  necessary  to  include  in 
the  idea,  not  solely  the  exertion  itself, 
but  all  feelings  of  a  disagreeable  kind, 
all  bodily  inconvenience  or  mental  an- 
noyance, connected  with  the  employ- 
ment of  one's  thoughts,  or  muscles,  or 
both,  in  a  particular  occupation.  Of 
the  other  requisite — ^appropriate  na- 
tural objects — ^it  is  to  be  remarked,  that 
•ome  objects  exist  or  grow  up  sponta- 
neously, of  a  kind  suited  to  the  supply 
of  human  wants.  There  are  cayes  and 
hollow  trees  capable  of  affording  shel- 
ter ;  fruit,  roots,  wild  honey,  and  other 
natural  products,  on  which  human  life 
can  be  supported;  but jeyen here  a  con- 
siderable quantity  Snabour  is  generally 
required,  not  for  the  purpose  of  creating, 
but  of  finding  and  appropriating  them. 
In  all  but  these  few  and  (except  in  the 
very  commencement  of  human  society) 
unimportant  cases,  the  objects  supplied 
by  natm*e  are  only  instrumental  to  hu- 
man wants,  after  haying  undergone 
■ome  degree  of  transformation  by  hu- 
man exertion.  Even  the  wild  animals 
of  the  forest  and  of  the  sea,  from  which 
the  hunting  and  fishing  tribes  derive 
their  sustenance— thou^  the  labour  of 
which  they  are  the  subject  is  chiefly 
that  required  for  appropriating  them — 
mast  yet,  before  they  are  used  as  food, 
be  killed,  divided  into  fragments,  and 
■objected  in  almost  all  eases  to  some 


culinary  process,  which  are  opcrationb 
requiring  a  certain  degree  of  human 
labour.  The  amount  of  transformation 
which  natural  substances  undergo  be- 
fore being  brought  into  the  shape  in 
which  they  are  directly  applied  to  hu- 
man use,  varies  from  this  or  a  still  less 
degree  of  alteration  in  the  nature  and 
appearance  of  the  object,  to  a  change 
so  total  that  no  trace  is  perceptible  of 
the  original  shape  and  structure.  There 
is  little  resemblance  between  a  piece  of 
a  mineral  substance  found  in  the  earth, 
and  a  plough,  an  axe,  or  a  saw.  There 
is  less  resemblance  between  porcelain 
and  the  decomposing  granite  of  which 
it  is  made,  or  between  sand  mixed  with 
sea-weed,  and  glass.  The  difference  is 
greater  still  between  the  fleeoe  of  a 
sheep,  or  a  handful  of  cotton  seeds,  and 
a  web  of  muslin  or  broad  cloth ;  and 
the  sheep  and  seeds  themselves  are  not 
spontaneous  growths,  but  results  of  pre- 
vious labour  and  care.  In  these  se- 
veral cases  the  ultimate  product  is  sa 
extremely  dissimilar  to  the  substance 
supplied  by  nature,  that  in  the  custom 
of  language  nature  is  represented  as 
only  famishing  materials. 

NaturOp  however,  does  more  than 
supply  "matenals ;  "she  "also  supplies 
powers.  The  matter  of  the  globe  is 
not  an  inert  recipient  of  forms  and  pro- 
perties impressed  by  human  hands ;  it 
nas  active  energies  by  which  it  oo-opo- 
rates  with,  and  may  even  be  used  as  a 
substitute  for,  labour.  In  the  oarly 
ages  people  converted  their  corn  into 
flour  by  pounding  it  between  two  stones; 
they  next  hit  on  a  contrivanoo  wkicli 


16 


BOOK  I. 


CHAPTER  I. 

enabled  them,  by  turning  a  handle,  to 
make  one  of  the  stones  revolve  n]^on 
the  other ;  and  this  process,  a  little  un- 
proved, is  still  the  common  piactice  of 
the  East.  The  muscular  exertion, 
however,  which  it  required,  was  very 
severe  and  exhausting,  insomuch  that 
it  was  often  selected  as  a  punishment 
for  slaves  who  had  offended  their 
masters.  When  the  time  came  at 
which  the  labour  and  sufferin^^  of 
slaves  were  thought  worth  economizing, 
the  greater  part  of  this  bodily  exertion 
was  rendered  unnecessary,  by  contriv- 
ing that  the  upper  stone  snould  be 
made  to  revolve  upon  the  lower,  not  by 
human  strength,  out  by  the  force  of 
the  wind  or  of  falling  water.  In  this 
I  case,  natural  agents,  the  wind  or  the 
I  gravitation  of  the  water,  are  made  to 
ido  a  portion  of  the  work  previously 
\done  by  labour. 

§  2.  Cases  like  this,  in  which  a  cer- 
tain amount  of  labour  has  been  dis- 
pensed with,  its  work  being  devolved 
upon  some  natural  agent,  are  apt  to 
suggest  an  erroneous  notion  of  the 
comparative  functions  of  labour  and 
natural  powers ;  as  if  the  co-operation 
of  those  powers  with  human  industry 
^were  limited  to  the  cases  in  which  they 
are  made  to  perform  what  would  other- 
wise be  done  by  labour ;  as  if,  in  the 
tease  of  things  made  (as  the  phrase  is) 
by  hand,  nature  only  furnished  passive 
materials.  This  is  an  illusion.  The 
powers  of  nature  are  as  actively  operar 
tive  in  the  one  case  as  in  the  otner.  A 
workman  takes  a  stalk  of  the  flax  or 
hemp  plant,  splits  it  into  separate 
fibres,  twines  together  several  of^  these 
fibres  with  his  fingers,  aided  by  a  simple 
instrument  called  a  spindle;  having 
thus  formed  a  thread,  he  lays  many 
such  threads  side  by  side,  and  places 
other  similar  threads  directly  across 
them,  so  that  each  passes  alternately 
over  and  under  those  which  are  at  right 
andes  to  it ;  this  part  of  the  process 
being  facilitated  oy  an  instrument 
called  a  shuttie.  He  has  now  produced 
a  web  of  cloth,  either  linen  or  sack- 
cloth, according  to  the  material.  He 
is  said  to  have  done  this  by  hand, 
no  natural  force  being  supposed  to 
haye    acted    in    concert    with   him. 


§  2. 


But  by  what  force  Is  each  step 
of  this  operation  rendered  possi- 
ble, and  the  web,  when  produced^  ' 
held  together?  ^fy  the  tenacity,  or 
force  of  cohesion  of  the  fibres:  which 
is  one  of  the  forces  in  nature,  and  which 
we  can  measure  exactly  against  other 
mechanical  forces,  and  ascertain  how 
much  of  any  of  them  it  suffices  to  neu- 
tralize or  coimterbalance. 

If  we  examine  any  other  case  of  what! 
is  called  the  action  of  man  upon  na^ 
ture,  we  shall  find  in  like  mannerjhat 
the  powers  of  nature,  or  in  other  words 
,  the  properties  of  matter,  do  all  the  work, 
jwhen  once  objects  are  put  into  the  n^t 

E*'  *  tn.  This  one  operation,  of  putting 
into  fit  places  lor  being  acteduppn 
jir  own  internal  forces^  and Jby 
t£ose  residing  in  other  natural  objects, 
is  all  that  man  does,  or  can  do,  with  mat- 
ter. He  only  moves  one  thing  to  or  fromj 
another."  He"ni6ves  a  seed'liito  the 
'grounct;  and  the  natural  forces  of  vege- 
tation produce  in  succession  a  root,  a 
stem,  leaves,  flowers,  and  fruit.  He 
moves  an  axe  through  a  tree,  and  it 
falls  by  the  natural  force  of  gravitation ; 
he  moves  a  saw  through  it,  in  a  parti- 
cular manner,  and  the  physical  properr 
ties  by  which  a  softer  substance  gives 
way  before  a  harder,  make  it  separate 
into  planks,  which  he  arranges  in  cer- 
tain positions,  with  nails  driven  through 
them,  or  adhesive  matter  between  them, 
and  produces  a  table,  or  a  house.  He 
moves  a  spark  to  fuel,  and  it  ignites, 
and  by  the  force  generated  in  combus- 
tion it  cooks  the  food,  melts  or  softens 
the  iron,  converts  into  beer  or  sugar 
the  malt  or  cane-juice,  which  he  has 
previously  moved  to  the  spot.  He  has 
no  other  means  of  acting  on  matter 
than  by  moving  it.  Motion,  and  re- 
sistance to  motion,  are  the  only  things 
which  his  muscles  are  constructed  for. 
By  muscular  contraction  he  can  create 
a  pressure  on  an  outward  object,  which, 
if  sufficiently  powerful,  will  set  it  in 
motion,  or  if  it  oe  already  moving,  will 
check  or  modify  or  altogether  arrest  its 
motion,  and  he  can  do  no  more.  But 
this  is  enough  to  have  given  all  the 
command  which  mankind  have  acquired 
over  natural  forces  immeasurably  more 
pcwerM  than  themselves ;  a  command 


REQUISITES  OF  PRODQCTION. 


17 


wliich,  great  as  it  is  already,  is  without 
doubt  destined  to  become  indefinitely 
neater  He  exerts  this  power  either 
by  availing  himself  of  nataral  forces  in 
existence,  or  by  arranging^  objects  in 
"those  mixtures  and  commnations  by 
which  natural  forces  are  generated ;  as 
when  by  putting  a  lighted  match  to 
fiiel,  and  water  into  a  boiler  over  it,  he 
generates  the  expansive  force  of  steam, 
a  power  which  has  been  made  so  largely 
available  for  the  attainment  of  human 
pmposes.* 

Labour,  then,  in  the  physical  world, 
is  always  and  solely  employed  in  put- 
ting objects  in  motion ;  the  properties 
of  {natter,  the  laws  of  nature,  do  the 
rest.  The  skill  and  ingenuity  of  hu- 
man beings  are  chiefly  exercised  in 
discovering  movements,  practicable  by 
their  powers,  and  capable  of  bringing 
about  the  effects  which  they  desire. 
But,  while  movement  is  the  only  effect 
which  man  can  immediately  and 
directly  produce  by  his  muscles,  it  is 
not  necessary  that  he  should  produce 
directly  by  them  all  the  movements 
which  he  requires.  The  first  and  most 
obvious  substitute  is  the  muscular  ac- 
tion of  cattle :  by  degrees  the  powers 
of  inanimate  nature  are  made  to  aid  in 
this  too,  as  by  making  the  wind,  or 
water,  things  already  in  motion,  com- 
municate a  part  of  their  motion  to  the 
wheels,  which  before  that  invention 
were  made  to  revolve  by  muscular 
force.  This  service  is  extorted  firom 
the  powers  of  wind  and  water  by  a  set 
of  actions,  consisting  like  the  former  in 
moving  certain  objects  into  certain 
positions  in  which  they  constitute 
what  is  termed  a  machine;  but  the 
muscular  action  necessary  for  this  is 
not  constantly  renewed,  but  performed 
once  for  all,  and  there  is  on  the  whole 
a  great  economy  of  labour. 

§  3.  Some  writers  have  raised  the 
question,  whether  nature  gives  more 
assistance  to  labour  in  one  kind  of 
industry  or  in  another ;  and  have  said 

*  This  enential  and  primuy  law  of  man's 
power  over  nature  was,  I  believe,  first  illus- 
trated and  made  prominent  as  afiindamental 
prineiple  of  Political  Economy,  in  the  first 
chapto  of  Mr.  MlU's  JBUmmOa. 


that  in  some  occupations  labour  does 
most,  in  others  nature  most.  In  this, 
however,  there  seems  much  confusion 
of  ideas.  The  part  which  nature  has 
in  any  work  of  man,  is  indefinite  and 
incommensurable.  It  is  impossible  to 
decide  that  in  any  one  thing  nature 
does  more  than  in  anv  other.  One' 
cannot  even  say  that  labour  does  less. 
Less  labour  may  be  required ;  but  if 
that  which  is  required  is  absolutely 
indispensable,  the  result  is  just  as 
much  the  product  of  labour,  as  of 
nature.  When«  two  conditions  are 
equally  necessary  for  producing  ti^e 
effect  at  all,  it  IS  unmeaning  to  say 
that  so  much  of  it  is  produced  by  oi:« 
and  so  much  by  the  other ;  it  is  like 
attempting  to  decide  which  half  of  a 
pair  of  scissors  has  most  to  do  in  the 
act  of  cutting ;  or  which  of  the  factors, 
^e  and  six,  contributes  most  to  tiie 
production  of  thirty.  Xh9  fonu  which 
this  conceit  usually  assumes,  is  that  o' 
supposing  that  nature  lends  more  assist- 
ance to  human  endeavours  in  agricul- 
\ure,  than  in  manufactures.  This 
notion,  held  by  the  French  Economistes, 
and  fiom  which  Adam  Smith  was  not 
free,  arose  from  a  misconception  of  the 
nature  of  rent.  The  rent  ot  land  being 
a  price  paid  for  a  natural  agency,  and 
no  such  price  bein^  paid  in  manufac- 
tures, these  writers  imagined  that  since 
a  price  was  paid,  it  was  because  th«re 
was  a  greater  amount  of  service  to  be 
paid  for:  whereas  a  better  considera- 
tion of  the  subject  would  have  diown 
that  the  reason  why  the  use  of  land 
bears  a  price  is  simply  the  limitation 
of  its  quantity,  and  that  if  air,  heat, 
electricity,  chemical  agencies,  and  the 
other  powers  of  nature  employed  by 
manufacturers,  were  sparingly  supplied, 
and  could,  like  land,  be  engrossed  and 
appropriated,  a  rent  could  be  exacted 
for  them  also. 

§  4.  This  leads  to  a  distmction 
wbich  we  shall  find  to  be  of  primaiy 
importance.  0£  naXainX  powers,  some 
are_  unlimited,  others  limited  in  quan- 
tity. By  an  unlimited  quantity  is  of 
course  not  meant  literally,  but  prac- 
tically unlimited:  a  quantity  beyond 
the  use  which  can  in  any,  or  at  least 
C 


tft 


in  present  circumstances,  be  made  of 
it.  Land  is,  in  some  newly  settled 
countries,  practically  unlimited  in 
quantity :  tnere  is  more  than  can  be 
used  by  the  existing  population  of  the 
countiy,  or  by  any  accession  likely  to 
be  made  to  it  for  generations  to  come. 
But  even  there,  land  favourably  situa- 
ted with  regard  to  markets  or  means 
of  carriage,  is  generally  limited  in 
quantity :  there  is  not  so  much  of  it  as 
persons  would  gladly  occupy  and  culti- 
vate, or  otherwise  turn  to  use.  In  all 
old  coxmtrieB,  land  capable  of  cultiva- 
tion, land  ai  least  of  any  tolerable 
fertility,  must  be  ranked  among  agents 
limited  in  quantity.  Water,  for  ordi- 
nary purposes,  on  the  banks  of  rivers 
or  lakes,  may  be  regarded  as  of  un- 
limited abunaance  ;  but  if  required  for 
irrigation,  it  mav  even  there  be  in- 
sufficient to  supply  all  wants,  while  in 
places  which  depend  for  their  consump- 
tion on  cisterns  or  tanks,  or  on  wens 
which  are  not  copious,  or  are  liable  to 
fail,  wBter  takes  its  place  among  things 
the  quanti^  of  which  is  most  strictly 
limited.  Where  water  itself  is  plenti- 
fiil,  yet  water-power,  i.e.  a  fell  of  water 
applicable  by  its  mechanical  force  to 
the  service  of  industry,  may  be  ex- 
ceedingly limited,  compared  with  the 
use  wmoh  would  be  made  of  it  if  it 
were  more  abundant.  Coal,  metallic 
ores,  and  other  useful  substances  found 
in  the  earth,  are  still  more  limited  than 
land.  They  are  not  only  strictly  local,  but 
exhaustible  ;  though,  at  a  given  place 
ftnd  time,  they  may  exist  in  much 
greater  abundance  wan  would  be  ap- 
plied to  present  use  even  if  they^  could 
he  obtained  gratis.  Fisheries,  in  the 
sea,  are  in  most  cases  a  gift  of  nature 
practically  unlimited  in  amount ;  but 
the  Arctic  whale  fineries  have  long 
been  insufficient  for  the  demand  which 
exists  even  at  the  very  considerable 
price  necessary  to  defray  the  cost  of 
appropriation:  and  the  immense  ex- 
tennon  which  the  8outhem  fisheries 
kttve  in  oonseqiteitoe  assumed,  is  teiid- 


BOOK  1.    CHAPTER  1.    |  4. 

ing  to  exhaust  them  likewise.  Hi  vet 
fisheries  are  a  natural  resource  of  a 
very  limited  character,  and  would  be 
rapidly  exhausted,  if  allowed  to  be  used 
by  every  one  without  restraint.  Air, 
even  that  state  of  it  which  we  term 
wind,  may,  in  most  situations,  be  ob- 
tained in  a  quantity  sufficient  for  every 
possible  use ;  and  so  likewise,  on  the 
sea  coast  or  on  large  rivers,  ma^  water 
carriage:  though  the  wharfage  or 
harbour-room  applicable  to  the  service 
of  that  mode  of  transport  is  in  many 
situations  far  short  of  what  would  be 
used  if  easily  attainable. 

It  will  be  seen  hereafter  how  much 
of  the  economy  of  society  depends  gn 
the  limited  quantity  in  wnich  some  of 
the  most  impoi'tant  natural  agents 
exist,  and  more  particularly,  land.  For 
the  present  I  shall  only  remark  that  so 
long  as  the  quantity  of  a  natural  agent 
is  practically  unlimited,  it  cannot,  un- 
less susceptible  of  artificial  monopoly, 
bear  any  value  in  the  market,  since  no 
one  will  give  anything  for  what  can  be 
obtained  gratis.  But  as  soon  as  a 
limitation  becomes  practically  opera- 
tive ;  as  soon  as  there  is  not  so  much 
of  the  thing  to  be  had,  as  would  be 
appropriated  and  used  if  it  could  be 
obtained  for  asking ;  the  ownership  or 
use  of  the  natural  agent  acquires  an 
exchangeable  value.  When  more 
water-power  is  wanted  in  a  particular 
district,  than  there  are  falls  of  water  to 
supply  it,  persons  will  give  an  equiva- 
lent tor  tne  use  of  a  fall  of  water. 
When  there  is  more  land  wanted  for 
cultivation  than  a  place  possesses,  or 
than  it  possesses  of  a  certain  quality 
and  certain  advantages  oi.  situation, 
land  of  that  quality  and  situation  may 
be  sold  for  a  price,  or  let  for  an  annual 
rent.  This  subject  will  hereafter  be 
discussed  at  length;  but  it  is  often 
useful  to  anticipate,  by  a  brief  sugges- 
tion, principles  and  deductions  which 
we  have  not  yet  reached  the  place  fen 
exhibiting  and  illustratio  $  fully. 


LABOUR  AS  AN  AGENT  OF  PRODUCTION. 


19 


CHAPTER  n. 


OF  LABOUR  AS  AM  AGENT  OV   PRODUCTIOW. 


§  1.  The  labour  which  terminates  in 
the  production  of  an  article  fitted  for 
some  human  use,  is  either  employed 
directly  aboat  the  tHng^or  in  previous 
operations  destined  to  facilitate,  perhaps 
essential  to  the  possibility  of;  the  suV 
sequent  ones.  In  making  bread,  for 
example,  the  labour  employed  about 
the  thing  itself  is  that  of  the  baker ; 
but  the  labour  of  the  miller,  though 
employed  directly  in  the  production 
not  of  Dread  but  of  flour,  is  equally  part 
of  the  aggregate  sum  of  labour  by 
which  the  bread  is  produced;  as  is 
also  the  labour  of  the  sower,  and  of  the 
reaper.  Some  may  think  that  all  these 
persons  ought  to  be  considered  as  em- 
ploying their  labour  directly  about  the 
thing;  the  com,  the  flour,  and  the 
bread  being  one  substance  in  three 
different  states.  Without  disputing 
about  this  Question  of  mere  language, 
there  is  still  the  ploughman  who  pre- 
pared the  ground  for  the  seed,  and 
whose  labour  never  oame  in  contact 
with  the  substance  in  any  of  its  states ; 
and  the  plough-maker,  whose  share  in 
the  result  was  still  more  remote.  All 
these  persons  ultimately  derive  the  re- 
muneration of  their  labour  from  the 
bread,  or  its  price :  the  plough-maker 
as  much  as  the  rest ;  for  since  ploughs 
are  of  no  use  except  lor  tilling  the  soil, 
no  one  would  make  or  use  ploughs  for 
any  other  reason  than  because  the  iiir 
creased  retums,  thereby  obtaiued  from 
the  ground,  afforded  a  source  from 
which  an  adequate  equitalent  could  be 
assigned  for  the  labour  of  the  plough- 
maker.  K  ihe  produce  is  to  be  used 
or  consumed  in  the  form  of  bread,  it  is 
from  the  bread  that  this  equivalent 
must  come.  The  bread  must  suffice 
to  remtmerate  all  these  labourers,  and 
several  others ;  such  as  the  carpenters 
and  bricklayetu  who  ereoted  the  fami- 
bmldings;  l^e  hedgers  and  ditchen 
who  made  the  fences  necessaty  fer  the 
|HOte(^<M  of  Iho  crop ;  Iha  wimn  imd 


smelters  who  extracted  or  prepared 
the  iron  of  which  the  plough  and 
other  implements  were  made.  These, 
however,  and  the  plough-maker,  do  not 
depend  for  their  remuneration  upon 
the  bread  made  fit>m  the  produce  oi 
a  single  harvest,  but  upon  that  made 
from  the  produce  of  all  the  har- 
vests which  are  successively  gathered 
imtil  the  plough,  or  the  buildings  and 
fences,  are  worn  out.  We  must  add 
yet  another  kind  of  labour;  that  of 
transporting  the  produce  from  the  place 
of  its  production  to  the  place  of  its 
destined  use :  the  labour  of  carrying 
the  com  to  market,  and  from  market 
to  the  miller's,  the  flour  from  the 
miller's  to  the  baker's,  and  the  bread 
from  the  baker's  to  the  place  of  its  final 
consumption.  This  labour  is  some^ 
times  very  considerable :  flour  is  tran»> 
ported  to  England  from  beyond  the 
Atlantic,  com  from  the  heart  oi  Russia ; 
and  in  addition  to  the  labourers  imme- 
diately employed,  the  waggoners  and 
sailors,  there  are  also  costly  instru- 
ments, such  as  ships,  in  the  oonstmo- 
tion  of  which  much  labour  has  been 
expended :  that  labour,  however,  not  de- 
pending for  its  whole  remuneration  upon 
the  bread,  but  for  a  part  only ;  ships 
being  usually,  during  the  course  of  their 
existence,  employed  in  the  transport  of 
many  different  ends  of  commodities. 

To  estimate,  therefore,  the  labour  of 
winch  anv  given  .commodity  is  the  re. 
suit,  ^  is  ur  from  a  simple  operation. 
The  items  in  the  calcination  are  very 
numerous — as  it  may  seem  to  some 
persons,  infinitely  so ;  for  i^  as  a  part 
of  the  labour  employed  in  making 
bread,  we  count  the  labour  of  the 
blacksmith  who  made  the  plough,  why 
not  also  (it  may  be  asked)  the  labour 
of  making  the  tools  used  by  the  black- 
smith, and  the  tools  used  in  making  those 
tools,  and  so  back  to  the  origin  of 
things  ?  But  after  mounting  one  or  twe 
steps  in  tlus  ascending  acale,  we  oomt 
02 


90  BOOK  L 

into  a  region  of  fractions  too  minute 
for  calculation.  Suppose,  for  instance, 
that  the  same  plough  will  last,  before 
being  worn  out,  a  dozen  years.  Only 
one-twelfth  of  the  labour  of  making  the 
plough  must  be  placed  to  the  account 
of  each  year's  harvest.  A  twelfth  part 
of  the  labour  of  making  a  plough  is  an 
appreciable  quantity.  But  the  same  set 
of  tools,  perhaps,  suffice  to  the  plough- 
maker  for  forging  a  hundred  ploughs, 
which  serve  during  the  twelve  years  of 
their  existence  to  prepare  the  soil  of 
as  many  diiferenf  farms.  A  twelve- 
hundredth  part  of  the  labour  of  making 
his  tools,  is  as  much,  therefore,  as  has 
been  expended  in  procuring  one  year's 
harvest  of  a  single  farm:  and  when 
this  fraction  comes  to  be  ftirther  appor- 
tioned among  the  various  sacks  of  com 
and  loaves  of  bread,  it  is  seen  at  once 
that  such  quantities  are  not  worth 
taking  into  the  account  for  any  prac- 
tical purpose  connected  with  the  com- 
modity. It  is  true  that  if  the  tod- 
maker  had  not  laboured,  the  com  and 
bread  never  would  have  been  produced ; 
but  they  will  not  be  sold  a  tenth  part 
of  a  farthing  dearer  in  consideration  of 
his  labour. 

§  2.  Another  of  the  modes  in  which 
labour  is  indirectly  or  remotely  instru- 
mental to  the  production  of  a  thing, 
requires  particular  notice:  namely, 
when  it  is  emplo;p^ed  in  producing  sub- 
sistence, to  maintain  the  labourers 
while  they  are  engaged  in  the  produc- 
tion. This  previous  emplojonent  of 
'labour  is  an  indispensable  condition  to 
every  productive  operation,  on  any 
other  than  the  very  smallest  scale. 
Except  the  labour  of  the  himter  and 
fisher,  there  is  scarcely  any  kind  of 
labour  to  which  the  retums  are  imme- 
diate. Productive  operations  require 
to  be  continued  a  certain  time,  before 
their  finiits  are  obtained.  Unless  the 
labourer,  before  commencing  his  work, 
possesses  a  store  of  food,  or  can  obtain 
access  to  the  stores  of  some  one  else, 
in  sufficient  quantity  to  maintain  him 
until  the  production  is  completed,  he 
can  undertake  no  labour  but  such  as 
can  be  carried  on  at  odd  intervals, 
concurrently  with  the  nursuit  «f  his 


CHAPTER  IL    I  «. 

subsistence.  He  cannot  obtain  food 
itself  in  any  abundance ;  for  every 
mode  of  so  obtaining  it,  requires  that 
there  be  already  food  in  store.  Agri- 
culture only  brings  forth  food  after  the 
lapse  of  months;  and  though  the 
labours  of  the  agriculturist  are  not 
necessarily  continuous  during  the  whole 
period,  the^  must  occupy  a  considerar 
ble  part  of  it.  Not  only  is  agriculture 
impossible  without  food  produced  in 
advance,  but  there  must  be  a  very 
great  quantity  in  advance  to  enable 
any  considerable  community  to  sup- 
port itself  wholly  by  agriculture.  A 
country  like  England  or  France  is  only 
able  to  carry  on  the  agriculture  of  the 
present  year,  because  that  of  past  years 
nas  provided,  in  those  countries  or 
somewhere  else,  sufficient  food  to  sup- 
port their  agricultural  population  until 
the  next  harvest.  They  are  only 
enabled  to  produce  so  many  other 
things  besides  food,  because  the  food 
which  was  in  store  at  the  close  of  the 
last  harvest  suffices  to  maintain  not 
only  the  agricultural  labourers,  but  a 
large  industrious  population  besidesk 

The  labour  employed  in  producing 
this  stock  of  subsistence,  forms  a  great 
and  important  part  of  the  past  labour 
which  nas  been  necessary  to  enable 
present  labour  to  be  carried  on.  But 
there  is  a  difference,  requiring  parti- 
cular notice,  between  this  and  the  other 
kinds  of  previous  or  preparatory  labour. 
The  miller,  the  reaper,  the  ploughman, 
the  plough-maker,  the  waggoner  and 
waggon-maker,  even  the  sailor  and 
ship-builder  when  emploved,  derive 
their  remuneration  from  tne  ultimate 
product — ^the  bread  made  from  the  com 
on  which  they  have  severally  operated, 
or  supplied  the  instruments  for  ope- 
rating. The  labour  that  produced  the 
food  which  fed  all  these  labourers,  is  as 
necessary  to  the  ultimate  result,  the 
bread  of  the  present  harvest^  as  any  of 
those  other  portions  of  labour;  but  ia 
not,  like  them,  remunerated  from  it. 
That  previous  labour  has  received  itg 
remuneration  from  the  prftviona  fnod. 
In  order  to  raise  any  proauct,  there  are 
needed  labour,  tools,  and  materials,  and 
food  to  feed  the  labourers.  But  the 
took  and  materials  are  of  no  um  ezoept 


LABOUR  AS  AN  AGENT  OF  PRODUCTION. 


tl 


for  obtaining  the  prodnctor  at  least 
are  to  be  applied  to  no  other  nse,  and 
the  labour  of  their  construction  can  be 
remunerated  only  from  the  product 
when  obtained.  The  food,  on  tne  con- 
trary, is  intrinsicallj  useful,  and  is  ap- 
plied to  the  direct  use  of  feedine  human 
beings.  The  labour  expended  in  pro- 
ducing the  food,  and  recompensed  by 
it,  needs  not  be  remunerated  over  again 
from  the  produce  of  the  subsequent 
labour  which  it  has  fed.  If  we  suppose 
that  the  same  body  of  labourers  carried 
oa  a  manufacture,  and  grew  food  to 
sustain  themselyes  while  doing  it,  they 
haTe  had  for  their  trouble  the  food  ana 
the  manufactured  article  *,  but  if  they 
also  grew  the  material  and  made  the 
tools,  they  ha-ve  had  nothing  for  that 
trouble  but  the  manufactured  article 
alone. 

The  claim  to  remuneration  founded 
on  the  possession  ^f^^d^  available  for 
I  Ihe  mamtenance  pfTabourers,  is  of  an- 
' 'other kind;  remunerau^nfor  abstinence, 
not  for  labour.  If  a  pei^on  has  a  store 
of  food,  he  has  it  in  hisNpower  to  con- 
sume it  himself  in  idleness;,  or  in  feed- 
\ing  others  to  attend  on  him,  or  to  fi^ht 
for  him,  or  to  sing  or  dance  for  him. 
Ij^  instead  of  these  things,  he  gives  it 
to  productive  labourers  to  support  them 
during  their  work,  he  can,  and  natur- 
ally will,  claim  a  remuneration  from  the 
produce.  He  will  not  be  content  with 
simple  rej^ayment;  if  he  receives  merely 
that,  he  is  only  in  the  same  situation 
as  at  first,  and  has  derived  no  advan- 
tage fix)m  delaying  to  apply  his  saving 
to  nis  own  benefit  or  pleasure.  He  will 
look  for  some  equivalent  for  this  for- 
bearance :  he  vnll  en)ect  his  advance 
of  food  to  come  back  to  him  with  an 
increase,  called  in  the  language  of  busi- 
ness, a  profit ;  and  the  hope  of  this 
profit  win  generally  have  been  a  part  of 
the  inducement  which  made  him  accu- 
mulate a  stock,  by  economizing  in  his 
own  consumption  ;  or,  at  any  rate, 
which  made  nim  forego  the  application 
of  it,  when  accumulated,  to  his  personal 
ease  or  satisfrtction.  The  food  also 
which  maintained  other  workmen  while 
producing  the  tools  or  materials,  must 
nave  been  provided  in  advance  by  some 
one,  and  he,  too,  must  have  his  profit 


from  the  ultimate  product;  butjhere 
isthis  difierence»  th^t  hurft  the  ultimate 
product  has  to  supply  not  only  the 
profit,  but  also  the  remuneration  of  the  • 
labour.  The  tool-maker  (say,  for  in- 
stance, the  plough-maker)  does  not  in- 
deed usually  wait  for  his  payment  until 
the  harvest  is  reaped ;  the  farmer  ad- 
vances it  to  him,  and  steps  into  his 
place  by  becoming  the  owner  of  the 
plough.  Nevertheless,  it  is  from  the 
tiarvest  that  the  payment  is  to  come ; 
since  the  frirmer  would  not  undertake 
this  outlay  unless  he  expected  that  the 
harvest  would  repay  him,  and  with  a 
profit  too  on  this  firesh  advance ;  that 
IS,  unless  the  harvest  would  yield,  be- 
sides the  remuneration  of  the  farm 
labourers  (and  a  profit  for  advancing 
it),  a  sufficient  residue  to  remunerate 
the  plough-maker*s  labourers,  give  the 
plough-maker  a  profit,  and  a  profit  to 
the  farmer  on  bota. 

§  3.  From  these  considerations  it  ap- 
pears, that  in  an  enimieration  and  clas- 
sification of  the  kinds  of  industry  which 
are  intended  for  the  indirect  or  remete 
fiirtherance  of  other  productive  labour, 
.we  need  not  include  the  labour  of  pro- 

dudlBg  raftflm^UCe  Of  ^ther  nr -'" 

ot  lite  PT  be  tuuBUJJietf' 


ot  lite  PT  be  tuusmmid  by  productive 
labounJW ;  for  tlie  main  end  and  pur- 1 
pose  of-fchis  labour  is  the  subsistence] 
itself;  and  though  the  possession  of  a' 
store  of  it  enables  other  work  to  be  done,  | 
this  is  but  an  incidental  consequence,  i 
The  remaining  modes  in  which  labour  is ' 
indirectiy  instrumental  to  production, 
may  be  arranged  under  five  neads. 

First:  Labouremployed  in  producing'  / 
materials,  on  which  industry  is  to  be  / 
afterwards  empWed.  This  is,  in  many 
cases,  a  labour  of  mere  appropriation ; 
extractive  industry,  as  it  has  been  aptly 
named  by  M.  Dunoyer.  The  labour  of 
the  miner,  for  example,  consists  of  ope- 
rations for  digging  out  of  the  earth 
substances  convertible  bv  industry  into 
various  articles  fitted  tor  human  use. 
Extractive  industry,  however,  is  not 
confined  to  the  extraction  of  materials. 
Coal,  for  instance,  is  employed,  not 
only  in  the  processes  of  industry,  but  in 
directiy  warming  human  beings.  When 
so  oseo^  it  is  not  %  material  of  prodqo' 


n 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  H.    |  4. 


tioD,  but  is  itaelf  the  ultimate  product. 
So,  also,  in  the  case  of  a  mine  of  pre- 
cions  stonei.  These  are  to  some  nuall 
extent  employed  in  the  prodactiTe  arts, 
as  diamonds  by  the  glass-cutter,  emeij 
and  corundum  for  polishing,  but  their 
principal  destination,  that  (u  ornament, 
IS  a  direct  use ;  though  they  commonly 
require,  before  being  so  used,  some  pro- 
cess of  manufacture,  which  may  per- 
haps warrant  our  regarding  them  as 
materials.  Metallic  ores  of  aU  sorts  are 
materials  merely. 

Under  the  head,  production  of  mate- 
rials, we  must  include  the  industry  of 
the  wood-cutter,  when  employed  ^  in 
cutting  and  preparing  timber  for  build- 
ing, or  wood  for  the  purposes  of  the 
carpenter's  or  any  other  art.  In  the 
forests  of  America,  Norway,  Germany, 
the  Pyrenees  and  Alps,  this  sort  of 
labour  is  largely  employed  on  trees  of 
spontaneous  growth.  In  other  cases, 
we  must  add  to  the  labour  of  the  wood- 
cutter that  of  the  planter  and  culti- 
vator. 

Under  the  same  head  are  also  com- 
prised the  labours  of  the  agriculturists 
m  growing  flax,  hemp,  cotton,  feeding 
silk-worms,  raising  foocL  for  cattle,  pro- 
ducing bark,  dye-stuffs,  some  oleaginous 
plants,  and  many  other  things  only 
useful  because  required  in  other  de- 
partments of  industry.  So,  too,  the 
labour  of  the  hunter,  as  far  as  his 
object  is  furs  or  feathers ;  of  the  shep- 
herd and  the  cattle-breeder,  in  respect 
of  wool,  hides,  horn,  bristles,  horse-hair, 
and  the  like.  The  things  used  as 
materials  in  some  process  or  other  of 
manufacture  are  of  a  most  miscel- 
laneous character,  drawn  from  almost 
every  quarter  of  the  animal,  vegetable, 
and  mineral  kingdoms.  And  besides 
this,  the  finished  products  of  many 
branches  of  industry  are  the  materials 
of  others.  The  tliread  produced  by 
the  spinner  is  applied  to  hardly  any 
use  except  as  material  for  the  weaver. 
Even  the  product  of  the  loom  is  chiefly 
used  as  material  for  the  fabricators  of 
articles  of  dress  or  furniture,  or  of 
further  instruments  of  productive  in- 
dustry, as  in  the  case  of  the  sailmaker. 
The  currier  and  tanner  find  their 
whole  occupation  in    converting  raw 


material  into  what  may  be  termed 
prepared  material.  In  strictness  of 
speech,  almost  all  food,  as  it  comes 
from  the  hands  of  the  agriculturist,  is 
nothing  more  than  material  for  the 
occupation  of  the  baker  or  the  cook. 

I  4.  The  second  kind  of  indirect; 
lalxmr  is  that  employed  in  maki^gi 
tools  or  Implements  for  the  assfstaoipe 
of  labour.  I  use  these  terms  in  theii* 
most  comprehensive  sense,  embracing 
all  permanent  instruments  or  helps  to 
production,  from  a  flint  and  steel  for 
striking  a  light,  to  a  steam  ship,  or 
the  most  complex  apparatus  of  manu- 
facturing^ machinery.  There  may  he 
some  hesitation  where  to  draw  the  line 
between  implements  and  materials; 
and  some  things  used  in  production 
(such  as  fuel)  would  scarcely  in  com- 
mon language  be  called  by  either  name, 
popular  phraseology  being  shaped  out 
by  a  different  class  of  necessities  from 
those  of  scientific  exposition.  To 
avoid  a  multiplication  of  classes  and 
denominations  answering  to  distinc- 
tions of  no  scientific  importance,  poli- 
tical economists  generally  include  all 
things  which  are  used  as  immediate 
means  of  production  (the  means  which 
are  not  immediate  will  be  considered 
presently)  either  in  the  class  of  imple- 
ments or  in  that  of  materials.  Per- 
haps the  line  is  most  usually  and  most 
conveniently"  drawn,  by  considering  as  ^ 
a~material  every  instrument  of  produo- 
tion  which  can  only  be  used  once,  being 
~destroyedr^(at  least  as  an  instrument 
for  the  purpose  in  hand)  by  a  single 
employment.  Thus  fuel,  once  burnt, 
cannot  be  again  used  as  fuel;  what 
can  be  so  used  is  only  any  portion 
which  has  remained  unbumt  tne  first 
time.  And  not  only  it  cannot  be  used 
without  bein^  consumed,  but  it  is  only 
usefiil  by  bemg  consumed;  for  if  no 
part  of  the  fiiel  were  destroyed,  no 
heat  would  be  generated.  A  fleece, 
again,  is  destroyed  as  a  fleece  by  being 
spun  into  thread ;  and  the  thread  can- 
not be  used  as  thread  when  woven 
into  cloth.  But  an  axe  is  not  de- 
stroyed as  an  axe  by  cutting  down  a 
tree:  it  may  be  used  afterwards  to 
cut  dowfi  a  hundred  or  a  thousM)d 


LABOUR  AS  AN  AGENT  OF  PRODUCTION. 


as 


mom;  md  thoogh  deteriorated  in 
some  small  degree  by  each  use,  it  does 
not  do  its  work  by  being  deteriorated, 
as  the  coal  and  the  fleece  do  theirs  hjf 
Deing  destroyed ;  on  the  contrary,  it  is 
the  better  instrument  the  better  it  re- 
sists deterioration.  There  are  some 
things,  rightly  classed  as  materials, 
which  may  be  used  as  such  a  second 
and  a  third  time,  but  not  while  the 
product  to  which  they  at  first  contri- 
buted remains  in  existence.  The  iron 
which  fonned  a  tank  or  a  set  of  pipes 
may  be  melted  to  form  a  plough  or  a 
steam-engine ;  the  stones  with  which 
a  house  was  built  may  be  used  after  it 
is  pulled  down,  to  build  another.  But 
this  cannot  be  done  while  the  original 
product  subsists ;  their  fimction  as 
materials  is  suspended,  until  the  ex- 
haustion of  the  nrst  use.  Not  so  with 
the  things  classed  as  implements ;  they 
may  be  used  repeatedly  for  fresh  work, 
until  the  time,  sometimes  yery  distant, 
at  which  they  are  worn  out,  while  the 
work  already  done  by  them  may  sub- 
sist unimpaired,  and  when  it  perishes, 
does  so  by  its  own  laws,  or  by  casual- 
ties of  its  own.* 

The  only  practical  difference  of  much 

importance  arising  from  the  distinction 

between  materials  and  implements,  is 

one  which  has  attracted  our  attention 

in  another  case.    Since  materials  are 

destroyed  as  such  by  being  once  used, 

the  whole  of  the  labour  required  for 

their  production,  as  well  as  the  absti- 

t  Dence  of  the  person  who  supplied  the 

<  means  of  carrying    it    on,    must    be 

<iemunerated  from  the  fruits  of  that 

•  The  able  and  fHendly  reviewer  of  this 
treatise  in  the  Edinburgh  Review  (October 
1848)  eonceives  the  distinction  between  ma- 
terials and  implements  rather  differently : 
proposing  to  consider  as  materials  *'  all  the 
things  which,  aft^r  having  undergone  the 
change  implied  in  production,  are  them- 
selves matter  of  exchange,"  and  as  imple- 
ments  (or  instruments)  **  the  things  which 
are  employed  in  producing  that  change,  but 
do  not  themselves  become  part  of  the  ex- 
ehaogeable  result."  According  to  these 
definitions,  the  fuel  consumed  in  a  manufac- 
tory would  be  considered,  not  as  a  material, 
but  as  an  instrument.  This  use  of  the  terms 
accords  better  than  that  proposed  in  the 
text,  with  the  primitive  physical  meaning  of 
the  word  **  material  j**  but  the  distinction  on 
which  it  is  grounded  is  one  almost  irrelevant 
lo  political  econoiny. 


single  use.  Implements^  on  the  con  4 
trary,  being  susceptible  of  zepeatedl 
employment,  the  whole  of  the  products-, 
which  they  are  instrumental  in  bring- 1 
ing  into  existence  are  a  fund  whica, 
can  be  drawn  upon  to  remunerate  the  | 
labour  of  their  construction,  and  the- 
abstinonce  of  those  by  whose  accnmn- '; 
lations  that  labour  was  supported.  It  I 
is  enough  if  each  product  contributes  | 
a  fraction,  commonly  an  insignificant  i 
one,  towards  the  remuneration  of  that  . 
labour  and  abstinence,  or  towards  in- ', 
demnifying  the  immediate  produoer  for  ' 
adyancing  that  remuneration  to  the 
person  who  produced  the  tools.  ' 

g  5.  Thirdly :  Besiika  mateif ale ! 
for  industry  to  employ  itself  on^  and 
implements  to  aid  it,  proyision  must  be 
made  to  preyent  its  operations  from 
being  disturbed  and  its  products  in- 
jurea,  either  by  the  destroying  agencies' 
of  nature,  or  oy  the  yiolence  or  rapa- 
city of  men.  This  ^yes  rise  to  an- 
other mode  in  wMch  labour  not 
employed  directly  about  the  product 
itself,  is  instrumental  to  its  production ; 
namely,  when  employed  for  Hie  protec- 
tion of  industry.  Such  is  the  ob)ect  of 
all  buildings  for  industrial  purposes  { 
all  manufactories,  warehouses,  docks, 
granaries,  bams,  farm-buildings  de- 
yoted  to  cattle,  or  to  the  operations  of 
agricultural  labour.  I  exclude  those 
in  which  the  labourers  liye,  or  which 
are  destined  for  their  personal  accom- 
modation :  these,  like  their  food,  supply 
actual  wants,  and  must  be  counted  in 
the  remuneration  of  their  labour. 
There  are  many  modes  in  which  labour 
is  stiU  more  directly  applied  to  the 
protection  of  productiye  operations. 
The  herdsman  has  little  other  occupa  • 
tion  than  to  protect  the  cattle  from 
harm  :  the  positiye  agencies  concerned 
in  the  realization  of  the  product,  go  on 
nearly  of  themselyes.  I  haye  already 
mentioned  the  labour  of  the  hedger  and 
ditcher,  of  the  builder  of  walls  or  dykes. 
To  these  must  be  added  that  of  the 
soldier,  the  policeman,  and  the  judge. 
These  functionaries  are  not  indeed 
employed  exclusiyely  in  the  protection 
c^  industry,  nor  does  their  payment 
constitute,  to  the  indiyidual  prodneor, 


24 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  n.    |  6. 


a  part  of  the  expenses  of  production. 
But  they  are  paid  from  the  taxes, 
which  are  derived  from  the  produce  of 
industry;  and  in  any  tolerably  ^ 
vemed  country  they  render  to  its 
operations  a  service  far  more  than 
equivalent  to  the  cost.  To  society  at 
large  they  are  therefore  part  of  the 
expenses  of  production:  and  if  the 
returns  to  production  were  not  suf- 
ficient to  maintain  these  labourers  in 
addition  to  all  the  others  required, 
production,  at  least  in  that  form  and 
manner,  could  not  take  place.  Be- 
sides, if  the  protection  which  the 
government  affords  to  the  operations  of 
mdustry  were  not  afforded,  the  pro- 
ducers would  be  under  a  necessity  of 
either  withdrawing  a  large  share  of 
their  time  and  labour  from  production, 
to  employ  it  in  defence,  or  of  engaging 
armea  men  to  defend  them ;  all  which 
labour,  in  that  case,  must  be  directly 
remunerated  from  the  produce ;  and 
things  which  could  not  pay  for  this 
additional  labour,  would  not  be  pro- 
duced. Under  the  present  arrange- 
ments, the  product  pays  its  quota  to- 
wards the  same  protection,  and  not- 
withstanding the  waste  and  prodigality 
incident  to  government  expenditure, 
obtains  it  of  Mtter  quality  at  a  much 
smaller  cost. 

§  6.  Fourthly:  There  is  a  very 
^at  amount  of  labour  emplojred,  nat 
inTbringing  the  product  into  existeuQe, 
but  in  rendering  it,  when  in  existence, 
accessible  to  those  for  whose  use  it  i^ 
intended.  Many  important  classes  of 
labourers  find  their  sole  employment  in 
some  function  of  this  kind.  There  is 
first  the  whole  class  of  carriers,  by 
land  or  water  :  muleteers,  waggoners, 
bargemen,  sailors,  wharfrnen,  coal- 
neavers,  porters,  railway  establish- 
ments, and  the  like.  Next,  there  are 
the  constructors  of  all  the  implements 
of  transport ;  ships,  barges,  carts,  loco- 
motives, &c.,  to  which  must  be  added 
roads,  canals,  and  railways.  Hoads 
are  sometimes  made  by  the  govern- 
ment, and  opened  gratuitously  to  the 
public ;  but  the  labour  of  makmg  them 
IS  not  the  less  paid  for  from  the  pro- 
dooe.    Each  producer,  in  paying  his 


quota  of  the  taxes  levied  generally  for 
the  construction  of  roads,  pays  for  the 
use  of  those  which  conduce  to  his  con- 
venience ;  and  if  made  with  any  toler- 
able judgment,  they  increase  the  re- 
turns to  his  industry  by  far  more  than 
an  equivalent  amount. 

Another  numerous  class  of  labouren' 
employed  in  rendering  the  things  pro- 
duced accessible  to  their  intended  con- 1 
Bumers,  is  the  class  of  dealers  and, 
traders,  or,  as  they  may  be  termed, 
distributors.  There  would  be  a  great' 
waste  of  time  and  trouble,  and  an  in- 
convenience often  amounting  to  im- 
practicability, if  consumers  could  only 
obtain  the  articles  they  want  by  treat- 
ing directly  with  the  producers.  Both 
producers  and  consumers  are  too  much 
scattered,  and  the  latter  often  at  too 
great  a  distance  from  the  former.  To 
diminish  this  loss  of  time  and  labour, 
the  contrivance  of  fairs  and  markets 
was  early  had  recourse  to,  where  con- 
sumers and  producers  might  periodi- 
cally meet,  without  any  intermediate 
agency;  and  this  plan  answers  toler- 
abl;^  well  for  many  articles,  especially 
agricultural  produce,  agriculturists 
having  at  some  seasons  a  certain  quan- 
tity of  spare  time  on  their  hands.  But 
even  in  this  case,  attendance  is  often 
veiy  troublesome  and  inconvenient  to 
buyers  who  have  other  occupations, 
and  do  not  live  in  the  immediate 
vicinity ;  while,  for  all  articles  the  pro- 
duction of  which  requires  continuous 
attention  from  the  producers,  these 
periodical  markets  must  be  held  at 
such  considerable  intervals,  and  the 
wants  of  the  consumers  must  either  be 
provided  for  so  long  beforehand,  of 
must  remain  so  long  unsupplied,  that 
even  before  the  resources  of  society 
admitted  of  the  establishment  of  shops, 
the  supply  of  these  wants  feU  univer- 
sallv  into  the  hands  of  itinerant 
dealers ;  the  pedlar,  who  might  appear 
once  a  month,  being  preferred  to  the 
fair,  which  only  returned  once  or  twice 
a  year.  In  country  districts,  remote 
from  towns  or  large  villages,  the  in- 
dustry  of  the  pedlar  is  not  yet  wholly 
superseded.  But  a  dealer  who  has  a 
fixed  abode  and  fixed  customers  is  so 
much  more  to  be  depended  en,  that 


LABOUB  AS  AN  AGENT  OF  PRODUCTION. 


25 


eongiimera  prefer  resorting  to  him  if  he 
is  convenientlj  accessible ;  and  dealers 
therefore  find  their  advantage  in  esta- 
blishing themselves  in  every  locality 
where  there  are  sufficient  consumers 
near  at  hand  to  afiford  them  a  remune- 
ration. 

In  many  cases  the  producers  and 
dealers  are  the  same  persons,  at  least 
as  to  the  ownership  of  the  funds  and 
the  control  of  the  operations.  The 
tailor,  the  shoemaker,  the  baker,  and 
many  other  tradesmen,  are  the^  pro- 
ducers of  the  articles  they  deal  in,  so 
far  as  regards  the  last  stage  in  the 
production.  This  union,  however,  of 
the  functions  of  manufacturer  and  re- 
tailer, is  only  expedient  when  the  article 
can  advantageously  be  made  at  or  near 
the  place  convenient  for  retailing  it, 
and  IS,  besides,  manufactured  and  sold 
in  small  parcels.  When  things  have 
to  be  brought  from  a  distance,  the 
same  person  cannot  effectually  superin- 
tend both  the  making  and  the  retailing 
of  them :  when  they  are  best  and  most 
cheaply  made  on  a  large  scale,  a  single 
manufactoiy  requires  so  many  local 
channels  to  carry  off  its  supplV,  that 
the  retailing  is  most  conveniently  dele- 
gated to  other  agency :  and  even  shoes 
and  coats,  when  tney  are  to  be  famished 
in  large  quantities  at  once,  as  for  the 
supply  of  a  regiment  or  of  a  workhouse, 
are  usually  obtained  not  directly  from 
the  producers,  but  from  intermediate 
dealers,  who  make  it  their  business  to 
ascertain  from  what  producers  they  can 
be  obtained  best  and  cheapest.  Even 
when  things  are  destined  to  be  at  last 
sold  by  retail,  convenience  soon  creates 
a  class  of  wholesale  dealers.  When 
products  and  transactions  have  multi- 
plied beyond  a  certain  point;  when 
one  manufactory  supplies  man^  shops, 
and  one  shop  has  onen  to  obtam  goods 
irom  many  oifferent  manufactories,  the 
loss  of  time  and  trouble  both  to  the 
manufacturers  and  to  the  retailers  by 
treating  directly  with  one  another, 
makes  it  more  convenient  to  them  to 
treat  with  a  smaller  number  of  great 
dealers  or  merchants,  who  onl^  buy  to 
sell  again,  collecting  goods  from  the 
various  producers,  and  distributing 
them  to  the  retailers,  to  be  by  them 


further  distributed  among  the  con- 
sumers. Of  these  various  elements  is 
composed  the  Distributing  Class,  whose 
agency  is  supplementary  to  that  of  the 
Producing  Ulass:  and  the  produce  so 
distribute  or  its  price,  is  the  source 
from  whioh  the  distributors  are  remu- 
nerated for  their  exertions,  and  for  the 
abstinence  which  enabled  them  to  ad- 
vance the  funds  needful  for  the  business 
of  distribution. 

S  7.  We  have  now  completed  the 
enumeration  of  the  modes  in  which 
labour  employed  on  external  nature  is 
subservient  to  production.  But  there  j 
is  yet  another  mode  of  emplaving  labour 
wnlch .  conduces  equally,  though  still 
more  remotely,  to  that  end:  this  is,! 
labour  of  which  the  subject  is  human 
beings.,.  Every  human  being  has  been 
brought  up  from  infancy  at  tne  expense 
of  much  labour  to  some  person  or  per- 
sons, and  if  this  labour  or  part  of  it, 
had  not  been  bestowed,  the  child  would 
never  have  attained  the  age  and 
strength  which  enable  him  to  become 
a  labourer  in  his  turn.  To  the  com- 
munity at  large,  the  labour  and  ex- 
pense of  rearing  its  infant  population 
form  a  part  of  the  outlay  which  is  a 
condition  of  production,  and  which  is 
to  be  replaced  with  increase  from  the 
future  produce  of  their  labour.  By  the 
individuals,  this  labour  and  expense  are 
usuaUy  incurred  from  other  motives 
than  to  obtain  such  ultimate  return, 
and,  for  most  purposes  of  political  eco- 
nomy, need  not  be  taken  into  account 
as  expenses  of  production.  But  the 
technical  or  industrial  education  of  the 
community;  the  labour  employed  in 
learning  and  in  teaching  the  arts  of 
production,  in  acquiring  and  communi- 
cating skill  in  those  arts ;  this  labour 
is  really,  and  in  general  solely,  under- 
gone for  the  sake  of  the  greater  or  more 
valuable  produce  thereby^  attained,  and 
in  order  that  a  remuneration,  equivalent 
or  more  than  equivalent,  may  be  reaped 
by  the  learner,  besides  an  adequate  re- 
muneration for  the  labour  of  the  teacher, 
when  a  teacher  has  been  employed. 

As  the  labour  which  confers  produc- 
tive powers,  whether  of  hand  or  of  heact 
may  be  looked  upon  as  part  of  the  la- 


2% 


BOOK  L    CHAPTER  U.    %  9. 


bom  by  which  society  accomplishes  its 
productive  operations,  or  in  other  words, 
as  part  of  what  the  produce  costs  to 
society,  sotoomayJhe  labour  employed 
m  keeping  up  productive  powera;.  in 
,  preventing  them  from  being  deaiiroyed 
or  weakened  by  accident  or  diseape. 
The  labour  of  a  physician  or  surgeon, 
when  made  use  of  by  persons  engaged 
in  industry,  must  be  regarded  in  the 
economy  of  society  as  a  sacrifice  in^ 
turred,  to  preserve  from  perishing  by 
death  or  infirmity  that  portion  of  the 
productive  resources  of  society  which  is 
fixed  in  the  lives  and  bodily  or  mental 
powers  of  its  pi^ductive  members.  To 
the  individuals,  indeed,  this  forms  but 
a  part,  sometimes  an  imperceptible  part, 
of  the  motives  that  induce  them  to  sub- 
mit to  medical  treatment:  it  is  not 
principally  from  economical  motives 
that  nersons  have  a  limb  amputated, 
or  enaeavour  to  be  cured  of  a  fever, 
though  when  they  do  so,  there  is  gene- 
rally Bufiicient  inducement  for  it  even 
on  that  score  alone.  This  is,  therefore, 
one  of  the  cases  of  labour  and  outlay 
which,  though  conducive  to  production, 
yet  not  being  incurred  for  that  end,  or 
for  the  sake  of  the  returns  arising  from 
it,  are  out  of  the  sphere  of  most  of  the 
general  propositions  which  political  eco- 
nomy has  occasion  to  assert  respecting 
productive  labour :  though,  when  so- 
ciety and  not  the  individuals  are  con- 
sidered, this  labour  and  outlay  must 
be  regarded  as  part  of  the  advance  by 
which  society  effects  its  productive  ope- 
rations, and  for  which  it  is  indemnified 
by  the  produce. 

§  8.  Another  kind  of  labour  »iff"«*^^ly 
classed  as  mental,  but  conducing  to  th.e 
ultimate  product  as  directly,  though 
not  so  immediately,  as  manual  labour 
itself,  is  the  labour  of  the  inventors  of 
industrial  processes.  I  say,  usually 
classed  as  mental,  because  in  reality  it 
is  not  exclusivelv  so.  All  human  exer- 
tion is  compounded  of  some  mental  and 
some  bodinr  elements.  The  stupidest 
hodman,  who  repeats  from  day  to  day 
the  mechanical  act  of  chmbing  a  ladder, 
performs  a  function  partly  intellectual ; 
so  much  so,  indeed,  that  the  most  in- 
telligent dog  or  elephant  oould  not, 


Srobablv,  be  taught  to  do  it.  The 
nllest  human  being,  instructed  before- 
hand, is  capable  of  turning  a  mill ;  bat 
a  horse  cannot  turn  it  without  some- 
body to  drive  and  watch  him.  On  the 
other  hand,  there  is  some  bodily  ingre- 
dient in  the  labour  most  purely  mental, 
when  it  generates  any  external  result. 
Newton  could  not  have  produced  the 
Principia  without  the  bodily  exertion 
either  of  penmanship  or  of  dictation ; 
and  he  must  have  drawn  many  dia- 
^ams,  and  written  out  many  calcula- 
tions and  demonstrations,  while  he  was 
preparing  it  in  his  mind.  Inventors, 
besides  the  labour  of  their  brains,  gene- 
rally go  through  much  labour  with  their 
hands,  in  tho  models  which  they  con- 
struct and  the  experiments  they  have 
to  make  before  their  idea  can  realize 
itself  successfully  in  act.  Whether 
mental,  however,  or  bodily,  their  labour 
is  a  {)art  of  that  by  which  the  produc- 
tion is  brought  about.  The  labour  of 
Watt  in  contriving  the  steam-engine 
was  as  essential  a  part  of  production 
as  that  of  the  mechanics  who  build  or 
the  engineers  who.  work  the  instru- 
ment ;  and  was  undergone,  no  less  than 
theirs,  in  the  prospect  of  a  remuneration 
from  the  produce.  The  labour  of  inven- 
tion is  often  estimated  and  paid  on  the 
very  same  plan  as  that  of  execution. 
Many  manufacturers  of  ornamental 
goods  have  inventors  in  their  employ- 
ment, who  receive  wages  or  salaries  for 
designing  patterns,  exactlv  as  others  do 
for  copying  them.  All  this  is  strictly 
part  of  the  labour  of  production ;  as  the 
labour  of  the  author  of  a  book  is  equally 
a  part  of  its  production  with  that  of  the 
pnnter  and  binder. 

In  a  national,  or  universal  point  off 
view,  the  labour  of  the  savant^  or  spe^' 
culative  thinker,  is  as  much  a  part  ofi 
production  in  the  very  narrowest  sense,] 
as  that  of  the  inventor  of  a  practical  i 
art ;  many  such  inventions  having  beenj 
the  direct  consequences  of  theoretic; 
discoveries,  and  every  extension  of| 
knowledge  of  the  powers  of  natural 
being  fruitful  of  applications  to  the 
purposes  of  outward  life.  The  electro-] 
magnetic  telegraph  was  the  wonder^l 
and  most  unexpected  consequence  of 
the  experiments  of  (Ersted  and  the 


LABOUR  AS  AN  AGENT  OF  PRODUCTION. 


tt 


mathematical  inyestigationa  of  Am- 
pere :  and  the  modem  art  of  naviga- 
tion is  an  imforcBeen  emanation  from 
the  purely  speculative  and  apparently 
merely  curious  inquiry,  by  the  mathe- 
maticians of  Alexandria,  into  the  pro- 
perties of  three  curves  formed  by  the 
intersection  of  a  plane  surface  and  a 
cone.  No  limit  can  be  set  to  the  im- 
portanoe,  even  in  a  purely  productive 
and  materifld  point  of  view,  of  mere 
thought.  Inasmuch,  however,  as  these 
material  fniits,  though  the  result,  are 
seldom  the  direct  purpose  of  the  pur- 
suits of  savants,  nor  is  their  remu- 
neration in  general  derived  finom  the 
increased  production  which  may  be 
caused  incidentally,  and  mostly  after 
a  long  interval,  by  their  discoveries; 
this  ultimate  influence  does  not,  for 
most  of  the  purposes  of  political  eco- 
nomy, require  to  be  taken  into  con- 
sideration; and  speculative  thinkers 
are  generally  classed  as  the  producers 
only  of  the  books,  or  other  useable  or 
saleable  articles,  which  directly  ema- 
nate from  them.  But  when  (as  in  po- 
jlitical  economy  one  should  always  be 
prepared  to  do)  we  shift  our  pomt  of 
view,  and  consider  not  individual  acts, 
and  the  motives  by  which  they  are 
determined,  but  national  and  universal 
results,  intellectual  speculation  must 
be  looked  upon  as  a  most  influential 
part  of  the  productive  labour  of  society, 
and  the  portion  of  its  resources  em- 
ployed in  carrying  on  and  in  remune- 
ratmg  such  labour,  as  a  highly  produo* 
tive  part  of  its  expenditure. 

§  9.  In  the  foregoing  survey  of  the 
modes  of  employing  labour  in  further- 
ance of  production,  I  have^  made  little 
ose  of  the  popular  distinction  of  indus- 
try into  agncultural,  manufacturing, 
and  commercial.  For,  in  truth,  this 
division  fulfils  very  badly  the  purposes 
of  a  classification.  Many  great  branches 
of  productive  industry  find  no  place  in 
it,  or  not  without  much  straining ;  for 
example  (not  to  speak  of  hunters  or 
fishers)  the  miner,  the  road-maker,  and 
the  sailor.  The  limit,  too,  between 
agricultural  and  manufacturing  indus- 
try cannot  be  precisely  drawn.  The 
uiUor^  inr  iostapce^  «od  the  b«ker— , 


are  they  to  be  reckoned  among  agri- 
culturists, or  among  manufacturers? 
Their  occupation  is  in  its  nature  ma- 
nufacturing ;  the  food  has  finally  parted 
company  with  the  soil  before  it  is 
handed  over  to  them :  this,  however, 
might  be  said  with  equal  truth  of  the 
thresher,  the  winnower,  the  makers  of 
butter  and  cheese;  operations  always 
counted  as  agricultural,  probably  be- 
cause it  is  the  custom  for^  them  to  be 
performed  by  persons  resident  on  ths 
farm,  and  under  the  same  superinten- 
dence as  tillage.  For  many  purposes, 
all  these  persons,  the  miller  and  oaker 
inclusive,  must  be  placed  in  the  same 
class  with  ploughmen  and  reapers. 
They  are  all  concerned  in  producing 
food,  and  depend  for  their  remuneration 
on  Ihe  food  produced:  when  the  one 
class  abounds  and  flourishes,  the  others 
do  so  too;  they  form  collectively  the 
"agricultural  interest;"  they  render 
but  one  service  to  the  community  by 
their  united  labours,  and  are  paid  fiom 
one  common  source.  Even  the  tillers 
of  the  soil,  again,  when  the  produce  is 
not  food,  but  the  materials  of  what  are 
commonly  termed  manufactures,  belong 
in  many  respects  to  the  same  division 
in  the  economy  of  society  as  manufao- 
turers.  The  cotton-planter  of  Carolina, 
and  the  wool-grower  of  Australia,  have 
more  interests  in  common  with  the 
spinner  and  weaver  than  with  the 
corn-grower.  But,  on  the  other  hand, 
the  industry  which  operates  immedi- 
ately upon  the  soil  has,  as  we  shall  see 
hereafter,  some  properties  on  which 
mauy  important  consequences  depend, 
and  which  distinguish  it  from  all  the 
subsequent  stages  of  production,  whe- 
ther carried  on  by  the  same  person  or 
not ;  from  the  industry  of  the  thresher 
and  winnower,  as  much  as  from  that  of 
the  cotton-spinner.  When  I  speak,; 
therefore,  of  agricultural  labour,  I  shall 
generaUy  mean  this,  and  this  exclu-. 
sively,  unless  the  contrary  is  either' 
stated  or  implied  in  the  context.  The, 
term  manufacturing  is  too  vague  to  be 
of  much  use  when  precision  is  required, 
and  when  I  employ  it,  I  wish  to  be  un- 
derstood as  intending  to  speak  pcpn- 
ku^y  rather  than  sdentificaily. ' 


2e 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  lU,      §1. 


CHAPTER  IIL 


OP  UNPRODnonYE  LABOUR. 


f  1.  Labour  is  indispensable  to  pro- 
duction,  but  has  not  /Iklways  production 
for  its  effect.  The^  is  mucli  labour, 
and  of  a  high  order  of  usefulness,  of 
which  production  is  not  the  object. 
Labour  has  accordin^lY^  been  distin- 
guished into  ProductiVt  and  Unpro- 
ductive.  There  has  been  not  a  Httle 
controversy  among  politicalt\eceiiomists 
on  the  question,  what  kinds  of  labo|xr 
should  be  reputed  to  be  unproductive ; 
and  they  have  not  always  perceived, 
that  there  was  in  reality  no  matter  of 
fact  in  dispute  between  them. 

Many  writers  have  been  unwilling  to 
class  any  labour  as  productive,  unless 
its  result  is  palpable  in  some  material 
object,  capaole  of  being  transferred 
from  one  person  to  another.  There  are 
others  (among  whom  are  Mr.  M'Culloch 
and  M.  Sav)  who  looking  upon  the 
word  unproductive  as  a  term  of  dis- 
paragement, remonstrate  against  im- 
posing it  upon  any  labour  which  is 
regarded  as  useful — which  produces  a 
benefit  or  a  pleasure  worth  the  cost. 
The  labour  of  officers  of  government, 
of  the  army  and  navy,  of  physicians, 
lawyers,  teachers,  musicians,  dancers, 
actors,  domestic  servants,  &c.  when 
they  really  accomplish  what  they  are 
paid  for,  and  are  not  more  numerous 
than  is  required  for  its  performance, 
ought  not,  say  these  writers,  to  be 
"  stigmatized*'  as  unproductive,  an  ex- 
pression which  they  appear  to  regard 
as  synonymous  with  wasteful  or  worth- 
less. But  this  seems  to  be  a  misunder- 
standing of  the  matter  in  dispute.  Pro- 
duction not  being  the  sole  end  of  human 
existence,  the  term  unproductive  does 
not  necessarily  imply  any  stigma ;  nor 
was  ever  intended  to  do  so  in  the  pre- 
sent case.  The  question  is  one  of  mere 
language  and  classification.  Differ- 
ences of  language,  however,  are  by  no 
means  jinimportant^  even  when  not 
grounded  on  differences  of  opinion ;  for 
though  either  of  two  expressions  may 


be  consistent  with  the  whole  truth,  they 
generally  tend  to  fix  attention  upon 
different  parts  of  it.  We  must  there- 
fore enter  a  little  into  the  considera 
tion  of  the  various  meanings  which 
may  attach  to  the  words  productive 
and  unproductive  when  applied  to 
labour. 

Li  the  first  place,  even  in  what  is 
called  the  production  of  material  ob- 
j'ects,  it  must  be  remembered  that  what 
is  produced  is  not  the  matter  composing 
them.  All  the  labour  of  all  the  human 
beings  in  the  world  could  not  produce 
one  particle  of  matter.  To  weave 
broadcloth  is  but  to  re-arrange,  in  a 
peculiar  manner,  the  particles  of  wool ; 
to  grow  com  is  only  to  put  a  portion  of 
matter  called  a  seed,  mto  a  situation 
where  it  can  draw  together  particles  of 
matter  from  the  earth  and  air,  to  form 
the  new  combination  called  a  plant. 
Though  we  cannot  create  matter,  we 
can  cause  it  to  assume  properties,  by 
which,  from  having  been  uselesa  to  us, 
it  becomes  useful.  What  we  produce, 
or  desire  to  produce,  is  always,  as  M. 
Say  rightly  terms  it,  an  utility.  La- 
bour  is  not  creative  of  objects,  but  of 
"utiKiaes.  Neither,  again,  do  we  con- 
sume and  destroy  the  objects  them- 
selves ;  the  matter  of  whicn  they  were 
composed  remains,  more  or  less  altered 
in  form :  what  h&t  really  been  consumed 
is  only  the  qualities  by  which  they  were 
fitted  for  the  purpose  they  have  been 
applied  to.  It  is,  therefore,  pertinentlyf 
asked  by  M.  Say  and  others — since, 
when  we  are  said  to  produce  objects, 
we  only  produce  utility,  why  should  not  I 
all  labour  which  produces  utility  be  I 
accounted  productive?  Why  refuse 
that  title  to  the  surgeon  who  sets  a 
limb,  the  judge  or  legislator  who  con- 
fers security,  and  give  it  to  the  lapi- 
dary who  cuts  and  polishes  a  diamond? 
Why  deny  it  to  the  teacher  from  whom 
I  learn  an  art  by  which  I  can  jgain  my 
bread,  and  accord  it  to  the  conrootioner 


UNPBODUCnVB  LABOUR. 


99 


"who  makes  bonbons  for  the  momentuy 
pleasure  of  a  sense  of  taste  ? 

It  is  quite  true  that  all  these  kinds 
of  labour  are  productive  of  utility;  and 
the  question  which  now  occupies  us 
could  not  haye  been  a  question  at  aU, 
if  the  ^rroduction  of  utility  were  enough 
to  satisfy  the  notion  which  mankind 
have  usually  formed  of  productive  la- 
bour. Production,  and  productive,  are 
of  course  elliptical  expressions,  involv- 
ing ihe  idea  <n  a  something  produced ; 
hiit_^Tii<y  P^^**^^iBg,  in  gftni"^on  appre- 
heninftTij  T  oonqeive  t<^Jffi,  ffot  utilitj^ 
but  WeiJSE.  Productive  labour  means 
Taliodr  "productive  of  wealth.  We  are 
recalled,  therefore,  to  the  question 
touched  upon  in  our  first  chapter,  what 
Wealth  is,  and  whether  only  material 
products,  or  all  useful  products,  are  to 
DO  induded  in  it. 

§2.  Now  the  Jtilities  prndnced  hy 
labour^are^lhrgfticinds.    They  are, 

"Elrst,  utilities  fixed  and  embodied  jn 
outward  o^ects ;  by  labour  employed 
m  iQvesting  external  material  things 
with  properties  which  render  them  ser- 
viceable to  human  beings.  This  is  the 
common  case,  and  requires  no  illus- 
tration. 

Secondly,  utilities  fixed  a^^d  ^mbodT^d 
in  human  beings;  the  labour  being  in 
this  case  em^oyed  in  coi^erring  on 
human  beings,  qualities  which  render 
them  serviceable  to  themselves  and 
others.  To  this  class  belongs  the  la- 
bour of  all  concerned  in  education ;  not 
only  schoolmasters,  tutors,  and  profes- 
sorS)  but  governments,  so  far  as  they 
aim  successfully  at  the  improvement  of 
the  people ;  moralists,  ana  clergymen, 
as  far  as  productive  of  benefit;  the 
labour  of  pnysicians,  as  far  as  instru- 
mental in  preserving  life  and  physical 
or  mental  efficiency  ;  of  the  teachers  of 
bodily  exercises,  and  of  the  various 
trades,  sciences,  and  arts,  together  with 
the  labour  of  the  learners  in  acquiring 
them ;  and  aU  labour  bestowed  by  any 
persons,  throughout  life,  in  improving 
the  knowledj^  or  cultivating  the  bodily 
or  mental  faculties  of  themselves  or 
others. 

Thirdly  and  lastly,j]tilitifieLiuiLfized 
or  embo^ed  in  any  oljeotf ,  butognsist- 


ing  in  a  mere  seivice  tendered ;  a  plea- 
~sure_given,  an  inconvenience  or  a  pain 
a\-eHed»  during  a  longer  or  a  shorter 
time,  but  without  leaving  a  permanent 
acquisition  in  the  improved  Qualities  of 
any  person  or  thing ;  the_  labour  bein^ 
employed  in  producing  an  utility  di- 
rectly^.  not  (as  in  the  two  former  oases) 
in  fitting  some  other  thing  to  afford  an 
utility.  Such,  for  example,  is  the  la- 
bour of  the  musical  performer,  the  actor, 
the  public  dedaimer  or  reciter,  and  the 
showman.  Some  good  may  no  doubt 
be  produced,  and  much  more  might  be 
produced,  beyond  the  moment,  upon  the 
feelinp^  and  disposition,  or  general  state 
of  enjoyment  of  the  spectators ;  or  in- 
stead of  eood  there  may  be  harm ;  but 
neither  the  one  nor  the  other  is  the 
effect  intended,  is  the  result  for  which 
the  exhibitor  works  and  the  spectator 
pays ;  nothing  but  the  inunediate  plea- 
sure. Such,  again,  is  the  labour  of  the 
army  and  navy ;  they,  at  the  best,  pre- 
vent a  country  fix)m  being  conquered, 
or  from  being  injured  or  insulted,  which 
is  a  service,  but  in  all  other  respects 
leave  the  country  neither  improved  nor 
deteriorated.  Such,  too,  is  the  labour 
of  the  legislator,  the  judge,  the  officer 
of  justice,  and  all  other  agents  of  go- 
vernment, in  their  ordinary  functions, 
apart  from  any  influence  they  may 
exert  on  the  improvement  of  the  na- 
tional mind.  The  service  which  they 
render,  is  to  maintain  peace  and  secu- 
rity ;  these  compose  the  utility  which 
they  produce.  It  may  appear  to  some, 
that  carriers,  and  merohants  or  dealers, 
should  be  placed  in  this  same  class, 
since  their  labour  does  not  add  any 
properties  to  objects :  but  I  reply  that 
it  does :  it  adds  the  property  of  being 
in  the  place  where  fliey  are  wante^ 
instead  of  being  in  some  other  place : 
which  is  a  very  useful  property,  and 
the  utility  it  confers  is  embodied  in  the 
thin^  themselves,  which  now  actually 
are  in  the  place  where  they  are  re- 

auired  for  use,  and  in  consequence  of 
biat  increased  utility  could  be  sold  at 
an  increased  price,  proportioned  to  the 
labour  expenaed  in  conferring  it.  This 
labour,  therefore,  does  not  belong  toth« 
third  class,  but  to  the  first. 


M 


BOOK  1.    CHAPTER  HI.    t  «. 


§  3-  We  have  now  to  consider  which 
of  theselEree  classes  of  labour  Bhotdd 
T)e  accounted  productive  of  wealth,  sincp 
that  is  vfh&t  the  term  productive,  when 
used  by  itself,  must  be  understood  to 
import.  Utilities  of  the  third  class, 
consisting  in  pleasures  which  only  exist 
while  being  enjoyed,  and  services  which 
only  exist  while  being  performed,  can- 
not be  spoken  of  as  wealth,  except  by 
an  acknowledged  metaphor.  Jt  is  ah- 
sential  tg  the  idea.af  wealth  ta  be  sus- 
ceptible of  accumulation :  things  which 
caunot,  after  being  produced,  be  kept 
for  some  time  before  being  used,  are 
never,  I  think,  regarded  as  wealth, 
since  however  much  of  them  may  be 
produced  and  enjoyed,  the  person  bene- 
nted  by  them  is  no  richer,  is  nowise 
improved  in  circumstances.  But  there 
is  not  BO  distinct  and  positive  a  viola- 
tion of  usage  in  considering  as  wealth 
any  product  which  is  both  useful  and 
Busceptible  of  accumulation.  The  skill, 
and  the  energy  and  perseverance,  of 
the  artisans  of  a  country,  are  reckoned 
part  of  its  Wealth,  no  less  than  their 
tools  and  machinery.*  AcCQixiiagJto 
this  definition,  we  should  regard^All 
labour  as  productive  which  is  employed 

*  Some  authorities  look  upon  It  as  an  essen- 
flal  element  in  the  idea  of  wealth,  that  it 
should  be  capable  not  solely  of  being  accu- 
mulated, but  of  being  transferred;  and  inas- 
much as  the  valuable  qualities,  and  even 
the  productive  capacities,  of  a  human  being 
cannot  be  detached  from  him  and  passed  to 
some  one  else,  they  deny  to  these  the  appel- 
lation of  wealth,  and  to  the  labour  expended 
in  acquiring  them  the  name  of  productive 
labour.  It  seems  to  me,  however,  that  tfaie 
diill  of  an  artisan  (for  instance)  being  both 
a  desirable  possession  and  one  of  a  certain 
dui^biUty  (not  to  say  productive  even  of 
material  wealth),there*  is  no  better  reason  for 
refusing  to  it  the  title  of  wealth  because  it  Is 
attaohed  to  a  man,  than  to  a  coalpit  or  a 
manufactory  because  they  are  attached  to  a 
place.  Besides,  if  the  skill  it&elf  cannot  be 
parted  with  to  a  purchaser,  the  use  of  it  may; 
if  it  cannot  be  sold  it  can  be  hired ;  and  it 
may  be,  and  is,  sold  outright  in  all  countries 
whose  laws  permit  that  the  man  himself 
■hould  be  sold  along  vrith  it.  Its  defect  of 
transferability  does  not  result  from  a  natural, 
but  from  a  legal  and  moral  obstacle. 

The  human  being  himself  (as  formerly 
Observed)  I  do  not  class  as  wealth.  He  Is 
.  the  purpose  fDr  which  wealth  exists.  But 
bis  acquired  capacities,  which  exist  only  as 
means,  and  have  been  called  into  eustenoe 
by  labour,  fUl  rightly,  as  it  seems  to  me, 
within  that  designation. 


in  creating  permanent  ut!li1ie»»_fffc»' 
ther  embcJaiedia  human beingSj^OTin 
any  other  animate  or  inanimatfi  ol^jects. 
This  nomenclature  I  have,  in  a  former 
publication,t  recommended  as  the  most 
conducive  to  the  ends  of  classification ; 
and  I  am  still  of  that  opinion. 

But  in  applying  the  term  wealth  to 
the  industnal  capacities  of  hugaanbe- 
ings,  there  seems  always,  in  popular 
apprehension,  to  be  a  tacit  refergnceto 
material  products.  The  skill  of  an 
artisan  is  accounted  wealth,  only  as 
being  the  means  of  acquiring  wealth  in 
a  material  sense;  and  any  qualities 
not  tending  visibly  to  that  ol^jeot  are 
scarcelv  so  regarded  at  alL  A  country 
would  hardly  be  said  to  be  richer,  ex- 
cept by  a  metaphor,  however  precious 
a  possession  it  might  have  in  the 
genius,  the  virtues,  or  the  accomplish- 
ments of  its  inhabitants ;  unless  indeed 
these  were  looked  upon  as  marketable 
articles,  by  which  it  could  attract  the 
material  wealth  of  other  ooimtries,  as 
the  Greeks  of  old,  and  seyeral  modem 
nations  have  done.  While,  therefore, 
I  should  prefer,  were  I  constructing  a 
new  technical  language,  to  make  the 
distinction  turn  upon  the  permanence 
rather  than  upon  the  matenality  of  the 
product,  yet  when  employing  terms 
which  common  usa^e  has  taken  com- 
plete possession  o^  it  seems  advisable 
so  to  employ  them  as  to  do  the  least 
possible  violenoe  to  usage;  since  any 
improvement  in  terminology  obtained 
by  straining  the  received  meaning  of  a 
popular  phrase,  is  generally  purchased 
Defend  Its  value,  by  the  obscurity 
ansing  from  the  confiict  between  new 
and  old  associations. 

I  shall,  therefore,  jn.this_treatise.4 
when  speaking  of  wealth,  underatandl 
]fy  it  only  what  is  called  material " 
wealth,  and  hv  productive  labour  only 
those  kinds  of  exertion  which  produce  I 
utilities  embodied  in  material  olgects.  I 
~But  in  limiting  myself  to  this  sense  of  \ 
the  word,  I  mean  to  avail  myself  of  the  | 
full  extent  of  that  lestricted  aocepta-  | 
tion,  and  I  shall  not  refuse  the  appella-  j 
tion  prodnctive,  to  labour  whioh  yields  ' 

t  EuojfM  on  tome  UnseUled  <iiue»tioru  of 
PoUiiealSeonomy.  Esttytll.  On  the  words 
Produottw  ted  U«|^ro4iMti«s. 


UNPRODUCnVB  LABOUR 


tl 


jno  material  product  as  its  direct  resalt^ 
proYided  that  an  increase  of  material 
brodacts  is  its  ultimate  consequence. 
Thus,  labour  expended  in  the  acqui- 
sition of  manufacturing  skill,  I  class  as 
productive,  not  in  virtue  of  the  skill 
itself  but  of  the  manufactured  products 
created  by  the  skill,  and  to  the  creation 
of  which  the  labour  of  learning  the 
trade  is  essentially  conducive.  The 
labour  of  officers  of  government  in 
affording  the  protection  which,  afforded 
in  some  manner  or  other,  is  indispen- 
sable to  the  prosperity  of  industir,  must 
be  classed  as  productive  even  of  mate- 
rial wealth,  because  without  it,  mate- 
rial wealth,  in  anything  like  its  pro- 
sent  abundance,  could  not  exist.  Such 
labour  may  be  said  to  be  productive 
indirectlv  or  mediately,  in  opposition 
to  the  labour  of  the  ploughman  and  the 
ootton-spinner,  which  are  productive 
immediately.  They  are  all  alike  in 
this,  that  they  leave  the  community 
richer  in  material  products  than  they 
found  it ;  the^  increase,  or  tend  to  in- 
crease, material  wealth. 

§  4.  By  Unproductive  Labour,  on 
the  contrary,  will  be  uadeiBtood  labour 
which  does  not  terminate  in  the  crea- 
tion of  material  wealth ;  which,  how- 
ever largely  or  successfully  practised, 
does  not  render.the  community,  and  the 
world  at  large,  richer  in  material  pic- 
kets, but  poorer  by  all  that  is  con- 
sumed l)y  the  labourers  while  so  em- 


I  All  labour  is,  in  the  language  of 
■political  economy,  uni)roductive,  which 
[ends  in  immediate  enjoyment,  without 
[any  increase  of  the  accumulated  stock 
W  permanent  means  of  enjoyment. 
And  all  labour,  according  to  our  pre- 
sent definition,  must  be  classed  as  un- 
productive, which  terminates  in  a  per- 
manent benefit)  however  important, 
provided  that  an  increase  of  material 
moducts  forms  no  part  of  that  benefit. 
The  labour  of  savmg  a  friend's  life  is 
not  productive,  unless  the  fiiend  is  a 
productive  labourer,  and  produces  more 
than  he  consumes.  To  a  religious  per- 
son the  saving  of  a  soul  must  appear  a 
£ar  more  important  service  than  the 
saving  of  a  bib ;  but  he  will  not  there- 


fore call  a  missionary  or  a  clei^-mai* 
productive  labourers,  unless  they  teach, 
as  the  South  Sea  Missionaries  have  in 
some  oases  done,  the  arts  of  civilization 
in  addition  to  the  doctrines  of  their 
religion.  It  is,  on  the  contrary,  evi- 
dent that  the  greater  number  pi  mis- 
sionaries or  clergymen  a  nation  main- 
tains, the  less  it  has  to  expend  on  other 
things ;  while  the  more  it  expends 
judiciously  in  keeping  agriculturists 
and  manufacturers  at  work,  the  more  it 
will  have  for  eveiy  other  purpose.  By 
the  former  it  diminishes,  eonteria  pan- 
^U8f  its  stock  of  materiid  products ;  by 
the  latter,  it  increases  them. 

UnproauctiY&xaajLb§L§iSLQgC)ful  as  pro* 
ductive  labour.;  it  may  be  more  useful, 
even  in  point  of  permanent  advantage ; 
or  its  use  may  consist  only  in  pleasur- 
able sensation,  which  when  gone  leaves 
no  trace ;  or  it  may  not  afibrd  even 
this,  but  may^  be  absolute  waste.  In 
any  case  society  or  mankind  grow  no 
ricner  by  it,  but  poorer.  All  material 
products  consumed  by  any  one  while  he 
produces  nothing,  are  so  much  sub- 
tracted, for  the  time,  from  the  material 
products  which  society  would  other- 
wise have  possessed.  But  though 
society  grows  no  richer  by  unproduc- 
tive labour,  the  individual  may.  An 
improductive  labourer  may  receive  for 
his  labour,  from  those  who  derive 
pleasure  or  benefit  from  it,  a  remunera 
tion  which  may  be  to  him  a  considera- 
ble source  of  wealth ;  but  his  gain  is 
balanced  by  their  loss;  they  may 
have  received  a  full  equivalent  for 
their  expenditure,  but  they  are  so 
much  poorer  by  it.  When  a  tailor 
makes  a  coat  and  sells  it,  there  is  a 
transfer  of  the  price  from  the  customer 
to  the  tailor,  and  a  coat  besides  which 
did  not  previously  exist ;  but  what  is 
gained  by  an  actor  is  a  mere  transfer 
from  the  spectator's  funds  to  his,  leav- 
ing no  article  of  wealth  for  the  specta- 
tor's indemnification.  Thus  the  com- 
munity collectively  gains  nothing  by 
the  actor's  labour ;  and  it  loses,  of  hu 
receipts,  all  that  portion  which  he  con- 
sumes, retaining  only  that  whidi  ha 
lays  by.  A  eommumty,  however,  may 
add  to  its  wealth  by  unproductive 
labour,  at  the  e^^nse  €f  i4her 


32 


BOOK  L    CHAPTEB  HI,    §  6. 


munitie&i  as  an  individual  may  at  the 
expense  of  other  individuals.  The 
gams  of  Italian  opera  singers,  German 
govemesses,  French  ballet  dancers, 
&c.,  are  a  source  of  wealth,  as  far  as 
they  go,  to  their  respective  countries, 
if  they  return  thither.  The  petty 
states  of  Greece,  especially  the  ruder 
and  more  backward  of  those  states, 
were  nurseries  of  soldiers,  who  hired 
themselves  to  the  princes  and  satraps 
of  the  East  to  carry  on  useless  and  de- 
structive wars,  and  returned  with  ilieir 
savings  to  pass  their  declining  years  in 
their  own  country :  these  were  unpro- 
ductive labourers,  and  the  pay  tney 
received,  togetherwith  the  plunder  they 
took,  was  an  outlay  without  return  to 
the  countries  which  furnished  it ;  but, 
though  no  gain  to  the  world,  it  was  a 
gain  to  Greece.  At  a  later  period  the 
same  country  and  its  colonies  supplied 
the  Homan  empire  with  another  class 
of  adventurers,  who,  under  the  name  of 
philosophers  or  of  rhetoricians,  taught 
to  the  youth  of  the  higher  classes  what 
were  esteemed  the  most  valuable  ac- 
complishments:  these  were  mainly 
unproductive  labourers,  but  their  ample 
recompense  was  a  source  of  wealth  to 
their  ovm  country.  In  none  of  these 
cases  was  there  any  accession  of 
wealth  to  the  world.  The  services  of 
the  labourers,  if  useful,  were  obtained 
at  a  sacrifice  to  the  world  of  a  portion 
of  material  wealth ;  if  useless,  all  that 
these  labourers  consumed  was,  to  the 
world,  waste. 

To  be  wasted,  however,  is  a  liability 
not  coniined  to  unproductive  labour. 
Productive  labour  may  equally  be 
wasted  if  more  of  it  is  expended  than 
reaUy  conduces  to  production.  If  de- 
fect of  skiU  in  labourers,  or  of  judgment 
in  those  who  direct  them,  causes  a 
misapplication  of  productive  industij ; 
if  a  farmer  persists  in  ploughing  vnth 
three  horses  and  two  men,  when  ex- 
perience has  shovm  that  two  horses 
and  one  man  are  sufficient,  the  sur- 
plus labour,  though  employed  for  pur- 
poses of  production,  is  wasted.  If  a 
new  process  is  adopted  which  proves 
no  better,  or  not  so  good  as  those  before 
in  use,  the  labour  expended  in  perfect- 
ing the  invention  and  in  carrying  it 


into  practice,  though  employed  for  a 
productive  purpose,  is  wasted.  Pro- 
ductive labour  may  render  a  nation 
poorer,  if  the  wealth  it  produces,  that 
IS.  the  increase  it  makes  in  the  stock 
of  useful  or  agreeable  things,  be  of  a 
kind  not  immedi'\tely  wanted:  as 
when  a  commodity  is  unsaleable,  be- 
cause produced  in  a  quantity  beyond 
the  present  demand ;  or  when  specula- 
tors buUd  docks  and  warehouses  before 
there  is  any  trade.  The  bankrupt 
states  of  North  America,  with  their 
premature  railways  and  canals,  have 
made  this  kind  of  mistake :  and  it 
was  for  some  time  doubtful  whether 
England,  in  the  disproportionate  de- 
velopment of  railway  enterprise,  had 
not,  in  some  degree,  followed  the 
example.  Labour  sunk  in  expectation 
of  a  distant  return,  when  tne  great 
exigencies  or  limited  resources  of  the 
community  require  that  the  return  be 
rapid,  may  leave  the  country  not  only 
poorer  in  the  meanwhile,  by  all  which 
those  labourers  consume,  but  less  rich 
even  ultimately  than  if  immediate  re- 
turns had  been  sought  in  the  first 
instance,  and  enterprises  for  distant 
profit  postponed. 

§  6.  The  distinction  of  Productive 
and  Unproductive  Ts~flmplicable  to  con- 
jumption  as,  well  as  tolabour.  All  the 
members  of  the  community  are  not 
labourers,  but  all  are  consumers,  and 
consume  either  unproductively  or  pro- 
ductively. Whoever  contributes  no- 
thing  directly  or  indirectly  to  produce 
tion,  is  an  unproductive  consumer. 
The  only  productive    consumers    are 

5 reductive  labourers;  the  labour  of 
irection  being  of  course  included,  as 
well  as  that  of  execution.  But  the 
consumption  even  of  productive  labour<^ 
ers  is  not  all  of  it  productive  consump- 
tion. There  is  unproductive  consump- 
tion by  productive  consumers.  What 
they  consumo  in  keeping  up  or  im- 
proving their  health,  strength,  and 
capacities  of  work,  or  in  rearing  other 
productive  labourers  to  succeed  them, 
IS  productive  consumption.  But  con- 
sumption on  pleasures  or  luxuries, 
whether  by  the  idle  or  by  the  indus- 
trious, sinee  production  is  neither  it« 


UNPRODUCnVB  LABOOK 


object  noi  is  in  any  way  advanced  by 
it,  miut  be  reckoned  unproductive: 
with  a  reservation  perhaps  of  a  certain 

Siantmn  of  eigoyment  which  may  be 
assed  among  necessaries,  since  any- 
thing short  of  it  would  not  be  consistent 
with  the  greatest  efBciency  of  labour. 
That  al<me  is  productive  consumption, 
which  goes  to  maintain  and  increase 


thej^Kwhictive  powers  of  the  commu- 
nil^T  either  those  residing  in  its  soil, 

md 


tnej^rodiactr 

m€y;  either 

in  it8'~material8^  in  the  number  aiK 

efficiency  of  its  instruments  of  produo- 

tion,  or  in  it8_people. 

There  are  numerous  products  which 
may  be  said  not  to  admit  of  bein^  con- 
sumed otherwise  than  unproductively. 
The  annual  consumption  of  gold  lace, 
pine  apples,  or  champagne,  must  be 
reckoned  unproductive,  since  these 
things  give  no  assistance  to  produc- 
tion, nor  any  support  to  life  or  strength, 
but  what  would  equally  be  given  by 
things  much  less  costly.  Hence  it 
might  be  supposed  that  the  labour  em- 
ployed in  pimucing  them  ought  not  to 
DC  regarded  as  productive,  in  the  sense 
in  which  the  term  is  understood  by 
political  economists.  I  grant  that  no 
labour  tends  to  the  permanent  enrich- 
ment of  society,  which  is  employed  in 
Sroducing  things  for  the  use  of  unpro- 
uctive  consumers.  The  tailor  who 
makes  a  coat  for  a  man  who  produces 
nothing,  is  a  productive  labourer ;  but 
in  a  few  weeks  or  months  the  coat  is 
worn  out,  while  the  wearer  has  not 
produced  anything  to  replace  it,  and 
the  community  is  then  no  richer  by  the 
labour  of  the  tailor,  than  if  the  same 
sum  had  been  paid  for  a  stall  at  the 
opera.  Nevertheless,  society  has  b*en 
richer  by  the  labour  while  the  coat 
lasted,  that  is,  until  society,  through 
one  of  its  unproductive  members,  chose 
to  consume  the  produce  of  the  labour 
unproductively.  The  case  of  the  gold 
lace  or  the  pine  apple  is  no  further 
dififerent,  than  that  tney  are  still  fur- 
ther removed  than  the  coat  from  the 
character  of  necessaries.  These  things 
also  are  wealth  until  they  have  been 
consumed. 

§  6.  ^  We  secj  however,  by  thia,  that 
there  is  ft  distafictjonfmore  jmportjMit 


to  the  wealth  of  a  community  than 
even  that  between  productive  and  un- 
productive labour;  the  distinction, 
namely,  between  labour  for  the  supply 
of  productive,  and  for  the  supply  of 
unproductive,  consumption ;  between 
labour  employed  in  keeping  up  or  in 
adding  to  the  productive  resources  of 
the  country,  and  that  which  is  em- 
ployed otherwise.  Of  the  produce  of 
the  country,  a  part  only  is  destined  to 
be  consumed  productively;  the  re- 
mainder supplies  the  unproductive  con- 
sumption of  producers,  and  the  entire 
consumption  of  the  unproductive  classes. 
Suppose  that  the  proportion  of  the 
annual  produce  apphed  to  the  first  pur- 
pose amounts  to  half;  then  one-o^ 
the  productive  labourers  of  the  country 
are  all  that  are  employed  in  the  opera- 
tions on  which  the  permanent  wealth 
of  the  country  depends.  The  other 
half  are  occupied  from  year  to  year  and 
from  generation  to  generation  in  pro- 
ducing things  which  are  consumed  and 
disappear  without  return;  and  what- 
ever this  half  consume  is  as  completely 
lost,  as  to  any  permanent  effect  on  the 
national  resources,  as  if  it  were  con- 
sumed unproductively.  Suppose  that 
this  second  half  of  the  labouring  popu- 
lation ceased  to  work,  and  that  the 
government  or  their  parishes  main- 
tained them  in  idleness  for  a  whole 
year:  the  first  half  would  suffice  to 
produce,  as  they  had  done  before,  their 
own  necessaries  and  the  necessaries  of 
the  second  hal^  and  to  keep  the  stock 
of  materials  and  implements  undi- 
minished: the  unproductive  classes, 
indeed,  would  be  either  starved  or 
obliged  to  produce  their  own  subsist- 
ence, and  the  whole  community  would 
be  reduced  during  a  year  to  bare  neces- 
saries; but  the  sources  of  production 
would  be  unimpaired,  and  the  next 
year  there  would  not  necessarily  be  a 
smaUer  produce  than  if  no  such  interval 
of  inactivity  had  occurred;  while  if 
the  case  had  been  reversed,  if  the  first 
half  of  the  labourers  had  suspended 
their  accustomed  occupations,  and  the 
second  half  had  continued  theirs,  the 
country  at  the  end  of  the  twelvemonth 
would  have  been  entirely  impoverished. 
It  would  be  a  great  error  to  regret 


84 

the  large  praportion  of  the  aimtial  pi!o> 
doce,  which  in  an  opulent  conntiy  goee 
lio  supply  unproduotiTe  oonsampdon. 
It  would  be  to  lament  that  the  com- 
munity has  eo  much  to  spare  iVom  its 
necessities,  for  its  pleasures  and  for  all 
higher  uses.  This  portion  of  the  pro- 
duce ii  the  fund  Rom  which  all  the 
wants  of  the  community^  other  than 
that  of  mere  living,  are  provided  £>c ; 
the  meaanre  of  its  means  of  enjo^ent. 
and  of  its  power  of  accompliBhmg  all 
purposes  not  productive.    Tuat  to  great 


BOOK  L    CHAFTEK  IV.    |  1. 


a  surplus  should  be  available  for  mutk 
purposes,  and  that  it  should  be  applied 
to  them,  can  only  be  a  subject  of  con- 
gratulation. The  things  to  be  re- 
gretted, and  which  are  not  incapable  d 
being  remedied,  are  the  prodigious 
inequality  with  which  this  surplus  is 
distributed,  the  little  worth  of  the  ob- 
jects to  which  the  greater  part  of  it  is 
devoted,  and  the  large  share  which  falls 
to  the  lot  of  persons  who  render  no 
equivalent  service  in  return. 


CHAPTER  IV. 


OF  OAPrTAL. 


I  f  1.  It  has  been  seen  in  the  pre- 
ceding chapters  that  besides  the  pri- 
Imaiy  and  universal  requisites  of  pro- 
iduction,  labour  and  natural  agents, 
there  is  another  requisite  vnthout  which 
[no  productive  operations  beyond  the 
rude  and  scanty  beginnings  of  primitive 
industry,  are  possible :  namely,  a  stock. 


previously  accumulated,  of  the^roducts 
^_  former  Jabour.  This  accumulated 
stock  of  the  produce  of  labour  is  termed 
Capital.  Tlie  function  of  Capital  in 
production,  it  is  of  the  utmost  import- 
ance thoroughly  to  understand,  since 
a  number  of  the  erroneous  notions  with 
I  which  our  subject  is  infested,  originate 
in  an  imperfect  and  confused  appre- 
hension of  this  point. 

Capital,  by  persons  wholly  unused 
to  reflect  on  the  subject,  is  supposed  to 
be  synonymous  with  money.  To  ex- 
pose this  misapprehension,  would  be  to 
repeat  what  has  been  said  in  the  intro- 
ductory chapter.  Money  is  no  more 
synonymous  with  capital  than  it  is 
with  wealth.  Mosey  cannot  in  itflfilf 
perform  any  part  of  the  office  of  capital, 
since  it  can  afiford  no  assistance  to 
production.  To  do  this,  it  must  be 
exchanged  for  other  things ;  and  any- 
thing, which  is  susceptible  of  being 
exchanged  for  other  thmgs,  is  capable 
of  contributing  to  production  in  the 
)  degree.    What  capital  does  for  I 


jproduction,  is  to  afford  the .  shelter,' 
protection,  tools  and  materials  which 
the  work  requires,  and  to  fee3~and 
otherwise  maintain  the  labourers  during 
"the  process.  These  are  the  services 
which  present  labour  requires  from 
past,  and  from  the  produce  of  past, 
labour.  Whatever  thmgs  are  destined 
for  this  use — destined  to  supply  pro- 
ductive labour  with  these  yarious  pre- 
requisites— are  Capital. 

To  familiarize  ourselves  with  the 
conception,  let  us  consider  what  is 
done  with  the  capital  invested  in  any 
of  the  branches  of  business  which  com> 
pose  the  productive  industry  of  n 
country.  A  manufacturer,  for  example^ 
has  one  part  of  hk  capital  in  the  form 
of  buildings,  fitted  and  destined  for 
carrying  on  his  branch  of  manufacture. 
Another  part  he  has  in  the  form  of 
machinery.  A.  third  consists,  if  he  be 
a  spinner,  of  raw  cotton,  flax,  or  wool ; 
if  a  weaver,  of  flaxen,  woollen,  silk,  or 
cotton,  thread ;  and  the  like,  according 
to  the  nature  of  the  manufacture. 
Food  and  clothing  for  his  operatives,  it 
is  not  the  custom  of  the  present  age 
that  he  should  directly  provide;  and 
few  capitalists,  except  the  producers  of 
food  or  clothing,  nave  any  portion 
worth  mentioning  of  their  capital  in 
that  shape.  Instead  of  this,  each 
capitalist  nas  money,  which  he  pays  to 


CAFITAL. 


85 


fcifl  workpeople,  and  eo  enables  them  to 
lapplj  themselves :  he  haa  alao  finished 
goods  in  his  warehouses,  by  the  sale  of 
wbich  he  obtains  more  monej,  to  em- 
ploy in  the  same  manner,  as  well  as  to 
replenish  his  stock  of  materials,  to 
keep  his  buildings  and  machinery  in 
repair,  and  to  replace  them  when  worn 
out.  His  money  and  finished  goods, 
however,  are  not  wholly  capital,  for  he 
does  not  wholly  devote  them  to  these 
purposes:  he  employs  a  part  of  the 
one,  and  of  the  proceeds  of  the  other, 
in  supplying  his  personal  consumption 
and  that  of  his  family,  or  in  hiring 
grooms  and  yalets,  or  maintaining 
hunters  and  hounds,  or  in  educating 
his  children,  or  in  paying  taxes,  or  in 
charity.  What  then  is  his  capital? 
Precisely  that  part  of  his  possessions, 
whatever  it  be,  which  is  to  constitute 
his  fund  for  canying  on  fresh  produc- 
tion. It  is  of  no  consequence  that  a 
part,  or  even  the  whole  of  it,  is  in  a 
iorm  in  which  it  cannot  directly  supply 
the  wants  of  labourers. 

Suppose,  for  instance,  that  the  capi- 
talist 18  a  hardware  manufacturer,  and 
that  his  stock  in  trade,  over  and  above 
his  machinery,  consists  at  present 
wholly  in  iron  goods.  Iron  goods 
cannot  feed  labourers.  Nevertheless, 
by  a  mere  change  of  the  destination  of 
these  iron  goods,  he  can  cause  labourers 
to  be  fed.  Suppose  that  with  a  portion 
of  the  proceeds  ne  intended  to  maintain 
a  pack  of  hounds,  or  an  establishment 
of  servants;  and  that  he  changes  his 
intention,  and  employs  it  in  his  busi- 
ness, paying  it  in  wages  to  additional 
workpeople.  These  workpeople  are 
enabled  to  buy  and  consume  me  food 
which  would  otherwise  have  been  con- 
sumed by  the  hounds  or  by  the  ser- 
vants ;  and  thus  without  the  employer's 
having  seen  or  touched  one  particle  of 
the  food,  his  conduct  has  determined 
that  so  much  more  of  the  food  existing 
in  the  country  has  been  devoted  to  the 
use  of  productive  labourers,  and  so 
much  less  consumed  in  a  manner 
wholly  unproductive.  Now  vaiT  the 
hvpotnesis,  and  suppose  that  what  is 
thus  paid  in  wages  would  otherwise 
have  been  laid  out  not  in  feeding  ser- 
W9^t$  or  hounds,  but  in  buying  plat9 


and  jewels  \  and  in  eider  to  render  the 
effect  perceptible,  let  us  suppose  tlmt 
the  change  takes  place  on  a  consider*, 
ble  scale^  and  that  a  Urge  sum  is 
diverted  from  buying  plate  and  jewels 
to  employing  productive  labourers, 
whom  we  shall  suppose  to  have  been 
previousiv,  like  the  Irish  peasantiy, 
only  half  employed  and  half  fed.  The 
lawrarem,  on  receiving  their  increased 
wages,  will  not  lay  them  out  in  plate 
and  jewels,  but  in  food.  There  is  not, 
however,  additional  food  in  the  country ; 
nor  any  unproductive  labourers  or  ani- 
mals, as  in  the  former  case,  whose  food 
is  set  free  for  productive  purposea 
Food  will  therefore  be  imported  if 
possible ;  if  not  possible,  the  labourers 
will  remain  for  a  season  on  their  short 
allowance:  but  the  consequence  of 
this  change  in  the  demand  for  com- 
modities, occasioned  by  the  change  in 
the  expenditure  of  the  capitalists  from 
unproductive  to  productive,  is  that  next 

Cmore  food  will  be  produced,  and 
plate  and  jewellery.  So  that 
again,  without  having  had  anything  to 
do  with  the  food  of  the  labourers 
directly,  the  conversion  by  individuals 
of  a  portion  of  their  property,  no  matter 
of  what  sort,  from  an  unproductive 
destination  to  a  productive,  has  had  the 
effect  of  causing  mora  food  to  be  appro- 
priated to  the  consumption  of  produo* 
tive  labourers.  The  distinction,  then, 
between  Capital  and  Not-capital,  does 
not  lie  in  the  kind  of  commoaities,  but 
in  the  mind  of  the  capitalist — in  his 
will  to  employ  them  for  one  purpose 
rather  than  another ;  and  all  property, 
however  ill  ada|>ted  in  itself  for  ue 
use  of  labourers,  is  a  part  of  capital,  so 
soon  as  it,  or  the  value  to  be  received 
from  it,  is  set  apart  for  productive  re- 
investment. The  sum  of  all  the  values 
so  destined  by  their  respective  posses- 
sors, composes  the  capital  of  the  countiy. 
Whether  all  those  values  are  in  a  shape 
directly  applicable  to  productive  uses, 
makea  no^  difference.  Their  shape, 
whatever  it  may  be,  is  a  temporaiy 
accident;  but,  onoe  destined  for  pro- 
duction, they^  do  not  fail  to  find  a  way 
of  transforming  themselves  into  things 
capable  of  being  applied  to  it 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  IV.    §  2. 


§  2.  As  whatever  of  the  .produce  of 
the  country  is  devoted  to  proiiTiction  is 
capital,  80j  conversely,  the  whole  of  tte 
capital  of  the  country  is  devoted  to 
production.  This  second  proposition, 
however,  must  be  taken  with  some 
limitations  and  explanations.  Afimd 
may  he  seeking  for  productive  employ- 
ment, and  find  none,  adapted  to  the 
inclinations  of  its  possessor :  it  then  is 
capital  still,  but  unemployed  capital. 
Or  the  stock  may  consist  of  unsold 
goods,  not  susceptible  of  direct  applica- 
tion to  productive  uses,  and  not,  at  the 
moment,  marketable :  these,  until  sold, 
are  in  the  condition  of  unemployed 
capital.  Again,  artificial  or  accidental 
circumstances  may  render  it  necessary 
to  possess  a  larger  stock  in  advance, 
that  is,  a  larger  capital  before  entering 
on  production,  than  is  required  by  the 
nature  of  things.  Suppose  that  the 
government  lajs  a  tax  on  the  produc- 
tion in  one  of  its  earlier  stages,  as  for 
instance  by  taxing  the  material.  The 
manufacturer  has  to  advance  the  tax, 
before  commencing  the  manufacture, 
and  is  therefore  under  a  necessity  of 
having  a  larger  accumulated  fund  than 
is  required  for,  or  is  actually  employed 
in,  the  production  which  he  carries  on. 
He  must  have  a  larger  capital,  to 
maintain  the  same  quantity  of  produc- 
tive labour;  or  (what  is  equivalent) 
with  a  s^iven  capital  he  maintains  less 
labour.  This  mode  of  levjang  taxes, 
therefore,  limits  unnecessarily  the  in- 
dustry of  the  country :  a  portion  of  the 
fiind  destined  by  its  owners  for  produc- 
tion being  diverted  from  its  purpose, 
and  kept  in  a  constant  state  of  advance 
to  the  government. 

For  another  example :  a  farmer  may 
enter  on  his  farm  at  such  a  time  of  the 
year,  that  he  may  be  required  to  pay 
one,  two,  or  even  three  quarters*  rent 
before  obtaining  any  return  from  the 
produce.  This,  therefore,  must  be  paid 
out  of  his  capital.  Now  rent,  when 
paid  for  the  land  itself,  and  not  for 
improvements  made  in  it  by  labour,  is 
not  a  productive  expenditure.  It  is 
not  an  outlay  for  the  support  of  labour, 
or  for  the  provision  of  implements  or 
materials  the  produce  of  labour.  It  is 
the  price  paid  for  the  use  of  an  appro- 


priated natural  agent.  This  natural 
agent  is  indeed  as  indispensable  (and 
even  more  so)  as  any  implement :  but 
the  having  to  pay  a  price  for  it,  is  not. 
In  the  case  of  the  implement  (a  thing 
produced  by  labour)  a  price  of  some 
sort  is  the  necessa:^  condition  of  its 
existence:  but  the  land  exists  bj 
nature.  The  payment  for  it,  therefore,/ 
is  not  one  of  the  expenses  of  produc4 
tion ;  and  the  necessity  of  making  the' 
payment  out  of  capital,  makes  it  requi« 
site  that  there  should  be  a  greater! 
capital,  a  greater  antecedent  accumu- 
lation of  the  produce  of  past  labour, 
than  is  naturally  necessary,  or  than  isj 
needed  where  land  is  occupied  on  a| 
different  system.  This  extra  capital; 
though  intended  by  its  owners  for  pro-, 
duction,  is  in  reality  employed  unpro-: 
ductively,  and  annually  replaced,  not 
from  any  produce  of  its  own,  but  from! 
the  produce  of  the  labour  supported  byi 
the  remainder  of  the  farmer's  capital.  I 
FinaUy,  that  large  portion  of  the 
productive  capital  of  a  country  which 
is  employed  m  paying  the  wages  and 
salaries  of  labourers,  evidently  is  not, 
all  of  it,  strictly  and  indispensably 
necessary  for  production.  As  much  of 
it  as  exceeds  the  actual  necessaries  of 
life  and  health  (an  excess  which  in  the 
case  of  skilled  labourers  is  usually  con- 
siderable) is  not  expended  in  supporting 
labour,  but  in  remunerating  it,  and  the 
labourers  could  wait  for  this  part  of 
their  remuneration  mitil  the  production 
is  completed :  it  needs  not  necessarily 
pre-exist,  as  capital:  and  if  they  un- 
fortunately had  to  forego  it  altogether, 
the  same  amount  of  production  might 
take  place.  In  order  that  the  whole 
remuneration  of  the  labourers  should 
be  advanced  to  them  in  daily  or  weekly 
payments,  there  must  exist  m  advance, 
and  be  appropriated  to  productive  use, 
a  greater  stock,  or  capital,  than  would 
suffice  to  carry  on  the  existing  extent 
of  production:  greater,  by  whatever 
amount  of  remuneration  the  labourers 
receive,  beyond  what  the  self-interest 
of  a  prudent  slave-master  would  assign 
to  his  slaves.  In  truth,  it  is  only  after 
an  abundant  capital  had  already  been 
accumulated,  that  the  practice  of  pay- 
ing in  advance  «ny  remuneration  of 


^ 


CAPITAL^ 


n 


labour  beyond  a  bare  snbsistenee,  could 
possibly  liave  arisen :  since  whatever  is 
BO  paid,  is  not  really  applied  to  produc- 
tion, but  to  the  unproductive  consump- 
tion of  productive  labourers,  indicating 
a  fund  ror  production  sufficiently  ample 
to  admit  of  habitualljr  diverting  a  part 
of  it  to  a  mere  convenience. 

It  will  be  observed  that  I  have 
assumed,  that  the  labourers  are  always 
subsisted  from  capital:  and  this  is 
obviously  the  fact,  though  the  capital 
needs  not  necessarily  be  furnished  oy  a 
person  called  a  capitalist.  When  the 
labourer  maintains  nimself  by  funds  of 
his  own,  as  when  a  peasant-farmer  or 
proprietor  lives  on  the  produce  of  his 
land,  or  an  artisan  worlu  on  his  own 
account^  they  are  still  supported  by 
capital,  that  is,  by  funds  provided  in 
advance.  The  peasant  does  not  subsist 
this  year  on  the  produce  of  this  year's 
harvest,  but  on  that  of  the  last.  The 
artisan  is  not  living  on  the  proceeds  of 
the  work  he  has  in  nand,  but  on  those 
of  work  previously  executed  and  dis- 
posed of.  JBach  is  supported  by  a  small 
capital  of  his  own,  which  he  periodically 
replaces  from  the  produce  of  his  labour. 
The  large  capitalist  is,  in  like  manner, 
maintained  nrom  funds  provided  in 
advance.  If  he  personally  conducts 
bis  operations,  as  much  of  his  personal 
or  household  expenditure  as  does  not 
exceed  a  fair  remuneration  of  his  labour 
at  the  market  price,  must  be  considered 
a  part  of  his  capital,  expended,  like  anj 
other  capital,  lor  production :  and  his 
(NBrsonal  consumption,  so  far  as  it  con- 
sists of  necessanes,  is  productive  con- 
lomption. 

§  3.  At  the  risk  of  being  tedious, 
I  must  add  a  few  more  illustrations,  to 
bring  oat  into  astill  clearer  and  stronger 
light  tiie  idea  of  Capital  As  M.  Say 
truly  remarks,  it  is  on  the  very  elements 
of  our  subject  that  illustration  is  most 
nsefblly  bestowed,  since  the  greatest 
errors  which  prevail  in  it  may  be  traced 
to  the  want  of  a  thorough  mastery 
over  the  elementary  ideas.  Nor  is  this 
vnrprising :  a  branch  may  be  diseased 
and  all  the  rest  healthy,  but  tmsound- 
ness  at  the  root  diffiises  unhealthinesf 
Ihroogh  the  whole  tree. 


Let  OS  therefore  consider  whetherj 
and  in  what  cases,  the  property  of  those 
who  live  on  the  interest  of  what  they 
possess,  without  being  personally  en- 
gaged in  production,  can  be  regarded 
as  capital  It  is  so  called  in  common' 
lan^age,  and,  with  reference  to  the 
individual,  not  improperly.  All  funds 
from  which  the  possessor  derives  an  in- 
come, which  income  he  can  use  without 
sinking  and  dissipating  the  fund  itself, 
are  to  him  equivalent  to  capital.  But 
to  transfer  hastily  and  inconsiderately 
to  the  general  point  of  view,  proposi- 
tions which  are  true  of  the  indiviaual, 
has  been  a  source  of  innumerable 
errors  in  political  economy.  In  the 
present  instance,  that  which  is  virtually 
capital  to  the  individual,  is  or  is  not 
capital  to  the  nation,  according  as  the 
ftmd  which  by  the  supposition  he  has 
not  dissipated,  has  or  nas  not  been  dis- 
sipated by  somebody  else. 

For  example,  let  property  of  the 
value  of  ten  thousand  pounds  belonging 
to  A,  be  lent  to  6,  a  farmer  or  manufac- 
turer, and  employed  profitably  in  B's 
occupation.  It  is  as  much  capital  a«  if 
it  belonged  to  B.  A  is  really  a  farmer 
or  manufacturer,  not  personally,  but  in 
respect  of  his  property.  Capital  worth 
ten  thousand  pounds  is  employed  in 
production — ^in  maintaining  labourers 
and  providing  tools  and  materials; 
which  capital  belongs  to  A,  while  B 
takes  the  trouble  of  employing  it,  and 
receives  for  his  remuneration  the  dif- 
ference between  the  profit  which  it 
yields  and  the  interest  he  pays  to  A. 
This  is  the  simplest  case. 

Suppose  next  that  A's  ten  thousand 
pounds,  instead  of  being  lent  to  B,  are 
lent  on  mortgage  to  C,  a  landed  pro- 
prietor,^ by  whom  they  are  employed  in 
improving  the  productive  powers  of  his 
estate,  by  fencmg,  draining,  road-mak- 
ing, or  permanent  manures.  This  is 
productive  employment.  The  ten  thou* 
sand  pounds  are  sunk,  but  not  dis- 
sipated. They  yield  a  permanent  re- 
turn ;  the  land  now  afforos  an  increase 
of  produce,  sufficient,  in  a  few  years,  if 
the  outlay  has  been  judicious,  to  replace 
the  amount,  and  in  time  to  multiply  it 
manifold.  Here,  then,  is  a  value  ol 
ten  thousand  pounds,  employed  in  in- 


£d 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  IV.    §  S. 


creaang  the  pix)dnce  of  the  conntiT. 
This  constitutes  a  capital,  for  which  C, 
if  he  lets  his  land,  receives  the  returns 
in  the  nominal  form  of  increased  rent ; 
and  the  mortgage  entitles  A  to  receiye 
from  these  returns,  in  the  shape  of  in- 
terest, such  annual  sum  as  has  heen 
agreed  on.  We  will  now  vary  the  cir- 
cumstances, and  suppose  that  C  does 
not  employ  the  loan  in  improving  his 
land,  hut  m  paying  oif  a  former  mort- 
gage, or  in  making  a  provision  for 
children.  Whether  the  ten  thousand 
pounds  thus  employed  are  capital  or 
not,  will  depend  on  what  is  done  with 
the  amount  hy  the  ultimate  receiver. 
If  the  children  invest  their  fortunes  in 
a  productive  employment,  or  the  mort- 
gagee on  heing  paid  off  lends  the 
amount  to  another  landholder  to  im- 
prove his  land,  or  to  a  manufacturer  to 
extend  his  husiness,  it  is  still  capital, 
because  productively  employed. 

Suppose,  however,  that  C,  the  bor- 
rowing landlord,  is  a  spendthrift,  who 
burdens  his  land  not  to  increase  his 
fortune  but  to  squander  it,  expending 
the  amount  in  equipages  and  entertain- 
ments. In  a  year  or  two  it  is  dissi- 
pated, and  without  return.  A  is  as 
rich  as  before;  he  has  no  longer  his 
ten  thousand  pounds,  but  he  has  a  lien 
on  the  land,  which  he  could  still  sell  for 
that  amount.  C,  however,  is  10,000Z. 
poorer  than  formerly;  and  nobody  is 
richer.  It  may  be  said  that  those  are 
richer  who  have  made  profit  out  of  the 
money  while  it  was  bemg  spent.  No 
doubt  if  C  lost  it  by  gaming,  or  was 
cheated  of  it  by  his  servants,  that  is  a 
mere  transfer,  not  a  destruction,  and 
those  who  have  gained  the  amount  may 
employ  it  productively.  But  if  C  has 
received  the  fair  value  for  his  expendi- 
ture in  articles  of  subsistence  or  hixury, 
which  he  has  consumed  on  himself,  or 
by  means  of  his  servants  or  guests, 
fchese  articles  have  ceased  to  exist,  and 
nothing  has  been  produced  to  replace 
them  :  while  if  the  same  sum  had  been 
employed  in  farming  or  manufacturing, 
the  consumption  which  would  have 
taken  place  would  have  been  more  than 
balanced  at  the  end  of  the  year  bv  new 
products,  created  by  the  labour  or  those 
who  would  in  that  case  have  been  the 


consumers.  By  C's  prodigality,  that 
which  would  have  been  consumed  with 
a  return,  is  consumed  without  retmn. 
C's  tradesmen  may  have  made  a  profit 
during  the  procesb ;  but  if  the  capital 
had  been  expended  productively,  an 
equivalent  profit  would  have  been  made 
by  builders,  fencers,  tool-makei-s,  and 
the  tradespeople  who  supply  the  con- 
sumption of  the  labouring  classes ;  while 
at  the  expiration  of  the  time  (to  say 
nothing  of  any  increase),  C  would  have 
had  the  ten  thousand  pounds  or  its 
value  replaced  to  him,  which  now  he 
has  not.  There  is,  therefore,  on  the 
general  result,  a  difference  to  the  dis- 
advantage of  the  community,  of  at  least 
ten  thousand  pounds,  being  the  amount 
of  C's  unproductive  expenditure.  To 
A,  the  difference  is  not  material,  sinco 
his  income  is  secured  to  him,  and  whik 
the  security  is  good,  and  the  market 
rate  of  interest  the  same,  he  can  always 
sell  the  mortgage  at  its  original  value. 
To  A,  therefore,  the  lien  of  ten  thou- 
sand pounds  on  C's  estate,  is  virtually 
a  capital  of  that  amount ;  but  is  it  so 
in  reference  to  the  community  ?  It  is 
not.  A  had  a  capital  of  ten  thousand 
pounds,  but  this  has  been  extinguished 
— dissipated  and  destroyed  b^  C's  pro 
digality.  A  now  receives  his  income^ 
not  from  the  produce  of  his  capital,  but 
from  some  other  source  of  income  be- 
longing to  C,  probably  from  the  rent  of 
his  land,  that  is,  from  payments  made 
to  him  by  farmers  out  of  the  produce  of 
their  capital.  The  national  capital  is 
diminished  by  ten  thousand  poundi, 
and  the  national  income  by  all  whioh 
those  ten  thousand  pounds,  employed  as 
capital,  would  have  produced.  Th« 
loss  does  not  fall  on  tne  owner  of  the 
destroyed  capital,  since  the  destroyer 
has  agreed  to  indemnify  him  for  it. 
But  his  loss  is  only  a  small  povtion  of 
that  sustained  by  the  community,  since 
what  was  devoted  to  the  use  and  con- 
sumption of  the  proprietor  was  only  the 
interest;  the  capital  itself  was^  or 
would  have  been,  employed  in  the  per- 
petual maintenance  of  an  eqniTaient 
number  of  labourert,  regularly  repro- 
ducing what  they  eonsumed:  and  cl 
this  maintenance  they'  art  depriiped 
without  compensatioii,  - 


FUNDAMENTAL  PROPOSITIONS  ON  CAPITAL. 


Let  w  now  vary  the  hjpothemg  ttOl 
farther,  and  mippote  that  the  money  is 
boTTowed,  not  by  a  hmdloid,  bnt  by  the 
State.  A  lends  hii  capital  to  Govern- 
ment to  carry  on  a  war :  he  bnys  from 
the  State  what  are  oallecl  govenmient 
secnritiee;  that  is,  ohligations  on  the 
goyerament  to  pay  a  certain  annual  in- 
come. If  the  goyemment  employed 
the  money  in  making  a  raihoad,  this 
might  be  a  productive  employment,  and 
A's^  property  would  still  he  used  as 
capital;  bnt  since  it  is  employed  in 
war,  that  is,  in  the  pay  of  officers  and 
soldiers  who  produce  nothing,  and  in 
destroying  a  quantity  of  gunpowder  and 
bullets  without  return,  the  government 
is  in  the  situation  of  C,  the  spendthrift 
landlord,  and  A's  ten  thousand  pounds 
are  so  much  national  capital  which 
oooe  existed,  hut  exists  no  longer: 
virtually  thrown  into  the  sea,  as  far  as 
wealth  or  producti<m  is  concerned; 
though  lor  other  reasons  the  employ- 
ment of  it  may  have  been  justifiable. 
A's  saieequent  income  is  derived,  not 
frcHB  the  produce  of  his  own  capital,  but 
from  taxes  drswn  from  the  produoe  of 
the  remaining  capital  of  the  oommu- 
nity ;  to  whom  his  capital  is  not  yield- 


ing any  return^  to  indenmify  them  for 
the  payment ;  it  is  lost  and  ^one,  and 
what  he  now  possesses  is  a  claim  on  the 
returns  to  other  people's  capital  and  in- 
dustry. This  claim  he  can  sell,  and 
get  back  the  equivalent  of  his  capital, 
which  he  may  afterwards  employ  pro- 
ductively. True ;  but  he  does  not  ^t 
back  his  own  capital,  or  anything  which 
it  has  produced ;  that,  andf  all  its  possi- 
ble returns,  are  extinguished :  what  he 
gets  is  the  capital  of  some  other  per> 
son,  which  that  person  is  willing  to  ex- 
change for  his  lien  on  the  taxes.  As- 
other  capitalist  substitutes  himself  for 
A  as  a  mortgagee  of  the  public,  and  A 
substitutes  himself  for  the  other  capi- 
talist as  the  possessor  of  a  fond  em- 
ployed in  production,  or  available  for  it. 
By  this  exchange  the  productive  powers 
of  the  community  are  neither  increased 
nor  diminished.  The  breach  in  the 
capital  of  the  country  was  made  when 
the  government  ppent  A's  money: 
whereby  a  value  of  ten  thousand  pounds 
was  withdrawn  or  withheld  from  pro- 
ductive employment,  placed  in  the  fund 
for  unproductive  consumption^  and  da* 
stroyed  without  equivalentu 


CHAPTER  V. 


PUlTDAMlIfTAL  nOFOSmOHS   KESPECTINe  OAPrTAftii 


9  1.  Ir  the  preceding  explanations 
have  answered  tneir  purpose,  they  have 
given  not  only  a  si^ciently  complete 
possession  of  the  idea  of  Capital  accord- 
mg  to  its  definition,  but  a  sufiBcient 
familiaiity  with  it  in  the  concrete,  and 
amidst  the  obscurity  with  which  the 
complication  of  individual  circumstances 
surrounds  it,  to  have  prepared  even  the 
vnpractised  reader  for  certain  elemen- 
taiy  propositions  or  theorems  respecting 
eapital,  the  full  comprehension  <n  which 
is  already  a  considerable  step  out  of 
darkness  into  light. 

,  The  first  of  these  propositions  is, 
That  industry  is  limited  by  dental 
lldi  10  80  oMotts  as  to  be  taken  for 


granted  in  many  common  ferms  of 
speech  ;  but  to  see  a  truth  occasionally 
is  one  thing,  to  recognise  it  habitually, 
and  admit  no  propositions  inoonsistent 
with  it,  is  another.  The  axiom  was 
until  lately  almost  universally  disre- 
garded by  ledslators  and  political 
writers;  and  doctrines  irrecondleable 
with  it  are  still  very  commonly  pio- 
fessed  and  inculcated. 

The  following  are  common  ezprsa> 
sions,  implying  its  truth.  The  act  d 
directing  industry  to  a  particular  em 
ployment  is  described  by  the  phrase 
*'  applying  capital "  to  the  employment. 
To  employ  industry  on  the  land  is  to 
i^ly  capital  to  tha  hukL    To  employ 


40 


BOOK  1.    CHAPTER  V     |  1. 


labour  in  a  manufacture  is  to  invest 
capital  in  the  manufacture.  This  im- 
plies that  industry  cannot  be  employed 
to  any  greater  extent  than  there  is 
capital  to  invest.  The  proposition,  in- 
deed, must  be  assented  to  as  soon  as  it 
is  distinctly  apprehended.  The  ex- 
pression "appljdng  capital"  is  of 
course  metaphorical:  what  is  really 
applied  is  labour ;  capital  being  an  in- 
dispensable condition.  Again,  we  often 
speak  of  the  "productive  powers  of 
capital."  This  expression  is  not  lite- 
rally correct.  The  only  productive 
powers  are  those  of  labour  and  natural 
agents ;  or  if  any  portion  of  capital 
can  by  a  stretch  of  language  be  said  to 
have  a  productive  power  of  its  own,  it 
is  only  tools  and  machinery,  which,  like 
wind  or  water,  may  be  said  to  co-ope- 
rate with  labour.  Ilie  food  of  labourers 
and  the  materials  of  production  have 
no  productive  power ;  but  labour  cannot 
exert  its  productive  power  unless  pro- 
vided with  them,  liiere  can  be  no 
more  industry  than  is  suppUed  with 
Imaterials  to  work  up  and  food  to  eat. 
Self-evident  as  the  thing  is,  it  is  often 
forgotten  that  the  people  of  a  country 
are  maintained  and  have  their  wants 
supplied,  not  by  the  produce  of  present 
labour,  but  of  past.  They  consume 
what  has  been  produced,  not  what  is 
about  to  be  produced.  Now,  of  what 
has  been  produced,  a  part  only  is  al- 
lotted to  the  support  of  productive 
labour ;  and  there  will  not  and  cannot 
be  more  of  that  labour  than  the  por- 
tion so  allotted  Twhich  is  the  capital 
of  the  countryj  can  feed,  and  provide 
with  the  matenalfl  and  instruments  of 
production. 

Yet,  in  disregard  of  a  fact  so  evident, 
it  long  continued  to  be  believed  that 
laws  and  ^vemments,  without  creat- 
ing capital,  could  create  industry. 
Not  by  making  the  people  more  labio- 
rious,  or  increasing  the  efficiency  of 
their  labour;  these  are  objects  to 
whicli  the  ^vemment  can,  in  some 
de^ee,  indirectly  contribute.  ^  But 
without  any  increase  in  the  skill  or 
energy  of  tne  labourers,  and  without 
causmg  any  persons  to  labour  who  had 
previously  been  maintained  in  idleness, 
it  was  still  thought  that  the  govern- 


ment^  without  providing  additional 
funds,  could  create  additional  employ- 
ment. A  government  would,  by  pro- 
hibitory laws,  put  a  stop  to  the  impor- 
tation of  some  commodity ;  and  wlien 
by  this  it  had  caused  the  commodity 
to  be  produced  at  home,  it  would  plume 
itself  upon  having  enriched  the  country 
with  a  new  branch  of  industry,  would 
parade  in  statistical  tables  the  amount 
of  produce  yielded  and  labour  em- 
ployed in  tne  production,  and  take 
credit  for  the  whole  of  this  as  a  gain 
to  the  country,  obtained  through  the 
prohibitory  law.  Although  this  sort 
of  political  arithmetic  has  fallen  a 
little  into  discredit  in  England,  it  still 
flourishes  in  the  nations  of  Continental 
Europe.  Had  legislators  been  aware 
that  industry  is  limited  by  capital, 
they  would  have  seen  that,  the  ag^-e- 
gate  capital  of  the  cotmtry  not  havms 
been  increased,  any  portion  of  it  which 
they  by  their  laws  nad  caused  to  be 
em barKed  in  the  newly-acquired  branch 
of  industry  must  have  been  withdrawn 
or  withheld  from  some  other ;  in  which 
it  gave,  or  would  have  given,  employ- 
ment to  probably  about  the  same  quan- 
tity of  labour  which  it  employs  m  its 
new  occupation.* 

*  An  exception  most  be  admitted  when 
the  industry  created  or  upheld  by  the  re- 
strictive  law  belongs  to  the  class  of  what  are 
called  domestic  manufactures.  These  being 
carried  on  by  persons  already  fed — ^by  la- 
bouring families,  in  the  intervals  ot  other 
employment— no  transfer  of  capital  to  the 
occupation  is  necessary  to  its  being  under- 
taken, beyond  the  value  of  the  materials  and 
tools,  which  is  often  inconsiderable.  If, 
therefore,  a  protecting  duty  causes  this  occa- 
pation  to  be  curled  on,  when  it  otherwise 
would  not,  there  is  in  this  case  a  real  increase 
of  the  production  of  the  country. 

In  order  to  render  our  theoretical  propoel- 
tion  invulnerable,  this  peculiar  case  must  be 
allowed  for :  but  it  does  not  touch  the  prac- 
tical doctrine  of  free  trade.  Domestic 
manufactures  cannot,  from  the  very  nature 
of  things,  require  protection,  since  the  sub- 
sistence of  the  labourers  being  provided  frtna 
other  sources,  the  price  of  the  product,  how- 
ever much  it  may  be  reduced,  is  nearly  all 
clear  gain.  If.  therefore,  the  domestic  pro- 
ducers retii*e  from  the  competition,  it  is 
never  ftrom  necessity,  but  because  the  pro- 
duct is  not  worth  the  labour  it  costs,  in  the 
opinion  of  the  best  Judges,  those  who  ei^joy 
the  one  and  undergo  the  other.  They  prefer 
the  sacrifice  of  buying  their  clothix^  to  tiw 
labour  of  making  it.    Th«y  will  not  oontin— 


FUNDAMENTAL  PROMSmONS  ON  CAPTTAL. 


41 


f  2  Because  industrr  is  limited  by 
capita],  we  are  not  howeyer  to  infer  that 
it  always  reaches  that  limit.  Capital 
may  be  temporarily  unemployed,  as  in 
the  case  of  unsold  goods,  or  funds  that 
have  not  yet  found  an  investment; 
during  this  interval  it  does  not  set  in 
motion  any  industry.  Or  there  may 
not  be  as  many  labourers  obtainable, 
as  the  ^ital  would  maintain  and  em- 
ploy. This  has  been  known  to  occur 
in  new  colonies,  where  capital  has 
sometimes  perished  uselessly  for  want 
of  labour :  the  Swan  River  settlement 
(now  called  Western  Australia),  in  the 
first  years  after  its  foundation,  was  an 
instance.  There  are  many  persons 
maintained  from  existing  capital,  who 
produce  nothing,  or  who  might  produce 
much  more  than  they  do.  If  the 
labourers  were  reduced  to  lower  wages, 
or  induced  to  work  more  hours  for  the 
same  wages,  or  if  their  families,  who 
are  already  maintained  from  capital, 
were  employed  to  a  greater  extent 
than  they  now  are  in  adding  to  the 
produce,  a  given  capital  would  afford 
employment  to  more  industry.  The 
unproductive  consumption  of  produc- 
tive labourers,  the  whole  of  wnich  is 
now  supplied  by  capital,  might  cease, 
or  be  postponed  until  the  produce 
came  in;  and  additional  pnKluctive 
labourers  might  be  maintamed  with 
the  amount.  By  such  means  society 
might  obtain  nom  its  existing  re- 
sources a  ereater  quantity  of  produce : 
and  to  such  means  it  has  been  driven, 
when  the  sudden  destruction  of  some 
large  portion  of  its  capital  rendered 
the  employment  of  the  remainder  with 
the  greatest  possible  effect,  a  matter  of 
paramount  consideration  for  the  time. 

Where  industry  has  not  come  up  to  the 
limit  imposed  by  capital,  governments 
may,  in  various  ways,  for  example  by 
importing  additional  labourers,  bring 
it  nearer  to  that  limit :  as  by  the  im- 
portation of  Coolies  and  free  Negroes 
mto  the  West  Indies.  There  is  an- 
other way  in  which  governments  can 
create  aoditional  industry.  They  can 
create   capital.     They   may   lay   on 

their  labour  unless  society  will  give  them 
more  for  It,  than  in  their  own  opinion  its 
yrodoet  is  worth. 


taxes,  and  employ  the  amount  produc- 
tively. They  may  do  what  is  nearly 
equivalent;  they  may  lay  taxes  on 
income  or  expenditure,  and  apply  the 

Sroceeds  towards  paying  off  the  j^ublic 
ebts.  The  fundhofder,  when  paid  o£^ 
would  still  desire  to  draw  an  income 
from  his  property,  most  of  which  there- 
fore would  mid  its  way  into  productive 
employment,  while  a  great  part  of  it 
would  have  been  drawn  from  the  fund 
for  tmproductive  expenditure,  since 
people  do  not  wholly  pay  their  taxes 
nrom  what  they  would  nave  saved,  but 
partly,  if  not  chiefly,  from  what  they 
would  have  spent.  It  may  be  added, 
that  any  increase  in  the  productive 
power  of  capital  Tor,  more  properly 
speaking,  of  labour)  by  improvements 
in  the  arts  of  life,  or  otherwise,  tends 
to  increase  the  employment  for  labour; 
since,  when  there  is  a  greater  produce 
altogether,  it  is  always  probaole  that 
some  portion  of  the  increase  will  be 
saved  and  converted  into  capital; 
especially  when  the  increased  returns 
to  productive  industry  hold  out  an 
additional  temptation  to  the  conver 
sion  of  funds  from  an  unproductive 
destination  to  a  productive. 

§  3.  While,  on  the  one  hand,  in- 
dustry is  limited  by  capital,  so  on  the 
other,  every  increase  of  capital  gives^ 
or  is  capable  of  giving,  adoitional  em- 
ployment to  industry ;  and  this  with- 
out assignable  limit.  I  do  not  mean 
to  deny  that  the  capital,  or  part  of  it, 
may  be  so  employea  as  not  to  support 
labourers,  being  fixed  in  machinery, 
buildings,  improvement  of  land,  and  Uie 
like,  m  any  large  increase  of  capital 
a  considerable  portion  wiU  generally  be 
thus  employed,  and  will  only  co-operate 
with  laoourers,  not  maintain  them. 
What  I  do  intend  to  assert  is,  that  the 
portion  which  is  destined  to  their 
maintenance,  may  (supposing  no  altera- 
tion in  anything  else)  be  indefinitely 
increased,  without  creating  an  impos- 
sibility of  finding  them  employment : 
in  other  words,  l£at  if  there  are  human 
beings  capable  of  work,  and  food  U 
feed  them,  they  may  alwa^  be  em- 
ployed in  producing  somethmg.  This 
proposition  requires  to  be  somewhat 


d 


60ofe  I    CSAI*tEft  V.    i  1 


dwelt  ap<m,  being  one  of  those  wliich 
it  IB  exceedingly  easy  to  assent  to 
when  presented  in  general  terms,  but 
somewhat  difficolt  to  keep  fast  hold  of, 
in  the  crowd  and  coniiision  of  the 
actual  facts  of  society.  It  is  also  very 
much  opposed  to  common  doctrines. 
There  is  not  an  opinion  more  general 
among  mankind  than  this,  that  the 
unproductive  expenditure  of  the  rich  is 
necessary  to  the  employment  of  the 
poor.  Before  Adam  Smith,  the  doc- 
trine had  hardly  been  questioned ;  and 
eyen  since  his .  time,  authors  of  the 
highest  name  and  of  great  merit*  have 
contended,  that  if  consumers  were  to 
save  and  convert  into  capital  more 
than  a  limited  portion  of  their  income, 
and  were  not  to  devote  to  unproductive 
consumption  an  amount  of  means  bear- 
ing a  certain  ratio  to  the  capital  of  the 
country,  the  extra  accumulation  would 
be  merely  so  much  waste,  since  there 
would  be  no  market  for  the  commo- 
dities which  the  capital  so  created 
would  produce.  I  conceive  this  to  be 
<me  of  the  many  errors  arising  in  poli- 
tical economy,  from  the  practice  of  not 
beginning  with  the  examination  of 
simple  cases,  but  rushing  at  once  into 
the  complexity  of  concrete  phenomena. 
Every  one  can  see  that  if  a  benevo- 
lent government  possessed  all  the  food, 
and  all  the  implements  and  materials, 
of  the  community,  it  could  exact  pro- 
ductive labour  from  all  capable  of  it, 
to  whom  it  allowed  a  share  in  the  food, 
and  could  be  in  no  danger  of  wanting 
a  field  for  the  employment  of  this  pro- 
ductive labour,  since  as  long  as  there 
was  a  single  want  unsaturated  (which 
material  objects  could  supply),  of  any 
one  individual,  the  labour  of  the  com- 
munity could  be  turned  to  the  produc- 
tion of  something  capable  of  satisfying 
that  want.  Now,  the  individual  pos- 
sessors of  capital,  when  they  add  to  it 
by  fresh  accumulations,  are  doing  pre- 
cisely the  same  thing  which  we  sup- 
pose to  be  done  by  a  benevolent  govern- 
ment. As  it  is  allowable  to  put  any 
case  by  way  of  hypothesis,  let  us  ima- 
gine tne  most  extreme  case  conceiv- 
able.    Suppose  that  eyery  capitalist 

*  For  example,  Mr.  Malthas,  Dr.  Chalmers* 
K.  de  SlunoiuU. 


came  to  be  of  opinion  that  not  being 
more  meritorious  than  a  well-oondncte3 
labourer,  he  ought  not  to  fare  better ;  and 
accordingly  laid  by,  from  consoientions 
motives,  the  surplus  of  his  profits ;  or 
suppose  this  abstinence  not  spont»> 
neous,  but  imposed  by  law  or  opinion 
upon  all  capitalists,  and  upon  land- 
owners likewise.  Unproductive  ex- 
penditure is  now  reduced  to  its  lowest 
limit :  and  it  is  asked,  how  is  the  in- 
creased capital  to  find  employment? 
Who  is  to  buy  the  goods  which  it  will 
produce?  There  are  no  longer  cus- 
tomers even  for  those  which  were  pro- 
duced before.  The  goods,  therefore, 
(it  is  said)  will  remain  unsold;  they 
will  perish  in  the  warehouses;  until 
capital  is  brought  down  to  what  it  was 
originally,  or  rather  to  as  much  less, 
as  the  demand  of  the  consumers  has 
lessened.  But  this  is  seeing  only  one- 
half  of  the  matter.  In  the  case  sup- 
posed, there  would  no  longer  be  any 
demand  for  luxuries,  on  the  pari 
of  capitalists  and  landowners.  Bui 
when  these  classes  tnm  their  in- 
come into  capital,  they  do  not  thereby 
annihilate  their  power  of  consumption ; 
they  do  but  transfer  it  from  themselves 
to  the  labourers  to  whom  they  give 
emplojrment.  Kow,  there  are  two  pos- 
sible suppositions  in  regard  to  the 
labourers;  either  there  is,  or  there  is 
not,  an  increase  of  their  numbers,  pro- 
portional to  the  increase  of  capital.  If 
there  is,  the  case  ofiers  no  difficulty. 
The  production  of  necessaries  for  the 
new  population,  takes  the  place  of  the 
production  of  luxuries  for  a  portion  of 
the  old,  and  supplies  exactly  the 
amount  of  employment  which  has  been 
lost.  But  suppose  that  there  is  no  in- 
crease of  population.  The  whole  of 
what  was  previously  expended  ia 
luxuries,  by  capitalists  and  landlords, 
is  distributed  among  the  existing 
labourers,  in  the  form  of  additions 
wages.  We  will  assume  them  to  be 
aheady  sufficiently  supplied  with  neces- 
saries.  What  follows?  That  the 
labourers  become  consnroers  of  luxu- 
ries; and  the  capital  previously  en>- 
ploved  in  the  production  of  luxuries,  is 
still  aUe  to  employ  itself  in  the  same 
manner:  thedifierence  being,  thai  th» 


FDKDAMKNtAL  PROPOSITIONS  ON  CAPlTAt. 


lnxnrieB  are  shared  amone  the  com- 
miinity  generally,  instead  <n  hemg  con- 
fined to  a  few.  The  increased  acctunn- 
lation  and  increased  production  might, 
rigorously  speaking,  continue,  until 
eveiT  labourer  had  every  indulgence  of 
wealth,  consistent  with  continuing  to 
work;  supposing  that  the  power  of 
their  labour  were  physically  simcient  to 
produce  all  this  amount  oi  indulgences 
for  their  whole  number.  Thus  the 
limit  oi  wealth  is  never  deficiency  of 
consumers,  but  of  producers  and  pro- 
ductive j)0wer.  Every  addition  to 
capital  gives  to  labour  either  additional 
employment,  or  additional  remunera- 
tion ;  enriches  either  the  country,  or 
the  labouring  class.  If  it  finds  addi- 
tional hands  to  set  to  work,  it  increases 
the  aggregate  produce:  if  only  the 
same  hands,  it  gives  them  a  larger 
share  of  it ;  and  perhaps  even  in  this 
case,  by  stimulatmg  them  to  ^atcr 
exertion,  augments  the  produce  itself. 

§  4.  A  second  fundamental  theorem 
respecting  Capital,  relates  to  the  source 
from  whi5i  it  is  derived.  It  is  the  re- 
sult of  saving.  The  evidence  of  this 
lies  abundantly  in  what  has  been  al- 
ready said  on  the  subject.  But  the 
proposition  needs  some  further  illus- 
tration. 

If  all  persons  were  to  expend  in  per- 
sonal indulgences  all  that  they  produce, 
and  all  the  income  they  receive  from 
what  is  produced  by  others,  capital 
could  not  mcrease.  All  capital,  with  a 
trifling  exception,  was  originally  the 
result  of  savmg.  I  say,  with  a  trifling 
exception;  because  a  person  who  la- 
bours on  his  own  account,  may  spend 
on  his  own  account  all  he  produces, 
without  becoming  destitute;  and  the 
provision  of  necessaries  on  which  he 
subsists  until  he  has  reaped  his  harvest, 
or  sold  his  commodity,  though  a  real 
capital,  cannot  be  said  to  have  been 
saved,  since  it  is  all  used  for  the  sup- 
ply of  his  own  wants,  and  perhaps  as 
speedily  as  if  it  had  been  consumed  in 
idleness.  We  may  imagine  a  number 
•f  individuals  or  utmilies  settled  on  as 
aumy  separate  pieces  of  land,  each 
Bring  on  what  their  own  labour  pro- 
duces, and  consuming  the  whole  pro- 


dace.  But  even  these  miiat  ds^e  (that 
is,  spare  from  their  personal  consionp' 
tion)  as  much  as  is  necessary  for  seed. 
Some  saving,  therefore,  there  must  have 
been,  even  in  this  simplest  of  all  states 
of  economical  relations;  people  must 
have  produced  more  than  they  used,  or 
used  less  than  they  produced.  Still 
more  must  they  do  so  Defore  they  can 
employ  other  labourers,  or  increase  their 
production  beyond  what  can  be  accom- 
plished by  the  work  of  their  own  hands. 
All  that  any  one  employs  in  supporting 
and  canying  on  any  other  labour  than 
his  own,  must  have  been  originally 
brought  together  by  saving ;  somebody 
must  have  produced  it  and  forborne  to 
consume  it.  We  may  say,  therefore, 
without  material  inaccuracy,  that  all 
capital,  and  especially  all  addition  to 
capital,  are  the  result  of  saving. 

In  a  rude  and  violent  state  of  society, 
it  contiaually  happens  that  the  person 
who  has  capital  is  not  the  very  person 
who  has  saved  it,  but  some  one  who, 
being  sti-onger,  or  belonging  to  a  more 
powerful  commtmity,  nas  possessed 
nimself  of  it  by  plunder.  And  even  in 
a  state  of  things  in  which  property  was 
protected,  the  increase  ofcapitiu  has 
usually  been,  for  a  long  time,  mainly 
derived  from  privations  which,  though 
essentially  the  same  with  saving,  are 
not  generally  called  by  that  name,  be- 
cause not  voluntary.  The  actual  pro- 
ducers have  been  slaves,  compelled  to 
produce  as  much  as  force  oould  extort 
n*om  them,  and  to  consume  as  little  as 
the  self-interest  or  the  usually  very 
slender  humanity  of  their  taslmiasters 
would  permit.  Ibis  kind  of  compul- 
sory saving,  however,  would  not  have 
caused  any  increas?  of  capital,  iiniegs 
a  part  of  the  amouY>i  had  been  saved 
over  again,  vohmtarily,  by  the  master. 
If  all  that  he  made  his  slaves  prodvce 
and  forbear  to  consume,  had  been  c<m- 
sumed  by  him  on  personal  indulgences, 
he  woula  not  have  increased  his  capital, 
nor  been  enabled  to  maintain  an  in- 
creasing number  of  slaves.  To  main- 
tain any  slaves  at  all,  impfied  a  pre- 
vious saving ;  a  stock,  at  least  of  food, 
prorided  in  advance.  This  saving  may 
not,  however,  have  been  made  by  any 
■elf-imposed  privation  of  the 


44 

but  more  probably  by  that  of  the  slaves 
themselyes  while  free;  the  rapine  or 
war,  which  deprived  them  of  their  per- 
sonal liberty,  having  transferred  also 
their  accnmulations  to  the  conaueror. 

There  are  other  cases  in  wmch  the 
term  saving,  with  the  associations  usu- 
ally belonging  to  it,  does  not  exactly 
fit  the  operation  by  which  capital  is 
increased!  If  it  were  said,  for  instance, 
that  the  onljr  waj  to  accelerate  the  in- 
crease of  capital  is  by  increase  of  saving, 
the  idea  would  probably  be  suggested 
of  greater  abstinence,  and  increased 
privation.  But  it  is  obvious  that  what- 
ever increases  the  productive  power  of 
labour,  creates  an  additional  fund  to 
make  savings  from,  and  enables  capital 
to  be  enlarged  not  only  without  addi- 
tional privation,  but  concurrently  with 
an  increase  of  personal  consumption. 
Nevertheless,  there  is  here  an  increase 
of  saving,  in  the  scientific  sense. 
Though  there  is  more  consumed,  there 
is  also  more  spared.  There  is  a  greater 
excess  of  proauction  over  consumption. 
It  is  consistent  with  correctness  to  call 
this  a  greater  saving.  Though  the 
term  is  not  unobjectionable,  there  is  no 
other  which  is  not  liable  to  as  great 
objections.  To  consume  less  than  is 
produced,  is  saving;  and  that  is  the 
process  by  which  capital  is  increased ; 
not  necessarily  by  consuming  less,  ab- 
solutely. We  must  not  allow  ourselves 
to  be  so  much  the  slaves  of  words,  as 
to  be  unable  to  use  the  word  saving  in 
this  sense,  without  being  in  danger  of 
forgetting  that  to  increase  capital  there 
is  another  way  besides  consuming  lesSj 
namely,  to  produce  more. 

§  5.  A  third  fundamental  theorem 
respecting  Capital,  closely  connected 
witn  the  one  last  discussed,  is,  that 
although  saved,  and  the  result  of 
saving,  it  is  nevertheless  consumed. 
The  word  saving  does  not  imply  that 
what  is  saved  is  not  consumed,  nor 
even  necessarily  that  its  consumption 
is  deferred ;  but  only  that,  if  consumed 
immediately,  it  is  not  consumed  by  the 
person  who  saves  it.  If  merely  laid 
by  for  future  use,  it  is  said  to  be 
hoarded;  and  while  hoarded,  is  not 
ponsumed  at  alL    But  if  employed  as 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  V.    $  6. 


capital,  it  is  all  consumed ;  though  not 
by  the  capitalist.  Part  is  exchanged 
for  tools  or  machinery,  which  are  worn 
out  by  use :  part  for  seed  or  materials, 
which  are  destroyed  as  such  by  being 
sown  or  wrought  up,  and  destroyed  at 
together  by  the  consumption  of  the 
ultimate  product.  The  remainder  is 
paid  in  wages  to  productive  labourers, 
who  consume  it  for  their  daily  wants  ; 
or  if  they  in  their  turn  save  any  part,  this 
also  is  not,  generally  speaking,  iioarded, 
but  (through  savings  banks,  benefit 
clubs,  or  some  other  channel)  re-em- 
ployed as  capital,  and  consumed. 

The  principle  now  stated  is  a  strong 
example  of  the  necessity  of  attention  to 
the  most  elementary  truths  of  our  sub- 
ject :  for  it  is  one  of  the  most  elemen- 
tary of  them  all,  and  yet  no  one  who 
has  not  bestowed  some  thought  on  the 
matter  is  habitually  aware  of  it,  and 
most  are  not  even  willing  to  admit  H 
when  first  stated.  To  the  vulvar,  it  is 
not  at  all  apparent  that  what  is  saved 
is  consumed.  To  them,  every  one  who 
saves,  appears  in  the  light  of  a  person 
who  hoards ;  they  may  think  sucn  con- 
duct permissible,  or  even  laudable,  when 
it  is  to  provide  for  a  family,  and  the 
like ;  but  they  have  no  conception  of  it 
as  doing  good  to  other  people :  saving 
is  to  them  another  wora  for  keeping  a 
thing  to  oneself;  while  spending  ap- 
pears to  them  to  be  distributing  it 
among  others.  The  person  who  ex- 
pends  his  fortune  in  unproductive  con- 
sumption, is  looked  upon  as  difiusing 
benefits  all  around ;  and  is  an  object 
of  so  much  favour,  that  some  portion 
of  the  same  popularity  attaches  even 
to  him  who  spends  what  does  not  be- 
long to  him ;  who  not  onlv  destroys  his 
own  capital,  if  he  ever  bad  any,  but, 
under  pretence  of  borrowing,  and  on 
promise  of  repayment,  possesses  him- 
self of  capital  oelonging  to  others,  and 
destroys  that  likewise. 

This  popular  error  comes  from  at- 
tending to  a  small  portion  only  of  the 
consequences  that  flow  from  the  saving 
or  the  spending;  all  the  effects  of 
either  which  are  out  of  sight,  being  out 
of  mind.  The  eye  follows  what  is  saved, 
into  an  imaginary  strong  box,  and  there 
loses  sight  of  it ;  what  is  spent,  it  fol* 


FUNDAMENTAL  PROPOSITIONS  ON  CAPITAL. 


45 


lows  into  the  hands  of  tradespeople  and 
dependttlts ;  but  withont  reaching  the 
ultimate  destination  in  either  case. 
Saving  (for  productive  investment),  and 
spending,  coincide  very  closely  in  the 
first  stage  of  their  operations.  The 
efiects  ofboth  begin  with  consumption ; 
with  the  destruction  of  a  certain  portion 
of  wealth ;  only  the  things  consumed, 
and  the  persons  consuming,  are  different. 
There  is,  in  the  one  case,  a  wearing  out 
of  tools,  a  destruction  of  material,  and 
a  quantity  of  food  and  clothing  supplied 
to  labourers,  which  they  destroy  by  use ; 
m  the  other  case,  there  is  a  consamp- 
tion,  that  is  to  say,  a  destruction,  of 
wines,  equipages,  and  furniture.  Thus 
far,  the  consequence  to  the  national 
wealth  has  been  much  the  same ;  an 
equivalent  quantity  of  it  has  been  de- 
stroyed in  both  cases.  But  in  the 
spending,  this  first  stage  is  also  the 
final  stage ;  that  particular  amount  of 
the  produce  of  labour  has  disappeared, 
and  there  is  nothing  left ;  while,  on  the 
contrary,  the  saving  person,  during  the 
whole  time  that  the  destruction  was 
going  on,  has  had  labourers  at  work 
repairing  it ;  who  are  ultimately  found 
to  have  replaced,  with  an  increase,  the 
equivalent  of  what  has  been  consumed. 
And  as  this  operation  admits  of  being 
repeated  indefinitely  without  any  iresh 
act  of  saving,  a  saving^  once  made  be- 
comes a  fimd  to  maintain  a  correspond- 
ing number  of  labourers  in  perpetuity, 
reproducing  annually  their  own  mainte- 
nance with  a  profit. 
'  It  is  the  intervention  of  money  which 
(Obscures,  to  an  unpractised  apprehen- 
sion, the  true  character  of  these  pheno- 
fnena.  Almost  all  expenditure  being 
'carried  on  by  means  of  money,  the 
money  comes  to  be  looked  upon  as  the 
main  feature  in  the  transaction ;  and 
since  that  does  not  perish,  but  only 
changes  hands,  people  overlook  the 
destruction  which  takes  place  in  the 
case  of  unproductive  expenditure.  The 
money  being  merely  transferred,  they 
iUnk  the  wealth  also  has  only  been 
handed  over  from  the  spendtluift  to 
other  people.  But  this  is  simply  con- 
founding money  with  wealth.  The 
wealth  which  has  been  destroyed  was 
not  the  money,  but  the  wines,  equipages, 


and  fumitore  which  the  money  pur- 
chased; and  these  having  been  de- 
stroyed without  return,  society  collec- 
tively is  poorer  by  the  amount  It  may 
be  said,  perhaps,  that  wines,  equipages, 
and  furniture,  are  not  subsistence,  tools, 
and  materials,  and  could  not  in  any 
case  have  been  applied  to  the  support 
of  labour ;  that  they  are  adapted  for  no 
other  than  unproductive  oonsumption, 
and  that  the  detriment  to  the  wealth 
of  the  community  was  when  they  were 
produced,  not  when  they  were  con- 
sumed. I  am  willing  to  allow  this,  as 
far  as  is  necessary  for  the  argument, 
and  the  remark  would  be  very  perti- 
nent if  these  expensive  luxuries  were 
drawn  from  an  existing  stock,  never  to 
be  replenished.  But  since,  on  the  con- 
trary, they  continue  to  be  produced  as 
long  as  there  are  consumers  for  them, 
and  are  produced  in  increased  quantity 
to  meet  an  increased  demand;  the 
choice  made  by  a  consumer  to  expend 
five  thousand  a  year  in  luxuries,  keeps 
a  corresponding  number  of  labourers 
employea  fix)m  year  to  year  in  pro- 
ducing things  which  can  oe  of  no  use 
to  production ;  their  services  being  lost 
so  far  as  regards  the  increase  of  the 
national  wealth,  and  the  tools,  mate- 
rials, and  food  which  they  annuaUy 
consume  being  so  much  subtracted 
from  the  general  stock  of  the  commu- 
nity applicable  to  productive  purposes. 
In  proportion  as  any  class  is  improvi- 
dent or  luxurious,  the  industry  of  the 
country  takes  the  direction  of  producing 
luxuries  for  their  use ;  while  not  only 
the  employment  for  productive  labourers 
is  diminished,  but  the  subsistence  and 
instruments  which  are  the  means  of 
such  employment  do  actually  exist  in 
smaller  quantity. 

Saving,  in  short,  enriches,  and  spend- 
ing impoverishes,  the  community  along 
with  tne  individual ;  which  is  but  say- 
ing in  other  words,  that  society  at  large 
is  richer  by  what  it  expends  in  main- 
taining and  aiding  productive  labour, 
but  poorer  by  what  it  consumes  in  its 
enjoyments.* 

*  It  it  worth  while  to  dlreet  attention  to 
several  oircomstances  which  to  a  certain  ex- 
tent diminish  the  detriment  caa«ed  to  the 
general    wealth  by   the  urudigalitj-  of  liw 


BOOK  I.    GHAFTEBV.    %  $. 


§  6.  To  retnm  to  our  fundamental 
theorem.  Everything  which  is  pro- 
duced is  consumed ;  both  what  is  saved 
and  what  is  said  to  be  spent :  and  the 
former  quite  as  rapidlj  as  the  latter. 
All  the  ordinary  forms  of  language  tend 
to  disguise  this.  When  people  talk  of 
the  ancient  wealth  of  a  country,  of 
nches  inherited  fixnn  ancestors,  and 
similar  expressions,  the  idea  suggested 
is,  that  the  riches  so  transmitted  were 
produced  lon^  ago,  at  the  time  when 
they  are  said  to  have  been  first  ac- 
quired, and  that  no  portion  of  the 
capital  of  the  country  was  produced 
this  year,  except  as  much  as  may  have 
been  this  year  added  to  the  total 
amount.  Tne  fact  is  flEu*  otherwise. 
The  greater  j^art,  in  value,  of  the 
wealth  now  existing  in  England  has 
been  produced  by  human  hands  within 
the  last  twelve  months.  A  very  small 
proportion  indeed  of  that  large  aggre- 
gate was  in  existence  ten  years  a^o  ; 
—of  the  present  productive  capital  of 
the  country  scarcely  any  part,  except 
farm-houses  and  manufactories,  and  a 

dividuals,  or  raise  up  a  compensation,  more 
or  less  ample,  as  a  consequence  of  the  detri- 
ment itself.  One  of  these  is  that  spend- 
thrifts du  not  usually  succeed  in  consuming 
M  they  spend.  Their  habitual  carelessness 
as  to  expenditure  causes  them  to  be  cheated 
and  robbed  on  all  quarters,  often  by  persons 
of  frugal  habits.  Large  accumulations  are 
continually  made  by  the  agents,  stewards, 
and  even  domestic  servants,  of  improvident 
persons  of  fortune;  and  they  pay  much 
higher  prices  for  all  purchases  than  people 
of  careful  habits,  which  accounts  for  their 
being  popular  as  customers.  They  are, 
therefore,  actually  not  able  to  get  into  their 
possession  and  destroy  a  quantity  of  wealth 
by  any  means  equivalent  to  the  fortune  which 
they  dissipate.  Much  of  it  is  merely  trans- 
ferred to  others,  by  whom  a  part  may  be 
saved.  Another  thing  to  be  observed  is, 
that  the  prodigality  of  some  may  reduce 
others  to  a  forced  economy.  Suppose  a  sud- 
den demand  for  some  article  of  luxury, 
caused  by  the  caprice  of  a  prodigal,  which 
not  having  been  calculated  on  beforehand, 
there  has  been  no  increase  of  the  usual 
supply.  The  price  will  rise ;  and  may  rise 
beyond  the  means  or  the  inclinations  of  some 
of  the  habitual  consumers,  who  may  in  con- 
sequence forego  their  accustomed  indulgence, 
and  save  the  amount.  If  they  do  not,  but 
continue  to  spend  as  great  a  value  as  before 
on  the  commodity,  the  dealers  in  it  obtain, 
fbr  onlv  the  same  quantity  of  the  article,  a 
return  uicreased  by  the  whole  of  what  the 
fpeDdtbrift  has  paid;  and  thqa  the  amoam 


few  ships  and  machines;  and  ev«n 
these  would  not  in  most  oases  have 
survived  so  long,  if  fresh  labour  had 
not  been  employed  within  that  period 
in  putting  them  into  repair.  The  lana 
subsists,  and  the  land  is  almost  the 
only  thing  that  subsists.  Everythirg 
which  is  produced  perishes,  and  most 
things  vetry  quicklv.  Most  kinds  of 
capital  are  not  fittea  by  their  nature  to 
be  long  preserved.  There  are  a  few, 
and  but  a  few  productions,  capable  ol 
a  very  polonged  existence.  West- 
minster Abbey  has  lasted  many  cen- 
turies, with  occasional  repairs;  soma 
Grecian  sculptures  have  existed  abova 
two   thousand   years;  the    Pyramidji 

S^rhaps  double  or  treble  that  time, 
ut  these  were  objects  devoted  to  un- 
productive use.  If  we  except  bridges 
and  aqueducts  (to  which  may  in  some 
countries  be  added  tanks  and  embank- 
ments), there  are  few  instances  of  any 
edifice  ax*plied  to  industrial  purposes 
which  has  been  of  great  duration; 
such  buildings  do  not  hold  out  against 
wear  and  tear,  nor  is  it  good  economy 

which  he  loses  is  transferred  bodily  to  them, 
and  may  be  added  to  their  capitsd :  his  in- 
creased personal  consumption  being  made  up 
by  the  privations  of  the  other  purchasers, 
who  have  obtained  less  than  usual  of  their 
accustomed  gratification  for  the  same  equiva- 
lent. On  the  other  hand,  a  counter-process 
must  be  going  on  somewhere,  since  the 
prodigal  must  have  diminished  his  purchases 
in  some  other  quarter  to  balance  the  aug- 
mentation in  this ;  he  has  perhaps  called  In 
funds  employed  in  sustaining  productive  la- 
bour, and  the  dealers  in  subsistence  and  ia 
the  instruments  of  production  have  had  com- 
modities left  on  their  hands,  or  hare  re- 
ceived, for  the  usual  amount  of  commodities, 
a  less  than  usual  return^  But  such  losses  of 
income  or  coital,  by  industrious  persons, 
except  when  of  extraordinary  amount,  are 
generally  made  up  by  increased  pinching  and 
privation  t  so  that  Uie  capital  of  the  com- 
munity may  not  be,  on  the  whole,  impaired, 
and  the  prodigal  may  have  had  hU  self- 
indulgence  at  the  expense  not  of  the  perma* 
nent  resources,  but  of  the  temporary  plea* 
sures  and  comforts  of  others.  For  in  every 
case  the  community  are  poorer  by  what  anj 
one  spends,  unless  others  are  in  consequence 
led  to  curtail  their  spending.  There  are  yet 
other  and  more  recondite  ways  in  which  the 
profusion  of  some  may  bring  about  its  com- 
pensation in  the  extra  savings  of  others;  but 
these  can  only  be  considered  in  that  part 
of  the  Fourth  Book,  which  treato  of  the 
limiting  principle  to  th«  anmmalatian  «f 


FUNDAMENTAL  PB0P0SIT10N8  ON  OaPTTAL. 


17 


l»  flODstnict  them  of  Uie  golidity 
meceamry  for  peniuuieiioj.  C«pital 
IB  kept  in  existence  from  age  to  age 
JK»t  by  preasiration,  but  bvj)6rpetual 
reprodoction :  every  pArt  of  it  it  used 
and  destroyed,  generally  very  foon  after 
it  is  produced,  but  those  wno  consume 
it  aro  employed  meanwhile  in  |>roduc- 
ing  move.  The  growth  of  capital  is 
similar  to  the  srowth  of  population. 
Kvery  individual  who  is  born,  dies,  but 
in  each  year  the  number  bom  exceeds 
tibe  number  who  die:  the  population, 
therefore,  idways  increases,  though  not 
one  person  of  those  composing  it  was 
•live  until  a  very  reoent  date. 

I  7.  This  perpetual  oonsumption 
•ad  reproduction  of  capital  affords  the 
e^lanation  of  what  has  so  often  excited 
wonder,  the  great  rapidity  with  which 
countries  recover  from  a  state  of  devas- 
tation ;  the  disappearance^  in  a  short 
time,  of  all  traces  of  the  mischiefs  done 
by  earthquakes,  £kM>ds,  hurricanes,  and 
the  ravages  of  war.  An  enemy  lays 
waste  a  country  by  fire  and  sword,  and 
destroys  or  carries  away  nearly  all  the 
moveable  wealth  existing  in  it :  all  the 
inhabitants  are  ruined,  and  yet  in  a 
few  years  after,  ever^hing  is  much  as 
it  was  before.  This  vis  medicatrix 
naturoR  has  been  a  subject^  of  sterile 
astonishment,  or  has  been  cited  to  ex- 
emplify the  wonderful  strength  of  the 
principle  of  saving,  which  can  repair 
such  enormous  losses  in  so  brief  an  in- 
terval. There  is  nothing  at  all  won- 
derful in  the  matter.  What  the  enemy 
have  destroyed,  would  have  been  de- 
stroyed in  a  little  time  by  the  inhabit- 
ants Uiemselves:  the  wealth  which 
they  so  rapidly  reproduce,  would  have 
needed  to  be  reproduced  and  would 
have  been  reproduced  in  any  case,  and 
probably  in  as  short  a  time.  Nothing 
18  changed,  except  that  during  the  re- 
production they  nave  not  now  the  ad- 
vantage of  consuming  what  had  been 
prodnoad  previously.  The  possibility 
of  a  rapid  repair  of  their  disasters, 
mainly  depends  on  whether  the  country 
has  been  depopulated.  If  its  effective 
population  have  not  been  extirpated  at 
the  time,  and  are  not  starved  after- 
wards ;  then,  with  the  s^me  skill  and 


knowledge  which  they  had  before,  witb 
their  land  and  its  permanent  improve- 
ments undestroyed,  and  the  more  dur- 
able buildings  probably  unimpaired,  or 
only  partially  injured,  they  have  nearly 
all  tne  requisites  for  their  former 
amount  of  production.  If  there  is  as 
much  of  food  left  to  them,  or  of  vvlu- 
ables  to  buy  food,  as  enables  them  by 
any  amount  of  privation  to  remain 
alive  and  in  woriong  condition,  they 
will  in  a  short  time  have  raised  as 
great  a  produce,  and  acquired  collec- 
tively as  great  wealth  and  as  great  a 
capital,  as  before ;  by  the  mere  conti- 
nuance of  that  ordinary  amount  of  ex- 
ertion which  they  are  accustomed  to 
employ  in  their  occupations.  Nor  does 
this  evince  any  strength  in  the  princi- 
ple of  saving,  in  the  popular  sense  of 
the  term,  since  what  takes  place  is  not 
intentional  abstinenoe,  but  mvoluntary 
privation. 

Yet  so  £atal  is  the  habit  of  thinking 
through  the  medium  of  onlv  one  set  of 
technical  phrases,  and  so  httle  reason 
have  studious  men  to  value  themselves 
on  being  exempt  from  the  very  same 
mental  infirmities  which  beset  the  vul- 
gar, that  this  simple  explanation  was 
never  given  ^so  far  as  I  am  aware)  by 
any  political  economist  before  Dr. 
Chalmers;  a  writer  many  of  whose 
opinions  I  think  erroneous,  but  who  has 
always  the  merit  of  studying  phenomena 
at  first  hand,  and  expressing  them  in  a 
language  of  his  own,  which  often  un- 
covers aspects  of  the  truth  that  the  re- 
oeived  phraseologies  only  tend  to  hide. 

§  8.  The  same  author  carries  out 
this  train  of  thought  to  some  important 
conclusions  on  another  closely  connected 
subject,  that  of  government  loans  foi 
war  purposes  or  other  unproductive  ex- 
penditure. These  loans,  being  drawn 
from  capital  (in  lieu  of  taxes,  which 
would  generaily  have  been  paid  from 
income,  and  made  up  in  part  or  alt(^ 
gether  by  increased  economy)  must, 
according  to  the  principles  we  have 
laid  down,  tend  to  impoverish  the 
country:  yet  the  years  m  which  ex- 
penditure of  this  sort  has  been  on  the 
greatest  scaie,  have  oft»n  been  years  of 
great  apparent  prosperity :  the  wealUi 


BOOK  I.   CHAPTER  V.    §  8. 


And  resources  of  the  country,  instead  of 
diminishiDg,  have  given  eveiy  sign  of 
rapid  increase  during  the  process,  and 
of  greatly  expanded  dimensions  after 
its  close.  This  was  confessedly  the 
case  with  Great  Britain  during  the  last 
long  Continental  war;  and  it  would 
take  some  space  to  enumerate  all  the 
unfounded  theories  in  political  economy, 
to  which  that  fact  gave  rise,  and  to 
which  it  secured  temporary  credence ; 
almost  all  tending  to  exalt  unproduc- 
tive expenditure,  at  the  expense  of  pro- 
ductive. Without  entering  into  all  the 
causes  which  operated,  and  which 
commonly  do  operate,  to  prevent  these 
extraordinary  di*afts  on  the  productive 
resources  of  a  country  from  being  so 
much  felt  as  it  might  seem  reasonable 
to  expect,  we  will  suppose  the  most 
unfavourable  case  possible:  that  the 
whole  amount  borrowed  and  destroyed 
by  the  government,  was  abstractea  by 
the  lenaer  from  a  productive  employ- 
ment in  which  it  had  actually  been  in- 
vested. The  capital,  therefore,  of  the 
country,  is  this  year  diminished  by  so 
much.  But  unless  the  amount  ab- 
stracted is  something  enormous,  there 
is  no  reason  in  the  nature  of  the  case 
why  next  year  the  national  capital 
should  not  be  as  great  as  ever.  The 
loan  cannot  have  been  taken  from  that 
portion  of  the  capital  of  the  country 
which  consists  of  tools,  machinery,  and 
buildings.  It  must  have  been  wholly 
drawn  from  the  portion  employed  in 
paving  labourers :  and  the  labourers 
will  suffer  accordingly.  But  if  none  of 
them  are  starved ;  if  their  wages  can 
bear  such  an  amount  of  reduction,  or 
»f  charity  interposes  between  them  and 
absolute  destitution,  there  is  no  reason 
that  their  labour  should  produce  less 
in  the  next  year  than  m  the  year 
before.  If  they  produce  as  much  as 
usual,  having  been  paid  less  by  so 
many  millions  sterling,  these  millions 
are  gained  by  their  employers.  The 
breach  made  in  the  capital  of  the 
country  is  thus  instantly  repaired,  but 
repaired  by  the  privations  and  often 
the  real  miserv  of  the  labouring  class. 
Here  is  ample  reason  why  such  periods, 
even  in  the  most  unfavourable  circum- 
stances, may  easily  be  times  of  great 


gain  to  those  whose  prosperity  usually 
passes,  in  the  estimation  of  society,  foi 
national  prosperity.* 

This  leads  to  the  vexed  question  to 
which  Dr.  Chalmers  has  very  particu- 
larly adverted ;  whether  the  funds  re- 
quired by  a  government  for  extraor- 
dinary unproductive  expenditure,  are 
best  raised  by  loans,  the  interest  only 
being  provided  by  taxes,  or  whether 
taxes  should  be  at  once  laid  on  to  the 
whole  amount ;  which  is  called  in  the 
financial  vocabulary,  raising  the  whole 
of  the  supplies  within  the  year.  Dr. 
Chalmers  is  strongly  for  the  latter 
method.  He  says,  the  common  notion 
is  that  in  calling  for  the  whole  amount 
in  one  year,  you  require  what  is  either 
impossible,  or  very  inconvenient ;  that 
the  people  cannot,  without  great  hard- 
ship, pay  the  whole  at  once  out  of  their 

*  On  the  other  hand,  it  most  be  remem- 
bered that  war  abstracts  from  praductive 
employment  not  only  capital,  but  likevirige 
labourers,  that  the  funds  withdrawn  from 
the  remuneration  of  productive  labourers 
are  partly  employed  in  paying  the  same  or 
other  indiTiduals  for  unproductive  labour  ; 
and  that  by  this  portion  of  its  effects,  war 
expenditure  acts  in  precisely  the  opposite 
manner  to  that  which  Dr.  Chalmers  points 
out,  and,  so  far  as  it  goes,  directly  counter- 
acts the  effects  described  in  the  text.  So  far 
as  labourers  are  taken  from  production  to 
man  the  army  and  navy,  the  labouring 
classes  are  not  damaged,  the  capitalists  aro 
not  benefited,  and  the  general  produce  of 
the  country  is  diminished  by  war  expendi- 
ture. Accordingly,  Dr.  Chalmers's  doctrine, 
though  true  of  this  country,  is  wholly  inap- 
plicable to  countries  differently  circum- 
stanced ;  to  France,  for  example,  during  the 
Napoleon  wars.  At  that  period  the  draught 
on  the  labouring  population  of  France,  for  a 
long  series  of  years,  was  enormous,  while 
the  funds  which  supported  the  war  were 
mostly  supplied  by  contributions  levied  on 
the  countries  overrun  by  the  French  arms, 
a  very  small  proportion  alone  consisting  of 
French  capital.  In  France,  accordingly,  the 
wages  of  labour  did  not  fall,  but  rose  ;  the 
employers  of  labour  were  not  benefited,  but 
injured ;  while  the  wealth  of  the  country  was 
impaired  by  the  suspension  or  total  loss  of  so 
vast  an  amount  of  its  productive  labour.  In 
England  all  this  was  reversed.  England 
employed  comparatively  fSsw  additional 
soldiers  and  sailors  of  her  own,  while  she 
diverted  hundreds  of  millions  of  capital  from 
productive  employment,  to  supply  munitions 
of  war  and  support  armies  for  her  Conti- 
nental allies.  Consequently,  as  shown  in  the 
text,  her  labourers  suffered,  her  capitalists 
prospered,  and  her  permanent  produotira 
resources  did  not  tall  off 


FUNDAMENTAL  PROPOSITIONS  ON  CAPITAL. 


40 


yearly  income;  and  that  it  is  much 
oetter  to  require  of  them  a  small  pay- 
ment every  year  in  the  shape  of  interest, 
than  so  groat  a  sacrifice  once  for  alL 
To  which  his  answer  is,  that  the  sacri- 
fice is  made  equally  in  either  case. 
Whatever  is  spent,  cannot  hut  he 
drawn  from  yearn  income.  The  whole 
and  every  part  of  the  wealth  produced 
in  the  country,  forms,  or  helps  to  form, 
the  yearly  income  of  somehody.  The 
privation  which  it  is  supposed  must 
result  from  taking  the  amount  in  the 
shape  of  taxes,  is  not  avoided  hy  taking 
it  in  a  loan.  The  suffering  is  not 
averted,  but  only  thrown  upon  the 
labouring  classes,  the  least  aole,  and 
who  least  ought,  to  bear  it :  while  all 
the  inconveniences,  physical,  moral, 
and  political,  producea  by  maintaining 
taxes  for  the  perpetual  payment  of  the 
interest,  are  incurred  in  pure  loss. 
Whenever  capital  is  withdrawn  from 
production,  or  from  the  fund  destined 
for  production,  to  be  lent  to  the  State 
and  expended  unproductively,  that 
whole  sum  is  withheld  frt>m  the 
labouring  classes :  the  loan,  therefore, 
is  in  truth  paid  off  the  same  year ;  the 
whole  of  the  sacrifice  necessary  for 
paying  it  off  is  actually  made :  only  it 
IB  paid  to  the  wrong  persons,  and 
therefore  does  not  extingmsh  the  claim; 
and  paid  by  the  very  worst  of  taxes,  a 
tax  exclusively  on  the  labouring  class. 
And  after  having,  in  this  most  painful 
and  unjust  way,  gone  through  the 
whole  effort  necessary  for  extinguishing 
the  debt,  the  countir  remains  charged 
with  it,  and  with  tne  payment  of  its 
interest  in  perpetuity. 
These  views  appear  to  me  strictly 

{*u8t,  in  so  far  as  the  value  absorbed  in 
oans  would  otherwise  have  been  em- 
ployed in  productive  industry  within 
the  country.  The  practical  state  of  the 
case,  however,  seldom  exactly  corre- 
sponds with  this  supposition.^  The 
loans  of  the  less  wealthy  countries  are 
made  chiefly  with  foreign  capital,  which 
would  not,  perhaps,  have  been  brought 
in  to  be  invested  on  any  less  security 
than  that  of  the  government:  while 
those  of  rich  and  prosperous  countries 
Mre  generally  made,  not  with  fdndfl 
withdrawn   from  productive   employ- 


ment, but  with  the  new  accumulations 
constantlv  making  from  income,  and 
often  witn  a  part  of  them  which,  if  not 
so  taken,  would  have  migrated  to  colo- 
nies, or  sought  other  investment* 
abroad.  In  these  cases  (which  will 
be  more  particularly  examined  herfr> 
after*),  the  sum  wanted  may  be  ob' 
tained  by  loan  without  detriment  to  the 
labourers,  or  derangement  of  the  na- 
tional indu9trv,  and  even  perhaps  with 
advantaflre  to  both,  in  comparison  with 
raising  the  amount  by  taxation ;  since 
taxes,  especially  when  heavy,  are  al- 
most always  partly  paid  at  the  expense 
of  what  would  otherwise  have  been 
saved  and  added  to  capital.  Besides, 
in  a  country  which  makes  so  great 
yearly  additions  to  its  wealth  that  a 
part  can  be  taken  and  expended  un- 
productively without  diminishing  capi- 
tal, or  even  preventing  a  considerable 
increase,  it  is  evident  that  even  if  the 
whole  ot  what  is  so  taken  would  have 
become  capital,  and  obtained  employ- 
ment in  the  country,  the  effect  on  the 
labouring  classes  is  far  less  prejudicial, 
and  the  case  against  the  loan  system 
much  less  strong,  than  in  the  case  first 
supposed.  This  brief  anticipation  of  a 
discussion  which  will  find  its  proper 
place  elsewhere,  appeared  necessary  to 
prevent  false  inferences  from  the  pre- 
mises previoasly  laid  down. 

§  9.  We  now  pass  to  a  fourth  fun- 
damental theorem  respecting  Capital, 
which  is,  perhaps,  oftener  overlooked 
or  misconceived  tnan  even  any  of  the 
foregoing.  What  supports  and  employs 
productive  labour,  is  the  capital  ex- 
pended in  setting  it  to  work,  and  not 
the  demand  of  purchasers  for  the  pro- 
duce of  the  labour  when  completed. 
Demand  for  commodities  is  not  demand 
for  labour.  The  demand  for  commodi- 
ties determines  in  what  particulai 
branch  of  production  the  labour  and 
capital  shall  be  emploved ;  it  deter , 
mines  the  direction  of  the  labour ;  but . 
not  the  more  or  less  of  the  labour  itself 
or  of  the  maintenance  or  payment  of 
the  labour.  These  depend  on  the 
amount  of  the  capital,  or  other  fonds 

*  infra,  book  ir.  cJmpt.  iv.  v. 


50 

directly  detoted  to  the  sustenance  and 
remuneration  of  labour. 

Suppose,  for  instance,  that  there  is 
a  demand  for  velvet ;  a  fund  ready  to 
be  laid  out  in  buying  velvet,  but  no 
capital  to  establish  the  manufacture. 
It  is  of  no  consequence  how  great  the 
demand  may  be ;  unless  capital  is  at- 
tracted into  the  occupation,  there  will 
be  no  velvet  made,  and  consequei;i1y 
none  bought ;  unless,  indeed,  the  desire 
of  the  intending  purchaser  for  it  is  so 
strong,  that  he  employs  part  of  the 
price  he  would  have  paia  for  it,  in 
making  advances  to  work-people,  that 
they  may  employ  themselves  in  making 
velvet ;  that  is,  unless  he  converts  part 
of  his  income  into  capital,  and  invests 
that  capital  in  the  manufacture.  Let 
us  now  reverse  the  hypothesis,  and  sup- 
pose that  there  is  plenty  of  capital 
ready  for  making  velvet,  but  no  de- 
mand. Velvet  will  not  be  made ;  but 
there  is  no  particular  preference  on  the 
part  of  capital  for  making  velvet.  Ma- 
nufacturers and  their  labourers  do  not 
produce  for  the  pleasure  of  their  cus- 
tomers, but  for  the  supply  of  their  own 
wants,  and  having  still  the  capital  and 
the  labour  which  are  the  essentials  of 
production,  they  can  either  produce 
something  else  which  is  in  demand,  or 
if  there  be  no  other  demand,  they 
themselves  have  one,  and  can  produce 
the  things  which  they  want  for  their 
own  consumption.  So  that  the  employ- 
ment afforded  to  labour  does  not  depend 
on  the  purchasers,  but  on  the  capital. 
I  am,  of  course,  not  taking  into  con- 
sideraticm  the  eiSects  of  a  sudden 
change.  If  the  demand  ceases  unex- 
pectedly, after  the  commodity  to  supply 
it  is  already  produced,  this  introduces 
a  different  element  into  the  question : 
the  capital  has  actually  been  consumed 
in  producing  something  which  nobody 
wants  or  uses,  and  it  has  therefore 
perished,  and  the  employment  which 
it  gave  to  labour  is  at  an  end,  not  be- 
cause there  is  bo  longer  a  demand,  but 
because  there  is  bo  kynger  a  capital. 
This  case  therefore  does  not  test  the 
principle.  The  proper  test  is,  to  sup- 
pose that  the  change  is  ^adual  and 
tbrcveen,  and  is  attended  with  no  waste 
of  capiul,  the  manufacture  being  dis- 


BOOK  I     CHAFrER  V.    |  9. 


continued  by  merely  not  replacing  the 
machinery  as  it  wears  out,  and  not  re- 
investing the  money  as  it  comes  in  firom 
the  sale  of  the  produce.  The  capital 
is  thus  ready  for  a  new  employment,  in 
which  it  will  maintain  as  much  labour 
as  before.  The  manufacturer  and  his 
work-people  lose  the  benefit  of  the  skill 
and  knowledge  which  they  had  ac- 
quired in  the  particular  business,  and 
which  can  only  be  partially  of  use  to 
them  in  any  other;  and  that  is  the 
amount  of  loss  to  the  community  by  the 
change.  But  the  labourers  can  still 
work,  and  the  capital  which  previously 
employed  them  will,  either  in  the  same 
hands,  or  by  being  lent  to  others, 
employ  either  those  labourers  or  an 
equivalent  number  in  some  other  occu- 
pation. 

This  theorem,  that  to  purchase  pre 
duce  is  not  to  employ  labour ;  that  the 
demand  for  labour  is  constituted  by  the 
wages  which  precede  the  production, 
and  not  by  the  demand  which  may 
exist  for  the  commodities  resulting  from 
the  production ;  is  a  proposition  which 
greatly  needs  all  the  illustration  it  can 
receive.  It  is,  to  common  apprehen- 
sion, a  paradox ;  and  even  among  poli- 
tical economists  of  reputation,  I  can 
hardly  point  to  any,  except  Mr.  Eicardo 
and  M.  Say,  who  have  kept  it  con- 
stantly and  steadily  in  view.  Almost 
all  others  occasionally  express  them- 
selves as  if  a  person  who  buys  com- 
modities, the  produce  of  labour,  was  an 
employer  of  labour,  and  created  a  de- 
mand for  it  as  really,  and  in  the  same 
sense,  as  if  he  bought  the  labour  itself 
directly,  by  the  payment  of  wages.  It 
is  no  wonder  that  political  economy 
advances  slowly,  when  such  a  question 
as  this  still  remains  open  at  its  very 
threshold.  I  apprehend,  that  if  by  de- 
mand for  labour  DO  meant  the  demand 
by  which  wages  are  raised,  or  the  num- 
ber of  labourers  in  employment  in- 
creased, demand  for  commodities  doesw 
not  constitute  demand  for  labour.  l\ 
conceive  that  a  person  who  buys  com-  I 
modities  and  consumes  them  himsell 
does  no  good  to  the  labouring  classes «  I 
and  that  it  is  only  by  what  he  abstains 
from  consuming,  ana  expends  in  direct 
paymente  to  labonron  m  %xckmtgt  frn^ 


FUNDAMENTAL  PROPOSITIONS  ON  CAPITAL. 


(  labonr.  that  he  benefits  the  labouring 

y  classes,  or  adds  anything  to  the  amount 

S  of  their  employment. 

\_^^F<fr  the  better  illustration  of  the 
principle,  let  na  put  the  foMowin^  case. 
A  consumer  may  expend  his  income 
either  in  buying  services  or  commodi- 
ties.  He  may  employ  part  of  it  in 
luring  journeymen  bricklayers  to  build 
a  house,  or  excavators  to  dig  artificial 
lakes,  or  labourers  to  make  plantations 
and  lay  out  pleasure-grounds;  or,  in- 
stead of  this,  ne  may  expend  the  same 
value  in  baying  velvet  and  lace.  The 
question  is,  whether  the  difierence  be- 
tween these  two  modes  of  expending 
his  income  afifects  the  interest  of  the 
labouring  classes.  It  is  plain  that  in 
the  first  of  the  two  cases  he  employs 
labourers,  who  will  be  out  of  employ- 
ment, or  at  least  out  of  that  employ- 
menty  in  the  opposite  case.  But  those 
from  whom  I  differ  say  that  this  is  of 
no  oonse(»ience,  because  in  buying 
velvet  and  lace  he  equally  employs 
labourers,  namely,  those  who  make  the 
velvet  and  lace.  I  contend,  however, 
that  in  this  last  case  he  does  not  em- 
ploy labourers ;  but  merely  decides  in 
what  kind  of  work  some  other  person 
shall  employ  them.  The  consumer 
does  not  with  his  own  fimds  pay  to  the 
weavers  and  lacemakers  their  day's 
wages.  He  buys  the  finished  com- 
modity, which  has  been  produced  by 
labour  and  capital  the  labour  not  being 
paid  nor  the  capital  furnished  by  him, 
but  by  the  manufacturer.  Suppose 
that  he  had  been  in  the  habit  of  ex- 
pending this  portion  of  his  income  in 
hiring  journeymen  bricklayers,  who 
laid  out  the  amount  of  their  wages  in 
food  and  clothing,  which  were  also  pro- 
duced by  labour  and  capital.  He, 
however,  determines  to  prefer  velvet, 
for  which  he  thus  creates  an  extra  de- 
mand. This  demand  cannot  be  satis- 
fied without  an  extra  supply,  nor  can 
the  wof^lj  be  produced  without  an  ex- 
tra capital :  where,  then,  is  the  capital 
to  come  from?  There  is  nothing  in  the 
consumer's  change  of  purpose  which 
makes  the  capital  <^'  the  country 
greater  than  it  otherwise  was.  It  ap- 
peaifi,  then,  that  the  increased  demand 
fnr  velvet  coold  not  for  the  pNiSiii  be 


51 


supplied,  were  it  not  that  the  very  cir- 
cumstance which  gave  rise  to  it  has  set 
at  liberty  a  capital  of  the  exact  amount 
required.  The  very  sum  which  the 
consumer  now  employs  in  buying  vel- 
vet, formerly  passed  into  the  tands  of 
journeymen  bricklayers,  who  expended 
it  in  food  and  necessaries,  which  they 
now  either  go  without,  or  squeeze  by 
their  competition,  from  the  shares  of 
other  labourers.    The  labour  and  ca- 

Sital,  therefore^  which  formerly  pro- 
uced  necessanes  for  the  use  of  these 
bricklayers,  are  deprived  of  their  mar- 
ket, and  must  look  out  for  other  em- 
ployment ;  and  they  find  it  in  making 
velvet  for  the  new  demand.  I  do  not 
mean  that  the  very  same  labour  and 
capital  which  produced  the  necessaries 
turn  themselves  to  producing  the  vel- 
vet ;  but,  in  some  one  or  other  of  a 
hundred  modes,  they  take  the  place  of 
that  which  does.  There  was  capital 
in  existence  to  do  one  of  two  things — 
to  make  the  velvet,  or  to  produce  ne- 
cessaries for  the  journeymen  brick- 
layers ;  but  not  to  do  both.  It  was  at 
the  option  of  the  consumer  which  of 
the  two  should  happen;  and  if  he 
chooses  the  velvet,'  they  go  without 
the  necessaries. 

For  further  illustration,  let  us  sup- 
pose the  same  case  reversed.  Tne 
consumer  has  been  accustomed  to  buy 
velvet,  but  resolves  to  discontinue  that 
expense,  and  to  employ  the  same 
annual  sum  in  hiring  oncklayers.  If 
the  common  opinion  be  correct,  this 
change  in  the  mode  of  his  expenditure 

S'ves  no  additional  employment  to 
hour,  but  only  transfers  employment 
fit)m  velvet-makers  to  bricklayers.  On 
closer  inspection,  however,  it  will  be 
seen  that  there  is  an  increase  of  the 
total  sum  applied  to  the  remuneration 
of  labour,  llie  velvet  manufacturer, 
supposing  him  aware  of  the  diminished 
demand  for  his  commodity,  diminishes 
the  production,  and  sets  at  liberty  a 
corresponding  portion  of  the  capital 
employed  in  the  manufacture.  This 
capital,  thus  withdrawn  from  the 
maintenance  of  velvet-makers,  is  not 
the  same  fund  with  that  which  the  cus 
tomer  employs  in  maintainine  brick 
laywrs ;  it  is  a  seoond  fond.     There  ave 


52 

therefore  two  funds  to  be  emplojred  in 
the  maintenance  and  remuneration  of 
labour,  where  before  there  was  only 
one.    There  is  not  a  transfer  of  em- 

J)loyment  from  velvet-makers  to  brick- 
ayers;  there  is  a  new  employment 
created  for  bricklayers,  and  a  transfer 
of  employment  from  velvet-makers  to 
some  other  labourers,  most  probably 
those  who  produce  the  food  and  other 
things  which  the  bricklayers  consume. 

Li  answer  to  this  it  is  said,  that 
though  money  laid  out  in  buying  velvet 
is  not  capital,  it  replaces  a  capital; 
that  though  it  does  not  create  a  new 
demand  for  labour,  it  is  the  necessary 
means  of  enabling  the  existing  demand 
to  be  kept  up.  The  funds  (it  may  be 
said)  of  the  manufacturer,  while  locked 
up  in  velvet,  cannot  be  directly  applied 
to  the  maintenance  of  labour ;  they  do 
not  begin  to  constitute  a  demand  for 
labour  until  the  velvet  is  sold,  and  the 
capital  which  made  it  replaced  from 
the  outlay  of  the  purchaser ;  and  thus, 
H  may  be  said,  the  velvet-maker  and 
the  velvet-buyer  have  not  two  capitals, 
but  only  one  capital  between  them, 
which  by  the  act  of  purchase  the  buyer 
transfers  to  the  manufacturer :  and  if 
instead  of  buying  velvet  he  buys 
labour,  he  simply  transfers  this  capital 
elsewhere,  extinguishing  as  much  de- 
mand for  labour  in  one  quarter  as  he 
creates  in  another. 

The  premises  of  this  argument  are 
not  denied.  To  set  free  a  capital 
which  would  otherwise  be  locked  up  in 
a  form  useless  for  the  support  of  labour^ 
is,  no  doubt,  the  same  tmng  to  the  in- 
terests of  labourers  as  the  creation  of  a 
new  capital.  It  is  perfectly  true  that 
if  I  expend  lOOOZ.  in  buying  velvet,  I 
enable  the  manufacturer  to  employ 
lOOOZ.  in  the  maintenance  of  labour, 
which  could  not  have  been  so  employed 
while  the  velvet  remained  unsold :  and 
if  it  would  have  remained  unsold  for 
ever  unless  I  bought  it,  then  b^  chang- 
ing my  purpose  and  hiring  bncklayers 
instead,  1  undoubtedly  create  no  new 
demand  for  labour :  for  while  I  emplov 
lOOOZ.  in  hiring  labour  on  the  one  hand, 
I  annihiiate  for  ever  lOOOZ.  of  the 
velvet-maker*8  capital  on  the  other. 
Bat  tluB   is   loonfoanding  the    effects 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  V.    |  9. 


arising  from  the  mere  suddenness  of  a 
change  with  the  effects  of  the  change 
itself.  If  when  the  buyer  ceased  to  pur- 
chase, the  capital  employed  in  making 
velvet  for  his  use  necessarily  perished, 
then  his  expending  the  same  amount 
in  hiring  bncklayers  would  be  no  crea- 
tion, but  merely  a  transfer,  of  employ- 
ment. The  increased  employment 
which  I  contend  is  given  to  labour, 
would  not  be  given  unless  the  capital 
of  the  velvet-maker  could  be  liberated, 
and  would  not  be  given  until  it  toaa 
liberated.  But  every  one  knows  that 
the  capital  invested  in  an  employment 
can  be  withdrawn  from  it,  if  sufficient 
time  be  allowed.  If  the  velvet-maker 
had  previous  notice,  bv  not  receiving 
the  usual  order,  he  will  have  producea 
lOOOZ.  less  velvet,  and  an  equivalent 
portion  of  his  capital  will  have  been 
already  set  free.  If  he  had  no  previous 
notice,  and  the  article  consequently  re- 
mains on  his  hands,  the  increase  of  his 
stock  will  induce  him  next  year  to  sus- 
pend or  diminish  his  production  until 
the  surplus  is  carried  off.  When  thie 
process  is  complete,  the  manufacturer 
will  find  himself  as  rich  as  before,  with 
undiminished  power  of  employing  la« 
hour  in  general,  though  a  portion  of  his 
capital  will  now  be  employed  in  main- 
taining some  other  kind  of  it.  Until 
this  adjustment  has  taken  place,  the 
demand  for  labour  will  w  merely 
changed,  not  increased :  but  as  soon  as 
it  has  taken  place,  the  demand  for 
labour  is  increased.  Where  there  was 
formerljr  only  one  capital  employed  in 
maintaining  weavers  to  make  10002. 
worth  of  velvet,  there  is  now  that  same 
capital  employed  in  making  something 
else,  and  lOOOZ.  distributed  among 
bricklayers  besides.  There  are  now 
two  capitals  employed  in  reniunerating 
two  sets  of  labourers;  while  before, 
one  of  those  capitals,  that  of  the  cus- 
tomer, only  served  as  a  wheel  in  the 
machinery  by  which  the  other  capital, 
that  of  the  manufacturer,  carried  on  its 
einployment  of  labour  fromyear  to  year. 
The  proposition  for  which  I  am  con- 
tending is  m  reality  equivalent  to  the 
following,  which  to  some  minds  will 
appear  a  truism,  though  to  others  it  is 
a  paradox :  that  a  person  does  good  fer 


FUNDAMENTAL  PROPOSITIONS  ON  CAPITAL. 


53 


labonrera,  not  by  what  he  oonsames  on 
himself^  but  solely  by  what  he  does  not 
BO  consume.  If  instead  of  laying  out 
lOOZ.  in  wine  or  silk,  I  expend  it  in 
wages,  the  demand  fur  commodities  is 
precisely  equal  in  both  cases :  in  the 
one,  it  18  a  demand  for  100^  worth  of 
wine  or  silk,  in  the  other,  for  the  same 
value  of  bread,  beer,  labourers'  clothing, 
fiiel,  and  indulgences;  but  the  la- 
bourers of  the  community  have  in  the 
latter  case  the  value  of  1002.  more  of 
the  produce  of  the  community  dis- 
tributed among  them.  I  have  con- 
sumed that  much  less,  and  made  over 
my  consuming  power  to  them.  If  it 
were  not  so,  my  having  consumed  less 
would  not  leave  more  to  be  consumed 
b^  others ;  which  is  a  manifest  contnu 
diction.  When  less  is  not  produced, 
what  one  person  forbears  to  consume  is 
necessarily  added  to  the  share  of  those 
to  whom  he  transfers  his  power  of  pur- 
chase. In  the  case  supposed  I  do  not 
necessarily  consume  less  ultimately, 
since  the  labourers  whom  I  pay  may 
build  a  house  for  me,  or  make  some- 
thing else  for  my  future  consumption. 
But  I  have  at  all  events  postponed  my 
consumption,  and  have  turned  over 
part  of  my  share  of  the  present  produce 
of  the  conmiunity  to  the  labourer».  If 
after  an  interval  I  am  indemnified,  it 
is  not  from  the  existing  produce,  but 
from  a  subsequent  addition  made  to  it. 
I  have  therefore  left  more  of  the  exist- 
ing produce  to  be  consumed  by  others  ; 
and  have  put  into  the  possession  of 
labourers  the  power  to  consume  it. 

There  cannot  be  a  hetter  reductio  ad 
absurdum  of  the  opposite  doctrine  than 
tiiat  afforded  by  tne  Poor  Law.  If  it 
be  equally  for  the  benefit  of  the  labour- 
ing classes  whether  I  consume  my 
means  in  the  foim  of  things  purchased 
for  my  own  use,  or  set  aside  a  portion 
in  the  shape  of  wages  or  alms  for  their 
direct  consumption,  on  what  ground 
can  the  policy  be  justified  of  talmig  my 
money  from  me  to  support  paupers? 
since  my  unproductive  expenoiture 
would  have  equally  benefited  them, 
while  I  should  nave  enjoyed  it  too.  If 
society  can  both  eat  its  cake  and  have 
it,  why  should  it  not  be  allowed  the 
doable  indnljg^oe  ?  Bat  common  sense 


teUs  every  one  in  his  own  case  (though 
he  does  not  see  it  on  the  larger  scale) 
that  the  poor-rate  which  he  pays  is 
reaUy  subtracted  from  his  own  con- 
sumption ;  and  that  no  shifting  of  pay- 
ment backwards  and  forwards  will 
enable  two  persons  to  eat  the  same 
food.  If  he  nad  not  been  required  to 
pay  the  rate,  and  had  consequently 
laid  out  the  amount  on  himself,  the 
poor  would  have  had  as  much  less  for 
their  share  of  the  total  produce  of  the 
country,  as  he  himBelf  would  have  con- 
sumed more.* 

*  The  following  cue,  which  presents  the 
u*gument  in  a  somewhat  different  shi^e^ 
may  serve  for  still  further  illustration. 

Suppose  that  a  rich  individual.  A,  expends 
a  certain  amount  daily  in  wages  or  alms, 
which,  as  soon  as  received,  is  expended  and 
consumed,  in  the  form  of  coarse  food,  by  the 
receivers.  A  dies,  leaving  his  property  to  B, 
who  discontinues  this  item  of  expenditure, 
and  expends  in  lieu  of  it  the  same  sum  each 
day  in  delicacies  for  his  own  table.  I  have 
chosen  this  supposition,  in  order  that  the 
two  cases  may  be  similar  in  all  their  cir- 
cumstancex,  except  that  which  is  the  subject 
of  comparison.  In  order  not  to  obscure  the 
essential  facts  of  the  case  by  exhibiting  them 
through  the  hazy  medium  of  a  money  trans- 
action, let  us  further  suppose  that  A.  and 
B  after  him,  are  landlords  of  the  estate  on 
which  both  the  food  consumed  by  the  re- 
cipients of  A*s  disbursements,  and  the  arti- 
cles of  luxury  supplied  for  B*s  table,  are 
produced;  and  that  their  rent  is  paid  to 
thorn  in  kind,  they  giving  previous  notice 
what  description  of  produce  they  shall  re- 
quire. The  question  Is,  whether  B*s  expen- 
diture gives  as  much  employment  or  as  much 
food  to  his  poorer  neighbours  as  A's  gave. 

From  the  case  as  stated,  it  seems  to  follow 
that  while  A  lived,  that  portion  of  his  income 
which  he  expended  in  wages  or  alms,  would 
be  drawn  by  him  from  the  farm  in  the  shape 
of  food  for  labourers,  and  would  be  used  as 
such ;  while  B,  who  came  after  him,  would 
require,  instead  of  this,  an  equivalent  value 
in  expensive  articles  of  food,  to  be  consumed 
in  his  own  household:  that  the  fkrmer, 
therefore,  would,  under  B*s  r^me,  produce 
that  much  less  of  ordinary  food,  and  more  of 
expensive  delicacies,  for  each  day  of  the 
year,  than  was  produced  in  A*s  time,  and 
that  there  would  be  that  amount  less  of 
food  shared,  throughout  the  year,  among  the 
labouring  and  poorer  classes.  This  is  what 
would  be  conformable  to  the  principles  laid 
down  in  the  text.  Those  who  think  differ- 
ently, must,  on  the  other  hand,  suppose  that 
the  luxuries  required  by  B  would  be  pro- 
duced, not  instead  of,  but  in  addition  to,  the 
food  previously  supplied  to  A'slabourers,  and 
that  the  aggregate  produce  of  the  country 
would  be  increased  in  amount.  But  when  it 
is  aaked,  bow  tbia  doubto  prodnetkm  would 


f54  BOOK  L    CHAPTER  V. 

It  appears,  then,  that  a  demand  de- 
layed until  the  work  is  completed,  and 
furnishing  no  advances,  but  only  re- 
imbursing advances  made  by  others, 
contributes  nothing  to  the  demand  for 
labour ;  and  that  what  is  so  expended, 
is,  in  all  its  effects,  so  far  as  regards 
the  employment  of  the  labouring  class, 
a  mere  nullity ;  it  does  not  and  cannot 
create  any  employment  except  at  the 
expense  of  other  employment  which 
existed  before. 

But  though  a  demand  for  velvet  does 
nothing  more  in  regard  to  the  employ- 
ment for  labour  and  capital,  than  to 
determine  so  much  of  the  employment 
which  already  existed,  into  that  par- 
ticular channel  instead  of  any  other ; 
still,  to  the  producers  already  engaged 


M 


be  effected— how  the  farmer,  whose  capital 
and  labour  were  already  fully  emplojed, 
would  be  enabled  to  supply  the  new  wants  of 
B,  without  producing  less  of  other  things ; 
the  only  mode  which  presents  itself  is,  that 
he  should  Jvr»t  produce  the  food,  and  then, 
giving  that  food  to  the  labourers  whom  A 
formerly  fed,  should  by  means  of  their 
labour,  produce  the  luxuries  wanted  by  B. 
This,  accordingly,  when  the  ol^ectors  are 
hard  pressed,  appears  to  be  really  their 
meaning.  But  it  is  an  obvious  answer,  that 
on  this  supposition,  B  must  wait  for  his 
luxuries  till  the  second  year,  and  they  are 
wanted  this  year.  By  the  original  hypo- 
thesis, he  consumes  his  luxurious  dinner  day 
by  day,  j^arijMMMt  with  the  rations  of  bread 
and  potatoes  foi*merly  served  out  by  A  to  his 
labourers.  There  is  not  time  to  feed  the 
labouren  first,  and  supply  B  afterwards: 
he  and  they  cannot  both  have  their  wants 
ministered  to :  he  can  only  satisfy  his  own 
demand  for  commodities,  by  leaving  as  much 
of  theirs,  as  was  formerly  supplied  fW>m  that 
Aind,  unsatisfied. 

It  may,  indeed,  be  rc^Joined  by  an  objector, 
that,  since  on  the  present  showing,  time  is 
the  only  thing  wanting  to  render  the  expen- 
diture of  B  consistent  with  as  large  an  em- 
ployment to  labour  aa  waa  given  by  A,  why 
may  we  not  suppose  that  B  postpones  his  in- 
ereased  consumption  of  personal  luxuries 
ttntilthey  can  be  furnished  to  him  by  the 
labour  of  the  persons  whom  A  employed  ?  In 
that  case,  it  may  be  said,  he  would  employ 
and  feed  as  much  labour  as  his  predecessors. 
Undoubtedly  he  would ;  but  why  ?  Because 
his  income  would  be  expended  in  exactly 
the  same  manner  as  his  predece88or*8;  it 
would  be  expended  in  wages.  A  reserved 
from  his  personal  consumption  a  fund  which 
he  paid  away  directly  tc  labourers;  B  does 
the  same,  only  instead  of  paying  it  to  them 
himself,  he  leaves  it  in  the  hands  of  the 
farmer,  who  pays  it  to  them  for  him.  On 
this  supposition,  B,  in  the  first  year,  neither 
•xpendliig  th«  amount,  as  far  m  h«  it  per- 


in  the  velvet  manufacture,  and  not  in- 
tending to  quit  it,  this  is  of  the  utmost 
importance.  To  them,  a  filling  off  in 
the^  demand  is  a  real  loss,  and  one 
which,  even  if  none  of  their  goods 
flnallv  perish  unsold,  may  mount  to 
any  height,  up  to  that  which  would 
make  them  choose,  as  the  smaller  evil, 
to  retire  from  the  business.  On  the 
contraty,  an  increased  demand  enables 
them  to  extend  their  transactions — to 
make  a  profit  on  a  larger  capital,  if 
they  have  it,  or  can  borrow  it;  and, 
turning  over  their  capital  more  rapidly, 
they  will  employ  their  labourers  more 
constantly,  or  employ  a  greater  num- 
ber than  before.  So  that  an  increased 
demand  for  a  commodity  does  really, 
in    the    particular   department,  often 

sonally  concerned,  in  A's  manner  nor  in  hia 
own,  really  saves  that  portion  of  his  income, 
and  lends  it  to  the  farmer.  And  if,  in  sub- 
sequent years,  confining  himself  within  the 
year's  income,  he  leaves  the  farmer  in  arrears 
to  that  amount,  it  becomes  an  additional 
capital,  with  which  the  farmer  may  per- 
manently employ  and  feed  A's  labourers. 
Nobody  pretends  that  such  a  change  as  this, 
a  change  firom  spending  an  income  in  wages 
of  labour,  to  saving  it  for  investment,  de- 
prives any  labourers  of  employment.  What 
is  affirmed  to  have  that  effect  is,  the  change 
from  hiring  labom^ers  to  buying  commodities 
for  personal  use;  as  represented  by  our 
original  hypothesis. 

In  our  illustration  we  have  supposed  no 
buying  and  selling,  or  use  of  money.  But 
the  case  as  we  have  put  it,  corresponds  with 
actual  fact  in  everything  except  the  details 
of  the  mechanism.  The  whole  of  any 
country  is  virtually  a  tingle  farm  and  manu- 
factory, from  which  every  member  of  the 
community  draws  his  appointed  share  of  the 
produce,  havii^  a  certain  number  of  coun- 
ters, called  pounds  sterling,  put  into  his 
hands,  which,  at  his  convenience,  he  brings 
back  and  exchanges  for  such  goods  as  he  pre- 
fers, up  to  the  limit  of  the  amount.  He  does 
not,  as  in  our  imaginary  case,  give  notice 
beforehand  what  things  he  shall  require; 
but  the  dealers  and  producers  are  quite  capa- 
ble of  finding  it  out  by  observation,  and  any 
change  in  the  demand  it  promptly  followed 
by  an  adaptation  of  the  lupply  to  it.  If  a 
consumer  changes  from  paying  away  a  part 
of  his  income  in  wages,  to  spending  it  that 
tame  day  (not  some  subsequent  and  distant 
day)  in  things  for  his  own  consumption,  and 
perseveres  in  this  altered  practice  until  pzo- 
duction  has  had  time  to  adapt  itself  to  the 
alteration  of  demand,  there  will  from  that 
time  be  less  food  and  other  articles  for  the 
use  of  labourert,  produced  in  the  country,  by 
exactly  the  value  of  the  extra  luxuriet  now 
demanded ;  and  the  labourers,  as  a  datiy 
will  be  worte  off  by  the  pxtKite  amount. 


FUNDAMENTAL  PROPOSITIONS  ON  CAPITAL. 


cause  a  greater  employment  to  be 
giveii  to  labour  by  tne  tame  capital. 
The  mistake  lies  in  not  perceiving  that 
in  the  oases  supposed,  this  advantage 
is  given  to  labour  and  capital  in  one 
department,  only  hj  being  withdrawn 
from  another;  and  that  when  the 
change  has  produced  its  natural  efieot 
of  attracting  into  the  employment  ad- 
ditional capital  proportional  to  the  in- 
creased demand,  the  advantage  itself 
ceases. 

The  grounds  of  a  proposition,  when 
well  understood,  usually  give  a  tolera- 
ble indication  of  the  hmitations  of  it. 
The  general  principle,  now  stated,  is, 
that  demand  for  commodities  deter- 
mines merely  the  direction  of  labour, 
and  the  kind  of  wealth  produced,  but 
not  the  quantity  or  efficiency  of  the 
labour,  or  the  aggre^pate  of  wealth. 
But  to  this  there  are  two  exceptions. 
First;  when  labour  is  supported,  but 
not  fullr  occuj^ied,  a  new  demand  for 
Bomethmg  which  it  can  produce,  may 
stimulate  the  labour  thus  supported  to 
increased  exertions,  of  which  the  re- 
sult may  be  an  increase  of  wealth,  to 
the  advantage  of  the  labourers  them- 
selves and  of  others.  Work  which  can 
be  done  in  the  spare  hours  of  persons 
subsisted  from  some  other  source,  can 
(as  before  remarked)  be  undertaken 
without  withdrawing  capital  from  other 
Occupations,  beyond  the  amount  (often 
very  small)  required  to  cover  the  ex* 
pense  of  tools  and  materials ;  and  even 
this  will  often  be  provided  by  savings 
made  expressly  for  the  purpose.  The 
reason  of  our  theorem  thus  failing,  the 
theorem  itself  fails,  and  employment 
of  this  kind  ma^,  by  the  spnnging  up 
of  a  demand  for  the  commodity,  be 
called  into  existence  without  depriving 
labour  of  an  equivalent  amount  of  em- 
ployment in  any  other  quarter.  The 
demand  does  not,  even  in  this  case, 
operate  on  labour  any  otherwise  than 
through  the  medium  of  an  existing 
oapitfd;  but  it  affords  an  inducement 
which  causes  that  capital  to  set  in 
motion  a  greater  amount  of  labour  than 
it  did  before. 

The  second  exception,  of  which  I 
shall  speak  at  len^n  in  a  subsequent 
chapter^  consists  m  the  known  effect 


of  an  extension  of  the  market  for  a  com- 
modity, in  rendering  possible  an  in- 
creased development  of  the  division  of 
labour,  and  hence  a  more  effective  dis- 
tribution of  the  productive  forces  of  so- 
ciety. This,  like  the  fotmer,  is  more 
an  exception  in  appearance,  than  it  is 
in  reality.  It  is  not  the  money  paid  b^r 
the  purchaser  which  remunerates  the 
labour;  it  is  the  capital  of  the  pro- 
ducer :  the  demand  only  determines  in 
what  manner  that  capital  shall  be  em- 
ployed, and  what  kind  of  labour  it  shaP 
remunerate ;  bat  if  it  determines  that 
the  commodity  shall  be  produced  on  a 
large  scale,  it  enables  the  same  capital 
to  produce  more  of  the  commodity,  and 
may,  by  an  indirect  effect  in  causing 
an  increase  of  capital,  produce  an  even- 
tual increase  of  the  remuneration  of  the 
labourer. 

The  demand  for  commodities  is  a 
consideration  of  importance  rather  in 
the  theory  of  exchange,  than  in  that 
of  production.  Looking  at  things  in 
the  aggregate,  and  permanently,  the 
remuneration  of  the  pnroduoer  is  derived 
frx)m  the  productive  power  of  his  own 
capital.  The  sale  of  the  produce  for 
money,  and  the  subsequent  expenditure 
of  the  money  in  buying  other  commo- 
dities, are  a  mere  exchange  of  equiva- 
lent values,  for  mutual  accommodation. 
It  is  true  that,  the  division  of  employ- 
ments being  one  of  the  principal  means 
of  increasing  the  productive  power  of 
labour,  the  power  of  exchanging  gives 
rise  to  a  great  increase  of  the  produce ; 
but  even  then  it  is  production,  not  ex- 
change, which  remunerates  labour  and 
capital.  We  cannot  too  strictly  repre- 
sent to  ourselves  the  operation  of  ex- 
change, whether  conducted  by  barter 
or  through  the  medium  of  money,  as 
the  mere  mechanism  by  which  each 
person  transforms  the  remuneration  of 
his  labour  or  of  his  capital  into  the  par- 
ticular shape  in  which  it  is  most  conve- 
nient to  him  to  possess  it ;  but  in  no  wise 
the  source  of  the  remuneration  itself. 

§  10.  The  preceding  principles  de- 
monstrate  the  fallacy  of  many  populAr 
arguments  and  doctrines,  which  are 
continually  reproducing  themselves  in 
new  forms.     For  example,  it  has  been 


56  BOOK  L    CHAPTER  V. 

conteuded,  and  by  some  from  whom 
better  things  might  have  been  ex- 
pected, that  the  argument  for  the  in- 
come-tax, grounded  on  its  falling  on 
the  higher  and  middle  classes  only, 
and  sparing  the  poor,  is  an  error ;  some 
have  gone  so  far  as  to  say,  an  impos- 
ture ;  because  in  taking  from  thQ  rich 
what  they  would  have  expended 
among  the  poor,  the  tax  injures  the 
poor  as  much  as  if  it  had  been  directly 
levied  from  them.  Of  this  doctrine 
we  now  know  what  to  think.  So  far, 
indeed,  as  what  is  taken  from  the  rich 
in  taxes,  would,  if  not  so  taken,  have 
been  saved  and  converted  into  capital, 
or  even  expended  in  the  maintenance 
and  wages  of  servants  or  of  any  class 
of  unproductive  labonrers,  to  that  ex- 
tent the  demand  for  labour  is  no  doubt 
diminished,  and  the  poor  injuriously 
affected,  by  the  tax  on  the  rich ;  and 
as  these  effects  are  almost  always  pro- 
duced in  a  greater  or  less  degree,  it  is 
impossible  so  to  tax  the  rich  as  that 
no  portion  whatever  of  the  tax  can  fall 
on  the  poor.  But  even  here  the  ques- 
tion arises,  whether  the  government, 
after  receiving  the  amount,  will  not 
lay  out  as  great  a  portion  of  it  in  the 
direct  purchase  of  labour,  as  the  tax- 
payers would  have  done.  Li  regard  to 
all  that  portion  of  the  tax,  which,  if 
not  paid  to  the  government,  would 
have  been  consumed  in  the  form  of 
commodities  (or  even  expended  in  ser- 
vices if  the  payment  has  oeen  advanced 
by  a  capitalist),  this,  according  to  the 

Srinciples  we  have  investigated,  falls 
efinitively  on  the  rich,  and  not  at  all 
on  the  poor.  There  is  exactly  the  same 
demand  for  labour,  so  fax  as  this  por- 
tion is  concerned,  after  the  tax,  as 
before  it.  The  capital  which  hitherto 
employed  the  labourers  of  the  country, 
remains,  and  is  still  capable  of  employ- 
ing the  same  number.  There  is  the 
same  amount  of  produce  paid  in  wages, 
or  allotted  to  defray  the  feeding  and 
clothing  of  labourers. 

If  those  against  whom  I  am  now 
contending  were  in  the  right,  it  would 
be  impossible  to  tax  anybody  except 
the  poMi)|L  If  it  is  taxing  the  labourers, 
to  tax  what  is  laid  out  in  the  produce 
of  labour,  the  labouring  classes  pay  all 


110. 

the  taxes.  The  same  argument,  how- 
ever, equaUy  proves,  that  it  is  impos- 
sible to  tax  the  labourers  at  all ;  since 
the  tax,  being  laid  out  either  in  labour 
or  in  commodities,  comes  all  back  to 
them;  so  that  taxation  has  the 
singular  property  of  falling  on  nobody. 
On  the  same  showing,  it  would  do  the 
labourers  no  harm  to  take  from  them 
all  they  have,  and  distribute  it  among 
the  other  members  of  the  community. 
It  would  all  be  "  spent  among  them,'* 
which  on  this  theory  comes  to  the 
same  thing.  The  error  is  produced  by 
not  looking  directly  at  the  realities  of 
the  phenomena,  but  attending  only  to 
the  outward  mechanism  of  paying  and 
spending.  If  we  look  at  the  effects 
produced  not  on  the  money,  which 
merely  changes  hands,  but  on  the  com- 
modities which  are  used  and  con- 
sumed, we  see  that,  in  consequence  of 
the  income-tax,  the  classes  who  pay  it 
do  really  diminish  their  consumption. 
Exactly  so  far  as  they  do  this,  they  are 
the  persons  on  whom  the  tax  falls.  It 
is  aefrayed  out  of  what  they  would 
otherwise  have  used  and  enjoyed.  So 
far,  on  the  other  hand,  as  the  burthen 
falls,  not  on  what  they  would  have 
consumed,  but  on  what  they  would 
have  saved  to  maintain  production,  or 
spent  in  maintaining  or  paying  unpro- 
ductive labourers,  to  that  extent  the 
tax  forms  a  deduction  from  what  would 
have  been  used  and  enjoyed  by  the 
labouring  classes.  But  if  the  govern- 
ment, as  is  probably  the  feet,  expends 
frilly  as  much  of  the  amount  as  the 
tax-payers  would  have  done  in  the 
direct  employment  of  labour,  as  in 
hiring  sailors,  soldiers,  and  policemen, 
or  in  paying  off  debt,  by  which  last 
operation  it  even  increases  capital; 
the  labouring  classes  not  only  do  not 
lose  any  emplojonent  by  the  tax,  but 
may  possibly  gain  some,  and  the  whole 
of  the  tax  falls  exclusively  where  it 
was  intended. 

All  that  portion  of  the  produce  of 
the  country  which  any  one,  not  a 
labourer,  actually  and  literally  con- 
sumes for  his  own  use,  does  not  contri- 
bute in  the  smallest  degree  to  the 
maintenance  of  labour.  No  one  is 
benefited  by  mere  consumption,  except 


CIRCULATING  AND  FIXED  CAPITAL. 


67 


the  person  who  consameB.  And  a  per- 
son cannot  both  consume  his  income 
himself,  and  make  it  over  to  be  con- 
sumed b^  others.  Taking  away  a  cer- 
tain portion  by  taxation  cannot  deprive 
both  mm  and  them  of  it,  but  only  him 


vr  them.  To  know  which  is  the  suf- 
ferer, we  must  understand  whose  con- 
sumption will  have  to  be  retrenched  in 
consequence:  this,  whoever  it  be,  is 
the  person  on  whom  the  tax  really 
falls. 


CHAPTEB  VL 


OH  OIBOULATIHa  AlID  FECBD  OAFITIL. 


1 1.  To  complete  our  explanations 
on  the  subject  of  capital,  it  is  necessary 
to  say  something  of  the  two  species 
into  which  it  is  usually  divided.  The 
distinction  is  veiy  obvious,  and  though 
not  named,  has  been  often  adverted  to, 
in  the  two  preceding  chapters :  but  it  is 
now  proper  to  define  it  accurately,  and 
to  pomt  out  a  few  of  its  consequences. 
I  Of  the  capital  engaged  in  the  pro- 
duction of  any  commcmty,  there  is  a 
part  which,  after  being  once  used, 
sxists  no  longer  as  capital;  is  no 
longer  capable  of  rendering  service  to 
I  production,  or  at  least  not  the  same  ser- 
,  vice,  nor  to  the  same  sort  of  pi-oduc- 
]  tion.  Such,  for  example,  is  the  portion 
of  capital  which  consists  of  materials. 
The  tallow  and  alkali  of  which  soap  is 
made,  once  used  in  the  manufacture, 
are  destroyed  as  alkali  and  tallow;  and 
cannot  be  employed  any  farther  in  the 
soap  manufacture,  though  in  their  al- 
terect  condition,  as  soap,  they  are 
capable  of  being^  used  as  a  mateiial  or 
an  instrument  in  other  branches  of 
manufacture.  In  the  same  division 
must  be  placed  the  portion  of  capital 
which  is  paid  as  the  wages,  or  con- 
sumed as  the  subsistence,  oi  labourers. 
That  part  of  the  capital  of  a  cotton- 
spinner  which  he  pays  away  to  his 
workpeople,  once  so  paid,  exists  no 
longer  as  his  capital,  or  as  a  cotton- 
spinner's  capital:  such  portion  of  it 
as  the  workmen  consume,  no  longer 
exists  as  capital  at  all:  even  if  they 
save  any  part,  it  may  now  be  naore 
properly  regarded  as  a  fresh  capital, 
the  result  of  a  second  act  of  accumula- 
I  tion.     Capital  which  in  this  manner 


fulfils  the  whole  of  its  ofiice  in  the  pro- 
duction in  which  it  is  engaged,  by  a 
single  use,  is  called  Circulating  Capital 
The  term,  which  is  not  very  appro- 
priate, is  derived  from  the  circum- 
stance, that  this  portion  of  capital  re- 
quires to  be  constantly  renewea  by  the 
sale  of  the  finished  product,  and  when 
renewed  is  perpetmuly  parted  with  in 
buying  materials  and  paying  wages; 
so  that  it  does  its  work,  not  by  being 
kept,  but  by  changing  hands. 

Another  large  portion  of  capital, , 
however,  consists  in  instruments  of  pro- 
duction, of  a  more  or  less  permanent, 
character :  which  produce  their  effect; 
not  by  being  parted  with,  but  by  being, 
kept ;  and  tne  efficacy  of  whicn  is  notf 
exhausted  by  a  single  use.  To  this; 
class  belong  buildings,  maclunery,  and 
all  or  most  things  known  by  the  name 
of  implements  or  tools.  The  durability 
of  some  of  these  is  considerable,  and 
their  function  as  productive  instruments 
is  prolonged  through  many  repetitions 
of  the  productive  operation.  In  this 
class  must  likewise  be  included  capital 
sunk  (as  the  expression  is)  in  permanent 
improvements  of  land.  So  also  the 
capital  expended  once  for  all,  in  the 
commencement  of  an  undertaking,  to 
prepare  the  way  for  subsequent  opera- 
tions :  the  expense  of  opening  a  mine, 
for  example:  of  cutting  canals,  of 
making  roads  or  docks.  Other  ex- 
amples might  be  added,  but  these  are 
sufficient.  Capital  which  exists  in  any 
of  these  durable  shapes,  and  the  return 
to  which  is  spread  over  a  period  ol 
corresponding  duration,  is  called  Fixed 
Capital 


BOOK  1.    CfHAPTER  VI.    I  S. 


I  Of  fixed  capitals,  aome  kinds  require 
Uo  be  ocoasionally  or  periodically  re- 
Inewed.  Siicli  are  all  implements  and 
buildings:  they  require,  at  intervals, 
partial  renewal  bj  means  of  repairs, 
and  are  at  last  entirely  worn  out,  and 
cannot  be  of  any  farther  service  as 
buildings  and  implements,  but  fall  back 
into  the  class  of  materials.  In  other 
cases,  the  capital  does  not,  unless  as  a 
consequence  of  some  unusual  accident, 
require  entire  renewal :  but  there  is 
always  some  outlay  needed,  either 
regularly  or  at  least  occasionally,  to 
keep  it  up.  A  dock  or  a  canal,  once 
made,  does  not  re(^uire,  like  a  machine, 
to  be  made  agam,  unless  purposely 
destroyed,  or  unless  an  earthquake  or 
some  similar  catastrophe  has  filled  it 
up;  but  regular  and  fretjuent  outlays 
are  necessary  to  keep  it  in  repair. 
The  cost  of  opening  a  mine  needs  not 
be  incurred  a  second  time ;  but  unless 
some  one  goes  to  the  expense  of  keeping 
the  mine  clear  of  water,  it  is  soon  ren- 
dered useless.  The  most  permanent 
of  idl  kinds  of  fixed  capital  is  that  em- 
ployed in  giving  increased  productive- 
Aess  to  a  natural  agent,  sucn  as  land. 
The  draining  of  marshy  or  inundated 
tracts  like  the  Bedford  Level,  the 
reclaiming  of  land  from  the  sea,  or  its 
protection  by  embankments,  are  im- 
provements calculated  for  perpetuity; 
but  iains  and  dykes  require  frequent 
repair.  The  same  character  of  perpe- 
tmty  belongs  to  the  improvement  of 
land  by  subsoil  draining,  which  adds 
so  much  to  the  productiveness  of  the 
clay  soils ;  or  by  permanent  manures, 
that  is,  by  the  addition  to  the  soil,  not 
of  the  substances  which  enter  into  the 
composition  of  vegetables,  and  which 
are  therefore  consumed  by  vegetation, 
but  of  those  which  merely  alter  the 
relation  of  the  soil  to  air  and  water ; 
as  sand  and  lime  on  the  heavy  soils, 
clay  and  marl  on  the  light.  Even  such 
works,  however,  require  some,  though 
It  may  be  very  little,  occasional  outlay 
to  maintain  tneir  full  effect. 

These  improvements,  however,  by 
the  very  fact  of  their  deserving  that 
title,  produce  an  increase  of  return, 
which,  after  defraying  all  expenditure 
lecessary  for  keeping  them  up,  still 


leaves  a  lurplas.  This  surplus  fonm 
the  return  to  the  capital  sunk  in  the 
first  instanoe,  and  that  return  does  not, 
as  in  the  case  of  machineiy,  terminate 
by  the  wearing  out  of  the  machine,  but 
continues  for  ever.  The  land  thus  in- 
creased in  productiveness,  bears  a 
value  in  the  market,  proportional  to 
the  increase :  and  hence  it  is  usual  to 
consider  the  capital  which  was  in- 
vested, or  sunk,  in  making  the  improve- 
ment, as  still  existing  in  the  increased 
value  of  the  land.  There  must  be  no 
mistake,  however.  The  capital,  like 
all  other  capital,  has  been  consumed* 
It  was  consumed  in  maintaining  the 
labourers  who  executed  the  improve- 
ment, and  in  the  wear  and  tear  of  the 
tools  by  which  they  were  assisted. 
But  it  was  consumed  productively,  and 
has  left  a  permanent  result  in  the  im- 
proved productiveness  of  an  appropri- 
ated natural  agent,  the  land.  We 
may  call  the  increased  produce  tht 
joint  result  of  the  land  ana  of  a  capital 
fixed  in  the  land.  But  as  the  capital, 
having  in  reality  been  consumed,  can- 
not be  withdrawn,  its  productiveness 
is  thenceforth  indissolubly  blended 
with  that  arising  from  the  original 
qualities  of  the  soil ;  and  the  remune- 
ration for  the  use  of  it  thenceforth  de- 
pends, not  upon  the  laws  which  govern 
the  returns  to  labour  and  capital,  but 
upon  those  which  govern  the  recom- 
pense for  natural  agents.  What  these 
are,  we  shall  see  hereafter.* 

S  2.    There  is  a  great  difference  be-t 
tween  the  effects  of  circulating  andj 
those  of  fixed  capital,  on  the  amount  of  ^ 
the  gross  produce  of  the  country.    Gir-i 
culating  capital    being  destroyed  as 
such,  or  at  any  rate  finally  lost  to  the 
owner,  by  a  single  use ;  and  the  pro- 
duct resulting  from  that  one  use  being 
the  only  source  from  which  the  owner 
can  replace  the  capital,  or  obtain  anj 
remuneration  for  its  productive  em- 
ployment ;  the  product  must  of  course 
be  sufficient  for  those  purposes,  or  in 
other  words,  the  result  of  a  single  use 
must  be  a  reproduction  equal  to  the 
whole  amount  of  the  circulating  capi- 
tal used,  and  a  profit  besides.    Thl^ 

*  Infint,  book  ii.  chap.  ztL    On  Bent 


CIRCULATING  AND  FIXBD  CAPITAK 


however,  is  br  no  meani  necessarj  in 
the  case  of  fixed  capital  Since  ma- 
chinery, for  example,  is  not  wholly 
consmned  by  one  use,  it  is  not  neces- 
sary that  it  should  be  wholly  replaced 
from  the  product  of  that  use.  The 
machine  answers  the  purpose  of  its 
owner,  if  it  brings  in.  during  each  in- 
terval of  time,  enongn  to  oover  the  ex- 
pense of  repairs,  and  the  deterioration 
m  value  which  the  machine  has  sus- 
tained during  the  same  time,  with  a 
surplus  sufficient  to  yield  the  ordi- 
laiy  profit  on  the  entire  value  of  the 
machine. 

I  From  this  it  follows  that  aU  increase 
I  of  fixed  capital,  when  taking  place  at 
'  the  expenHe  of  circulating,  must  be,  at 
j  least  temporarily,  prejudicial  to  the  in- 
/terests  of  the  labourers.  This  is  true, 
not  of  machinery  alone,  bnt  of  all  im- 
provements by  which  capital  is  sunk ; 
that  is,  rendered  permanently  incapa- 
ble of  being  applied  to  the  maintenance 
and  remuneration  of  labour.  Suppose 
that  a  person  farms  his  own  land,  with 
a  capital  of  two  thousand  quarters  of 
com,  employed  in  maintaining  la- 
bourers during  one  year  (for  simplicity 
we  omit  the  consideration  of  seed  and 
tools^,  whose  labour  produces  him  an- 
nuaUy  two  thousand  four  hundred 
quarters,  being  a  profit  of  twenty  per 
cent.  This  profit  we  shall  suppose 
that  he  annually  consumes,  carrying 
on  his  o^rations  from  year  to  year  on 
the  original  capital  of  two  thousand 
quarters.  Let  us  now  sappose  that  by 
tne  expenditure  of  half  his  capital  he 
efiects  a  permanent  improvement  of  his 
land,  which  is  executed  by  half  his 
laboarers,  and  occupies  them  for  a 
year,  after  which  he  will  only  require, 
for  tne  effectual  cultivation  of  his  land, 
half  as  many  labourers  as  before.  The 
remainder  of  his  capital  he  employs  as 
usual.  In  the  first  year  there  is  no 
difference  in  the  condition  of  the  la- 
bourers, except  that  part  of  them  have 
received  the  same  pay  for  an  operation 
on  the  land,  which  they  previously 
obtained  for  ploughing,  sowing,  and 
reaping.  At  the  end  of  the  year,  how- 
ever, the  improver  has  not,  as  before, 
a  capital  of  two  thousand  quarters  of 
com.    Only  one  thousand  quarters  of 


his  capital  have  been  ^produced  in 
the  nsual  way:  he  has  now  only 
those  thousand  quarters  and  his  im- 
provements. He  will  employ,  in  the 
next  and  in  each  following  year,  only 
half  the  number  of  labourers,  and  will 
divide  amons  them  only  half  the 
former  quantity  of  sabsistence.  The 
loss  will  soon  be  made  up  to  them  if 
the  improved  land,  with  the  diminished 
quantity  of  labour,  produoes  two 
thousand  four  hundred  quarters  as  be- 
fore, because  so  enormous  an  accession 
of  gain  will  probably  induce  the  im- 
prover to  save  a  part,  add  it  to  his 
capital,  and  become  a  larger  emplover 
of  labour.  But  it  is  conceivable  that 
this  may  not  be  the  oase;  for  (sup- 
posing, as  we  may  do,  that  the  im- 
provement will  last  indefinitely,  with- 
out any  outlay  worth  mentioning  to 
keep  it  up)  the  improver  will  have 
gained  largely  by  his  improvement  if 
we  land  now  yields,  not  two  thousand 
four  hundred,  but  one  thousand  five 
hundred  quarters  ;  since  this  will  re- 

Elace  the  one  thousand  quarters  forming 
is  present  circulating  capital,  with  a 
profit  of  twonty-five  per  cent  (instead 
of  twenty  as  before)  on  the  whole  capital, 
fixed  and  circulating  together.  The 
improvement,  therefore,  may  be  a  very 
profitable  one  to  him,  and  yet  very 
injurious  to  the  labourers. 

The  supposition,  in  the  terms  in 
which  it  has  been  stated,  is  purely 
ideal;  or  at  most  applicable  only  to 
such  a  case  as  that  of  the  conversion  of 
arable  land  into  pasture,  which,  though 
formerly  a  frequent  practice,  is  re- 
garded by  modem  agriculturists  as  the 
reverse  of  an  improvement  The  cleai^ 
ing  away  of  the  small  farmers  in  the 
north  of  Scotland,  within  the  present 
century,  was  however  a  case  of  it ;  and 
Ireland,  since  the  potato  famine  and 
the  repeal  of  the  corn-laws,  is  another.  | 
The  remarkable  decrease  which  has  ! 
lately  attracted  notice  in  the  gross ; 
produce  of  Irish  agriculture,  is,  to  all : 
appearance,  partly  attributable  to  the 
diversion  of  land  from  maintaining 
human  labourers  to  feeding  cattle:  and 
it  could  not  have  taken  place  without,' 
the  removal  of  a  large  part  of  the  Irish! 
population  by  emigration    or   death.) 


60 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  VI.    §  2. 


We  have  thus  two  recent  instances  in 
which  what  was  regarded  as  an  a^- 
cultural  improvement,  has  diminished 
the  power  of  the  conntiy  to  snpport  its 
population.  The  effect,  however,  of 
all  the  improvements  due  to  modem 
science  is  to  increase,  or  at  all  events, 
not  to  diminish  the  gross  produce.  But 
this  does  not  affect  the  substance  of 
the  argument.  Suppose  that  the  im- 
provement does  not  operate  in  the 
manner  supposed — does  not  enable  a 
part  of  the  labour  previoushr  employed 
an  the  land  to  be  oispensed  with — out 
only  enables  the  same  labour  to  raise 
a  greater  produce.  Suppose,  too,  that 
the  greater  produce,  which  by  means  of 
the  improvement  can  be  raised  from 
the  soil  with  the  same  labour,  is  all 
wanted,  and  will  find  purchasers.  The 
improver  will  in  that  case  require  the 
same  number  of  labourers  as  before,  at 
the  same  wages.  But  where  will  he 
find  the  means  of  paying  them  ?  He 
has  no  longer  his  original  capital  of 
two  thousand  Quarters  disposable  for 
the  purpose.  One  thousand  of  them 
are  lost  and  gone — consiuned  in  making 
the  improvement.  If  he  is  to  employ 
as  many  labourers  as  before,  and  pay 
them  as  highly,  he  must  borrow,  or 
obtain  from  some  other  source,  a  thou- 
sand quarters  to  supply  the  deficit. 
But  these  thousand  quarters  already 
maintained,  or  were  destined  to  main- 
tain, an  equivalent  quantity  of  labour. 
The^  are  not  a  fresh  creation;  their 
destmation  is  only  changed  from  one 
productive  employment  to  another; 
and  though  the  agriculturist  has  made 
up  the  deficiency  in  his  own  circulating 
capital,  the  breach  in  the  circulating 
capital  of  the  community  remains  tui- 
repaired. 

J  The  argument  relied  on  by  most  of 
'those  who  contend  that  machineiy  can 
never  be  injurious  to  the  labouring 
Iclass,  is,  that  by  cheapening  produc- 
tion it  creates  such  an  increased  de- 
mand for  the  commoditv,  as  enables, 
lere  long,  a  greater  number  of  persons 
Ithan  ever  to  find  employment  in  pro- 
ducing it.  This  argument  does  not 
seem  to  me  to  have  the  weight  com- 
monly ascribed  to  it.  The  fact,  though 
too  broadly  stated,  is,  no  doubt,  often 


true.  The  copyists  who  were  thrown 
out  of  employment  bv  the  invention 
of  printing,  were  doubtless  soon  out^ 
numbered  by  the  compositors  and 
pressmen  who  took  theii*  place:  and 
the  number  of  labouring  persons  now 
occupied  in  the  cotton  manufacture  is 
many  times  greater  than  were  so  occu- 
pied previously  to  the  inventions  of 
Hargreaves  and  Arkwright,  which 
shows  that  besides  the  enormous  fixed 
capital  now  embarked  in  the  manufac- 
ture, it  also  employs  a  far  larger  circu- 
lating capital  than  at  any  former  time . 
But  if  tnis  capital  was  drawn  fron£ 
other  employments ;  if  the  funds  whichl 
took  the  place  of  the  capital  sunk  in 
costly  machinery,  were  supplied  not  by 
any  additional  saving  consequent  on 
the  improvements,  but  by  drafts  on  the 
general  capital  of  the  community; 
what  better  are  the  labouring  classes 
for  the  mere  transfer  ?  In  what  manner 
is  the  loss  they  sustained  by  the  con- 
version of  circulating  into  fixed  capital, 
made  up  to  them  by  a  mere  shifting  of 
part  of  the  remainder  of  the  circulating 
capital  from  its  old  employments  to  a ' 
new  one  ?  ^ 

All  attempts  to  make  out  that  the 
labouring  classes  as  a  collective  body 
cannot  suffer  temporarily  by  the  intro- 
duction of  machinery,  or  oy  the  sinking 
of  capital  in  permanent  improvements, 
are,  I  conceive,  necessarily  fallacious. 
That  they  would  suffer  in  the  par- 
ticular department  of  industry  to  which 
the  change  applies,  is  generally  ad- 
mitted, and  obvious  to  common  sense  ; 
but  it  is  often  said,  that  though  em- 
ployment is  withdrawn  from  labour  in 
one  department,  an  exactly  equivalent 
employment  is  opened  for  it  in  others, 
because  what  the  consumers  save  in 
the  increased  cheapness  of  one  par- 
ticular article  enables  them  to  augment 
their  consumption  of  others,  thereby 
increasing  the  demand  for  other  kinds 
of  labour.  This  is  plausible,  but,  as' 
was  shown  in  the  last  chapter,  involves 
a  fallacy;  demand  for  commodities 
being  a  totally  different  thinff  from.' 
demand  for  labour.  It  is  true,  the  con- 1 
sumers  have  now  additional  means  of 
buying  other  things ;  but  this  will  not 
create  the  other  thingi,  unless  there  is 


CIRCULATING  AND  FIXED  CAPITAL. 


61 


eapital  to  prodnce  them,  and  the  im- 
provement nas  not  set  at  liberty  any 
capita],  if  even  it  has  not  absorbed 
some  from  other  employments.  The 
supposed  increase  of  production  and  of 
employment  for  labour  in  other  depart- 
ments therefore  will  not  take  place ; 
and  the  increased  demand  for  com- 
modities hy  some  consumers,  will  be 
bsdanced  by  a  cessation  of  demand  on 
the  part  of  others,  namely,  the  la- 
bourers who  were  superseded  by  the 
improvement,  and  who  will  now  be 
maintained,  if  at  all,  b^  sharing,  either 
in  the  way  of  competition  or  of  charity, 
in  what  was  previously  consumed  by 
other  people. 

[     §  3.    Nevertheless,  I  do  not  believe 

>  that  as  things  are  actually  transacted, 

j  improvements  in  production  are  oflan, 
if  ever,  injurious,  even  temporarily,  to 

)  the  labouring  classes  in  the  aggregate. 

'  They  would  be  so  if  they  took  place 
suddenly  to  a  great  amount,  because 
much  of  the  capital  sunk  must  ne- 
cessarily in  that  case  be  provided  from 
funds  luready  employed  as  circulating 

I  capital.  But  improvements  are  always 
introduced  very  gradually,  and  are 
seldom  or  never  made  by  withdrawing 
circulating  capital  from  actual  produc- 
tion, but  are  made  by  the  employment 
of  the  annual  increase.  Tiiere  are 
few,  if  any,  exam{>les  of  a  great  in- 
crease of  fixed  capital,  at  a  time  and 
place  where  circulating  capital  was 
not  rapidly  increasing  hkewise.  It  is 
not  in  poor  or  backward  countries  that 
sreat  and  costly  improvements  in  pro- 
duction are  maae.  To  sink  capital  in 
land  for  a  permanent  return — ^to  intro- 
duce expensive  machinery — are  acts 
involving  immediate  sacrifice  for  dis- 
^tant  objects ;  and  indicate,  in  the  first 
place,   tolerably  complete  security  of 

.property;  in  the  second,  considerable 
activity  of  industrial  enterprise ;  and 
•in  the  third,  a  hieh  standard  of  what 
I  has  been  called  the  "  effective  desire 
•f  accumulation :"  which  three  things 
are  the  elements  of  a  societv  rapidlv 
proeressive  in  its  amount  of  capital. 
Almough,  therefore,  the  labouring 
classes  must  suffer,  not  only  if  the  in- 
of  fixed  capital  talus  place  at 


the  expense  of  circulating,  but  even  if 
it  is  so  large  and  rapid  as  to  retard 
that  ordinary  increase  to  which  the 
g^wth  of  population  has  habitually 
adapted  itself;  vet,  in  point  of  fact, 
this  is  very  unlikely  to  nappes,  since 
there  is  probably  no  country  whose 
fixed  capital  increases  in  a  ratio  more 
than  proportional  to  its  circulatine. 
If  the  wnole  of  the  railways  which, 
during  the  speculative  madness  oi 
1846,  obtained  the  sanction  of  ParHar 
ment,  had  been  oonstructed  in  the 
times  fixed  for  the  completion  of  each, 
this  improbable  contingency  would, 
most  likely,  have  been  realised;  but 
this  very  case  has  afforded  a  striking 
example  of  the  difficulties  which  op- 
pose the  diversion  into  new  channels  of 
any  considerable  portion  of  the  capital 
that  supplies  the  old:  difficultieB 
generally  much  more  than  sufficient  to 
prevent  enterprises  that  involve  the 
sinking  of  capital,  from  extending 
themselves  witn  such  rapidity  as  to 
impair  the  sources  of  the  existing  em- 
ployment for  laboTU*. 

To  these  considerations  must  b€| 
added,  that  even  if  improvements  did' 
for  a  time  decrease  the  aggregate  pro^ 
duoe  and  the  circulating  capital  of  the 
community,  they  would  not  the  less! 
tend  in  the  long  run  to  augment  both.  I 
They  increase  the  return  to  capital; 
and  of  this  increase  the  benefit  must 
necessarily  accrue  either  to  the  capi- 
talist in  greater  profits,  or  to  the  cus- 
tomer in  diminished  prices ;  affording, 
in  either  case,  an  augmented  fund  from 
which  accumulation  may  be  made, 
while  enlarged  profits  also  hold  out  an 
increased  inducement  to  accumulation. 
In  the  case  we  before  selected,  in  which 
the  immediate  result  of  the  improve- 
ment was  to  diminish  the  gross  pro- 
duce from  two  thousand  four  hun£^ 
quarters  to  one  thousand  five  hundred, 
yet  the  profit  of  the  capitalist  being 
now  five  hundred  quarters  instead  of 
four  hundred,  the  extra  one  hundred 
quarters,  if  regularly  saved,  would  in 
a  few  years  leplace  the  one  thousand 
quarters  subtracted  from  his  circulating 
capital.  Now  the  extension  cf(  business 
which  almost  certainly  foUows  in  any 
department  in  which  an  improvemcHoi 


5S  BOOK  I. 

has  been  made,  affords  a  strong  in- 
ducement to  those  engaged  in  it  to  add 
to  their  capital ;  and  hence,  at  the  slow 
pace  at  which  improvements  are  usually 
mtrodnced,  a  great  part  of  the  capital 
which  the  improvement  ultimately  ab- 
sorbs, is  drawn  from  the  increased 
profits  and  increased  savings  which  it 
nas  itself  called  forth. 
This  tendency  of  improvement!  in 

E reduction  to  cause  increased  accnmu- 
ition,  and  thereby  ultimately  to  in- 
crease the  ^ss  produce,  even  if  tern* 
porarily  diminishmg  it,  will  assume  a 
still  more  decided  character  if  it  should 
appear  that  there  are  assignable  limits 
both  to  the  accumulation  of  capital, 
and  to  the  increase  of  production  from 
the  land,  which  limits  once  attained, 
all  farther  increase  of  produce  must 
stop ;  but  that  improvements  in  pro- 
duction, whatever  may  be  their  other 
effects,  tend  to  throw  one  or  both  of 
these  limits  farther  off.  Now,  these 
are  truths  which  will  appear  in  the 
clearest  light  in  a  subsequent  stage  of 
our  investigation.  It  will  be  seen,  that 
ithe  quantity  of  capital  which  will,  or 
even  which  can,  oe  accumulated  in 
,any  country,  and  the  amount  of  gross 
produce  which  will,  or  even  which  can, 
;  be  raised,  bear  a  proportion  to  the  state 
of  the  arts  of  production  there  exist- 
|ing;  and  that  every  improvement, 
jcven  if  for  the  time  it  diminish  the 
icirculating  capital  and  the  gross  pro- 
duce, ultimately  makes  room  for  a 
larger  amount  of  both,  than  could  pos- 
Isibly  have  existed  otherwise.  It  is 
this  which  is  the  conclusive  answer  to 
the  objections  against  machinery ;  and 
the  proof  thence  arising  of  the  ulti- 
mate benefit  to  labourers  of  mechanical 
inventions  even  in  the  existing  state  of 
society,  will  hereafter  be  seen  to  be 
conclusive.*  But  this  does  not  dis- 
charge governments  from  the  obligation 
of  alleviating,  and  if  possible  prevent- 
ing,  the  evils  of  which  this  source  of 
ultimate  benefit  is  or  may  be  produc- 
tive to  an  existing  generation.  If  the 
sinking  or  fixing  of  capital  in  ma- 
chinery m  usefiu  works,  were  ever  to 
proceed  at  such  a  pace  am  to  impair 
maleiia^  the  funds  for  tiie  mainte- 
*  UIHk4MM»k  iv.  otep.  ¥. 


CHAPTER  VI.    I  8. 

nance  of  labour,  it  would  be  incumbent 
on  legislators  to  take  measures  for  mo- 
derating its  rapidity:  and  since  im- 
provements which  do  not  diminish 
employment  on  the  whole,  almost  al- 
ways throw  some  particidar  class  of 
labourers  out  of  it,  there  cannot  be  aj 
more  legitimate  object  of  the  legieda-j 
tor's  care  than  the  interests  of  those  > 
who  are  thus  sacrificed  to  the  gains  of 
their  fellow-citiaens  and  of  posterity.     | 

To  return  to  the  theoretical  distinc- 
tion   between    fixed    and    circulating 
capital.     Since  all  wealth  which  isl 
destined  to  be  employed  for  reproduc-( 
tion  comes  within  the  designation  of 
capital,  there  are  parts  of  capital  which 
do  not  agree  with  the  definition   of 
either  species  of  it;  for  instance,  the' 
stock  of  finished  goods  which  a  manu-l 
facturer  or  dealer  at  any  time  possesses  I 
unsold  in  his  warehouses,    ibut  this,) 
though  capital  as  to  its  destination,  is 
not  yet  capital  in  actual  exercise :  it  is 
not  engaged  in  production,  but  has 
first  to  be  sold  or  exchanged,  that  is, 
converted  into  an  eq^uivalent  value  of 
some  other  commodities;  and  there- 
fore is  not  yet  either  fixed  or  circulating 
capital ;  but  will  become  either  one  or 
the  other,  or   be  eventually  divided 
between  them.    With  the  proceeds  of 
his  finished  ^oods,  a  manufacturer  will 
partly  pa^  his  work-people,  partly  re- 
plenish his  stock  of  the  materials  of 
his  manufacture,   and  partly  provide 
new  buildings  andmachmerv,  or  repair 
the  old ;  but  how  much  will  be  devoted 
to    one    purpose,   and  how  much   to 
another,  depends  on  the  nature  of  the 
manufacture,  and  the  requirements  of 
the  particular  moment. 

It  should  be  observed  further,  thaif 
the  portion  of  capital  consumed  in  the] 
form  of  seed  or  material,  though,  un-| 
like  fixed  capital,  it  requires  to  be  at| 
once  replaced  from  the  gross  produce,' 
stands  yet  in  the  same  relation  to  the 
employment  of  labour  as  fixed  capital  1 
does.  What  is  expended  in  mateiials 
is  as  much  withdrawn  from  the  main- 
tenance and  remuneration  of  labourers, 
as  what  is  fixed  in  machinery ;  and  it 
capital  now  expended  in  wages  w&» 
Averted  to  the  providing  of  matwiaia, 
the  effect  on  the  labourers  wookl  1m  «• 


DEGREES  OF  PRODUCnVBNESS. 


68 


prejudlciftl  u  if  it  were  conyerted  into 
fixed  capital.  This,  however,  is  a  kind 
of  change  which  never  takes  place. 
The  tendency  of  improvements  in  pro- 
duction is  always  to  economize,  never 


to  increase,  the  expanditnre  of  leed  or 
material  for  a  givon  prodnoe ;  and  the 
interest  of  the  lahonrers  has  no  detri- 
ment to  apprehend  from  this  soorce. 


CHAPTER  Vn. 


ON  WHAT  DEPENDS  THE  DS«ltEB  OV  1>R0DUCTlTBirBflS  Or  PRODUCTITE  ▲•BNTB 


I  1.  Wshaveconchidedonr^neral 
survey  of  the  requisites  of  pro<raction. 
We  have  fonnd  that  they  may  be  reduced 
to  three :  labonr,  capital,  and  the  mate- 
jrifds  and  motive  forces  afforded  by 
^tore.  Of  these,  labonr  and  the  raw 
material  of  the  globe  are  primary  and 
indispensable.  Natural  motive  powers 
may  be  called  in  to  the  assistance  of 
labour,  and  are  a  help,  but  not  an  es- 
sential, of  production.  The  remaining 
requisite,  capital,  is  itself  the  product 
of  labour:  its  instrumentality  in  pro- 
duction is  therefore,  in  reality,  that  of 
labour  in  an  indirect  shape.  It  does 
not  the  less  require  to  be  specified 
separately.  A  previous  application  of 
laoour  to  produce  the  capital  required 
for  consumption  during  the  work,  is  no 
less  essential  than  the  application  of 
labour  to  the  work  itself.  Of  capital, 
again,  one,  and  by  far  the  largest,  por- 
tion, conduces  to  production  only  by 
sustaining  in  existence  the  labour  which 
produces:  the  remainder,  namely  the 
mstmments  and  materials,  contribute 
to  it  directly,  in  the  same  manner  with 
natural  agents,  and  the  materials  sup- 
plied by  nature. 

I  We  now  advance  to  iShe  second  great 
■question  in  political  economy ;  on  what 
jthe  degree  of  productiveness  of  these 
■■agents  depends.  For  it  is  evident  that 
their  productive  efficacy  variesgreatly 
at  various  times  and  places.  With  the 
same  population  and  extent  of  territory, 
some  conntries  have  a  much  larger 
amount  of  production  than  others,  and 
the  ssme  country  at  one  time  a  greater 
amount  than  itself  at  another.  Com- 
pare Bnglsnd  either  with  a  similar 
extent  of  territoiT-in  Russia,  or  with 


an  equal  population  of  Russians.  Com- 
pare England  now  with  England  in 
the  Middle  Ages  ;  Sicily,  Northern  Af- 
rica, or  Syria  at  present,  with  the  same 
countries  at  the  time  of  their  greatest 
prosperity,  before  the  Roman  conc^uest. 
Some  of  tne  causes  which  contnbute 
to  this  difference  of  productiveness  are 
obvious ;  others  not  so  much  so.  We 
proceed  to  specify  several  of  them. 

S  2.  The  most  evident  cause  of  ^ 
superior  productiveness  is  what  are 
called  natural  advantages.  These  are , 
various.  Fertility  of  soil  is  one  of  the 
principal.  In  tnis  there  are  great 
varieties,  ^m  the  deserts  of  Arabia 
to  the  alluvial  plains  of  the  Ganges, 
the  Niger,  and  the  Mississippi.  A 
favourable  climate  is  even  more  im- 
portant than  a  rich  soil.  There  are 
countries  capable  of  being  inhabited, 
but  too  cola  to  be  compatible  with 
agriculture.  Their  inhabitants  cannot 
pass  beyond  the  nomadic  state;  they 
must  live,  like  the  Laplanders,  by  the 
domestication  of  the  rein-deer,  if  not 
by  hunting  or  fishing,  like  the  miser- 
able Esquimaux.  There  are  countries 
where  oats  will  ripen,  but  not  wheat, 
such  as  the  North  of  Scotland ;  others 
where  wheat  can  be  grown,  but  from 
excess  of  moisture  and  want  of  sun- 
shine, affords  but  a  precarious  crop; 
as  in  parts  of  Ireland.  With  each 
advance  towards  the  south,  or,  in  the 
European  temperate  region,  towards 
the  east,  some  new  branch  of  agricul- 
ture becomes  first  possible,  then  advan- 
tageous ;  the  vine,  maize,  figs,  olives^ 
silk,  rice,  dates,  successively  present 
themseivoi^    tinm   we    oome    to    the> 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  VH.    |  2. 


64 

BQgar,  coffee,  cotton,  spices,  &c.  of 
climates  whicn  also  afford,  of  the  more 
common  agricultural  products,  and 
with  only  a  slight  degree  of  cultiva- 
tion, two  or  even  three  harvests  in  a 
year.  Nor  is  it  in  agriculture  alone 
that  differences  of  climate  are  impor- 
tant. Their  influence  is  felt  in  many 
other  branches  of  production:  in  the 
durability  of  all  work  which  is  exposed 
to  the  air ;  of  buildings,  for  example. 
If  the  temples  of  Kamac  and  Luxor 
had  not  been  injured  by  men,  they 
might  have  subsisted  in  their  original 
perfection  almost  for  ever,  for  the  in- 
scriptions on  some  of  them,  though 
anterior  to  all  authentic  history,  are 
fresher  than  is  in  our  climate  an  in- 
scription fifty  years  old :  while  at  St. 
Petersburg,  the  most  massive  works, 
solidly  executed  in  granite  hardly  a 
generation  ago,  are  already,  as  tra- 
vellers tell  us,  almost  in  a  state  to 
require  reconstruction,  from  alternate 
exposure  to  summer  heat  and  intense 
frost.  The  superiority  of  the  woven 
fabrics  of  Southern  Europe  over  those 
of  England  in  the  richness  and  clear- 
ness of  many  of  their  colours,  is 
ascribed  to  the  su^rior  Quality  of  the 
atmosphere,  for  which  neitner  the  know- 
ledge of  chemists  nor  the  skill  of  dyers 
has  been  able  to  provide,  in  our  hazy  and 
damp  climate,  a  complete  equivalent. 

Another  ^art  of  the  influence  of 
climate  consists  in  lessening  the  phy- 
sical requirements  of  the  producers. 
In  hot  regions,  mankind  can  exist  in 
comfort  with  less  perfect  housing,  less 
clothing ;  friel,  that  absolute  necessary 
of  life  in  cold  climates,  they  can  almost 
dispense  with,  except  for  industrial 
uses.  They  also  require  less  aliment ; 
as  experience  had  proved,  long  before 
theory  had  accounted  for  it  by  ascer- 
taining that  most  of  what  we  consume 
as  food  is  not  required  for  the  actual 
nutrition  of  the  organs,  but  for  keeping 
up  the  animal  heat,  and  for  supplying 
the  necessary  stimulus  to  the  vital 
functions,  wmch  in  hot  climates  is 
almost  sufficientlv  supplied  by  air  and 
sunshine.  Mucn,  tnerefore,  of  the 
labour  elsewhere  expended  to  procure 
the  mere  necessaries  of  life,  not  being 
required,  more  reiiiiiinA  disjxwable  for 


its  higher  uses  and  its  enjoyments :  if 
the  character  of  the  inhabitants  does 
not  rather  induce  them  to  use  up  these 
advantages  in  over-population,  or  in 
the  indulgence  of  repose. 

Among  natural  advantages,  besides 
soil  and  climate,  must  be  mentioned 
abundance  of  mineral  productions,  in 
convenieil^  situations,  and  capable  of 
being  worked  with  moderate  labour: 
Such  are  the  coal-fields  of  Great 
Britain,  which  do  so  much  to  compen- 
sate its  inhabitants  for  the  disadvan- 
tages  of  climate;  and  the  scarcely 
inferior  resource  possessed  by  this 
country  and  the  United  States,  in  a 
copious  supply  of  an  easily  reduced 
iron  ore,  at  no  great  depth  below  the 
earth's  surface,  and  in  close  proximity 
to  coal  deposits  available  for  working 
it.  In  mountain  and  hill  districts, 
the  abundance  of  natural  water-power 
makes  considerable  amends  for  the 
usually  inferior  fertility  of  those  re- 
gions. But  perhaps  a  greater  advan- 
tage than  all  these  is  a  maritime 
situation,  especially  when  accompanied 
with  good  natural  harbours ;  and,  next 
to  it,  great  navigable  rivers.  These 
advantages  consist  indeed  wholly  in 
saving  the  cost  of  carriage.  But  few 
who  have  not  considered  the  subject, 
have  any  adequate  notion  how  great 
an  extent  of  economical  advantage 
this  comprises;  nor,  without  having 
considered  the  influence  exercised  on 
production  by  exchanges,  and  by  what 
IB  called  the  division  of  labour,  can  it 
be  frdly  estimated.  So  important  is  it, 
that  it  often  does  more  uian  counter- 
balance sterility  of  soil,  and  almost 
every  other  natural  inferiority;  es- 
pecially in  that  early  stage  of  industry 
m  which  labour  and  science  have  not 
yet  provided  artificial  meatis  of  com- 
munication capable  of  rivalling  the 
natural.  In  the  ancient  world,  and  in  ' 
the  middle  ages,  the  most  prosperous 
communities  were  not  those  which 
had  the  largest  territory,  or  the  most 
fertile  soil,  but  rather  those  which  had 
been  forced  by  natural  sterility  to 
make  the  utmost  use  of  a  convenient 
maritime  situation;  as  Athens,  Tyre, 
Marseilles,  Venice,  the  free  cities  on 
the  Baltic,  and  the  like. 


DEGREES  OF  PRODUCnVBNESS 


e& 


§  3.  So  much  for  natural  advan- 
tages; the  value  of  which,  coeterU 
paribus  J  is  too  obvious  to  be  ever 
underrated.  But  experience  testifies 
that  natural  advantages  scarcely  ever 
do  for  a  communitj,  no  more  than 
fortune  and  station  do  for  an  indivi- 
dual, anjlhiiiLg  like  what  it  lies  in  their 
nature,  or  in  their  capacity,  to  do. 
^either  now  nor  in  former  ages  have 
the  nations  possessing  the  best  climate 
and  soil  been  either  the  richest  or  the 
most  powerful;  but  (in  so  far  as 
regards  the  mass  of  the  people)  eene- 
raliy  among  the  poorest,  though,  in 
the  midst  of  poverty,  probably  on  the 
whole  the  most  eiyoying.  Human  life 
in  those  countries  can  be  supported  on 
BO  little,  that  the  poor  seldom  suffer 
from  anxiety,  and  in  climates  in  which 
mere  existence  is  a  pleasure,  the 
luxury  which  they  prefer  is  that  of 
repose.  Ener^,  at  the  call  of  passion, 
they  possess  in  abundance,  but  not 
that  which  is  manifested  in  sustained 
and  persevering  labour:  and  as  they 
seldom  concern  themselves  enough 
about  remote  objects  to  establish  good 
political  institutions,  the  incentives  to 
industry  are  further  weakened  by  im- 
perfect protection  of  its  fniits.  Suc- 
cessful production,  like  most  other 
kinds  of  success,  depends  more  on  the 
qualities  of  the  human  agents,  than  on 
tne  circumstances  in  which  thej  work : 
and  it  is  difficulties,  not  facilities,  that 
nourish  bodily  and  mental  energy. 
Accordingiy  the  tribes  of  mankind 
who  have  overrun  and  conquered 
others,  and  compelled  them  to  labour 
for  their  benefit,  have  been  mostly 
reared  amidst  hardship.  They  have 
either  been  bred  in  the  forests  of 
northern  climates,  or  the  deficiency  of 
natural  hardships  has  been  supplied, 
as  among  the  Greeks  and  Romans,  by 
the  artificial  ones  of  a  rigid  military 
discipline.  From  the  time  when  the 
circumstances  of  modem  society  per- 
mitted the  discontinuance  of  that 
discipline,  the  South  has  no  longer 
produced  conquering  nations ;  military 
vigour,  as  well  as  speculative  thought 
and  industrial  energy,  have  all  had 
their  principal  seats  ill  the  less 
favoured  North. 


As  the  Mcond,  therefore,  of  tha 
causes  of  superior  productiveness,  we| 
may  rank  the  greater  energy  of  labour.; 
By  this  is  not  to  be  understood  occa- 
sional, but  regular  and  habitual  energy. 
No  one  undergoes,  without  murmur- 
ing, a  greater  amount  of  occasional 
fatigue  and  hardship,  or  has  his  bodily 
nowers,  and  such  faculties  of  mind  aa 
ne  possesses,  kept  longer  at  their 
utmost  stretch,  than  the  North  Ame- 
rican Indian;  yet  his  indolence  is 
proverbial,  whenever  he  has  a  brief 
respite  from  the  pressure  of  present 
wants.  Individuals,  or  nations,  do 
not  differ  so  much  in  the  efforts 
they  are  able  and  willing  to  make 
under  strong  immediate  incentives, 
as  in  their  capacity  of  present  ex- 
ertion for  a  distant  object,  and  in 
the  thoroughness  of  fheir  application 
to  work  on  ordinary  occasions.  Some 
amount  of  these  qualities  is  a  necessary 
condition  of  any  great  improvement 
among  mankind.  To  civilize  a  savage, 
he  must  be  inspired  with  new  wants 
and  desires,  even  if  not  of  a  very  ele- 
vated kind,  provided  that  their  gratifi- 
cation can  oe  a  motive  to  steady  and 
regular  bodily  and  mental  exertion. 
If  the  negroes  of  Jamaica  and  De* 
merara,  after  their  emancipation,  had 
contented  themselves,  as  it  was  pre- 
dicted they  would  do,  with  the  neces- 
saries of  life,  and  abandoned  all  labour 
beyond  the  little  which  in  a  tropical 
climate,  with  a  thin  population  and 
abundance  of  tho  richest  land,  is 
sufficient  to  support  existence,  they 
would  have  sunk  into  a  condition  more 
barbarous,  though  less  unhappy,  than 
their  previous  state  of  slavery.  The 
motive  which  was  most  relied  on  for 
inducing  them  to  work  was  their  love 
of  fine  clothes  and  personal  ornaments. 
No  one  will  stand  up  for  this  taste  as 
worthy  of  being  cultivated,  and  in 
most  societies  its  indulgence  tends  tc 
impoverish  rather  than  to  enrich ;  but 
in  the  state  of  mind  of  the  negroes  it 
might  have  been  the  only  incentive 
that  could  make  them  voluntarily 
undergo  systematic  labour,  and  so  ac- 
quire or  maintain  habits  of  voluntary 
industry  which  may  be  converted  to 
more  valuable  ends.  In  England,  it  is 
F 


not  the  desire  of  t^eAHb  that  Heeds  to 
be  tanght,  but  the  nie  <yf  wealth,  and 
appreciation  of  the  objects  of  desire 
which  wealth  cannot  purchase,  or  for 
attaining  which  it  is  not  required. 
Every  real  improvement  in  the  cha- 
racter of  the  English,  whether  it 
consist  in  giving  them  higher  aspira- 
tions, or  only  a  juster  estimate  of  the 
▼alue  of  their  present  objects  of  desire, 
must  necessanly  moderate  the  ardour 
of  their  devotion  to  the  pursuit  of 
,  ivealth.  There  is  no  need,  however, 
,  tliat  it  should  diminish  the  strenuous 
and  business-like  application  to  the 
matter  in  hand,  which  is  found  in  the 
best  English  workmen,  and  is  their 
most  valuable  quality. 

The  desirable  medium  is  one  which 
mankind  have  not  often  known  how  to 
hit :  when  they  labour,  to  do  it  with  all 
their  might,  and  especially  with  aU 
their  mind;  but  to  devote  to  labour, 
for  mere  pecuniary  gain,  fewer  hours 
tn  the  day,  fewer  days  in  the  year,  and 
Fewer  years  of  life. 

§  4.  The  third  element  which  de- 
'termines  the  productiveness  of  the 
labour  of  a  community,  is  the  skill  and 
knowledge  therein  existing;  whether 
it  be  the  skill  and  knowledge  of  the 
I  labourers  themselves,  or  of  those  who 
'direct  their  labour.  No  illustration  is 
requisite  to  show  how  the  efiBcacy  of 
industry  is  promoted  by  the  manual 
dexterity  of  those  who  perform  mere 
routine  processes ;  by  the  intelligence 
of  those  engaged  in  operations  in 
which  the  mind  has  a  considerable 
part ;  and  by  the  amount  of  knowledge 
of  natural  powers  and  of  the  properties 
of  objects,  which  is  turned  to  the  pur- 
poses of  industry.  That  the  produc- 
tiveness of  the  labour  of  a  people  is 
limited  by  their  knowledge  of  the  arts 
of  Ufe,  is  self-evident;  and  that  any 
progress  in  those  arts,  any  improved 
application  of  the  objects  or  powers  of 
nature  to  industrial  uses,  enables  the 
same  quantity  and  intensity  of  labour 
to  raise  a  greater  produce. 

One  principal  aepartment  of  these 
miprovements  consists  in  the  invention 
and  use  of  tools  and  machinery.  The 
mannar  in  which  theM  serve  to  in 


BOOK  1.    CHAPTER  VII.    S  4. 


creasie  production  and  to  economize 
labour,  needs  not  be  specially  detailed 
in  a  work  like  the  present:  it  will  be 
found  explained  and  exemplified,  in  a 
manner  at  once  scientific  and  popular, 
in  Mr.  Babbage's  well-known  "Eco- 
nomy of  Machinery  and  Manufac- 
tures." An  entire  chapter  of  Mr. 
Babbage's  book  is  con?posed  of  in- 
stances of  the  efficacy  of  machinery  in 
"  exerting  forces  too  grtat  for  human 
power,  and  executing  operations  too 
delicate  for  human  touch."  But  to 
find  examples  of  work  which  could  not 
be  performed  at  all  by  unassisted 
labour,  we  need  not  go  so  far.  With- 
out pumps,  worked  by  steam-engines  or 
othei'wise,  the  water  which  collects  in 
mines  could  not  in  many  situations  be 
got  rid  of  at  all,  and  the  mines,  aftei 
being  worked  to  a  little  depth,  must  be 
abandoned :  without  ships  or  boats  the 
sea  could  never  have  been  crossed; 
without  tools  of  some  sort,  trees  could 
not  be  cut  down,  nor  rocks  excavated ; 
a  plough,  or  at  least  a  hoe,  is  necessary 
to  any  tillage  of  the  ground.  Very 
simple  and  rude  instruments,  however, 
are  sufficient  to  render  literally  possible 
most  works  hitherto  executed  by  man- 
kind ;  and  subsequent  inventions  have 
chiefly  served  to  enable  the  work  to  be 
perfoi-med  in  greater  perfection,  and, 
above  all,  with  a  greatly  diminished 
quantity  of  labour:  the  labour  thus 
saved  becoming  disposable  for  other 
employment. 

The  use  of  machinery  is  far  from 
being  the  only  mode  m  which  the 
effects  of  knowledge  in  aiding  produc- 
tion are  exemplified.  In  agriculture 
and  horticulture,  machinery  is  only 
now  beginning  to  show  that  it  can  dc 
anything  of  importance,  beyond  the 
invention  and  progressive  improve- 
ment of  the  plough  and  a  few  other 
simple  instruments.  The  greatest  agri- 
cultural inventions  have  consisted  in 
the  direct  application  of  more  judicious 
processes  to  the  laiid  itself^  and  to  the 
plants  growing  on  it :  such  as  rotation 
of  crops,  to  avoid  the  necessity  of 
leaving  the  land  uncultivated  for  one 
season  in  every  two  or  three ;  improved 
manures,  to  I'enovate  its  fertility  when 
exhausted  by  cropping ;  ploughmg  aA(l 


DEGREES  OP  PRODUCTIVENESS. 


67 


draining  the  sabeoil  as  well  as  the 
smiaoe ;  conversiou  of  bogs  and  marshes 
into  cultivable  land;  such  mod^  of 
pruning,  and  of  training  and  propping 
up  plants  and  trees,  as  experience  has 
sbown  to  deserve  the  preference;  in  the 
case  of  the  more  expensive  cultures, 
planting  the  roots  or  seeds  further 
apurt^  and  more  completely  pulyerizing 
the  soil  in  which  they  are  placed,  &c. 
In  nuuiufactures  and  commerce,  some 
of  the  most  important  improvements 
consist  in  economizing  time ;  in  making 
the  return  follow  more  speedily  upon 
the  labour  and  outlay.  There  are 
others  of  which  the  advantage  consists 
in  economy  of  material. 

§  5.  Bat  the  effects  of  the  in- 
creased knowledge  of  a  conmiunity  in 
increasing  its  wealth,  need  the  less 
illustration  as  they  have  become 
familiar  to  the  most  uneducated,  irom 
such  conspicucms  instances  as  railways 
and  steam-ships.  A  thing  not  yet  so 
'well  understood  and  recognised,  is  the 
jeconomical  value  of  the  general  difiii- 
jsion  of  intelligence  among  the  people. 
The  number  of  persons  fitted  to  direct 
and  superintend  any  industrial  enter- 
prise, or  even  to  execute  any  process 
which  cannot  be  reduced  almost  to  an 
aifair  of  memory  and  routine,  is  always 
far  short  of  the  demand ;  as  is  evident 
from  the  enormous  difference  between 
the  salaries  paid  to  such  persons,  and 
the  wages  of  ordinary  labour.  The 
deficiency  of  practical  good  sense, 
which  renders  the  majority  of  the  la- 
bouring class  such  bad  calculatoi-s — 
which  makes,  for  instance,  their  do- 
mestic economy  so  improvident,  lax, 
and  irregular — ^must  disqualify  them 
for  any  bat  a  low  grade  of  intelligent 
labour,  and  render  their  industry  far 
less  productive  than  with  equal  energy 
it  otherwise  might  be.  The  impor- 
tance, even  in  .^his  limited  aspect  of 
popular  education,  is  well  worthy  of 
the  attention  of  politicians,  especially 
in  England;  since  competent  observers, 
accustomed  to  employ  labourers  of 
various  nations,  testify  that  in  the 
workmen  of  other  countries  they  often 
ibid  great  intelligence  wholly  apart 
from  instructioii,  but  that  if  an  English 


labourer  is  anything  but  a  hewer  ol 
wood  and  a  drawer  of  water,  he  is 
indebted  for  it  to  education,  which  in 
his  case  is  almost  always  self-education. 
Mr.  Escher,  of  Zurich,  (an  engineef 
and  cotton  manufacturer  employing 
nearly  two  thousand  working  men  of 
many  different  nations,]  in  his  evidence 
annexed  to  the  Report  of  the  Poor 
Law  Oommissionei-s,  in  1840,  on  the 
training  of  pauper  children,-  gives  a 
character  of  Lnglish  as  contni-ited 
with  Continental  workmen,  which  all 
persons  of  similar  experience  will,  I 
believe,  confirm. 

"  The  Italians'  quickness  of  percep 
tion  is  shown  in  rapidly  comprehending 
any  new  descriptions  of  labour  put  into 
their  hands,  in  a  power  of  quickly  com- 
prehending the  meaning  of  their  em- 
ployer, of  adapting  themselves  to  nevr 
circumstances,  much  beyond  what  any 
other  classes  have.  The  French  work 
men  have  the  like  natural  characteris- 
tics, only  in  a  somewhat  lower  degree. 
The  English,  Swiss,  German,  and 
Dutch  workmen,  we  find,  have  all  much 
slower  natural  comprehension.  As 
workmen  o?i2^,  the  preference  is  un- 
doubtedly due  to  the  English ;  because, 
as  we  find  them,  they  are  all  trained 
to  special  branches,  on  which  they  have 
had  comparatively  superior  training, 
and  have  concentrated  all  their 
thoughts.  As  men  of  business  or  of 
general  usefulness,  and  as  men  with 
whom  an  employer  would  best  like  to 
be  surrounded,  I  should,  however,  deci- 
dedly prefer  the  Saxons  and  the  Swiss, 
but  more  especially  the  Saxons,  be- 
caoae  they  have  had  a  very  careful  gen- 
eral education,  which  has  extended 
their  capacities  beyond  any  special 
employment,  and  rendered  them  fit  to 
take  up,  after  a  short  preparatiou,  any 
employment  to  which  they  may  be 
called.  If  I  have  an  English  work- 
man engaged  in  the  erection  of  a 
steam-engine,  he  will  understand  that, 
and  nothing  else;  and  for  other  cir- 
cumstances or  other  branches  of  me- 
chanics, however  closely  allied,  he  will 
be  comparatively  helpless  to  adapt  him- 
self to  all  the  circumstances  that  may 
arise,  to  make  arrangements  for  tl-.em, 
and  give  sound  »dvice  or  write  cieai 
V  2 


on    ni8  work 
branches   of 


S8  BOOK  I. 

statementR  and   letters   on    his 
in   the    various   related 
mechanics.*' 

On  the  connexion  between  mental 
cultivation  and  moral  trustworthiness 
in  the  labouring  class,  the  same  wit- 
ness says,  "  The  better  educated  work- 
men, we  find,  are  distinguished  by 
superior  moral  habits  in  every  respect. 
In  the  first  place,  they  are  entirely  so- 
ber ;  they  are  discreet  in  their  enjoy- 
ments, which  are  of  a  more  rational 
and  refined  kind;  they  have  a  taste 
for  much  better  society,  which  they 
approach  respectfully,  and  consequently 
find  much  readier  admittance  to  it; 
they  cultivate  music ;  they  read ;  they 
enjoy  the  pleasures  of  scenery,  and 
make  parties  for  excursions  in  the 
country;  they  are  economical,  and 
their  economy  extends  beyond  their 
own  purse  to  the  stock  of  their  master ; 
they  are,  consequently,  honest  and 
trustworthy."  Aiid  in  answer  to  a 
question  respecting  the  English  work- 
men, "  Whilst  in  respect  to  the  work 
to  which  they  have  been  specially 
h-ained  they  are  the  most  skilful,  they 
are  in  conduct  the  most  disorderly,  de- 
bauched, and  unruly,  and  least  respect- 
able and  trustworthy  of  any  nation 
whatsoever  whom  we  have  employed  ; 
and  in  saying  this,  I  express  the  expe- 
rience of  every  manufacturer  on  the 
Continent  to  whom  I  have  spoken,  and 
especially  of  the  English  manufactu- 
rers, who  make  the  loudest  complaints. 
These  characteristics  of  depravity  do 
not  apply  to  the  English  workmen  who 
have  received  an  education,  but  attach 
to  the  others  in  the  degree  in  which 
they  are  in  want  of  it.  When  the  un- 
educated English  workmen  are  re- 
leased from  the  bonds  of  iron  discipline 
in  which  they  have  been  restrained  by 
their  employers  in  England,  and  are 
treated  with  the  urbanity  and  friendly 
feeling  which  the  more  educated  work- 
men on  the  Continent  expect  and  re- 
ceive from  their  employers,  they,  the 
English  workmen,  completely  lose  their 
balance :  they  do  not  imderstund  their 
position,  and  after  a  certain  time  be- 
come totally  unmanageable  and  use- 
less."*   Ttos  result  of  observation  is 

•  The  whole  evidence  of  this  intelliRent 


CHAPTER  Vn.    §  6. 

borne  out  by  experience  in  England 
itself.  As  soon  as  any  idea  of  equal- 
ity enters  the  mind  of  an  uneducated 
English  working  man,  his  head  is 
turned  by  it.  When  he  ceases  to  bo 
servile,  he  becomes  insolent. 

The  moral  qualities  of  the  labourers] 
are  fully  as  important  to  the  efficiencji 
and  worth  of  their  labour,  as  the  in- 
tellectual. Independently  of  the  effects- 
of  intemperance  upon  their  bodily  and 
mental  faculties,  and  of  flighty  un- 
steady habits  upon  the  energy  and  con- 
tinuity of  their  work  (points  so  easily 
understood  as  not  to  require  being  in- 
sisted upon),  it  is  well  worthy  of  medi- 
tation, now  much  of  the  aggregate 
effect  of  their  labour  depends  on  their 
trustworthiness.  All  the  labour  now 
expended  in  watching  that  they  fulfil 
their  engagement,  or  in  verifying  that 
they  have  fulfilled  it,  is  so  much  with- 
drawn from  the  real  business  of  pro- 
duction, to  be  devoted  to  a  subsidiaiy 
function  rendered  needful  not  by  the 
necessity  of  things,  but  by  the  dis- 
honesty of  men.  Nor  are  the  greatest 
outward  precautions  more  than  veiy 
imperfectly  efficacious,  where,  as  is  now 
almost  invariably  the  case  with  hired 
labourers,  the  slightest  relaxation  of 
vigilance  is  an  opportunity  eagerly 
seized  for  eluding  performance  of  their 
contract.  The  advantage  to  mankind 
of  being  able  to  trust  one  another,  pen- 
etrates into  every  crevice  and  cranny 
of  human  life  :  tne  economical  is  per- 
haps the  smallest  part  of  it,  yet  even 
this  is  incalculable.  To  consider  only 
the  most  obvious  part  of  the  waste  of 
wealth  occasioned  to  society  by  human 
improbity ;  there  is  in  all  rich  commu- 
nities a  predatory  population,  who  live 
by  pillaging  or  over-reaching  other 
people;  their  numbers  cannot  be 
authentically  ascertained,  but  on  the 
lowest  estimate,  in  a  country  like 
England,  it  is  very  large.  The  sup- 
port  of  these  persons  is  a  direct  bur- 
then on  the  national  industry.  The 
police,  and  the  whole  apparatus  of  pun- 
ishment, and  of  criminal  and  partly  of 

and  experienced  employer  of  labour  is  do- 
serving  of  attention;  as  well  as  much  te«ti> 
mony  on  similar  points  by  other  ^ 
contained  iu  tlie  same  volume. 


DEGREES  OF  PRODUCTIVENESa 


dvil  justice,  are  a  second  burthen  ren- 
dered necessary  by  the  first.  The  ex- 
orbitantly-paid profession  of  lawyers, 
80  far  as  their  work  is  not  created  b^ 
defects  in  the  law  of  their  own  contn- 
ving,  are  required  and  supported  prin- 
cipally by  the  dishonesty  of  mankind. 
As  the  standard  of  integrity  in  a  com- 
munity rises  higher,  all  these  expenses 
become  less.  But  this  positive  saving 
would  be  far  outweighed  by  the  im- 
mense increase  in  the  produce  of  all 
kinds  of  labour,  and  saving  of  time  and 
expenditure,  which  would  be  obtained 
if  the  labourers  honestly  performed 
what  they  undertake ;  and  by  the  in- 
creased spirit,  the  feeling  of  power 
and  confidence,  with  which  works  of 
all  sorts  would  be  planned  and  carried 
on  by  those  who  felt  that  all  whoso  aid 
was  required  would  do  their  part  faith- 
fiilly  according  to  their  contracts.  Con- 
joint action  is  possible  just  in  propor- 
tion as  human  beings  can  rely  on  each 
other.  There  are  countries  in  Europe, 
of  first-rate  industrial  capabilities, 
where  the  most  serious  impediment  to 
conducting  business  concerns  on  a 
large  scale,  is  the  rarity  of  persons  who 
are  supposed  fit  to  be  trusted  with  the 
receipt  and  expenditure  of  large  sums 
of  money.  There  are  nations  whose 
commodities  are  looked  shily  upon  by 
merchants,  because  they  cannot  depend 
on  finding  the  quality  of  the  article 
conformable  to  that  of  the  sample. 
Such  short-sighted  frauds  are  far  from 
unexampled  in  English  exports.  Every 
one  has  heard  of  "  devil's  dust  :*'  and 
among  other  instances  given  by  Mr. 
Babbage,  is  one  in  which  a  branch  of 
export  trade  was  for  a  long  time  ac- 
tually stopped  by  the  forgeries  and 
frauds  which  had  occurred  in  it.  On 
the  other  hand  the  substantial  advan- 
tage derived  in  business  transactions 
from  proved  trustworthiness,  is  not  less 
remarkably  exemplified  in  the  same 
work.  "  At  one  of  our  largest  towns, 
sales  and  purchases  on  a^  very  exten- 
sive scale  are  made  daily  in  the  course 
of  business  without  any  of  the  parties 
ever  exchanging  a  written  document." 
Spread  over  a  year's  transactions,  how 
great  a  return,  in  saving  of  time, 
trouble,  and  ei^nse,  is  raought  in  to 


the  producers  and  dealers  of  such  a 
town  from  their  own  integrity.  "  The 
influence  of  established  character  in 
producing  confidence  operated  in  a 
very  remarkable  manner  at  the  time  ol 
the  exclusion  of  British  manufactures 
from  the  Continent  during  the  last 
war.  One  of  our  largest  establish- 
ments had  been  in  the  nabit  of  doing 
extensive  business  with  a  house  in  the 
centre  of  Germany :  but  on  the  closing 
of  the  Continental  poi-ts  ac^ainst  our 
manufactures,  heavy  penalties  were 
inflicted  on  all  those  wno  contravened 
the  Berlin  and  Milan  decrees.  The 
English  manufacturer  continued,  never- 
theless, to  receive  orders,  with  direc- 
tions how  to  consign  them,  and  appoint- 
ments for  the  time  and  mode  ot  pay- 
ment, in  letters,  the  handwriting  of 
which  was  known  to  him,  but  which 
were  never  signed  except  by  the 
Christian  name  of  one  of  the  firm,  and 
even  in  some  instances  they  were 
without  any  signature  at  all.  These 
orders  were  executed,  and  in  no  in- 
stance was  there  the  least  irregularity 
in  the  payments."* 

*  Some  minor  instances  noticed  by  Mr. 
Babbage  may  be  cited  in  further  illustration 
of  the  waste  occasioned  to  society  through 
the  inability  of  its  members  tft  trust  one 
another. 

*'  The  cost  to  the  purchaser  is  the  price  he 
pays  for  any  article,  added  to  the  cost  of 
verifying  the  fact  of  its  having  that  degree 
of  goodness  for  which  he  contracts.  In  some 
cases,  the  goodness  of  the  article  is  evident 
on  mere  inspection ;  and  in  those  cases  there 
is  not  much  difference  of  price  at  different 
shops.  The  goodness  of  loaf  sugar,  for  in- 
stance, oan  be  discerned  almost  at  a  glance ; 
and  the  consequence  is,  that  the  price  is  so 
uniform,  and  the  profit  upon  it  so  small,  that 
no  grocer  is  at  all  anxious  to  sell  it ;  whilst 
on  the  other  hand,  tea,  of  which  it  is  exceed- 
ingly difficult  to  Judge,  and  which  can  be 
adulterated  by  mixture  so  as  to  deceive  the 
skill  even  of  a  practised  eye,  has  a  great 
variety  of  different  prices,  and  is  that  article 
which  every  grocer  is  most  anxious  to  sell  to 
his  customers.  The  difficulty  and  expense 
of  verification  are  in  some  instances  so  great 
as  to  Justify  the  deviation  from  well-estab- 
lished principles.  Thus  it  is  a  general  maxim 
that  Government  can  purchase  any  article 
at  a  cheaper  rate  than  that  at  which  they 
can  manufacture  it  themselves.  But  it  has^ 
nevertheless,  been  considered  more  econo* 
mical  to  build  extensive  flour-mills  (such  as 
those  at  Deptford),  and  to  grind  their  own 
com,  than  to  verify  each  sack  of  purciiased 
floor,  and  to  employ  persons  in  devising  me* 


70 


BOOK  1.    CHAFrER  Vlf.    §  6. 


§  6.  Among  the  eecondary  causes 
orliich  determine  the  productiveness  of 
productive  agents,  the  most  important 
is  Security.  By  security  I  mean  the 
oompleteness  of  the  protection  which 
society  affords  to  its  members.  This 
consists  of  protection  by  the  govern- 
ment, and  protection  against  me  go- 
vernment. The  latter  is  the  more 
important.  Where  a  person  known  to 
possess  anything  worth  taking  away, 
can  expect  nothing  but  to  have  it  torn 
from  him,  with  every  circumstance  of 
tyrannical  violence,  by  the  agents  of  a 
rapacious  government,  it  is  not  likely 
/hat  many  will  exert  themselves  to 
produce  much  more  than  necessaries. 
This  is  the  acknowledged  explanation 
of  the  poverty  of  many  fertile  tracts  of 
Asia,  which  were  once  prosperous  and 
populous.  From  this  to  the  degree  of 
security  enjoyed  in  the  best  governed 

thods  of  detecting  the  new  modes  of  adulte* 
ration  which  might  be  continually  resorted 
to."  A  similar  want  of  confidence  might 
ieprlve  a  nation,  such  as  the  United  States,  of 
a  large  export  trade  in  flour. 

Again :  *'  Some  years  since,  a  mode  of  pre- 
paring old  clover  and  trefoil  seeds  by  a  pro- 
cess called  doctorinff  became  so  prevalent  as 
to  excite  the  attention  of  the  House  of  Com- 
mons. It  appeared  in  evidence  before  a 
Committee,  that  the  old  peed  of  the  white 
clover  was  doctored  by  first  wetting  it  slightly, 
and  then  drying  it  by  the  fumes  of  burning 
sulphur ;  and  that  the  i^d  clover  seed  had  its 
colour  improved  by  shaking  it  in  a  sack  with 
&  small  quantity  of  indigo  :  but  this  being 
detected  after  a  time,  the  docfort  then  used 
a  preparation  of  logwood,  fined  by  a  little 
copperas,  and  sometimes  by  verdigris ;  thus 
at  once  improving  the  appearance  of  the  old 
seed,  and  diminishing,  if  not  destroying,  its 
vegetative  power,  already  enfeebled  by  age. 
Supposing  no  injury  had  resulted  to  good 
seed  so  prepared,  it  was  proved  that,  from 
the  improved  appearance,  the  market  price 
would  be  enhanced  by  this  process  from  five 
to  twenty-five  thillings  a  hundred- weight. 
But  the  greatest  evil  arose  from  the  circum- 
bcance  of  these  processes  rendering  old  and 
worthless  seed  equal  in  appeai«nce  to  the 
best.  One  witness  had  tried  some  doctored 
seed,  awd  found  that  not  above  one  grain  in 
a  hundred  grew,  and  that  those  which  did 
vegetate  died  away  afterwards:  whilst  about 
eightj  or  ninety  per  cent  of  good  seed  usually 
graws.  The  seed  so  treated  was  sold  to 
retail  dealers  in  the  country,  who  of  course 
endeavoured  to  purchase  at  the  cheapest 
rate,  and  fh)m  them  it  got  into  the  hands  of 
the  farmers,  neither  of  these  classes  being  ca> 
pable  of  distinguishing  the  fraudulent  from 
the  genuine  seed.  Many  cultivatore  in  conse- 
f veuce  iliminiBhed  their  consumytioa  of  the 


parts  of  Europe,  there  are  numeroni 
gradations.  In  many  provinces  of 
France,  before  the  Eevolution,  a  vicious 
system  of  taxation  on  the  land,  and 
still  more  the  absence  of  redress  against 
the  arbitrary  exactions  which  were 
made  under  colour  of  the  taxes,  ren- 
dered it  the  interest  of  every  cultivator 
to  appear  poor,  and  therefore  to  culti- 
vate badly.  The  only  insecurity  which 
is  altogether  paralyzing  to  the  active 
energies  of  producer!^  is  that  arising 
from  the  government,  or  from  persons 
invested  with  its  authority.  Against 
all  other  depredators  there  is  a  hope  of 
defending  oneself.  Greece  and  the 
Greek  colonies  in  the  ancient  world, 
Flanders  and  Italy  in  the  Middle  Ages, 
by  no  means  enjoyed  what  any  one 
with  modem  ideas  would  call  security : 
the  state  of  society  was  most  unsettlud 
and   turbulent;   person   and  property 

articles,  and  others  were  obliged  to  pay  a 
higher  price  to  those  who  had  skill  to  distin- 
guish the  mixed  seed,  and  who  had  integrity 
and  character  to  prevent  them  from  dealing 
in  it." 

The  same  writer  states  that  Irish  flax, 
though  in  natural  quality  inferior  to  none, 
!<cll.«,  or  did  lately  sell,  in  the  market  at  a 
penny  to  twopence  per  pound  less  than 
foreign  or  British  flax ;  part  of  the  difference 
arising  from  negligence  in  its  preparation, 
but  part  from  the  cause  mentioned  in  the 
evidence  of  Mr.  Corry,  many  years  Secretary 
to  the  Irish  Linen  Board:  "  The  owners  of 
the  flax,  who  are  almost  always  people  in  the 
lower  classes  of  life,  believe  that  they  can 
best  advance  their  own.lnterests  by  imposing 
on  the  buyers.  Flax  being  sold  by  weight, 
various  expedients  are  used  to  increase  it ; 
and  every  expedient  is  injurious,  particularly 
the  damping  of  it ;  A  very  common  practice, 
which  makes  the  flax  afterwards  heat.  The 
inside  of  every  bundle  (and  the  bundles  all 
vary  in  bulk)  is  ofteti  fUU  of  pebbles,  or  dirt 
of  various  kinds,  to  increase  the  weight.  In 
this  state  it  ia  purchased  and  exported  to 
Great  Britain." 

It  was  given  in  eridence  before  a  C.-nn- 
ittittee  of  the  House  of  Commons  that  the 
lace  trade  at  Nottingham  had  greatly  Ikilen 
off,  from  the  making  of  fraudulent  and  bad 
articles :  that  "  a  kind  of  lace  called  tingle- 
pre»$  wai  manufactured,"  (I  still  quote  Mr. 
Babbage)  ''which,  although  good  to  the  eye, 
became  nearly  spoiled  in  washing  by  the 
slipping  of  the  threads ;  that  not  one  person 
in  a  thousand  could  distinguish  the  difference 
between  sing^e-prest  and  double-press  lace; 
that  eyen  workmen  and  manuCacturers  were 
obliged  to  employ  amagnifying-glassfor  that 
purpose;  and  that  in  ajiother  similar  article, 
called  warp44fci^,  such  aid  Iras  esscrttiaL." 


COMBINATION  OF  LABOUR. 


71 


were  exposed  to  a  thousand  danger*. 
But  they  were  free  countries;  they 
were  in  general  neither  Rcbitrarily  op- 
pressed, nor  sjBtematicallj  plundered 
by  their  governments.  Against  other 
enemies  the  individual  energy  which 
their  institutions  called  forth,  enabled 
them  to  make  successful  resistance: 
their  labour,  therefore,  was  eminently 
productive,  and  their  riches,  while  they 
remained  free,  wero  constantly  on  the 
increase.  The  Boman  despotism,  put- 
ting an  end  to  wars  and  internal  con- 
flicts throughout  the  empire,  relieved 
the  subject  population  from  much  of 
the  former  insecurity :  but  because  it 
left  them  under  the  grinding  yoke  of 
its  own  rapacity,  thev  became  ener- 
vated and  impoverished,  until  they 
were  an  easy  prey  to  barbarous  but 
free  invaders.  They  would  neither 
fight  nor  labour,  because  they  were  no 
longer  suffered  to  enjoy  that  for  which 
they  fought  and  laboured. 

Much  of  the  security  of  person  and 
'property  in  modem  nations  is  the  effect 
lof  manners  and  opinion  rather  than  of 
uaw.  There  are,  or  lately  were,  coun- 
'  tries  in  Europe  where  the  monarch 
was  nominally  absolute,  but  where, 
&om  the  restraints  imposed  by  estab- 
lished usage,  no  subject  felt  practically 
in  the  smallest  danger  of  having  his 
possessions  arbitrarily  seized  or  a  con- 
tribution levied  on  them  by  the  govern- 
ment. There  must,  however,  be  in 
such  governments  much  petty  plunder 
and  other  tyranny  by  subordinate 
a^nts,  for  which  redress  is  not  ob- 
tained, owing  to  the  want  of  puUicity 
which  is  the  ordinary  character  of 
absolute  governments.  In  f^gland  the 
people  ai-e  tolerably  well  protected,  both 
oy  mstitutions  and  manners,  against 
IM  agents  of  government ;  but,  for  the 


security  they  enjoy  agamst  other  evil- 
doers, they  are  very  little  indebted  to 
their  institutions.  The  laws  cannot  be 
said  to  afford  protection  to  property, 
when  they  afford  it  only  at  such  a  cost 
as  renders  submission  to  injury  in 
general  the  better  calculation.  The 
security  of  property  in  England  is 
owin^  (except  as  regards  open  violence) 
to  opinion,  and  the  fear  of  exposure, 
much  more  than  to  the  direct  operation 
of  the  law  And  the  courts  of  justice. 

Independently  of  all  imperfection  in 
the  bulwarks  which  society  purposely 
throws  round  what  it  recognises  as 
property,  there  are  various  other  modes 
m  which  defective  institutions  impede 
the  employment  of  the  productive  re- 
sources w  a  country  to  the  best  ad- 
vantage. We  shall  have  occasion  for 
noticing  many  of  these  in  the  progress 
of  our  subject.  It  is  sufficient  here  to 
remark,  that  the  efficiency  of  industry 
may  be  expected  to  be  great,  in  pro- 
portion as  the  fruits  of  industij  are 
insured  to  the  person  exerting  it :  and 
that  all  social  an-angeroents  are  con- 
ducive to  useful  exertion,  according  as 
they  provide  that  the  reward  of  every 
one  for  his  labour  shall  be  proportioned 
as  much  as  possible  to  the  benefit  which 
it  produces.  All  laws  or  usages  which 
favour  one  class  or  sort  of  persons  to 
the  disadvantage  of  others;  which 
chain  up  the  efforts  of  any  part  of  the 
community  in  pursuit  oi  their  own 
good,  or  stand  between  those  efforts 
and  their  natural  fruits— are  (indepen- 
dently of  all  other  grounds  of  condem- 
nation) violations  of  the  fundamental 
principles  of  economical  policy ;  tend- 
ing to  make  the  aggregate  productive 
powers  of  the  community  produetite 
in  a  less  degree  than  thoy  would  other- 
wise be. 


CHAPTER  VIIL 

OF   CO-OPBRATIOX,    OB   THB   COHBTNATI<>V  OP   LABOUR. 

I  1.    Ih  the  enomeratioD    of  the  .  one  untouched,  which,  becavee  ef  Hb 

circumstances  which  promote  the  pro-    importance,  and  oJi  the  man/  topics  of 
diictiwBess  of  labour,  we    have  le£b  |  discussion  whit  h  it  involves,  requires 


7J 


BOOK  I. 


•to  be  treated  apart.  This  is,  co-opera- 
tion, or  the  combined  action  of  nmnDers. 
Of  this  great  aid  to  production,  a 
single  department,  known  by  the  name 
of  Division  of  Labour,  has  engaged  a 
large  share  of  the  attention  of  political 
economists;  most  deservedly  indeed, 
but  to  the  exclusion  of  other  cases  and 
exemplifications  of  the  same  compre- 
hensive law.  Mr.  Wakefield  was,  I 
believe,  the  first  to  point  out,  that  a 
part  of  the  subject  had,  with  injurious 
effect,  been  mistaken  for  the  whole; 
that  a  more  fundamental  principle  lies 
beneath  that  of  the  division  of  labour, 
,  and  comprehends  it. 

Co-operation,  he  observes,*  is  "of 
two  distinct  kinds:  first,  such  co- 
operation as  takes  place  when  several 
persons  help  each  other  in  the  same  em- 
ployment ;  secondly,  such  co-operation 
as  takes  place  when  several  persons 
.help  each  other  in  different  employ- 
'  ments.  ITiese  may  be  termed  Simple 
Co-operation  and  Complex  Co-operation . 
"  The  advantage  of  simple  co-opera- 
tion is  illustrated  by  the  case  of  two 
greyhounds  running  together,  which, 
it  is  said,  will  kill  more  hares  than  four 
greyhoimds  running  separately.  In 
a  vast  nupiber  of  simple  operations 
performed  by  human  exertion,  it  is 
quite  obvious  that  two  men  working 
together  will  do  more  than  four,  or 
four  times  four  men,  each  of  whom 
should  work  alone.  In  the  lifting  of 
heavy  weights,  for  example,  in  the 
felling  of  trees,  in  the  sawing  of  timber, 
in  the  gathering  of  much  hay  or  com 
during  a  short  period  of  line  weather, 
in  draining  a  large  extent  of  land 
during  the  short  season  when  such  a 
work  may  be  properly  conducted,  in 
the  pulling  of  ropes  on  board  ship,  in 
the  rowing  of  large  boats,  in  some 
mining  operations,  in  the  erection  of  a 
scaffolding  for  building,  and  in  the 
breaking  of  stones  for  the  repair  of  a 
road,  so  that  the  whole  of  the  road 
shall  always  be  kept  in  good  order ;  in 
all  these  simple  operations,  and  thou- 
sands more,  it  is  absolutely  necessary 
that  many  persons  should  work  to- 
gether, at  the  same  time,  in  the  same 


•  Note  to  Wakefield's  edition  of  Adam 
Smith,  vol.  i.  x>.  26. 


CHAPTER  Vm.    $  1 

place,  and  in  the  same  way.  The 
savages  of  New  Holland  never  help 
each  other,  even  in  the  most  simple 
operations;  and  their  condition  is 
hardly  superior,  in  some  respects  it 
is  inferior,  to  that  of  the  wild  animals 
which  they  now  and  then  catch.  Let 
any  one  imagine  that  the  labourers  of 
England  should  suddenly  desist  from 
helping  each  other  in  simple  employ- 
ments, and  he  will  see  at  once  the 
prodigious  advantages  of  simple  co- 
operation. In  a  countless  number  of 
employments,  the  produce  of  labour  is, 
up  to  a  certain  point,  in  proportion  to 
such  mutual  assistance  amongst  the 
workmen.  This  is  the  first  step  in, 
social  improvement.**  The  second  is, 
when  "  one  body  of  men  having  com- 
bined their  labour  to  raise  more  food 
than  they  require,  another^  body  of 
men  are  induced  to  combine  their 
labour  for  the  purpose  of  producing 
more  clothes  than  they  require,  and 
with  those  clothes  buying  the  surplus 
food  of  the  other  body  of  labourers ; 
while,  if  both  bodies  together  have 
produced  more  food  and  clothes  than 
they  both  require,  both  bodies  obtain, 
by  means  of  exchange,  a  proper 
capital  for  setting  more  labourers  to 
work  in  their  respective  occupations.*' 
To  simple  co-operation  is  thus  super- 
added what  Mr.  Wakefield  tenns 
Complex  Co-operation.  The  one  is 
the  combination  of  several  labourers 
to  help  each  other  in  the  same  set  of 
operations ;  the  other  is  the  combina- 
tion of  several  labourers  to  help  one 
another  by  a  division  of  operations.  ^ 

There  is  "  an  important  distinction 
between  simple  and  complex  co-opera- 
tion. Of  the  former,  one  is  always 
conscious  at  the  time  of  practising  it : 
it  is  obvious  to  the  most  ignorant  and 
vulgar  eye.  Of  the  latter,  but  a  ver^  few 
of  the  vast  numbers  who  practise  it  are 
in  any  degree  conscious.  The  cause  of 
this  distinction  is  easily  seen.  When 
several  men  are  emplojred  in  lifting 
the  same  weight,  or  pulling  the  same 
rope,  at  the  same  time,  and  in  the 
same  place,  there  can  be  no  sort  of 
doubt  that  they  co-operate  with  each 
other;  the  fact  is  impressed  on  the 
mind  by  the  mere  sense  of  sight;  but 


COMBINATION  OF  LABOUR. 


78 


when  several  men,  or  bodies  of  men, 
are  employed  at  different  times  and 
places,  and  in  different  pursuits,  their 
co-operation  with  each  other,  though 
it  may  be  quite  as  certain,  is  not  so 
readily  perceived  as  in  the  other  case  : 
in  order  to  perceive  it,  a  complex  ope- 
ration of  the  mind  is  requirea." 

In  the  present  state  of  society  the 
breeding  and  feeding  of  sheep  is  the 
occupation  of  one  set  of  people,  dress- 
ing the  wool  to  prepare  it  for  the 
spinner  is  that  of  another,  spinning  it 
into  thread  of  a  third,  weaving  the 
thread  into  broadcloth  of  a  fourth, 
dyeing  the  cloth  of  a  fifth,  making  it 
into  a  coat  of  a  sixth,  without  counting 
the  multitude  of  carriers,  merchants, 
&ctors,  and  retailers  put  in  requisition 
at  the  successive  sta^s  of  this  progress. 
All  these  persons,  without  knowledge  of 
one  another  or  previous  understanmng, 
co-operate  in  the  production  of  the 
ultimate  result,  a  coat.  Bat  these  are 
.far  fix)m  being  all  who  co-operate  in  it ; 
for  each  of  these  persons  requires  food, 
and  many  other  articles  of  consump- 
tion, and  unless  he  could  have  relied 
that  other  people  would  produce  these 
for  him,  he  could  not  havv*)  devoted  his 
whole  time  to  one  step  in  the  succes- 
sion of  operations  which  produces  one 
single  commodity,  a  coat.  Eveiy 
person  who  took  part  in  pitxlucing 
food  or  erecting  houses  for  this  series 
of  producers,  has,  however  uncon- 
sciously on  his  part,  combined  his 
labour  with  theirs.  It  is  by  a  real, 
though  unexpressed,  concert,  "that 
the  body  who  raise  more  food  than 
they  want,  can  exchange  with  the 
body  who  raise  more  clothes  than  they 
want ;  and  if  the  two  bodies  were  sepa^ 
rated,  either  by  distance  or  disincli- 
nation— ^unless  the  two  bodies  should 
TirtuiCOy  form  themselves  into  one,  for 
the  common  object  of  raisin?  enough 
food  and  clothes  for  the  whole — they 
could  not  divide  into  two  distinct  parts 
the  whole  operation  of  producing  a 
sufficient  quantity  of  food  and  clothes." 

§  2.  The  influence  exercised  on 
production  by  the  separation  of  em- 
ployments, is  more  fundamental  than, 
Gram  the  mode  in  which  the  Bultject  is 


usually  treated,  a  reader  might  be  in* 
duced  to  suppose,  it  is  not  merely 
that  when  the  production  of  different 
things  becomes  the  sole  or  principal 
occupation  of  different  persons,  a  much 
^ater  quantity  of  each  kind  of  article 
18  produced.  The  truth  is  much  be-  • 
yond  this.  Without  some  separation 
of  employments,  very  few  things  would 
be  produced  at  all. 

Suppose  a  set  of  persons,  or  a 
number  of  families,  all  employed 
precisely  in  the  same  manner;  each 
family  settled  on  a  piece  of  its  own 
land,  on  which  it  grows  by  its  labour 
the  food  required  for  ita  own  suste- 
nance, and  as  there  are  no  persons  to 
buy  any  surplus  produce  where  all  are 
producers,  each  family  has  to  produce 
within  itself  whatever  other  articles 
it  consumes.  In  such  circumstances, 
if  the  soil  was  tolerably  fertile,  and 
population  did  not  tread  too  closely  on 
the  heels  of  subsistence,  there  would 
be,  no  doubt,  some  kind  of  domestic 
manufactures ;  clothing  for  the  fiunily 
might  perhaps  be  spun  and  woven 
within  It,  by  the  labour  probably  of  the 
women  (a  first  step  in  th'e  separation 
of  employments) ;  and  a  dwelling  of 
some  sort  would  be  erected  and  kept 
in  repair  by  their  united  labour.  But 
beyond  simple  food  (precarious,  too, 
from  the  variations  of  the  seasons), 
coarse  clothing,  and  very  imperfect 
lodging,  it  would  be  scarcely  possible 
that  the  family  should  produce  any- 
thing more.  They  would,  in  general, 
require  their  utmost  exertions  to  ac- 
complish so  much.  Their  power  even 
of  extracting  food  from  the  soil  would 
be  kept  within  narrow  limits  by  the 
quality  of  their  tools,  which  would 
necessarily  be  of  the  most  wretched 
description.  To  do  almost  anything 
in  the  way  of  producing  for  themselves 
articles  of  convenience  or  luxurjr,  would 
require  too  much  time,  and,  in  many 
cases,  their  presence  in  a  different 
place.  Very  few  kinds  of  industry, 
therefore,  would  exist ;  and  that  which 
did  exist,  namely  the  production  of 
necessaries,  would  be  extremely  in- 
efficient, not  solely  from  imperfect 
implements,  but  because,  when  the 
ground  and  the  domestic  industry  fed 


74  BOOK  I 

by  it  had  been  made  to  supply  the 
necessaries  of  a  single  family  in  tole- 
rable abundance,  there  would  be  little 
motive,  while  the  numbers  of  the 
family  remained  the  same,  to  make 
either  the  land  or  the  labom*  produce 
more. 

But  suppose  an  event  to  occur,  which 
would  amount  to  a  revolution  in  the 
circumstances  of  this  little  settlement. 
Supi^se  that  a  company  of  artificers, 
provided  with  tools,  and  with  food 
sufficient  to  maintain  them  for  a  year, 
arrive  in  the  countrj  and  establish 
themselves  in  the  midst  of  the  popu- 
lation. These  new  settleru  occupy 
themselves  in  producing  articles  of  use 
or  ornament  adapted  to  the  taste  of  a 
simple  people ;  and  before  their  food  in 
exhausted  they  have  produced  these  in 
considerable  quantity,  and  are  ready 
to  exchange  them  for  more  food.  The 
economical  position  of  the  landed  popu- 
lation is  now  most  materially  altered. 
They  have  an  opportunity  given  them 
of  acquiring  comforts  and  luxuries. 
Things  which,  while  they  depended 
solely  on  their  own  labour,  they  never 
could  have  obtained,  because  they 
could  not  have  produced,  are  now  ac- 
cessible to  them  if  the^  can  succeed 
in  producing  an  additional  quantity 
of  food  and  necessaries.  They  are 
thus  incited  to  increase  the  produc- 
tiveness of  their  industry.  Among 
the  conveniences  for  the  first  time 
made  accessible  to  them,  better  tools 
are  probably  one ;  and  apart  from  this, 
the^  have  a  motive  to  labour  more 
assiduously,  and  to  adopt  contrivances 
for  making  their  labour  more  effectual. 
By  these  means  they  will  generally 
succeed  in  compelling  their  land  to 
produce,  not  only  food  for  themselves, 
bnt  a  sui-plns  for  the  new  comers, 
wherewith  to  buy  from  them  the  pro- 
ducts of  their  industry.  The  new 
settlers  constitute  what  is  called  a 
market  for  surplus  agricultural  ^  pro- 
duce: and  their  arrival  has  enriched 
the  settlement  not  only  by  the  manu- 
factured articles  which  they  produce, 
but  by  the  food  which  would  not  have 
been  produced  unless  they  had  been 
there  to  consume  it. 

There  it  no  inconsistency  between 


CHAPTER  Vm.    §  9, 

this  doctrine,  and  the  proposition  wfl 
before  maintained,  that  a  market  for 
commodities  does  not  constitute  em- 
ployment for  labour.*  The  labour  of 
the  agriculturists  was  already  pro* 
vided  with  employment ;  they  are  not 
indebted  to  the  demand  of  the  new 
comers  for  being  able  to  maintain 
themselves.  What  that  demand  does 
for  them  is,  to  call  their  labour  into 
increased  vigour  and  efficiency ;  to 
stimulate  them,  by  new  motives,  to 
new  exertions.  Meither  do  the  new 
comers   owe    their  maintenance   and 


employment  to  the  demand  of  the  agri- 
culturists :  with  a  year's  subsistence  in 
store,  they  could  have  settled  side  by 
side  with  the  former  inhabitants,  and 
produced  a  similar  scanty  stock  of 
food  and  necessaries.  Nevertheless,  we 
see  of  what  supreme  importance  to  the 

Sroductiveness  of  tiiie  labour  of  pro- 
ucers,  is  the  existence  of  other  pro- 
ducers within  reach,  employed  in  a 
different  kind  of  industry.  The  power 
of  exchanging  the  products  of  one  kind 
of  labour  for  those  of  another,  is  a 
condition,  but  for  which,  there  would 
almost  always  be  a  smaller  quantity  of 
labour  altogether.  When  a  new  mar- 
ket is  opened  for  any  product  of  in- 
dustry, and  a  greater  quantity  of  the 
article  is  consequently  pro^luced,  the 
increased  production  is  not  always  ob- 
tained at  the  expense  of  some  other 
product ;  it  is  often  a  new  creation,  the 
result  of  labour  which  would  otherwise 
have  remained  unexerted ;  or  of  assist- 
ance rendered  to  labour  by  improve- 
ments or  by  modes  of  co-operation  to 
which  recourse  would  not  have  been 
had  if  an  inducement  had  not  been 
offered  for  raiding  a  larger  produce. 

§  3.  From  these  considerations  it 
appears  that  a  country  will  seldom 
have  a  productive  agriculture,  unless  it 
has  a  Targe  town  population,  or  tht^ 
only  available  substitute,  a  large  ex- 
port trade  in  agricultural  produce  to 
supply  a  population  elsewhere.  I  use 
the  phrase  town  population  for  short- 
ness, to  imply  a  populatioii  non-agri- 
culturid;  which  will  generally  l»e 
collected  in  towns  or  krge  villages,  fior 
*  Supra,  pp.  40-^65. 


COMBINATION 

fie  sake  of  combination  of  labour. 
Tbe  application  of  this  truth  by  Mr. 
Wakeneld  to  tbe  theory  of  colonization, 
has  excited  much  attention,  and  is 
doubtless  destined  to  excite  much 
more.  It  is  one  of  those  great  practical 
discoveries,  which,  once  made,  appear 
60  obvious  that  the  merit  of  making 
them  seems  less  than  it  is.  Mr. 
Wakefield  was  the  firat  to  point  out 
tliat  the  mode  of  planting  new  settle- 
ments, then  commonly  practised  — 
setting  down  a  number  of  families  side 
by  side,  each  on  its  piece  of  land,  all 
employing  themselyes  in  exactly  the 
same  manner, — though  la  favourable 
circumstances  it  may  assure  to  those 
families  a  rude  abundance  of  mere 
necessaries,  can  never  be  other  than 
anfavourable  to  great  production  or 
rapid  growth:  and  his  system  con- 
sists of  arrangements  for  securing  that 
every  colony  shall  have  from  the  first 
a  town  population,  bearing  due  propor- 
tion to  its  agi-icultural,  and  that  the 
rnltivators  of  the  soil  shall  not  be  so 
widely  scattered  as  to  be  deprived  by 
distance,  of  the  benefit  of  mat  town 
population  as  a  market  for  their  pro- 
dnce.  The  principle  .  on  which  the 
scheme  is  founded,  does  not  depend  on 
any  theory  respecting  the  superior  pro- 
ductiveness of  land  held  in  large 
portions,  and  cultivated  by  hired  la- 
bour. Supposing  it  true  that  land 
yields  the  greatest  produce  when 
divided  into  small  properties  and  cul- 
tivated by  peasant  proprietors,  a  town 
population  would  be  just  as  necessary 
to  induce  those  proprietors  to  raise 
that  larger  produce :  and  if  they  were 
loo  £ar  &om  Uie  nearest  seat  of  non- 
iigricuitural  industry  to  use  it  as  a 
market  for  disposing  of  their  suirplus, 
and  thereby  supplying  their  other 
^ants,  neitner  tnat  surnlus  nor  any 
equivalent  for  it  would,  generally 
speaking,  be  produced. 

It  is,  above  all,  the  deficienqy  of 
town  population  which  limits  the  pro- 
ductiveness of  the  industry  of  a  country 
like  India.  The  agriculture  of  India  is 
conducted  entirely  on  the  system  of 
small  holdings.  Theri  is»  however,  a 
considerable  amount  of  combination  of 
labour.    The  village  institutions  and 


OP  LABOUK.  76 

customs,  which  are  the  real  framework 
of  Indian  society,  make  provision  for 
joint  action  in  the  cases  in  which  it  is 
seen  to  be  necessary;  or  whore  they 
fail  to  do  so,  the  government  (when 
tolerably  well  administered)  steps  in, 
and  by  an  outlay  from  the  revenue, 
executes  by  combined  labour  the  tanks, 
embankments,  and  works  of  irrigation, 
which  are  indispensable.  The  implo- 
ments  and  processes  of  agriculture  are 
however  so  wretched,  that  the  produce 
of  the  soil,  in  spite  of  great  natural 
fertility  and  a  climate  highly  favourable 
to  vegetation,  is  miserably  small :  and 
the  land  might  be  made  to  yield  food 
in  abundance  for  many  move  than  the 

§  resent  number  of  inhabitants,  without 
enarting  from  the  system  of  small 
holdings.  But  to  this  the  stimulus  is 
wanting,  which  a  large  tovm  popula- 
tion, connected  with  the  rural  districts 
by  easy  and  unexpensive  means  of 
conmiunication,  would  afibrd.  That 
town  population,  again,  does  not  grow 
up,  because  the  few  wants  and  unas^ 
piring  spirit  of  the  cultivators  (joined 
until  lately  with  great  insecurity  of 
property,  from  military  and  fiscal  ra- 
pacity) prevent  them  &om  attempting 
to  become  consumers  of  town  produce 
In  these  circumstances  the  best  chance 
of  an  early  development  of  the  produc- 
tive resources  of  India,  consists  in  the 
rapid  growth  of  its  export  of  agricul- 
tural produce  (cotton,  indigo,  sugar, 
coffee,  &c.)  to  the  markets  of  Europe. 
The  producers  of  these  articles  are 
consumers  of  food  supplied  by  theit 
fellow-agriculturists  in  India ;  and  the 
market  thus  opened  for  surplus  food 
will,  if  accompanied  by  good  govern- 
ment, raise  up  by  degrees  more  ex- 
tended wants  and  desires,  directed 
either  towards  European  commodities, 
or  towards  things  which  will  require 
for  their  production  in  India  a  lai*ger 
manufacturing  population. 

§  4.  Thus  far  of  the  separation  of 
employments,  a  form  of  the  combina- 
tion  of  labour  without  which  there  can- 
not be  the  first  rudiments  of  industrial 
civilization.  But  when  this  separation 
is  thoroughly  established ;  when  it  has 
become  the  general  practice  tor  ej*-jh 


76 


BOOK  L    CHAPTER  Vin.    §  4. 


producer  to  rapply  many  others  with 
one  commodity,  and  to  be  supplied  bv 
others  with  most  of  the  things  which 
he  consumes;  reasons  not  less  real, 
(though  less  imperative,  invite  to  a 
I  further  exteubion  of  the  same  principle. 
It  is  found  that  the  productive  power 
of  labour  is  increased  bv  carrying  the 
separation  further  ana  fiirther;  by 
breaking  down  more  and  more  e^ery 
process  of  industry  into  parts,  so  that 
each  labourer  shall  confine  himself  to 
an  ever  smaller  number  of  simple  ope- 
rations. And  thus,  in  time,  arise  those 
remarkable  cases  of  what  is  called  the 
division  of  labour,  with  which  all 
readers  on  subjects  of  this  nature  are 
familiar.  Adam  Smith's  illustration 
from  pin-making,  though  so  well 
known,  is  so  much  to  the  point,  that  I 
will  venture  once  more  to  transcribe  it. 
"The  business  of  making  a  pin  is 
di\dded  into  about  eighteen  distinct 
operations.  One  man  draws  out  the 
wire,  another  straights  it,  a  third  cuts 
it,  a  fourth  points  it,  a  fifth  grinds  it  at 
the  top  for  receiving  the  head ;  to 
make  the  head  requires  two  or  three 
distinct  operations ;  to  put  it  on,  is  a 
peculiar  business ;  to  whiten  the  pins 
IS  another ;  it  is  even  a  trade  by  itself 

to  put  them  into  the  paper 

I  have  seen  a  small  manufactory  where 
ten  men  only  were  employed,  and 
where  some  of  them,  consequently,  per- 
formed two  or  three  distinct  operations. 
But  though  they  were  very  poor,  and 
therefore  but  indifferently  accommo- 
dated with  the  necessary  machinery, 
they  could,  when  they  exerted  them- 
selves, make  among  them  about  twelve 
pounds  of  pins  in  a  day.  There  are  in 
a  pound  upwards  of  four  thousand  pins 
of  a  middlmg  size.  Those  ten  persons, 
therefore,  could  make  among  them  up- 
wards of  forty-eight  thousand  pins  in  a 
day.  Each  person,  therefore,  making 
a  tenth  part  of  forty-eight  thousand 
pins,  might  be  considered  as  making 
four  thousand  eight  hundred  pins  in  a 
day.  But  if  they  had  all  wrought 
separately  and  independently,  and  with- 
out any  of  them  having  been  educated 
to  this  peculiar  business,  they  cer- 
tainly could  not  each  of  them  have  made 
twenty,  perhaps  not  one  pin  in  a  day." 


M.  Say  furnishes  a  still  sti-onger 
example  of  the  effects  of  division 
of  labour— from  a  not  very  important 
branch  of  industry  certainly,  the  manu- 
facture of  playing  cards.  "  It  is  said 
by  those  engaged  in  the  business,  that 
each  card,  that  is,  a  piece  of  paste- 
board of  the  size  of  the  hand,  before 
being  ready  for  sale,  does  not  undergo 
fewer  than  seventy  operations,  every 
one  of  which  might  be  the  occupation 
of  a  distinct  class  of  workmen.  And 
if  there  are  not  seventy  classes  of  work- 
people in  each  card  manufactory,  it  is 
because  the  division  of  labour  is  not 
carried  so  far  as  it  might  be ;  because 
the  same  workman  is  charged  with 
two,  three,  or  four  distinct  operations. 
The  influence  of  this  distribution  of 
employments  is  immense.  I  have  seen 
a  card  manufactory  where  thirty  work- 
men produced  daily  fifteen  thousand 
five  hundred  cards,  being  above  five 
hundred  cards  for  each  labourer ;  and 
it  may  be  presumed  that  if  each  of 
these  workmen  were  obliged  to  perform 
all  the  operations  himself,  even  suppo- 
sing him  a  practised  hand,  he  would 
not  perhaps  complete  two  cards  in  a 
day :  and  the  thirty  workmen,  instead 
of  fifteen  thousand  five  hundred  cards, 
would  make  only  sixty."* 

In  watchmafing,  as  Mr.  Babbage 
observes,  "it  was  stated  in  evidence 
before  a  Committee  of  the  House  of 
Commons,  that  there  are  a  hundred 
and  two  distinct  branches  of  this  art, 
to  each  of  which  a  boy  may  be  put  ap- 
prentice ;  and  that  he  only  learns  his 
master's  department,  and  is  unable, 
after  his  apprenticeship  has  expired, 
without  subsequent  instruction,  to 
work  at  any  other  branch.^  The  watch- 
finisher,  whose  business  it  is  to  put 
together  the  scattered  parts,  is  the  only 
one,  out  of  the  one  hundred  and  two 
persons,  who  can  work  in  any  other  de- 
partment than  his  own."t 

•  Sat,  CowTi  d^Economie  PoUHqtu  Fra- 
iigve,  voL  i.  p.  340. 

It  is  a  remarkable  proof  of  the  economy  of 
labonr  occasioned  by  this  minute  division  of 
occupations,  that  an  article,  the  production 
of  which  is  the  result  of  such  a  multitude  of 
manual  operationa,  can  be  sold  for  a  trifling 

t  EeonoM  of  Mackinerg  and  Itam^bo' 
Iwm,  3rd  Editton,  p.  SOL 


COMBINATION 

S  5.  The  causes  of  the  increased 
efficiency  given  to  labour  bj  the  divi- 
sion of  employments  are  some  of  them 
Vx)  familiar  to  require  specification; 
but  it  is  worth  while  to  attempt  a  com- 
plete enumeration  of  them.  By  Adam 
Smith  they  are  reduced  to  three. 
"First,  the  increase  of  dexterity  in 
every  particular  workman ;  secondly, 
the  savmg  of  the  time  which  is  com- 
monly lost  in  passing  from  one  species 
of  work  to  another ;  and  lastly,  tne  in- 
vention of  a  great  number  of  machines 
whic^  facilitate  and  abridge  labour, 
and  enable  one  man  to  do  the  work  of 
many.'* 

Of  these,  the  increase  of  dexterity  of 
the  individual  workman  is  the  most  ob- 
vious and  universal.  It  does  not  fol- 
low that  because  a  thing  has  been  done 
oitener  it  will  be  done  better.  That 
depends  on  the  intelligence  of  the 
workman,  and  on  the  degree  in  which 
his  mind  works  along  with  his  hands. 
But  it  will  be  done  more  easily.  The 
organs  themselves  acquire  greater 
power:  the  muscles  employed  grow 
stronger  by  frequent  exercise,  the 
sinews  more  pliant,  and  the  mental 
powers  more  efficient,  and  less  sensible 
of  fatigue.  What  can  be  done  easily 
has  at  least  a  better  chance  of  being 
done  well,  and  is  sure  to  be  done  more 
expeditiously.  What  was  at  first  done 
slowly  comes  to  be  done  quickly  ;  what 
was  at  first  done  slowly  with  accuracy 
is  at  last  done  quickly  with  equal  ac- 
curacy. This  is  as  true  of  mental  opera- 
tions as  of  bodily.  Even  a  child,  after 
much  practice,  sums  up  a  colunm  of 
figures  with  a  rapidity  which  resembles 
intuition.  The  act  of  speaking  any 
language,  of  reading  fluently,  of  play- 
ing music  at  sight,  are  cases  as  remai'k- 
able  as  they  are  familiar.  Among 
bodily  acts,  dancing,  gymnastic  exer- 
cises, ease  and  brilliancy  of  execution 
on  a  musical  instrument,  are  examples 
of  the  rapidity  and  facility  acquired  by 
repetition,  m  simpler  manual  opera- 
tions, the  effect  is  of  course  still  sooner 
produced.  "The  rapidity,"  Adam 
Smith  observes,  "  with  which  some  of 
the  operations  of  certain  manufactures 
are  performed,  exceeds  what  the  human 
hand  coold,  by  those  who  have  never  seen 


OF  liABOUB. 


11 


them,  be  supposed  ci^>ab1e  of  acquir- 
ing.'*^ This  skill  is,  naturally,  at- 
tamed  after  shorter  practice,  in  propor- 
tion as  the  division  of  labour  is  more 
minute;  and  will  not  be  attained  iu 
the  same  degree  at  all,  if  the  workman 
has  a  greater  variety  of  operations  to 
execute  than  allows  of  a  sufficientlv 
frequent  repetition  of  each.  The  ad- 
vantage is  not  confined  to  the  greater 
efficiency  ultimately  attained,  out  in- 
cludes also  the  dimmished  loss  of  time, 
and  waste  of  material,  in  learning  the 
art.  "  A  certain  quantity  of  material, " 
says  Mr.  Babbage,t  "  will  in  all  cases 
be  consumed  unprofitably,  or  spoiled, 
by  everv  person  who  learns  an  art; 
and  as  ne  applies  himself  to  each  new 
process,  he  will  waste  some  of  the  raw 
material,  or  of  the  partly  manufactured 
commodity.  But  if  each  man  commits 
this  waste  in  acquiring  successively 
every  process,  the  quantity  of  waste 
will  be  much  greater  than  t£  each  per- 
son confine  his  attention  to  one  process.'* 
And  in  general  each  will  be  much 
sooner  qualified  to  execute  his  one  pro- 
cess, if  he  be  not  distracted  while  learn. 
2  it,  by  the  necessity  of  learning 
ers. 

The  second  advanta^  enumerated 
by  Adam  Smith  as  ansing  from  the 
division  of  labour,  is  one  on  which  I 
cannot  help  thinking  that  more  stress 
is  laid  by  him  and  others  than  it 
deserves.  To  do  full  justice  to 
his  opinion,  I  will  quote  his  own 
exposition  of  it.  "The  advantage 
which  is  gained  by  saving  the  time 

*  **  In  astronomical  obserrationfl,  tha 
■eases  of  the  opei*ator  are  rendered  so  acute 
by  habit,  that  he  can  estimate  differences  of 
time  to  the  tenth  of  a  second;  and  adjust  his 
measuring  instrument  to  graduations  of 
which  five  thousand  occupy  only  an  inch. 
It  is  the  same  throughout  the  commonest 
processes  of  manufacture.  A  child  who 
fastens  on  the  heads  of  pins  will  repeat  an 
operation  requiring  several  distinct  motions 
of  the  muscles  one  hundred  times  a  minute 
for  several  successive  hours.  In  a  recent 
Manchester  paper  it  was  stated  that  a 
peculiar  sort  of  twist  or  *  gimp/  which  cost 
three  shillings  mailing  when  first  introduced, 
was  now  manufactured  for  one  penny;  and 
this  not.  as  usually,  by  the  invention  of  a 
new  machine,  but  solely  through  the  in- 
creased dexterity  of  the  worlcman."-- Stfta* 
burgh  Beoiew  for  January  1819,  p.  81. 
t  Page  17L 


78 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  VHI.    §  5. 


commonly  lost  «in  passing  from  one 
sort  of  work  to  another,  is  much 
greater  than  we  should  at  first  yiew  be 
apt  to  imagine  it.  It  is  impossible  to 
pass  veiy  quickly  from  one  kind  of 
work  to  another,  that  is  carried  on  in 
a  different  place,  and  with  quite  differ- 
ent tools.  A  country  weaver,  who 
cultivates  a  small  farm,  must  lose  a 
good  deal  of  time  in  passing  from  his 
loom  to  the  field,  and  feom  the  field  to 
his  loom.  When  the  two  trades  can 
be  carried  on  in  the  same  workhouse, 
the  loss  of  time  is  no  doubt  much  less. 
It  is  even  in  this  case,  however,  very 
considerable.  A  man  conmion]y  saun- 
ters a  little  in  turning  his  hand  from 
one  sort  of  employment  to  another. 
When  he  first  begins  the  new  work, 
he  is  seldom  very  keen  and  hearty; 
his  mind,  as  they  say,  does  not  go  to 
it,  and  for  some  time  he  rather  trifles 
than  applies  to  good  purpose.  The 
habit  of  sauntering  and  of  indolent 
careless  application,  which  is  naturally, 
or  rather  necessarily  acquired  b^  every 
country  workman  who  is  obhged  to 
change  his  work  and  his  tools  every 
half  nour,  and  to  apply  his  hand  in 
twenty  different  ways  almost  every 
day  of  his  life,  renders  him  almost 
always  slothfid  and  lazy,  and  incapable 
of  any  vigorous  application  even  on  the 
most  pressing  occasions."  This  is 
surely  a  most  exaggerated  description 
of  the  inefficiency  of  country  labour, 
where  it  has  any  adequate  motive  to 
exertion.  Few  workmen  change  their 
work  and  their  tools  oftener  than  a 
gardener;  is  he  usually  incapable  of 
vigorous  application?  Many  of  the 
higher  description  of  artisans  have  to 
perform  a  great  multiplicity  of  opera- 
tions with  a  variety  of  tools.  They  do 
not  execute  each  of  these  with  the 
rapidity  with  which  a  factory  work- 
man perf^drms  his  single  operation; 
but  tney  are,  except  in  a  merely 
manual  sense,  more  skilful  labourers, 
and  in  all  senses  whatever  more  ener- 
getic. 

Mr.  Babbag«,  following  in  the  track 
of  Adam  Smith,  says,  "  When  the 
human  hand,  or  the  human  head,  has 
been  for  some  time  occupied  in  any 
kind    of   work,  it    cannot    instantly 


change  its  employment  with  full  effect. 
The  muscles  of  the  limbs  employed 
have  acquired  a  flexibility  during  their 
exertion,  and  those  not  in  action  a 
stiffness  during  rest,  which  renders 
every  change  slow  and  unequal  in  the 
commencement.  Long  habit  also  pro- 
duces in  the  muscles  exercised  a  capa- 
city for  enduring  fatigue  to  a  much 
greater  degree  than  they  could  support 
under  other  circumstances.  A  similar 
result  seemsto  take  place  in  any  change 
of  mental  exertion;  the  attention 
bestowed  on  the  new  subject  not  being 
80  perfect  at  first  as  it  becomes  after 
some  exercise.  The  employment  of 
different  tools  in  the  successive  pro- 
cesses, is  another  cause  of  the  loss  of 
time  in  chaining  from  one  operation 
to  another.  If  these  tools  are  simple, 
and  the  change  is  not  frequent,  the 
loss  of  time  is  not  considerable ;  but 
in  many  processes  of  the  arts,  the  tools 
are  of  great  delicacy,  requiring  accu- 
rate adjustment  every  time  tliey  are 
used;  and  in  many  cases,  the  time 
employed  in  adjusting  bears  a  larg« 
proportion  to  that  employed  in  using 
the  tool.  The  sliding-rest,  the  divi- 
ding and  the  drilling  engine  are  of  thia 
kind :  and  hence,  in  manufactories  oi 
sufficient  extent,  it  is  found  to  be  good 
economy  to  keep  one  machine  con 
stantly  employed  in  one  kind  of  work  : 
one  lathe,  tor  example,  having  a  scrcw 
motion  to  its  sliding-rest  along  the 
whole  length  of  its  bed,  is  kept  con- 
stantly making  cylinders ;  another, 
having  a  motion  for  equalizing  the 
velocity  of  the  work  at  the  point  at 
which  it  passes  the  tool,  is  kept  foi 
facin?  surfaces ;  whilst  a  third  is  enn- 
stantfy  employed  in  cutting  wheels." 

I  am  very  far  from  implying  that 
these  different  considerations  are  of  no 
weight ;  but  I  think  there  are  counter- 
considerations  which  are  overlooked. 
If  one  kind  of  muscular  or  mental  la- 
bour is  different  from  another,  for  that 
very  reason  it  is  to  some  extent  a  rest 
from  that  other ;  and  if  the  greatest 
vigour  is  not  at  once  obtained  in  the 
second  occupation,  neither  could  the 
first  have  been  indefinitely  prolonged 
without  some  relaxation  of  energj. 
It  is  a  matter  of  common  eaqperieaoe 


COMBINATION  OP  LABOUR. 


71 


iliat  a  cbangie  of  occupation  will  often 
afford  relief  where  complete  repose 
would  otherwise  be  neoessary,  and  thai 
A  person  can  work  manjmore  hours 
without  fatigue  at  a  succession  of  oc- 
cupations, than  if  confined  during  the 
whole  time  to  one.  Difierent  occupa* 
tions  employ  different  muscles,  or 
different  energies  of  the  mind,  some 
of  which  rest  and  are  refreshed  while 
othen  work.  Bodily  labour  itself  rests 
from  mental,  and  oonversel^.  The 
Tariety  itself  has  an  invigorating 
effect  on  what,  for  want  of  a  more  phi- 
losophical appelladon,  we  must  term 
the  animal  spirits;  so  important  to 
the  efficiency  of  all  work  not  mechani- 
cal, and  not  unimportant  even  to  that, 
llie  comparative  weight  due  to  these 
considerations  is  different  with  differ- 
ent individuals;  some  are  more  fitted 
than  others  for  persistency  in  one 
occupation,  and  less  fit  for  change ; 
they  require  longer  to  get  the  steam 
up  (to  use  a  metaphor  now  common) ; 
the  irksomeness  of  setting  to  work  lasts 
longer,  and  it  requires  more  time  to 
bring  their  faculties  into  full  play,  and 
therefore  when  this  is  once  done,  they 
do  not  like  to  leave  o£^  but  go  on  long 
without  intermission,  even  to  the  in- 
jury of  their  health.  Temperament 
has  something  to  do  with  these  differ- 
ences. There  are  people  whose  facul- 
ties Boem  by  nature  to  come  slowly 
mto  action,  and  to  accomplish  little 
until  they  have  been  a  long  time 
employed.  Others,  again,  get  into 
action  rapidly,  but  cannot,  without 
exhaustion,  continue  long.  In  this, 
however,  as  in  most  other  things;, 
though  natural  differences  are  some- 
thing, habit  is  much  more.  The  habit 
of  passing  rapidly  from  one  occupation 
to  another  may  be  acquired,  like  other 
habits,  by  early  cultivation ;  and  when 
it  is  acquire^  there  is  none  of  the 
sauntering  which  Adam  Bmith  speaks 
c^  after  each  change;  no  want  of 
energy  and  Interest,  but  the  workman 
comes  to  each  part  of  his  occupation 
with  a  freshness  and  a  spirit  which  he 
does  not  retain  if  he-  persists  in  any 
one  part  (unless  in  case  of  unusual 
•zcitement)  beyond  the  length  of  time 
to  which  be  is  aecttftomML    Womeii 


are  usually  (at  least  in  their  present 
social  circumstances)  of  far  greater 
versatility  than  men ;  and  the  present 
topic  is  an  instance  among  multitudes, 
how  little  the  ideas  and  experience  oi 
women  have  yet  counted  for,  in  form- 
ing the  opinions  of  mankind.  There 
are  few  women  who  would  not  reject  the 
idea  that  work  is  made  vigorous  by  being 
protracted,  and  is  inefficient  for  some 
time  after  changing  to  a  new  thing 
Even  in  this  case,  habit,  I  believe, 
much  more  than  nature,  is  the  cause 
of  the  difference.  The  occupations  of 
nine  out  of  every  ten  men  are  special, 
those  of  nine  out  of  eveiy  ten  women 
general,  embracing  a  multitude  of 
details,  each  of  which  requires  very 
little  time.  Women  are  in  the  con- 
stant pituHice  of  passing  quickly  from 
one  manual,  and  still  more  from  one 
mental  operation  to  another,  which 
therefore  rarely  costs  them  either  effort 
or  loss  of  time,  while  a  man's  occupation 
generally  consists  in  working  steadily 
for  a  long  time  at  one  thing,  or  one 
very  limited  class  of  things.  But  the 
situations  are  sometimes  reversed,  and 
with  them  the  characters.  Women 
are  not  found  less  efficient  than  men 
for  the  uniformity  of  factory  work,  or 
they  would  not  so  generally  be  em- 
ployed for  it;  and  a  man  who  has 
cultivated  the  habit  of  turning  his 
hand  to  many  things,  fifr  from  being 
the  slothful  and  lazy  person  described 
by  Adam  Smith,  is  usually  remarkably 
lively  and  active.  It  is  true,  however 
that  change  of  occupation  may  be  to< 
frequent  even  for  the  most  versatile 
Incessant  variety  is  even  more  fa 
tiguing  than  perpetual  sameness. 

The  third  advantage  attributed  b;f 
Adam  Smith  to  the  di\'ision  of  labour, 
is,  to  a  certain  extent,  real.  Inven- 
tions tending  to  save  labour  in  a  par- 
ticular operation,  are  more  likely  to 
occur  to  any  one  in  proportion  as  his 
thoughts  are  intensely  directed  to  that 
occupation,  and  continually  employed 
upon  it.  A  person  is  not  so  likely  to 
make  practical  improvements  m  one 
department  of  things,  whose  attention 
is  very  much  diverted  to  others.  But. 
in  this,  much  m<xe  depends  on  general 
inteUiffenoe  and   habitual  aotivity  of 


80  BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  VUI. 

mind,  than  on  exclusiveness  of  occupa- 
tion; and  if  that  exclusiveness  is 
carried  to  a  degree  unfavourable  to  the 
cultivation  of  intelligence,  there  will  be 
more  lost  in  this  kind  of  advantage 
than  gained.  We  may  add,  that  what- 
ever may  be  the  cause  of  making 
inventions,  when  they  are  once  made, 
the  increased  efficiency  of  labour  is 
owing  to  the  invention  itself^  and  not 
to  the  division  of  labour. 

The  greatest  advantage  (next  to  the 
dexterity  of  the  workmen)  derived  from 
the  minute  division  of  labour  which 
takes  place  in  modem  manufacturing 
industry,  is  one  not  mentioned  by 
Adam  Smith,  but  to  which  attention 
.  has  been  drawn  by  Mr.  Babbage ;  the 
more  economical  distribution  of  labour, 
'by  classing  the  work-people  according 
'to  their  capacity.  DifiFerent  parts  of 
the  same  series  of  operations  require 
unequal  degrees  of  skill  and  bodilv 
strength;  and  those  who  have  skill 
enough  for  the  most  difficult,  or 
strength  enough  for  the  hardest  parts 
of  the  labour,  are  made  much  more 
useM  by  being  employed  solely  in 
them;  the  operations  which  every- 
body is  capable  of,  being  left  to  those 
who  are  fit  for  no  others.  Production 
is  most  efficient  when  the  precise 
quantity  of  skill  and  strength,  wnich  is 
required  for  each  part  of  the  process, 
is  employed  in  it,  and  no  more.  The 
operation  of  pin-making  requires,  it 
seems,  in  its  different  parts,  such 
different  degrees  of  skill,  that  the  wages 
earned  by  the  persons  employed  vary 
from  fourpence  nalfpenny  a  day  to  six 
shillings ;  and  if  the  workman  who  is 
paid  at  that  highest  rate  had  to  perform 
the  whole  process,  he  would  be  working 
a  part  of  his  time  with  a  waste  ner 
day  equivalent  to  the  difference  Tbe- 
tween  six  shillings  and  fourpence  half- 
penny. Without  reference  to  the  loss 
sustained  in  quantity  of  work  done,  and 
supposing  even  that  he  could  make  a 
pound  of  pins  in  the  same  time  in 
which  ten  workmen  combining  their 
labour  can  make  ten  pounds,  Mr.  Bab- 
bage computes  that  they  would  cost,  in 
making,  three  times  and  three-quarters 
as  much  as  they  now  do  hj  means  of 
tJa»  division  of  labouf.     Iti    needle- 


making,  he  adds,  the  difference  would 
be  still  greater,  for  in  that,  the  scale 
of  remuneration  for  different  parts  of 
the  process  varies  from  sixpence  to 
twenty  shillings  a  day. 

To  the  advantage  which  consists  in 
extracting  the  greatest  possible  amount 
of  utility  from  skill,  may  be  added  the 
analogous  one,  of  extracting  the  utmost 
possible  utility  from  tools.  "If  any 
man,"  says  an  able  writer,*  "  had  all 
the  tools  which  many  different  occupa- 
tions require,  at  least  three-fourths  of 
them  would  constantly  be  idle  and 
useless.  It  were  clearly  then  better, 
were  any  society  to  exist  where  each 
man  had  all  these  tools,  and  alternately 
carried  on  each  of  these  occupations, 
that  the  members  of  it  should,  if 
possible,  divide  them  amongst  them, 
each  restricting  himself  to  some  par- 
ticular employment.  The  advantages 
of  the  change  to  the  whole  community, 
and  therefore  to  every  individual  in  it, 
are  great.  In  the  first  place,  the  va- 
rious implements,  being  in  constant 
employment,  yield  a  better  return  for 
what  has  been  laid  out  in  procuring 
them.  In  consequence  their  owners 
can  afford  to  have  them  of  better 
quality  and  more  complete  construc- 
tion. The  result  of  both  events  is,  that 
a  larger  provision  is  made  for  the 
ftiture  wants  of  the  whole  society." 

§  6.  The  division  of  labour,  as  aU 
writers  on  the  subject  have  remarked, 
is  limited  by  the  extent  of  the  market. 
If,  by  the  separation  of  pin-making 
into  ten  distinct  employments,  forty- 
eight  thousand  pins  can  be  made  in  a 
day,  this  separation  will  only  be  ad- 
visable if  the  number  of  accessible 
consumers  is  such  as  to  require,  eveiy 
day,  something  like  forty-eight  thou- 
sand pins.  If  there  is  only  a  demand 
for  twenty-four  thousand,  the  division 
of  labour  can  only  bj  advantageously 
carried  to  the  extent  which  will  every 
day  produce  that  smaller  number. 
This,  therefore,  is  a  further  mode  in 
which  an  accession  of  demand  for 
a  commodity  tends   to   increase   the 

*  Statement  qfeome  New  Frineiple*  on  the 
eubject  of  PoliHedl  Econonn.  b>  John  Ra«k 
(Boaton.  U.S.)  p.  164. 


PRODUCTION  ON  A  LARGE  AND  ON  A  SMALL  SCALE.   81 


efficiency  of  the  labour  employed  in  its 
production.  The  extent  of  the  market 
may  be  limited  by  several  causes :  too 
small  a  population ;  the  population  too 
scattered  and  distant  to  he  easily  ac- 
cessible ;  deficiency  of  roads  and  water 
carriage ;  or,  finally,  the  population  too 
poor,  that  is,  their  collective  labour 
too  little  efifective,  to  admit  of  their 
being  large  consumers.  Indolence, 
I  want  of  sdII,  and  want  of  combination 
lof  labour,  among  those  who  would 
(Otherwise  be  buyers  of  a  commodity, 
limit,  therefore,  the  practicable  amount 
jof  combination  of  labour  among  its  pro- 
Iducers.  In  an  early  stage  of  ciyiuza- 
tion,  when  the  demand  of  any  par- 
ticular locality  was  necessarily  small, 
industry  only  flourished  among  those 
who  by  their  command  of  the  sea-coast 
or  of  a  navigable  river,  could  have  the 
whole  worlc^  or  all  that  part  of  it 
which  lay  on  coasts  or  navigable  rivers, 
as  a  market  for  their  productions. 
The  increase  of  the  general  riches  of 
the  world,  when  accompanied  with 
freedom  of  commercial  intercourse,  im- 
provements in  navigation,  and  inland 
communication  by  roads,  canals,  or 
railways,  tends  to  give  increased  pro- 
ductiveness   to  the  labour    of   every 


nation  in  particular,  by  enabling  each 
locality  to  supply  with  its  special 
products  so  much  larger  a  market,  that 
a  great  extension  of  the  division  of 
labour  in  their  production  is  an  ordv 
nary  conse<^ueuoe. 

The  division  of  Usbour  is  also  limited,  * 
in  many  cases,  by  the  nature  of  the 
employment.  Agriculture,  for  example,  ^ 
is  not  susceptible  of  so  great  a  division 
of  occupation  as  many  branches  of 
manufactures,  because  its  different 
operations  cannot  possibly  be  simul- 
taneous. One  man  cannot  be  always 
ploughing,  another  sowing,  and  another 
reaping.  A  workman  who  only  prac- 
tised one  agricultural  operation  would 
be  idle  eleven  months  of  the  year.  The 
same  person  may  perform  them  all  in 
succession,  and  have,  in  most  climates, 
a  considerable  amount  of  unoccupied 
time.  To  execute  a  great  agricultural 
improvement,  it  is  often  necessary  that 
many  labourers  should  work  together ; 
but  in  general,  except  the  few  whose 
business  is  superintendence,  they  all 
work  in  the  same  manner.  A  canal  or 
a  railway  embankment  cannot  be 
made  without  a  combination  of  many 
labourers ;  but  they  are  all  excavators, 
except  the  engineer  and  a  few  clerks. 


CHAPTER  IX. 


OF  PKODUCnON  OK  A  LARGE,   AND   PRODUCTION  ON  A  SHALL  SCALE. 


§  1.  From  the  importance  of  com- 
bination of  labour,  it  is  an  obvious  con- 
clusion, that  there  are  many  cases  in 
wliich  production  is  made  much  more 
effective  by  being  conducted  on  a  large 
scale.     Wnenever  it  is  essential  to  the 

S-eatest  efficiency  of  labour  that  many 
bourers  should  combine,  even  though 
only  in  the  way  of  Simple  Co-operation, 
the  scale  of  the  enterprise  must  be 
such  as  to  bring  many  labourers  to- 
gether, and  the  capital  must  be  large 
enough  to  maintain  them.  Still  more 
needful  is  this  when  the  nature  of  the 
employment  allows,  and  the  extent  of 
the    possible    market    encourages,   a 


considerable  division  of  labour.  Tho 
larger  the  enterprise,  the  farther  the 
division  of  labour  may  be  carried.  This 
is  one  of  the  principal  causes  of  large 
manufactories.  Even  whea  no  addi- 
tional subdivision  of  the  work  would 
follow  an  enlargement  of  the  opera- 
tions, there  will  be  good  economy  in 
enlarging  them  to  the  point  at  which 
every  person  to  whom  it  is  convenient 
to  assign  a  special  occupation,  will 
have  full  employment  in  &at  occupa- 
tion. This  point  is  well  illustrated  by 
Mr.  Babbage.* 

"  If  macliinefi  be  kept  working  through 
*  Page  214,  el  seqq. 

O 


8? 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  IX.    |  1. 


the  twenty-four  hours,"  (which  is  evi- 
dently the  only  economical  mode  of 
employing  them,)  "  it  is  necessary  that 
some  person  shatl  attend  to  admit  the 
workmen  at  the  time  they  relieve  each 
other ;  and  whether  the  porter  or  othor 
Borvant  so  employed  admit  one  person 
or  twenty,  his  rest  will  be  equally  dis^ 
turbed.  It  will  also  be  necessary  occa- 
Bi(mally  to  adjust  or  repair  the  machine; 
and  this  can  be  done  much  better  by 
a  workman  accustomed  to  machine- 
making,  than  by  the  person  who  uses 
it.  Now,  since  the  good  performance 
and  the  duration  of  machines  depend, 
to  a  very  great  extent,  upon  correcting 
every  shake  or  imperfection  in  their 
parts  as    soon  as  they  appear,    the 

Srompt  attention  of  a  workman  resi- 
ent  on  ike  spot  will  considerably  re- 
duce the  expenditure  arising  from  the 
wear  and  tear  of  the  machinery.  But 
in  the  case  of  a  single  lace-frame,  or  a 
single  loom,  this  would  be  too  expensive 
a  plan.  Here  then  arises  another 
cireimistance  which  tends  to  enlarge 
the  extent  of  a  factory.  It  ought  to 
consist  of  such  a  number  of  machines 
as  shall  occupy  the  whole  time  of  one 
workman  in  Keeping  them  in  order :  if 
extended  beyond  that  number,  the 
same  principle  of  economy  would  point 
out  the  necessity  of  doubling  or  tripling 
the  number  of  machines,  in  order  to 
employ  the  whole  time  of  two  or  three 
skiliul  workmen. 

"  \\'hen  one  portion  of  the  workman's 
labour  consists  in  the  exertion  of  mere 
physical  force,  as  in  weaving,  and  in 
many  similar  arts,  it  will  soon  occur  to 
the  manufacturer,  that  if  that  part 
were  executed  by  a  steam-engine,  the 
same  man  might,  in  the  case  of  weav- 
ing, attend  to  two  or  more  looms  at 
once :  and,  since  we  already  auj)po8e 
that  one  or  more  operative  engineers 
have  been  employed,  the  nuinber  of 
looms  may  be  so  arranged  that  their 
time  shall  be  fiilly  occupied  in  keeping 
the  Bteam-ongine  and  the  looms  in 
order. 

*'  Pursuing  the  same  principles,  the 
manufactory  becomes  gradually  so  en- 
larged, that  the  expense  of  lighting 
during  the  night  aii.ount8  to  a  con- 
liderable     sum ;    »nd    as    there    are 


already  attached  to  tke  establishment 
persons  who  are  up  all  night,  and  can 
therefore  constantly  attend  to  it,  and 
also  engineers  to  make  and  keep  in  r& 
pair  any  machinery,  the  addition  of  an 
apparatus  for  making  gas  to  light  the 
factory  leadd  to  a  new  extension,  at  the 
same  time  that  it  contributes,  by  di- 
minishing the  expense  of  lighting,  and 
the  risk  of  accidents  from  fire,  to  le- 
duoe  the  cost  of  manufacturing. 

"  Long  before  a  factory  has  reaehed 
this  extent,  it  will  have  been  found 
necessary  to  establish  an  accountant's 
department,  with  clerks  to  pay  the 
workmen,  and  to  see  that  they  arrive 
at  their  stated  times;  and  this  de- 
partment must  be  in  communication 
with  the  agents  who  purchase  the  raw 
produce,  and  with  those  who  sell  the 
manufactured  article."  It  will  cost 
these  clerks  and  accountants  little  more 
time  and  trouble  to  pay  a  large  number 
of  workmen  than  a  small  number: 
to  check  the  accounts  of  large  transac- 
tions, than  of  small.  If  the  business 
doubled  itselfj  it  would  probably  be 
necessary  to  increase,  but  certainly  not 
to  double,  the  number  either  of  ac- 
countants, or  of  buying  and  seUing 
agents.  Every  increase  of  business 
would  enable  the  whole  to  be  carried  on 
with  a  proportionally  smaller  amount 
of  labour. 

As  a  general  rule,  the  expenses  of  a 
business  do  not  increase  by  any  means 
proportionally  to  the  quantity  of  busi- 
ness. Let  us  take  as  an  example,  a 
set  of  operations  which  we  are  ac- 
customea  to  see  carried  on  by  one  great 
establishment,  that  of  the  Post  Office. 
Suppose  that  the  business,  let  us  say 
only  of  the  London  letter-post,  instead 
of  being  centralized  in  a  single  concern, 
were  divided  among  five  or  six  com- 
peting companies.  Each  of  these  would 
be  obliged  to  maintain  almost  as  larg« 
an  establishment  as  is  now  sulHcient 
for  the  whole.  Since  each  must  arrange 
for  receiving  and  delivering  letters  m 
all  parts  of  the  town,  each  must  send 
letter-carriers  into  every  street,  and 
almost  every  alley,  and  this  too  ae 
many  times  in  the  day  as  is  now  done 
by  the  Post  Office,  if  the  service  is  to 
be  as  well  performed.   Each  must  have 


PRODUCnON  ON  A  LAKGE 

an  office  for  receiving  letters  in  every 
neighbom-hood,  with  all  subsidiary 
arraugements  for  collecting  the  letters 
from  the  different  offices  and  re-dis- 
tribnting  them.  To  this  most  be  added 
the  much  greater  number  of  superior 
officers  who  would  be  required  to  check 
and  control  the  subordinates,  implying 
not  only  a  greater  cost  in  salaries  for 
such  responsible  officers,  but  the  neces* 
sity,  perhaps,  of  being  satisfied  in  many 
instances  with  an  inferior  standara  oi 
qualification,  and  so  foiUng  in  the 
object. 

Whether  or  not  the  advantages  ob- 
tained by  operating  on  a  laige  aoale 
preponderate  in  any  particular  case 
over  the  more  watcnful  attention,  and 
greater  regard  to  minor  gains  and 
losses,  usually  found  in  small  establish- 
ments, can  be  ascertained,  in  a  state 
of  free  competition,  by  an  unfailing 
test.  Wherever  there  are  large 
and  small  establishments  in  the  same 
business^  that  one  of  the  two  which  in 
existiag  circumstances  carries  on  the 
production  at  greatest  advantage,  will 
be  able  to  undersell  the  other.  The 
power  of  permanently  underselling  can 
only,  generally  n>eaking,  be  derived 
from  increased  eftectiveness  of  labour ; 
and  this,  when  obtained  by  a  more  ex« 
tended  division  of  employment,  or  by 
a  classification  tending  to  a  better 
economy  of  skill,  always  implies  a 
greater  produce  from  the  same  labour, 
and  not  merely  the  same  produce  from 
less  labour:  it  increases  not  the  sur- 
plus  only,  but  the  gross  produce  of 
industry.  If  an  increased  quantity  of 
the  particular  article  is  not  required, 
and  part  of  the  labourers  in  conse- 
quence lose  their  emplo3rment,  the 
capital  which  maintained  and  employed 
them  is  also  set  at  liberty;  and  the 
general  produce  of  the  country  is  in- 
creased, by  some  other  application  of 
their  labour. 

Another  of  the  causes  of  large  manu- 
factories, however,  is  the  introduction 
of  jprocesses  requiring  expensive  ma- 
chmeiy.  Expensive  machineiy  sup- 
poses a  large  capital;  and  is  not  re- 
sorted to  except  with  the  intention  of 
producing,  and  the  hope  of  selling,  as 
much  of  the  article  as  comes  up  to  the 


AND  ON  A  SMALL  SCALE.      S8 

full  powers  of  the  machine.  For  both 
these  reasons,  wherever  costly  ma- 
chinery is  nsed^  the  large  system  of 
production  is  inevitable.  But  the 
pow«r  of  underselling  is  not  in  thie 
case  80  unerring  a  test  as  in  the  former, 
of  the  beneficial  effect  on  the  total 
production  of  the  oommunity.  The 
power  of  underselling  does  not  depend 
on  the  absolute  increase  of  proauoe, 
but  on  its  bearing  an  increased  proper 
tion  to  the  expenses :  which,  as  waa 
shown  in  a  former  chapter,*  it  may 
do,  ooiuistently  with  even  a  diminution 
of  the  gross  annual  produce.  By  the 
adoption  of  machinery,  a  circulating 
capital,  which  was  perpetually  con- 
sumed and  reproduced,  has  been  con 
verted  into  a  fixed  capital,  requiring 
only  a  small  annual  expense  to  keep  it 
up :  and  a  much  smaller  produce  will 
suffice  for  merely  covering  that  ex- 
pense,  and  replacing  the  remaining 
circulating  capital  of  the  producer. 
The  machinery  therefore  might  answer 
perfectly  well  to  the  manufacturer,  and 
enable  nim  to  undersell  his  competitors, 
though  the  effect  on  the  production  of 
the  country  mi^ht  be  not  an  increase 
but  a  diminution.  It  is  true,  the 
article  will  be  sold  cheaper,  and  there- 
fore, of  that  single  article,  there  will 
probably  be  not  a  smaller,  but  a  greater 
quantity  sold;  since  the  loss  to  the 
community  collectively  has  fallen  upon 
the  work-people,  and  they  are  not  the 
principal  customers,  if  customers  at 
all,  OI  most  branches  of  manufacture. 
But  though  that  particular  branch  of 
industry  may  extend  itself,  it  will  be 
by  replenishing  its  diminished  circu- 
lating capital  from  that  of  the  com- 
munity generally ;  and  if  the  labourers 
employed  in  that  department  escape 
loss  of  employment,  it  is  because  the 
loss  will  spread  itself  over  the  labouring 
people  at  large.  If  any  of  them  are 
reduced  to  the  condition  of  unproduc- 
tive labourers,  supported  by  voluntary 
or  legal  charity,  tne  gross  produce  of 
the  country  is  to  that  extent  perma- 
nently diminished,  until  the  orainary 
progress  of  accumulation  makes  it  up : 
but  if  the  condition  of  the  labouring 
classes  enable  them  to  bear  a  tempo- 
*  Supra,  chap.  vL  p.  69. 


84 


BOOK  1.    CHAPTER  JX.    §  2. 


rary  rednction  of  wages,  and  the  super- 
seded labourers  become  absorbed  in 
other  employments,  their  labour  is 
still  productive,  and  the  breach  in  the 
gross  produce  of  the  community  is  re- 
paired, though  not  the  detriment  to 
the  labourers.  I  have  restated  this 
exposition,  which  has  already  been 
made  in  a  former  place,  to  impress 
Imore  strongly  the  truth,  that  a 
/mode  of  production  does  not  of  neces- 
'sity  increase  the  productive  effect  of 
:the  collective  labour  of  a  community, 
because  it  enables  a  particular  com- 
.modity  to  be  sold  cheaper.  The  one 
consequence  generally  accompanies  the 
other,  but  not  necessarily.  1  will  not 
here  repeat  the  reasons  I  formerlv 
gave,  nor  anticipate  those  which  will 
be  given  more  fully  hereafter,  for  deem- 
ing the  exception  to  be  rather  a  case 
abstractedly  possible,  than  one  which 
is  frequently  realized  in  fact. 

A  considerable  part  of  the  saving  of 
labour  effected  by  substituting  the 
large  system  of  production  for  the 
small,  is  the  saving  in  the  labour  of 
the  capitalists  themselves.  If  a  hun- 
dred producers  with  small  capitals 
carry  on  separately  the  same  business, 
the  superintendence  of  each  concern 
will  probably  require  the  whole  atten- 
tion of  the  person  conducting  it,  suffi- 
ciently at  least  to  hinder  his  time  or 
thoughts  from  being  disposable  for  any- 
thing else :  while  a  single  manufac- 
turer possessing  a  capital  equal  to  the 
sum  of  theirs,  with  ten  or  a  dozen 
clerks,  could  conduct  the  whole  of  their 
amount  of  business,  and  have  leisure 
too  for  other  occupations.  The  small 
capitalist,  it  is  true,  generally  com- 
bines with  the  business  of  direction 
some  portion  of  the  details,  which  the 
other  leaves  to  his  subordinates :  the 
small  farmer  follows  his  own  plough, 
the  small  tradesman  serves  in  his  own 
shop,  the  small  weaver  plies  his  own 
iOom.  But  in  this  very  union  of  func- 
tions there  is,  in  a  great  proportion  of 
oases,  a  want  of  economy.  The  prin- 
cipal in  the  concern  is  either  wasting, 
in  the  routine  of  a  business,  qualities 
suitable  for  the  direction  of  it,  or  he  is 
only  fit  for  the  former,  and  then  the 
l&tter  will  be  ill  dpn^.     I  must  observe 


however  that  I  do  not  attach,  to  this 
saving  of  labour,  the  importance  often 
ascribed  to  it.  There  is  undoubtedly 
much  more  labour  expended  in  the 
superintendence  of  many  small  capitals 
than  in  that  of  one  large  capital.  For 
this  labour  however  the  small  pro- 
ducers have  generally  a  full  compensa- 
tion, in  the  feeling  of  being  their  own 
masters,  and  not  servants  of  an  em- 
ployer. It  may  be  said,  that  if  they 
value  this  independence  they  will  sub- 
mit to  pay  a  price  for  it,  and  to  sell  at 
the  reduced  rates  occasioned  by  the 
competition  of  the  great  dealer  or  ma- 
nufacturer. But  they  cannot  always 
do  this  and  continue  to  gain  a  living. 
They  thus  gradually  disappear  from 
society.  After  having  consumed  their 
littl<)  capital  in  prolonging  the  unsuc- 
cessful struggle,  they  either  sink  into 
the  condition  of  hired  labourers,  or  be- 
come dependent  on  others  for  support. 

§  2.  Production  on  a  large  scale  is 
greatly  promoted  hj  the  practice  of 
mrming  a  large  capital  by  the  combi- 
nation of  many  small  contributions ;  or, 
in  other  words,  by  the  formation  of 
joint  stock  companies.  The  advan- 
tages of  the  joint  stock  principle  are 
numerous  and  important. 

In  the  first  place,  many  undertakings 
require  an  amount  of  capital  beyond 
the  means  of  the  richest  individual  or 
private  partnership.  No  individual 
could  have  made  a  railway  from  Lon- 
don to  Liverpool ;  it  is  doubtful  if  any 
individual  could  even  work  the  traffic 
on  it,  now  when  it  is  made.  The  go- 
vernment indeed  could  have  done  both ; 
and  in  countries  where  the  practice  of 
co-operation  is  only  in  tne  earlier 
stages  of  its  growth,  the  government 
can  alone  be  looked  to  for  any  of  the 
works  for  which  a  great  combination 
of  means  is  requisite ;  because  it  can 
obtain  those  means  by  compulsory 
taxation,  and  is  already  accustomed  to 
the  conduct  of  large  operations.  For 
reasons,  however,  which  are  tolerably 
well  known,  and  of  which  we  shall  treat 
fully  hereafter,  government  agency  for 
the  conduct  of  industrial  operations  is 
generally  one  of  the  least  eligible  ro- 
sourceSi  when  any  other  ik  avaiJabl«i. 


PRODUCTION  ON  A  LARGE  AND  ON  A  SMALL  SCALE. 


85 


Next,  there  are  undertakings  wliich 
mdividuals  are  not  absolutely  inca- 
pable of  performing,  but  which  thev 
cannot  perform  on  the  scale  and  with 
the  continuity^  which  are  ever  more 
and  more  required  by  the  exigencies  of 
a  society  in  an  advancing  state.  In- 
dividuals are  quite  capable  of  despatch- 
ing ships  from  England  to  any  or  every 
part  of  the  world,  to  carry  passengers 
and  letters ;  the  thing  was  done  before 
joint  stock  companies  for  the  purpose 
were  heard  of.  But  when,  from  the 
increase  of  population  and  transactions, 
as  well  as  of  means  of  payment,  the 
public  will  no  longer  content  them- 
selves with  occasional  opportunities, 
but  require  the  certainty  that  packets 
shall  start  regularly,  for  some  places 
once  or  even  twice  a  day,  lor  others 
once  a  week,  for  others  that  a  steam 
ship  of  great  size  and  expensive  con- 
struction shall  depart  on  fixed  days 
twice  in  each  month,  it  is  evident  that 
to  afford  an  assurance  of  keeping  up 
with  punctuality  such  a  circle  of  costly 
operations,  requires  a  much  larger 
capital  and  a  much  larger  staff  of 
qualified  subordinates  than  can  be 
commanded  by  an  individual  capitalist. 
There  are  other  cases,  again,  in  which 
though  the  business  might  be  perfectly 
well  transacted  with  small  or  mode- 
rate capitals,  the  guarantee  of  a  great 
subscribed  stock  is  necessary  or  desir- 
able as  a  security  to  the  public  for  the 
fulfilment  of  pecuniaiy  engagements. 
This  is  especially  the  case  when  the 
nature  of  the  business  requires  that 
numbers  of  persons  should  be  willing 
to  trust  the  concern  with  their  money : 
as  in  the  business  of  banking,  and 
that  of  insurance :  to  both  of  which 
the  joint  stock  principle  is  eminently 
adapted.  It  is  an  instance  of  the  folly 
and  jobbery  of  the  i*ulers  of  mankinc!, 
that  until  a  late  period  the  joint  stock 
principle,  as  a  general  resort,  was  in 
this  country  interdicted  by  law  to  these 
two  modes  of  business;  to  banking 
altogether,  and  to  insurance  in  l^e 
department  of  sea  risks ;  in  order  to 
bestow  a  lucrative  monopoly  on  par- 
ticular establishments  wmch  the  go- 
vernment was  pleased  exceptionally  to 
license,  namely  the  Bank  of  England, 


and  two  insurance  companies,  the  Lon- 
don and  the  Royal  Exchange. 

Another  advantage  of  joint  stock,  or 
associated  management,  is  its  incident 
of  publicity.  This  is  not  an  invariable, 
but  it  is  a  natural,  consequence  of  the 
joint  stock  principle,  and  might  be,  as 
in  some  important  cases  it  already  is, 
compulsory.  In  banking,  insurance, 
and  other  businesses  which  depend 
wholly  on  confidence,  publicity  is  a  still 
more  important  element  of  success  than 
a  large  subscribed  capital  A  heavy 
loss  occurring  in  a  private  bank  may  hd 
kept  secret;  even  though  it  were  of 
such  magnitude  as  to  cause  the  ruin  of 
the  concern,  the  banker  may  still  cany 
it  on  for  years,  trying  to  retrieve  its  po- 
sition, only  to  fall  in  the  end  with  • 
greater  crash:  but  this  cannot  so  easil; 
happen  in  the  case  of  a  joint  stock  com 
pany  whose  accounts  are  publishea 
periodically.  The  accounts,  even  if 
cooked,  still  exercise  some  check ;  and 
the  suspicions  of  shareholders,  breaking 
out  at  the  general  meetings,  put  the 
public  on  their  guard. 

These  are  some  of  the  advantages  of 
joint  stock  over  individual  manage- 
ment. But  if  we  look  to  the  other  side 
of  the  question,  we  shall  find  that  indi- 
vidual management  has  also  very  great 
advantage  over  joint  stock.  The  chief 
of  these  is  the  much  keener  interest  of 
the  managers  in  the  success  of  the 
undertaking. 

The  administration  of  *  joint  stock 
association  is,  in  the  main^  adminis- 
tration by  hired  servants.  Even  the 
committee,  or  board  of  directors,  who 
are  supposed  to  superintend  the  manage- 
ment, and  who  do  really  appoint  and 
remove  the  managers,  have  no  pecu- 
niaiy interest  in  the  good  working  of 
the  concern  beyond  the  shares  they  in- 
dividually hold,  which  are  always  a 
veiy  small  part  of  the  capital  of  the 
association,  and  in  general  but  a  small 
part  of  the  fortunes  of  the  directors 
themselves ;  and  the  part  they  take  in 
the  management  usually  divides  their 
time  with  many  other  occupations,  of 
as  great  or  greater  importance  to  their 
own  interest;  the  business  being  the 
principal  concern  of  no  one  except  those 
who  are  hired  to  carry  it  on.      But 


86  BOOK  1.    CHAPTER  IX. 

experience  shows,  and  proverbs,  the  ex- 
pression of  popular  experience,  attest, 
How  inferior  is  the  quality  of  hired 
servants,  compared  with  the  ministra- 
tion of  those  personally  interested  in 
the  work,  and  how  indispensable,  when 
bired  service  must  be  employed,  is 
"  the  master's  eye"  to  watch  over  it. 

The  successful  conduct  of  an  indns- 
trial  enterprise  requires  two  quite  dis- 
tinct qualifications :  fidelity,  and  zeal. 
The  fidelitjr  of  the  hired  managers  of  a 
concern  it  is  possible  to  secure.  When 
iheir  work  admits  of  being  reduced  to 
a  definite  set  of  rules,  the  violation  of 
these  is  a  matter  on  which  conscience 
cannot  easily  blind  itself,  and  on  which 
responsibility  may  be  enforced  by  the 
loss  of  employment.  But  to  canj  on  a 
great  business  successfully,  requires  a 
hundred  things  which,  as  they  cannot 
be  defined  beK)rehand,  it  is  impossible 
to  convert  into  distinct  and  positive 
obligations.  First  and  principally,  it 
requires  that  the  directing  mind  shouM 
be  incessantly  occupied  with  the  sub- 
ject ;  should  be  continually  laying 
schemes  by  which  greater  profit  may 
be  obtained,  or  expense  saved.  This 
intensity  of  interest  in  the  subject  it  is 
seldom  to  be  expected  that  any  one 
should  feel,  who  is  conducting  a  busi- 
ness as  the  hired  servant  and  for  the 
profit  of  another.  There  are  experi- 
ments in  human  aifairs  which  are  con- 
clusive on  the  point.  Look  at  the 
whole  class  of  rulers,  and  ministers  of 
state.  The  work  they  are  entrusted 
with,  is  among  the  most  interesting 
and  exciting  of  all  occupations ;  the  per- 
sonal share  which  thev  themselves  reap 
of  the  national  benents  or  misfortunes 
which  befal  the  state  under  their  rule, 
is  far  from  trifling,  and  the  rewards 
and  punishments  which  they  may  ex- 
pect from  public  estimation  are  of  the 
plain  and  palpable  kind  which  are 
most  keenly  felt  and  most  widely  ap- 
preciated. *  Yet  how  rare  a  thing  is  it 
to  find  a  statesman  in  whom  mental 
indolence  is  not  stronger  than  all  these 
inducements.  How  infinitesimal  is  the 
proportion  who  trouble  themselves  to 
form,  or  even  to  attend  to,  plans  of 
public  improvement,  unless  when  it  is 
made  stiU  more  troublesome  to  them 


§2. 


to  remain  inactive ;  op  who  have  an3 
other  real  desire  than  that  of  rubbing 
on,  BO  as  to  escape  general  blame.  Ou 
a  smaller  scale,  all  who  have  ever  em- 
ployed hired  labour  have  had  ample 
experience  of  the  efforts  made  to  give 
as  little  labour  in  exchange  for  the 
wages,  as  is  compatible  with  not  being 
turned  off.  The  universal  neglect  by 
domestic  servants  of  their  employer's 
interests,  wherever  these  are  not  pro- 
tected by  some  fixed  rule,  is  matter  of 
common  remark ;  unless  where  long 
continuance  in  the  same  service,  and 
reciprocal  good  offices,  have  produced 
either  personal  attachment,  or  some 
feeling  of  a  common  interest. 

Another  of  the  disadvantages  of  joint 
stock  concerns,  which  is  in  some  degree 
common  to  all  concerns  on  a  large  scale, 
is  disregard  of  small  gains  and  small 
savings.  In  the  management  of  a  great 
capital  and  great  transactions,  espe- 
ciallv  when  the  managers  have  not 
much  interest  in  it  of  their  own,  small 
sums  are  apt  to  be  counted  for  next  to 
nothing ;  they  never  seem  worth  the 
care  and  trouble  which  it  costs  to  attend 
to  them,  and  the  credit  of  liberality  and 
openhandedness  is  cheaply  bought  by 
a  disregard  of  such  trifling  considera- 
tions. But  small  profits  and  small  ex- 
penses, often  repeated,  amount  to  great 
gains  and  losses  :  and  of  this  a  large 
capitalist  is  often  a  sufficiently  good 
calculator  to  be  practically  aware ;  and 
to  arrange  his  business  on  a  syateni^ 
which  if  enforced  by  a  sufficiently  vigi- 
lant superintendence,  precludes  the  pos- 
sibility of  the  habitual  waste,  otherwise 
incident  to  a  great  business.  But  th« 
managers  of  a  joint  stock  coDcenn  sel- 
dom devote  themselves  sufficiently  to 
the  work,  to  enforce  unremittingly, 
even  if  introduced,  through  every  detail 
of  the  business,  a  really  econouiical 
system. 

From  considerations  of  this  naturo, 
Adam  Smith  was  led  to  enunciate  as  a 
principle,  that  joint  stock  companies 
could  never  be  expected  to  maintain 
themselves  without  an  exclusive  privi- 
lege, except  in  branches  of  business 
which  like  banking,  insurance,  and 
some  others,  admit  of  being,  in  a  con- 
siderable degree,  redticed  to  filed  nitea. 


PRODUCTION  ON  A  LARGE  AND  ON  A  SMALL  SCALE.      §7 


This  however  is  one  of  those  over-state- 
nents  of  a  trne  principle^  often  met 
with  in  Adam  Smith.  In  his  days  there 
were  few  instances  of  joint  stock  com- 
panies which  had  heen  permanently 
successful  without  a  monopoly,  except 
the  class  of  cases  which  he  referred  to ; 
but  since  his  time  there  have  been 
many  ;  and  the  re|nilar  increase  both 
of  the  spirit  of  comoination  and  of  the 
ability  to  combine,  will  doubtless  pro- 
duce many  more.  Adam  Smith  fixed 
his  observation  too  exclusively  on  the 
superior  energy  and  more  unremitting 
attention  brought  to  a  business  in  which 
the  whole  stake  and  the  whole  g^aitt  be- 
long to  the  persons  conducting  it;  and 
he  overlooked  various  countervailing 
considerations  which  go  a  ffreat  way 
towards  neutralizing  even  that  great 
point  of  superiority. 

Of  these  one  of  the  most  important 
18  that  which  relates  to  the  intellectual 
and  aetive  Qualifications  of  the  direct- 
ing head.  The  stimulus  of  individual 
interest  is  some  security  for  exertion, 
but  exertion  is  of  little  avail  if  the  in- 
telligence exerted  is  of  an  inferior  order, 
which  it  must  necessarily  be  in  the 
majority  of  concerns  carried  on  by  the 
persons  chiefly  interested  in  them. 
Where  the  concern  is  ^rge,  and  can 
afford  a  remuneration  sufiicient  to  at- 
tract a  class  of  candidates  superior  to 
the  common  average,  it  is  possible  to 
select  for  the  general  management,  <wd 
for  $Xi  the  skilled  employments  of  a 
Bab<Hrdinate  kind,  persons  of  a  degree 
of  acquirement  and  cultivated  intelli- 

Snce  which  more  than  compensates 
r  their  inferior  interest  in  the  result. 
Their  greater  perspicacity  enables 
them,  with  even  a  part  of  their  minds, 
to  see  probabilities  of  advantage  wbieh 
never  occur  to  the  ordinary  run  of  men 
by  the  continued  exertion  of  the  whole 
of  theirs ;  and  their  superior  knowledge, 
and  habitual  rectituae  of  perception 
and  of  judgement,  guard  them  against 
blnnders,  the  fear  of  which  would  pre- 
vent the  others  from  hazarding  their 
interests  in  any  attempt  out  of  the 
ordinary  routine. 

It  niust  be  further  remarked,  that  it 
it  noi  a  necessary  consequence  of  joint 
twck  manaferaent^  that  the  persons 


enipluved,  whither  in  superior  or  io 
subordinate  offices,  should  be  paid 
wholly  by  fixed  salaries.  There  are 
modes  of  connecting  more  or  less  inti- 
mately the  interest  of  the  employef 
with  the  pecuniary  success  of  the  con* 
cem.  There  is  a  long  series  of  inter- 
mediate positions,  between  working 
wholly  on  one's  own  account,  and  work- 
ing bjr  the  day,  week,  or  year  for  an 
invariable  payment.  Even  in  the  case 
of  ordinary  unskilled  labour,  there  is 
such  a  thing  as  task-work,  or  working 
b^  the  piece :  and  the  superior  effi- 
ciency 01  this  is  so  Hrell  known,  that 
judicious  employers  always  resort  to  it 
when  the  work  admits  of  being  put  oat 
in  definite  portions,  without  the  neces- 
sity of  too  troublesome  a  surveillance  to 
guard  against  inferiority  in  the  execu- 
tion. In  the  case  of  tne  stenagers  of 
joint  stock  companies,  and  of  the  super- 
intending and  controlling  officers  in 
many  private  establishments,  it  is  a 
common  enough  practice  to  connect 
their  pecuniary  interest  with  the  inte- 
rest of  their  employers,  by  giving  them 
part  of  their  remuneration  in  the  form 
of  a  percentage  on  the  profits.  The 
personal  interest  thus  given  to  hired 
servants  is  not  c<Mnparabie  in  intensity 
to  that  of  the  owner  of  the  capital ;  but 
it  is  sufficient  to  be  a  very  material 
stimulus  to  zeal  and  carefiUness,  and, 
when  added  t«  the  advantage  of  supe- 
rior intelligence,  often  raises  the  quality 
of  the  Service  much  above  that  which 
the  generality  of  masters  are  capable  of 
rendering  to  themselves.  I'he  ulterior 
extensions  of  which  this  principle  of 
remuneration  is  susceptiblei  being  of 
great  social  as  well  as  econranioal  im- 
portance, will  be  more  particularly  ad- 
verted to  in  a  subsequent  stage  m  the 
present  inquiry. 

As  I  have  already  remarked  of  large 
eatablishmenta  generally,  when  com- 
pared with  small  ones,  whenever  com- 
petition is  free  its  results  will  show 
whether  individual  or  joint  stock  agency 
is  best  adapted  to  the  particular  case, 
since  that  which  is  most  efficient  and 
most  economical  will  always  in  the  end 
succeed  in  uoderbelling  the  other. 

i  3  Tkt^  possibility  of  substituting 


88 


BOOK  1.    CHAPTER  IX.    «  a. 


the  large  system  of  production  for  the 
small,  depends,  of  course,  in  the  first 
place,  on  the  extent  of  the  market.  The 
large  system  can  only  be  advantageous 
when  a  large  amount  of  business  is  to 
be  done  :  it  implies,  therefore,  either  a 
populoas  and  flourishing  community, 
or  a  great  opening  for  exportation. 
Again,  this  as  well  as  every  other 
change  in  the  system  of  production  is 
CTeatly  favoured  by  a  progressive  con- 
dition of  capital.  It  is  chieflj^  when 
the  capital  of  a  country  is  receiving  a 
great  annual  increase,  that  there  is  a 
large  amount  of  capital  seeking  for 
investment:  and  a  new  enterprise  is 
much  sooner  and  more  easily  entered 
upon  by  new  capital,  than  by  with- 
drawing capital  from  existing  employ- 
ments. The  change  is  also  much  faci- 
litated by  the  existence  of  large  capitals 
in  few  hands.  It  is  true  that  the  same 
amount  of  capital  can  be  raised  by 
bringing  together  many  small  sums. 
But  this  (besides  that  it  is  not  equally 
well  suited  to  all  branches  of  industry), 
supposes  a  much  greater  degree  of  com- 
mercial confidence  and  enterprise  dif- 
fused through  the  community,  and 
belongs  altogether  to  a  more  advanced 
stage  of  industrial  progress. 

In  the  countries  in  which  there  are 
the  largest  markets,  the  widest  diffu- 
sion of  commercial  confidence  and  en- 
terprise, the  greatest  annual  increase 
of  capital,  and  the  greatest  number  of 
large  capitals  owned  by  individuals, 
there  is  a  tendency  to  substitute  more 
and  more,  in  one  branch  of  industry 
after  another,  large  establishments  for 
small  ones.  In  England,  the  chief 
type  of  all  these  characteristics,  there 
is  a  perpetual  growth  not  only  of  large 
manufacturing  establishments,  but  also, 
wherever  a  sufficient  number  of  pur- 
chasers are  assembled,  of  shops  and 
warehouses  for  conducting  retail  busi- 
ness on  a  large  scale.  These  are  almost 
always  able  to  undersell  the  smaller 
tradesmen,  partly,  it  is  understood,  by 
means  of  division  of  labour,  and  the 
economy  occasioned  by  limiting  the 
employment  of  skilled  agency  to  cases 
where  skill  is  required ;  and  partly,  no 
doubt,  by  the  saving  of  labour  arising 
from  the  great  scale  of  the  transactions: 


as  it  costs  no  more  time,  and  not  much 
more  exertion  of  mind,  to  make  a  large 
purchase,  for  example,  than  a  small 
one,  and  very  much  less  than  to  make 
a  number  of  small  ones. 

With  a  view  merely  to  production, 
and  to  the  greatest  efficiency  of  labour, 
this  change  is  whoHy  beneficial.  In 
some  cases  it  is  attended  with  draw- 
backs, rather  social  than  economical, 
the  nature  of  which  has  been  already 
hinted  at.  But  whatever  disadvan- 
tages may  be  supposed  to  attend  on  the 
change  from  a  small  to  a  large  system 
of  production,  they  are  not  applicable 
to  the  change  from  a  large  to  a  still 
larger.  When,  in  any  emplojrment, 
the  regime  of  independent  small  pro- 
ducers has  either  never  been  possible, 
or  has  been  superseded,  and  the  sys- 
tem of  many  work-people  under  one 
management  has  become  fully  es- 
tablished, from  that  time  any  rarther 
enlargement  in  the  scale  of  production 
is  generally  an  unqualified  benefit.  It 
is  obvious,  for  example,  how  great  an 
economy  of  labour  would  be  obtained 
if  London  were  supplied  by  a  sincle 
gas  or  water  company  instead  of  the 
existing  plurality.  While  there  are 
even  as  many  as  two,  this  implies 
double  establishments  of  all  sorts,  when 
one  only,  with  a  small  increase,  could 
probably  perform  the  whole  operation 
equally  well ;  double  sets  of  machinery 
and  works,  when  the  whole  of  the  gas 
or  water  required  could  generally  be 
produced  by  one  set  only ;  even  double 
sets  of  pipes,  if  the  companies  did  not 
prevent  this  needless  expense  by  agrae- 
mg  upon  a  division  of  the  territory. 
Were  there  only  one  establishment, 
it  could  make  lower  charges,  consist- 
ently with  obtaining  the  rate  of  pro- 
fit now  realized.  But  would  it  do  so  ? 
Even  if  it  did  not,  the  community  in 
the  aggregate  would  still  be  a  gaine  r 
since  the  shareholders  are  a  part  of 
the  community,  and  thev  would  obtain 
higher  profits  while  the  consumers 
paid  only  the  same.  It  is,  however,  an 
error  to  suppose  that  the  prices  are 
ever  permanently  kept  down  bv  th^ 
competition  of  these  companies.  Where 
competitors  are  so  few,  they  alwayF 
end  t>y  agreeing  not  to  compete.  They 


PRODUCTION  ON  A  LARGE  AND  ON  A  SMALL  SCALE.   89 


may  run  a  race  of  cheapness  to  ruio  a 
new  candidate,  but  as  soon  as  he  has 
established  his  footing  they  come  to 
terms  with  him.  When,  therefore,  a 
business  of  real  public  importance  can 
only  be  carried  on  advantageously  upon 
so  large  a  scale  as  to  render  the  liberty 
of  competition  almost  illusory,  it  is  an 
unthrifty  dispensation  of  the  public  re- 
vSouTces  that  several  costly  sets  of  ar- 
mngements  should  be  kept  up  for  the 
purpose  of  rendering  to  the  community 
this  one  service.  It  is  much  better  to 
treat  it  at  once  as  a  public  function ; 
and  if  it  be  not  such  as  the  government 
itself  coulH  beneficially  undertake,  it 
should  be  made  over  entire  to  the  com- 
pany or  association  which  will  perform 
It  on  the  best  terms  for  the  public.  In 
the  case  of  railways,  for  example,  no 
one  can  desire  to  see  the  enormous 
waste  of  capital  and  land  (not  to  speak 
of  increased  nuisance)  involved  in  the 
construction  of  a  second  railway  to 
connect  the  same  places  already  united 
by  an  existing  one ;  while  the  two 
would  not  do  the  work  better  than  it 
could  be  done  by  one,  and  after  a  short 
time  would  probably  be  amalgamated. 
Only  one  sucn  line  ought  to  be  permitted, 
but  the  control  over  that  hue  never 
ought  to  be  parted  with  by  the  State, 
unless  on  a  temporary  concession,  as 
in  France ;  and  the  vested  right  which 
Parliament  has  allowed  to  be  acquired 
by  the  existing  companies,  like  all 
other  proprietary  rights  which  are  op- 
posed to  public  utility,  is  morally  vahd 
only  as  a  claim  to  compensation. 

§  4.  The  question  between  the 
large  and  the  small  systems  of  pro- 
duction as  applied  to  agriculture — ^be- 
tween large  and  small  feuming,  the 
arande  and  the  petite  culture — stands, 
m  many  respects,  on  different  grounds 
from  the  general  question  between 
great  and  small  industrial  establish- 
ments. In  its  social  aspects,  and  as 
•n  element  in  the  Distribution  of 
Wealth,  this  question  will  occupy  us 
hereafter:  but  even  as  a  question  of 
production,  the  superiority  of  the  large 
system  in  agriculture  is  b^  no  means 
80  clearly  established  as  in  manufac- 
tures. 


I  have  already  remarked,  that  the 
operations  of  agriculture  are  little  sus- 
ceptible of  benefit  from  the  division  of 
labour.  There  is  but  little  separation 
of  employments  even  on  the  largest 
farms.  The  same  persons  may  not  in 
general  attend  to  the  live  stock,  to  the 
marketing,  and  to  the  cultivation  of 
the  f»oil;  but  much  beyond  that  pri- 
mary and  simple  classification  the 
subdivision  is  not  carried.  The  com- 
bination of  labour  of  which  agriculture 
is  susceptible,  is  chiefly  that  which 
Mr.  Wakefield  terms  Simple  Co-opera- 
tion; several  persons  nelping  one 
another  in  the  same  work,  at  the  same 
time  and  place.  But  I  confess  it 
seems  to  me  that  this  able  writer  at- 
tributes more  importance  to  that  kind 
of  co-operation,  in  reference  to  agiicul- 
ture  properly  so  called,  than  it  de- 
serves. None  of  the  common  farming 
operations  require  much  of  it.  There 
is  no  particular  advantage  in  setting  a 
great  number  of  people  to  work  to- 
gether in  ploughing  or  digging  or  sow- 
ing the  same  field,  or  even  in  mowing 
or  reaping  it  unless  time  presses.  A 
single  family  can  generally  supply  all 
the  combination  of  labour  necessary 
for  these  purposes.  And  in  the  works 
in  which  an  union  of  many  efforts  is 
really^  needed,  there  is  seldom  found 
any  impracticability  in  obtaining  it 
where  farms  are  small. 

^  The  waste  of  productive  power  by  sub- 
division of  the  land  often  amounts  to  a 
great  evil,  but  this  applies  chiefly  to  a 
subdivision  so  minute,  that  the  cultiva- 
tors have  not  enough  land  to  occupy 
their  time.  Up  to  that  point  the  same 
principles  which  recommend  large 
manufactories  are  applicable  to  agri- 
culture. For  the  greatest  productive 
efficiency,  it  is  generally  desirable 
(though  even  this  proposition  must  be 
received  with  qualifications)  that  no 
family  who  have  any  land,  should  have 
less  than  they  could  cultivate,  or  than 
will  fully  employ  their  cattle  and  tools. 
These,  however,  are  not  the  dimensions 
of  large  farms,  but  of  what  are  reckoned 
in  England  very  small  ones.  The 
large  farmer  has  some  advantage  ii 
the  article  of  buildings.  It  does  ma 
cost  so  much  to  house  a  great  number 


90 


fiOOK  !. 


of  cattle  in  one  building,  as  to  lodge 
them  equally  well  in  several  buildings. 
There  is  also  some  advantage  in  im- 
plements. A  small  farmer  is  not  so 
likely  to  possess  expensive  instru- 
ments. But  the  principal  agricultural 
implements,  even  when  of  the  best 
construction,  are  not  ejqpensive.  It  may 
not  answer  to  a  small  farmer  to  own  a 
threshing  machine,  for  the  small  quan- 
tity of  com  he  has  to  thresh ;  but 
there  is  no  reason  why  roch  a  machine 
should  not  in  every  neighbourhood  be 
omied  in  common,  or  provided  by  some 
person  to  whom  the  others  pay  a  con- 
sideration fof  its  n$6 ;  especially  as, 
when  worked  by  steam,  they  are  so 
constructed  as  to  be  moveable.*  The 
large  farmer  can  make  some  saving  in 
cost  of  carriage.  There  is  nearly  as 
much  trouble  in  carrying  a  small  por- 
tion of  produce  to  market,  as  a  much 
greater  produce ;  in  bringing  home  a 
small,  as  a  much  larger  quantity  of 
manures,  and  articles  of  daily  con- 
sumption. There  is  also  the  greater 
cheapness  of  buying  things  in  large 
quantities.  These  various  advantages 
tnust  count  for  something,  but  it  does 
not  seem  that  they  ought  to  count  for 
very  much.  In  England  for  some 
generations,  there  has  been  little 
experience  of  small  farms ;  but  in  In- 
land the  experience  has  been  ample, 
not  merely  under  the  worst  but  under 
the  best  management :  and  the  highest 
1  rish  authorities  may  be  cited  in  oppo- 
sition to  the  opinion  which  on  this 
subject  commonly  prevails  in  Eng'lftiid. 
Mr.  Blacker,  for  example,  one  of  the 
most  experienced  agnculturists  and 
successful  ittipTOvers  in  the  North  of 
Ireland,  trhose  experience  was  chiefly 
in  the  best  euhitated,  which  are  also 
the  most  minutely  divided  parts  of  the 
country,  was  of  opinion,  that  tenants 
holding  farmtf  not  exceeding  from  five 


*  Tlie  observaiiontf  in  the  text  may  here- 
after require  some  degree  of  modiflcdflon 
from  tit««ntions  mob  as  tbe  sleam  ploagh 
and  the  reaping  machine.  The  effect,  how- 
ever, of  these  improvementfl  on  the  relative 
advantages  of  large  and  small  ftrms,  will  not 
depend  on  the  efficiency  of  the  instruments, 
but  en  theiv  eostUness.  I  see  no  reaaon  to 
expect  that  this  will  be  such  as  to  mak« 
fbem  inaccessible  to  small  farmers,  6r  oom- 
tteatlons  of  amall  ^settitn. 


CHAPHfiR  fit.    j  4. 

to  eight  or  ten  acres,  could  live  com- 
fortably, and  pay  as  high  a  rent  as  any 
large  farmer  whatever.  "  I  am  firmly 
persuaded"  fhe  snys,*)  "  that  the  small 
farmer  who  nolds  his  own  plough  and 
digs  his  own  ground,  if  he  follows  a 
proper  rotation  of  crops,  and  feeds  his 
cattle  in  the  house,  can  undersell  the 
large  farmer,  or  in  other  words  can  pay 
a  rent  which  the  other  cannot  afibrd ; 
and  in  this  I  am  confurmed  by  the 
opinion  of  many  practical  men  who 
have  well  tonsidered  the  suljeet.  .  .  . 
The  English  farmer  of  700  to  800 
acres  is  a  kind  of  man  approaehiiig  to 
what  is  known  by  the  namt-  of  a  geiitle- 
man  farmer.  He  must  have  his  horse  to 
ride,  and  his  gig,  and  perhaps  an  overseer 
to  attend  to  his  labourers ;  he  certainly 
cannot  superintend  himself  the  labour 
going  on  in  a  farm  of  800  acres  " 
After  a  few  other  remarks,  he  addp, 
'*  Besides  all  these  drawbacks,  which 
the  small  farmer  knows  little  about, 
there  is  the  great  expense  of  ccu^ing 
out  the  manure  from  tiie  homestead  to 
such  a  great  distance,  and  again  cart- 
ing home  the  crop.  A  single  horse 
will  coasume  the  produce  of  more  land 
than  would  feed  a  small  fiirmer  and 
his  wife  and  two  children.  And  what 
is  more  than  all,  the  large  farmer  says 
to  his  labourers,  go  to  your  work ;  but 
when  fhe  small  farmer  hcM  oecasion  to 
hire  them,  he  says,  eome ;  the  intelli- 
gent reader  will,  I  dare  say,  undeivtand 
the  difference." 

One  of  the  objections  most  urged 
against  small  farms  is,  that  they  do  not 
and  cannot  maintain,  proportionally  to 
their  extent,  so  great  a  number  of  cattle 
as  large  farme,  and  that  this  occasions 
such  a  deficiency  of  manure,  that  a  soil 
much  subdivided  most  always  be  ina- 
poverished.  It  will  be  found,  however, 
that  subdivigron  only  produces  ihU 
effect  when  it  throws  the  land  into  the 
handa  of  cultivators  so  poor  as  not  to 
possess  the  amount  of  live  stock  suit- 
able to  the  size  of  their  farmsi  A  small 
farm  and  a  badly  stocked  £inn  are  not 
synonymous.  To  make  the  comparison 
fairly,   we   must    suppose    the 


•  Prize  E^$as  on  the  Mancu/emetU  qf  Landed 
Property  in  Ireland,  by  Wdliam  tlTacl^*, 
Esq.  (1837.)  p.  23. 


PRODUCTION  ON  A  LARGE  AND  ON  A  SMALL  SCALE.      W 


amoimt  of  capital  which  is  poeaefised 
bj  the  large  fanners  to  be  disseininated 
among  the  small  ones.  When  this 
condition,  or  even  any  approach  to  it, 
exists,  and  when  stall  feeding  is  prac- 
tised (and  stall  feeding  now  oegins  to 
be  considered  good  economy  even  on 
large  farms),  experience,  far  from  bear- 
ing ont  the  assertion  that  small  farm- 
ing is  unfavourable  to  the  multiplica- 
tion of  cattle,  conclusively  establishes 
the  very  reyerse.  The  abundance  of 
cattle,  and  copioni  use  of  manure,  on 
the  small  farms  of  Flanders,  are  the 
most  striking  features  in  that  Flemish 
agriculture  which  is  the  admiration  of 
afi  competent  judges,  whether  in  Eng- 
land or  on  the  Continent.* 

*  **  Tb«  number  of  beMta  fed  on  »  fmrm 
of  which  the  whole  is  arable  luid,"  (sayt  the 
elaborate  and  intelligent  treatise  on  Flemish 
Husbandry,  from  personal  observation  and 
tbe  best  sources,  published  in  the  Library  of 
the  Society  for  the  Difhision  of  Useful 
Knowledge  J  **  is  surprising  to  those  who  are 
not  acquainted  with  the  mode  in  which  the 
food  is  prepared  for  the  cattle.  A  beast  1^ 
every  three  acres  of  land  is  a  common  pro* 
portion,  and  in  very  small  occupations  where 
much  spade  husbandry  .s  used,  the  propor- 
tion is  still  greater.  After  comparing  the 
accounts  given  te  a  variety  of  places  and 
situations  of  the  nverage  quantity  of  milk 
which  a  eow  g^ves  when  fed  in  the  stall,  the 
result  is,  that  it  greatly  exceeds  that  of  our 
best  dairy  fhrms,  aod  the  quantity  of  butter 
made  from  a  given  quantity  of  milk  is 
also  greater.  It  appears  astonishing  that  the 
occupier  of  only  ten  or  twelve  acres  of  light 
•rable  land  should  be  able  to  maintain  four 
or  five  cows,  but  the  fact  is  notorious  in  the 
Waes  country."    (pp.  59,  60.) 

Thift  subject  is  treated  very  intelligently 
in  tbe  work  of  Bi.  Fassy,  On  Ssfgtema  <if  Cul- 
UvaiUn  ami  their  Ir^luenee  en  8oci4d  JEconomjf, 
one  of  the  most  impartial  discussions,  as  be- 
tween the  two  systems,  which  lias  yet  ap- 
peared in  France. 

"  Without  doubt  it  ia  England  that,  on  an 
equal  surface,  feeds  the  greatest  munber  of 
^ninryai* ;  Holland  and  some  parts  of  Lom- 
bardy  can  alone  vie  with  her  in  this  respect : 
but  is  this  a  consequence  of  the  mode  of  cul- 
tivation, and  have  not  climate  and  local 
situation  a  share  in  producing  it  ?  Of  this 
I  think  there  can  bono  doubt.  In  fact,  what- 
ever may  have  been  said,  wherever  lai^  and 
MnaU  cultiTation  meet  in  the  same  place,  the 
latter,  though  itcannot  support  as  many  sheep, 
possesses,  ail  things  considered,  the  greatest 
quantity  of  manure-producing  animals. 

**  In.  Belgflum,  for  example,  the  two  pao* 
viaeee  9i  smallest  forms  are  Antwerp  and 
Eaet  Flanden*  aad  they  possess  on  an  average 
for  every  lOd  heetaree  (260  aisres)  of  oult^ 
rated  iMod,  74  homed  cattle  and  U  sheep. 


The  disadyantage,  when  disadTan- 
tage  there  is,  of  smaU,  or  rather  of  pea- 
sant farming,  as  compared  with  ca||i- 
talist  farming,  must  chiefly  consist  in 
inferioritj  of  skill  and  knowledge ;  but 
it  is  not  true,  as  a  general  fact,  that 
such  inferiority  exists.  Countries  ol 
small  farms  and  peasant  farming,  Flan- 
ders and  Italy,  had  a  good  sencuitare 
many  generations  before  England,  and 
theirs  is  still,  as  a  whole,  probably  the 
best  agriculture  in  the  worid.  The 
empirical  skill,  which  is  the  effect  of 
daily  and  close  observation,  peasant 
farmers  often  possess  in  an  eminent 
degree.  The  traditional  knowledge, 
for  example,  of  the  culture  of  the  vine, 
possessed   by  the    peasantry  of   the 

The  two  pravincea  where  we  fiiMi  the  lar^e 
farms  are  Namur  and  Hainaut»  and  they 
average,  for  every  100  hectares  of  cultivated 
ground,  only  ao  homed  cattle  and  46  sheep. 
Reckoning,  as  is  the  custom,  ten  sheep  &. 
equal  to  one  head  of  homed  cattle,  we  find 
in  the  first  case,  the  equivalent  of  76  I  eJuL 
to  maintain  the  fecundity  of  the  soil ;  in  tbe 
latter  case  lea  than  35,  a  diflbrence  which 
must  be  called  enoimous.  (See  the  statisti- 
cal documents  published  by  the  Minister  of 
the  Interior.)  The  abundance  of  animals,  in 
the  parts  of  Belgium  which  are  most  sub- 
divided, is  nearly  as  great  aa  in  England. 
Calculating  the  number  in  England  in  pro- 
portion only  to  the  cultivated  ground,  there 
are  for  each  100  hectares,  65  homed  cattle 
and  nearly  260  sheep,  together  equal  to  91 
of  the  former,  being  only  an  excess  of  IB. 
It  should  besides  1m  remembered,  that  in 
Belgium  stall  feeding  being  continued  nearly 
the  whole  year,  hardly  any  of  the  manure  is 
lost,  while  in  England,  gracing  in  the  open 
fields  diminishes  considerably  the  t^iantity 
which  can  be  completely  utilised. 

**  Again,  in  the  Department  of  the  Nord, 
the  arrondissements  which  have  the  smallest 
farms  support  the  greatest  quantity  of 
animals.  While  the  arrondissements  of  Lille 
and  Hasebrouck,  besides  a  greater  number 
of  horses,  maintain  the  equivalent  of  62  and 
40  head  of  homed  cattle,  those  of  Dunkirk 
and  Avesnes,  where  the  farms  are  larger, 
produce  the  equivalent  of  only  44  and  40 
head.  (See  the  statistics  of  V  ranee  published 
by  the  Minister  of  Commerce.) 

**  A  similar  examination  extended  to  other 
portions  of  France  would  yield  similar  re- 
sults. In  the  immediate  neifl^bourhood  of 
towns,  no  doubt,  the  small  fiurmers,  haaring 
no  difficulty  in  purchasing  manure,  do  not 
maintain  animals :  but,  as  aaeneralrule,  the 
kind  of  cultivation  which  taftee  most  out  of 
the  ground  must  be  that  which  isobligedtobe 
most  active  in  renewing  its  fortuity.  Assur- 
edly the  small  flunms  cannot  have  numerous 
flfickaof  sheep,  and  thi^isaa  ineonvenionoe  ; 
but  they  support  more  homed  cattle  than  the 


92 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  IX.    §  4. 


coantries  where  the  best  wines  are 
produced,  is  extraordinary.  There  is 
no  doubt  an  absence  of  science,  or  at 
least  of  theory ;  and  to  some  extent  a 
deficiency  of  the  spirit  of  improvement, 
80  far  as  relates  to  the  introduction  of 
new  processes.  There  is  also  a  want 
of  means  to  make  experiments,  which 
;an  seldom  be  made  with  advantage 
except  by  rich  proprietors  or  capitalists. 
As  for  those  systematic  improvements 
which  operate  on  a  large  tract  of  coun- 
try at  once  (such  as  great  works  of 
draining  or  irrigation)  or  which  for 
any  other  reason  do  really  require  large 
numbers  of  workmen  combining  their 
labour,  these  are  not  in  general  to  be 
expected  from  small  farmers,  or  even 
small  proprietors ;  though  combination 
among  them  for  such  purposes  is  by  no 
means  unexampled,  and  will  become 
more  common  as  their  intelligence  i* 
more  developed. 

Against  tnese  disadvantages  is  to  be 
placed,  where  the  tenure  of  land  is  of 
the  requisite  kind,  an  ardour  of  indus- 
try absolutely  unexampled  in  any  other 
condition  of  a&jiculture.  This  is  a 
subject  on  which  the  testimony  of  com- 
petent witnesses  is  unanimous.  The 
working  of  the  petite  cuUv/re  cannot 
be  fairly  judged  where  the  small  culti- 
vator is  merely  a  tenant,,  and  not  even 
a  tenant  on  fixed  conditions,  but  (as 

larg^e  fanrs.  To  do  w>  is  m  necessity  they 
cannot  escape  from,  iu  any  country  where 
the  demands  of  consumers  require  their  ex- 
istence :  if  they  could  not  fulfil  this  condi- 
tion, they  must  perish. 

**  The  following  are  particulars,  the  exact- 
ness of  which  is  fully  attested  by  the  excel- 
lence of  the  work  fh)m  which  I  extract 
them,  the  statistics  of  thecommune  o'  Vensat 
(department  of  Puy  de  Dome),  lately  pub- 
lished by  Dr.  Jusseraud,  mayor  of  the  com- 
mune. They  are  the  more  valuable,  as  they 
throw  ftdl  light  on  the  nature  of  the  changes 
which  the  extension  of  small  farming  has,  in 
that  district,  produced  in  the  number  and 
kind  of  animals  by  whose  manure  the  pro- 
ductiveness of  the  soil  is  kept  up  and  in- 
creased. The  commune  consists  of  1612 
hectares,  divided  into  4600  parcelles,  owned 
by  691  proprietors,  and  of  this  extent  1466 
hectares  are  under  cultivation.  In  1790, 
seventeen  ftrms  occupied  two-thirds  of  the 
whole,  and  twenty  others  the  remainder. 
Since  then  the  land  has  been  much  divided, 
and  the  subdivision  is  now  extreme.  What 
has  been  the  effect  on  the  quantity  of  cattle  ? 
A  considerable  increase.    In  1790  there  were 


until  lately  in  Ireland)  at  a  nominal 
rent  greater  than  can  be  paid,  and 
therefore  practically  at  a  varying  rent 
always  amounting  to  the  utmost  that 
can  be  paid.  To  understand  the  sub- 
ject, it  must  be  studied  where  the  cul- 
tivator is  the  proprietor,  or  at  least  a 
nUtayer  with  a  permanent  tenure; 
where  the  labour  he  exerts  to  increase 
the  produce  and  value  of  the  land 
avails  wholly,  or  at  least  partly,  to  his 
own  benefit  and  that  of  his  descend- 
ants. In  another  division  of  our  sub- 
ject, we  shall  discuss  at  some  length 
the  important  subject  of  tenures  of 
land,  and  I  defer  till  then  any  citation 
of  evidence  on  the  marvellous  industry 
of  peasant  proprietors.  It  may  suffice 
here  to  appeal  to  the  immense  amount 
of  gross  produce  which,  even  without  a 
permanent  tenure,  English  labourers 
generally  obtain  from  their  little 
allotments;  a  produce  beyond  com- 
parison greater  than  a  large  farmer 
extracts,  or  would  find  it  his  interest 
to  extract,  from  the  same  piece  of 
land. 

And  this  I  take  to  be  the  true  rea- 
son why  large  cultivation  is  generally 
most  advantageous  as  a  mere  invest- 
ment for  profit.  Land  occupied  by  a 
large  farmer  is  not,  in  one  sense  of  the 
word,  farmed  so  highly.  There  is  not 
nearly  so  much  labour  expended  on  it. 

only  about  300  homed  cattle,  and  tram  1800 
to  2000  sheep;  there  are  now  676  of  the 
former  and  only  633  of  the  latter.  Thus 
1300  sheep  have  been  replaced  by  376  oxen 
and  cows,  and  (all  things  taken  into  ac- 
count) the  quantity  of  manure  has  increased 
in  the  ratio  of  490  to  729,  or  more  than  48 
per  cent,  not  to  mention  that  the  animals 
being  now  stronger  and  better  fed,  yield  a 
much  greater  contribution  than  formerly  to 
the  fertilization  of  the  ground. 

**  Such  is  the  testimony  of  fliots  on  the 
point.  It  is  not  true,  then,  that  small  form- 
ing feeds  fewer  animals  than  large ;  on  the 
contrary,  local  circumstances  being  the 
same,  it  feeds  a  greater  number :  and  this  is 
only  what  might  have  been  presumed ;  for, 
requiring  more  fh>m  the  soil,  it  is  obliged  to 
take  greater  pains  for  keeping  up  its  pro- 
ductiveness. All  the  other  reproaches  cast 
upon  small  farming,  when  collated  one  by 
one  with  facts  Justly  appreciated,  will  b« 
seen  to  be  no  better  founded,  and  to  have 
been  made  only  because  the  countries  com- 
pared with  one  another  were  differently 
situated  in  respect  to  the  general  causes  ot 
agricultural  prosperity."  (pp.  116-120.) 


PRODUCTION  ON  A  LARGE 

Tbis  18  not  on  account  of  any  economy 
arising  from  combination  of  labour,  but 
because,  by  employing  less,  a  greater 
return  is  obtained  in  proportion  to  the 
outlay.  It  does  not  answer  to  any  one 
to  pay  others  for  exerting  all  the  la- 
bour which  the  peasant,  or  even  the 
allotment  holder,  gladly  undergoes 
when  the  fruits  are  to  be  wholly  reaped 
by  himself.  This  labour,  however,  is 
not  unproductive ;  it  all  adds  to  the 
gross  produce.  With  anything  like 
equality  of  skill  and  knowledge,  the 
large  farmer  does  not  obtain  nearly  so 
much  from  the  soil  as  the  small  pro- 
prietor, or  the  small  faimer  with  ade- 
quate motives  to  exertion :  but  though 
his  returns  are  less,  the  labour  is  less 
in  a  still  gi-eater  decree,  and  as  what- 
ever labour  he  employs  must  be  paid 
for,  it  does  not  suit  his  purpose  to  em- 
pl<w  more. 

f     But  although  the  gross  produce  of 
t  the  land  is  greatest,  other  things  being 
I  the  same,  under  small  cultivation,  and 
although,  therefore,  a  country  is  able 
on  that  system  to  support  a  larger 
aggregate  population,  it  is  generally 
.assumed  by  English  writers  that  what 
lis  termed  the  net  produce,  that  is,  the 
[surplus  after  feeding  the  cultivators, 
[must  be  smaller;   that  therefore,  the 
population  disposal^le  for  all  other  pur- 
poses, for  manufactures,  for  commerce 
and  navigation,  for  national  defence, 
for  the  promotion  of  knowledge,  for  the 
liberal    professions,    for    the    various 
functions  of  government,  for  the  arts 
and  literature,  all  of  which  are  depen- 
dent on  this  surplus  for  their  existence 
as  occupations,  must  be  less  numerous ; 
and  that  the  nation,  therefore,  (waving 
all  question  as  to  the  condition  of  the 
actual  cultivators,)  must  be  inferior  in 
tiie    principal    elements    of    national 
power,  and  in  many  of  those  of  general 
well-being.     This,  however,  has  been 
taken  for  granted  much  too   readily. 
tJndoubtedlv,  the  non-agricultural  po- 
Dulation  will  bear  a  less  ratio  to  the 
^agricultural,  under  small  than  under 
large  cultivation.    But  that  it  will  be 
less    numerous    absolutely,   is  by  no 
means  a  consequence.     If  the   total 
population,  agricultural  and  non-agri- 
coltoral,  is  greater,  the  non-agricultural 


AND  ON  A  SMALL  SCALE.      93 

portion  may  be  more  numerous  in  itself, 
and  may  yet  be  a  smaller  proportion  of 
the  whole.     If  the  gross  produce  is 
larger,  the  net  produce  may  be  larger, 
and  yet  bear  a  smaller  ratio  to  the 
eioss  produce.    Yet  even  Mr.  Wake- 
neld  sometimes  appears  to  confound 
these  distinct  ideas.    In  France  it  is 
computed  that  two-thirds  of  the  whole 
population  are  agricultural.    In  Eng- 
land, at  most,  one-third.    Hence  Mr. 
Wakefield  infers,  that  ''  as  in  France 
only  three  people  are  supported  by  the 
labour  of  two  cultivators,  while  in  Eng- 
land the  labour  of  two  cultivators  sup 
ports^  six  people,  English  agriculture 
IS  twice  as  productive  as  French  agri- 
culture," owing  to  the  superior  eflS- 
cieQcy  of  large  farming  through  com- 
bination of  labour.     But  in  the  first 
place  the  facts  themselves  are  over- 
stated.   The  labour  of  two  persons  in 
England  does  not  quite  support  six 
people,  for  there  is  not  a  little  food 
imported  from  foreign  countries,  and 
from    Ireland.      In  France,   too,  the 
labour  of  two  oultivators  does  much 
more  than  supply  the  food  of  three  per- 
sons.    It  provides  the  three  persons, 
and  occasionally  foreigners,  with  flax, 
hemp,  and  to  a  certain  extent  with 
silk,  oils,  tobacco,  and  latterly  sugar, 
which  in  England  are  wholly  obtained 
from  abroad;   nearly  aU    the  timber 
used  in  France  is  of  home  growth, 
nearly  all  which  is  used  in  England  is 
imported ;  the  principal  fuel  of  France 
i^  procured  and  brought  to  market  by 
persons  reckoned  among  agriculturists, 
in  England  by  persons  not  so  reckoned. 
I  do  not  take  into  calculation  hides 
and  wool,  these  products  being  com- 
mon to  both  countries    nor  wine  or 
brandy  produced  for  home  consumption, 
since    England    has  a  corresponding 
production  of  beer  and   spirits;   but 
England  has  no   material  export  of 
either  article,  and  a  great  importation 
of  the  last,  while  France  supplies  wines 
and  spirits  to  the  whole  world.    I  say 
nothing  of  fruit,  eggs,  and  such  minor 
articles  of    agricultural    produce,   in 
which  the  export  trade  of  France  is 
enormous.   But,  not  to  lay  undue  stress 
on  these  abatements,  we  will  take  the 
statement  as  it  stands.     SuppoM)  tliat 


94 


BOOK  L    CHAPTER  IX.    f  4. 


two  persona,  in  England,  do  bond  Jide 
produce  tlie  food  of  six,  while  in  France, 
for  the  same  purpose,  the  labour  of  four 
is  requisite.  Does  it  follow  that  Eng- 
land must  have  a  larger  surplus  for  the 
support  of  a  non-agricultural  popula- 
tion? No;  but  merely  that  sne  can 
devote  two-thirds  of  her  whole  produce 
to  the  purpose,  instead  of  one-third. 
Suppose  the  produce  to  be  twice  as 
great,  and  the  one-third  will  amount  to 
as  much  as  the  two-thirds.  The  fact 
might  be,  that  owing  to  the  greater 
quantity  of  labour  employed  on  the 
French  system,  the  same  land  would 
produce  food  for  twelve  persons  which 
on  the  English  system  would  only  pro- 
dace  it  for  six:  and  if  this  were  so, 
which  would  be  quite  consistent  with 
the  conditions  of  the  hypothesis,  then 
although  the  food  for  twelve  was  pro- 
duced by  the  labour  of  eight,  while  the 
six  were  fed  by  the  labour  of  onlv  two, 
there  would  be  the  same  number  of 
hands  disposable  for  other  employment 
in  the  one  country  as  in  the  other.  I 
am  not  contending  that  the  fact  is  so. 
I  know  that  the  gi*oss  produce  per  acre 
in  France  as  a  whole  (though  not  in 
its  most  improved  districts)  averages 
\iuch  less  than  in  England,  and  that, 
in  proportion  to  the  extent  and  fertility 
of  the  two  countries,  England  has,  in 
the  sense  we  are  now  speaking  of, 
much  the  largest  disposable  popula- 
tion. But  the  disproportion  certainly 
is  not  to  be  measured  by  Mr.  Wake- 
field's simple  criterion.  As  well  might 
it  be  said  that  agricultural  labour 
in  the  United  States,  where,  by  a 
late  census,  four  families  in  every  five 
appeared  to  be  engaged  in  agricul- 
ture, must  be  still  more  inefficient  than 
in  France. 

The  inferiority  of  French  cultivation 
(which,  taking  the  country  as  a  whole, 
must  be  allowed  to  be  real,  though 
much  exaggerated,)  is  probably  more 
owing  to  l£e  lower  general  average  of 
industrial  skill  and  energy  in  that 
country,  than  to  any  special  cause : 
and  even  if  partly  the  efi&ct  of  minute 
subdivision,  it  does  not  prove  that 
small  fanning  is  disadvantageous,  but 
only  fwhat  is  undoubtedly  the  fact) 
that  tanuB  in  France  are    veiy  fre- 


quently too  small,  and,  what  is  worse. 
broken  up  into  an  almost  incredible 
number  of  patches  orparceUeSf  most  in- 
conveniently dispersed  and  parted  from 
one  another. 

As  a  question,  not  of  px)S8,  but  of 
net  produce,  the  comparative  merits  of 
the   qrande  and  the  petite    cvUure, 
especially  when  the  small  farmer  is 
also  the  proprietor,  cannot  be  looked 
upon  as   decided.     It  is  a  question 
on    which    good   judges    at   present 
differ.   The  current  of  English  opinion 
is  in  favour  of  lai*ge  farms:   on  the 
Continent,    the   weight    of  authority 
seems  to  be  on  the  other  side.    Profes- 
sor Rau,  of  Heidelberg,  the  author  of 
one  of  the  most  comprehensive  and 
elaborate  of  extant  treatises  on  politi- 
cal economy,  and  who  has  that  large 
acquaintance  with  facts  and  authorities 
on  his  ovm  subject,  which  generally 
characterises  his  countrymen,  lays   it 
down  as  a  settled  truth,  that  small  or 
moderate-sized  farms  yield  not  only  a 
larger  gross  but  a  larger  net  produce : 
though,  he  adds,  it  i.s  desirable  ther» 
should  be  some  great  proprietors,  to 
lead  the  way  in  new  improvements.*" 
The    most  apparently  impartial   and 
discriminating  judgment  tnat  I  have 
met  with  is  that  of  M.  Passy,  who 
(always  speaking    with  reference    to 
vst  prodmce)  gives  his  verdict  in  favour 
of  large  farms  for  grain  and  forage : 
but,   for  the  kinds   of  cnltm-e    which 
require  much   labour  and    attention, 
places  the  advantage  wholly  on    the 
side  of  small  cultivation ;  including  in 
this  description,  not  only  the  vine  and 
the  olive,  where  a  consiaerable  amount 
of  care  and  labour  must  be  bestowed  on 
each  individual  plant,  but  also  roots, 
leguminous  plants,  and   those  which 
ftiniish  the  materials  of  manufactures. 
The  small  size,  and  consequent  multi- 
plication, of  farms,   according  to  all 
authorities,  are  extremely  favourable 
to  the  abundance  of  many  minor  prc>> 
ducts  of  agriculture. t 

*  See  pp.  352  And  353  of  a  French  transia* 
tion  published  at  Brussels  in  1839,  by  M. 
Fred,  de  Kemmeter,  of  Ghent. 

t  ••  In  the  department  of  the  Nord,"  sayi 
M.  Passy,  *'a  farm  of  20  hectares  (50  acres) 
produces  in  calves,  dairy  produce,  poultry, 
and  eggs,  a  valua  of  sometimes  1000  fir»nos 


PRODUCTION  ON  A  LARGE  AND  ON  A  SMALL  SCALE. 


It  is  evident  that  every  labourer  who 
extractfl  from  the  Und  more  than  his 
own  food,  and  that  of  anj  family  he 
may  have,  Increases  the  means  of  sup- 
porting a  non-agricultural  population. 
Kven  if  his  surplus  is  no  more  than 
enough  to  buy  clothes,  the  labourers 
who  make  the  clothes  are  a  non- 
agricultural  population,  enabled  to 
exist  by  food  which  he  produces. 
Every  agricultural  family,  therefore, 
which  produces  its  own  necessaries, 
adds  to  the  net  produce  of  agriculture ; 
and  so  does  every  person  born  on  the 
land,  who  by  employing  himself  on  it, 
adds  more  to  its  gross  produce  than 
the  mere  food  which  he  eats.  It  is 
questionable  whether,  even  in  the  most 
subdivided  districts  of  Europe  which 
are  cultivated  hy  the  proprietors,  the 
multiplication  of  hands  on  the  soil  has 
appmached,  or  tends  to  a|^>p roach, 
within  a  great  distance  of  this  limit. 
In  France,  though  the  subdivision  is 
confessedly  too  great,  there  is  proof 
positive  that  it  is  far  from  having 
reached  the  point  at  which  it  would 
begin  to  diminish  the  power  of  sup- 
porting a  non-agncultural  population. 
This  is  demonstrated  by  the  K'"eat  in- 
crease of  the  towns;  which  nave  of 
late  increased  in  a  much  greater  ratio 
ihan  the  population  generally,*  show- 
ing (unless  the  condition  of  the  town 
labourers  is  becoming  rapidly  de- 
teriorated, which  there  is  no  reason  to 
believe)  that  even  by  the  unfair  and 
inapplicable  test  of  proportions,  the 
productiveness  of  agriculture  must  be 
on  the  increase.  This,  too,  concur- 
renUv  with  the  amplest  evidence  that 
in  tne  more  improved  districts  of 
France,  and  in  some  which,  until 
lately,^  were  among  the  unimproved, 
there  is  a  considerably  increased  con- 
sumption of  country  produce  by  the 
country  population  itself. 

(£40)  a  year:  which,  deducting  expenses,  Is 
An  addition  to  the  net  produce  of  16  to  20 
francs  per  heoUre.'*— 0»  SgH0m$  of  Oullwa- 
Hon,  p.  114. 

*  Daring  the  Intorral  between  the  census 
of  1861  and  that  of  185«,  the  Increase  of  the 
iK>l>uIstion  of  Paris  alone,  exceeded  the  ag- 
gre^ate  increase  of  all  France  :  while  nearly 
al)  the  other  large  towns  likewise  showed  an 


Impressed  with  the  conviction  that, 
of  all  faults  which  can  be  oommitted 
by  a  tcientific  writer  on  political  and 
social  subjects,  exaggeration,  and  asser- 
tions beyond  tne  evidence,  most  require 
to  be  guarded  af^nst,  I  limited  myself 
in  the  early  editions  of  this  work  to  the 
foregoing  very  moderate  statements. 
I  little  knew  how  much  stronger  my 
hinguage  might  have  been  without 
exceeding  the  truth,  and  how  much 
the  actual  progress  of  French  agricul- 
ture surpassed  anything  which  1  had 
at  that  time  sufiicient  grounds  to 
affirm.  The  investigations  of  that 
eminent  authority  on  agricultural  sta- 
tistics, M.  L6once  de  Laveigne,  under- 
taken by  desire  of  the  Academy  of 
Moral  and  Political  Sciences  of  the 
Institute  of  France,  have  led  to  the 
conclusion  that  since  the  Revolution  of 
1789,  the  total  produce  of  French  agri. 
culture  has  doubled ;  profits  and  wages 
having  both  increased  in  about  the 
same,  and  rent  in  a  still  greater  ratio. 
M .  de  Lavergne,  whose  impartiality  is 
one  of  his  greatest  merits,  is,  moreover, 
so  far  in  this  instance  from  the  sus- 
picion of  having  a  case  to  make  out, 
that  he  is  labouring  to  show,  not  how 
much  French  agriculture  has  accom- 
plished, but  how  much  still  remains  for 
It  to  do.  "We  have  required'*  (he 
says)  **  no  less  than  seventy  years  to 
bring  into  cultivation  two  million  hec- 
tai-es"  (five  million  English  acresj  •*  of 
waste  land,  to  suppress  half  our  fallows, 
double  our  agricultural  products,  in- 
crease our  population  by  30  per  cent, 
our  wages  by  100  per  cent,  our  rent  br 
150  per  cent.  At  this  rate  we  shall 
require  three  quarters  of  a  century 
more  to  arrive  at  the  point  which 
England  has  already  attamed."* 

After  this  evidence,  we  have  surely 
now  heard  the  last  of  the  incompati- 
bility of  small  properties  and  small 
farms  v'th  agricultural  improvement. 
The  only  question  which  remains  open 
is  one  of  degree:  the  comparative 
rapidity  of  agricultural  improvement 
under  the  two  systems ;  and  it  is  the 

*  JboitomM  JBaroi*  de  la  FnmM  depmi* 
1789.  Par  M.  Leonoe  de  Lavergne,  Membre 
de  rinstitnt  et  de  la  Soci^t^  Centrale  d'Agri- 
eultore  de  France.    2me  6d  p.  68. 


96 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  X.    §  1. 


general  opinioD  of  those  who  are  equally  |  of  the  efficiency  of  labour.     We  shall 


well  acquainted  with  both,  that  im- 
provement is  greatest  under  a  due  ad- 
mixture between  them. 

In  the  present  chapter,  I  do  not  enter 
on  the  question  between  great  and 
small  cultivation  in  any  other  respect 
than  as  a  question  of  production,  and 


return  to  it  hereafter  as  affecting  the 
distribution  of  the  produce,  and  the 
physical  and  social  well-being  of  the 
cultivators  themselves ;  in  which  aspects 
it  deserves,  and  requires,  a  still  more 
particular  examinatioD. 


CHAPTER  X, 


OF  THE   LAW   OF  THE   INCREASE   OF  LABOUB. 


§  1.  "We  have  now  succi 
considered  each  of  the  agents  or  condi- 
tions of  production,  and  of  the  means 
by  which  the  efficacy  of  these  various 
agents  is  promoted.  In  order  to 
come  to  an  end  of  the  questions 
which  relate  exclusively  to  produc- 
tion, one  more,  of  primary  importance, 
remains. 

I  Production  is  not  a  fixed,  but  an  in- 
creasing thing.  When  not  kept  back 
by  bad  institutions,  or  a  low  state  of 
the  arts  of  life,  the  produce  of  industry 
has  usually  tended  to  increase ;  stimu- 
lated not  only  by  the  desire  of  the  pro- 
ducers to  augment  their  means  of 
consumption,  but  by  the  increasing 
number  of  the  consumers.  Nothing  in 
political  economy  can  be  of  more  im- 
portance than  to  ascertain  the  law  of 
this  increase  of  production ;  the  condi- 
tions to  which  it  is  subject ;  whether  it 
has  practically  an^  lunits,  and  what 
these  are.  There  is  also  no  subject  in 
political  economy  which  is  popularly 
less  understood,  or  on  which  tne  errors 
committed  are  of  a  character  to  pro- 
duce, and  do  produce,  greater  mis- 
chief. 

We  have  seen  that  the  essential  re- 
Iquisites  of  production  are  three — labour, 
|capital,  and  natural  agents ;  the  term 
capital  including  all  external  and  phy- 
sical requisites  which  are  products  of 
iabour,  the  term  natural  agents  all  those 
which  are  not.  But  among  natural 
agents  we  need  not  take  into  account 
those    which,   existing    in    unlimited 


(]^uantity,  being  inca^ble  of  appropria- 
tion, and  never  altering  in  their  quali- 
ties, are  always  ready  to  lend  an  equal 
degree  of  assistance  to  production, 
whatever  may  be  its  extent ;  as  air, 
and  the  light  of  the  sun.  Being  now 
about  to  consider  the  impediments  to 
production,  not  the  facilities  for  it, 
we  need  advert  to  no  other  natural 
agents  than  those  which  are  liable  to 
be  deficient,  either  in  quantity  or  in 
productive  power.  These  may  be  all 
represented  by  the  term  land.  Land, 
in  the  narrowest  acceptation,  as  tha 
source  of  agricultural  produce,  is  the 
chief  of  them ;  and  if  we  extend  the 
term  to  mines  and  fisheries — to  what 
is  found  in  the  earth  itself,  or  in  the 
waters  which  partly  cover  it,  as  well  as 
to  what  is  grown  or  fed  on  its  surface, 
it  embraces  everything  with  which  we 
need  at  present  concern  ourselves. 

We  may  say,  then,  without  a  greater' 
stretch  of  language  than  under  the) 
necessary  explanations  is  permissible, 
that  the  requisites  of  production  are\ 
Labour,  Capital,  and  Land.  The  in-' 
crease  of  production,  therefore,  depends* 
on  the  properties  of  these  elements.  It) 
is  a  result  of  the  increase  either  of  the/ 
elements  themselves,  or  of  their  pro-j 
ductiveness.  The  law  of  the  increasel 
of  production  must  be  a  consequence  of ' 
the  laws  of  these  elements ;  the  limits 
to  the  increase  of  production  must  be 
the  limits,  whatever  they  are,  set  by 
those  laws.  We  proceed  to  consider 
the  three  elements  successively,  with 


LAW  OF  THE  INCREASE  OF  LABOITR. 


97 


reference  to  this  effect;  or  in  other 
words,  the  law  of  the  increase  of  pro- 
duction, viewed  in  respect  of  its  de- 
.pendence,  first  on  Lahour,  secondly  on 
:  Capital,  and  lastly  on  Land. 
I 

§  2.  The  increase  of  lahoor  is  the 
lincrease  of  mankind;  of  population. 
K>n  this  snhject  the  discussions  excited 
■by  the  Essay  of  Mr.  Malthus  have 
made  the  truth,  though  by  no  means 
universally  admitted,  yet  so  fully 
known,  that  a  briefer  examination  of 
the  question  than  would  otherwise  have 
been  necessary  will  probably  on  the 
present  occasion  suffice. 

The  power  of  multiplication  inherent 
in  all  organic  life  may  be  regarded  as 
infinite.  There  is  no  one  species  of 
vegetable  or  animal,  which,  if  the  earth 
were  entirely  abandoned  to  it,  and  to 
the  things  on  which  it  feeds,  would  not 
in  a  smiQl  number  of  years  overspread 
every  region  of  the  globe,  of  whicn  the 
climate  was  compatible  with  its  ex- 
istence. The  degree  of  possible  rapidity 
is  different  in  different  orders  of  beings ; 
but  in  all  it  is  sufficient,  for  the  earth 
to  be  very  speedilv  filled  up.  There 
are  many  species  of  vegetables  of  which 
a  single  plant  will  produce  in  one  year 
tiie  germs  of  a  thoufaand ;  if  only  two 
come  to  maturity,  in  fourteen  years  the 
two  will  have  multiplied  to  sixteen 
thousand  and  more.  It  is  but  a  mode- 
rate case  of  fecundity  in  animals  to  be 
capable  of  quadru{>ung  their  numbers 
in  a  single  year ;  if  Uiey  onlv  do  as 
much  in  half  a  century,  ten  thousand 
will  have  swelled  within  two  centuries 
to  upwards  of  two  millions  and  a  half. 
The  capacit;^  of  increase  is  necessarily 
in  a  geometrical  progression :  the  nume- 
rical ratio  alone  is  different. 

To  this  property  of  organized  beings, 
the  human  8{>ecies  forms  no  exception. 
Its  power  of  increase  is  indefinite,  and 
the  actual  multiplication  would  be 
extraordinarily  rapid,  if  the  power  were 
exercised  to  the  utmost-.  It  never  is 
exercised  to  the  utmost,  and  yet,  in 
the  most  favourable  circumstances 
known  to  exist,  which  are  those  of  a 
fertile  region  colonized  fix>m  an  in- 
dustrious and  civilized  community, 
population  has  continued,  for  several 
PA 


generations,  independently  of  fresh  inv 
migration,  to  douole  itseli'  in  not  much 
more  than  twenty  years.*  That  th« 
capacity  of  multiplication  in  the  humaik 
species  exceeds  even  this,  is  evident 
if  we  consider  how  great  is  the  ordinary 
number  of  children  to  a  family,  where 
the  climate  is  good  and  early  mar- 
riages usual ;  and  how  small  a  propor- 
tion of  them  die  before  the  age  of 
maturity,  in  the  present  state  of 
hygienic  knowledge,  where  the  locality 
is  healthy,  and  the  family  adequatelv 
provided  with  the  means  of  living.  It 
IS  a  very  low  estimate  of  the  capacity 
of  increase,  if  we  only  assume,  that  in 
a  good  sanitary  condition  of  the  people, 
each  generation  may  be  double  the 
number  of  the  generation  which  pre- 
ceded it. 

Twenty  or  thirty  years  ago,  these 
propositions  might  still  have  required 
considerable  enforcement  and  illustra< 
tion ;  but  the  evidence  of  them  is  so 
ample  and  incontestable,  that  they 
have  made  their  way  against  all  kinds 
of  opposition,  and  may  now  be  re- 
garded as  axiomatic:  though  the 
extreme  reluctance  felt  to  admitting 
them,  every  now  and  then  gives  birth 
to  some  ephemeral  theory,  speedily 
forgotten,  of  a  different  law  of  increase 
in  different  circumstances,  through  a 
providential  adaptation  of  the  fecundity 
of  the  human  species  to  the  exigencies 
of  society.f    The  obstacle  to  a  just 

*  This  has  been  disputed ;  but  the  highest 
estimate  I  have  seen  of  the  term  which 
population  requires  for  doubling  itself  in  the 
United  States,  independently  of  iaomlgrants 
and  of  their  progeny— that  of  Mr.  Carey — 
does  not  exceed  thirty  years. 

t  One  of  these  theories,  that  of  Mr.  Double- 
day,  may  be  thought  to  require  a  passing 
notice,  because  it  has  of  late  obtained  some 
followers,  and  because  it  derives  a  semblance 
of  support  from  the  general  analojries  of 
organic  life.  This  theory  maintains  that  the 
fecundity  of  the  human  animal,  and  of  all 
other  living  beings,  is  in  inverse  proportion 
to  the  quantity  of  nutriment :  that  an  under- 
fed populati<m  multiplies  rapidly,  but  that 
all  classes  in  comfortable  circumstances  are, 
by  a  physiological  law,  so  nnproliflc,  as  sel- 
dom to  keep  up  their  numbers  without  being 
recruited  tvom  a  poorer  dass.  There  is  no 
doubt  that  a  positive  excess  of  nutriment, 
in  animals  as  well  as  in  fruit  trees,  is  un- 
favourable to  reproduction;  and  it  is  quite 
possible,  though  by  no  means  proved,  that 
the  phynolofliealoondltioiM  of  fecundity  may 
H 


d^ 


fiOOK  1.     CHAPTER  X. 


%9, 

undertitanding  of  the  subject  does  not  I  deatbs.*     But  the  conduct  of  human 
ariee  from  these  theories,  but  from  too  I  oreatures  is  more  or  less  influenced  bj 


confused  a  notion  of  the  oauiie»  which, 
at  most  times  and  plaoes,  keep  the 
actual  increase  of  mankind  so  far 
behind  the  oapaoity. 

§  8.  Those  oauseS)  nevertheless,  are 
in-  no  way  mysterious.  What  pre- 
vents the  population  of  hares  and 
rabbits  from  overstocking  the  earth  ? 
Not  want  of  ^undity,  but  oauses 
veiy  different :  many  enemies,  and  in- 
sufficient  subsistence;  not  enough  to 
eat,  and  liability  to  being^  eaten.  In 
the  human  race,  which  is  not  gienerally 
subject  to  the  latter  inconvenienoe, 
the  equivalents  for  it  are  war  and 
disease.  If  the  multiplication  of  man- 
kind proceeded  only,  like  that  of  the 
other  animals,  from  a  blind  instmct,  it 
would  be  limited  in  the  same  manner 
with  theirs;  the  births  would  be  as 
numerous  as  the  physical  oonstitution 
of  the  species  admitted)  of;  and  the 
population  would   be  kept  down    by 


exist  in  the  greateit  degree  when  the  supply 
of.  food  i»  somewhat  stinted.  But  any  one 
wIm  might  be  inclinfld  to  draw  from  tbit» 
even  if.  admitted^  concliuiona  at  varianco 
with  the  principle  of  Mr.  Malthus,  needs 
only  be  invited  to  look  through  a  Tolume  of 
the  Peerage,  and  observe  the  enormous  fami- 
lies' almost  uniTAHMl  in  that  class;  oroall 
to  mind  the  large  families  of  the  English 
clergy,  and  generally  ot  th»  middle  classes  of 
England.  It  is,  besides,  well  remstked  by 
Mr.  Carey,  that,  to  be  consistent  with  Mr. 
Doubleday's  theory,  the  increase  of  the  popu- 
lation of  the  United  States,  apart  from  im- 
migration, ought  to  be  one  of  the  slowest  on 
record. 

Mr.  Carey  has  a  theory  of  his  own,  also 
grounded  on  a  physiological  truth,  that  the 
total  sum  of  nutriment  received  by  an  or- 
ganised body  directs  itself,  in  largest  propor- 
tion, to  the  parts  of  the  system  which  are 
most  used;  from  which  he  anticipates  a 
diminution  in  the  fecundity  of  human  beings, 
not  through  more  abundant  ieecttng,  but 
through  the  greater  use  of  their  brains  inci- 
dent to  an  advanced  civilization.  There  is 
considerable  plausibility  in  this  speculation, 
and  experience  may  hereafter  confirm  it. 
But  the  change  in  the  human  constitution 
Which  it  supposes,  if  ever  realized,  will  con- 
duce to  the  expected  effect  rather  by  ren- 
dering physical  self-restraint  easier,  than  by 
dispensing  with  its  necessity ;  since  the  most 
rapid  known  rate  of  multiplication  is  quite 
Qompatible  with  a  very  sparing  employment 
•f  tb9  multiplying  power 


foresight  of  consequences,  and  bv  im- 
pulses superior  to  mere  animal  in- 
stincts: and  they  do  not,  therefore, 
propagate  like  swine,  but  are  capable, 
though  in  very  unequal  degrees,  oi 
being  withheld  bv  prudence,  or  by  the 
socifiil  affections,  nrom  giving  existence 
to  beings  bom  only  to  miseiy  and  pre- 
mature dttath.  In  propoilion  as  man- 
kind rise  above  the  condition  of  the 
beasts,  population  is  restrained  by  the 
fear  of  want^  rather  than  by  want 
itself  Even  where  there  is  no  question 
of  starvation,  many  are  similarly  aoted 
upon  by  the  apprehension  of  losing 
wnat  have  come  to  be  regarded  as  the 
decencies  of  their  situation  in  life. 
Hitherto  no  other  motives  than  these 
two  have  been  found  strong  enough,  in 
the  generality  of  mankind,  to  oounter- 
act  the  tendency  to  increase.  It  has 
been  the  practice  of  a  great  majority 
of  the  middle  and  the  poorer  classes, 
whenever  free  from  external  control, 
to  marrv  aa  early,  and  in  most  coun- 
tries to  nave  as  many  children,  aa  was 
consistent  with  maintaining  themselves 
in  the  condition  of  life  which  they  were 
hem  to,  or  were  accustomed  to  oonsider 
a»  theirs.  Among  the  middle  olassea, 
in  many  individual  instances,  there  is 
an  additional  restraint  exercised  from 
the  desina  of  doing  more  than  main- 

*  Mr.  Carey  expatiates  on  the  absurdity  oi 
supposing  that  matter  tends  to  asstune  the 
highest  form  of  organization,  the  human,  at 
a  moi«  rapid  rate  than  it  assumes  the  lower 
forme  which  compote  human  food}  that 
human  beings  multiply  fastei  than  turnips 
and  cabbages.  But  the  limit  to  the  increase 
of  mankind,  according  to  the  doctrine  of  Mr. 
Malthus^  doea  not  depend  <»  the  power  ol 
increase  of  turnips  and  cabbages,  but  on  the 
limited  quantity  of  the  land  on  which  they 
can  be  grown.  So  long  as  the  quantity  of 
land  is  practically  unlimited,  whloh  It  is  in 
the  United  States,  and  food.  Gonse<}vm)t]y, 
can  be  increased  at  the  highest  rate  whicii 
is  natural  to  it,  mankind  also  may,  without 
augmented  difltetdty  in  obtaining  suheielenoe, 
increase  at  their  highest  rate.  When  Mr. 
Carey  can  show,  not  that  turnips  and  cab* 
bages  but  that  the  soil  itself,  or  the  nutritive 
elements  contained  in  it,  tend  naturally  to 
multiply,  and  that,  too,  at  a  rate  exoewliBf 
the  most  rapid  possible  increase  of  mankint^ 
he  will  have  said  something  to  the  purpose 
Till  then,  this  part,  at  least,  of  liis  argament 
may  be  considered  as  non-ezislent. 


LAW  OF  THE  INCREASE  OF  LABOUR. 


d9 


taining  thew  circumstances  —  ci  im- 
proying  them;  but  such  a  desire  is 
rarely  found,  or  rarely  has  that  efifect, 
in  the  labouring  classes.  If  they  can 
bring  up  a  family  as  they  were  them- 
selves brought  up,  even  the  prudent 
among  them  are  usually  satisfied.  Too 
often  they  do  not  think  even  of  that, 
but  rely  on  fortune,  or  on  the  resources 
to  be  found  in  legal  or  voluntary 
ofaarity. 

In  a  yery  backward  slate  ^f  society, 
like  that  of  Europe  in  th«  Middle  Ages, 
and  many  parte  of  Asia  at  present, 
population  is  kept  down  by  actual 
starvation.  The  staryatioct  does  not 
take  place  in  ordinary  jf  ears,  but  in 
seasons  of  scarcity,  which  in  those 
states  of  society  are  much  more  fre- 
quent and  more  extreme  than  Europe 
H  now  accuf^iODied  to.  In  these  seasons 
actual  want,  or  the  maladies  conse- 
quent on  it,  oavry  off  numbers  of  the 
population,  which  in  a  sucoesaon  of 
uiyourable  years  again  expands,  to  be 
again  cruelly  decimated.  In  a  more 
improved  state,  few,  even  among  the 
poorest  of  the  people,  are  limited  to 
actuid  necessanes,  and  to  a  bare 
sufficiency  of  those :  and  the  increase 
is  kept  within  bounds,  not  by  excess 
of  deaths,  but  by  limitation  of  births. 
Ute  Ibnittttion  is  brought  about  in 
various  ways.  \q.  some  countries,  it  is 
the  result  ni  prudent  or  conscientious 
self-restraint.  There  is  a  condition  to 
which  the  labouring  people  are  ha- 
bituated; they  perceive  that  by  having 
too  numerous  families,  the^^  must  sink 
below  that  condition,  or  fail  to  trans- 
mit it  to  their  children ;  and  this  they 
do  not  choose  to  submit  to.  The 
countries  in  which,  so  far  as  is  known, 
a  great  decree  of  voluntary  prudence 
has  been  longest  practised  on  this 
subject,  are  Norway  and  parts  of 
Switzerland.  Concerning  both,  there 
happens  to  be  unusually  authentic  in- 
formation; many  facts  were  carefully 
brought  together  by  Mr.  Malthus,  and 
muoh  additional  evidence  has  been 
obtained  since  his  time.  In  both  these 
countries  the  inc^pease  of  population  is 
very  slow ;  and  what  checsB  it,  is  not 
multitude  of  deaths,  but  IwwnesB  of 
births.      Both    the    birtiiB    and    t^ 


deaths  are  remarkably  few  in  propo^ 
tion  to  the  population ,  the  average 
duration  of  hie  is  the  longest  m 
Europe ;  the  population  contains  fewer 
children,  ana  a  ^eater  proportional 
number  of  persons  m  the  vigour  of  Hfe, 
than  is  known  to  be  the  case  in  any 
other  part  of  the  world.  The  paucity 
of  births  tends  directly  to  prolong  life, 
bj  keeping  the  people  in  comfortable 
circumstances ;  and  the  same  prudence 
is  doubtless  exercised  in  avoiding 
oauses  of  disease,  as  in  keeping  olear 
of  the  principal  cause  of  poverty. 
It  is  worthy  of  remark  that  the 
two  countries  thus  honourably  distin- 
guished, are  countries  of  small  landed 
proprietors. 

There  are  other  cases  in  which  the 
pudenoe  and  forethought,  which  per- 
haps might  not  be  exercised  by  the 
people  themselves,  are  exercised  oy  the 
state  for  their  benefit ;  marriage  not 
being  permitted  until  the  contracting 
parties  can  show  that  they  have  the 
prospect  of  a  comfortable  support. 
Under  these  laws,  of  which  I  shall 
speak  more  fully  hereafter,  the  condi- 
tion of  the  people  is  reported  to  be 
good,  and  the  illegitimate  births  not 
so  numerous  as  might  be  expected. 
There  are  places,  again,  in  which  the 
restraining  cause  seems  to  be  not  so 
much  incSvidual  prudence,  as  some 
general  and  perhaps  even  accidental 
habit  of  the  country.  In  the  rural 
districts  of  England,  during  the  last 
century,  the  growth  of  population  was 
very  effectually  repressed  by  the  diffi- 
culty of  obtaining  a  cottage  to  live  in. 
It  was  the  custom  for  unmarried  la- 
bourers to  lodge  and  board  with  their 
employers ;  it  was  the  custom  for  mar- 
ried labourers  to  have  a  cottage :  and 
the  rule  of  the  English  poor  Taws  by 
which  a  parish  was  charged  with  the 
support  of  its  unemployed  poor,  ren- 
dered landowners  averse  to  promote 
marriage.  About  the  end  of  the  cen- 
tury, the  great  demand  for  men  in  war 
and  manufactures,  made  it  be  thought 
a  patriotic  thing  to  aicourage  popula- 
tion: and  about  the  same  time  the 
nowing  inclination  of  &rmers  to  liye 
ake  rich  people,  favoured  as  it  was  by 
a  long  period  of  high  prices,  nunte 
H2 


100 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  XI.    f  1. 


tliem  de8iit>n8  of  keeping  inferiors  at 
a  ^ater  distance,  and  pecuniary 
motives  arising  from  abuses  of  the 
poor  laws  being  superadded,  they 
gradually  drove  their  labourers  into 
cottages,  which  the  landlords  now  no 
longer  refused  permission  to  build.  In 
some  countries  an  old  standing  custom 
that  a  girl  should  not  marry  until  she 
had  spun  and  woven  for  herself  an 
ample  trousseau  (destined  for  the 
supply  of  her  whole  subsequent  life),  is 
said  to  have  acted  as  a  substantial 
check  to  population.  In  England,  at 
present,  the  influence  of  pruoence  in 
keeping  down  multiplication  is  seen  by 
the  diminished  number  of  marriages 
in  the  manufacturing  districts  in  years 
when  trade  is  bad. 

But  whatever  be  the  causes  by 
which  the  population  is  anywhere 
limited  to  a  comparatively  slow  rate  of 
increase,  an  acceleration  of  the  rate 
very  speedily  follows  any  diminution  of 
the  motives  to  restraint.  It  is  but 
rarely  that  improvements  in  the  con- 
dition of  the  labouring  classes  do  any- 
thing more  than  give  a  temporary 
margin,  speedily  fified  up  by  an  in- 
crease of  their  numbers.  The  use  thev 
commonly  choose  to  make  of  any  ad- 
vantageous change  in  their  circum- 
stances, is  to  take  it  out  in  the  form 
which,  by  augmenting  the  population, 
deprives  the  succeeding  generation  of 
the  benefit.  Unless,  either  bv  their 
general  improvement  in  intellectual 
and  moral  culture,  or  at  least  by 
raising  their  habitual  standard  of  com- 
fortable living,  they  can  be  taught  to 
make  a  better  use  of  favourable  cir- 


cumstances, nothing  peimanent  ran  bt 
done  for  them;  the  most  promising 
schemes  end  only  in  having  a  more 
numerous,  but  not  a  happier  people. 
By  their  habitual  standard,  1  mean 
that  (when  any  such  there  is)  down  to 
which  they  will  multiply,  but  not 
lower.  Every  advance  they  make  in 
education,  civilization,  and  social  im- 
provement, tends  to  raise  this  standard; 
and  there  is  no  doubt  that  it  is  gra- 
dually, though  slowly,  rising  in  the 
more  advanced  countries  of  Western 
Europe.  Subsistence  and  employment 
in  England  have  never  increased  more 
rapidly  than  in  the  last  forty  years, 
but  eveiy  census  since  1821  showed  a 
smaller  proportional  increase  of  popula- 
tion than  that  of  the  period  preceding ; 
and  the  produce  of  French  a^culture 
and  industr;^  is  increasing  m  a  pro- 
gressive ratio,  while  the  population 
exhibits,  in  every  quinquennial  census, 
a  smaller  proportion  of  births  to  the 
population. 

The  subject,  however,  of  population, 
in  its  connexion  with  the  condition  of 
the  labouring  classes,  will  be  con- 
sidered in  another  place:  in  the 
present,  we  have  to  do  with  it  solely  as 
one  of  the  elements  of  Production:  and 
in  that  character  we  could  not  dis- 
pense with  pointing  out  the  unlimited 
extent  of  its  natural  powers  of  increase, 
and  the  causes  owing  to  which  so 
small  a  portion  of  that  unlimited 
power  is  for  the  most  part  actually 
exercised.  After  this  brief  indica- 
tion, we  shall  proceed  to  the  other 
elements. 


CHAPTER  XL 


OF  THE  LAW  OP  THB  INCREASE   OF   CAPrrAX.i 


f  1.  The  requisites  of  production 
being  labour,  capital,  and  land,  it  has 
been  seen  from  the  preceding  chapter 
that  the  impediments  to  the  increase 
of  production  do  not  arise  from  the 
finr*  of  ^ese  elements.    On  the  side 


of  labour  there  is  no  obstacle  to  an 
increase  of  production,  indefinite  in 
extent  and  of  unslackening  rapidity 
Population  has  the  power  of  increasing 
in  an  uniform  and  rapid  geometrical 
ratio.    If  the  only  essentiiii  oonditioD 


LAW  OF  THE  INCREASE  OF  CAPITAL. 


101 


ofprodnotion  were  labour,  the  produce 
might,  and  naturaQy  would,  increase 
in  the  same  ratio ;  and  there  would  be 
no  limit,  until  the  itmubcrs  of  mankind 
were  brought  to  a  stand  from  actual 
want  of  space. 

But  production  has  other  requisites, 
and  of  these,  the  one  which  we  shall 
next  consider  is  Capital.  There  cannot 
be  more  people  in  anj  country,  or  in 
the  world,  than  can  be  supported  from 
the  produce  of  past  labour  until  that 
of  present  labour  comes  in.  There 
will  be  no  greater  number  of  productive 
labourers  in  any  country,  or  in  the 
world,  than  can  be  supported  from  that 
portion  of  the  produce  of  past  labour, 
which  is  spared  from  the  enjoyments 
of  its  possessor  for  purposes  of  repro- 
duction, and  is  termed  Capital.  We 
have  next,  therefore,  to  inquire  into 
the  conditions  of  the  increase  of  capi- 
tal ;  the  causes  b;^  which  the  rapidity 
of  its  increase  is  determined,  and 
the  necessary  limitations  of  that  in- 
crease. 

,  Since  all  capital  is  the  prtiduct  of 
saving,  that  is,  of  abstinence  from 
,  present  consumption  for  the  sake  of  a 
rature  good,  the  increase  of  capital 
must  depend  upon  two  things — ^the 
amount  of  the  fund  from  which  saving 
can  be  made,  and  the  strength  of  the 
.dispositions  which  prompt  to  it. 

The  fund  from  which  saving  can  be 
made,  is  the  surplus  of  the  produce  of 
I  labour,  after  supplying  the  necessaries 
of  life  to  all  concerned  in  the  produc- 
tion: (including  those  employed  in 
replacing  the  materials,  and  keeping 
the  fixed  capital  in  repair.)  More 
than  this  surplus  cannot  be  saved 
imder  any  circumstances.  Als  much 
as  this,  though  it  never  is  saved, 
always  might  be.  This  surplus  is  the 
fund  from  which  the  enjoyments,  as 
distinguished  from  the  necessaries  of 
the  producers^  are  provided ;  it  is  the 
*.und  from  which  all  are  subsisted,  who 
are  not  themselves  engaged  in  produc- 
tion ;  and  fix)m  which  all  additions  are 
,made  to  capital.  It  is  the  real  net 
produce  of  tne  country.  The  phrase, 
net  produce,  is  often  taken  in  a  more 
limited  sense,  to  denote  only  the  profits 
of  the  canitalist  and  the  rent  of  the 


landloi-d,  under  the  idea  that  nothing 
can  be  included  in  the  net  produce  of 
capital,  but  what  is  returned  to  the 
owner  of  the  capital  after  replacing 
his  expenses.  But  this  is  too  narrow 
an  acceptation  of  the  term.  The 
capital  of  the  employer  forms  the 
revenue  of  the  labourers,  and  if  this 
exceeds  the  necessaries  of  life,  it  ^ves 
them  a  surplus  which  they  may  either 
expend  in  enjoyments  or  save.  For 
every  purpose  for  which  there  can  be 
occasion  to  speak  of  the  net  produce  of 
industry,  this  surplus  ought  to  be  in- 
cluded m  it.  When  this  is  included, 
and  not  otherwise,  the  net  produce  of 
the  country  is  the  measure  of  its 
effective  power ;  of  what  it  can  spare 
for  any  purposes  of  public  utility,  or 
private  mdulgence;  the  portion  of 
its  produce  of  which  it  can  dispose  at 
pleasure ;  which  can  be  drawn  upon 
to  attain  any  ends,  or  gratify  any 
wishes,  either  of  the  government  oi 
of  individuals;  which  it  can  either 
spend  for  its  satisfaction,  or  save  for 
future  advantage. 

The  amount  of  this  fund,  this  net 
produce,  this  excess  of  production 
above  the  physical  necessaries  of  the 

S reducers,  is  one  of  the  elements  that 
etermine  the  Ckmount  of  saving.  The 
greater  the  produce  of  labour  after 
supporting  tne  labourers,  the  more 
there  is  which  can  be  saved.  Ihe 
same  thing  also  partly  contributes  to 
determine  how  much  wiU  be  saved, 
A  part  of  the  motive  to  saving  consists 
in  the  prospect  of  deriving  an  income 
from  savings ;  in  the  fact  that  capital, 
employed  in  production,  is  capable  of 
not  only  reproducing  itself  but  yielding 
an  increase.  The  greater  the  profit 
that  can  be  made  from  capita^  the 
stronger  is  the  motive  to  its  accumu- 
lation. That  indeed  which  forms  the 
inducement  to  save,  is  not  the  whole 
of  the  fund  which  supplies  the  means 
of  saving,  not  the  whole  net  produce  of 
the  land,  capital,  and  labour  of  the 
country,  but  only  a  part  of  it,  the  part 
which  forms  the  remuneration  of  the 
capitalist,  and  is  called  profit  of  stock. 
It  will  however  be  readily  enough 
understood,  even  previously  to  the  ex- 
plani^tions  which  will  be  given  here- 


lOS 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  XI.    §  i. 


ailer,  that  when  t&e  general  produc- 
tiveness of  labour  and  capital  is  great, 
the  returns  to  the  capitalist  are  likelj 
to  be  large,  and  that  some  proportion, 
though  not  an  uniform  one,  will  com- 
monly obtain  between  the  two. 

§  2.  But  the  disposition  to  save 
does  not  wholly  depend  on  the  external 
inducement  to  it;  on  the  amount  of 
profit  to  be  made  from  savings.  With 
the  same  pecuniary  inducement,  the 
inclination  is  very  different,  in  diSei> 
ent  persons,  and  in  different  commu- 
nities. The  effective  desire  of  accumu- 
lation is  of  unequal  strength,  not  only 
according  to  the  varieties  of  individual 
character,  but  to  the  general  state  of 
society  and  civilization.  Like  all 
other  moral  attributes,  it  is  one  in 
which  the  human  race  exhibits  ^at 
diflferences,  conformably  to  the  diver- 
sity of  its  circumstances  and  the  stage 
of  its  process. 

On  topics  which  if  they  were  to  be 
fully  investigated  would  exceed  the 
bounds  that  can  be  allotted  te  them 
in  this  treatise,  it  is  satisftuitory  to  be 
able  to  refer  to  other  works  in  which 
the  necessary  developments  have  been 
presented  more  at  length.  On  the 
subject  of  Population  this  valuable 
service  has  been  rendered  by  the 
celebrated  Essay  of  Mr.  Malthus ; 
and  on  the  point  which  now  occupies 
us  1  can  refer  with  equal  confidence  to 
another,  though  a  less  known  work, 
"New  Principles  of  Political  Eco- 
nomy," by  Dr.  Kae.*     In  no  other 

*  This  treatise  is  an  example,  such  as  not 
unfrequently  presents  itself,  how  much  more 
depends  on  accident,  than  on  the  qualities 
of  a  book.  In  determining  its  reception.  Had 
it  appeared  at  a  suitable  time,  and  been  fa- 
voured by  circumstances,  it  would  have  had 
every  requisite  for  great  success.  The  author, 
a  Scotchman  settled  in  the  United  States, 
unites  much  knowledge,  an  original  vein  of 
thought,  a  considerable  turn  for  philosophic 
generalities,  and  a  manner  of  exposition  and 
illustration  calculated  to  make  ideas  tell  not 
only  for  what  they  are  worth,  but  for  more 
than  they  are  worth,  and  which  sometimes, 
I  think,  has  that  effect  in  the  writer's  own 
mind.  The  principal  fiault  of  the  book  is 
the  position  of  antagonism  in  which,  with 
the  controversial  spirit  apt  to  be  found  in 
those  who  have  new  thoughts  on  old  subjects, 
he  has  placed  himself  towards  Adam  Smith. 
T  eaP  this  a  fault,  (though  I  think  many  of 


book  known  to  me  is  so  mach  light 
thrown,  both  from  principle  and 
history,  on  the  causes  which  deter- 
mine the  accumulation  of  capitaL 

All  accumulati(m  involves  the  sacri- 
fice of  a  present,  for  the  sake  of  a 
future  gooa.  But  the  expediency  of  such 
a  sacrifice  varies  very  much  in  different 
states  of  circumstances ;  and  the  wil- 
lingness to  make  it,  varies  still  more. 

Ill  weighing  the  future  against  the 
present,  the  uncertainty  of  all  things 
future  is  a  leading  element ;  and  that 
uncertainty  is  of  very  different  degrees. 
"All  circumstances,''  therefore,  "in- 
creasing the  probability  of  the  provi- 
sion we  make  for  futurity  being  en- 
joyed by  ourselves  or  omers,  tend" 
justly  and  reasonably  "  to  give 
strength  to  the  effective  desire  of 
accumulation.  Thus  a  healthy  climate 
or  occupation,  by  increasing  the  pro- 
bability of  life,  has  a  tendency  to  add 
to  this  desire.  When  engaged  in 
safe  occupations,  and  living  in  healthy 
countries,  men  are  much  more  apt  to 
be  frugal  than  in  unhealthy  or  hazard- 
ous occupations,  aud  in  climates  per- 
nicious to  human  life.  Sailors  and 
soldiers  are  prodigals.  In  the  West 
In(Hes,  New  Orleans,  the  East  Indies, 
the  expenditure  of  the  inhabitants  is 
profuse.  The  same  people,  coming  to 
reside  in  the  healthy  parts  of  Europe, 
and  not  getting  into  the  vortex  of 
extravagant  fashion,  live  economically. 
War  and  pestilence  have  always  waste 
and  luxury  among  the  other  evils  that 
follow  in  their  train.  For  similar 
reasons,  whatever  gives  security  to  the 
affairs  of  the  community  is  favourable 
to  the  strength  of  this  principle.  In 
this  respect  the  general  prevalence  of 
law  and  order,  and  the  prospect  of  the 
continuance  of  peace  and  tranquillity, 
have  considerable  influence.'T  The 
more  perfect  the  security,  the  greater 

the  criticisms  just,  and  some  of  them  far- 
seeing),  because  there  is  much  less  real  dif- 
ference of  opinion  than  might  be  supposed 
from  Dr.  Rae's  animadversions ;  and  because 
what  he  has  found  vulnerable  in  his  great 
predecessor  is  chiefly  the  "  human  too  much" 
in  his  premises ;  the  portion  of  them  that  la 
over  and  above  what  was  either  required  or 
is  actually  used  for  the  establishment  of  hit 
conclusions. 

t  Rae.  p.  123. 


LAW  OF  THE  INCREASE  OF  CAPITAL. 


wn 


win  be  tbe  elective  stren^h  of  the 
dedre  of  aocnmiilation.  Where  pro- 
perty ig  leu  safe,  or  the  Tioisntudefl 
ruinous  to  fortunes  are  more  frequent 
and  seyere,  fewer  persons  will  save  at 
all,  and  of  those  who  do,  many  will 
reqxiire  the  indncement  of  a  higher 
rate  of  profit  on  caphal,  ie  make  them 
prefer  a  donbiful  niture  to  the  tempta- 
tion of  present  enjoyment. 

These  are  considerations  which  affect 
the  ezpedieBcy,  in  the  eje  of  reason, 
of  consulting  future  interests  at  the 
eacpense  of  present.  But  the  inclination 
lo  make  this  sacrifice  does  not  solely 
depend  upon  its  expediency.  The  dit- 
positioQ  to  save  is  often  &r  short  of 
what  reason  would  dictate:  tmd  at 
irtfaer  times  is  liable  to  be  in  «rce8B  of  it. 

Deficient  strength  of  the  desire  ^ 
accumulation  may  arise  from  improvi- 
dence, or  from  want  of  interest  in 
others.  Improvidence  may  be  oon- 
nected  with  intellectual  as  well  as 
moral  oauses.  Individuals  and  com- 
munitieB  of  a  very  low  state  of  intelli- 
gence are  always  improvident.  A 
certain  measure  of  intellectual  develop- 
ment seems  necessary  to  enable  absent 
things,  and  eroecially  things  future,  to 
act  witb  any  force  on  the  ima^nation 
and  wilL  Tb»  effect  of  want  of  interest 
in  othei-s  in  diminishing  accumulation, 
will  be  admitted,  if  we  consider  how 
much  saving  at  present  takes  place, 
which  has  for  its  object  the  interest  of 
others  rather  than  of  ourselves;  the 
education  of  children,  their  advance- 
ment in  life,  the  iuture  interests  of 
other  personal  connexions,  the  power 
of  promoting  by  the  bestowal  of  money 
or  time,  objects  of  public  or  private 
usefulness.  If  mankind  were  generally 
in  the  state  of  mind  to  which  some 
approach  was  seen  in  the  declining 
period  of  the  Roman  empire — caring 
nothing  for  their  heirs,  m  well  as 
nothing  for  friends,  the  pubL'c,  or  any 
object  which  survived  them  — ^they 
would  seldom  deny  themselves  ai^y  m- 
dulgence  for  the  sake  of  saving,  beyond 
what  was  necessary  for  their  own  future 
years ;  which  they  would  place  in  life 
annuities,  or  in  some  other  form  which 
would  make  its  existence  and  their 
lives  terminate  together. 


§  3.  From  thene  vui'iouft  Muses,  in- 
telleiftual  and  moral,  there  is,  in  differ 
ent  portions  of  the  humaA  race,  a 
greater  diversity  than  is  uMOally  ad- 
verted to.  in  tbe  strength  of  the  effectite 
desire  of  accumulation.  A  backwavd 
state  of  general  civilization  is  often 
more  the  effect  of  deficiency  in  this 
particular  than  in  many  others  which 
attract  mors  attention.  In  the  dr- 
tumstanoes,  for  example,  of  a  hunting 
tribe,  '*  man  may  be  said  iJb  be  Heceft- 
sarvly  improvident,  and  regardless  of 
futurity,  because,  in  this  state,  the 
future  presents  nothing  which  call  be 
with  certainty  «ither  foreseen  or  to- 

turned BMrid«s  a  wtltit  ^  the 

iiiotires  exciting  t»  provide  fot  the 
needs  of  fotnrity  through  messis  of  the 
atalities  of  the  present,  there  is  a  want 
«f  the  habits  of  perception  and  actiob, 
lading  to  a  constant  cotmexion  in  the 
mind  of  those  distant  points,  and  of  the 
series  of  events  serving  to  unite  theln. 
Even,  therefore,  if  motives  be  awakened 
capable  of  producing  the  exertioti  tie- 
cessary  to  effect  this  conttexioti,  the)« 
nsmains  the  task  of  training  the  iuilid 
to  think  and  act  so  as  to  establish  it.'^ 

For  instance:  "Upon  the  banks  of 
the  St.  Lawrence  there  are  'teveml 
little  Indian  villages.  I1iey  are  sttf- 
rounded,  in  general,  by  a  good  deal  of 
land,  from  which  the  wood  seetfia  to 
have  been  long  extirpated,  and  hav«, 
besides,  attached  to  them,  ettensite 
tracts  of  forest.  The  cleared  land  is 
rarely,  I  may  almost  say  never,  culti- 
vated, nor  are  any  inroaos  made  in  tha 
forest  for  such  a  purpose.  The  soil  ifi, 
nevertheless,  fertile,  and  were  it  no^ 
manure  lies  in  heaps  by  their  houses. 
Were  every  family  to  inclose  half  All 
acre  of  ground,  till  it,  and  plant  it  hi 
potatoes  and  maize,  it  would  yield  a 
sufficiency  to  suppDrt  them  one-half 
the  year.  They  suffer,  too,  every  now 
and  then,  extreme  want,  ifitomuch 
that,  joined  to  occasional  intem|.eranc«, 
it  is  rapidly  reducing  their  Aumberft. 
This,  to  us,  so  strange  apathy  proceecte 
not,  in  any  gi-eat  degree,  ftom  repug 
nance  to  labour ;  on  the  contrary,  thejr 
apply  very  diligently  to  it  wnen  itft 
reward  is  immediate.  Thus,  besides 
their  peculiar  occupations  of^  htmting 


104 


BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  XL    §  8. 


and  fishing,  in  which  they  are  ever 
ready  to  engage,  they  are  mnch  em- 
ployed in  the  navigation  of  the  St. 
Lawrence,  and  may  he  seen  lahouring 
at  the  oar,  or  setting  with  the  pole,  in 
the  large  hoats  used  for  the  purpose, 
and  always  furnish  the  greater  part  of 
the  additional  hands  necessary  to  con- 
duct rafts  through  some  of  the  rapids. 
Nor  is  the  ohstacle  aversion  to  agri- 
cultural lahour.  This  is  no  douht  a 
prejudice  of  theirs ;  but  mere  prejudices 
always  yield,  principles  of  action  cannot 
be  created.  When  the  returns  firom 
agricultural  labour  are  speedy  and 
great,  they  are  also  agncultuiists. 
Thus,  some  of  the  little  islands  on 
Lake  St.  Francis,  near  the  Indian 
village  of  St.  Regis,  are  favourable  to 
the  growth  of  maize,  a  plant  yielding 
a  return  of  a  hundredfold,  and  forming, 
even  when  half  ripe,  a  pleasant  and 
substantiarl  repast.  Patches  of  the 
best  land  on  these  islands  are,  there- 
fore, every  year  cultivated  by  them  for 
this  purpose.  As  their  situation  renders 
them  inaccessible  to  cattle,  no  fence  is 
required;  were  this  additional  outlay 
necessary,  I  suspect  they  would  be 
neglected,  like  the  commons  adjoining 
their  village.  These  had  apparently, 
at  one  time,  been  under  crop.  The 
cattle  of  the  neighbouring  settlers 
would  now,  however,  destroy  any  crop 
not  securely  fenced,  and  this  additional 
necessary  outlay  consequently  bars 
their  culture.  It  removes  them  to  an 
order  of  instruments  of  flower  return 
than  that  which  corresponds  to  the 
strength  of  the  effective  desire  of  accu- 
mulation in  this  little  society. 

"  It  is  here  deserving  of  notice,  that 
what  instruments  of  this  kind  they  do 
form,  are  completely  formed.  The 
smaU  spots  of  com  they  cultivate  are 
thoroughly  weeded  and  hoed.  A  little 
neglect  in  this  part  would  indeed  re- 
duce the  crop  very  much ;  of  this  ex- 
perience has  made  them  perfectly 
aware,  and  they  act  accordingly.  It  is 
evidentlv  not  the  necessary  labour  that 
is  the  ODstacle  to  more  extended  cul- 
tore,  but  the  distant  return  from  that 
labour.  I  am  assured,  indeed,  that 
among  some  of  the  more  remote  tribes, 
the  labour  thus  expended  much  exceeds 


that  given  by  the  whites.  The 
portions  of  ground  being  cropped  with- 
out remission,  and  manure  not  being 
used,  they  would  scarcely  yield  any 
return,  were  not  the  soil  most  ^carefully 
broken  and  pulverized,  both  with  the 
hoe  and  the  hand.  In  such  a  situation 
a  white  man  would  clear  a  fresh  piece 
of  ground.  It  would  perhaps  scarce 
repay  bis  labour  the  first  year,  and  he 
would  have  to  look  for  his  reward  in 
succeeding  years.  On  the  Indian,  suc- 
ceeding years  are  too  distant  to  make 
sufficient  impression ;  though,  to  obtain 
what  labour  may  bring  about  in  the 
course  of  a  few  months,  he  toils  even 
more  assiduously  than  the  white  man.''* 
This  view  of  things  is  confirmed  by 
the  ei^rience  of  the  Jesuits,  in  their  in- 
terestmg  efforts  to  civilize  the  Indians 
of  Paraguay.  They  gained  the  confi- 
dence of  mese  savages  in  a  most 
extraordinaij  degree.  They  acquired 
influence  over  them  sufficient  to  make 
them  change  their  whole  manner  of 
life.  They  obtained  their  absolute  sub- 
mission and  obedience.  They  estab- 
lished peace.  Tbey  taught  them  all 
the  operations  of  European  agricul- 
ture, and  many  of  the  more  difficult 
arts.  ITiere  were  eveiywhere  to  b© 
seen,  according  to  Charlevoix,  "  work- 
shops of  gilders,  painters,  sculptors, 
goldsmiths,  watchmakers,  carpenters, 
joiners,  dyers,"  &c.  These  occupations 
were  not  practised  for  the  personal 
gain  of  the  artificers :  the  produce  was 
at  the  absolute  disposal  of  the  mis- 
sionaries, who  ruled  the  people  by  a 
voluntary  despotism.  The  obstacles 
arising  from  aversion  to  labour  were 
therefore  very  completely  overcome. 
The  real  difficulty  was  the  improvi- 
dence of  the  people ;  their  inability  to 
think  for  the  rature ;  and  the  necessity 
accordingly  of  the  most  unremitting 
and  minute  superintendence  on  the 
part  of  their  instructors.  "Thus  at 
first,  if  these  gave  up  to  them  the  care 
of  the  oxen  with  which  they  ploughed, 
their  indolent  thoughtlessness  would 
probably  leave  them  at  evening  still 
yoked  to  the  implement.  Worse  than 
this,  instances  occurred  where  they  cut 
them  up  for  supper,  thinkinfc  >«hen  r» 
*  Rae,  p.  136. 


LAW  OP  THE  mCRBASE  OP  CAPITAL. 


105 


prehended,  that  thej  snfficientlj  ex- 
cused themBelyes  by  saying  tbey  were 
hungry.  .  .  .  These  fathers,  says  Ul- 
loa^have  to  visit  the  houses,  to  examine 
what  is  really  wanted :  for,  without  this 
care,  the  Indians  would  never  look  after 
anything.  They  must  be  present,  too, 
when  animals  are  slaughtered,  not  only 
that  the  meat  may  be  equally  divided, 
but  that  nothing  may  be  lost."  "  But 
notwithstanding  all  this  care  and  su- 
perintendence,'' says  Charlevoix,  "  and 
all  the  precautions  which  are  taken  to 
prevent  any  want  of  the  necessaries  of 
Me,  the  missionaries  are  sometimes 
much  embarrassed.  It  often  happens 
that  they"  (the  Indians) "  do  not  reserve 
to  themselves  a  sufficiency  of  grain, 
even  for  seed.  As  for  their  other  pro- 
visions, were  they  not  well  looked  after, 
they  would  soon  be  without  where- 
withal to  support  life."* 

As  an  example  intermediate,  in  the 
strength  of  the  effective  desire  of  accu- 
mulation, between  the  state  of  things 
thus  depicted  and  that  of  modem 
Europe,  the  case  of  the  Chinese  de- 
serves attention.  From  various  cir- 
cumstances in  their  personal  habits 
and  social  condition,  it  might  be  an- 
ticipated that  they  would  possess  a 
degree  of  prudence  and  self-<x)ntrol 
greater  than  other  Asiatics,  but  inferior 
to  most  European  nations ;  and  the  fol- 
lowing evidence  is  adduced  of  the  fact. 

"Durability  is  one  of  the  chief 
qualities,  marking  a  high  degree  of 
tne  effective  desire  of  accumulation. 
The  testimony  of  travellers  ascribes  to 
the  instruments  formed  by  the  Chinese, 
a  very  inferior  disability  to  similar 
instruments  constructed  by  Europeans. 
The  houses,  we  are  told,  unless  of  the 
higher  ranks,  are  in  general  of  unbumt 
bricks,  of  clay,  or  of  hurdles  plastered 
with  earth ;  the  roo&,  of  reeds  fastened 
to  laths.  We  can  scarcely  conceive 
more  unsubstantial  or  temporary  fabrics. 
Their  partitions  are  of  paper,  requiring 
to  be  renewed  every  year.  A  similar 
observation  may  be  made  concerning 
their  implements  of  husbandry,  and 
other  utensils.  They  are  almost  en- 
tirely of  wood,  the  metals  entering 
but  very  sparingly  into  their  construo- 
•  Rm.  d.  uo. 


tion ;  consequently  they  soon  wear  out, 
and  re<n]ire  frequent  renewals.  A 
greater  degree  of  strength  in  the  effec- 
tive desire  of  accumulation,  would 
cause  them  to  be  constructed  of  mate- 
rials requiring  a  greater  present  ex- 
penditure, but  being  far  more  durable. 
From  the  same  cause,  much  land,  that 
in  other  countries  would  be  cultivated, 
lies  waste.  All  travellers  take  notice 
of  large  tracts  of  lands,  chiefly  swamps, 
which  continue  in  a  state  of  nature. 
To  bring  a  swamp  into  tiUage  is  gene- 
rally a  process,  to  complete  wnich, 
requires  several  years.  It  must  be 
previously  drained,  the  surface  long 
exposed  to  the  sun,  and  many  opera- 
tions performed,  before  it  can  be  made 
capable  of  bearing  a  crop.  Though 
yielding,  probably,  a  very  considerable 
return  for  the  labour  bestowed  on  it, 
that  return  is  not  made  until  a  long 
time  has  elapsed.  The  cultivation  m 
such  land  implies  a  greater  strength  of 
the  effective  desire  of  accumulation 
than  exists  in  the  empire. 

"  The  produce  of  tne  harvest  is,  as 
we  have  remarked,  always  an  instru- 
ment of  some  order  or  another ;  it  is  a 
provision  for  future  want,  and  regulated 
by  the  same  laws  as  those  to  which 
other  means  of  attaining  a  similar  end 
conform.  It  is  there  chiefly  rice,  of 
which  there  are  two  harvests,  the  one 
in  June,  the  other  in  October.  The 
period  then  of  eight  months  between 
October  and  June,  is  that  for  which 

S revision  is  made  each  year,  and  the 
ifferent  estimate  they  make  of  tOMlay 
and  this  day  eight  months  will  appear 
in  the  self-deniaJ  they  practise  now,  in 
order  to  guard  against  want  then. 
The  amount  of  this  self-denial  would 
seem  to  be  smalL  The  father  Parennin, 
indeed,  (who  seems  to  have  been  one 
of  the  most  intelligent  of  the  Jesuits, 
and  spent  a  long  life  among  the 
Chinese  of  all  classes,)  asserts,  that 
it  is  their  great  deficiency  in  fore- 
thought and  frugality  in  this  respect^ 
which  is  the  cause  of  the  scarcities 
and  famines  that  frequently  occur." 

That  it  is  defect  of  providence,  not  de- 
fect of  industry,  that  limits  production 
among  the  Chinese,  is  still  more  ob- 
vious than  in  the  case  of  the  semi-agri 


106 


BOOK  C.    -CHAPTER  XL    §  8. 


cukur«li8ed  I<ndMBB.  "  Wliere  the  re- 
turns are  quick,  whese  the  instruments 
formed  requive  but  iittle  time  to  bring 
the  events  for  Tvhich  they  were  formed 
to  an  issue,"  it  is  well  known  that 
"the  great  progress  which  has  been 
made  in  the  kaowledge  of  the  arts 
suited  to  the  nature  of  the  country  and 
the  wants  of  itc  inhabitants"  makes 
industry  eneigetic  and  eflective.  "  The 
warmth  of  the  climate,  the  natural  fer- 
tility of  the  country,  the  knowledge 
which  the  inhabitants  have  acquired 
of  the  arts  of  agriculture,  and  the  dis- 
covery and  gradvial  adaptation  to  every 
soil  of  the  most  useful  vegetable  pro- 
ductions, enable  them  very  speedily  to 
draw  from  almost  any  part  of  the  sur- 
face, what  is  there  esteemed  an  equiva- 
lent to  much  more  than  the  labour  be- 
stowed in  tilling  and  cropping  it. 
They  have  commonly  double,  some- 
times treble  harvests.  These,  when 
they  consist  of  a  grain  so  productive 
as  rice,  the  usual  crop,  can  scarce  fail 
to  yield  to  their  skill,  from  almost  any 
portion  of  soil  that  can  be  at  once 
brought  into  culture,  very  ample  re- 
turns. Accordingly  there  is  no  spot 
that  labour  can  immediately  bring 
under  cultivation  that  is  not  made  to 
yield  to  it.  Hills,  even  mountains  are 
ascended  and  formed  into  terraces; 
and  water,  in  that  country  the  great 
productive  agent,  is  led  to  every  part 
by  drains,  or  carried  up  to  it  by  the  in- 
genious and  simple  hydraulic  machines 
which  have  been  in  use  from  time  im- 
memorial among  this  singular  people. 
They  effect  this  the  more  easily,  frem 
the  soil,  even  in  these  situations,  being 
very  deep  and  covered  with  much  vege- 
table mould.  But  what  yet  more  than 
this  marks  the  readiness  with  which 
labour  is  forced  to  form  the  most  diffi- 
cult materials  into  instruments,  where 
these  instruments  soon  bring  to  an 
issue  the  events  for  which  they  are 
formed,  is  the  frequent  occurrence  on 
many  of  their  lakes  and  rivers,  of  struc- 
tures resembling  the  floating  gardens 
of  the  Peruvians,  rafts  covered  with 
vegetable  soil  and  cultivated.  Labour 
in  this  way  draws  from  the  materials 
on  which  it  acts  very  speedy  returns. 
Kothing  can  exceed  the  luxuriance  of 


vegetaction  when  the  quickening  powers 
of  a  genial  sun  are  ministered  to  by  a 
rich  soil  and  abundant  moisture.  It  is 
otherwise,  as  we  have  seen,  in  cases 
where  the  return,  though  copious,  is 
distant.  European  travellers  are  ewr- 
prised  at  meeting  these  little  (floating 
farms  by  the  side  of  swamps  which 
only  require  draining  to  render  them 
tillable.  It  seems  to  them  strange 
that  labour  should  not  rather  be  be- 
stowed on  the  solid  earth,  where  its 
fruits  might  endure,  than  on  structures 
that  must  decay  and  perish  in  a  few 
years.  The  people  they  are  among 
think  not  so  much  of  future  years,  as 
of  the  present  time.  The  effective  de- 
sire of  accumulation  is  of  very  different 
strength  in  the  one,  from  what  it  is  in 
the  other.  The  views  of  the  European 
extend  to  a  distant  futurity,  and  he  is 
surprised  at  the  Chinese,  condemned, 
tiurough  improvidence,  and  want  of 
sufficient  prospective  care,  to  incessant 
toil,  and  as  he  thinke,  insufferable 
wretchedness.  The  views  of  the 
Chinese  are  confined  to  narrower 
bounds ;  he  is  content  to  live  from  day 
to  day,  and  has  learnt  to  conceive  even 
a  life  of  toil  a  blessing."* 

When  a  country  has  carried  produc- 
tion as  far  as  in  the  existing  state  of 
knowledge  it  can  be  carried  with  an 
amount  of  return  corresponding  to  the 
average  strength  of  the  effective  desire 
of  accumulation  in  that  country,  it  has 
reached  what  is  called  the  stationary 
state ;  the  state  in  which  no  further  ad- 
dition will  be  made  to  capital  unless 
there  takes  place  either  some  improve- 
ment in  the  arts  of  production,  or 
an  incvMk^  in  the  strength  of  the  de- 
sire  to  accumulate.  In  the  stationary 
state,  though  capital  does  not  on  the 
whole  increase,  some  persons  grow 
richer  and  others  poorer.  Those  whose 
degree  of  providence  is  below  the  usual 
standard,  become  impoverished,  their 
capital  perishes,  and  makes  room  for 
the  savings  of  those  whose  effective  de- 
sire of  accumulation  exceeds  the  ave- 
rage. These  become  the  natural  pur- 
chasers of  the  land,  manufactories,  and 
other  instruments  of  production  owned 
by  their  less  provident  countiymen« 
*  Hm,  pp.  151-^ 


LAW  OF  THE  INCRKASE  OF  CAPITAL. 


iCl 


yfha/t  tiM  cmises  ara  whick  make  the 
return  to  capital  greater  in  one  eountiy 
than  in  another,  and  which,  in  certaia 
rarcomstanoee,  make  it  impoesihie  for 
anj  additional  capital  to  find  inyest- 
ment  unleaa  at  diminislied  retrniM,  will 
appear  clearly  hereafter.  Li  dhina, 
if  that  oountiy  haa  really  attained,  a« 
it  ia  supfKMKd  to  bare  done,  the  sta- 
tionary state,  accnmnktion  haa  stopped 
when  the  returns  to  capital  are  etill  as 
high  aa  is  indieacted  hy  a  rata  of  inte- 
rest legally  l^wshe  per  cent,  and  prao> 
tically  yarying  (it  is  said)  between 
eighteen  and  thirty-six.  It  is  to  ha 
presumed  therefore  iJiat  no  greater 
amonni  of  capital  than  the  country 
already  pot sesses,  can  find  employment 
at  this  high  rate  of  profit,  and  that  any 
lower  rate  does  not  hold  out  to  a 
Chinese  sufficient  temptation  to  induce 
him  to  abstain  from  present  einoyment. 
What  a  contrast  witn  Hoiland,  where, 
duiing  the  most  flourishing  period  of 
its  history,  the  government  was  able 
habitually  to  borrow  at  two  per  cent, 
and  priyate  indiyiduals,  on  good  secu- 
rity, at  three.  Since  China  is  not  a 
country  like  Burmah,  or  the  native 
states  of  India,  where  an  enormous  in- 
terest is  but  an  indispensable  compen- 
sation for  the  risk  incurred  from  the 
bad  £ftith  or  poverty  of  the  state,  and 
of  iJmost  all  private  borrowers;  the 
fact,  if  fact  it  be,  that  the  increase  of 
capital  has  come  to  a  stand  while  the 
returns  to  it  are  fe-till  so  large,  denotes 
a  much  less  deeree  of  the  effective  de- 
sire of  accmnulation,  in  other  words  a 
much  lower  estimate  of  the  future  rela- 
tively to  the  present,  than  that  of  most 
European  nations. 

§  4.  We  have  hitherto  spoken  of 
countries  in  which  the  average  strength 
of  the  desire  to  accimiulate  is  short  of 
that  which,  in  circumstances  of  any 
tolerable  securi^,  reason  and  sober 
calculation  would  approve.  We  have 
now  to  speak  of  others  in  which  it  deci- 
dedly surpasses  that  standard.  In  the 
more  prosperous  countries  of  Europe, 
there  are  to  be  found  abundance  of 
prodigals;  in  some  of  them  (and  in 
none  man  than  England)  the  ordinary 
degree    orif  economy   and   providence 


aBM>ng  those  who  live  by  manval  la- 
hour  cauBoi  be  oonsidered  high ;  still, 
ID  a  very  mmeroas  portion  of  the  com- 
munity, the  professional,  manufactu- 
ring, and  trMtang  oiasses,  being  those 
who,  generally  speaking,  unite  more  of 
the  means  with  more  of  the  motives  ibr 
savisg  than  any  otber  dasi,  the  spirit 
of  accwnulation  is  so  strong,  that  the 
signs  of  rapidly  iaoreasiBg  wealth 
meet  eve^  eye :  and  the  great  amount 
of  capital  seeking  investnent  excites 
astonishment,  whenever  peculiar  cir- 
cumstances turning  much  oif  itintoseme 
one  ehannel,  such  as  railway  eonstnio> 
tioD  or  foreign  speculative  adventure, 
bring  the  largeness  of  the  tetal  amount 
into  evidenoe. 

There  are  many  circuDstaaces^ 
which,  in  England,  give  a  peculiar 
force  to  the  accumulating  propensity. 
The  long  exemption  of  the  country  from 
the  ravaffes  of  war,  and  the  fur  earlier 
period  than  elsewhere  at  which  pro- 
perty was  secure  from  miKtavy  violence 
or  arbitrary  spoliation,  have  produced  a 
long-standing  and  hereditary  confidence 
in  the  safety  of  funds  when  trusted  out 
of  the  owner's  hands,  which  in  most 
other  countries  is  of  much  more  re- 
cent origin,  and  less  firmly  established. 
The  geographical  causes  which  have 
made  industry  rather  than  war  the 
natural  source  of  power  and  importance 
to  Great  Britain,  have  turned  an  un- 
usual proportion  of  the  most  enter- 
prising and  energetic  characters  into 
the  direction  of  manufactures  and  com- 
merce ;  into  supplying  their  wants  and 
gratifying  their  ambition  by  producing 
and  saving,  rather  than  by  appropria- 
ting what  has  been  produced  and 
saved.  Much  also  depended  on  the 
better  political  institutions  of  this 
country,  which  by  the  scope  they  have 
allowed  to  individual  freedom  of  action, 
have  encouraged  personal  activity  and 
self-reliance,  while  by  the  liberty  they 
confer  of  association  and  combination, 
they  facilitate  industrial  enterprise  on 
a  large  scale.  The  same  institutions 
in  another  of  their  aspects,  give  a  most 
direct  and  potent  stimulus  to  the  desire 
of  acquiring  wealth.  The  earlier  de- 
cline of  feudalism  having  removed  or 
much  weakened  invidious  distinctions 


108  BOOK  1.    CHAPTER  XH. 

between  the  originally  trading  classes 
and  those  who  had  been  accustomed  to 
despise  them;  and  a  polity  having 
grown  up  which  made  wealth  the  real 
source  of  political  influence ;  its  acqui- 
sition was  invested  with  a  factitious 
value,  independent  of  its  intrinsic  uti- 
lity. It  became  synonymous  wi  th  power ; 
and  since  power  with  the  common  herd 
of  mankind  gives  power,  wealth  became 
the  chief  source  of  personal  considera- 
tion, and  the  measure  and  stamp  of 
success  in  life.  To  get  out  of  one  rank 
in  society  into  the  next  above  it,  is  the 
great  aim  of  English  middle-class  life, 
and  the  acquisition  of  wealth  the 
means.  And  inasmuch  as  to  be  rich 
without  industry,  has  always  hitherto 
constituted  a  step  in  the  social  scale 
above  those  who  are  rich  b^  means  of 
industry,  it  becomes  the  object  of  am- 
bition to  save  not  merely  as  much  as 
wiU  afford  a  large  income  while  iit  busi- 
ness, but  eno^h  to  retire  from  business 
and  live  in  affluence  on  realized  gains. 
These  causes  have  in  England  been 
greatlv  aided  by  that  extreme  incapa- 
city of  the  people  for  personal  enjoy- 
ment, which  IS  a  characteristic  of 
countries  over  which  puritanism  has 

Csed.  But  if  accumulation  is,  on  one 
id,  rendered  easier  by  the  absence 
of  a  taste  for  pleasure,  it  is,  on  the 
other,  made  more  difficult  by  the  pre- 
sence of  a  very  real  taste  for  expense. 
So  strong  is  the  association  between 
personal  consequence  and  the  signs  of 
wealth,  that  the  silly  desire  for  the 
appearance  of  a  lar^e  expenditure  has 
the  force  of  a  passion,  among  large 
classes  of  a  nation  which  derives  less 
pleasure  than  perhaps  any  other  in  the 
world  from  what  it  spends.  Owing  to  this 
circumstance,  the  effective  desire  of  ac- 


|1. 


cumulation  has  never  reached  lo  high 
a  pitch  in  England  as  it  did  in  Hol- 
land, where,  there  being  no  rich  idle 
class  to  set  the  example  of  a  reckless 
expenditure,  and  the  mercantile  classes, 
who  possessed  the  substantial  power  on 
which  social  influence  always  waits, 
bein^  left  to  establish  their  own  scale 
of  hving  and  standard  of  propriety 
their  habits  remained  frugal  ana  imoa. 
tentatious. 

In  England  and  Holland,  then,  for 
a  long  time  past,  and  now  in  most 
other  countries  in  Europe  (which  are 
rapidly  following  England  in  the  same 
race),  the  desire  of  accumulation  does 
not  require,  to  make  it  effective,  the 
coi>ious  returns  which  it  requires  in 
Asia,  but  is  sufficiently  called  into 
action  by  a  rate  of  profit  so  low,  that 
instead  of  slackening,  accumulation 
seems  now  to  proceed  more  rapidly 
than  ever ;  and  the  second  requisite  of 
increased  production,  increase  of  capi- 
tal,  shows  no  tendency  to  become 
deficient.  So  far  as  that  element  is  con- 
cerned, production  is  susceptible  of  an 
increase  without  any  assignable  bounds. 

The  progress  of  accumulation  would 
no  doubt  be  considerably  checked,  if  the 
returns  to  capital  were  to  be  reduced 
still  lower  than  at  present.  But  why 
should  any  possible  increase  of  capital 
have  that  effect?  This  question 
carries  the  mind  forward  to  the  re- 
maining one  of  the  three  requisites  of 
production.  The  limitation  to  produc- 
tion, not  consisting  in  any  necessary 
limit  to  the  increase  of  the  other  two 
elements,  labour  and  capital,  must  turn 
upon  the  properties  of  the  onl^  element 
which  is  inherently,  and  in  itself, 
limited  in  quantity.  It  must  depend 
on  the  properties  of  land. 


CHAPTER  Xn. 


OF  THE   LAV^  OY  THE  INCREASE  OF   PRODUCTION  FROM  LAND. 


S  1.  Land  differs  firom  the  other 
elements  of  production,  labour  and 
capital,  in  not  being  susceptible  of  in- 


definite increase.  Its  extent  is  limited, 
and  the  extent  of  the  more  pitxluctivo 
kinds  of  it  more  limited  stiU.    It  if: 


LAW  OF  INCBBASE  OF  PRODUCTION  FROM  LAND.       109 


also  evident  tbat  the  quantity  of  pro- 
duce capable  of  bein^  raised  on  anj 
given  piece  of  land  is  not  indefinite. 
This  limited  quantity  of  land,  and  li- 
mited productiyeness  of  it,  are  the^  real 
limits  to  the  increase  of  production. 

That  thej  are  the  ultimate  limits, 
must  always  have  been  clearly  seen. 
But  since  the  final  barrier  has  never 
in  anj  instance  been  reached;  since 
there  is  no  conntiy  in  which  all  the 
land,  capable  of  yielding  food,  is  so 
highly  cultivated  that  a  larger  produce 
could  not  (even  without  supposing  any 
firesh  advance  in  agricultural  know- 
ledge) be  obtained  from  it,  and  since 
a  large  portion  of  the  earth's  surface 
still  remains  entirely  uncultivated ;  it 
is  commonly  thought,  and  is  very 
natural  at  first  to  suppose,  that  for  the 
present  all  limitation  of  production  or 
population  from  this  source  is  at  an 
mdefinite  distance,  and  that  ages  must 
elapse  before  any  practical  necessity 
arises  fcac  taking  the  limiting  principle 
into  serious  consideration. 

I  apprehend  this  to  be  not  only  an 
error,  but  the  most  serious  one,  to  be 
found  in  the  whole  field  of  political 
economy.  The  question  is  more  im- 
portant and  fundamental  than  any 
other ;  it  involves  the  whole  subject  of 
the  causes  of  poverty,  in  a  rich  and 
industrious  community;  and  unless 
this  one  ntiatter  be  thoroughly  under- 
stood, it  is  to  no  purpose  proceeding 
any  further  in  our  inquiry. 

§  2.  The  limitation  to  production 
from  the  properties  of  the  soil,  is 
not  like  the  obstacle  opposed  by  a 
wall,  which  stands  immovable  in  one 
particular  spot,  and  ofiers  no  hindrance 
to  motion  short  of  stopping  it  entirely. 
We  may  rather  compare  it  to  a  highly 
elastic  and  extensible  band,  which  is 
hardly  ever  so  violently  stretched  that 
it  could  not  possibly  lie  stretched  any 
mor«,  yet  the  pressure  of  which  is  felt 
long  before  the  final  limit  is  reached, 
and  felt  more  severely  the  nearer  that 
limit  is  approached. 

After  a  certain,  and  not  very  ad- 
vanced, stage  in  the  progress  of  api- 
culture, it  is  the  law  of  production 
from  the  land,  that  in  any  given  state 


of  agricultural  skiU  and  knowledge,  bj 
increasing  the  labour,  the  produce  is 
not   increased   in  an  equal    degree; 
doubling  the  laliour  does  not  doubU 
the  produce ;  or,  to  express  the  sams  , 
thing  in  other  words,  every  increase  of  i 
produce  is  obtained  b^  a  more  than  { 
proportional  increase  in  the  applica-  > 
tion  of  labour  to  the  land. 

This  ^neral  law  of  agricultural 
industry  is  the  icost  important  propo-  / 
sition  in  political  economy.  Were  the  | 
law  difierent,  nearly  all  the  phenomena 
of  the  production  and  distribution  of 
wealth  would  be  other  than  they  are. 
The  most  fundamental  errors  which 
still  prevail  on  our  subject,  result  from 
not  perceiving  this  law  at  work  under- 
neath the  more  superficial  agencies 
on  which  attention  fixes  itself;  but 
mistaking  those  agencies  for  the  ulti- 
mate causes  of  ejects  of  which  they 
may  influence  the  form  and  mode,  but 
of    which    it   alone    determines  the 


When,  for  the  purpose  of  raising  an 
increase  of  produce,  recourse  is  had  to 
inferior  land,  it  is  evident  that,  so  far, 
the  produce  does  not  increase  in  the 
same  proportion  with  the  labour.  The 
very  meaning  of  inferior  land,  is  land 
which  with  equal  labour  returns  a 
smaller  amount  of  produce.  Land 
may  be  inferior  either  in  fertility  or  in 
situation.  The  one  requires  a  greater 
proportional  amount  of  labour  for  grow- 
ing the  produce,  the  other  for  carrying 
it  to  market.  If  the  land  A  yields  a 
thousand  quarters  of  wheat,  to  a  given 
outlay  in  wages,  manure,  &c.,  and  in 
order  to  raise  another  thousand  re- 
course must  be  had  to  the  land  B, 
which  is  either  less  fertile  or  more 
distant  from  the  market,  the  two 
thousand  quarters  will  cost  more 
than  twice  as  much  labour  as  the 
original  thousand,  and  the  produce  of 
agriculture  will  be  increased  in  a  less 
ratio  than  the  labour  employed  in  pro- 
curing it. 

Instead  of  cultivating  the  land  B, 
it  would  be  possible,  by  higher  culti- 
vation, to  make  the  land  A  produce 
more.  It  mi^ht  be  ploughed  or  har- 
rowed  twice  instead  of  once,  or  three 
times  instead  of  twice ;  it  might  b^ 


no 


BOOK  L    CHAPTBR  XDL    <  81 


dug  instead  rf  Iwing  plwighed ;  after 
ploughing,  it  might  be  gone  oTer  with  a 
lioe  instead  of  a  harrow,  and  the  soil 
more  completely  pn^erized;  it  might  be 
oftener  or  more  thoronghlj  weeded; 
the  implements  used  might  be  of 
higher  finish,  or  more  elaborate'  con- 
stniGtien;  a  greater  qnantity  or  mors 
expensive  kimis  of  mannre  might  be 
applied,  op  when  applied,  they  might 
be  more  careftdly  mixed  and  incor- 
porated with  the  soil.  These  are  some 
of  the  modes*  bj  which  the  same  land 
may  be  made  to  yield  a  greater  pro- 
dnee;  and  when  a  greater  procmce 
must  be  had,  some  of  these  are  among 
the  means  usuaUj  employed  for  obtain- 
ing it.  But,  that  it  is  obtained  at  a 
mere  than  proportional  increase  of 
expense,  is  evident  from  the  faoC  that 
in&riop  lands  are  cultivated.  Inferior 
lands,  or  lands  at  a  greater  distance 
from  the  market,  of  course  yield  an 
inferior  return,  and  an  increasing 
demand  cannot  be  supplied  from  them 
unless  at  an  alimentation  of  cost,  and 
therefore  of  nnce.  If  the  additional 
demand  eould  continue  to  be  supplied 
from  the  superior  lands,  by  applying 
additional  labour  and  capital,  at  no 
gieater  proportional  cost  than  that 
at  which  they  yield  the  quantity  first 
demanded  of  them,  the  owners  or 
formers  of  those  lands  could  undersell 
all  others,  and  engross  the  whole 
market.  Lands  of  a  lower  degree  ot 
fertility  or  in  a  more  remote  situation, 
might  indeed  be  cultivated'  by  their 
proprietors,  for  ihe  sake  of  subsistence 
or  independence ;  but  it  never  could  be 
^  interest  of  any  one  to  farm  them 
for  profit.  That  a  profit  can  be  made 
firom  them,  sufficient  to  attract  capital 
to  such  an  investment,  is  a  proof  that 
eultivation  on  ^e  more  eligible  lands 
has  reached'  appoint,  beyond  which  anjr 
greater  application  of  labour  and  capi- 
tal would  yield,  at  the  best,  no  greater 
retuTB  than'  can  be  obtained*  at  the 
same  expense  from  less  fertile- or  less 
ftivoarabiy  situated  lands. 

The  oarefol  cultivation  of  a  well- 
jGMrmed  district  of  England  or  Scotland 
w  a  symptom  and  an  eflect  of  the  moro 
unfavourable  terms  which  the  land  has 
begun*  to-  ojomj^  fop  any  inoreaHe  vf  its 


fruits.  Such  elaborafte  eiTxItivation  costs 
much  more  in  proportion,  and  requires 
a  higher  price  to  render  it  profitable, 
than  farming  on  a  more  superficial 
system ;  and  wouM  not  bo  adopted  if 
access  could  be  had  to  land  of  equal 
fertility,  previously  unoccupied.  Where 
there  is  the  choice  of  raising  the  in- 
ereasing  supply  which  society  requires, 
from  fresh  land  of  as  good  quauty  as 
that  already  cultivated,  no  attempt  is 
made  to  extract  from  land  anytning 
approaching  to-  v^At  it  will  yield  on 
what  are  esteemeid  the  best  European 
modes  of  cultivating.  The  land  is 
tasked  up  to  the  point  at  which  the 
greatest  return  is  obtained  in  proportion 
to  the  labour  employed,  but  no  farther : 
any  additional  labour  is  carried!  else- 
where. "  It  is  long","  says  an  intelligent 
traveller  in  the  United  States,*  "  before 
an  English  eye  becomes  reconciled  to 
the  ligWess  of  the  crops  and  the  care- 
less forming  (as  we  should  call  it)  which 
is  apparent.  One  forgets  that  where 
land  IS  80  plentifril  atld  labonr  so  dear 
as  it  is  here,  a  totally  different  prin- 
ciple must  be  pursued  to  that  vAiich 
prevails  in  populous  countries,  and  that 
the  consequence  will  of  course  be  a 
want  of  tidiness,  as  it  were,  and  finish, 
about  everything  which  requires  la- 
hour."  Of  the  two  causes  mentioned, 
the  plentifalness  of  land  seems  to  me 
the  true  explanation,  rather  than  the 
deamess  of  labour ;  for,  however  dear 
labour  mav  be,  when-  food  is  wanted, 
labour  will  always  be  applied  to  pro- 
ducing it  in  preference  to  anytmng 
else.  But  this  labour  is  more  effective 
for  its  end  by  being  applied  to  fresh 
soil,  than  if  it  were  employed  in  bring- 
ing the  soil  already  occupied  into 
higher  cultivation.  Only  when  no  soils 
remain  to  be  broken  up  but  such  aa 
either  from  distance  or  inferior  quality 
require  a  considerable  rise  of  price  to 
render  their  cultivation  profitable,  can 
it  become  advantageous  to  apply  the 
high  farming  of  Europe  to  any  Americas 
lands ;  except,  perhaps,  in  the  imme- 
diate vicinity  of  towns,  wiiere  saving 
in*  cost  of  carritige  may  compensate  fot 


Letter$Jh>m 


by  John  Robert 


(^odley,  vol;  i.  p.  4^.  See  also  L^tlVt  2\uodi 
in  Ainericai  rot',  li.  p.  83. 


LAW  OF  INCRBASB  OP  PKODUCTION  FROM  LAND.       Ill 


great  inferiority  in  the  return  from  the 
soil  iteeH  As  AmerieftTi  farming  is  to 
English,  80  is  the  ordinary  English  to 
that  of  Flanders,  Tuscany,  or  the  Terra 
di  Lavoro ;  where  h¥  the  application  of 
a  far  greater  quantity  of  IflMMHir  theFB 
is  obtained  a  considerably  larger  gross 
produce,  but  on  such  terms  as  would 
never  be  advantageous  to  a  mere  spe- 
culator for  profit,  unless  made  so  by 
much  higher  prices  of  agrisultiiral 
prodtioe. 

The  principle  which  has  now  been 
shited  must  be  received,  no  doubt,  with 
certain  explanations  and  limitations. 
Even  after  the  land  is  so  highly  culti- 
vated that  the  mere  application  of  ad- 
ditional labour,  or  of  an  additional 
amount  of  ordinary  dressing,  would 
yield  no  return  proportioned  to  the  ex- 
pense, it  may  stiu  happen  that  the 
application  of  a  much  greater  additional 
labour  and  capital  to  improving  the 
soil  itself,  by  draining  or  permanent 
manures,  would  be  as  liberally  remu- 
nerated by  the  produce,  as  any  portion 
of  the  labour  and  capital  already  em- 
ployed. It  would  sometimes  be  much 
more  amply  remunerated.  This  oould 
not  be,  if  capital  always  sought  and 
found  the  most  advantageous  employ- 
ment; but  if  the  most  advantageous 
employment  has  to  wait  longest  ror  its 
remuneration,  it  is  only  in  a  rather  ad- 
vanced stage  of  industrial  development 
tliat  the  preferenee  will  be  given  to  it ; 
and  even  in  that  advanced  stage,  the 
laws  or  usages  eonnected  with  property 
in  land  and  the  tonuie  of  farms,  are 
often  such  as  to  prevent  tlie  disposable 
capita]  of  the  country  from  flowing 
fr^ly  into  the  channel  of  agricultural 
improvement :  and  hence  the  increased 
s»pphr>  required"  by  increasing  popula- 
tion, is  sometimes  raised  at  an  aug- 
menting cost  by  higher  cultivation, 
when  the  means  ofiproducing-ii  without 
increase  of  cost  are  known  and  acces- 
sible. There  can  be  no  doubt,  that  if 
capital  were  forthcoming  to  execute, 
within  the  next  year,  au  known  and 
leeognised  improvements  in  the  land 
of  l£e  United  Kingdom  which  would 
pay  at  the  existing  prices,  that  is^ 
which-  would  increase  the  produoe  in 
as  great  or  a  greater  ratio  than  tb« 


expense;  the  result  would  be  such 
(espeeially  if  we  include  Iraland  in  the 
supposition)  that  inferior  land  would 
not  for  a  long  time  require  to  be  brswght 
under  tillage :  probably  a  eonsideraole 
part  of  the  less  productive  lands  now 
cultivated,  which  are  not  partieulariy 
favoured  by  situation,  would  go  out  m 
enlture;  or  (as  the  improvements  in 
question  are  not  so  much  applicable  to 
good  land,  but  operate  ratner  by  oon- 
verting  bad  land  into  good)  the  con- 
traction of  cultivation  might  principally 
take  place  by  a  less  high  dressing  and 
less  elaborate  tilling  of  land  generallv ; 
a  falling  hack  to  something  nearer  the 
character  of  American  farming;  such 
only  of  the  poor  lands  being  altogether 
abandoned  as  were  not  found  suscep- 
tible of  improvement.  And  thus  the 
aggregate  produce  of  the  whole  eidta- 
vated  land  would  bear  a  larger  propor- 
tion than  before  to  the  labour  expended 
on  it ;  and  the  general  law  of  diminish- 
ing return  from  land  would  have  un- 
dergone, to  that  extent,  a  temponuy 
supersession.  No  one,  however^  can 
suppose  that  even  in  these  circum- 
stances, the  whole  produce  required  fbr 
the  country  could  be  raised  exclusively 
from  the  best  lands,  together  with  those 
possessing  advantages  of  situation  to 

Slace  them  on  a  par  wil^  the  best. 
Inch  would  undoubtedly  contiaue  to 
be  produced  under  less  advantageous 
conditions,  and  with  a  smaller  propor- 
tional return,  than  that  obtained  from 
the  best  soils  and  situations.  And  in 
proportion  as  the  further  increase  of 
population  required  a  stiU  greater  ad- 
dition to  the  supply,  the  general  law 
would  resume  its  oourse,  and  the  further 
augmentation  would  be  obtained  at  a 
more  than  proportionate  expense  of 
labour  and  capitaL 

§  3.  That  the  produce  of  land  in- 
creases, easterie  ptunhuif  in  a  diminish- 
ing ratio  to  the  morease  in  the  labour 
employed,  is  a  truth  more  often  ignored 
or  disregarded  than  actually  denied. 
It  has,  however,  met  with  a  direct  im- 
pugner  in  the  well-known  American 
political  economist,  Mr.  H.  C.  Carey, 
who  maintains,  that  the  real  law  of 
agricultural  industry  is  the  veiy  re  vense ; 


lis 


the  pitxliice  increasing  in  a  greater 
ratio  than  the  labour,  or  in  other  words, 
affording  to  labour  a  perpetually  in- 
creasing return.  To  substantiate  this 
assei'tion,  he  argaes,  that  cultivation 
does  not  begin  with  the  better  soils, 
.and  extend  from  them,  as  the  demand 
^pcreages,  to  the  poorer,  but  begins 
jwith  the  poorer,  and  does  not,  till  long 
after,  extend  itself  to  the  more  fertile. 
Settlers  in  a  new  countrv  invariably 
commence  on  the  high  ana  thin  lands ; 
the  rich  but  swampy  soils  of  the  river 
bottoms  cannot  at  hrst  be  brought  into 
cultivation,  by  reason  of  their  un- 
healthiness,  and  of  the  great  and  pro- 
longed labour  required  for  clearing  and 
draining  them.  As  population  and 
wealth  increase,  cultivation  travels 
down  the  hill  sides,  clearing  them  as 
it  goes,  and  the  most  fertile  soils,  those 
of  the  low  grounds,  are  generally  f  he 
even  says  universally)  the  latest  culti- 
vated. These  propositions,  with  the 
inferences  which  Mr.  Carey  draws 
from  them,  are  set  forth  at  much 
length  in  his  latest  and  most  elaborate 
treatise,  "Principles  of  Social  Science ;" 
and  he  considers  them  as  subverting 
the  very  foundation  of  what  he  calls 
the  English  poUtical  economy,  with  all 
its  practical  consequences,  especially 
the  doctrine  of  free  trade. 

As  far  as  words  go,  Mr.  Caroy  has 
a  good  case  against  several  of  the 
nicest  authorities  in  political  economy, 
who  certainly  did  enunciate  in  too 
universal  a  manner  the  law  which  they 
laid  down,  not  remarking  that  it  is  not 
true  of  the  first  cultivation  in  a  newl;^- 
settled  country.  Where  population  is 
thin  and  capital  scanty,  land  which 
requires  a  large  outlay  to  render  it 
fit  for  tillage  must  remain  untilled; 
though  such  lands,  when  their  time 
has  come,  often  yield  a  greater  pro- 
duce than  those  earlier  cultivated,  not 
only  absolutely,  but  proportionally  to 
the  labour  employed,  even  if  we  include 
that  which  nad  been  expended  in 
originally  fitting  them  for  culture. 
But  it  is  not  pretended  that  the 
law  ef  diminishing  return  was  opera- 
tive fix)m  the  very  beginning  of  society ; 
and  though  some  political  economiffts 
may  have  believed  it  to  come  into 


BOOK  I.    CHAFrER  XIL    §  8. 

operation  earlier  than  it  does,  it  begins 
quite  early  enough  to  support  the 
conclusions  they  founded  on  it.  Mr. 
Carey  will  hardly  assert  that  in  any 
old  country — ^in  England  and  France, 
for  example — ^the  lands  left  waste  are, 
or  have  for  centuries  been,  more 
naturally  fertile  than  those  under 
tillage.  Judging  even  by  his  own  im- 
perfect test,  that  of  local  situation — 
how  imperfect,  I  need  not  stop  to  point 
out — is  it  true  that  in  England  or 
France  at  the  present  day,  the  uncul- 
tivated part  of  the  soil  consists  of  the 
plains  and  valleys,  and  the  cultivated 
of  the  hills  f  Every  one  knows,  on  the 
contraij,  that  it  is  the  high  lands  and 
thin  soils  which  are  left  to  nature ;  an<i 
when  the  progress  of  population  de- 
mands an  mcrease  of  cultivation,  the 
extension  is  from  the  plains  to  the  hills. 
Once  in  a  century,  perhaps,  a  Bedfora 
Level  may  be  drained,  or  a  Lake  of 
Harlem  pumped  out;  but  these  are 
slight  and  transient  exceptions  to  the 
normal  progress  of  things  ;  and  in  old 
countries  which  are  at  all  advanced  in 
civilization,  little  of  this  sort  remains 
to  be  done.* 

Mr.  Carey  himself  unconsciously 
bears  the  strongest  testimony  to  the^ 
reality  of  the  law  he  contends  against ; 
for  one  of  the  propositions  most  strenu- 
ously maintained  by  him  is,  that  the 
raw  products  of  the  soil,  in  an  advanc- 
ing community,  steadily  tend  to  rise  in 
pnce.  Now,  the  most  elementary  ^ 
truths  of  political  economy  show  that 
this  could  not  happen,  unless  the  cost  of 
production,  measured  in  labour,  of  those 
products,  tended  to  rise.  If  the  appli- 
cation of  additional  labour  to  the  land 
was,  as  a  general  rule,  attended  with  an 
increase  in  the  propcortional  return,  the 
price  of  produce,  instead  of  rising,  must 
neoessanly  ftdl  as  society  advances, 
unless  the  cost  of  production  of  gold 


*  Ireland  may  be  alleged  as  an  exception, 
a  large  fraction  of  the  entire  soU  of  that 
country  being  still  incapable  of  cultivation 
for  want  of  drainage.  But,  though  Ireland 
is  an  old  country,  unfortunate  social  and 
political  circunuttances  have  kept  it  a  poor 
and  backward  one.  Neither  is  it  at  all  cer- 
tain that  the  bogs  of  Ireland,  if  drained  and 
brought  under  tillage,  would  take  their  plac« 
along  with  Mr.  Carey's  fertile  river  bottooaa, 
or  among  aatf  bat  the  poorer  soilSb 


LAW  OF  INCREASE  OP  PRODUCTION  PROM  LAND.         113 


and  silver  fell  still  more:  a  case  so 
rare,  that  there  are  onlj  two  periods  in 
all  historj  when  it  is  known  to  have 
taken  place :  the  one,  that  which  fol- 
lowed the  opening  of  the  Mexican  an/i 
Perayian  mines;  the  other,  that  ih 
which  we  now  live.  At  all  known 
periods  except  these  two,  the  cost  of 
prodaction  of  the  precious  metals  has 
been  either  stationary  or  rising.  If, 
therefore,  it  be  true  that  the  tendency  of 
agricultural  produce  is  to  rise  in  money 
price  as  wealth  and  population  increase, 
there  needs  no  other  evidence  that  the 
labour  required  for  raising  it  from  the 
soil  tends  to  augment  when  a  greater 
quantity  is  demanded. 
f  I  do  not  go  so  far  as  Mr.  Carey :  I 
do  not  assert  that  the  cost  of  production 
and  consequently  the  price,  of  agricul- 
tural produce,  always  and  necessarily 
rises  as  population  increases.  It  tendisi 
to  do  s(v,'  but  the  tendency  may  be, 
and  sometimes  is,  even  during  long 
periods,  held  in  check.  The  effect 
does  not  depend  on  a  single  princinle, 
but  on  two  antagonizing  principles. 
There  is  another  agency,  in  habitual 
'  antagonism  to  the  law  of  diminishing 
return  from  land ;  and  to  the  considera- 
tion of  this  we  shall  now  proceed.  It 
1  is  no  other  than  the  progress  of  civili- 
'  zation.  I  use  this  general  and  some- 
what vague  expression,  because  the 
things  to  be  included  are  so  various, 
that  hardly  any  term  of  a  more  re- 
stricted signification  would  comprehend 
them  all. 

Of  these,  the  most  obvious  is  the 
^.progress  of  agricultural  knowledge, 
pkiU,  and  invention.  Improved  pro- 
cesses of  i^culture  are  of  two  kinds : 
Home  enable  the  land  to  yield  a  greater 
absolute  produce,  without  an  equivalent 
increase  of  labour ;  others  have  not  the 
power  of  increasing  the  produce,  but 
nave  that  of  diminishing  the  labour  and 
expense  by  which  it  is  obtained. 
Among  the  first  are  to  be  reckoned  the 
disuse  of  £eJ1ows,  by  means  of  the  rota- 
tion of  crops ;  and  the  introduction  of 
new  articles  of  cultivation  capable  of 
entering  advantageously  into  the  rota- 
tion. The  change  made  in  British 
agriculture  towards  the  close  of  the 
last  century,  by  the  introduction  of 
p.  a. 


turnip  husbandry,  is  spoken  of  ai 
amounting  to  a  revolution.  These  im- 
provements operate  not  only  by  enabling 
the  land  to  produce  a  crop  eyerj  year 
instead  of  remaining  idle  one  year  in 
every  two  or  three  to  renovate  its 
powers,  but  also  by  direct  increase  of 
its  productiveness ;  since  the  great  ad- 
dition made  to  the  number  of  cattle 
by  the  increase  of  their  food,  affords 
more  abundant  manure  to  fertilize  the 
com  lands.  Next  in  order  comes  the 
introduction  of  new  articles  of  food 
containing  a  greater  amount  of  sus- 
tenance, uke  the  potato,  or  more  pro- 
ductive species  or  varieties  of  the  same 
plant,  such  as  the  Swedish  turnip.  In 
the  same  class  of  improvements  must 
be  placed  a  better  Imowledge  of  the 
properties  of  manures,  and  of  the  most 
effectual  modes  of  applying  them ;  the 
introduction  of  new  ana  more  powerfiil 
fertilizing  a^nts,  such  as  guano,  and 
the  conversion  to  the  same  purpose,  of 
substances  previously  wasted;  inven- 
tions like  subsoil-ploughing  or  tile- 
draining;  improvements  in  the  breed 
or  feedmg  oi  labouring  cattle  ;  aug- 
mented stock  of  the  animals  which  con- 
sume and  convert  into  human  food 
what  would  otherwise  be  wasted ;  and 
the  like.  The  other  sort  of  improve- 
ments, those  which  diminish  labour, 
but  without  increasing  the  capacity  of 
the  land  to  produce,  are  such  as  the 
improved  construction  of  tools;  the  in- 
troduction of  new  instruments  which 
spare  manual  labour,  as  the  winnow- 
ing and  threshing  machines ;  a  more 
skilful  and  economical  application  of 
muscular  exertion,  such  as  the  intro- 
duction, BO  slowly  accomplished  in 
England,  of  Scotch  ploughing,  with 
two  horses  abreast  and  one  man,  in- 
stead of  three  or  four  horses  in  a  team 
and  two  men,  &c.  These  improve- 
ments do  not  add  to  the  productiveness 
of  the  land,  but  they  are  equally  calcu- 
lated with  the  former  to  counteract  the 
tendency  in  the  cost  of  production  of 
agricultural  produce,  to  rise  with  the 
progress  of  population  and  demand. 

Analogous  in  effect  to  this  second 
class  of  agricultural  improvements,  are 
improved  means  of  communication. 
GkK>d  roads  are  equiralent  to  good  tools. 


114 


BOOK  I    CHAPTER  XH.    §  3. 

surface.  An  impro^ment  in  the  art 
of  taking  levelfl  is  of  importance  to 
draining,  not \to  mention  canal  and 
railway  making.  The  fens  of  Holland, 
and  of  some  parts  of  England,  are 
drained  by  pumps  worked  by  the  wind 
or  by  steam.  Where  canals  of  irriga- 
tion, or  where  tanks  or  embankments 
are  necessary,  mechanical  skill  is  a 
great  resource  for  cheapening  pro- 
duction. 

Those  manufacturing  improvtnments 
'which  oannot  be  made  instrumental  to 
facilitate,  in  any  of  its  stages,  the 
actual  production  of  food,  and  there- 
fore do  not  help  to  counteract  or  retard 
the  diminution  of  the  prc^ortional  re- 
turn to  labour  from  the  soil,  have, 
however,  another  efiect,  which  is  practi- 
cally equivalent.  What  they  do  not 
prevent,  they  yet,  in  some  degree, 
compensate  for. 

The  materials  of  manufectures  being 
all  drawn  from  the  land,  and  many  of 
them  from  agriculture,  which  supplies 
in  particular  the  entire  material  of 
clothing;  the  general  law  of  produc- 
tion from  the  land,  the  law  of  diminish- 
ing return,  must  in  the  last  resort  be 
applicable  to  manufacturing  as  well  as 
to  agricultural  industry.  As  population 
increases,  and  tlie  power  of  the  land  to 
yield  increased  produce  is  strained 
harder  and  harder,  any  additional 
«upply  of  material,  as  well  as  of  food, 
must  be  obtained  bj  a  more  than  pro- 
portionally increasing  expenditure  of 
labour.  But  the  cost  of  the  material 
forming  generally  a  very  small  portion 
of  the  eiTtire  cost  of  the  manufacture, 
the  agricultural  labour  concerned  in 
the  production  of  manufactured  goods 
is  but  a  small  fraction  of  the  whole 
labour  worked  up  in  the  conmioditj. 
All  the  rest  of  the  labour  tends  co»- 
stantly  and  strongly  towards  diminu- 
tion, as  the  amount  of  production 


It  is  of  no  consequence  whether  the 
economy  of  labour  takes  place  in  ex- 
tracting the  produce  from  the  soil,  or 
in  conveying  it  to  the  place  where  it  is 
CO  be  consumed.  Not  to  say  in  addi- 
tion, that  the  labour  of  cultivation 
itself  is  diminished  by  whatever  lessens 
the  cost  of  bringing  manure  from  a 
distance,  or  facilitates  the  many  opera- 
tions of  transport  from  place  to  place 
which  occur  within  the  bounds  oi  the 
farm.  Railways  and  canals  are  virtu- 
ally a  diminution  of  the  cost  of  produc- 
tiou  of  all  things  sent  to  market  by 
thefm  ]  aud  literally  so  of  all  those,  the 
appliances  and  aids  for  producing 
which,  they  serve  to  transmit.  By 
their  means  land  can  be  cultivated, 
which  would  not  otherwise  have  re- 
munerated the  cultivators  without  a 
rise  of  price.  Improvements  in  naviga- 
tion have,  with  respect  to  food  or 
materials  brought  from  beyond  sea, 
a  corresponding  eifect. 

JFrom  similar  considerations,  it  ap- 
pears that  many  purely  mechanical 
improvements,  whicn  have,  apparently 
at  least,  no  peculiar  connexion  with 
agriculture,  nevertheless  enable  a  given 
amount  of  food  to  be  obtained  with  a 
smaller  expenditure  of  labour.  A  great 
improvement  in  the  process  of  melting 
iron,  would  tend  to  cheapen  agricultural 
implements,  diminish  the  cost  of  rail- 
roads, of  waggons  and  carts,  ships,  and 
perhaps  buildings,  and  many  other 
things  to  which  iron  is  not  at  present 
applied,  because  it  is  too  costly ;  and 
would  thence  diminish  the  cost  of  pro- 
duction of  food.  The  same  effect  would 
follow  from  an  improvement  in  those 
processes  of  what  may  be  termed 
manufacture,  to  which  tne  material  of 
food  is  subjected  after  it  is  separated 
from  the  ground.  The  first  applica- 
tion of  wind  or  water  power  to  grind 
com,  tended  ix>  cheapen  bread  as  much 
as  a  very  important  discovery  in  agri-  i  creases.  Manufactures  are  vastfy  morv 


culture  would  have  done ; '  and  any 
great  improvement  in  the  construction 
of  corn-mills,  would  have,  in  proportion, 
a  similar  influence.  Thfe  enecfts  of 
cheapening  locomotion  have  been  al- 
ready consideTed.  Hiere  are  also 
ei^neering  inventions  which  facilitate 
all  great  operations    on    the    eartVs 


susceptible  than  agriculture,  of  nio- 
chanical  improvements,  and  contri- 
vances for  saving  labour ;  and  it  haa 
already  been  seen  how  greatiy  the 
division  of  labour,  and  its  skilfm  ««i 
economical  distribution,  depend  on  the 
extent  of  the  market,  and  on  the  pOM 
l)ility  of  production  in  large  masses. 


fiAW  OF  INCREASE  OF  PRODUCTION  FROM  LAND.        115 


Id  manufactures,  accordingly,  the 
causes  tending  to  increase  the  product- 
iveness of  industry,  prepNonderate 
greatly  or^er  the  one  cause  which  tends 
to  diminish  it:  and  the  increase  of 
production,  called  forth  hy  the  progress 
of  society,  takes  place,  not  at  an  in- 
creasing, but  at  a  continually  diminish- 
fng  proportional  cost.  This  fact  has 
manifested  itself  in  the  progressive  fall 
9f  the  prices  and  values  of  almost  every 
kind  of  manufactured  Roods  during  two 
centnriefl  past;  a  fall  accelerated  hy 
the  mechanical  inventions  of  the  last 
seventy  or  eighty  years,  and  susceptible 
of  being  prolonged  and  extended  bevond 
any  limit  which  it  would  be  safe  to 
specify. 

Now  it  is  q-jite  conceivable  that  the 
efficiency  of  agricultural  labour  might 
be  undergoing,  with  the  increase  of 
produce,  a  gradual  diminution  ;  that 
the  price  of  food,  in  consequence,  might 
be  progressively  rising,  and  an  ever 
growing  proportion  of  the  population 
might  be  needed  to  raise  food  for  the 
whole ;  while  yet  the  productive  power 
of  labour  in  all  other  branches  of  in- 
dustry might  be  so  rapidly  augmented, 
that  uie  required  amount  oflabour  could 
be  spared  from  manufactures,  and 
nevertheless  a  greater  produce  be  ob- 
tained, and  the  aggregate  wants  of 
the  community  be  on  the  whole  better 
supplied,  than  before.  The  benefit 
mignt  even  extend  to  the  poorest  class. 
The  increased  cheapness  of  clothing  and 
lodging  might  make  up  to  them  for 
the  augmented  cost  of  their  food. 

There  is,  thus,  no  possible  improve- 
ment in  the  arts  of  production  which 
does  not  in  one  or  another  mode  exer- 
cise an  antagonist  influence  to  the 
l&w  of  dimioismng  return  to  agricultu- 
t^  labour.  Nor  is  it  only  industrial 
improvements  which  have  this  effect. 
Improvements  in  government,  and  al- 
most eveiy  kind  of  moral  and  social 
advancement,  operate  in  the  same 
manner.  Suppose  a  country  in  the 
condition  of  Fwmce  before  the  Revolu- 
tion :  taxation  imposed  almost  exclu- 
sively on  the  industrious  classes,  and 
on  such  a  principle  as  to  be  an  actual 
penalty  on  production ;  and  no  redress 
obtainable  for  any  injury  to  property  or 


person,  when  inflicted  by  people  oT 
rank  or  court  influence.  Was  not 
the  hurricane  which  swept  awaythii 
system  of  things,  even  if  we  look  no 
further  than  to  its  effect  in  augment-  ^ 
ing  the  productiveness  oflabour,  equiva- 
lent to  many  industrial  inventions?  The 
removal  of  a  fiscal  burthen  on  agricul- 
ture, such  as  tithe,  has  the  same  effect 
as  if  the  labour  neoessary  for  obtaining: 
the  existing  produce  were  suddenly 
reduced  one-tenth.  The  abolition  of 
com  laws,  or  of  any  other  restrictior.s 
which  prevent  commodities  from  being 

S reduced  where  the  cost  of  their  pro- 
uction  is  lowest,  amounts  to  a  vast 
improvement  in  production.  When 
fertile  land,  previously  reserved  as 
hunting  ground,  or  for  any  other  pur» 
pose  of  amusement,  is  set  free  for  cul- 
ture, the  aggregate  productiveness 
of  agricultural  industry  is  increased 
It  is  well  known  what  has  been  the 
efiect  in  England  of  badly  administered 
poor  laws,  and  the  stOl  worse  effect  in 
Ireland  of  a  bad  system  of  tenancy,  in 
rendering  agricultural  labour  slack  and 
ineffective.  No  improvements  operate 
more  directly  upon  the  productiveness 
of  labour  than  those  in  the  tenure  of 
farms,  and  in  the  laws  relating  to 
landed  property.  The  breaking  up  of 
entails,  the  cheapening  of  the  transfer 
of  property,  and  whatever  else  pro- 
motes the  natural  tendency  of  land  in 
a  system  of  freedom,  to  pass  out  of 
hands  which  can  make  little  of  it  into 
those  which  can  make  more ;  the  sub- 
stitution of  long  leases  for  tenancy  at 
will,  and  of  any  tolerable  system  of 
tenancy  whatever  for  the  wretched 
cottier  system;  above  all,  the  acqui- 
sition of  a  permanent  interest  in  the 
soil  by  the  cultivators  of.it;  all  these 
things  are  as  real,  and  some  of  them 
as  great,  improvements  in  production, 
as  the  invention  of  the  spinning  jenny 
or  the  steam  engine. 

We  may  say  the  same  of  improve- 
ment in  education.  The  intelhgence 
of  the  workman  is  a  most  important 
element  in  the  productiveness  of  labour. 
So  low,  in  some  of  the  most  civilized 
countries,  is  the  present  standard  of  in- 
telligence, that  there  is  hardly  any 
source  from  which  a  more  indefinite 
I?. 


116 


BOOK  1.    CHAPTER  XlL    §  S. 


amount  of  improvement  may  be  looked 
for  in  productive  power,  than  by  en- 
dowing with  brains  those  who  now 
have  only  hands.  The  carefulness, 
'  economy,  and  general  trustworthiness 
of  labourers  are  as  important  as  their 
intelligence.  Friendly  relations,  and 
a  community  of  interest  and  feeling 
between  labourers  and  employers,  are 
eminently  so:  I  should  rather  say, 
would  be ;  for  I  know  not  where  any 
such  sentiment  of  friendly  alliance  now 
exists.  Nor  is  it  only  in  the  labouring 
class  that  improvement  of  mind  and 
character  operates  with  beneficial 
effect  even  on  industry.  In  the  rich 
and  idle  classes,  increased  mental 
energy,  more  solid  instruction,  and 
stronger  feelings  of  conscience,  public 
spirit,  or  philanthropy,  would  qualify 
them  to  originate  and  promote  the 
most  valuable  improvements,  both  in 
the  economical  resources  of  their  coun- 
try, and  in  its  institutions  and  customs. 
To  look  no  further  than  the  most  ob- 
vious phenomena;  the  backwardness 
of  French  agriculture  in  the  precise 
points  in  which  benefit  might  be  ex- 
pected from  the  influence  of  an  edu- 
cated class,  is  partly  accounted  for  by 
the  exclusive  devotion  of  the  richer 
landed  proprietors  to  town  interests 
and  town  pleasures.  There  is  scarcely 
any  possible  amelioration  of  human 
affairs  which  would  not,  among  its 
other  benefits,  have  a  favourable 
operation,  direct  or  indirect,  upon  the 
productiveness  of  industry.  The  in- 
tensity of  devotion  to  industrial  occu- 
pations would  indeed  in  many  cases  be 
moderated  by  a  more  liberal  and  genial 
mental  culture,  but  the  labour  actually 
bestowed  on  those  occupations  would 
almost  always  be  rendered  more  effec- 
tive. 

Before  pointing  out  the  principal 
inferences  to  be  drawn  from  the  nature 
of  the  two  antagonist  forces  by  which 
the  productiveness  of  agricultural  in- 
dust^  is  determined,  we  must  observe 
that  what  we  have  said  of  agriculture 
is  tnie,  with  little  variation,  of  the 
other  occupations  which  it  represents ; 


of  all  the  arts  which  extract  materiali 
from  the  globe.  Mining  industry,  for 
example,  usually  yields  an  increase  of 
produce  at  a  more  than  proportional 
mcrease  of  expense.  It  does  worse, 
for  even  its  customary  annual  produce 
requires  to  be  extracted  by  a  greater 
and  greater  expenditure  of  labour  and 
capital.  As  a  mine  does  not  repro- 
duce the  coal  or  ore  taken  from  it,  not 
only  are  all  mines  at  last  exhausted, 
but  even  when  they  as  yet  show  no 
signs  of  exhaustion,  they  must  be 
worked  at  a  continually  increasing 
cost;  shafts  must  be  sunk  deeper, 
galleries  driven  farther,  greater  power 
applied  to  keep  them  clear  of  water ; 
the  produce  must  be  lifted  fh)m  a 
greater  depth,  or  conveyed  a  gp:^ateT 
distance.  The  law  of  diminishing 
return  applies  therefore  to  mining,  in 
a  still  more  unqualified  sense  than  to 
agriculture:  but  the  antagonizing 
agency,  that  of  improvements  in  pro- 
duction, also  applies  in  a  still  greater 
degree.  Mining  operations  are  more 
susceptible  of  mechanical  improve- 
ments than  agricultural:  the  first 
great  application  of  the  steam  engine 
was  to  mining;  and  there  are  un- 
limited possibilities  of  improvement  in 
the  chemical  processes  by  which  the 
metals  are  extracted.  There  is  an- 
other contingency,  of  no  unfrequent  oc- 
currence, which  avails  to  counterba- 
lance the  progress  of  all  existing  mines 
towards  exhaustion:  this  is,  tne  dis- 
covery of  new  ones,  equal  or  superior 
in  richness. 

To  resume ;  all  natural  agents 
which  are  limited  in  quantity,  are  not 
only  limited  in  their  ultimate  produc- 
tive power,  but,  long  before  that  power 
is  stretched  to  the  utmost,  they  yield 
to  any  additional  demands  on  pro- 
gressively harder  terms.  This  law 
may  however  be  suspended,  or  tempo* 
ranly  controlled,  by  whatever  adds  to 
the  general  power  of  mankind  over  na- 
ture ;  and  especially  by  any  extension 
of  their  knowledge,  and  their  conse- 
quent command,  of  the  properties  and 
powers  of  natural  agents. 


CONSEQUENCES  OF  THE  FOREGOING  LAWS. 


J17 


CHAPTER  Xra. 


OON8EQURNCB8  OF  THE   FOREGOING  LAWS. 


§  1.  Fkom  the  preceding  exposition 
It  appears  that  the  limit  to  the  increase 
of  production  is  twofold;  from  defi- 
ciency of  capital,  or  of  land.  Production 
comes  to  a  pause,  either  because  the 
effective  desire  of  accumulation  is  not 
sufficient  to  give  rise  to  any  further  in- 
crease of  capital,  or  because,  however 
disposed  the  possessors  of  surplus  in- 
come may  be  to  save  a  portion  of  it, 
the  limited  land  at  the  disposal  of  the 
community  does  not  permit  additional 
capital  to  be  employed  with  such  a  ro- 
tui'n,  as  would  be  aii  equivalent  to  them 
for  their  abstinence. 

In  countries  wliere  the  principle  of 
accumulation  is  as  weak  as  it  is  m  the 
various  nations  of  Asia  ;  where  people 
¥rill  neither  save,  nor  work  to  obtain 
the  means  of  saving,  unless  under  the 
inducement  of  enormously  high  profits, 
nor  even  then  if  it  is  necessary  to  wait 
a  considerable  time  for  them ;  where 
either  productions  remain  scanty,  or 
drudgery  great,  because  there  is  neither 
capital  forthcoming  nor  forethought 
sufficient  for  the  adoption  of  the  con- 
trivances by  which  natural  agents  are 
made  to  do  the  work  of  human  labour ; 
the  desideratum  for  such  a  country, 
economically  considered,  is  an  increase 
of  industry,  and  of  the  efifective  desire 
of  accumulation.  The  means  are,  first, 
a  better  government;  more  complete 
security  of  property ;  moderate  taxes, 
and  freedom  from  arbitrary  exaction 
under  the  name  of  taxes ;  a  more  per- 
manent and  more  advantageous  tenure 
of  land,  securing  to  the  cultivator  as 
far  as  possible  the  undivided  benefits 
of  the  industry,  skill,  and  economy  he 
may  exert.  Secondly,  improvement  of 
jthe  public  intelligence;  the  decay  of 
usages  or  superstitions  which  inteifere 
witn  the  ^fective  employment  of  in- 
dustry ;  and  the  growth  of  mental  ac- 
tivity, making  the  P^ple  aliVe  to  new 
objects  of  desire.  Thirdly,  the  intro- 
duction of  foreign  arts,  which  raise  the 
retams  dorivabie  flom  additional  capi- 


tal, to  a  rate  corresponding  to  the  low 
strength  of  the  desire  of  accumulation ; 
and  the  importation  of  foreign  capital, 
which  renders  the  increase  of  produc- 
tion no  longer  exclusively  dependent 
on  the  thrift  or  providence  of  the  in- 
habitants themselves,  while  it  places 
before  them  a  stimulating  example, 
and  by  instilling  new  ideas  and  break- 
ing the  chains  of  habit,  if  not  by  im- 
proving the  actual  condition  of  the 
population,  tends  to  create  in  them 
new  wants,  increased  ambition,  and 
greater  thought  for  the  future.  These 
considerations  apply  more  or  less  to 
all  the  Asiatic  populations,  and  to  the 
less  civilized  and  industrious  part  of 
Europe,  as  Russia,  Turkey,  Spain,  and 
IrelandL 

§  2.  But  there  are  other  countries, 
and  England  is  at  the  head  of  them,  in 
which  neither  the  spirit  of  industry  nor 
the  effective  desire  of  accumulation 
need  any  encouragement;  where  the 
people  will  toil  hard  for  a  small  remu- 
neration, and  save  much  for  a  small 
profit ;  where,  though  the  general 
thriftiness  of  the  labouring  class  is 
much  below  what  is  desirable,  the 
spirit  of  accumulation  in  the  more 
prosperous  part  of  the  community  re- 
quires abatement  rather  than  increase. 
Li  these  countries  there  would  never 
be  any  deficiency  of  capital,  if  its  in- 
crease were  never  checxed  or  brought' 
to  a  stand  by  too  great  a  diminution 
of  its  returns.  It  is  the  tendency  of 
the^  returns  to  a  pro^essive  diminution, 
which  causes  the  increase  of  produc- 
tion to  be  often  attended  with  a  dete- 
rioration in  the  condition  of  the 
producers ;  and  this  tendency,  which 
would  in  time  put  an  end  to  increase 
of  production  altogether,  is  a  result  of 
the  necessary  and  inherent  conditions 
of  production  from  the  land. 

In  all  countries  which  have  passed 
beyond  a  rather  early  stage  in  the  pro- 
gress of  agriculture,  erery  increase  in 


118  BOOK  T. 

the  demand  for  food,  occasioned  by 
inci-eased  population,  will  always,  un- 
less there  is  a  simultaneous  improve- 
ment in  production,  diminish  the  share 
which  on  a  fair  division  would  fall  to 
each  individual.  An  increased  pro- 
duction, in  default  of  unoccupied  tracts 
of  fertile  land,  or  of  fresh  improve- 
ments tending  to  cheapen  commo- 
dities, can  never  be  obtained  but  by 
increasing  the  labour  in  more  than  the 
same  proportion.  The  population  must 
either  work  harder,  or  eat  less,  or  ob- 
tain their  usual  food  by  sacrificing  a 
part  of  their  other  customary  comforts. 
Whenever  this  necessity  is  postponed, 
notwithstanding  an  increase  of  popula- 
tion, it  is  because  the  improvements 
which  facilitate  production  continue 
progressive;  because  the  contrivances 
of  mankind  for  making  their  labour 
more  eflfective,  keep  up  an  equal 
struggle  with  nature,  andf  extort  fresh 
resources  from  her  j^luctant  powers  as 
fast  as  human  necessities  occupy  and 
engross  the  old. 

j  From  this,  results  the  important 
i  corollary,  that  the  necessity  of  restrain- 
'  ine  population  is  not,  as  many  persons 
{ believe,  peculiar  to  a  condition  of  great 
1  inequality  of  property.  A  ^eaternum- 
'ber  of  people  cannot,  in  an^  given 
state  of  civilization,  be  coUectiveTy  so 
well  provided  for  as  a  smaller  The 
niggardliness  of  nature,  not  the  injus- 
tice of  society,  is  the  cause  of  the 
penalty  attached  to  over-population. 
An  unjust  distribution  of  wealth  does 
not  even  ag^avate  the  evil,  but,  at 
most,  causes  it  to  be  somewhat  earlier 
felt.  It  is  in  vain  to  say,  that  all 
mouths  which  the  increase  of  mankind 
calls  into  existence,  bring  with  them 
hands.  The  new  mouths  require  as 
much  food  as  the  old  ones,  and  the 
hands  do  not  produce  as  much.  If  all 
instruments  of  production  were  held  in 
joint  property  by  the  whole  people, 
and  the  proauce  divided  with  perfect 
equality  among  them,  and  if  in  a 
society  thus  constituted,  industry  were 
as  energetic  and  the  produce  as  ample 
as  at  present,  there  would  be  enough 
to  make  all  the  existing  population  ex- 
tremely comfortable ;  out  when  that 
population  had  doabled  itself  as,  with 


CHAPTER  Xm.    §  t. 

the  existing  habits  of  the  people,  under 
such  an  encouragement,  it  undoubtedly 
would  in  little  more  than  twenty  ^ears, 
what  would  then  be  their  condition  ? 
Unless  the  arts  of  production  were  in 
the  same  time  improved  in  an  almost 
unexampled  degree,  the  inferior  soils 
which  must  be  resorted  to,  and  the 
more  laborious  and  scantily  remunera- 
tive cultivation  which  must  be  em- 
ployed on  the  superior  soils,  to  procure 
food  for  so  much  larger  a  population, 
would,  by  an  insuperable  necessity, 
render  every  individual  in  the  com- 
munity poorer  than  before.  If  the 
population  continued  to  increase  at  tlie 
same  rate,  a  time  would  soon  arrive 
when  no  one  would  have  more  than 
mere  necessaries,  and,  soon  after,  a 
time  when  no  one  would  have  a  suffi- 
ciency of  those,  and  the  further  in- 
crease of  population  would  be  arrested 
by  death. 

Whether,  at  the  present  or  any/ 
jther  time,  the  produce  of  industry,] 
proportionally  to  tne  labour  employed,, 
is  mcreasing  or  diminishing,  and  the'; 
average  condition  of  the  people  im- 
proving or  deteriorating,  depends  upon 
whether  population  is  advancing  faster 
than  improvement,  or  improvement' 
than  population.  After  a  degree  ofi 
density  has  been  attained,  sufficient 
to  allow  the  principal  benefits  of 
combination  of  labour,  all  further 
increase  tends  in  itself  to  mischief 
so  far  as  regards  the  average  con- 
dition of  the  people ;  but  the  progress 
of  improvement  nas  a  counteracting 
operation,  and  allows  of  increased 
numbers  without  any  deterioration, 
and  even  consistently  with  a  higher 
average  of  comfort.  Improvement 
must  here  be  undei'stood  m  a  wide 
sense,  including  not  -only  new  in- 
dustrial inventions,  or  an  extended 
use  of  those  already  known,  but  im- 
provements in  institutions,  education, 
opinions,  and  human  affairs  generally, 
provided  they  tend,  as  almost  all  im- 
provements ao,  to  give  new  motives  or 
new  facilities  to  production.  If  the 
productive  powers  of  the  country  in- 
crease as  rapidly  as  advancing  num- 
bers call  for  an  augmentation  of  pro- 
duce, it  is  not  necessai^  to  obtain  Uief 


CONSEQUENCES  OF  THE  POREGOING  LAWH. 


119 


sngmeutation  hy  the  ealtiTation  of 
BoSa  more  sterile  than  the  wont 
alreadj  mnder  culture,  or  by  allying 
additional  labour  to  the  ola  ■oila  at  a 
diminished  advanta^ ;  or  at  all  events 
this  loss  of  power  is  compensated  by 
the  increased  efficiency  with  which,  in 
the  progress  of  improvement,  labour  is 
employed  in  manufactures.  In  one 
waj  or  the  other,  the  increased  popula- 
tion is  provided  for,  and  all  are  as  well 
off  as  before.  But  if  the  growth  of 
human  power  over  nature  is  suspended 
or  slackened,  and  population  does  not 
slacken  its  increase;  if,  with  only 
the  existing  command  over  natural 
agencies,  those  agencies  are  called 
upon  for  an  increased  prodnce;  this 
greater  produce  will  not  be  afforded 
to  the  increased  population,  without 
either  demanding  on  the  average  a 
greater  effort  from  each,  or  on  the 
average  reducing  each  to  a  smaller 
ration  out  of  the  aggregate  produce. 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  at  some  periods 
the  progress  of  population  has  been  the 
more  rapid  of  the  two,  at  others  that 
of  improvement.  In  England  during 
a  long  interval  preceding  the  French 
Revolution,  population  increased  slowly, 
but  the  progress  of  improvement,  at 
least  in  agriculture,  would  seem  to  have 
been  still  slower,  since  though  nothing 
occurred  to  lower  the  vame  of  the 
precious  metals,  the  price  of  com  rose 
considerably,  and  England,  from  an 
exporting,  became  an  importing  coun- 
tnr.  Tins  evidence,  however,  is  short 
of  conclusive,  inasmuch  as  tne  extra- 
ordinaiy  number  of  abundant  seasons 
during  the  first  half  of  the  century,  not 
continuing  during  the  last,  was  a 
cause  of  increased  price  in  the  later 
period,  extrinsic  to  the  ordinary  pro- 
gress of  society.  Whether  during  the 
same  period  improvements  in  manu&o- 
tures,  or  diminished  cost  of  imported 
commodities,  made  amends  for  the 
diminished  productiveness  of  laboiur  on 
the  land,  is  uncertain.  But  ever  since 
the  great  mechanical  inventions  of 
Watt,  Arkwright,  and  their  cotempo- 
raries,  the  return  to  labour  has  pro- 
bably increased  as  fast  as  the  popula- 
tion ;  and  would  have  outstripped  it,  if 
that  very  augmentation  of  return  had 


not  caliod  forth  aa  additional  por- 
tion oi  th«  inherent  power  of  multipli- 
cation in  the  human  species.  Durmg 
the  twenty  er  thirty  years  last  elapsed, 
so  rapid  has  been  the  extension  of 
improved  prooeeses  of  agriculture,  that 
even  the  land  yields  a  greater  produce 
in  proportion  to  the  labour  emuloyed ; 
the  average  price  of  oom  had  oecome 
decidedly  lower,  even  before  the  repeal 
of  the  com  laws  had  m>  maienally 
lightened,  for  the  time  being,  the  pres< 
sure  of  population  upon  production. 
But  though  improvement  may  during 
a  certain  space  of  time  keep  up  with, 
or  even  surpass,  the  actual  morease  of 
population,  it  assuredly  never  oomes 
up  to  the  rate  of  increase  of  which 
population  is  capable:  and  nothing 
could  have  prevented  a  general  dete* 
rioration  in  the  condition  of  the  humtA 
race,  were  it  not  that  population  has 
in  iisot  been  restrained,  bad  it  been ' 
restrained  still  more,  and  the  same  im- 

Erovements  taken  place,  there  would 
ave  been  a  larger  oividend  than  ther< 
now  is,  for  the  nation  or  the  species  at 
Uurge.  The  new  ground  wrong  from 
nature  by  the  improvements  would  not 
have  been  all  used  up  in  the  support  of 
mere  numbers.  Tnough  the  grow 
produce  would  not  have  been  so  great, 
there  would  have  been  a  greater  pro- 
duce per  head  of  the  population. 

I  3.    When  the  growth  of  numbers 
outstrips  the  progress  of  improvement, 
and  a  oountrv  is  driven  to  obtain  the , 
means  of  subsistence  on  terms  moro- 
and  moro  unfavourable,  b^  the  inability  ; 
of  its  land  to  meet  additional  demancfs 
except  on  more    onerous  conditions ;  ' 
there  are  two  expedients  by  which  it 
may  hope  to  mitigate  that  disagreeable 
necessity,    even    though   no    change 
should  take  place  In  the  habits  of  the 
people  with  respect  to  their  rate  of  in- 
crease.   One  ofthese  expedients  is  the 
importation  of  food  from  abroad.    The 
other  is  emigration. 

The  admission  of  cheaper  food  from 
a  foreign  country,  is  equivalent  to  an 
agricultural  invention  b^  which  food 
could  be  raised  at  a  similarly  dimS^ 
nished  cost  at  home.  It  equally  in. 
creases  the  productive  power  of  labour. 


120  BOOK  I.    CHAPTER  XHI, 

The  return  w»8,  before,  so  much  food 
for  80  much  labour  employed  in  the 
growth  of  food :  the  return  is  now,  a 
greater  quantity  of  food,  for  the  same 
labour  employed  in  producing  cottons 
or  hardware,  or  some  other  commodity 
to  be  given  in  exchange  for  food.  The 
one  improvement,  like  the  other,  throws 
back  the  decKne  of  the  productive 
power  of  labour  by  a  certain  distance : 
but  in  the  one  case  as  in  the  other,  it 
immediately  resumes  its  course;  the 
tide  which  has  receded,  instantly  be- 
gins to  \^advance.     It  might  seem, 

I  indeed,  that  when  a  country  draws  its 
supply  of  food  from  so  wide  a  surface 

:  as  the  whole  habitable  globe,  so  little 

I  impression  can  be  produced  on  that 

'  great  expanse  by  any  increase  of  mouths 
in  one  small  comer  of  it,  that  the  in- 

■habitants  of  the  country  may  double 
and  treble  their  numbers,  without  feel- 
ing the  efiect  in  any  increased  tension 
of  the  springs  of  production,  or  any  en- 

'  hancement  of  the  price  of  food  through- 
out the  world.    But  in  this  calculation 

'  several  things  are  overlooked. 

,     In  the  first  place,  the  foreign  regions 

jfrom  which  com  can  be  imported  do 

'not  comprise  the  whole  globe,  but  those 
parts  of  it  almost  alone,  which  are  in 

the  immediate  neighbourhood  of  coasts 
or  navigable  rivers.    The  coast  is  the 

part  of  most  countries  which  is  earliest 
and  most  thickly  peopled,  and  has  sel- 
dom any  food  to  spare.     The  chief 


§8. 


source  oF  supply,  therefore,  is  the  strip 
of  country  along  the  banks  of  some 
navigable  river,  as  the  Nile,  the  Vis- 
tula, or  the  Mississippi;  and  of  such 
there  is  not,  in  the  productive  regions 
of  the  earth,  so  great  a  multitude,  as 
to  suffice  during  an  indefinite  time  for 
a  rapidly  growing  demand,  without  an 
increasing  strain  on  the  productive 
powers  of  the  soil.  To  obtain  auxiliary 
supplies  of  com  from  the  interior  in 
any  abundance,  would,  in  the  existing 
state  of  the  communications,  be  hope- 
less. By  improved  roads,  and  eventu- 
ally by  canals  and  railways,  the  obstacle 
will  be  so  reduced  as  not  to  be  insuper- 
able :  but  this  is  a  slow  progress  ;  in 
all  the  food-exporting  countries  except 
America,  a  very  slow  progress;  and 
one  which  cannot  keep  p^ace  with  popu- 


lation, unless  the  increase  of  the  last  it; 
veiT  effectually  restrained. 

In  the  next  place,  even  if  the  supply- 
were  drawn  from  the  whole  instead  of 
a  small  part  of  the  surface  of  the  ex- 
porting countries,  the  quantity  of  food 
would  still  be  limited,  which  could  be 
obtained  from  them  without  an  increase 
of  the  proportional  cost.  The  countries 
which  export  food  may  be  divided  into 
two  classes ;  those  in  which  the  effec- 
tive desire  of  accumulation  is  strong, 
and  those  in  which  it  is  weak.  In 
Australia  and  the  United  States  o( 
America,  the  effective  desire  of  accu- 
mulation is  strong;  capital  increases 
fast,  and  the  production  of  food  might 
be  very  rapidly  extended.  But  in  such 
countries  population  also  increases  with 
extraordinary  rapidity.  Their  agricul- 
ture has  to  provide  for  their  own  ex- 
panding numbers,  as  well  as  for  those 
of  the  importing  countries.  They  must, 
therefore,  from  the  nature  of  the  case, 
be  rapidly  driven,  if  not  to  less  fertile, 
at  least  what  is  equivalent,  to  remoter 
and  less  accessible  lands,  and  to  modes 
of  cultivation  like  those  of  old  countries, 
less  productive  in  proportion  to  the 
labour  and  expense. 

But  the  countries  which  have  at  the 
same  time  cheap  food  and  CTeat  indus- 
trial prosperity  are  few,  being  onlv 
those  m  wnich  the  arts  of  civilized  lite 
have  been  transferred  full  grown  to  a , 
rich  and  uncultivated  soil.  Among  old 
countries,  those  which  are  able  to  ex- 
port food,  are  able  only  because  their 
industry  is  in  a  very  backward  state ; 
because  capital,  and  hence  population, ' 
have  never  increased  sufficiently  to 
make  food  rise  to  a  higher  price.  Such 
countries  are  Russia,  Poland,  and  the 
plains  of  the  Danube.  In  those  regions 
the  effective  desire  of  accumulation  is 
weak,  the  arts  of  production  most  im- 
perfect, capital  scanty,  audits  increase, 
especially  from  domestic  sources,  slow, 
when  an  increased  demand  arose  for 
food  to  be  exported  to  other  countries, 
it  would  only  be  veir  gradually  that 
food  could  be  produced  to  meet  it.  Th« 
capital  needed  could  not  be  obtained 
by  transfer  from  other  employments, 
for  such  do  not  exist.  The  cottons  or 
hardware  which  would  be  received  fros 


OONSEQUENGBS  OF  THE  FOREGOING  LAWS. 


England  in  exchange  ibr  com,  the 
Bnssians  and  Poles  do  not  now  prodnce 
in  the  country :  they  ^  without  them. 
Something  might  in  tune  he  expected 
firom  the  mcreased  exertions  to  which 
producers  would  he  stimulated  hj  the 
market  opened  for  their  produce ;  hut 
'to  such  increase  of  exertion,  the  hahits 
of  countries  whose  agricultural  popular 
tion  consists  of  serfs,  or  of  peasants 
who  have  hut  just  emerged  from  a  ser- 
vile condition,  are  the  reverse  of  favour- 
fthle,  and  even  in  this  age  of  movement 
these  habits  do  not  rapidlv  change.  If 
a  greater  outlay  of  capital  is  rehed  on 
as  the  source  from  which  the  produce 
in  to  be  increased,  the  means  must 
either  be  obtained  by  the  slow  process 
of  saving,  under  the  impulse  given  by 
new  commodities  and  more  extended 
intercourse  (and  in  that  case  the  popu- 
lation would  most  likely  increase  as 
fast),  or  must  be  brought  in  from  foreign 
countries.  If  Englimd  is  to  obtain  a 
rapidly  increasing  supply  of  com  from 
Bussia  or  Poland,  English  capital  must 
go  there  to  produce  it.  This,  how- 
ever, is  attended  with  so  many  dif- 
ficulties, as  are  equivalent  to  great 
positive  disadvantages.  It  is  opposed 
by  differences  of  language,  differences 
-  of  manners,  and  a  thousand  obstacles 
arising  frx}m  the  institutions  and  social 
relations  of  the  countiy :  and  after  all 
it  would  inevitably  so  stimulate  popu- 
lation on  the  spot,  that  nearly  all  the 
increase  of  food  produced  by  its  means, 
would  probably  be  consumed  without 
leaving  the  country :  so  that  if  it  were 
not  the  almost  only  mode  of  introducing 
foreign  arts  and  ideas,  and  giving  an 
effectual  spur  to  the  backward  civiiinu 


The  law,  therefore,  of  diminishing! 
return  to  industry,  whenever  population' 
makes  a  more  rapid  progress  than  im-, 
provement,  is  not  smely  applicable  to. 
countries  which  are  fed  from  their  own  I 
soil,  but  in  substance  applies  qmte  as  ! 
much  to  those  which  are  willing  to. 
draw  their  food  from  any  acce&sible^ 
quarter  that  can  afford  it  cheApest.  A  ' 
sudden  and  great  cheapening  of  food, 
indeed,  in  whatever  manner  produced, 
would,  like  any  other  sudden  improve- 
ment in  the  arts  of  life,  throw  the  na- 
tural tendency  of  affairs  a  stage  or  two 
further  hack,  though  without  altering 
its  course.  There  is  one  contingency 
connected  with  freedom  of  importation, 
which  may  yet  produce  temporary  ef- 
fects greater  than  were  ever  contem- 
plated either  by  the  bitterest  enemies 
or  the  most  ardent  adherents  of  free- 
trade  in  food.  Maize,  or  Indian  com, 
is  a  product  capable  of  being  supplied 
in  quantity  sufacient  to  feed  the  whole 
country,  at  a  cost,  allowing  for  differ- 
ence of  nutritive  quality,  cheaper  even 
than  the  potato.  If  maize  should  ever 
substitute  itself  for  wheat  as  the  staple 
food  of  the  poor,  the  productive  power 
of  labour  in  obtaining  food  would  be  so 
enormouslj^  increased,  and  the  expense 
of  maintaining  a  family  so  diminished, 
that  it  would  requiro  perhaps  some 
generations  for  population,  even  if  it 
started  forward  at  an  American  pace, 
to  overtake  this  great  accession  to  the 
facilities  of  its  support 

§  4.  Besides  the  importation  of  com,' 
there  is  another  resource  which  can  be 
invoked  by  a  nation  whose  increasing 
numbers  press  hard,  not  against  their 


tion  of  those  countries,  little  reliance  I  canitai,    out  against    the    productive' 
could  be  placed  on  it  for  increasing  tbe  }  capacity  of  their  land :  I  mean  Emigra-/> 


exports,  and  supplying  other  countnes 
with  a  progressive  and  indefinite  in- 
crease 01  food.  But  to  improve  the 
civilization  of  a  country  is  a  slow  pro- 
cesu,  and  gives  time  for  so  great  an  in- 
crease of  population  both  in  the  country 
itself^  and  in  those  supplied  from  it, 
that  its  effect  in  keeping  down  the 

Srice  of  food  against  the  increase  of 
emand,  is  not  likely  to  be  more  de- 
cisive on  the  scale  of  all  Europe,  than  on 
the  smaller  one  of  a  particutar  nation. 


tion,  especially  in  the  form  of  Coloniza- 
tion. Of  this  remedy  the  efficacy  as 
far  as  it  goes  is  real,  since  it  consists 
in  seeking  elsewhere  those  unoccupied 
tracts  of  fertile  land,  which  if  they  ex- 
isted at  home  would  enable  the  demand 
of  an  increasing  population  to  be  met 
without  any  falhng  off  in  the  pro- 
ductiveness of  labour.  Accordingly, 
when  the  region  to  be  colonized  is  near 
at  hand,  and  the  habits  and  tastes 
of  the  people  sufficiently  migratory. 


BOOK  I.    CHAFfEB  Xin.    S  4. 


"  is  completely  efiectnal. 

4on  from  the  older  parts  of 
yCan  Confederation  to  the  new 
/d,  which  is  to  all  intents  and 
/S  colonization,  is  what  enables 
vtion  to  go  on  unchecked  through- 
^ .  the  Union  without  Jiaying  yet 
diminished  the  return  to  industry,  or 
increased  the  difficulty  of  earning  a 
subsistence.  If  Australia  or  the  in- 
terior of  Canada  were  as  near  to  Great 
Britain  as  Wisconsin  and  Iowa  to  New 
York ;  if  the  superfluous  people  could 
remove  to  it  without  crossing  the  sea, 
and  were  of  as  adventurous  and  restless 
a  charao'ter,  and  as  little  addicted  to 
staying  at  home,  as  their  kinsfolk  of 
New  England,  those  unpeopled  conti- 
nents would  render  the  same  service  to 
the  United  Kingdom  which  the  old 
states  of  America  derive  from  the  new. 
But  these  things  being  as  they  are — 
though  a  judiciously  conducted  emigra- 
tion is  a  most  important  resource  for 
suddeulv  lightening  the  pressure  of 
population  oy  a  single  effort — and 
though  in  such  an  extraordinary  case 
as  that  of  Ireland  under  the  threefold 
operation    of  the   potato  failure,  the 


poor  law,  and  the  general  tarn  big  out 
of  tenantry  throughout  the  country, 
spontaneous  emigration  may  at  a  par- 
ticular crisis  remove  greater  multitude* 
than  it  was  ever  proposed  to  remove  at  ^ 
once  by  any  natioiuJ  scheme ;  it  still ! 
remains  to  be  shown  by  experience  - 
whether  a  permanent  stream  oi  emigra- 
tion can  be  kept  up,  sufficient  to  take 
off,  as  in  America,  all  that  portion  of 
the  annual  increase  (when  proceeding 
at  its  greatest  rapidity)  which  being 
in  excess  of  the  pro^ss  made  during 
the  same  short  period  in  the  arts  of 
life,  tends  to  render  living  more  difficult 
for  every  averagely-situated  individual 
in  the  community.  And  unless  this 
can  be  done,  emigration  cannot,  even 
in  an  economical  point  of  view,  dispense 
with  the  necessity  of  checks  to  popula- 
tion. Further  than  this  we  have  not 
to  speak  of  it  in  this  place.  The  gene- 
ral subject  of  colonization  as  a  practi- 
cal question,  its  importance  to  old 
countries,  and  the  principles  on  which 
it  should  be  conducted,  will  be  dis- 
cussed at  some  length  in  a  subsequent 
portion  of  this  Treatise. 


BOOK    11. 


DISTRIBUTION. 


CHAPTER  I. 


OF      PBOPBSTT 


I  1.  Thb  principles  which  have 
been  set  forth  in  the  first  part  of  this 
Treatise,  are,  in  certain  respects, 
strongly  distingoished  from  those,  on 
the  consideration  of  which  we  are  now 
about  to  enter.  The  laws  and  condi- 
tions of  the  prodnction  of  wealth,  par- 
take of  the  character  of  physical 
truths.  There  is  nothing  optional,  or 
arbitrary  in  them.  Whatever  man- 
End  produce,  must  be  produced  in  the 
modes,  and  under  the  conditions,  im- 
posed by  the  constitution  of  external 
thingR.  and  by  the  inherent  properties 
of  their  own  bodily  and  mental  struc- 
ture. "Whether  they  like  it  or  not,  their 
productions  will  be  limited  by  the 
amount  of  their  previous  accumulation, 
and,  that  being  given,  it  will  be  pro- 
portional to  their  energy,  their  skill, 
the  perfection  of  their  machinery,  and 
their  jndicious  use  of  the  advantages 
of  combined  labour.  Whether  they 
like  it  or  not,  a  double  quantity  of 
labour  will  not  raise,  on  the  same  land, 
a  double  quantity  of  food,  unless  some  im- 
provement takes  place  in  the  processes 
of  cultivation.  Whether  tbey  tuce  it 
or  not,  the  unproductive  expenditure  of 
individuals  will  pro  tanto  tend  to  im- 
poverish the  community,  and  only  their 
productive  expenditure  will  enrich  it. 
The  opinions,  or  the  wishes,  which 
may  exist  on  these  different  matters, 
do  not  control  the  things  themselves. 
We  cannot,  indeed,  foresee  to  what  ex- 
tent the  modes  of  production  may  be 
altered,  or  the  productiveness  of  labour 
increased,  by  future  extensions  of 
Cfor  knowledge  of  the  laws  of  nature. 


suggesting  new  processes  of  iudustiy 
of  which  we  have  at  present  no  con- 
ception. But  howsoever  we  may  suc- 
ceed in  making  for  ourselves  mors 
space  within  the  limits  set  by  the 
constitution  of  things,  we  know  that 
there  must  be  limits.  We  cannot  alter 
the  ultimate  properties  either  of  matter 
or  mind,  but  can  only  employ  those 
properties  more  or  less  successfully,  to 
brin^  about  the  events  in  which  we 
Are  interested. 

It  is  not  80  with  the  Distribution  of 
Wealth.  That  is  a  matter  of  human 
mstitution  solely.  The  things  once 
there,  mankind,  individually  or  col- 
lectively, can  do  with  them  as  they 
like.  Thev  can  place  them  at  the  dis- 
posal of  whomsoever  they  please,  and 
on  whatever  terms.  Furtner,  in  the 
social  state,  in  every  state  except  total 
solitude,  any  disposal  whatever  of  them 
can  only  take  place  by  the  consent  of 
society,  or  rather  of  those  who  dispose 
of  its  active  force.  Even  what  a  person 
has  produced  by  his  individual  toil,  un- 
aided by  any  one,  he  cannot  keep,  un- 
less t}j  the  permission  of  society.  Not 
only  can  society  take  it  from  him,  but 
individuals  could  and  would  take  it 
from  him,  if  society  only  remained 
passive ;  if  it  did  not  either  interfere 
en  masse^  or  employ  and  pay  people 
for  the  purpose  of  preventing  him  from 
bein^  disturbed  in  the  possession.  The 
distribution  of  wealth,  therefore/ de- 
pends on  the  laws  and  customs  of  so- 
ciety. The  rules  by  which  it  is  de- 
termined, are  what  the  opinions  and 
feelings  of  the  ruling  portion  of  the 


124 

commtmity  make  them,  and  are  yeiy 
different  in  different  ages  and  countries; 
and  might  be  still  more  different,  if 
mankind  so  chose. 

The  opinions  and  feelings  of  man- 
kind, doubtless,  are  not  a  matter  of 
chance.  They  are  consequences  of  the 
fundamental  laws  of  human  nature, 
combined  with  the  existing  state  of 
knowledge  and  experience,  and  the 
existing  condition  of  social  institutions 
and  intellectual  and  moral  culture. 
But  the  laws  of  the  generation  of 
human  opinions  are  not  within  our 
present  subject.  They  are  part  of  the 
general  theory  of  human  progress,  a 
tar  larger  and  more  difficult  subject 
of  inquiry  than  political  economy.  We 
have  nere  to  consider,  not  the  causes, 
but  the  consequences  of  the  rules  ac- 
cording to  which  wealth  may  be  dis- 
tributed. Those,  at  least,  are  as  little 
arbitrary,  and  have  as  much  the 
character  of  physical  laws,  as  the  laws 
of  production.  Human  beings  can 
control  their  own  acts,  but  not  the 
consequences  of  their  acts  either  to 
themselves  or  to  others.  Society  can 
subject  the  distribution  of  wealth  to 
whatever  rules  it  thinks  best ;  but  what 
j>ractical  results  will  flow  from  the  opera- 
tion of  those  rules,  must  be  discovered, 
like  any  other  physical  or  mental  truths, 
by  observation  and  reasoning. 

We  proceed,  then,  to  the  considera- 
tion of  the  different  modes  of  distri- 
buting the  produce  of  land  and  labour, 
which  have  been  adopted  in  practice, 
or  may  be  conceived  in  theory.  Among 
these,  our  attention  is  first  claimed  by 
that  primary  and  fundamental  institu- 
tion, on  which,  unless  in  some  excep- 
tional and  very  limited  cases,  the 
economical  arrangements  of  society 
have  always  rested,  though  in  its  se- 
condary featui^es  it  has  varied,  and  is 
liable  to  vary.  I  mean,  of  course,  the 
institution  of  individual  property. 

§  2.  Private  property,  as  an  institu- 
tion, did  not  owe  its  origin  to  any  of 
those  considerations  of  utility,  which 
plead  for  the  maintenance  of  it  when 
established.  Enough  is  known  of  rude 
ages,  both  from  history  and  from  analo- 
gous Btatei  of  society  in  our  own  time,  to 


BOOK  IL    CHAPTER  I.    §  t. 


show,  that  tribunals  (which  always  pre- 
cede laws)  were  originally  established, 
not  to  determine  rights,  but  to  repress 
violence  and  terminate  quarrels.  With 
this  object  chiefly  in  view,  they  natun 
ally  enough  gave  legal  effect  to  first 
occupancy,  by  treating  as  the  aggressor 
the  person  who  first  commenced  vio- 
lence, by  turning, or  attemptingto turn, 
another  out  of  possession.  The  pre- 
servation of  the  peace,  which  was  the 
original  object  of  civil  government,  was 
thus  attained ;  while  by  confirming,  to 
those  who  already  possessed  it,  even 
what  was  not  the  miit  of  personal  ex- 
ertion, a  guarantee  was  mcidentally 
given  to  tnem  and  others  that  they 
would  be  protected  in  what  was  so. 

In  considering  the  institution  of  pro- 
perty as  a  question  in  social  philosophy, 
we  must  leave  out  of  consideration  its 
actual  origin  in  any  of  the  existing  na- 
tions of  Europe.  \Ve  may  suppose  a 
community  unhampered  by  any  pre- 
vious ^ssession ;  a  body  of  colonists, 
occupying  for  the  first  time  an  uninha* 
bited  country ;  bringing  nothing  with 
them  but  what  belonged  to  them  in 
common,  and  having  a  clear  field  for 
the  adoption  of  the  institutions  and 
polity  which  they  judged  most  expe- 
dient; required,  therefore,  to  choose 
whether  tney  would  conduct  the  work ; 
of  production  on  the  principle  of  indi-; 
vidual  property,  or  on  some  system 
of  common  ownership  and  collective  ^ 
agency. 

If  private  property  were  adopted,  we 
must  presume  that  it  would  be  accom- 

Saniea  by  none  of  the  initial  inequa- 
ties  and  injustices  which  obstruct  the 
beneficial  operation  of  the  principle  in 
old  societies.  Every  full-grown  man  or 
woman,  we  must  suppose,  would  be 
secured  in  the  unfettered  use  and  dis- 
posal of  his  or  her  bodily  and  raenta} 
faculties  ;  and  the  instruments  of  pro- 
duction, the  land  and  tools,  would  be 
divided  fairl^r  among  them,  «io  that  all 
might  start,  in  respect  to  outward  ap- 
pliances, on  e^ual  terms.  It  is  possible 
also  to  conceive  that  in  this  original 
apportionment,  compensation  might  be 
made  for  the  injuries  of  nature,  and  the 
balance  redressed  by  assigning  to  the 
less  robust  members  of  the  community 


PROPERTY. 


126 


advantages  in  the  distribution,  sufficient 
to  put  them  on  a  par  with  the  rest.  But 
the  division,  once  made,  would  not  again 
be  interfered  with  ;  individuals  would 
be  left  to  their  own  exertions  and  to  the 
ordinary  chances,  for  making  an  ad- 
vantageous use  of  what  was  assigned 
to  them.  If  individual  property,  on  the 
contrary,  were  excluded,  the  plan  which 
must  be  adopted  would  be  to  hold  the 
land  and  all  instruments  of  production 
as  the  joint  property  of  the  community, 
and  to  canr  on  the  operations  of  in- 
dustrjr  on  ine  common  account.  The 
•ibection  of  the  labour  of  the  commu- 
nity would  devolve  upon  a  magistrate 
or  magistrates,  whom  we  may  suppose 
elected  by  the  suffrages  of  the  commu- 
nity, and  whom  we  must  assume  to  be 
voluntarily  obeyed  by  them.  The  di- 
vision of  the  produce  would  in  like 
manner  be  a  public  act.  The  principle 
might  either  be  that  of  complete  equa- 
lity, or  of  apportionment  to  the  neces- 
sities or  deserts  of  individuals,  in  what- 
ever manner  might  be  conformable  to 
the  ideas  of  justice  or  policy  prevailing 
in  the  community. 

Examples  of  such  associations,  on  a 
small  scale,  are  the  monastic  orders, 
the  Moravians,  the  followers  of  Bapp, 
and  others :  and  from  the  hopes  which 
they  hold  out  of  relief  from  the  miseries 
and  iniquities  of  a  state  of  much  in- 
equality of  wealth,  schemes  for  a  laiger 
application  of  the  same  idea  have  re- 
appeared and  become  popular  at  all 
periods  of  active  speculation  on  the  first 
principles  of  society.  In  an  age  like 
the  present,  when  a  general  reconside- 
ration of  all  first  principles  is  felt  to  be 
inevitable,  and  wnen  more  than  at  any 
former  period  of  history  the  sufiering 
portions  of  the  community  have  a  voice 
m  the  discussion,  it  was  impossible  but 
that  ideas  of  this  nature  should  spread 
far  and  wide.  The  late  revolutions  in 
Europe  have  thrown  up  a  great  amount 
of  speculation  of  this  cnaracter,  and  an 
unusual  share  of  attention  has  conse- 
quently been  drawn  to  the  various  forms 
which  these  ideas  have  assumed :  nor 
IS  this  attention  likely  to  diminish,  but 
on  the  contraiy,  to  increase  more  and 
more. 

The  assailants  of  the  principle  of  in- 


dividual property  may  be  divided  into 
two  classes :  those  whose  scheme  im- 
plies absolute  equality  in  the  distribu 
tion  of  the  physical  means  of  life  and 
enjoyment,  and  those  who  admit  in- 
equality, but  grounded  on  some  prin- 
ciple, or  supposed  principle,  of  justice 
or  general  expediency,  and  not,  like  so 
many  of  the  existing  social  inequalities, 
dependent  on  accident  alone.  At  the 
head  of  the  first  class,  as  the  earliest 
of  those  belonging  to  the  present  gene- 
ration, must  be  placed  Mr.  Owen  and 
his  followers.  M.  Louis  Blanc  and  M. 
Cabet  have  more  recently  become  con- 
spicuous as  apostles  of  similar  doctrines 
(though  the  former  advocates  equality 
of  distribution  only  as  a  transition  to  a 
still  higher  standard  of  justice,  that  all 
should  work  according  to  their  capa- 
city, and  receive  according  to  their 
wants).  The  characteristic  name  for. 
this  economical  system  is  Communism, ) 
a  word  of  continental  origin,  only  of  late 
introduced  into  this  country.  Tne  word', 
Socialism,  which  originated  among  the ' 
English  Communists,  and  was  assumed. 
by  them  as  a  name  to  designate  their 
own  doctrine,  is  now,  on  the  Continent, 
employed  in  a  larger  sense ;  not  neces- 
sarily implying  Communism,  or  the  en- 
tire abolition  of  private  property,  but 
applied  to  any  system  which  requires 
that  the  land  and  the  instruments  of 
production  should  be  the  property,  not 
of  individuals,  but  of  communities  or 
associations,  or  of  the  government. 
Among  such  systems,  the  two  of  highest 
intellectual  pretension  are  those  ^ich, 
from  the  names  of  their  real  or  reputed 
authors,  have  been  called  St.  Simonism 
and  Fourierism ;  the  former,  defunct  as 
a  systein,  but  which  during  the  few 
years  of  its  public  promulgation,  sowed 
the  seeds  of  nearly  all  the  Socialist 
tendencies  which  have  since  spread  so 
widely  in  France:  the  second,  still 
flourishing  in  the  number,  talent,  and 
aoal  of  its  adherents. 

§  3.  Whatever  may  be  the  merits  or 
defects  of  these  various  schemes,  they 
cannot  be  truly  said  to  be  impractica- 
ble. No  reasonable  person  can  doubt 
that  a  village  community,  composed  of 
a  few  thousand  inhabitants  cultivating 


196 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  I.    §  8. 


in  joint  ownership  the  same  extent  of 
laud  which  at  present  feeds  that  number 
of  people,  and  producing  by  combined 
labour  and  the  most  improved  processes 
the  manufactured  articles  which  thej 
required,  could  raise  an  amount  of  pro- 
ductions sufficient  to  maintain  them  in 
comfort ;  and  would  find  the  means  of 
obtaining,  and  if  need  be,  exacting,  the 
quantity  of  labour  necessary  for  this 
purpose,  from   erery  member  of  the 
association  who  was  capable  of  work. 
;     The  objection  ordinarily  made  to  a 
system  of  community  of  property  and 
equal  distribution  of  the  produce,  tbat 
each  person  would  be  incessantly  occu- 
pied m  evading  his  fair  share  of  the 
work,  points,  undoubtedly,  to  a  real 
difficulty.    But  those  who  urge  this 
objection,  forget  to  how  peat  an  extent 
the  same  difficulty  exists  under  the 
system  on  which   nine-tenths  of   the 
business  of  society  is  now  conducted. 
'ITie  objection  supposes,  that  honest  and 
efficient  labour  is  only  to  be  had  from 
those  who  are  themselves  individually 
to  reap  the  benefit  of  their  own  exer- 
tions.   But  how  small  a  part  of  all  the 
labour  performed  in  England,  from  the 
lowest  paid  to  the  highest,  is  done  by 
persons  working  for  their  own  benefit. 
From  the  Irish  reaper  or  hodman  to 
the  chief  justice  or  the  minister   of 
state,  nearly  all  the  work  of  society  is 
remunerated  by  day  wages  or  fixed 
salaries.    A  factory  operative  has  less 
personal  interest  in  his  work  than  a 
member   of  a  Communist  association, 
since  he  is  not,  like  him,  working  for  a 
partnership  of  which  he  is  himself  a 
member.    It  will  no  doubt  be  said, 
tliat  though  the  labourers  themselves 
have  not,  in  most  cases,  a  personal  in- 
terest in  their  work,  they  are  watched 
and   superintended,  and  their  labour 
directed,  and  the  mental  part  of  the 
labour  performed,  by  persons  who  have. 
Even  this,  however,  is  far  from  being 
universally  the  fact.      In  all  public, 
and  manv  of  the  largest    and    most 
successful  private   undertakings,  not 
only  the    labourfl  of  detail,  but  the 
control  and  superintendence  are  en- 
trusted   to    salaried    officers.      And 
though  the  "master's  eye,"  when  the 
master  is  vigilant  and  intelligent^  is  of 


proverbial  value,  it  must  be  remem- 
bered that  m  a  Socialist  farm  or  mami- 
faotory,  each  labourer  would  be  under 
the  eye  not  of  one  master,  but  of  the 
whole  oommunity.     In  the  extreme 
case  of  obstinate  perseverance  in  not 
performing  the  due  share  of  work,  the 
community  would  have  the  same  re- 
sources which  society  now  has  for  com- 
pelling conformity  to  the   necessary 
conditions  of  the  association.     Dis- 
missal, the  only  remedy  at  present,  is 
no  remedy  when  any  other  labourer 
who  may  be  engagea  does  no  better 
than  his  predecessor:   the  power    of 
dismissal  only  enables  an  employer  to 
obtain  from  his  workmen  the  customary 
amount  of  labour,  but  that  customary 
labour  mt^r  be  of  any  degree  of  ineffi- 
ciency.    Even  the  labourer  who  loses 
his  employment  by  idleness  or  negli- 
gence, nas  nothing  worse  to  suffer,  in 
the  most  unfavourable  case,  than  the 
discipline  of  a  workhouse,  and  if  the 
desire  to  avoid  this  be  a  sufficient  mo- 
tive in  the  one  system,  it  would  be 
sufficient  in    the    other.    I  am    not 
undervaluing  ^he  strength  of  the  in- 
citement   given  to  labour  when  the 
whole  or  a  large  share  of  the  benefit  of 
extra  exertion  belongs  to  the  labourer. 
But  under  the  present  system  of  in- 
dustry this  incitement,  m  the  great 
majority  of  cases,  does  not  exist.     If 
Communistic    labour  might    be    less 
vigorous  than  that  of  a  peasant  pro- 
prietor, or  a  workman  labouring  on  his 
(TWn  account,  it   would  probably  be 
more  ener^tic  than  that  of  a  labourer 
for  hire,  who  has  no  personal  interest 
in  the  matter  at  all.    The  neglect  by 
the  uneducated  classes  of  labourers  for 
hire,  of  the  duties  which  they  engage 
to  perform,  is  in  the  present  state  of 
society  most  flagrant.    Now  Jt  is  at 
admitted  condition  of  the  Communist 
scheme  that  all  shall  be  educated :  and 
this  being  supposed^  the  duties  of  the 
members  of  the    association    would 
doubtless  be  as  diligently  performed  ap 
those  of  the  generality  of  salaried  ofi> 
cers  in  the  middle  or  higher  classes ; 
who  are   not  supposed  to  be  neoes- 
sarily  unfaithful  to  their  trust,  because 
so  long  as  they  are  not  dismissed,  ^eir 
pay  is  the  same  in   however  Ux  a 


00MM0K18M. 


ir 


manner  th«ir  daty  is  fulfilled.  Un- 
ioobtedly,  Ma  general  rale,  lemnnera- 
tion  by  nxed  •alaries  doei  not  in  any 
class  of  fonctionaries  prodnoe  the 
maximim  of  seal :  and  this  is  as  much 
as  can  be  reasonably  alleged  against 
Communistic  labour. 

That  even  this  inferiority  would 
necessarily  exist,  is  by  no  means  so 
certain  as  is  assumed  by  those  who  are 
little  used  to  carry  their  minds  beyond 
the  state  of  things  with  which  they  are 
familiar.  Manxind  are  capable  of  a 
far  greater  amount  of  public  spirit  than 
the  present  age  is  accustomed  to  sup- 
pose possible.  History  bears  witness 
Cd'the  success  with  which  large  bodies 
of  human  beings  may  be  trained  to 
feel  the  public  interest  their  own.  And 
no  soil  could  be  more  favourable  to  the 
growth  of  such  a  feeling,  than  a  Com- 
munist association,  since  aU  the  am- 
Intion,  and  the  bodily  and  mental 
activity,  which  are  now  exerted  in  the 
pursuit  of  separate  and  self-regarding 
interests,  would  require  another  sphere 
of  employment,  and  would  natnrally 
lind  it  in  the  pursuit  of  the  general 
benefit  of  the  community.  The  same 
cause,  so  often  assigned  in  explanation 
of  the  devotion  of  the  Catholic  priest 
or  monk  to  the  interest  of  his  order — 
that  he  has  no  interest  apart  from  it — 
would,  under  Communism,  attach  the 
citizen  to  the  community.  And  inde- 
pendently of  the  public  motive,  every 
member  of  the  association  would  be 
amenable  to  the  most  universal,  and 
one  of  the  strongest  of  personal  mo- 
tives, that  of  public  opinion.  The 
force  of  this  motive  in  aeterring  from 
any  act  or  omission  positively  reproved 
by  the  community,  no  one  is  lixely  to 
deny ;  but  the  power  also  of  emulation, 
in  exciting  to  the  most  strenuous 
exertions  for  the  sake  of  the  aj)proba- 
tion  and  admiration  of  others,  is  Dome 
witness  to  by  experience  in  every 
situation  in  which  Imman  beings  pub- 
liclv  compete  with  one  another,  even 
if  It  lie  m  things  frivolous,  or  from 
which  the  public  derive  no  benefit.  A 
contest,  who  can  do  most  for  the  com- 
mon good,  is  not  the  kind  of  competi- 
tion which  Socialists  repudiate.  To 
what  extent^  therefore,  tlie  energy  of 


labour  would  be  diminished  by  Oom- 
munism,  or  whether  in  the  long  run  it 
would  be  diminished  at  all,  must  be 
considered  for  the  present  an  undecided 
question. 

Another  of  the  objections  to  Com-, 
munism  is  similar  to  that,  so  often! 
urged  against  pooi^laws :  that  if  eveiy 
member  of  the  commanity  were  as-j 
sured  of  subsistence  for  himself  andt 
any  number  of  children,  on  the  sole! 
condition  of  willingness  to  work,  pru- 
dential restraint  on  the  multiplication 
of  mankind  would  be  at  an  end,  and 
population  would  start  forward  at  a 
rate  which  would  reduce  the  com- 
munity through  successive  stages  of 
increasing  discomfort  to  actual  starva 
tion.  There  would  certainly  be  much 
ground  for  this  apprehension  if  Com- 
munism provided  no  motives  to  re- 
straint, equivalent  to  those  which  it 
would  take  away.  But  Communism  is 
precisely  the  state  of  things  in  which 
opinion  might  be  expected  to  declare 
itwelf  with  greatest  intensity  against 
this  kind  of  selfish  intemperance.  Any 
augmentation  of  numbers  which  di- 
minished the  comfort  or  increased  the 
toil  of  the  mass,  would  then  cause 
(which  now  it  does  not)  immediate  and 
unmistakeable  inconvenience  to  every 
individual  in  the  association ;,  incon- 
venience which  could  not  then  be  im- 
puted to  the  avarice  of  employers,  oi 
the  unjust  privileges  of  the  rich.  In 
SQch  altered  circumstances  opinion 
could  not  fail  to  reprobate,  andiirepro- 
bation  did  not  suffice,  to  repress  by 
penalties  of  some  description,  this  or 
any  other  culpable  self-indulgence  at 
the  expense  of  the  community.  The 
Communistic  scheme,  instead  of  being 
peculiarly  open  to  the  objection  drawn 
from  danger  of  over-population,  has 
the  recommendation  of  tending  in  an 
especial  degree  to  the  prevention  of 
that  evil. 

A  more  real  difficulty  is  that  of  fairly 
apportioning  the  labour  of  the  commu- 
nity  among  its  members.  There  are 
many  kinds  of  work,  and  by  what 
standard  are  they  to  be  measured 
one  against  another?  Who  is  to 
judge  how  much  cotton  spinning,  or 
distributing  goods  from  the  storesi  oi 


128 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  I.    §  8. 


bricklaying,  oi  chimney  sweeping,  is 
equivalent  to  so  much  ploughing? 
The  difficulty  of  making  the  adjust- 
ment between  different  qualities  of 
labour  is  so  strongly  felt  by  Com- 
munist writers,  that  they  have  usually 
thought  it  necessary  to  provide  that 
all  should  work  by  turns  at  every  de- 
scription of  usefiil  labour :  an  arrange- 
ment which  by  putting  an  end  to  the 
division  of  employments,  would  sacri- 
fice so  much  of  the  advantage  of  co- 
operative production  as  greatlv  to 
diminish  the  productiveness  of  labour. 
Besides,  even  in  the  same  kind  of 
work,  nominal  equality  of  labour  would 
be  so  great  a  real  inequality,  that  the 
feeling  of  justice  would  revolt  against 
its  being  enforced.  AU  persons  are 
not  equally  fit  for  all  labour;  and 
the  same  quantity  of  labour  is  an  un- 
equal burthen  on  the  weak  and  the 
strong,  the  hardy  and  the  delicate,  the 
quick  and  the  slow,  the  dull  and  the 
intelligent. 

But  these  difficulties,  though  real, 
are  not  necessarily  insuperable.  The 
apportionment  of  work  to  the  strength 
and  capacities  of  individuals,  the  miti- 
gation of  a  general  rule  to  provide  for 
cases  in  which  it  would  operate  harshly, 
are  not  problems  to  wmch  human  in- 
telligence, guided  by  a  sense  of  justice, 
would  be  inadequate.  And  the  worst 
and  most  unjust  arrangement  which 
could  be  made  of  these  points,  under  a 
system  aiming  at  equality,  would  be 
BO  far  short  of  the  inequality  and  in- 
justice with  which  labour  (not  to  speak 
of  remuneration)  is  now  apportioned, 
as  to  be  scarcelv  worth  counting  in  the 
comparison.  We  must  remember  too 
that  Communism,  as  a  system  of 
society,  exists  only  in  idea ;  that  its 
difficulties,  at  present,  are  much  better 
understood  than  its  resources;  and 
that  the  intellect  of  mankind  is  only 
beginning  to  contrive  the  means  of 
organizing  it  in  detail,  so  as  to  over- 
come the  one  and  derive  the  greatest 
advantage  from  the  other. 

I^  therefore,  the  choice  were  to  be 
made  between  Communism  with  all  its 
chances,  and  the  present  state  of 
society  with  all  its  sufferings  and  in- 
justicefl ;  if  the  institution  of  private 


property  necessarily  carried  with  it  as  a 
consequence,  that  tne  produce  of  labour 
should  be  apportioned  as  we  now  see 
it,  almost  in  an  inverse  ratio  to  the 
labour — the  largest  portions  to  those 
who  have  never  worked  at  all,  the  next 
largest  to  those  whose  work  is  almost 
nominal,  and  so  in  a  descending  sc-ale, 
the  remuneration  dwindling  as  the 
work  grows  harder  and  more  disagree- 
able, until  the  most  fatiguing  and  ex- 
hausting bodily  labour  cannot  count 
with  certainty  on  bein^  able  to  earn 
even  the  necessaries  of  life ;  if  this,  or 
Communism,  were  the  alternative,  all 
the  difficulties,  great  or  small,  of  Com- 
munism would  be  but  as  dust  in  the 
balance.  But  to  make  the  comparison 
applicable,  we  must  compare  Com- 
munism at  its  best,  with  the  regime  of 
individual  property,  not  as  it  is,  but  as 
it  might  be  made.    The  principle  of 

Erivate  property  has  never  yet  nad  a 
iir  trial  in  any  country ;  and  less  so, 
perhaps,  in  this  country  than  in  some 
others.  The  social  arrangements  of 
modem  Europe  commenced  from  a 
distribution  of  property  which  was  the 
result,  not  of  just  partition,  or  acqui- 
sition by  industry,  but  of  conquest  and 
violence :  and  notwithstanding  what 
industry  has  been  doing  for  many 
centuries  to  modify  the  work  of  force, 
the  system  still  retains  many  and  large 
traces  of  its  origin.  The  laws  of  pro- 
perty have  never  vet  conformed  to  the 
principles  on  which  the  justification  of 
private  property  rests.  They  havei 
made  property  of  things  which  nevoid 
ought  to  be  property,  and  absolute 
property  where  only  a  qualified  pro- 
perty ought  to  exist.  They  have  not 
neld  the  balance  fairly  between  human 
beings,  but  have  heaped  impediments 
upon  some,  to  give  advantage  te 
others;  they  have  purposely  fostered 
inequalities,  and  prevented  all  from 
starting  fair  in  the  race.  That  all 
should  indeed  start  on  perfectly  equal 
terms,  is  inconsistent  with  any  law  of 
private  property :  but  if  as  much  pains 
as  has  been  taken  to  aggravate  the 
inequality  of  chances  arising  from  the 
natural  working  of  the  principle,  had 
been  taken  to  temper  that  inequality 
by  every  means  not  subversive  of  Xhe 


COMMUNISM. 


139 


principle  itself;  if  the  tendency  of 
legislation  had  been  to  favonr  the  dif- 
iiision,  instead  of  the  concentration  of 
wealth — to  encoura^  the  subdivision 
of  the  large  masses,  instead  of  striving 
to  keep  them  together;  the  principle 
of  individual  property  would  have  been 
found  to  have  no  necessary  connexion 
with  the  physical  and  social  evils 
which  almost  all  Socialist  writers 
assume  to  be  inseparable  from  it. 

Private  property,  in  every  defence 
made  of  it,  is  supposed  to  mean,  the 
guarantee  to  individuals,  of  the  fruits 
of  their  own  labour  and  abstinence. 
The  guarantee  to  them  of  the  fruits  of 
the  labour  and  abstinence  of  others, 
transmitted  to  them  without  any  merit 
or  exertion  of  their  own,  is  not  of  the 
essence  of  the  institution,  but  a  mere 
incidental  consequence,  which  when  it 
reaches  a  certain  height,  does  not  pro- 
mote, but  conflicts  with  the  ends  which 
render  private  propertjr  le^timate.  To 
judge  of  the  final  destmation  of  the  in- 
stitution of  property,  we  must  suppose 
everything  rectified,  which  causes  the 
institution  to  work  in  a  manner  op- 
posed to  that  equitable  principle,  of 
proportion  between  remuneration  and 
exertion,  on  which  in  every  vindication 
of  it  that  will  bear  the  light,  it  is  as- 
sumed to  be  grounded.  We  must  also 
suppose  two  conditions  realized,  with- 
out which  neither  Communism  nor  any 
other  laws  or  institutions  could  make 
the  condition  of  the  mass  of  mankind 
other  than  degraded  and  miserable. 
One  of  these  conditions  is,  universal 
education ;  the  other,  a  due  limitation 
of  ^  the  numbers  of  the  community. 
Wrt"h  these'  there  could  be  no  poverty 
even  under  the_present  social  institu- 
tions :  and  these  bein^  supposed,  the 
question  of  Socialism  is  not,  as  ^ener- 
allj  stated  by  Socialists,  a  question  of 
(lying  to  the  sole  refuge  against  the 
evils  which  now  bear  down  humanity ; 
but  a  mere  question  of  comparative 
advantages,  which  futurity  must  deter- 
mine. We  are  too  ignorant  either  of 
what  individual  agency  in  its  best 
form,  or  Socialism  in  its  best  form,  can 
accomplish,  to  be  (Qualified  to  decide 
which  of  the  two  will  be  the  ultimate 
form  of  human  society. 


If  a  conjecture  may  be  hassarded,  the 
decision  will  probably  depend  mamly 
on  one  consideration,  viz.  which  of  the 
^wo  systems  is  consistent  with  the 
greatest  amount  of  human  liberty  and 
spontaneity.  After  the  means  of  sub 
siAtence  are  assured,  the  next  in  streng^ 
of  the  personal  wants  of  human  beings 
is  liberty;  and  (unlike  the  physical 
wants,  which  as  civilization  advanoei 
become  more  moderate  and  more  ame- 
nable to  control)  it  increases  instead  of 
diminishing  in  intensity,  as  the  intel- 
ligence and  the  moral  faculties  are  more 
developed.  The  perfection  both  of  sociiJ 
arrangements  and  of  practical  morality 
would  be,  to  secure  to  all  persons  com- 
plete independence  and  freedom  of  ac- 
tion, subject  to  no  restriction  but  that 
of  not  doing  iivjury  to  others :  and  the 
education  which  taught  or  the  social 
institutions  which  required  them  to 
exchange  the  control  or  their  own  ac- 
tions for  any  amount  of  comfort  or 
affluence,  or  to  renounce  liberty  for  the 
sake  of  equality,  would  deprive  them 
of  one  of  the  most  elevated  characte- 
ristics of  human  nature.  It  remains  to 
be  discovered  how  far  the  preservation 
of  this  characteristic  would  be  found 
compatible  with  the  communistic  or- 
ganization of  society.  No  doubt,  this, 
Hke  all  the  other  objections  to  the 
Socialist  schemes,  is  vastly  exage^e- 
rated.  The  members  of  the  association 
need  not  be  required  to  live  together 
more  than  the;^  do  now,  nor  need  they 
be  controlled  in  the  disposal  of  their 
individual  share  of  the  produce,  and  of 
the  probably  large  amount  of  leisure 
which,  if  they  limited  their  production 
to  things  really  worth  producing,  they 
would  possess.  Individuals  need  not 
be  chamed  to  an  occupation,  or  to  a 
particular  locality.  The  restraints  of 
Communism  would  be  freedom  in  com- 
parison with  the  present  condition  of 
the  majority  of  the  human  race.  The 
generality  of  labourers  in  this  and  most 
other  countries,  have  as  little  choice  of 
occupation  or  freedom  of  locomotion, 
are  practically  as  dependent  on  fixed 
rules  and  on  the  will  of  others,  as  they 
could  be  on  any  system  short  of  actual 
slavery ;  to  say  nothing  of  the  entire 
domestic  subjection  of  one  half  the 
K 


ISO 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  I.    f  i 


species,  to  vhicli  it  is  the  signal 
honour  of  Owenism  and  most  other 
forms  of  Socialijm  that  the;^  assign 
equal  rights,  in  all  respects,  with  those 
of  the  hitherto  dominant  sex.  But  it 
is  not  hy  coQiparison  vith  the  present 
had  state  of  society  that  the  claims  of 
Communism  can  Ue  estimated ;  nor  if 
it  fiufficien^  that  it  should  promise 
grea,t^r  personal  and  mental  freedom 
thAU  is  mw  enjoyed  hy  those  who 
hafe  i;k9t  enough  of  either  to  deserve 
the  name.  The  question  is  whether 
ttvere  would  he  any  asylum  left  for 
individuality  of  cliart^ter;  whether 
puhlic  opinion  w<wild  not  he  a  tyran- 
nical yoke ;  whetbier  the  absolute  de^ 
pndenoe  of  each  on  all,  and  surveil- 
lanoe  of  each  hy  all,  would  not  grind 
all  down  into  a  tas^  uniformity  of 
thoughts,  feelings,  and  actions.  This 
is  alreadj[  one  of  the  glaring  evils  of 
the  eixisting  state  of  society,  notwith- 
standing a  much  greater  divereity  of 
aducftkion  and  pursuits,  and  a  much 
less  absolute  dependence  of  the 
individual  oa  th?  nuM^s,  than  would 
egoist  io  the  Communistic  rejS^me.  No 
sooio^y  is  which  eooentricity  is  a 
matter  of  reproach,  can  he  in  a  whole- 
soxne  abate.  It  is  yet  to  he  ascertained 
whether  the  ^  Communistio  scheme 
would  he  consistent  with  that  multi- 
form developnient  of  human  nature, 
those  msjAifcud  unlikenesses,  that  diver- 
sity^ of  ta#tes  and  talents,  and  varietv 
of  intellectual  points  of  view,  which 
Aot  only  ton  a  great  part  of  the  inte- 
rest of  husMA  lif«i,  hut  by  brifiging  in- 
tellects into  a  ittimulatiog  collision, 
and  by  presenting  to  eftch  innumerable 
QOitions  that  he  would  not  have  con- 
oeived  of  himself  are  the  mainspring 
of  mental  and  moral  pro^QreHuoiL 

'^  §  4.  I  h«ve  thus  far  oonfijoed  my^ 
observatious  to  the  Communistio  doc- 
triue,  wlueh  forms  the  extreme  limit 
af  ]Sk>cialisin ;  accordion  to  which  not 
only  tlMs  instruments  of  production,  the 
]^ud  «nd  capital,  are  the  joint  pro- 

Serty  of  Up«  eommunity,  but  the  pro- 
uce  ii  divided  and  thie  labour  appor- 
Uoued,  as  far  as  possible,  equally.  The 
objections,  whether  well  or  ill  grounded, 
lo  which  SftMslism  is  liable,  apply  ift 


this  form  of  it  in  their  {greatest  foro«i 
The  other  varieties  of  Soaalism  mainly 
differ  from  Communism,  in  not  relying 
solely  on  what  M.  Xiouis  Blanc  calls 
the  point  of  honour  of  industry,  but 
retaining  more  or  less  of  the  incentives 
to  labour  derived  from  private  |>ecu- 
niary  interest.  Thus  it  is  already  a 
modification  of  the  strict  theory  of 
Communism,  when  the  principle  is  pro- 
fessed of  proportioxung  remuneratioa 
to  labour.  The  attempts  which  have 
been  made  in  Fi'ance  to  carry  Soaal- 
ism into  practical  efiect,  by  as«ocia 
tions  of  workmen  manufacturing  on 
their  own  account,  mostly  began  by 
sharing  the  remuneration  e<|ually, 
without  regard  to  the  quantity  of 
work  done  oy  the  individual:  but  in 
almost  every  case  this  plan  was  after 
a  short  time  abandoned,  aud  recourse 
was  had  to  working  by  the  piece.  The 
original  principle  appeals  to  a  higher 
standard  of  justice,  and  is  adapted  to  a 
much  higher  moral  condition  of  human 
nature.  The  proportioning  of  remu- 
neration to  woi'k  done,  is  really  just, 
ouly  in  so  far  as  the  more  or  less  of  the 
work  is  a  matter  of  choice :  when  it 
depends  on  natural  difference  of  strength 
or  capacity,  this  princijple  of  remune- 
ration is  in  itself  an  injustice :  it  is 
giving  to  those  who  have;  assigning 
most  to  thoyae  who  are  already  most 
favoured  by  nature.  Considered,  how- 
ever, as  a  compromise  with  the  selfish 
type  of  character  formed  bv  the  present 
standard  of  morality,  ana  fostered  by 
the  existing  social  institutions,  it  is 
highly  expedient ;  and  until  education 
shall  have  been  entirely  regenerated, 
is  &r  more  likely  to  prove  immediately 
successfujl,  than  an  attempt  at  a  higher 
^al. 

The  two  elaborate  forms  of  nou- 
communistic  Socialism  known  as  St. 
Simonism  and  Fourierism,  are  totally 
free  from  the  objections  usually  urged 
against  Communism;  and  though 
they  are  open  to  others  of  their  own, 
yet  by  the  great  iotellectoal  power 
which  in  manv  respects  distinguishes 
them,  and  by  tneir  large  and  philoso- 
phic treatment  of  some  of  the  fundi»- 
meutal  problems  of  society  and  mora- 
hty,  they  may  justly  be  oouated  f 


POUBIBMSM 


Ul 


tlie  moBt  remarkable  pnxhiotioiM  of  the 
past  and  present  age. 

The  St.  Sim(»ian  scheme  does  not 
contemplate  an  equal,  but  an  unequal 
'diyision  of  the  produce;  it  does  not 
propose  that  all  should  be  occupied 
alike,  but  differentlj,  according  to  tneir 
Tocation  or  capacity ;  the  fmiction  of 
each  beine  assign^,  like  grades  in  a 
regiment,  bj  the  choice  of  the  direct- 
ing authority,  and  the  remuneration 
being  by  salaiy,  proportioned  to  the 
importance,  in  the  eyes  of  that  autho- 
rity, of  the  function  itself^  and  the 
merits  of  the  person  who  fulfils  it.  For 
the  constitution  of  the  ruling  body, 
different  plans  might  be  adopted,  con- 
sistently with  the  essentials  of  the 
system.  It  might  be  appointed  by 
popular  Bufifrage.  In  the  idea  of  the 
original  authors,  the  rulers  were  sup- 
posed to  be  persons  of  genius  and  vir- 
tne,  who  obtained  the  voluntary  adhe- 
sion of  the  rest  by  the  force  of  mental 
superiority.  Tliat  the  scheme  might 
in  some  peculiar  states  of  society  work 
with  advantage,  is  not  improbable. 
There  is  indeed  a  snccessAu  experi- 
ment, of  a  somewhat  similar  kind,  on 
record,  to  which  I  have  once  alluded  ; 
that  of  the  Jesuits  in  Paraguay.  A 
race  of  savages,  belonging  to  a  por- 
tion of  mankiBd  more  averse  to  conse- 
cutive exertion  iar  a  distant  object 
than  any  other  authentically  known  to 
us,  was  Drought  under  the  mental  do- 
minion of  civilized  and  instructed  men 
who  wei«  united  among  themselves  by 
a  system  of  community  of  goods.  To 
the  absolute  authority  of  these  men 
they  reverentially  sttbmitted  tiiem- 
selves,  and  were  mduoed  by  them  to 
learn  the  arts  of  civilized  life,  and  to 
practice  labours  for  the  comm«nity, 
which  no  inducement  that  could  have 
been  offered  would  have  prevailed  on 
them  to  practise  for  themselves.  This 
social  system  was  of  short  duration, 
being  prematurely  destroyed  by  diplo- 
matic arrangements  and  foreign  force. 
That  it  comd  be  brought  into  action 
at  all  was  probabty  owing  to  the  im- 
mense distance  in  point  of  knowledge 
and  inteUfeci  which  separated  the  few 
mlers  from  the  whole  body  of  the 
Riled,  without  any  Yntermediate  orders, 


either  social  or  inteUectuaL  In  any 
other  circumstances  it  would  probably 
have  been  a  complete  fiiilure.  It  sup- 
poses an  absolute  despotism  iu'  the 
neads  of  the  association ;  which  would 
probably  not  be  much  improved  if  the 
aepositaries  of  the  despotism  (contrary 
to  the  views  of  the  authors  of  the  sys- 
tem) were  varied  from  time  to  time 
according  to  the  result  of  a  popular 
canvass.  But  to  suppose  that  one  or 
a  few  human  beings,  howsoever  se- 
lected, could,  by  whatever  machinery 
of  subordinate  agency,  be  qualified  to 
adapt  each  person's  woik  to  his  capa- 
city, and  proportion  each  person's  re- 
muneration to  his  merits — to  be,  in 
fact,  the  dispensers  of  distributive  jus- 
tice to  eveiy  member  of  a  oommunity ; 
or  that  any  use  which  they  could 
make  of  this  power  would  give  general 
satisfaction,  or  would  be  submitted  to 
without  the  aid  offeree — is  a  supposi- 
tion almost  too  chimerical  to  be  rea- 
soned against.  A  fixed  rule,  like  that 
of  equiuity,  miriit  be  acquiesced  in,' 
and  so  might  cnance,  or  an  external 
necessity ;  but  that  a  handful  of  human 
beings  should  weigh  everybody  in  the 
balance,  and  give  more  to  one  and  less 
to  another  at  their  sole  pleasure  and 
judgment,  would  not  be  borne,  unless 
from  persons  believed  to  be  mope  than 
men,  and  backed  by  supernatural 
terrors. 

^  The  most  skilfully  combined,  and^ 
with  the  greatest  foresight  of  objec- 
tions, of  all  the  forms  of  Socialism,  is 
that  commonly  known  as  Fourierism. 
This  system  does  not  contemplate  the 
abolition  of  private  property,  nor  even 
of  inheritance :  on  the  contrary,  it 
avowedly  takes  into  consideration,  as 
an  element  in  the  distribution  of  the 
produce,  capital  as  well  as  labour.  It 
proposes  that  the  operations  of  indus- 

7  should  be  carried  on  by  associations 
about  two  thousMid  members,  com- 
bining their  labour  on  a  district  of 
about  a  square  league  in  extent,  under 
the  guidance  of  chiefe  selected  by 
themselves.  In  the  distribution,  a 
certain  miniTnum  is  first  assigned  ibr 
the  subsistence  of  every  member  of  the 
oommuni^  whether  capabie  or  not  of 
labour.  The  racnainderof  the  produce 
K  2 


132 


BOOK  II.    CHAPTER  I.    §  4. 


is  shared  in  certain  proportions,  to  be 
determined  beforehand,  among  the 
three  elements,  Labour,  Capital,  and 
Talent.  The  capital  of  the  commu- 
nity may  be  owned  in  unequal  shares 
by  different  members,  who  would  in 
that  case  receive,  as  in  any  other  joint- 
stock  company,  proportional  dividends. 
The  claim  of  each  person  on  the  share 
of  the  produce  apportioned  to  talent 
is  estimated  by  the  grade  or  rank 
which  the  individual  occupies  in  the 
several  groups  of  labourers  to  which  he 
or  she  belongs ;  these  grades  being  in 
all  cases  conferred  by  the  choice  of  his 
or  her  companions.  The  remunera- 
tion, when  received,  wauld  noj  of 
necessity  be  expended  or  enjoyed  in 
common;  there  would  be  separate 
menages  for  all  who  preferred  them, 
and  no  other  community  of  livipg  is 
contemplated,  than  that  all  t^e  {mem- 
bers of  the  association  should  reside  in 
the  same  pile  of  buildings ;  for  saving 
of  labour  and  expense,  not  only  in 
building,  but  in  every  branch  of  do- 
mestic economy;  and  in  order  that, 
the  whole  of  the  buying  and  selling 
operations  of  the  community  being 
performed  by  a  single  agent,  the  enor- 
mous portion  of  the  produce  of  industry 
now  carried  off  by  the  profits  of  mere 
distributors  might  be  reduced  to  the 
^smallest  amount  possible.  ^ 

This  system,  unlike  Communism, 
does  not,  in  theory  at  least,  withdraw 
uaj  of  the  motives  to  exertion  which 
exist  in  the  present  state  of  society. 
On  the  contrary,  if  the  arrangement 
worked  according  to  the  intentions  of 
its  contrivers,  it  would  even  strengthen 
those  motives ,  since  each  person 
would  have  nmch  more  certainty  of 
reaping  individually  the  fruits  of 
increased  skiU  or  energy,  bodily  or 
mental,  than  under  the  present  social 
arrangements  can  be  felt  by  any  but 
those  who  are  in  the  most  advan- 
tageous positions,  or  to  whom  the 
chapter  of  accidents  is  more  than  ordi- 
narfly  favourable.  The  Fourierists, 
however,  have  still  another  resource. 
They  believe  that  they  have  solved 
the  great  and  fundamental  problem  of 
renderiBg  labour  attractive.  That  this 
JB  not  imoTacticabld.  ihey  contend  by 


very  strong  arguments;  in  particular 
by  one  which  they  have  in  common 
with  the  Owenites,  viz.,  that  scarcely 
any  labour,  however  severe,  undergone 
by  human  beings: for  the  sake  of  sub| 
sistence,  exceeds  in  intensity  thal^ 
which  other  human  beings,  whose  sub-. 
sistence  is  already  provided  for,  are( 
found  ready  and  even  eager  to  undergoi 
for  pleasure.  This  certainly  is  a  most, 
significant  fact,  and  one  m)m  which 
the  student  in  social  philosophy  may 
draw  important  instruction.  But  the 
argument  founded  on  it  may  easily  be 
stretched  too  far.  If  occupations  full 
of  discomfort  and  fatigue  are  freely 
pDjsued  by  many  persons  as  amuse- 
ments, who  does  not  see  that  they  are 
amusements  exactly  because  they  are 
pursued  freely,  and  mav  be  discon- 
tinued at  pleasure?  The  liberty  of 
quitting  a  position  often  makes  the 
whole  difference  between  its  being 
painfril  and  pleasurable.  Many  a  per- 
son remains  in  the  same  town,  street, 
or  house  from  Januarv  to  December, 
without  a  wish  or  a  thought  tending 
towards  removal,  who,  if  confined  to 
that  same  place  by  the  mandate  of 
authority,  would  find  the  imprisonment 
absolutely  intolerable. 

According  to  the  Fourierists,  scarcely 
any  kind  of  useful  labour  is  naturally 
and  necessarily  disagreeable,  unless  it 
is  either  regarded  as  dishonourable,  or 
is  immoderate  in  degree,  or  destitute 
of  the  stimulus  of  sympathy  and  emu- 
lation. Excessive  toil  needs  not,  they 
contend,  be  undergone  by  any  one,  in 
a  society  in  which  there  would  be  no 
idle  class,  and  no  labour  wasted,  as  so 
enormous  an  amount  of  labour  is  now 
wasted,  in  useless  things ;  and  where 
full  advantage  would  be  taken  of  the 
power  of  association,  both  in  increasing 
the  efficiency  of  production,  and  in 
economizing  consumption.  The  other 
requisites  for  rendering  labour  at- 
tractive would,  they  think,  be  found 
in  the  execution  of  all  labour  b^  social 
groups,  to  any  number  of  which  the 
same  individual  might  simultaneously 
belong,  at  his  or  her  own  choice ;  their 
grade  in  each  being  determined  by  the 
degree  of  service  which  they  were 
found  capable  of  rendering,  as  appro- 


PROPERTY. 


188 


>d  by  tl 

rades.  It  is  interred  from  the  diver- 
sity of  tastes  and  talents,  that  every 
member  of  the  community  would  lie 
attached  to  several  groups,  employing 
themselves  in  various  kinds  of  occupa- 
tion, some  bodily,  others  mental,  and 
«vould  be  capable  of  occupying  a  high 
place  in  some  one  or  more  ;  so  that  a 
.eal  equality,  or  something  more  nearly 
approaching  to  it  than  might  at  first 
be  supposed,  would  practically  result : 
not  from  the  compression,  but,  on  the 
contrary,  from  the  largest  possible  de- 
velopment, of  the  various  natural  supe- 
riorities residing  in  each  individual. 

Even  from  so  brief  an  outline,  it 
must  be  evident  that  this  system  does 
no  violence  to  any  of  the  general  laws 
by  which  human  action,  even  in  the 
present  imperfect  state  of  moral  and 
mtellectual  cultivation,  is  influenced; 
and  that  it  would  be  extremely  rash  to 
pronounce  it  incapable  of  success,  or 
unfitted  to  realize  a  great  part  of  the 
hopes  founded  on  it  by  its  partisans. 
With  regard  to  this,  as  to  all  other 
varieties  of  Socialism,  the  thing  to  be 


desired,  and  to  which  they  have  a  just 
claim,  is  opportunitv  of  trial,  lliey 
are  all  capable  of  being  tried  on  a 
moderate  scale,  and  at  no  risk,  either 
personal  or  pecuniary,  to  any  except 
those  who  try  them.  It  is  for  expe- 
rience to  determine  how  far  or  how 
soon  any  one  or  more  of  the  possible 
systems  of  community  of  property  will 
lie  fitted  to  substitute  itself  for  the 
"  organization  of  industry"  based  on 
private  ownership  of  land  and  capital. 
In  the  meantime  we  may,  without  at- 
tempting to  limit  the  ultimate  capabi- 
lities of  human  nature,  affirm,  that  the 
political  economist,  for  a  considerable 
time  to  come,  will  be  chiefly  concerned 
with  the  conditions  of  existence  and 
progress  belonging  to  a  society  founded 
on  private  property  and  individual 
competition ;  and  that  the  object  to  b« 
principally  aimed  at  in  the  present 
stage  of  human  improvement^  is  not 
the  subversion  of  the  system  of  indi- 
vidual property,  but  the  improvement 
of  it,  ana  the  full  participation  of 
every  member  of  the  community  in  its 
benefits. 


CHAPTER  n. 


THE  8AMB  SUBJECT   OONTIinJED. 


§  1.  It  is  next  to  be  considered, 
what  is  included  in  the  idea  of  private 
property,  and  by  what  considerations 
the  application  of  the  principle  should 
be  bounded. 

The  institution  of  property,  when 
Jimited  to  its  essential  elements,  con- 
sists in  the  recognition,  in  each  person, 
of  a  right  to  the  exclusive  disposal  of 
what  he  or  she  have  produced  by  their 
own  exertions,  or  received  either  by 
gift  or  by  fair  agreement,  without  force 
or  fraud,  from  those  who  produced  it. 
The  foundation  of  the  whole  is,  the 
right  of  producers  to  what  they  them- 
selves have  produced.  It  may  be  ob- 
jecjted,  therefore,  to  the  institution  as 
it  now  exists,  that  it  recognises  rights 
of  property  in  individu^  oyer  things 


which  they  have  not  {produced.  For 
example  (it  may  be  said)  the  opera- 
tives in  a  manufactory  create,  by  their 
labour  and  skill,  the  whole  produce; 
yet,  instead  of  its  belon^g  to  them, 
the  law  gives  them  only  meir  stipa- 
lated  hire,  and  transfers  the  produce 
to  some  one  who  has  merely  supplied 
the  funds,  without  perhaps  contribu- 
ting anything  to  the  work  itself,  even 
in  the  form  of  superintendence.  T^e 
answer  to  this  is,  that  the  labour  of 
manufacture  is  only  one  of  the  condi- 
tions which  must  combine  for  the  pro- 
duction of  the  commodity.  Tlie 
labour  cannot  be  carried  on  without 
materials  and  machinery,  nor  without 
a  stock  of  necessaries  provided  in 
i^dvance,  to  maintain  the    labourers 


134 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  H.    f  2. 


during  th9  production.  All  these 
thines  are  the  fruits  of  previous  labour. 
If  the  labourers  were  possessed  of 
them,  they  would  not  need  to  divide 
the  produce  with  any  one  ;  but  while 
they  have  them  not,  an  equivalent 
must  be  given  to  those  who  have,  both 
for  the  antecedent  labour,  and  for  the 
abstinence  by  which  the  produce  of 
that  labour,  instead  of  being  expended 
on  indulgences,  has  been  reserved  for 
fchis  use.  The  capital  may  not  have 
been,  and  in  roost  cases  was  not,  crea- 
ted by  the  labour  and  abstinence  of 
the  present  possessor;  but  it  was 
created  by  the  labour  and  abstinence 
of  some  termer  person,  who  may  in- 
deed have  been  wrongfully  dispossessed 
of  it,  but  who,  in  the  present  age  of 
the  world,  much  more  probably  trans- 
ferred his  claims  to  the  present  capi- 
talist by  gift  or  voluntary  contract : 
and  the  abstinence  at  least  must  have 
been  continued  by  each  successive 
owner,  down  to  the  present.  If  it  be 
said,  as  it  may  with  truth,  that  those 
who  have  inherited  the  savings  of 
others  have  an  advantage  which  they 
may  have  in  no  way  deserved,  over 
the  industrious  whose  predecessors 
have  not  left  them  anytning;  I  not 
only  admit,  but  strenuously  contend, 
that  this  unearned  advantage  should 
be  curtailed,  as  much  as  is  consistent 
with  justice  to  those  who  thought  fit 
to  dispose  of  their  savings  by  giving 
them  to  their  descendants.  But  while 
it  is  true  that  the  labourers  are  at  a 
disadvantage  compared  with  those 
whose  predecessors  have  saved,  it  is 
also  true  that  the  labourers  are  far 
better  off  than  if  those  predecessors 
had  not  saved.  They  share  in  the  ad- 
vantage, though  not  to  an  equal  extent 
with  the  inheritors.  The  terms  of  co- 
operation between  present  labour  and 
the  fruits  of  past  labour  and  saving, 
are  a  subject  for  adjustment  between 
the  two  parties.  Each  is  necessary  to 
the  other.  The  capitalists  can  do 
nothing  without  labourers,  nor  the 
labourers  without  capital  If  the 
labourers  compete  for  employment,  the 
capitalists  on  their  part  compete  for 
labour,  to  the  full  extent  of  the  circu- 
lating capital  of  the  country.    Com- 


petition is  often  spoken  of  as  if  it  were 
necessarily  a  cause  of  miseiy  and 
degradation  to  the  labouring  class ;  as 
if  high  wages  were  not  precisely  as 
much  a  product  of  competition  as  low 
wages.  The  remuneration  of  labour 
is  as  much  the  result  of  the  law  of 
competition  in  the  United  States,  as  it 
is  in  Ireland,  and  much  more  coni- 
pletely  so  than  in  England. 

The  right  of  property  includes,  thk^n,^ 
the  freedom  of  acquinng..by  contract. 
The  right  of  each  to  what  he  has  pro- 
duced, implies  a  right  to  what  has  been 
produced  by  others,  if  obtained  by 
their  free  consent;  since  the  pro- 
ducers must  either  have  given  it  from 
good  will,  or  exchanged  it  for  what 
they  esteemed  an  equivalent,  and  to 
prevent  them  from  doing  so  would 
be  to  infringe  their  right  of  pro- 
perty in  the  product  of  their  own  in- 
dustry. 

§  2.  Before  proceeding  to  connder 
the  things  which  the  principle  of  indi- 
vidual property  does  not  mclude,  we 
must  specify  one  more  thing  which  it 
does  include :  and  this  is,  that  a  title, 
after  a  certain  period,  should  be  given 
by  prescription.  According  to  the  fun- 
damental idea  of  property,  indeed, 
nothing  ought  to  be  treated  as  such, 
which  has  been  acquired  by  force  or 
fraud,  or  appropriated  in  ignorance  of 
a  prior  title  vested  in  some  other  per- 
son ;  but  it  is  necessary  to  the  security 
of  rightfxil  possessors,  that  they  should 
not  be  molested  bv  charges  of  wrong- 
ful acquisition,  when  by  the  lapse  of 
time  witnesses  must  have  perished  or 
been  lost  sight  of,  and  the  real  cha- 
racter of  the  transaction  can  no  longer 
be  cleared  i^p.  Possession  which_haB 
not  been  legally  questioned  within  a 
moderate  number  of  years,  ought  to 
be,  as  by  the  laws  of  all  nations  it  is, 
a  complete  title.  Even  when  the  acqui- 
sition was  wrongful,  the  dispossession, 
after  a  generation  has  elapsed,  of  the 
probably  bond  fide  possessors,  by  the 
revival  of  a  claim  which  had  been  long 
dormant,  would  generally  be  a  greater 
injustice,  and  almost  always  a  greater 
private  and  public  mischief,  than 
leaving  the    original  wrong   without 


INHERITANCE. 


IS5 


fttonement.  It  may  wem  faanl,  that 
a  claim,  originally  jast,  shonld  be  de- 
feated by  mere  lapse  of  time ;  but 
there  is  a  time  after  which,  (even  look- 
ing at  the  individual  case,  and  withont 
regard  to  the  general  eflect  on  the 
secant^  of  possessorsj  the  balance  of 
hardship  ttons  the  otoer  way.  With 
the  inJQStices  of  men,  as  with  the  con- 
▼nlsions  and  disasters  of  nature,  the 
longer  they  remain  unrepaired,  the 
greater  become  the  obstacles  to  re- 
pairing thepi,  arising  from  the  after- 
growths which  would  have  to  be  torn 
up  or  broken  through.  In  no  human 
transactions,  not  even  in  the  simplest 
and  clearest,  does  it  follow  that  a  tning 
is  fit  to  be  done  now,  because  it  was 
fit  to  be  done  sixty  years  aeo.  It  in 
scarcely  needful  to  remark,  tnat  these 
reasons  for  not  disturbing  acts  of  in- 
justice of  old  date,  cannot  apply  to 
unjust  systems  or  institutions ;  since 
a  bad  law  or  usage  is  not  one  bad  act, 
in  the  remote  past,  but  a  perpetual  re- 
petition of  baa  acts,  as  long  as  the  law 
or  usage  lasts. 

Such,  then,  being  the  essentials  of 
private  property,  it  is  now  to  be  con- 
sidered, to  what  extent  the  forms  in 
which  the  institution  has  existed  in 
difierent  states  of  society,  or  still  ex- 
ists, are  necessary  consequences  of  its 
principle,  or  are  recommended  by  the 
reasons  on  which  it  is  grounded. 

§  3.  Nothing  is  implied  in  pro- 
perty but  the  right  of  each  to  his  (or 
her)  own  faculties,  to  what  he  can 
produce  by  them,  and  to  whatever  he 
can  get  for  them  in  a  fair  market :  to- 
gether with  his  ri^ht  to  give  this  to 
any  other  person  if  he  cLo«>ses,  and 
the  ri^ht  ot  that  other  to  receive  and 
enjoy  it. 

It__followf<,  therefore,  that  although 
the  right  of  beouest,  or  ^ft  after  death, 
^Itas  part  of  tne  idea  of  private  pro- 
perty, the  right  of  inheritance,  as 
mstmguished  irom  bequest,  does  not. 
That  the  property  of  persons  who  have 
made  no  disposition  of  it  during  their 
lifetime,  should  pass  first  to  their  chil- 
dren,^ and  failing  them,  to  the  nearest 
relatioiui,  mav  be  a  proper  arrange- 
ment or  not  but  is  no  conseouence  of 


the  principle  of  private  property- 
Although  there  belong  to  the  decision 
of  such  questions  many  considerations 
besides  those  of  political  eocaom?. 
it  is  not  foreign  to  the  plan  of  thia 
work  to  suggest,  tor  the  jud^ent  ot 
thinkers,  the  view  of  them  which  most 
recommendB  itself  to  the  wnter^ii 
mind. 

No  presumption  in  favour  of  existing 
ideas  on  this  subject  is  to  be  derived 
from  their  antiquity.  In  early  ages, 
the  property  or  a  deceased  person 
passed  to  his  children  and  nearest  rela- 
tives by  so  natural  and  obvious  an 
arrangement,  that  no  other  was  likely 
to  be  even  tnougbt  of  in  competition 
with  it.  In  the  first  place,  they  were 
usually  present  on  the  spot :  they  were 
in  possession,  and  if  they  had  no  other 
title,  had  that,  so  important  in  an  early 
state  of  society,  of  first  occupancy. 
Secondly,  they  were  already,  in  a  man- 
ner, joint  owners  of  his  property  during 
his  Hfe.  If  the  property  was  in  lanc^ 
it  had  generally  been  conferred  by  the 
State  on  a  &mily  rather  than  on  an 
individual :  if  it  consisted  of  cattle  or 
moveable  goods,  it  had  probably  been 
acquired,  and  was  certamlv  protected 
and  defended,  by  the  united  efibrts  of 
all  members  of  the  family  who  were  of 
an  age  to  work  or  fi^ht.  Exclusive 
individual  property,  m  the  modem 
sense,  scarcely  entered  into  the  ideas 
of  the  time ;  and  when  the  first  magis- 
trate of  the  association  died,  he  really 
left  nothing  vacant  but  his  own  share 
in  the  division,  which  devolved  on  the 
member  of  the  fitmily  who  succeeded  to 
his  authority.  To  have  disposed  of  the 
property  otherwise,  would  have  been 
to  break  up  a  little  commonwealth, 
united  by  ideas,  interest,  and  habits, 
and  to  cast  them  adrift  on  the  world. 
These  considerations,  though  rather 
felt  than  reasoned  about,  had  so  great 
an  influence  on  the  minds  of  manond, 
as  to  create  the  idea  of  an  inherent 
right  in  the  children  to  the  possessions 
of  their  ancestor ;  a  right  wnich  it  was 
not  competent  to  himself  to  defeat. 
Bequest,  in  a  primitive  state  of  so- 
ciety, was  seldom  recognised ;  a  clear 
proof,  were  there  no  other,  that  pro- 
perty was  conceived  in  a  manner  to- 


136 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  H.    |  SJ. 


tally  different  fi'om  the  conception  of  it 
in  tne  present  time.* 

But  the  feudal  family,  the  last  histo- 
rical form  of  patriarchal  life,  has  long 
perished,  and  the  unit  of  society  is  not 
now  the  family  or  clan,  composed  of  all 
the  reputed  descendants  of  a  common 
ancestor,  but  the  individual ;  or  at 
most  a  j^air  of  individuals,  with  their 
onemancipated  children.  Property  is 
now  inherent  in  individuals,  not  in 
families :  the  children  when  grown  up 
do  not  follow  the  occupations  or  for- 
tunes of  the  parent :  if  they  partici- 
pate in  the  parent's  pecuniary  means 
It  is  at  his  or  her  pleasure,  and  not  by 
a  voice  in  the  ownership  and  govern- 
ment of  the  whole,  but  generally  by 
the  exclusive  enjoyment  of  a  part: 
and  in  this  country  at  least  (except  as 
far  as  entails  or  settlements  are  an  ob- 
stacle) it  is  in  the  power  of  parents  to 
disinherit  even  their  chilaren,  and 
leave  their  fortune  to  strangers.  More 
distant  relatives  are  in  general  almost 
as  completely  detached  from  the  family 
and  its  interests  as  if  they  were  in  no 
way  connected  with  it.  The  only 
claim  they  are  supposed  to  have  on 
their  richer  relations,  is  to  a  preference, 
cceteris  partbuSf  in  good  offices,  and 
some  aid  in  case  of  actual  necessity. 

So  great  a  change  in  the  constitu- 
tion of  society  must  make  a  consider- 
able difference  in  the  grounds  on  which 
the  disposal  of  property  by  inheritance 
should  rest.  The  reasons  usually 
1  assigned  by  modem  writers  for  giving 
^the  property  of  a  person  who  dies  in- 
testate, to  the  children,  or  nearest 
jrelatives,  are  first,  the  supposition  that 
lin  BO  disposing  of  it,  the  law  is  more 
[likely  than  in  any  other  mode  to  do 
I  what  the  proprietor  would  have  done, 
I  if  he  had  done  anything;  jind  secondly, 
I  the  hardship,  to  those  who  lived  with 
[their  parents  and  partook  in  their 
'opulence,  of  being  cast  down  from 
;the  enjoyments  of  wealth  into  poverty 
'andpnvation. 

There  is  some  force  in  both  these 
aiguments.    The  law  ought,  no  doubt, 

*  See,  for  admirable  illustrations  of  this 
And  many  kindred  points,  Mr.  Maine's  pro- 
found work  on  Ancient  Law  and  its  relation 
ft>  Modem  Ideas. 


to  do  for  the  children  or  dependents  of 
an  intestate,  whatever  it  was  the  duty 
of  the  parent  or  protector  to  have  done, 
10  far  as  this  can  be  known  by  any 
one  besides  himself.  Since,  however, 
the  law  cannot  decide  on  individual 
claims,  but  must  proceed  by  general 
rules,  it  is  next  to  be  considered  what 
these  rules  should  be. 

We  may  first  remark,  that  in  regard 
to  collateral  relatives,  it  is  not,  unless 
on  grounds  personal  to  the  particular 
individual,  the  duty  of  any  one  to  make 
a  pecuniary  provision  for  them.  No 
one  now  expects  it,  unless  there  happens 
to  be  no  oirect  heirs ;  nor  would  it  be 
expected  even  then,  if  the  expectation 
were  not  created  by  the  provisions  of 
the  law  in  case  of  intestacy.  I  see, 
therefore,  no  reason  why  collateral 
inheritance  should  exist  at  all.  Mx, 
Bentham  long  ago  proposed,  and,  other 
Ei^h  authorities  have  agreeTln  the 
opmion,  that  if  there  are  no  Leirs 
either  in  the  descending  or  in.  the 
ascending  line,  the  property,  in  case 
of  intestacy,  should  escheat  JaJSe 
State.  With  respect  to  the  more 
remote  degrees  of  collateral  relation- 
ship, the  point  is  not  very  likely  to  be 
disputed.  Few  will  maintain  that 
there  is  any  good  reason  why  the 
accumulations  of  some  childless  miser 
should  on  his  death  (as  every  now  and 
then  happens)  go  to  enrich  a  distant 
relative  who  never  saw  him,  who  per- 
haps never  knew  himself  to  be  related 
to  nim  until  there  was  something  to  be 
gained  by  it,  and  who  had  no  mora) 
claim  upon  him  of  any  kind,  more  than 
the  most  entire  stranger.  But  the 
reason  of  the  case  applies  alike  to  all 
collaterals,  even  in  the  nearest  degrae« 
Collaterals  have  no  real  claims,  but 
such  as  may  be  equally  strong  in  the 
case  of  non-relatives ;  and  in  the  one 
case  as  in  the  other,  where  valid  claims 
exist,  the  proper  mode  of  paying  regaid 
to  them  is  by  bequest. 

The  claims  of  children  are  of  a 
different  nature :  they  are  real,  and  in- 
defeasible. But  even  of  these,  I  venture 
to  think  that  the  measure  usually  taken 
is  an  erroneous  one:  what  is  due  to 
children  is  in  some  respects  under* 
irated^  in  others,  .as  it  appears  to  m^, 


INHERITANCE. 


m 


exaggerated.  One  of  the  most  binding 
of  all  obligations,  tbat  of  not  bringing 
children  into  the  world  unless  they  can 
be  maintained  in  comfort  during  child- 
hood, and  brought  up  with  a  likelihood 
of  supporting  memselves  when  of  full 
uge,  18  both  disregarded  in  practice 
and  miade  light  of  in  theory  in  a  manner 
disgraceful  to  human  intelligence.  On 
the  other  hand,  when  the  parent  pos- 
sesses property,  the  claims  of  the 
children  upon  it  seem  to  me  to  be  the 
subject  of  an  opposite  error.  What- 
ever fortune  a  parent  may  have  in- 
herited, or  still  more,  may  have  ac- 
quired, I  cannot  admit  that  he  owes 
to  his  children,  merely  because  they 
are  his  children,  to  leave  them  rich, 
without  the  necessity  of  any  exertion. 
I  oonld  not  admit  it,  even  if  to  be  so 
left  were  alwajrs,  and  certainly,  for  the 
good  of  the  children  themselves.  Bat 
this  is  in  the  highest  degree  uncertain. 
It  depends  on  individual  character. 
Without  supposing  extreme  cases,  it 
may  be  affinned  that  in  a  majority  of 
instances  the  good  not  only  of  society 
but  of  the  inSviduals  would  be  better 
consulted  by  bequeathing  to  them  a 
moderate,  than  a  large  provision.  This, 
which  is  a  common-place  of  moralists 
ancient  and  modem,  is  felt  to  be  true 
by  many  intelligent  parents,  and  would 
be  acted  upon  mucn  more  frequently, 
if  they  did  not  allow  themselves  to 
consider  less  what  really  is,  than  what 
win  be  thought  by  others  to  be,  ad- 
vantageous to  the  children. 

The  duties  of  parents  to  their 
children  are  those  which  are  indis- 
solubly  attached  to  the  fact  of  causing 
the  existence  of  a  human  being.  The 
parent  owes  to  society  to  endeavour  to 
make  the  child  a  good  and  valuable 
member  of  it,  and  owes  to  the  children 
to  provide,  so  far  as  depends  on  him, 
such  education,  and  such  appliances 
and  means,  as  will  enable  them  to  start 
with  a  fair  chance  of  achieving  by 
their  own  exertions  a  successful  life. 
To  this  every  child  has  a  claim ;  and 
I  cannot  admit,  that  as  a  child  he 
has  a  claim  to  more.  There  is  a  case 
in  which  these  obligations  present 
themselves  in  their  true  light,  without 
any  extrinsic  circumstances  to  disguise 


or  confuse  them :  it  is  that  of  an  illegi- 
timate child.  To  such  a  child  it  is 
generally  felt  that  there  is  due  from 
the  parent,  the  amount  of  provision 
for  his  welfare  which  will  enable  him 
to  make  his  life  on  the  whole  a  desir- 
able one.  I  hold  that  to  no  child, 
merely  as  such,  anything  more  is  due, 
ihan  what  is  admitted  to  be  due  to  an 
illegitimate  child:  and  that  no  child 
for  whom  thus  much  has  been  done, 
has,  unless  on  the  score  of  previously 
raised  expectations,  any  grievance,  if 
the  remainder  of  tne  parent's  fortune 
is  devoted  to  public  uses,  or  to  the 
benefit  of  individuals  on  whom  in  tho 
parent's  opinion  it  is  better  bestowed. 
In  order  to  give  the  children  that 
fair  chance  of  a  desirable  existence, 
to  which  they  are  entitled,  it  is  gene- 
rally necessary  that  they  should  not 
be  brought  up  from  childhood  in  habits 
of  luxury  which  they  will  not  have  the 
means  of  indulging  in  after  life.  This, 
again,  is  a  duty  often  flagrantly  vio- 
lated by  possessors  of  terminable  in- 
comes, who  have  little  property  to 
leave.  When  the  children  of  rich 
parents  have  lived,  as  it  is  natural 
they  should  do,  in  habits  correspond- 
ing to  the  scale  of  expenditure  in 
wmch  the  parents  indulge,  it  is  gene- 
rally the  duty  of  the  parents  to  make 
a  greater  provision  for  them,  than 
would  suffice  for  children  otherwise 
brought  up.  I  say  generally,  because 
even  here  there  is  another  side  to  the 
question.  It  is  a  proposition  quite 
capable  of  being  maintained,  that  to  a 
strong  nature  which  has  to  make  its 
way  against  narrow  circumstances,  to 
have  loiown  early  some  of  the  feelings 
and  experiences  of  wealth,  is  an  ad- 
vantage both  in  the  formation  of  cha- 
racter and  in  the  happiness  of  life. 
But  allowing  that  children  have  a  just 
ground  of  complaint,  who  have  been 
brought  up  to  require  luxuries  which 
they  are  not  afterwards  likely  to  obtain, 
and,  that  their  claim,  therefore,  is  good 
to  a  provision  bearing  some  relation  to 
the  mode  of  their  bringing  up ;  this,  too, 
is  a  claim  which  ip  particularly  liable 
to  be  stretched  further  than  its  reasons 
warrant.  The  case  is  exactly  that  of 
the  younger  children  of  the  nobility 


188 


BOOK  II.    CHAPTER  II.    §  4. 


and  landed  gentiy,  the  bulk  of  whose 
fortune  passes  to  the  eldest  son.  The 
other  sons,  who  are  nsnaUy  mimerous, 
are  brought  up  in  the  same  habits  of 
luxury  as  the  future  heir,  and  they 
receive,  m  a  younger  brother's  portion, 
generally  what  the  reason  of  tne  case 
dictates,  namely,  enough  to  support, 
in  the  habits  of  life  to  which  they  are 
accustomed,  themselves,  but  not  a  wife 
or  children.  It  really  is  no  grievance 
to  any  man,  that  for  the  means  of 
marrying  and  of  supporting  a  family, 
he  has  to  depend  on  nis  own  exertions . 
I  A  provision,  then,  such  as  is  ad- 
!mitted  to  be  reasonable  in  the  case 
of  illegitimate  children,  of  younger 
children,  wherever  in  short  the  justice 
<of  the  case,  and  the  real  interests  of 
,the  individuals  and  of  society,  are  the 
only  things  considered,  is,  I  conceive, 
all  that  parents  owe  to  their  children, 
and  all,  therefore,  which  the  state 
owes  to  the  children  of  those  who 
die  intestate.  The  surplus,  if  any, 
I  hold  that  it  may  rightfully  appro- 
priate to  the  general  purposes  of  the 
community.  I  would  not,  nowever,  be 
supposed  to  recommend  that  parents 
should  never  do  more  for  their  cnildren 
than  what,  merely  as  children,  they 
have  a  moral  right  to.  In  some  cases 
it  is  imperative,  in  many  laudable,  and 
in  all  allowable,  to  do  much  more. 
For  this,  however,  the  means  are 
afibrded  by  the  Ubert^  of  bequest.  It 
is  due,  not  to  the  children  but  to  the 
parents,  that  they  should  have  the 
power  of  showing  marks  of  affection, 
of  requiting  services  and  sacrifices, 
and  of  bestowing  their  wealth  according 
to  their  own  preferences,  or  their  own 
judgment  of  fitness. 

§  4.  Whether  the  power  of  bequest 
should  itself  be  subject  to  limitation,  is 
an  ulterior  question  of  great  import- 
ance. Unlike  inheritance  a6  tTaeaUtto, 
bequest  is  one  of  the  attributes  of  pro- 
perty :  the  ownership  of  a  thing  can- 
not be  looked  upon  as  complete  with- 
out the  power  of  bestowing  it,  at  death 
or  daring  Hfe,  at  the  owner's  pleasure : 
and  all  the  reasons,  which  recommend 
that  private  property  should  exist, 
recommend  jpro  tanto  this  extension  of 


it.  But  property  is  only  a  means  to 
an  eni,  not  itself  the  end.  Lik9..aU 
i>ther  proprietary  rights,  arid  even  in  a 
greater  aegree  than  mostj  thfi._pQyer 
of  bequest  mav  be  so  exercised,  jsb  to 
conHict  with  the  pei-manent  ii^tereata 
of  the  human  race.  It  does  so,  when, 
not  content  with  bequeathing  an  es- 
tate to  A,  the  testator  prescribes  that 
on  A's  death  it  shalf  pass  to  his 
eldest  son,  and  to  that  son's  son,  and 
so  on  for  ever.  No  doubt,  persons 
have  occasionally  exerted  themselves 
more  strenuously  to  acquire  a  fortune 
from  the  hope  of  founding  a  family  in 
perpetuity;  but  the  mischiefs  to  society 
of  such  perpetuities  outweigh  the 
value  of  this  incentive  to  exertion,  and 
the  incentives  in  the  case  of  those 
who  have  the  opportunity  of  making 
large  fortunes  are  strong  enough  with- 
out it.  A  similar  abuse  of  the  power 
of  bequest  is  committed  when  a  person 
who  does  the  meritorious  act  of  leaving 
property  for  public  uses,  attempts  to 
prescribe  the  details  of  its  application 
m  perpetuity ;  when  in  founding  a 
place  of  education,  (for  instance)  he 
dictates,  for  ever,  what  doctrines  shall 
be  taught.  It  being  impossible  that 
anv  one  should  know  what  doctrines 
will  be  fit  to  be  taught  after  he  has 
been  dead  for  centuries,  the  law  ought 
not  to  give  effect  to  such  dispositions 
of  propert;^,  unless  subject  to  the  per- 
petual revision  (after  a  certain  interval 
has  elapsed)  of  a  fitting  authority. 

These  are  obvious  limitations.  But 
even  the  simplest  exercise  of  the  right 
of  bequest,  that  of  determining  the 
person  to  whom  property  shall  pass 
immediately  on  the  death  of  the  tes- 
tator, has  always  been  reckoned  among 
the  privileges  which  might  be  limited 
or  varied,  according  to  views  of  ex- 
pediency. The  limitations,  hitherto, 
have  been  almost  solely  in  favour  of 
children.  In  England  the  right  h 
in  principle  unlimited,  almost  the  onfy 
impediment  being  that  arising  fitnn  a 
settlement  by  a  former  proprietor,  lu 
which  case  the  holder  ibr  the  time 
being  cannot  indeed  bequeath  his  po8> 
sessions,  but  only  because  there  is 
nothing  to  bequeath,  he  having  merely 
a  life  interest    By  the  Roman  law 


BEQUESTS. 


189 


on  which  the  civil  legisUtioii  of  the 
Contineiit  of  Euro]^  is  principally 
founded,  bequest  onginally  was  not 
permitted  at  all,  and  even  after  it  was 
introduced,  a  legitima  porHo  was  com- 
pulsorily  reserved  for  each  child  ;  and 
such  is  still  the  law  in  some  <^  the 
Continental  nations.  By  tha  French 
law  since  the  Revolution,  the  parent 
can  only  dispose  by  will,  of  a  portion 
equal  to  the  share  of  one  child,  each  of 
the  children  taking  an  equal  portion. 
This  entail,  as  it  may  be  called,  of  the 
bulk  of  every  one's  property  upon  the 
children  collectively,  seems  to  me  as 
little  defensible  in  principle  as  an  en- 
tail in  favour  of  one  chud,  though  it 
does  not  shock  so  directly  the  idea  of 
justice.  I  .cannot  admit  that  parents 
shouWifiLCOnipcfled  to  leave  to  their 
chndrcn  even  that  proviBion  whicn,  as 
children^  I  have  contended  that  they 
have  amoral  claim  to.  Children  may 
forfeit  ~~^t  claim  by  general  un- 
worthiness,  or  particular  ill-conduct  to 
the  parents:  they  may  have  other 
resources  or  prosnects :  what  has  been 
previously  done  for  them,  in  the  way 
of  education  and  advancement  in  life, 
may  ftilly  satisfy  their  moral  claim ;  or 
others  may  have  claims  superior  to 
theirs. 

The  extreme  restriction  of  the  power 
of  bequest  in  French  law  was  adopted 
as  a  democratic  expedient,  to  break 
down  the  custom  of  primogeniture,  and 
counteract  the  tendency  of  inherited 
property  to  collect  in  large  masses.  I 
agree  in  thinking  these  objects  emi- 
nently desirable ;  l}ut  the  means  used 
are  not,  I  think,  the  most  judicious. 
Were  I  framing  a  code  of  laws  accord- 
ing to  what  seems  to  me  best  in  itself, 
without  regard  to  existing  opinions  and 
sentiments,  I  should  prefer  to  restrict, 
not  what  any  one  might  bequeath,  but 
what  anyone  should  be  permitted  to 
acquire,  by  bequest  or  inheritance. 
Elach  person  should  have  power  to  dis- 
pose by  win  of  his  or  her  whole  ]^ro- 
perfy ;  out  not  to  lavish  it  in  enriching 
seine  one  individual,  beyond  a  certain 
maximum,  which  should  be  fixed  suffi- 
ciently high  to  afford  the  measa  of 
comfortable  independence.  The  in- 
equalities of  property  which  ttrise  from 


unequal  industry,  frugality,  perse- 
verance, talents,  and  to  a  certain  extent 
even  opportunities,  are  inseparable  from 
the  pnnciple  of  private  property,  and 
if  we  accept  the  principle,  we  must  bear 
with  these  consequences  of  it :  but  I 
see  nothing  objectionable  in  fixing  a 
limit  to  wlutt  any  one  may  acquire  by 
the  mere  favour  of  others,  without  any 
exercise  of  his  facidties,  and  in  requiring 
that  if  he  desires  any  furthur  accession 
of  fortune,  he  shall  work  for  it.*  I 
do  not  conceive  that  the  degree  of  . 
limitation  which  this  would  impose 
on  the  right  of  bequest,  would  be 
felt  as  a  burthensome  restraint  by 
any  testator  who  estimated  a  large 
fortune  at  its  true  value,  that  of  the 
pleasures  and  advantages  that  can  be 
purchased  with  it :  on  even  the  most 
extravagant  estimate  of  which,  it  must 
be  apparent  to  every  one,  that  the  dif- 
ference to  the  happiness  of  the  possessor 
between  a  moderate  independence  and 
five  times  as  much,  is  insignificant 
when  weighed  against  the  enjoyment 
that  might  be  gven,  and  the  perma- 
nent benefits  dinused,  bv  some  other 
disposal  of  the  four-fifths.  So  long 
indeed  as  the  opinion  practically  pre- 
vails, that  the  best  thing  which  can  be 
done  for  objects  of  affection  is  to  heap 
on  them  to  satiety  those  intrinsically 
worthless  things  on  which  large  fortunes 
are  mostlv  expended,  there  might  be 
little  use  m  enacting  such  a  law,  even 
if  it  were  possible  to  get  it  passed, 
since  tf  there  were  the  inclination, 
there  woidd  generally  be  the  power  of 

*  In  th«  CMe  of  capital  employed  in  the 
hands  of  the  owner  himaelfl  la  carryuig  on 
any  of  the  operations  of  industry,  there  are 
strong  grounds  for  leaving  to  him  the  power 
of  bequeathing  to  one  person  the  whole  of 
the  fkmds  actually  engaged  in  a  single  enter- 
prise. It  is  well  that  he  should  be  enabled 
to  leave  the  enterprise  under  the  control  of 
whichever  of  his  heirs  he  regards  as  best  fit- 
ted to  conduct  it  virtuously  and  efficiently ; 
and  the  necessity  (very  flrequent  and  incon- 
venient under  the  French  law)  would  be 
obviated,  of  breaking  up  a  manufacturing 
or  commercial  establishment  at  the  death  or 
its  chief.  In  like  manner  it  should  be  al- 
lowed to  a  proprietor  who  leaves  to  one  of 
his  sueeessors  the  moral  burthen  of  keeping 
up  an  ancestral  mansion  and  park  or  plea- 
sure-ground, to  bestow  along  with  them  at 
much  other  property  as  is  required  fat  thetf 
sufficient  maintenance. 


140 


BOOK  11.    CHAPTER  H.    |  5. 


evading  it.  The  law  would  be  imavail- 
ing  unless  the  popular  sentiment  went 
energetically  along  with  it;  which 
(judging  from  the  tenacious  adherence 
of  public  opinion  in  France  to  the  law 
of  compulsory  division)  it  would  in 
some  states  of  society  and  government 
be  very  likely  to  do,  nowever  much  the 
contrary  may  be  the  fact  in  England 
and  at  the  present  time.  If  the  re- 
striction could  be  made  practically  ef- 
fectual, the  benefit  would  be  great. 
Wealth  which  could  no  longer  be  em- 
ployed in  over-enriching  a  few,  would 
either  be  devoted  to  objects  of  public 
useftilness,  or  if  bestowed  on  individuals, 
would  be  distributed  among  a  larger 
number.  While  those  enormous  for- 
tunes which  no  one  needs  for  any  ^r- 
Bonai  purpose  but  ostentation  or  im- 
proper power,  would  become  much  less 
numerous,  there  would  be  a  great  mul- 
tiplication of  persons  in  easy  circum- 
stances, with  tne  advantages  of  leisure, 
and  all  the  real  enjoyments  which 
wealth  can  give,  except  those  of  vanity ; 
a  class  by  whom  the  services  which  a 
nation  having  leisured  classes  is  enti- 
tled to  expect  from  them,  either  by 
their  direct  exertions  or  by  the  tone 
they  give  to  the  feelings  and  tastes  of 
the  public,  would  be  rendered  in  a  much 
more  beneficial  manner  than  at  pi-esent. 
A  large  portion  also  of  the  accumula- 
tions of  successful  induslay  would  oro- 
bably  be  devoted  to  public  uses,  either 
by  direct  bequests  to  the  State,  or  b^ 
the  endowment  of  institutions;  as  is 
already  done  very  largely  in  the  United 
States,  where  the  ideas  and  practice  in 
the  matter  of  inheritance  seem  to  be 
unusuaUy  rational  and  beneficial.* 

*  **  Munificent  bequests  and  don&tions  for 
public  purposes,  whether  ch&riuble  or  edu. 
cationad,  form  a  striking  feature  in  the 
modem  history  of  the  United  States,  and 
especially  of  New  England.  Not  only  is  it 
common  for  ricli  capitalists  to  leave  by  will 
a  portion  of  their  fortune  towards  the  en- 
dowment of  national  institutions,  but  indi- 
Tiduals  during  their  lifetime  make  magni- 
ficent grants  of  money  for  the  same  objects. 
There  is  here  no  compulsory  law  for  the 
equal  partition  of  property  among  children, 
as  in  France,  and  on  the  other  hand,  no 
custom  of  entail  or  primogeniture,  as  in 
England,  so  that  the  affluent  feel  themseWes 
at  liberty  to  share  their  wealth  between 
their  kindred  and  the  public ;  U  bein|(  im- 


§  5.  The  next  point  to  be  consi- 
dered 18,  whether  the  reasons  onjsdiich 
the  institution  of  proj>erty  restej^^are 
applicable  to  all  things  in  vihichj^jagbt 
of  exclusive  ownersuip  is  at  present 
recognised ;  and  if  not,  on  what  .Qtber 
grounds  the  recognition  is  defensible. 

The  essential  principle  of  property 
being  to  assure  to  all  persons  what 
they  have  produced  by  their  labour  and 
accumulated  by  their  abstinence,  this 
principle  cannot  apply  to  whatsis  not 
the  produce  of  labour,  the  raw  material 
of  the  earth.  If  the  land  derived  its 
productive  power  wholly  from  nature, 
and  not  at  all  from  industry,  or  if  there 
were  any  means  of  discriminating  what 
is  derived  from  each  source,  it  not  only 
would  not  be  necessary,  but  it  would 
be  the  height]of  injustice,  to  let  the  gift 
of  nature  be  engrossed  by  individuala 
The  use  of  the  land  in  a^cnltniv 
must  indeed,  for  the  time  bemg,  be  of 
necessity  exclusive;  the  same  persoc 
who  has  ploughed  and  sown  must  be 
permitted  to  reap :  but  the  land  might 
be  occupied  for  one  season  only,  as 
among^  the  ancient  Germans ;  or  might 
be  periodically  redivided  as  population 
increased :  or  the  State  might  be  the 
universal  landlord,  and  the  cultivators 
tenants  under  it,  eitheron  lease  or  at  will. 

But  though  land  is  not  the  produce 
of  industry,  most  of  its  valuable  quali- 
ties are  so.  Labour  is  not  only  requi- 
site for  usine,  but  almost  equally  so  for 
fashioning  the  instrument.  Consider- 
able labour  is  often  required  at  the  com- 
mencement, to  clear  the  land  for  cul- 
tivation.   In  many  cases,  even  when 

possible  to  found  a  fkmily,  and  parents  hav- 
ing frequently  the  happiness  of  seeing  all 
their  children  well  provided  for  and  inde- 
pendent long  before  their  death.  I  have 
seen  a  list  of  bequests  and  donations  made 
during  the  last  thirty  years  for  the  benefit 
of  religious,  charitable,  and  literary  institu- 
tions in  the  State  of  Massachusetts  alone, 
and  they  amounted  to  no  less  a  sum  than  six 
millions  of  dollars,  or  more  than  a  million 
sterling. "—Lyell's  Travtli  in  Am§riea,T%L  L 
p.  263. 

In  England,  whoever  leaves  anything,  be- 
yond  trifling  legacies,  for  public  or  benefi- 
cent objects,  when  he  has  any  near  relatives 
living,  does  so  at  the  risk  of  being  declared 
insane  by  a  Jury  after  his  death,  or  at  the 
least,  of  having  the  property  wasted  in  a 
Chancery  suit  to  i«et  aside  the  will. 


PROPERTY  IN  LAND. 


141 


cleared,  its  prodnctiyenesa  is  wholly 
the  effect  oi  labour  and  art.  The 
Bedford  Leyel  prodnced  little  or  no- 
thing until  artificially  drained.  The 
bogs  of  Ireland,  until  the  same  thing 
ig  done  to  them,  can  produce  little 
besides  fuel.  One  of  the  barrennest 
tioils  in  the  ivorld,  composed  of  the  ma- 
terial of  the  Goodwin  Sands,  the  Pays 
de  Waes  in  Flanders,  has  been  so  fer- 
tilized by  industry,  as  to  have  become 
one  of  the  most  productive  in  Europe. 
Cultivation  also  requires  buildings 
and  fences,  which  are  wholly  the  pro- 
duce of  labour.  The  fruits  of  this  in- 
dustry cannot  be  reaped  in  a  short 
period.  The  labour  and  outlay  are 
immediate,  the  benefit  is  spread  over 
many  years,  perhaps  over  all  future 
time.  A  bolder  will  not  incur  this 
labour  and  outlay  when  strangers  and 
not  himself  will  be  benefitted  by  it.  If 
he  undertakes  such  improvements,  he 
mnst  have  a  sufficient  period  before 
him  in  which  to  profit  by  them ;  and 
he  is  in  no  way  so  sure  of  having  al- 
ways a  sufficient  period  as  when  his 
tenure  is  perpetual.* 

§  6.  These  are  the  reasons  which 
form  the  justification,  in  an  economical 
point  of  view,  of  property  in  land.  It 
is  seen  that  they  are  only  valid,  in 'so 
far  as  the  proprietor  of  land  is  its  im- 
prover. "  Avhenever,  in  any  country, 
the    proprietor,    generally    speaking, 

*  **  What  endowed  man  with  intelligence 
and  perseTerance  in  labour,  what  made  him 
direct  all  his  efforts  towards  an  end  nsefol 
to  his  race,  was  the  sentiment  of  perpetuity. 
The  lands  which  the  streanu  have  deposited 
along  their  course  are  alwi^  the  most  fer- 
tile, bat  are  also  those  wliich  they  menace 
with  their  inundations  or  corrupt  by 
marshes.  Under  the  guarantee  of  perpe- 
tuity men  undertook  long  and  painful  la- 
bomrs  to  give  the  marshes  an  outlet,  to  erect 
embankments  agunst  inundations,  to  dis- 
tribute by  irri^tion-channels  Ibrtilixing 
waters  over  the  same  fields  which  the  same 
waters  had  condemned  to  sterility.  Under 
the  same  guarantee,  man,  no  longer  con- 
tenting himself  with  the  annual  products  of 
the  earth,  distinguished  among  the  wild  ve- 
getation the  perennial  plants,  shrubs,  and 
trees  which  would  be  useful  to  him,  im- 
proved them  by  culture,  changed,  it  may 
almost  be  said,  their  very  nature,  and  multi- 
plied their  amount.  Thore  are  firuits  which 
tt  required  centuries  of  cultivation  to  bring 
to  their  present  perfectioi^  and  others  whioh 


ceases  to  be  the  improver,  political 
economy  has  nothing  to  say  in  defence 
of  landed  property,  as  there  established. 
In  no  sound  theory  of  private  property 
was  it  ever  contemplated  that  the  pro- 
prietor of  land  should  be  merely  a 
sinecurist  quartered  on  it. 

In  Great  Britain,  the  landed  pro- 
prietor is  not  unfrequently  an  improver. 
But  it  cannot  be  said  that  he  is  gene- 
rally so.  And  in  the  minority  of  cases 
he  grants  the  liberty  of  cultivation  on 
such  terms,  as  to  prevent  improvements 
from  being  made  by  any  one  else.  In 
the  southern  parts  of  the  island,  as 
there  are  usually  no  leases,  permanent 
improvements  can  scarcely  be  made 
except  by  the  landlord's  capital;  ac- 
cordmgly  the  South,  compared  with 
the  North  of  England,  and  with  the 
Lowlands  of  Scotland,  is  still  extremely 
backward  in  agricultural  improvement. 
The  truth  is,  that  any  very  general 
improvement  of  land  by  the  landlords, 
is  nardly  compatible  with  a  law  or 
custom  of  primogeniture.  When  the 
land  goes  wholly  to  the  heir,  it  gene- 
rally goes  to  nim  severed  from  the 
pecuniary  resources  which  would  ena- 
ble him  to  improve  it,  the  personal 
property  being  absorbed  by  the  provi- 
sion for  younger  children,  and  the  land 
itself  often  heavily  burthened  for  the 
same  purpose,  lliere  is  therefore  but 
a  small  proportion  of  landlords  who 
have  the  means  of  making  expensive 

have  been  introduced  firom  the  most  remote 
regions.  Men  have  opened  the  earth  to  a 
great  depth  to  renew  the  soil,  and  fertilise 
it  by  the  mixture  of  its  parts  and  by  contact 
with  the  air;  they  have  fixed  on  the  hill- 
sides the  soil  which  would  have  slid  off, 
and  have  covered  the  face  of  the  countiy 
with  a  vegetation  everywhere  abundant,  and 
everywhere  useful  to  the  human  race. 
Among  their  labours  there  are  some  of 
which  the  firuits  can  only  be  reaped  at  the 
end  of  ten  or  of  twenty  years;  there  are 
others  by  which  their  posterity  will  still 
benefit  after  several  centuries.  All  hare 
concurred  in  augmenting  the  productive 
force  of  nature,  in  giving  to  mankind  a  re- 
venue infinitely  more  abundant,  a  revenue 
of  which  a  considerable  part  is  consumed  by 
those  who  have  no  share  in  the  ownership 
of  the  land,  but  who  would  not  have  found 
a  maintenance  but  for  that  appropriation  of 
the  soil  by  which  they  seem,  at  first  sight,  to 
hare  been  disinherited."— Sismondi,  Studitt 
in  FoUiieal  Bconomgt  Third  Bssay,  on  Ter- 
ritorial Wealth. 


142 

improvements,  unless  thej  do  it  with 
borrowed  money,  and  hj  adding  to  the 
mortgages  with  which  in  most  cases 
the  land  was  already  burthened  when 
they  received  it.  But  the  position  of 
the  owner  of  a  deeply  mortgaged  estate 
is  BO  precarious ;  economy  is  so  unwel- 
come to  one  whose  apparent  fortune 
greatly  exceeds  his  real  means,  and 
the  vicissitudes  of  rent  and  price  which 
only  ti'ench  upon  the  margin  of  his  in- 
come, are  so  mrmidable  to  one  who  can 
call  little  more  than  the  margin  his 
own ;  that  it  is  no  wonder  if  few  land- 
lords find  themselves  in  a  condition  to 
make  immediate  sacrifices  for  the  sake 
of  future  profit.  Were  they  ever  so 
much  inclmed,  those  alone  can  pru- 
dently do  it,  who  have  seriously  studied 
the  principles  of  scientific  agriculture : 
and  great  landlords  have  seldom  seri- 
ously studied  anything.  They  might 
at  least  hold  out  inducements  to  the 
farmers  to  do  what  they  will  not  or 
cannot  do  themselves;  but  even  in 
granting  leases,  it  is  in  England  a 
general  complaint  that  they  tie  up 
their  tenants  by  covenants  grounded 
on  the  practices  of  an  obsolete  and  ex- 
ploded agriculture :  while  most  of  ihem, 
by  withholding  leajses  altogether,  and 
giving  the  farmer  no  guarantee  of  pos- 
session beyond  a  single  harvest,  keep 
the  land  on  a  footing  little  moio  &vour- 
able  to  improvement  than  in  the  time 
of  our  barbarous  ancestors, 

immetats  quibus  Jugera  liberas 

Fruges  et  Cererem  ferunt. 

Nee  coltura  placet  longior  annu&. 

Landed  property  in  England  is  thus 
very  far  from  completely  fulfilling  the 
conditions  which  render  its  existence 
economically  justifiable.  But  if  insuffi- 
ciently realized  even  in  England,  in 
Ireland  those  conditions  are  not  com- 
plied with  at  alL  With  individual 
exceptions  (some  of  them  very  honour- 
able ones),  the  owners  of  Irish  estates 
do  nothing  for  the  land  but  drain  it 
of  ito  produce.  What  has  been  epi- 
grammatically  said  in  the  discussions 
on  "peculiar  burthens"  is  literally 
true  when  applied  to  them ;  that  the 
groatest  ''burthen  on  land'*  is  the 
uindlords.  Beturaing  uolbing  to  the 
soil,  they  consume  its  whitla  produce, 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  IL    §  b. 


minus  the  potatoes  strictly  necessar  j 
to  keep  the  inhabitants  from  dying  of 
famine  :  and  when  they  have  any  pur- 
pose of  improvement,  the  preparatory 
step  usually  consists  in  not  leaving^ 
even  this  pittance,  but  turning  out  the 
people  to  beggary  if  not  to  starvation.* 
When  landed  propjerty  has  placed  it- 
self u^on  this  footing  it  ceases  to  be 
defensible,  and  the  time  has  oome  for 
making  some  new  arrangement  of  the 
matter. 

When  the  "  sacredness  of  property  *• 
is  talked  of,  it  should  always  be  remem^ 
bered,  that  any  such  sacredness  does 
not  belong  in  the  same  degree  to  landed 
property.  No  man  made  the  land. 
It  IS  the  original  inheritance  of  the 
whole  species.  Its  appropriation  is 
wholly  a  question  of  general  e3^>e- 
diencj.  Wnen  private  property  in 
land  IS  not  expedient,  it  is  uhjiiist.  ~  Tt 
IS  no  hardship  to  any  one,  to  be  ex- 
cluded from  what  others  have  pro- 
duced :  they  were  not  bound  to  produce 
it  for  his  use,  and  he  loses  nothing  by 
not  sharing  in  what  otherwise  would 
not  have  existed  at  alL  But  it  is 
some  hardship  to  be  bom  into  the 
world  and  to  find  all  nature's  gifts 
previously  engroikksd,  and  no  place  left 
for  the  new-comer.  To  reconcile  peo- 
ple to  this,  afiw  they  have  once 
admitted  into  their  minds  the  idea  that 
any  moral  rights  bekmg  to  them  as 
human  beings,  it  will  always  be  neces- 
sary to  convince  them  that  the  exclu- 
sive appropriation  is  good  for  mankind 
OB  the  whole,  themselves  included. 
But  this  is  what  no  sane  human  being 
could  be  persuaded  of,  if  the  relation 
between  the  landowner  and  the  cul- 
tivator were  the  same  everywhere  as  it 
has  been  in  Ireland. 

Landed  {)ropertY  is  felt  even  by  those 
most  tenacious  et  its  rights,  to  be  a 
different  thing  from  other  property; 
and  where  the  huSn  of  the  community 
have  been  disinherited  of  their  share  of 
it,  and  it  has  become  the  exclnsiv« 

*  I  most  beg  tbe  reader  to  bear  ia  mixkd 
that  this  paragraph  waa  written  eighteen 
years  ago.  So  wouderflii  are  the  changes* 
both  moral  and  ecoHomical,  taking  |daee  ia 
oov  age,  tbat»  wlthoot  perpeCoally  ra-writii^ 
»woFk  like  the  presentr  it  is  impessifale  tm 
keep  np  with  MiaMt. 


PROPBBTI  IN  LAND. 


143 


attribute  of  a  amall  minority,  men  haye 
generally  tried  to  reooncile  it,  at  least 
m  theory,  to  their  genBe  of  justice,  by 
endeavouring  to  attach  duties  to  it, 
and  erecting  it  into  a  sort  of  magis- 
tracy,  either  moral  or  legal.  But  if 
the  state  is  at  liberty  to  treat  tbe 
possessors  of  land  as  public  iimo- 
tionaries,  it  is  only  going  one  step 
further  to  say,  that  it  is  at  liberty  to 
discard  them.  The  claim  of  the  land- 
owners to  the  land  is  altogether  subor- 
dinate to  the  general  policy  of  the 
state.  The  principle  of  property  gives 
them  no  right  to  the  Una,  but  only 
a  right  to  compensation  for  whatever 
portion  of  their  interest  in  the  land  it 
may  be  the  policy  of  the  state  to 
deprive  them  of.  To  that,  their  claim 
is  indefeasible.  It  is  due  to  land- 
owners, and  to  owners  of  any  property 
whatever,  recognised  as  such  by  the 
state,  that  they  should  not  be  dis- 
possessed of  it  without  receiving  its 
pecuniary  value,  or  an  annual  income 
equal  to  what  they  derived  from  it. 
lliis  is  due  on  the  general  principles 
on  which  property  rests.  If  the  land 
was  bought  with  the  produce  of  the 
labour  and  abstinence  oi  themselves  or 
their  anoestors,  compensation  is  due  to 
them  on  that  ground ;  even  if  other- 
wise, it  is  still  due  on  the  ground  of 
prescription.  Nor  can  it  ever  be  iieces> 
sary  for  accomplishing  an  object  by 
which  the  community  altogether  will 
gain,  that  a  particular  portion  of  the 
community  should  be  immolated. 
When  the  property  is  of  a  kind  to 
which  peculiar  affections  attach  them- 
selves, the  oompeasation  ought  to 
exceed  a  bare  pecuniary  equivalent. 
But,  subject  to  tnis  proviso,  the  state 
is  at  liberty  to  deal  with  landed  pro- 
perty as  the  general  interests  of  the 
community  may  require,  even  to  the 
extent,  if  it  so  happen,  of  doing  with 
the  whole,  what  is  done  with  a  part 
whenever  a  bill  is  P^^ed  for  a  railroad 
or  a  new  street.  The  community  has 
too  much  at  stake  in  the  proper  cul- 
tivation of  the  land,  and  in  the  condi- 
tions annexed  to  the  occupancy  of  it, 
to  leave  these  things  to  the  discretioa 
of  a  class  at  pessons  oaUed  landlords, 
when    they  havw    shown  ihamtelvee 


unfit  for  the  tnist  The  legislature, 
which  if  it  pleased  might  convert 
the  whole  body  of  landlords  into  fund- 
holders  or  pensioners,  might,  dfortiori^ 
commute  the  average  receipts  of  Irish 
landowners  into  a  fixed  rent  charge 
and  raise  the  tenants  into  proprietors; 
supposing  always  that  the  full  market 
value  of  the  land  was  tendered  to  the 
landlords,  in  case  they  preferred  that 
to  accepting  the  conditions  proposed. 

There  will  be  another  place  for  dis- 
cussing the  various  modes  of  landed 
property  and  tenure,  and  the  advan- 
tages and  inconveniences  of  each ;  in 
this  chapter  our  concern  is  with  the 
right  itself)  the  grounds  which  justify 
it,  and  (as  a  corollary  from  these)  the 
conditions  by  which  it  should  be  limited. 
To  me  it  seems  almost  an  axiom  that 
property  in  land  should  be  interpreted 
strictly,  and  that  the  balance  in  tvU 
cases  ot  doubt  should  incline  s^ainst 
the  proprietor.  The  reverse  is  the 
case  with  property  in  moveables,  and 
in  all  things  the  product  of  labour: 
over  these,  the  owner's  power  both  of 
use  and  of  exclusion  should  be  abso- 
lute, except  where  positive  evil  to 
others  would  result  from  it ;  but  in  the 
case  of  land,  no  exclusive  right  should 
be  permitted  in  any  individual,  which 
eannot  be  shown  to  be  productive  of 
positive  ^ood.  To  be  allowed  any  ex- 
clusive nght  at  all,  over  a  portion  of 
the  common  inheritance,  while  there 
are  others  who  have  no  portion,  is 
already  a  privilege.  No  quantity  of 
moveable  ^oods  which  a  person  can 
acquire  by  his  labour,  prevents  others 
from  acquiring  the  like  by  the  same 
means;  but  from  the  very  nature  of 
the  case,  whoever  owns  land,  keeps 
others  out  of  the  enjoyment  of  it. 
The  privilege,  or  monopoly,  is  only 
defensible  as  a  necessary  evil ;  it  be- 
comes an  injustice  when  carried  to  any 
point  to  which  the  compensating  gooa 
does  not  follow  it. 

For  instance,  the  exclusive  right  to 
the  land  for  purposes  of  cultivation 
does  not  imply  an  exclusive  right  to  it 
for  purposes  of  access;  and  no  such 
right  ought  to  be  recognized,  except 
to  the  extent  necessaxy  to  protect  ^ht 
produce    against    damiage,    and   th* 


144 


BOOK  it.    CliAPtER  ti.    g  r. 


owner^s  priyacy  against  inyasion.  The 
pretension  of  two  Dukes  to  shut  up 
a  part  of  the  Highlands,  and  exclude 
the  rest  of  mankind  from  many  square 
miles  of  monntain  scenery  to  prevent 
disturbance  to  wild  animals,  is  an 
abuse  ;  it  exceeds  the  legitimate  bounds 
of  the  right  of  landed  property.  When 
land  is  not  intended  to  be  cultivated, 
no  good  reason  can  in  general  be  given 
for  its  being  private  property  at  all; 
and  if  any  one  is  permitted  to  call  it 
his,  he  ought  to  know  that  he  holds  it 
by  sufferance  of  the  community,  and 
on  an  implied  condition  that  his  owner- 
ship, since  it  cannot  possibly  do  them 
any  good,  at  least  shall  not  deprive 
them  of  any,  which  they  could  nave 
derived  from  the  land  if  it  had  been 
unappropriated.  Even  in  the  case  of 
cultivated  land,  a  man  whom,  though 
only  one  among  millions,  the  law  permits 
to  hold  thousands  of  acres  as  his  single 
share,  is  not  entitled  to  think  that  all 
this  is  given  to  him  to  use  and  abuse, 
and  deal  with  as  if  it  concerned  nobody 
but  himself.  The  rents  or  profits  which 
he  can  obtain  from  it  are  at  his  sole 
disposal ;  hut  with  regard  to  the  land, 
in  everything  which  he  does  with  it, 
and  in  everything  which  he  abstains 
from  doing,  he  is  morally  bound,  and 
should  whenever  the  case  admits  be 
legallv  compelled,  to  make  his  interest 
and  pleasure  consistent  with  the  public 
good.  The  species  at  large  still  re- 
tains, of  its  original  claim  to  the  soil 
of  the  planet  which  it  inhahits,  as  much 
as  is  compatible  with  the  purposes  for 
which  it  has  parted  with  the  remainder. 

§  7.  Besides  property  in  the  pro- 
duce of  labour,  and  property  in  land, 
there  are  other  things  which  are  or 
have  been  subjects  of  property,  in 
which  no  proprietary  rights  ought  to 
exist  at  all.  But  as  the  civilized  world 
iias  in  general  made  up  its  mind  on 
most  of  these,  there  is  no  necessity  for 
dwelling  on  them  in  this  place.  At 
the  head  of  them,  is  property  in  human 
beings.  It  is  almost  superfluous  to 
observe,  that  this  institution  can  have 
no  place  in  any  society^  even  pretending 
to  be  founded  on  justice,  or  on  fellow- 
ohif  betwof^n  human  creatures.    But. 


iniquitous  as  it  is,  vet  when  the  state 
has  expressly  legalized  it,  and  human 
beings,  for  generations,  have  heen 
bought,  sold,  and  inherited  under 
sanction  of  law,  it  is  another  wrong,  in 
abolishing  the  property,  not  to  make 
ftdl  compensation.  This  wron^  was 
avoided  by  the  great  measure  of  justice 
in  1833,  one  of  the  most  virtuous  acts, 
as  well  as  the  most  practically  benefi- 
cent, ever  done  collectively  by  a  nation. 
Other  examples  of  property  which 
ought  not  to  have  been  created,  are 
properties  in  public  trusts;  such  as 
judicial  ofi&ces  under  the  old  French 
regime,  and  the  heritable  jurisdictions 
which,  in  countries  not  wholly  emerged 
from  feudality,  pass  with  the  land. 
Our  own  countiy  affords,  as  cases  in 
point,  that  of  a  commission  in  the 
army,  and  of  an  advowson,  or  right  of 
nomination  to  an  ecclesiastical  bene- 
fice. A  property  is  also  sometimes 
created  in  a  right  of  taxing  the  public ; 
in  a  monopoly,  for  instance,  or  other 
exclusive  privilege.  These  abuses  pre- 
vail most  in  semibarbarous  countries ; 
but  are  not  without  example  in  the 
most  civilized.  In  France  there  are 
several  important  trades  and  profes- 
sions, including  notaries,  attorneys, 
brokers,  appraisers,  printers,  and  (until 
lately)  bakers  and  butchers,  of  which 
the  numbers  are  limited  by  law.  The 
brevet  or  privilege  of  one  of  the  per- 
mitted number  consequently  brings  a 
high  price  in  the  market.  When  this 
is  the  case,  compensation  probably 
could  not  with  justice^  be  remsed,  on 
the  abolition  of  the  privilege.  There 
are  other  cases  in  which  this  would  be 
more  doubtful.  The  question  would 
turn  upon  what,  in  the  peculiar  cir- 
cumstances, was  sufficient  to  constitute 
prescription;  and  whether  the  legal 
recognition  which  the  abuse  had  ob- 
tained, was  sufficient  to  constitute  it 
an  institution,  or  amounted  only  to  an 
occasional  licence.  It  would  be  absurd 
to  claim  compensation  for  losses  caused 
by  changes  in  a  tariff  a  thing  confes- 
sedly variable  from  year  to  year ;  or  for 
monopolies  like  those  granted  to  indivi 
duals  oy  the  Tudors,  favours  of  a  despo- 
tic authority,  which  the  power  that  gave 
was  competent  at  any  timf»  V>  recaL 


V 


CLASSES  WHO  DIVIDE  THE  PRODUCE. 


145 


So  much  on  the  institation  of  pro- 
perty, a  subject  of  which,  for  the  pur- 
poses of  political  economj,  it  was 
indispensable  to  treat,  but  on  which 
we  could  not  usefully  confine  ourselyes 
to  economical    oonaiderations.      We 


have  now  to  inquire  on  what  principles 
and  with  what  results  the  distribution 
oT  the  produce  of  land  and  labour  is 
"effectedj^  under  the  relations  which 
this  institution  creates  among  the 
different  members  of  the  oommuutj. 


CHAPTER  HL 


OF  THE   CLASSES  AMONG  WHOM  THE   PRODUCE   IB  D18TRIBT7TED. 


I  1.  Private  property  being  as- 
sumed as  a  fact,  we  have  next  to  enu- 
merate the  different  classes  of  persons 
to  whom  it  ^ves  rise ;  whose  concur- 
rence, or  at  least  whose  permission,  is 
necessary  to  production,  and  who  are 
therefore  able  to  stipulate  for  a  share 
of  the  produce.  We  have  to  inquire, 
accordmg  to  what  laws  the  produce 
distributes  itself  among  these  danses, 
by  the  spontaneous  action  of  the  inte- 
rests of  those  concerned :  after  which, 
a  further  question  will  be,  what  effects 
are  or  might  be  produced  by  laws,  in- 
stitutions, and  measures  of  government, 
in  superseding  or  modifying  that  spon- 
taneous distribution. 

The  three  requisites  of  production, 
as  has  been  so  oflen  repeated,  are 
labour,  capital,  and  land :  understand- 
ing by  capital,  the  means  and  ap- 
phances  which  are  the  accumulated 
results  of  previous  labour,  and  by  land, 
the  materials  and  instruments  supplied 
by  nature,  whether  contained  m  the 
interior  of  the  earth  or  constituting  its 
surface.  Since  each  of  these  elements 
of  production  may  be  separately  appro- 
pnated,  the  industrial  conmiunity  mar 
be  considered  as  divided  into  land- 
owners, capitalists,  and  productive 
labourers.  "Tiacli  of  these  classes,  as 
such,~obtains  a  share  of  the  produce  : 
no  other  person  or  class  obtains  any- 
thing, except  by  concession  from  them. 
The  remainder  of  the  community  is, 
in  fact,^  supported  at  their  expense, 
giving  if  any  equivalent,  one  consist- 
mg  of^  unproductive  services.  These 
ihriie  classes,  therefore,  are  considered 

FJL 


in  political  economy  as  making  up  the 
whole  community. 

§  2.  But  although  these  three 
sometimes  exist  as  separate  classes, 
dividing  the  produce  among  them,  they 
do  not  necessarily  or  always  so  exist. 
The  fact  is  so  much  otherwise,  that 
there  are  only  one  or  two  communities 
in  which  the  complete  separation  of 
these  classes  is  the  general  rule.  Eng- 
land and  Scotland,  with  parts  of  Bel- 
gium and  Holland,  are  almost  the  only 
countries  in  the  world  where  the  land, 
capital,  and  labour  employed  in  agri- 
culture, are  generally  tne  property  of 
separate  owners.  Tne  ordinary  case 
is,  that  the  same  person  owns  either 
two  of  these  requisites,  or  all  three. 

The  case  in  which  the  same  person 
owns  all  three,  embraces  the  two  ex- 
tremes of  existing  society,  in  respect 
to  the  independence  and  dignity  of  the 
labouring  class.  First,  when  the 
labourer  himself  is  the  proprietor. 
This  is  the  commonest  case  in  the 
Northern  States  of  the  American 
Onion;  one  of  the  commonest  in 
France,  Switzerland,  the  three  Scan- 
dinavian kin^oms,  and  parts  of  Ger- 
many;* ana  a  common  case  in  parts 

•  **Th«  Norwegian  tetom"  (nay  th« 
Commissioners  of  Poor  Law  Enquiry,  to 
whom  information  was  ftimished  fkt>m  nearly 
every  oonntry  in  Eiarape  and  America  by 
the  ambassadors  and  consuls  there)  **  states 
that  at  the  last  census  in  1826,  out  of  a  popu- 
lation of  1,051,318  persons,  there  were  59,464 
freeholders.  As  by  59,464  freeholders  must 
be  meant  60,464  heads  of  families,  or  about 
300,000  Individuals;  the  freenolders  most 
form  m<Hre  than  one-foorth  of  the  whole  pomu 

L 


146 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  IE.    S  8. 


of  Italpr  and  in  Belgimn.  In  all  these 
C(mntnes  there  are,  no  douht,  large 
landed  properties,  and  a  still  greater 
nmnber  which,  ^without  being  largp, 
i^equii^  the  occasional  or  constant  aia 
of  hired  labonrers.  Much,  however, 
of  the  land  is  owned  in  portions  too 
small  to  require  any  other  lahonr  than 
that  of  the  peasant  and  his  family,  or 
fully  to  occupy  eyen  that.  The  capital 
employed  is  not  always  that  of  the 
peasant  proprietor,  many  of  these  small 
properties  being  mortgaged  to  obtain 
the  means  of  cultivating;  but  the 
capital  is  invested  at  the  peasant's 
risk,  and  though  he  pays  interest  for 
it,  it  gives  to  no  one  any  right  of  inter- 
ference, except  perhaps  eventually  to 
tAke  possession  of  the  land,  if  the  in- 
terest ceases  to  he  paid. 

The  other  case  in  which  the  land, 
labour,  and  capital,  belong  to  the  same 
person,  is  the  case  of  slave  countries, 
in  which  the  labourers  themselves  are 
owned  by  the  landowner.  Our  West 
India  colonies  before  emancipation,  and 
tfai9  sugar  colonies  of  the  nations  by 
whom  a  similar  act  of  justice  is  still 
unperformed,  are  examples  of  large 
establishments  for  agncultnnJ  and 
fnanufacturing  labour  (the  production 
of  sugar  and  rum  is  a  combmation  of 
both)  in  which  the  land,  the  factories 

lation.  Mr.  liacgregor  states  that  in  Den- 
mark (by  which  Zeuand  and  the  adjoining 
Istands  are  probably  meant)  out  of  a  popula- 
tion of  92«,I10,  the  Bomber  of  landed  pro- 
prietors and  flarmers  is  416,110,  or  nearly 
one-half.  In  Sleswick-HolsteiiL  out  of  a 
popu'ation  of  604,085,  it  is  196,017,  or  about 
one-third.  The  proportion  of  proprietors 
Mid  farmers  to  the  whole  population  is  not 
given  in  Sweden ;  but  the  Stockholm  return 
estimates  the  average  quantity  of  land  an- 
nexed to  a  labourer's  habitation  at  from  one 
to  ftn  acres ;  and  though  1^  Gottenburg 
return  gives  a  lower  esOinate,  it  adds,  that 
the  peasants  possess  much  of  the  land.  In 
^urtemburg  we  are  told  that  more  than 
two4hfrds  of  the  labouring  population  are 
the  proprietors  of  their  own  habitations, 
'tCtiA  that  almost  all  own  at  least  a  garden  of 
from  thit»;quarters  of  an  acre  to  an  acre 
<and  a  half.'**  In  some  of  these  statements, 
proprietors  and  farmers  are  not  discrimi- 
nated ;  but  **  all  the  returns  oononr  In  stating 
the  number  of  day-labonren  to  be  very 
'  Small.**— {Trtfaoe  to  Foreign  Oommuadeaiunut 
p,  xxxviii.)  As  the  general  §i<Uut  of  the  la- 
TKmring  people,  the  condition  of  a  work- 
inan  fbr  hire  la  almost  peculiar  to  Great 
Britain. 


(if  they  mav  be  so  called),  the  ma- 
chinery, and  the  degraded  labourers, 
are  all  the  property  of  a  capitah'st.  In 
this  case,  as  well  as  in  its  extreme 
opposite,  the  case  of  the  i>ea8ant  pro- 
pnetor,  there  is  no  division  of  the 
produce. 

§  8.  When  the  three  requisites  are 
not  all  owned  by  the  same  person,  it 
often  happens  that  two  of  them  are  so. 
Sometimes  the  same  person  owns  the 
capital  and  the  land,  but  not  the  labour. 
The  landlord  makes  his  engagement 
directlv  with  the  labourer,  and  suppliea 
the  wnole  or  part  of  the  stock  neces- 
sary for  cultivation.  This  system  is 
the  usual  one  in  those  parts  of  Conti- 
nental Eorope,  in  which  the  labourers 
arc  neither  serfs  on  the  one  hand,  nor 
proprietors  on  the  other.  It  was  very 
common  in  France  before  the  Revolu- 
tion, and  is  still  much  practised  in 
some  parts  of  that  count^,  when  the 
land  IB  not  the  j^roperty  of  the  culti- 
vator. It  prevails  generally  in  the 
level  districts  of  Italy,  except  those 
principally  pastoral,  such  as  the  Ma- 
remma  of  Tuscany  and  the  Carapagna 
of  Rome.  On  this  system  the  division 
of  the  produce  is  between  two  classes, 
the  landowner  and  the  laboui-er. 

In  other  cases  again  the  labourer 
does  not  own  the  land,  but  owns  the 
little  stock  employed  on  it,  the  land- 
lord not  being  in  the  habit  of  supplying; 
any.  This  system  generallj^  prevails 
in  Ireland.  It  is  nearly  universal  in 
India,  and  in  most  countries  of  the 
Enst ;  whether  the  government  retains, 
as  it  generally  does,  the  ownership  of 
the  soil,  or  allows  portions  to  become, 
either  absolutely  or  in  a  qualified  sense, 
the  property  of  individuals.  In  India, 
however,  things  are  so  far  better  than 
in  Ireland,  that  the  owner  of  land  is 
in  the  habit  of  making  advances  to 
the  cultivators,  if  they  cannot  cultivate 
without  them.  For  these  advances 
the  native  landed  proprietor  usually 
demands  high  interest ;  but  the  prin- 
cipal landowner,  the  government, 
makes  them  gratuitously,  recovering 
the  advance  after  the  harvest,  together 
with  the  rent.  The  produce  is  here 
divided,  as  before  between  the  same 


COMPETITION  AND  CUSTOM. 


147 


two  claMes,  tiM  landowner  and  the 
labourer. 

Theee  are  tbe  principal  Tariations 
In  the  classification  of  those  amone 
whom  the  produce  of  agricnltnral 
labour  is  distributed.  In  the  case  of 
manii&ctarine  industry  there  never 
are  ntiore  than  two  classes,  the 
labourers  and  the  capitalists.  The 
original  artisans  in  all  countries  were 
eiuer  slaves,  or  the  women  of  the 
fiimilj.  In  the  manufacturing  esta- 
blishments of  the  ancients,  whether 
on  a  large  or  on  a  small  scale,  the 
labourers  were  usually  the  property  of 
the  capitalist.  In  general,  if  any 
manual  labour  was  thought  compatible 
with  the  dignity  of  a  freeman,  it  was 
only  agricultural  labour.  The  converse 
system,  in  which  the  capital  was  owned 
by  the  labourer,  was  coeval  with  free 
labour,  and  under  it  the  first  great  ad- 
vances of  manufacturing  industry  were 
achieved.  The  artisan  owned  the 
loom  or  the  few  tools  he  used,  and 


worked  on  his  own  account;  or  at  least 
ended  by  doing  so,  though  he  usually 
worked  for  another,  first  as  apprentice 
and  next  as  journeyman,  for  a  certain 
number  of  years  before  he  could  be 
admitted  a  master.  But  the  $taiu$ 
of  a  pennanent  journeyman,  all  his 
life  a  hired  labourer  and  nothing  more, 
had  no  ^laoe  in  the  crafts  and  guilds 
of  the  Middle  Ages.  In  counti^  vil- 
lages, where  a  carpenter  or  a  black- 
smith cannot  live  and  support  hired 
labourers  on  the  retmns  of  his  business, 
he  is  even  now  his  own  workman ;  and 
shopkeepers  in  similar  circumstances 
are  their  own  shopmen,  or  shopwomen. 
But  wherever  the  extent  of  the  market 
admits  of  it,  the  distinction  is  now 
fullv  established  between  the  class  of 
capitalists,  or  employers  of  labour,  and 
the  class  of  labourers ;  the  capitalists, 
in  general,  contributing  no  other  labour 
than  that  of  direction  and  superio* 
tendenoe. 


CHAPTEB  IV. 


OF  OOHPETITIOK   AND  CUSTOM. 


§  1.  Under  the  rule  of  individual 
property,  the  division  of  the  produce 
IB  the  result  of  two  determining  agen- 
cies :  Competition,  and  Custom.  It  is 
imporfant  to  ascertain  tbe  amount  of 
famuence  which  belongs  to  each  of  these 
causes,  and  in  what  maimer  the  opera- 
tion of  one  is  modified  by  the  other. 

Political  economists  generally,  and 
En^ish  political  economists  above 
others,  have  been  accustomed  to  lay 
almost  exclusive  stress  upon  the  first 
of  these  agencies;  to  exaggerate  the 
effect  of  competition,  and  to  take  into 
UtUe  account  the  other  and  conflicting 
principle.  Thej  are  apt  to  express 
themselves  as  if  they  thought  that 
competition  actually  <£)es,  in  all  cases, 
whatever  it  can  be^  shown  to  be  the 
tendency  of  competition  to  do.  This 
is  partfy  intelligible,  if  we  consider 
that  only  through  the  principle  of  ocxn^ 


petition  has  political  economy  any 
pretension  to  tbe  character  of  a  science, 
bo  far  as  rents,  profits,  wages,  prices, 
are  determined  by  competition,  laws 
may  be  assigned  for  them.  Assume 
competition  to  be  their  exclusive  regu- 
lator, and  jprinciples  of  broad  generahty 
and  scientific  precision  may  be  laid 
down,  according  to  which  they  will  be 
regulated.  The  political  economist 
justly  deems  this  his  proper  business : 
and,  as  an  abstract  or  hypothetical  sci- 
ence, political  economy  cannot  be  re- 
quired to  do,  and  indeed  cannot  do, 
anything  more.  But  it  would  be  a 
great  misconception  of  the  aotual  course 
of  human  affairs,  to  suppose  that  com- 
petition exercises  in  fact  this  unlimited 
sway.  I  am  not  speaking  of  monopo- 
Hes,  either  natural  or  artificial,  or  ol 
any  interferences  of  authority  with  the 
liberty    of  yoroduction    or    exchange 


i4d 


BOOK  II.    CHAPTER  IV.    f  2. 


SvLoh  disturbing  canses  have  always 
been  allowed  for  by  political  economists. 
I  speak  of  cases  in  which  there  is  no- 
thing to  restrain  competition :  no  hin- 
drance to  it  either  in  the  nature  of  the 
case  or  in  artificial  obstacles;  yet  in 
which  the  result  is  not  determined  by 
competition,  but  by  custom  or  usage  ; 
competition  either  not  taking  place  at 
all,  or  producing  its  effect  in  quite  a 
different  manner  from  that  which  is 
ordinarily  assumed  to  be  natural  to  it. 

§  2.  Competition,  in  fact,  has  only 
become  in  any  considerable  degree  the 
goyeming  principle  of  contracts,  at  a 
comparatively  modem  period.  The 
farther  we  look  back  into  history,  the 
more  we  see  all  transactions  and  en- 
gagements under  the  influence  of  fixed 
customs.  The  reason  is  evident.  Cus- 
tom is  the  most  powerful  protector  of 
Ihe  weak  against  the  strong ;  their  sole 
protector  where  there  are  no  laws  or 
government  adequate  to  the  purpose. 
Custom  is  a  barrier  which,  even  in  the 
most  oppressed  condition  of  mankind, 
tyranny  is  forced  in  some  degree  to 
respect.  To  the  industrious  population 
in  a  turbulent  military  community, 
freedom  of  comj>etition  is  a  vain  phrase ; 
they  are  never  in  a  condition  to  make 
terms  for  themselves  by  it:  there  is 
always  a  master  who  throws  his  sword 
into  the  scale,  and  the  terms  are  such 
as  he  imposes.  But  though  the  law 
of  the  strongest  decides,  it  is  not  the 
interest  nor  in  general  the  practice  of 
the  strongest  to  strain  that  law  to  the 
utmost,  and  every  relaxation  of  it  has 
a  tendency  to  become  a  custom,  and 
every  custom  to  become  a  right.  Bights 
thus  originating,  and  not  competition 
in  any  shape,  determine,  in  a  rude  state 
of  society,  the  share  of  the  produce  en- 
joyed by  those  who  produce  it.  The 
relations,  more  especially,  between  the 
landowner  and  the  cultivator,  and  the 
payments  made  by  the  latter  to  the 
former,  are,  in  all  states  of  society  but 
the  most  modem,  determined  by  the 
usage  of  the  country.  Never  until  late 
times  have  the  conaitions  of  the  occu- 
pancy of  land  been  ^as  a  general  mle) 
an  affair  of  competition.  The  occupier 
for  the  time  has  very  commonly  been 


considered  to  have  a  right  to  retain 
his  holding,  while  he  fmfils  the  cus- 
tomary requirements;  and  has  thus 
become,  in  a  certain  sense,  a  co-pro- 
prietor of  the  soil  Even  where  the 
nolder  has  not  acquired  this  fixity  of 
tenure,  the  terms  of  occupation  ka-ve 
often  been  fixed  and  invariable. 

In  India,  for  example,  and  other 
Asiatic  communities  similarly  consti- 
tuted, the  ryots,  or  peasant-farmers, 
are  not  regarded  ai  tenants  at  will, 
nor  even  as  tenants  by  virtue  of  a  lease- 
In  most  villages  there  are  indeed  some 
ryots  on  this  precarious  footing,  con- 
sisting of  those,  or  the  descendants  of 
those,  who  have  settled  in  the  place  at 
a  known  and  comparatively  recent 
period:  but  all  who  are  looked  upon 
as  descendants  or  representatives  of 
the  original  inhabitants,  and  even 
many  mere  tenants  of  ancient  date, 
are  thought  entitled  to  retain  their 
land,  as  long  as  they  pay  the  customary 
rents.  What  these  customary  rents 
are,  or  ought  to  be,  has  indeed,  in  most 
cases,  become  a  matter  of  obscurity ; 
usurpation,  tyranny,  and  foreign  con- 
quest having  to  a  great  degree  obli- 
terated the  evidences  of  them.  But 
when  an  old  and  purely  Hindoo  prin- 
cipality falls  under  the  dominion  of  the 
Britisn  Government,  or  the  manage- 
ment of  its  officers,  and  when  the 
details  of  the  revenue  system  come  to 
be  inquired  into,  it  is  usually  found 
that  though  the  demands  of  the  great 
landholder,  the  State,  have  been  swelled 
by  fiscal  rapacity  until  till  limit  is 
practically  lost  sight  of,  it  has  yet  been 
thought  necessary  to  have  a  distinct 
name  and  a  separate  pretext  for  each 
increase  of  exaction;  so  that  the  de- 
mand has  sometimes  come  to  consist 
of  thirty  or  forty  different  items,  in  ad- 
dition to  the  nominal  rent.  This  cir- 
cuitous mode  of  increasing  the  pay- 
ments assuredly  would  not  have  been 
resorted  to,  if  there  had  been  an  ac- 
knowledged right  in  the  landlord  to 
increase  the  rent.  Its  adoption  is  a 
proof  that  there  was  once  an  effective 
limitation,  a  real  customary  rent;  and 
that  the  understood  right  of  the  ryot 
to  the  land,  so  long  as  he  paid  rent 
according  to  custom,  wa8  at  some  timt 


COMPETITION  AND  CUSTOM. 


149 


or  otber  more  than  nominal.*  The 
British  Goyeniment  of  India  always 
simplifies  the  tenure  bj  consolidating 
the  Tarions  assessments  into  one,  thus 
making  the  rent  nominally  as  well  as 
really  an  arbitrary  thing,  or  at  least  a 
matter  of  specific  agreement:  but  it 
scrupulously  respects  the  right  of  the 
ryot  to  the  land,  though  until  the  re- 
forms of  the  present  generation  (reforms 
even  now  only  partially  carried  into 
effect)  it  seldom  left  him  much  more 
than  a  bare  subsistence. 

In  modem  Europe  the  cultivaton 
have  gradually  emerged  from  a  state 
of  personal  slavery.  The  barbarian 
conqnerors  of  the  Western  empire 
found  that  the  easiest  mode  of  ma- 
naging their  conquests  would  be  to 
leave  the  occupation  of  the  land  in  the 
hands  in  whicn  they  found  it,  and  to 
save  themselves  a  labour  so  uncongenial 
as  the  saperintendence  of  troops  of 
slaves,  by  allowing  the  slaves  to  retain  in 
a  certain  degree  the  control  of  their  own 
actions,  under  an  obligation  to  furnish 
the  lord  with  provisions  and  labour. 
A  common  expedient  was  to  assign  to 
the  serf,  for  his  exclusive  use,  as  much 
land  as  was  thought  sufficient  for  his 
support,  and  to  make  him  work  on  the 
other  lands  of  his  lord  whenever  re- 
quired. By  degrees  these  indefinite 
obligations  were  transformed  into  a 
definite  one,  of  supplying  a  fixed  (j^uan- 
tity  of  provisions  or  a  fixed  quantity  of 
labonr :  and  as  the  lords,  in  time,  be- 
came inclined  to  employ  their  income 
in  the  purchase  of  luxuries  rather  than 
in  the  maintenance  of  retainers,  the 
payments  in  kind  were  commuted  for 
payments  in  money.  Each  concession, 
at  first  voluntary  and  revocable  at 
pleasure,  gradually  acquired  the  force 
of  custom,  and  was  at  last  recognised 
and  enforced  by  the  tribunals.  Jn  this 
manner  the  serfs  progressively  rose 
into  a  free  tenantry,  who  held  their 
land  in  perpetuity  on  fixed  conditions. 
The  conditions  were  sometimes  very 
onerous,  and  the  people  very  miserable. 

*  Th«  ancient  law  books  of  the  Hindoos 
mention  in  aoms  eases  one-sixth,  in  others 
«ne-l!cNkrfh  of  the  prodnce,  as  a  proper  rent ; 
but  there  is  no  evidence  tliat  the  rules  laid 
down  in  those  books  were.  «t  any  period  of 
Mfltoiy,  really  acted  upon. 


But  their  obligations  were  determined 
by  the  usage  or  law  of  the  country,  and 
not  by  competition. 

Where  tne  cultivators  had  never 
been,  strictly  speaking,  in  personal 
bondage,  or  after  they  had  ceased  to 
be  so,  the  exigencies  of  a  poor  and  little 
advanced  society  gave  rise  to  another 
arrangement,  which  in  some  parts  of 
Europe,  even  highly  improved  parts, 
has  been  found  sufficiently  advan- 
tageous to  be  continued  to  the  present 
day.  I  speak  of  the  metayer  system. 
Under  this,  the  land  is  divided,  in  small 
farms,  among  single  families,  the  land- 
lord generally  supplying  the  stock 
which  the  agricultural  system  of  the 
countiy  is  considered  to  reouire,  and 
receiving,  in  lieu  of  rent  ana  profit,  a 
fixed  proportion  of  the  produce.  This 
proportion,  which  is  generally  paid  in 
kind,  is  usually  (as  is  implied  in  the 
words  mStayer.  mezeaiuolo,  and  me- 
dietariuSf)  one-half.  There  are  places, 
however,  such  as  the  rich  volcanic  soil 
of  the  province  of  Naples,  where  the 
landlord  takes  two-thirds,  and  yet  the 
cultivator  by  means  ot  an  excellent 
agriculture  contrives  to  live.  But 
whether  the  proportion  is  two-thirds  or 
one-half,  it  is  a  fixed  proportion ;  not 
variable  from  farm  to  farm,  or  from 
tenant  to  tenant.  The  custom  of  the 
country  is  the  universal  rule ;  nobody 
thinks  of  raising  or  lowering  rents,  or 
of  letting  land  on  other  than  the  cus- 
tomary conditions.  Competition,  as  a 
regulator  of  rent,  has  no  existence. 

§  8.  Prices,  whenever  there  was 
no  monopoly,  came  earlier  under  the 
influence  of  competition,  and  are  much 
more  universally  subject  to  it,  than 
rents:  but  that  influence  is  by  no 
mpins,  even  in  the  present  activity  of 
mercantile  competition,  so  absolute  as 
is  sometimes  assumed.  There  is  no 
proposition  which  meets  us  in  the  field 
of  political  economy  oftener  than  this 
— that  there  cannot  be  two  prices  in 
the  same  market.  Such  undoubtedly 
is  the  natural  effect  of  unimpeded  com- 
petitien ;  yet  every  one  Imows  that 
there  are,  almost  always,  two  prices  in 
the  same  market.  Not  only  are  there 
in  eyevy  large  town,  and  in   almost 


150  BOOK  n. 

every  trade,  cheap  shops  and  dear 
shops,  hut  the  same  shop  often  sells 
the  same  article  at  different  prices  to 
different  customers :  and,  ai  a  general 
rule,  each  retailer  adapts  his  scale  of 
prices  to  the  olass  of  customers  whom 
ne  expects.  The  wholesale  trade,  in 
the  great  articles  of  commerce,  is  really 
under  the  dominion  of  competition. 
There,  the  huyers  as  well  as  sellers 
are  traders  or  manufacturers,  and  their 
purchases  are  not  influenced  hy  indo- 
lence or  vulgar  finery,  nor  depend  on 
the  smaller  motives  of  personal  con- 
venience, hut  are  husiness  transactions. 
In  the  wholesale  markets  therefore  it 
is  true  as  a  general  proposition,  that 
there  are  not  two  prices  at  one  time 
for  the  same  thing :  there  is  at  each 
time  and  place  a  market  price,  which 
can  he  (]^uoted  in  a  price-current.  But 
retail  pnce,  the  price  paid  hy  the  actual 
consumer,  seems  to  feel  very  slowly  and 
imperfectly  the  effect  of  competition ; 
and  when  competition  does  exist,  it 
often,  instead  of  lowering  prices,  merely 
divides  the  gains  of  the  high  price 
among  a  greater  numher  of  dealers. 
Hence  it  is  that,  of  the  price  paid  hy 
the  consumer,  so  large  a  proportion  is 
ahsorhed  hy  the  gains  of  retailers ;  and 
an^r  one  who  inauires  into  the  amount 
^hich  reaches  tne  hands  of  those  who 
made  the  things  he  huys,  will  often  be 
astonished  at  its  smiJlness.  When 
indeed  the  market,  being  that  of  a 
great  citv,  holds  out  a  sufficient  induce- 
ment to  large  capitalists  to  engage  in 
retail  operations,  it  is  generally  found 
a  better  speculation  to  attract  a  large 
businew  hy  underselling  others,  than 
merely  to  divide  the  field  of  employ- 
ment with  them.  This  influence  of 
competition  is  making  itself  felt  more 
and  more  through  the  principid 
branches  of  retail  trade  in  the  large 
towns ;  and  the  rapidity  and  cheapness 
of  transport,  by  manng  consumers 
less  dependent  on  the  dealers  in  their 
immediate  neighbourhood,  are  tending 
to  assimilate  more  and  more  the  whole 
countr  V  to  a  large  town ;  but  hitherto 
it  is  only  in  the  great  centres  of  businesB 
that  retail  transactions  have  been 
chiefly,  or  even  much,  determined  by 
competition.    £ls«wh«re  it  rather  actsb 


CHAPTER  IV.    I  8. 

when  it  acts  at  all,  as  an  occasionflei 
disturbing  influence;  tJuLJiahitnaLje- 
gulator  is  custom,  modified  faxBL  time 
to  time  by  notions  existing  in  the 
minds  of  purchasers  and  seUerf^^f 
some  kind  of  eauity.  or  justice. 

In  many  trades  the  terms  on  which 
business  is  done  are  a  matter  of  posi- 
tive arrangement  among  the  tnide, 
who  use  the  means  they  always  pos- 
sess of  makins  the  situation  of  any 
member  of  the  body  who  departs  from 
its  fixed  customs,  inconvenient  or  dis- 
agreeable. It  is  well  known  that  the 
bookselling  trade  was,  until  lately,  one 
of  these,  and  that  notwithstanding  the 
active  spirit  of  rivalry  in  the  trade, 
competition  did  not  produce  its  natural 
effect  in  breaking  down  the  trade  rules. 
All  professional  remuneration  is  rego- 
latea  by  custom.  The  fees  of  physi- 
cians, surgeons,  and  barristers,  the 
charges  of  attorneys,  are  nearly  inva- 
riable. Not  cerfainly^  for  want  of 
abundant  competition  in  those  profes- 
sions, but  because  the  competition  ope- 
rates by  diminishing  each  competitor's 
chance  of  fees,  not  by  lowering  the  fees 
themselves. 

Since  custom  stands  its  sronnd 
against  competition  to  so  considerable 
an  extent,  even  where,  from  the  multi- 
tude of  competitors  and  the  general 
energy  in  the  pursuit  of  gain,  the  spirit 
of  competition  is  stroneest,  we  may  be 
sure  that  this  is  much  more  the  case 
where  people  are  content  with  smaller 
^ns,  ana  estimate  their  pecuniary 
interest  at  a  lower  rate  when  balanced 
against  their  ease  or  their  pleasure. 
I  believe  it  will  often  be  found,  in  Con- 
tinental Europe,  that  prices  and  charges, 
of  some  or  of  all  sorts,  are  much  higher 
in  some  places  than  in  others  not  far 
distant,  without  its  being  possible  to 
assign  any  other  cause  than  that  it  has 
always  Men  so:  the  customers  are 
used  to  it,  and  ac<^uiesce  in  it.  An 
enterprising  competitor,  with  sufficient 
capital,  might  force  down  the  charges, 
and  make  his  fortune  during  the  pro- 
cess ;  but  there  are  no  enterprising 
competitors;  those  who  have  capitiu 
prefer  to  leave  it  where  it  is,  or  to 
ioake  less  profit  by  it  in  a  more  qmol 
way. 


SLAVKRT. 


161 


Tbeee  obaerrations  mnft  be  received 
fts  a  general  correction,  to  be  applied 
whenever  relevant,  whether  expressly 
ffientioned  or  not,  to  the  condusiona 
contained  in  the  subsequent  portions 
•f  this  Treatise.  Our  reasonings  must, 
b  general,  proceed  as  if  the  known 
uid  natural  efiects  of  competition  were 
^ctnaliy  produced  by  it,  in  all  cases  in 
which  it  is  not  restrained  by  some 
positive  obstacle.  Where  competition, 
thoi:^h  free  to  exist,  does  not  exist,  or 
where  it  exists,  but  has  its  natural 
consequences  overruled  by  any  other 
agency,  the  conclusions  will  fful  more 
or  lees  of  being  applicable.    To  escape 


error,  we  ought^  in  applying  the  cou- 
clusions  of  pohtical  economy  to  the 
actual  affairs  of  life,  to  consider  not 
only  what  will  hapi>en  supposing  the 
maximum  of  competition,  out  how  far 
the  result  will  be  affected^  if  competl 
tion  falls  short  of  the  maximum. 

The  states  of  economical  relation 
which  stand  first  in  order,  to  be  dis- 
cussed and  ap{>reciated,  are  those  in 
which  competition  has  no  part,  the 
arbiter  of  transactions  being  either 
brute  force  or  established  usage.  These 
will  be  the  subject  of  the  next  four 
chapters. 


CHAPTER   V, 


OF    SLAVERT. 


f  1.  Among  the  forms  which  so- 
ciety assumes  under  the  influence  of 
the  institution  of  property,  there  are, 
as  I  have  alreaay  remarked,  two, 
otherwise  of  a  widely  dissimilajr  cha- 
racter, but  resembling  in  this,  that  the 
ownership  of  the  land,  the  labour,  and 
the  capital,  is  in  the  same  hands.  One 
of  these  cases  is  that  of  slavery,  the 
other  is  that  of  peasant  proprietors. 
In  the  one,  the  landowner  owns  the 
labour,  in  the  other  the  labourer  owns 
the  land.    We  begin  with  the  first. 

In  this  system  all  the  produce  be- 
longs to  the  landlord.  The  food  and 
other  necessaries  of  his  labourers  are 
part  of  his  expenses.  The  labourers 
possess  nothing  but  what  he  thinks  fit 
to  g^ve  Uiem,  and  until  he  thinks  fit  to 
take  it  back :  and  they  work  as  hard 
as  he  chooeee,  or  is  able,  to  compel 
them.  Their  wretchedness  is  only 
limited  by  his  humanity,  or  his  pecu- 
niaiy  interest  With  the  first  conside- 
ration, we  have  on  the  present  occa- 
sion nothing  to  do.  What  the  second 
in  so  detestable  a  constitution  of  so- 
ciety may  dictate,  depends  on  the 
fiiciuties  for  importing  fresh  slaves. 
If  fdl-grown  able-bodied  slaves  can  be 
«rocnred   in  sufficient  numbers,  and 


imported  at  a  moderate  expense,  self- 
interest  will  recommend  working  the 
slaves  to  death,  and  replacing  them 
by  importation,  in  preference  to  the 
slow  and  expansive  process  of  breeding 
them.  Nor  are  the  slave-owners  gene- 
rally backward  in  learning  this  lesson. 
It  is  notorious  that  such  was  the  prac- 
tice in  our  slave  colonies,  while  tiie 
slave  trade  was  legal;  and  it  is  said 
to  be  so  still  in  GubA. 

When,  as  amone  the  ancients,  the 
slave-market  could  only  be  supplied 
b^  captives  either  taken  in  war,  or 
bdnapped  from  thinly  scattered  tribes 
on  the  remote  confines  of  the  known 
world,  it  was  generally  more  profitable 
to  keep  up  the  number  by  oreeding, 
which  necessitates  a  far  better  treat- 
ment of  them;  and  for  this  reason, 
joined  with  several  others,  the  condi- 
tion of  slaves,  notwithstancUng  occa- 
sional enonnitieB,  was  probably  much 
less  bad  in  the  ancient  world  than  in 
the  colonies  of  modem  nations.  The 
Helots  are  usually  cited  as  the  type  of 
the  most  hideous  form  of  personal 
slavery,  but  with  how  little  truth,  aj^ 
pears  from  the  fact  that  they  were  re 
gularlv  armed  (though  not  with  the 
panoply  of  the  hoplite)  and  formed  an 


152 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  V.    f  «. 


integrai  part  of  the  military  strength 
of  the  State.  They  were  doubtless  an 
inferior  and  degraded  caste,  but  their 
slaveiy  seems  to  have  been  one  of  the 
least  onerous  varieties  of  serfdom. 
Slavery  appears  in  far  more  frightful 
colours  among  the  Eomans,  during  the 
period  in  which  the  Roman  aristocracy 
was  gorging  itself  with  the  plunder  of 
a  newly  conquered  world.  The  Romans 
were  a  cruel  peojjle,  and  the  worthless 
nobles  sported  with  the  lives  of  their 
myriads  of  slaves  with  the  same  reck- 
less prodigalitv  with  which  they  squan- 
dered any  other  part  of  then*  ill-ao- 
quired  possessions.  Yet,  slavery  is 
divested  of  one  of  its  worst  features 
when  it  is  compatible  with  hope :  en- 
franchisement was  easy  and  common  : 
enfranchised  slaves  obtained  at  once 
the  fiill  rights  of  citizens,  and  instances 
were  frequent  of  their  acquiring  not 
only  riches,  but  latterly  even  honours. 
By  the  progress  of  milder  legislation 
under  the  Emperors,  much  of  the  pro- 
tection of  law  was  thrown  round  the 
slave,  he  became  capable  of  possessing 
property,  and  the  evil  altogether  as- 
sumed a  considerably  gentler  aspect. 
Until,  however,  slavery  assumes  the 
mitigated  form  of  villenage,  in  which 
not  onl^  the  slaves  have  property  and 
legal  nghts,  but  their  obugations  are 
moi-e  or  less  limited  by  usage,  and 
they  partly  labour  for  their  own  bene- 
fit ;  their  condition  is  seldom  such  as 
to  produce  a  rapid  growth  either  of 
population  or  of  production. 

§  2.  So  lon^  as  slave  countries  are 
underpeopled  in  proportion  to  their 
cultivable  land,  the  labour  of  the 
slaves,  under  any  tolerable  manage- 
ment, produces  much  more  than  is 
sufficient  for  their  support ;  especially 
as  the  great  amount  oi  superintendence 
which  their  labour  requires,  preventing 
the  dispersion  of  the  population,  en- 
sures some  of  the  advantages  of  com- 
bined labour.  Hence,  in  a  good  soil 
and  climate,  and  with  reasonable  care 
of  his  own  interests,  the  owner  of  many 
slaves  has  the  means  of  being  rich. 
The  influence,  however,  of  such  a  state 
of  society  on  production,  is  perfectly 
well  understood.    It  is  a  truism   to 


assert,  that  labour  extorted  by  fear  of 
punishment  is  inefficient  and  unpro- 
ductive. It  is  true  that  in  some  cir- 
cumstances, human  beings  can  be 
driven  by  the  lash  to  attempt,  and 
even  to  accomplish,  things  which  they 
would  not  have  undertaken  for  any 
payment  which  it  could  have  been 
worth  while  to  an  employer  to  ofter 
them.  And  it  is  likely  tnat  productive 
operations  which  require  much  com- 
bmation  of  labour,  tne  production  of 
sugar  for  example,  woiud  not  have 
taken  place  so  soon  in  the  American 
colonies,  if  slavery  had  not  existed  to 
keep  masses  of  labour  together.  There 
are  also  savage  tribes  so  averse  from 
regular  industry,  that  industrial  life  is 
scarcely  able  to  introduce  itself  amon^ 
them  until  they  are  either  conquered 
and  made  slaves  of,  or  become  con- 
querors and  make  others  so.  But 
after  allowing  the  full  value  of  these 
considerations,  it  remains  certain  that 
slavery  is  incompatible  with  any  high 
state  of  the  arts  of  life,  and  any  great 
efficiency  of  labour.  For  all  products 
which  require  much  skill,  slave  comi- 
tries  are  usuallv  dependent  on  fo- 
reigners. Hopeless  slavery  effectu- 
ally brutifies  the  intellect ;  and  intel- 
ligence in  the  slaves,  though  often 
encouraged  in  the  ancient  world  and 
in  the  East,  is  in  a  more  advanced 
state  of  society  a  source  of  so  much 
danger  and  an  object  of  so  much  dread 
to  the  masters,  that  in  some  of  the 
States  of  America  it  is  a  highly  penal 
offence  to  teach  a  slave  to  read.  All 
processes  carried  on  by  slave  labour 
are  conducted  in  the  rudest  and  most 
unimproved  manner.  And  even  the 
animal  strength  of  the  slave  is,  on  an 
average,  not  half  exerted.  The  unpro- 
ductiveness and  wastefrilness  of  the  in- 
dustrial system  in  the  Slave  States  is 
instructively  displayed  in  the  valuable 
writings  of  Mr.  Olmsted.  The  mildest 
form  of  slavery  is  certainly  the  condi- 
tion of  the  serf,  who  is  attached  to  the 
soil,  supports  himself  from  his  allo^ 
ment,  and  works  a  certain  number  of 
days  in  the  week  for  his  lord.  Yet 
there  is  but  one  opinion  on  the  ex- 
treme inefficiency  of  serf  labour.  The 
following  passage  is  from    Professor 


SLAVERY. 


158 


Jones,*  whose  Essay  on  the  Distribu- 
tion of  Wealth  (or  rather  on  Rent),  is 
a  copious  repertory  of  valuable  facts 
on  the  landed  tenures  of  different 
countries. 

''The  Russians,  or  rather  those 
German  writers  who  have  observed 
the  manners  and  habits  of  Russia,  state 
some  strong  facts  on  this  point.  Two 
Middlesex  mowers,  they  say,  will  mow 
in  a  day  as  much  grass  as  six  Russian 
ser&y  and  in  spite  of  the  deamess  of  pro- 
visions in  England  and  their  cheapness 
in  Russia,  the  mowing  a  quantity  of 
kay  which  would  cost  an  English 
farmer  half  a  copeck,  will  cost  a  Rus- 
sion  proprietor  three  or  four  copecks.t 
The  Prussian  counsellor  of  state,  Jacob, 
is  considered  to  have  proved,  that  in 
Russia,  where  everything  is  cheap,  the 
labour  of  a  serf  is  doubly  as  expensive 
as  that  of  a  labourer  in  England.  M. 
Schmalz  gives  a  startling  account  of 
the  unproductiveness  of  serf  labour  in 
Prussia,  fix)m  his  own  knowledge  and 
observation.!  In  Austria,  it  is  dis- 
tinctly stated,  that  the  labour  of  a  serf 
is  equal  to  only  one-third  of  that  of  a 
free  nired  labourer.  This  calculation, 
made  in  an  able  work  on  agriculture 
(with  some  extracts  from  which  I  have 
been  fiivoured),  is  applied  to  the  prac- 
tical purpose  of  deciding  on  the 
number  of  labourers  necessary  to  cul- 
tivate an  estate  of  a  given  magnitude. 
So  palpable,  indeed,  are  the  ill  effects 
of  labour  rents  on  the  industry  of  the 
agricultural  population,  that  in  Austria 
itself  where  proposals  of  changes  of 
any  kind  do  not  readily  make  their 
way,  schemes  and  plans  for  the  com- 
mutation of  labour  rents  are  as  popular 
as  in  the  more  stirring  German  pro- 
vinces of  the  NOTth."§ 

What  is  wanting  in  the  quality  of 
the  labour  itself,  is  not  made  up  by 
any  excellence  in  the  direction  and 

*  B$$aM  OH  fh0  JDidribuHon  qf  Wealth  and 
<m  th0  3owee$  qf  Taxation,  Bj  the  Bev. 
JEUcliard  Jones.    Page  £0. 

t  "  Schmalz.  SconomU  PoUtifiu,  French 
translation,  vol.  1.  p.  66." 

t  Vol.  ii.  p.  107. 

$  The  Hungarian  revolutionary  govern- 
ment, during  its  brief  existence,  bestowed  on 
that  country  one  of  the  greatest  benefits  it 
could  receive,  and  one  which  the  tyranny 
that  succeeded  has  not  dared  to  take  away : 


superintendence.  As  the  same  writer* 
remarks,  the  landed  proprietors  ''are 
necessarily,  in  their  character  of  cul« 
tivators  of  their  own  domains,  the 
only  guides  and  directors  of  the  in- 
dustry of  the  agricultural  population." 
since  there  can  be  no  mtermediate 
class  of  capitalist  farmers  where  the 
labourers  are  the  property  of  the  lord. 
Great  landowners  are  everywhere  an 
idle  class,  or  if  they  labour  at  all,  addict 
themselves  only  to  the  more  exciting 
kinds  of  exertion;  that  Iion*B  share 
which  superiors  always  reserve  for 
themselves.  "  It  would,"  as  Mr.  Jones 
observes,  "be  hopeless  and  irrational 
to  expect,  that  a  race  of  noble  pro- 
prietors, fenced  round  with  privileges 
and  dignity,  and  attracted  to  military 
and  political  pursuits  by  the  advan- 
tages and  habits  of  their  station,  should 
ever  become  attentive  cultivators  as  a 
body."  Even  in  England,  if  the  cul- 
tivation of  every  estate  depended  upon 
its  proprietor,  any  one  can  judge  wnat 
would  be  the  resolt.  There  would  be 
a  few  cases  of  great  science  and  energy, 
and  numerous  individual  instances  of 
moderate  success,  but  the  general  state 
of  agriculture  would  be  contemptible. 

§  3.  Whether  the  proprietors  them- 
selves would  lose  by  the  emancipation 
of  their  slaves,  is  a  different  question 
from  the  comparative  effectiveness  of 
free  and  slave  labour  to  the  community. 
There  has  been  much  discussion  of 
this  question  as  an  abstract  thesis ;  as 
if  it  could  possibly  admit  of  any  uni- 
versal solution.  Whether  slavery  or 
free  labour  is  most  profitable  to  the 
employer,  depends  on  the  wages  of  the 
free  labourer.  These,  again,  depend 
on  the  numbers  of  the  labouring  popu- 
lation, compared  with  the  capital  and 
the  land.  Hired  labour  is  generally 
so  much  more  efficient  than  slave 
labour,  that  the  employer  can  pay  a 
considerably  greater  value  in  wages, 
than  the  maintenance  of  his  slaves 
cost  him  before,  and  yet  be  a  gainer 

it  freed  the  peasantry  ttom  what  remained 
of  the  bondage  of  serfdom,  the  labour  rents ; 
decreeing  compensation  to  the  landlords  at 
the  expense  of  the  state,  and  not  at  that  of 
the  liberated  peasants. 

*  Jones,  pp.  53,  M. 


154 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  V.    §  a. 


foj  the  change :  but  he  cannot  do  this 
withont  limit.  The  decline  of  serfdom 
in  Europe,  and  its  extinction  in  the 
Western  nations,  were  doubtless  has- 
tened by  the  changes  which  the  growth 
tf  population  must  have  made  in  the 
pecuniary  interests  of  the  master.  As 
population  pressed  harder  upon  the 
land,  without  anj  improvement  in 
agriculture,  the  maintenance  of  the 
lerfs  necessarily  became  more  costly, 
ind  their  labour  less  valuable.  With 
the  rate  of  wages  such  as  it  is  in  Ire- 
land, or  in  England  Twhere,  in  propor- 
tion to  its  efficiency,  labour  is  quite  as 
cheap  as  in  Ireland),  no  one  can  for  a 
moment  imagine  that  slavery  could 
be  profitable.  If  the  Irish  peasantry 
were  slaves,  their  masters  would  be  as 
willing,  as  their  landlords  now  are,  to 
pay  large  sums  merely  to  get  rid  of 
them.  In  the  rich  and  underpeopled 
soil  of  the  West  India  islands,  there  is 
just  as  little  doubt  that  the  balance  of 
profits  between  free  and  slave  labour 
was  greatly  on  the  side  of  slavery,  and 
that  the  compensation  granted  to  the 
slaveowners  for  its  abolition  was  not 
more,  perhaps  even  less,  than  an  equi- 
valent for  their  loss. 

More  needs  not  be  said  here  on  a 
cause  so  completely  judged  and  decided 
as  that  of  slavery.  Its  demerits  are 
no  longer  a  question  requiring'  ar^- 
ment;  though  the  temper  of  mmd 
manifested  bv  the  larger  part  of  the 
influential  classes  in  Great  Britain 
respecting  the  struggle  now^  taking 
place  in  America,  shows  how  grievously 
the  feelings  of  the  present  generation 
of  Englishmen,  on  this  subject,  have 
fallen  behind  the  positive  acts  of  the 
generation  which  preceded  them.  ITiat 
\})e  SOU!  of  the  deliverers  of  the  West 


Indian  Negroes  should  see  with  ooib- 
placency,  and  encoorage  by  their  syin- 
pathies,  the  foundation  of  a  great  and 
poweiful  military  commonwealth^ 
pledged  by  its  prmciples  and  driven 
by  its  strongest  interests  to  be  the 
armed  propagator  of  slavery  through 
every  region  of  the  earth  into  which  its 
power  can  penetrate,  discloses  a  men- 
tal state  in  the  leading  portion  of  oar 
higher  and  middle  classes,  which  it  ia 
melancholy  to  see,  and  will  be  a  lasting^ 
blot  in  English  histoiy.  Fortunately 
they  have  stopped  short  of  actnallj 
aiding,  otherwise  than  by  words,  the 
nefarious  enterprise  to  which  they  have 
not  been  ashamed  of  wishing  success ; 
and  it  is  now  probable  that  at  the  ex- 

gBnse  of  the  best  blood  of  the  Free 
tates,  but  to  their  immeasurable  ele- 
vation in  mental  and  moral  worth,  the 
curse  of  slavery  will  be  cast  out  from 
the  great  American  republic,  to  find  its 
last  temporary  refuge  in  Brazil  and 
Cuba.  No  European  country,  except 
Spain  alone,  any  longer  participates  in 
the  enormity.  Even  serfage  has  now 
ceased  to  have  a  legal  existence  in 
Europe:  Denmark  has  the  honour  of 
being  the  first  Continental  nation  which 
imitated  England  in  liberating  its  co- 
lonial slaves;  and  the  abolition  of 
slavery  was  one  of  the  earliest  acts  of 
the  heroic  and  calumniated  Provisional 
Government  of  France.  The  Dutch 
Government  was  not  long  behind,  and 
its  colonies  and  dependencies  are  now, 
I  believe,  without  exception,  free  from 
actual  slavery:  though  forced  labour 
for  the  public  authorities  is  still  a  r» 
I  cognisea  institution  in  Java,  soon,  we 
I  may  hope,  to  be  exchanged  for  complete 
,  personal  freedom. 


PEASANT  P&0PRIET0K8. 


166 


CHAPTER  VL 


or  PSASAHT  PROPRIETOH. 


i  1.  Ih  the  regime  of  peasant  dfo- 
pertieSy  as  in  that  of  slavery,  the  whole 
prodace  belongs  to  a  single  owner,  and 
the  distinction  of  rent,  profits,  and 
wages,  does  not  exist.  In  aU  other 
respects,  the  two  states  of  society  are 
the  extreme  opposites  of  each  other. 
The  one  is  the  state  of  greatest  oppres- 
sion and  degradation  to  the  labouring 
class.  The  other  is  that  in  which  thejr 
are  the  most  uncontrolled  arbiters  of 
their  own  lot. 

The  advantage,  however,  of  small 
properties  in  land,  is  one  of  the  most 
dilated  questions  in  the  range  of  poli- 
tical   economy.      On   the    Continent, 
tiiough  there    are    some  dissentients 
from  the  prevailing  opinion,  the  benefit 
of  having  a  numerous  proprietary  po- 
pulation exists  in  the  minds  of  most 
people  iu  the  form  of  an  axiom.    But 
finelish  authorities  are  either  unaware 
if  the  judgment  of  Continental  agricul- 
turists, or  are  content  to  put  it  aside, 
on  the  plea  of  their  having  no  experi- 
ence of  large  properties  in  favourable 
circumstances :  the  advantage  of  large 
properties  being  only  felt  wnere  there 
are  also  large  farms ;  and  as  this,  in 
arable  districts,  implies  a  greater  accu- 
mulation of  capital  than  usually  exists 
on  the  Continent,  the  great  Continental 
estates,  except  in  the  case  of  gazing 
farms,  are  mostly  let  out  for  cultivation 
in  small  portions.   There  is  some  truth 
in  this;  but  fiie  argument  admits  of 
being  retorted;  for  if  the  Continent 
knows  little,  by  experience,  of  cultiva- 
tion on  a  large  scale  and  by  large  capi- 
tal, the  generality  of  English  writers 
are  no  better  acquainted  practicallv 
with  peasant  propnetors,  and  have  al- 
most always  tne  most  erroneous  ideas 
of  their  social  condition  and  mode  of 
Kfe.    Yet  tibe  old  traditions  even  of 
^gland  are  on  the  same  side  with  the 
general  opinion  of  the  Continent.   The 
"yeomanrr"  who  were  vaunted  as  the 
glgiy  of  Kni^nd  whilo  they  existed, 


and  have  been  so  much  mourned  ovei 
since  they  disappeared,  were  either 
small  proprietors  or  small  fanners,  and 
if  they  were  mostly  the  last,  the  cha- 
racter thev  bore  for  sturdv  indepen- 
dence is  the  more  notioeabie.  There 
is  a  part  of  England,  mifortunately  a 
very  small  part,  where  peasant  proprie- 
tors are  still  common ;  for  such  are  the 
"  statesmen**  of  Cumberland  and  West- 
moreland, though  they  pav,  I  believe, 
generally  if  not  universally,  certain 
customaiy  dues,  which,  being  fixed,  no 
more  affect  their  character  of  proprie- 
tors than  the  land-tax  does.  There  ie 
but  one  voice,  among  those  acquainted 
with  the  country,  on  the  admirable  ef- 
fects of  this  tenure  of  land  in  those 
counties.  No  other  agricultural  jmou- 
lation  in  England  could  have  furnished 
the  originali  of  Wordsworth's  pea- 
santry.* 

*  In  Mr.  Wordsworth's  Uttlo  deteriptlve 
work  on  the  locnery  of  the  Lekesv  ho  ipeaks 
of  the  npper  part  of  the  dales  as  havhif  been 
for  centuries  *■  a  perfect  republic  of  shep- 
herds and  i^eulturists,  proprietors,  for  the 
most  part,  of  the  lands  which  they  oocnpied 
and  cttltiTated.  The  ploogh  of  each  man 
was  confined  to  the  midntenance  of  his  owr. 
family,  or  to  the  occasional  accommodatioa 
of  his  neighbour.  Two  or  three  cows  fhr- 
niahed  each  fiunily  with  milk  and  cheese. 
The  chapel  was  the  only  edifice  that  pre- 
sided OTor  these  dwellings,  the  supreme  head 
of  this  pure  commonwealth  ;  the  members 
of  which  existed  in  the  midst  of  a  powerftil 
empire,  like  an  ideal  socie^,  or  an  organiaed 
commimity,  whose  constitution  had  been 
imposed  and  regulated  by  the  mountains 
which  protected  it.  Ndther  high-bom 
nobleman,  knight,  nor  esquire  was  here; 
but  many  of  these  humble  sons  of  the  hiUs 
had  a  consciousness  that  the  land  which 
they  walked  over  and  tilled  had  for  more 
than  five  hundred  years  been  possessed  by 
men  of  their  name  and  blood.  .  .  .  Cora 
was  grown  in  these  vales  sufficient  upon 
each  estate  to  furnish  bread  for  each  funUy, 
no  more.  The  storms  and  moisture  of  the 
climate  induced  them  to  sprinkle  their  up- 
land property  with  outhouses  of  native  stone, 
as  places  of  shelter  for  their  dieep,  where, 
in  tempestuous  weather,  food  was  distributed 
to  them.  Every  Ihmily  spun  firom  its  own 
flock  the  wool  with  wUoh  it  was  dothsd :  a 


156 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  VI,    |  «. 


The  general  system,  however,  of 
English  cultivation,  affording  no  expe- 
rience to  render  the  nature  and  opera- 
tion of  peasant  properties  familiar,  and 
Englishmen  being  in  general  profoundly 
ignorant  of  the  agricultural  economy  of 
other  countries,  the  very  idea  of  pea- 
sant proprietors  is  strange  to  the  Eng- 
lish mind,  and  does  not  easily  find 
access  to  it.  Even  the  forms  of  lan- 
guage stand  in  the  way:  the  familiar 
designation  for  owners  of  land  being 
I* landlords,"  a  term  to  which  "tenants^ 
is  always  understood  as  a  correlative. 
When,  at  the  time  of  the  famine,  the 
suggestion  of  peasant  properties  as  a 
means  of  Irish  improvement  found  its 
way  into  parliamentary  and  newspaper 
discussions,  there  were  writers  of  pre- 
tension to  whom  the  word  "proprietor" 
was  so  far  from  conveying  any  distinct 
idea,  that  they  mistooK  the  small  hold- 
ings of  Irish  cottier  tenants  for  peasant 
properties.  The  subject  being  so  little 
understood,  I  think  it  important,  before 
entering  into  the  theory  of  it,  to  do 
something  towards  showing  how  the 
case  stands  as  to  matter  of  fact;  by 
exhibiting,  at  ereater  length  than 
would  otherwise  be  admissible,  some  of 
the  testimony  which  exists  respecting 
the  state  of  cultivation,  and  the  com- 
fort and  happiness  of  the  cultivatoi-s,  in 
those  countnes  and  parts  of  countries, 
in  which  the  greater  part  of  the  land 
has  neither  landlord  nor  farmer,  other 
than  the  labourer  who  tills  the  soil. 

§  2.  I  lay  no  stress  on  the  condi- 
tion of  North  America,  where,  as  is 
well  known,  the  land,  wherever  free 
from  the  curse  of  slavery,  is  almost 
universally  owned  by  the  same  person 
who  holdfs  the  plough.  A  country 
combining  the  natural  fertili^  of 
America  with  the  knowledge  ana  arts 


weaver  was  here  end  there  found  among 
them,  and  the  reit  of  their  wants  was  sup- 
plied by  the  produce  of  the  yam,  which  they 
sarded  and  spun  in  their  own  houses,  and 
!arried  to  market  either  under  their  arms, 
or  more  frequently  on  packhorses,  a  small 
train  taking  their  way  weekly  down  the 
valley,  or  over  the  mountains,  to  the  most 
commodious  town."— ^  Dneription  of  the 
SMnenf  qfihe  Ldkn  m  the  JNoHh  qfBngland» 
Srd  edit.  vp.  fiO  to  58  and  03  to  05. 


of  modem  Europe,  is  so  peculiarly 
circumstanced,  that  scarcely  anything, 
except  insecurity  of, property  or  a  ty- 
rannical government,  could  materiabj 
impair  the  prosperity  of  the  industrioiia 
classes.  I  might,  with  Sismondi,  in- 
sist more  strongly  on  the  case  of  an- 
cient Italy,  ^especially  Latium,  that 
Campagna  which  then  swarmed  with 
inhabitants  in  the  very  regions  which 
under  a  contrarv  regime  have  become 
uninhabitable  m>m  malaria.  But  I 
prefer  taking  the  evidence  of  the  same 
writer  on  tmn^  known  to  him  by  per- 
sonal observation. 

"  It  is  especially  Switzerland,"  fsays 
M.  de  Sismondi,  "which  should  be  tra- 
versed   and  studied  to  judge  of  the 
happiness  of  peasant  proprietors.      It 
is  m)m    Switzerland  we    learn    that 
agriculture  practised  by  the  very  pep- 
sous  who  enjoy  its  friiits,  suffices  to 
procure  great  comfort  for  a  very  nu- 
merous population ;   a  great  indepen- 
dence of  character,  arising  from  inde- 
pendence of  position;   a  great  com- 
merce of  consumption,  the  result  of  the 
easy  circumstances  of  all  the  inhabi- 
tants, even  in  a  country  whose  climate  is 
rude,  whose  soil  is  but  moderately  fer- 
tile, and  where  late  frosts  and  incon- 
stancy of  seasons  often  blight  the  hopes 
of  the  cultivator.    It  is  impossible  to 
see  without  admiration  those  timber 
houses  of  the  poorest  peasant,  so  vast, 
so  well  closed  in,    so  covered   with 
carvings.      In  the  interior,  spacious 
corridors  separate  the  different  cham- 
bers of  the  numerous  family;    each 
chamber  has  but  one  bed,  which   is 
abundantly  furnished    with  curtains, 
bedclothes,    and  the    whitest    linen; 
carefully  kept  furniture  surrounds  it; 
the  wardrobes  are  filled  with  linen ;  the 
daily  is  vast,  well  aired,  and  of  exqui- 
site cleanness;  under  the   same  roof 
is  a  great  provision  of  com,  salt  meat, 
cheese  and  wood;  in  the  cow-houses 
are  the  finest  and  most  carefully  tended 
cattle  in  Europe ;  the  garden  is  planted 
with  flowers,  both   men  and  women 
are  cleanly  and  warmly  clad,  the  wo- 
men preserve  with  pride  their  ancient 
costume ;  all  cany  in  their  fices  the 
impress  of  health  and  strength.    Let 
other  nations  boast  of  their  opnlieDoe, 


PEASANT  PBOPRIETORS. 


167 


Switzerland  maj  always  point  with 
pride  to  her  peasants."* 

The  same  eminent  writer  thus  ex- 
presses his  opinions  on  peasant  pro- 
prietorship in  general. 

"  Wherever  we  find  peasant  proprie- 
tors, we  also  find  the  comfort,  security, 
confidence  in  the  future,  and  indepen- 
dence, which  assure  at  once  happiness 
and  virtue.    The  peasant  who  with 
his  children  does  all  the  work  of  his 
little  inheritance,  who  pays  no  rent  to 
any  one  above  him,  nor  wages  to  any 
one  below,  who  regulates  his  produc- 
tion by  his  consumption,  who  eats  his 
own   com,   drinks  his  own  wine,  is 
clothed  in  his  own  hemp  and  wool, 
cares  little  for  the  prices  of  the  mar- 
ket ;  for  he  has  httle  to  sell  and  little 
to  buy,  and  is  never  ruined  by  revul- 
sions of  trade.    Instead  of  fearing  for 
the  future,  he  sees  it  in  the  colours  of 
hope ;  for  he  employs  eveiy  moment 
not  required  by  the  labours  of  the  year, 
on   something  profitable  to  his  chil- 
dren   and  to  future  generations.    A 
few    minutes*  work    suffices  him    to 
plant  the  seed  which  in  a  hundred 
years  will  be  a  large  tree,  to  dig  the 
channel  which  will  conduct  to  him  a 
spring  of  fresh  water,  to  improve  by 
cares  often  repeated,  but  stolen  from 
odd  times,  all  the  species  of  animals 
andvegetableswhich  surround  him.  His 
Httle  patrimony  is  a  true  savings  bank, 
always  ready  to  receive  all  his  little 
eains  and  utilize  all  his  moments  of 
leisure.    The  ever-acting  power  of  na- 
ture returns  them  a  hundred-fold.  The 
peasant  has  a  lively  sense  of  the  hap- 
piness attached  to  the  condition  of  a 
proprietor.    Accordingly  he  is  always 
eager  to  buy  land  at  any  price.    He 
pays  more  for  it  than  its  value,  more 
perhaps  than  it  will  bring  him  in ;  but 
IS  he  not  right  in  estimating  highly 
the  advantage  of  having  always  an 
advantageous  investment  for  his  labour, 
without  underbidding  in  the  wages- 
market — of  being  always  able  to  find 
bread,  without  the  necessity  of  buying 
it  at  a  scarcity  price  ? 

"The  peasant  proprietor  is  of  all 
cultivators  the  one  who  gets  most  from 
the  soil,  for  he  is  the  one  who  thinks 

«  8kulie$  in  FoUticai  Beonomg.    Essay  III. 


most  of  the  future,  and  who  has  been 
most  instructed  by  experience.  He  is 
also  the  one  who  employs  the  human 
powers  to  most  advantage,  because 
dividing  his  occupations  among  all  the 
members  of  his  family,  he  reserves 
some  for  evexy  day  of  the  year,  so  that 
nobody  is  ever  out  of  work.  Of  all 
cultivators  he  is  the  happiest,  and  at 
the  same  time  the  land  nowhere  occu- 
pies, and  feeds  amply  without  becom- 
mg  exhausted,  so  many  inhabitants  as 
where  they  are  proprietors.  Finally, 
of  all  cultivators  the  peasant  proprietor 
is  the  one  who  gives  most  encourage- 
ment to  commerce  and  manufactures, 
because  he  is  the  richest."* 

This  picture  of  imwearied  assiduity, 
and  what  may  be  called  affectionate 
interest  in  the  land,  is  borne  out  in 
regard  to  the  more  intelligent  Cantons 
of  Switzerland  by  English  observers. 
"  In  walking  anywhere  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  Zurich,*'  says  Mr.  Infflisy 
"  in  looking  to  the  right  or  to  the  left, 
one  is  struck  with  the  extraordinary 
industry  of  the  inhabitants ;  and  if  W9 
learn  that  a  proprietor  hero  has  a  re. 
turn  of  ten  per  cent,  we  arfv  inclined 
to  say,  '  he  deserves  it.'  1  speak  at 
present  of  country  labour,  though  I 

*  And  in  another  work  (New  PrineipleM  of 
Political  Soonomyt  book  ill.  chap.  3)  he  says, 
"  When  we  traverse  nearly  the  whole  of 
Swiuerland,  and  several  provinces  of  France, 
Italy,  and  Germany,  we  need  never  ask,  in 
looking  at  any  piece  of  land,  if  it  belongs  to 
a  peasant  proprietor  or  t4>  a  fanner.  Th: 
intelligent  care,  the  enjoyments  provided 
for  the  labomrer,  the  adornment  which  the 
coantry  has  received  fh>m  his  hands,  are 
dear  indications  of  the  former.  It  is  true 
an  oppressive  government  may  destroy  the 
comfort  and  brutify  the  intelligence  which 
should  be  the  result  of  property ;  taxation 
may  abstract  the  best  produce  of  the  fields, 
the  insolence  of  government  oflBcers  may 
disturb  the  security  of  the  peasant,  the  im- 
possibility of  obtaining  justice  against  a 
powerful  neighbour  may  sow  discourage- 
ment in  his  mind,  and  in  the  fine  country 
which  has  been  given  back  to  the  adminis- 
tration of  the  King  of  Sardinia,  the  pro- 
prir  tor,  equally  with  the  day-labourer,  wears 
th^.  livery  of  indigence."  He  was  here 
speaking  of  Savoy,  where  the  peasants  were 
generally  proprietors,  and,  according  to  au- 
thentic accounts,  extremely  miserable.  But, 
as  M.  de  Sismondi  continues,  **  it  is  in  vain 
to  observe  only  one  of  the  rules  of  political 
economy;  it  cannot  by  itself  suffice  to  prft. 
dnce  good;  but  at  l««8t  it  diminishes  evil,** 


158 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  VL    §  2. 


believe  that  in  every  kind  of  trade 
also,  the  people  of  Zurich  are  remark- 
able for  their  assiduitj;  but  in  the 
industry  they  show  in  the  cultivation 
of  their  land  I  may  safely  say  they  are 
unrivalled.  When  I  used  to  open  my 
casement  between  four  and  five  in  the 
morning  to  look  out  upon  the  lake 
and  the  distant  Alps,  I  saw  the 
labourer  in  the  fields ;  and  when  I  re- 
turned from  an  evening  walk,  long 
after  sunset,  as  late,  perhaps,  as  hsJl- 
past  eight,  there  was  the  labourer, 
mowing  his  grass,  or  tying  up  his 
vines.  ...  It  is  impossible  to  look  at 
a  field,  a  garden,  a  hedging,  scarcely 
even  a  tree,  a  flpwer,  or  a  vegetable, 
without  perceiving  proofs  of  the  ex- 
treme care  and  industry  that  are  be- 
stowed upon  the  cultivation  of  the  soil. 
If,  for  example,  a  path  leads  through 
or  by  the  side  of  a  field  of  grain,  the 
com  is  not,  as  in  England,  permitted 
to  hang  over  the  path,  exposed  to  be 
pulled  or  trodden  down  by  every  passer- 
by; it  is  everywhere  boundea  by  a 
fence,  stakes  are  placed  at  intervals  of 
about  a  yard,  and,  about  two  or  three 
feet  from  the  ground,  boughs  of  trees 
are  passed  longitudinaUy  along.  If 
vou  look  into  a  field  towards  even- 
mg,  where  there  are  large  beds  of 
cauliflower  or  cabbage,  you  will  find 
that  eveiy  single  plant  has  been 
watered.  In  the  gardens,  which  around 
Zurich  are  extremely  large,  the  most 
punctilious  care  is  evinced  in  every 
production  that  grows.  The  vege- 
tables are  planted  with  seemingly 
mathematical  accuracy;  not  a  single 
weed  is  to  be  seen,  not  a  single 
stone.  Pkints  are  not  earthed  up  as 
with  us,  but  are  planted  in  a  small 
hollow,  into  each  of  which  a  little 
manure  is^  put,  and  each  plant  is 
watered  daily.  Where  seeds  are  sown, 
the  earth  directly  above  is  broken  into 
the  finest  powder ;  everv  shrub,  every 
flower  ii  tied  to  a  stake,  and  where 
there  is  wall-fruit,  a  trellice  is  erected 
against  the  wall,  to  which  th»  boughs 
are  fiistened,  and  there  is  not  a  single 
thing  that  has  not  its  appropriate  rest- 
ing place.*** 

*  Switgerland^  l%«  8mtA  vfl^ramee.  amd  the 
Pgrweu  in  1830.  By  H.  D.IngUa.  Vol.  i.  ch.  % 


Of  one  of  the  remote  valleys  of  the 
High  Alps  the  same  writer  thus  ex- 
presses himself:* — 

"  In  the  whole  of  the  Engadlne  the 
land  belongs  to  the  peasantry,  who, 
like  the  inhabitants  of  every  other 
place  where  this  state  of  things  ezist^ 
vary  greatly  in  the  extent  of  their  pos- 
sessions. .  .  .  Generally  speaking,  an 
Engadine  peasant  lives  entirely  upon 
the  produce  of  his  land,  with  the  ex- 
ception of  the  few  articles  of  foreign 
growth  required  in  his  family,  such  as 
coffee,  sugar,  and  wine.  Flax  is  ^wn, 
prepared,  spun,  and  woven,  without 
ever  leaving  his  house.  He  has  alsc 
his  own  wool,  which  is  converted  into 
a  blue  coat  without  passing  through 
the  hands  of  either  the  dyer  or  tne 
tailor.  The  countir  is  incapable  of 
greater  cultivation  than  it  has  received. 
All  has  been  done  for  it  that  industry 
and  an  extreme  love  of  gain  can  de- 
vise. There  is  not  a  foot  of  waste 
land  in  the  Engadine,  the  lowest  part 
of  which  is  not  much  lower  than  the 
top  of  Snowdon.  Wherever  grass  will 
grow,  there  it  is ;  wherever  a  rock  will 
bear  a  blade,  verdure  is  seen  upon  it ; 
wherever  an  ear  of  rve  will  ripen, 
there  it  is  to  be  found.  Barley  and 
oats  have  also  their  appropriate  spots; 
and  wherever  it  is  possible  to  ripen  a 
little  patch  of  wheat,  the  cultivation  of 
it  is  attempted.  In  no  country  in 
Europe  will  oe  found  so  few  poor  as 
in  the  Engadine.  In  the  village  of 
Suss,  which  contains  about  six  hun- 
dred inhabitants,  there  is  not  a  single 
individual  who  has  not  wherewithal  to 
live  comfortably,  not  a  single  indi- 
vidual who  is  indebted  to  others  for  one 
morsel  that  he  eats.** 

Notwithstanding  the  general  prospe- 
rity of  the  Swiss  peasantry,  this  total 
absence  of  pauperism,  and  (it  may  al- 
most be  said)  of  poverty,  cannot  be 
predicated  of  the  whole  country;  the 
largest  and  richest  canton,  tnat  of 
Berne,  being  an  example  of  the  oon 
trary ;  for  although,  in  the  parts  of  it 
which  are  occupied  by  peasant  prt>- 
prietors,  their  industrv  is  as  remark- 
able and  their  ease  ana  comfort  as  con- 
spicuous M  elsewhere,  the  canton  is 
•  Ibid.  oh.  8  aad  10. 


PEASANT  PROPRIETOKa 


159 


bnrtlieBed  with  a  nnmerons  }>auper 
population,  through  the  operation  of 
the  worst  regulated  sjstem  of  poor-law 
adminiBtration  in  Europe,  except  that 
of  England  before  the  new  Poor  Ltaw.* 
Nor  is  Switzerland  in  some  other  re- 
spects a  fayonrable  example  of  aU  that 
peasant  properties  might  effect.  There 
exists  a  series  of  statistical  accounts 
of  the  Swiss  cantons,  drawn  up  mostly 
with  great  care  and  intelligence,  con- 
taining detailed  information,  of  tole- 
rably recent  date,  respecting  the  con- 
dition of  the  land  ana  of  the  people. 
From  these,  the  subdiyision  aj>pears 
to  be  often  so  minute,  that  it  can 
hardly  be  supposed  not  to  beexcessiye : 
and  tne  indeiHedness  of  the  proprietors 
in  the  flourishing  canton  of  Zurich 
"  borders,'*  as  the  writer  expresses  it, 
"on  the  incredible;"  so  that  "only 
Ihe  intensest  industry,  frugality,  tem- 
perance, and  complete  freedom  oi  com- 
merce enable  them  to  stand  their 
ground.'  *t  Yet  the  general  conclusion 
deducible  from  these  books  is  that  since 
the  beginniuff  of  the  centuxpr,  and  con- 
currently with  the  subdivision  of  many 
great  estates  whieh  belonged  to  nobles 
or  to  tbe  cantonal  goyemments,  there 
has  been  a  striking  and  rapid  improye- 
ment  in  almost  every  department  of 
agriculture,  as  well  as  in  the  houses, 
the  habits,  and  the  food  of  thepeople. 
The  writer  of  the  account  of  Tniirgau 
goes  so  far  as  to  say,  that  since  the 

*  There  have  been  considerable  changes 
fai  the  Poor  Law  administration  and  legisla- 
tion of  the  Canton  ef  Berne  since  the  sen- 
tence in  the  text  was  written.  But  I  am 
not  sufficiently  acquainted  with  the  nature 
ando  peration  of  these  changes,  to  speak  more 
particularly  of  them  here. 

t  Sutoriealt  Otofraphical,  mud  StatisHcai 
Tieture  Iff  Switzerland.  Part  I.  Canton  of 
Zurich.  By  Oerold  Meyer  Von  Knonau, 
1834,  pp.  80^1 .  There  are  villages  in  Zui-ich, 
Iw  adds,  in  which  tlrare  is  not  a  single  pro- 
perty unmortgaged.  It  does  not,  however, 
follow  that  each  individual  proprietor  is 
deeply  involved  because  the  aggregate  mass 
ef  incumbrances  is  terge.  In  the  Canton  of 
fichaffhausen,  for  inttiuMse,  it  is  stated  that 
the  landed  properties  are  almost  all  mort* 
gaged,  but  rarely  for  more  than  one-half 
their  registered  value  (Part  XII.  CanUm 
tfMekt^mmu,  by  Edward  Im-Thum,  1840, 
p.  6%),  and  the  mortgages  are  often  for  tke 
improvement  and  enlargement  of  the  estate. 
0*art  XVIL  Canton  ^  TkSrgau,  by  J.  A. 
?apikofer,1637,  p.aO«.> 


subdivision  of  ths  feudal  estates  into 
peasant  properties,  it  is  not  uncommoo 
for  a  third  or  a  fourth  part  of  an  estate 
to  produce  as  much  grain,  and  suppor. 
as  man;^  head  of  cattla^  as  the  whole 
did  before.* 


§  8.  One  of  the  countries  in  which 
peasant  proprietors  are  of  oldest  date, 
and  most  numerous  in  proportion  to 
the  population,  is  Norway.  Of  the 
social  iad  economical  oomtition  of  that 
country  an  interesting  account  has 
been  ^ven  by  Mr.  Laing.  His  testi- 
monj  in  fayour  of  small  landed  pro- 
perties both  there  and  elsewhere,  is 
given  with  great  decision.  I  shall 
quote  a  few  passages. 

"  If  small  proprietors  are  not  good 
farmers,  it  is  not  fit>m  the  same  cause 
here  which  we  are  told  makes  them  so 
in  Scotland— indolence  and  want  of  ex- 
ertion.^ The  extent  to  which  irrigation 
is  carried  on  in  these  glens  and  yalleys 
shows  a  spirit  of  exertion  and  co- 
operation "  (I  request  particular  atten- 
tion to  this  point),  ''to  which  the  latter 
can  show  nothing  similar.  Hay  being 
the  principal  winter  support  of  live 
stock,  and  both  it  and  o(«ii,  as  well  as 
potatoes,  liable,  from  the  shallow  soil 
and  powerfril  reflection  of  sunshine 
from  the  rocks,  to  be  burnt  and  withered 
up,  the  greatest  exertions  are  made  to 
bring  water  from  the  head  of  each  gleu, 
along  such  a  level  as  will  give  Uie 
command  of  it  to  each  fiirmer  at 
the  head  of  his  fields.  This  is  done  by 
leading  it  in  wooden  troughs  if  the  half 
of  a  tree  roughly  scoc^d)  trom  the 
highest  perennial  stream  among  the 
hills,  tfaxough  woods,  across  ravines, 
along  the  rocky,  often  perpendicular, 
sides  of  the  glens,  and  nom  this  main 
trough  giving  a  lateral  one  to  each 
farmer  in  passing  the  head  of  his  farm. 
He  distributes  this  Bupply  by  moveable 
trougbfl  among  hie  fiel<Is ;  and  at  this 
season  waters  each  rig  successively 
with  scoops  like  those  used  bv  bleacheia 
in  watting  cloth,  laying  his  trough 
between  every  twt)  ngs.  One  womd 
net  belieye,  without  seeing  it,  how 
very  large  an  extent  of  hmd  is  tra- 
versed expeditiously  by  these  artificial 
*  TkSrjftM,  p.  72. 


160  BOOK  II. 

saowers.  The  extent  of  the  main 
troughs  is  very  great.  In  one  glen  I 
walked  ten  miles,  and  found  it  tronghed 
on  both  sides :  on  one,  the  chain  is  con- 
tinued down  the  main  valley  for  forty 
miles.*  Those  may  be  bad  farmers 
who  do  such  things ;  but  they  are  not 
indolent,  nor  ignorant  of  the  principle 
of  working  in  concert,  and  keeping  up 
establishments  for  common  benefit. 
They  are  undoubtedly,  in  these  rei^cts, 
far  m  advance  of  any  community  of 
cottars  in  our  Highland  glens.  They 
feel  as  proprietors,  who  receive  the  ad- 
vantage of  their  own  exertions.  ^  The 
excellent  state  of  the  roads  and  bridges 
is  another  proof  that  the  country  is  in- 
habited by  people  who  have  a  common 
interest  to  keep  them  under  repair. 
There  are  no  tolls.'^f 

On  the  efiects  of  peasant  proprietor- 
ship on  the  Continent  generally,  the 
same  writer  expresses  himself  as  fol- 
lows.t 

"  If  we  listen  to  the  large  farmer,  the 
■cientific  agriculturist,  the  "  [English] 
"political  economist,  good  fanning 
must  perish  with  large  farms ;  the 
very  idea  that  good  farming  can  exist, 
unless  on  large  farms  cultivated  with 

S-eat  capital,  they  hold  to  be  absm*d. 
raining,  manuring,    economical   ar- 
rangement, cleaning  the  land,  regular 

*  Reichensperger  (The  Lemd  (Question) 
quoted  by  Mr.  Kaj  (Social  Condition  and 
Education  qf  tho  Fcopls  in  Bngland  and 
Svrope,)  observes,  "  that  the  parts  of  Europe 
where  the  most  extensive  and  costly  plans 
for  watering  the  meadows  and  lands  have 
been  carried  out  in  the  greatest  perfection, 
are  those  where  the  lands  are  very  much 
subdivided,  and  are  in  the  hands  <tf  small 
proprietors.  He  instances  the  plain  round 
Valencia,  several  of  the  southern  depart- 
ments of  France,  particularly  those  of  Vau- 
duse  and  Bouches  du  Rhone,  Lombardy, 
Tuscany,  the  districts  of  Sienna,  Lucca,  and 
Bergamo,  Piedmont,  many  parts  of  Germany, 
&c.,  in  all  which  parts  of  Europe  the  land  is 
very  much  subdivided  among  small  proprie- 
tors. In  all  these  parts  great  and  expensive 
systems  and  plans  of  general  irrigation  have 
been  carried  out,and  are  nowbeing  supported, 
by  the  small  proprietors  themselves;  thus 
Ihowing  how  they  are  able  to  accomplish, 
by  means  of  combination,  work  requiring 
the  expenditure  of  great  quantities  of  oapi- 
taL"    JToy,  1.126. 

t  Laing,  Journal  of  a  Residence  in  Norway, 
sp.  86,  37. 

X  Xutee  qfa  Traveller,  pp.  289  ot  seqq. 


CHAFTER  VL    §  8. 

rotations,   valuable    stock  and  imple 
ments,  all  belong  exclusively  to  large 


farms,  worked  by  large  capital,  and  by 
hired  labour.  This  reads  very  well ; 
but  if  we  raise  our  eyes  from  their 
books  to  their  fields,  and  coolly  compare 
what  we  see  in  the  best  districts 
farmed  in  large  farms,  with  what  -we 
see  in  the  best  districts  farmed  in 
small  farms,  we  see,  and  there  ie  no 
blinking  the  fact,  better  crops  on  the 
ground  in  Flanders,  East  Friesland, 
Holstein,  in  short,  on  the  whole  line  of 
the  arable  land  of  equal  quality  on  the 
Continent,  from  the  Sound  to  Calais, 
than  we  see  on  the  line  of  British  coast 
opposite  to  this  line,  and  in  the  same 
latitudes,  from  the  Frith  of  Forth  all 
round  to  Pover.  Minute  labour  on 
small  port'  .  s  of  arable  ground  gives 
evidently,  iu  equal  soils  and  climate,  a 
superior  productiveness,  where  these 
small  portions  belong  in  property,  as 
in  Flanders,  Holland,  Fnesland,  and 
Ditmarsch  in  Holsteiu,  to  the  farmer. 
It  is  not  pretended  by  our  agricultural 
writers,  tiiat  our  large  farmers,  even  in 
Berwickshire,  Roxburghshire,  or  the 
Lothiaris,  approach  to  the  garden-like 
cultivation,  attention  to  manures,  drain- 
age, and  clean  state  of  the  laud,  or 
in  productiveness  from  a  small  space  of 
soil  not  originally  rich,  which  distin- 
guish the  small  farmers  of  Flanders,  or 
their  system.  In  the  best  fanned  parish 
in  Scotland  or  England,  more  land  is 
wasted  in  the  comers  and  borders  of 
the  fields  of  large  farms,  in  the  roads 
through  them,  unnecessarily  wide  be- 
cause they  are  bad,  and  bad  because 
they  are  wide,  in  neglected  commons, 
waste  spots,  useless  belts  and  clumps 
of  sorry  trees,  and  such  unproductive 
areas,  than  would  maintain  the  poor 
of  the  parish,  if  they  were  all  laid  to- 
gether and  cultivated.  But  large 
capital  applied  to  farming  is  of  course 
only  apphed  to  the  very  best  of  the  soils 
of  a  country.  It  cannot  touch  the  small 
unproductive  spots  which  require  more 
time  and  labour  to  fertilize  them  than 
is  consistent  with  a  quick  return  of 
capital.  But  although  hired  time  and 
labour  cannot  be  applied  beneficially 
to  such  cultivation,  the  owner's  own  time 
and  labour  may.     He  is  working  for 


PEASANT  PROPRIETORS. 


161 


DO  higher  terms  at  first  from  his  land 
than  a  bare  living.  But  in  the  course 
of  generations  fertility  and  value  are 
produced ;  a  better  living,  and  even 
very  imf)roved  processes  of  husbandry, 
are  attained.  Furrow  draining,  stall 
feeding  all  summer,  liquid  manures,  are 
nniverBal  in  the  husbandry  of  the  small 
farms  of  Flanders,  Lombardy,  Switzer- 
land. Our  most  improving  districts 
under  large  farms  are  out  beginning  to 
adopt  them.  Dairy  husbandry  even, 
and  the  manufacture  of  the  largest 
cheeses  by  the  co-operation  of  many 
small  farmers,*  the  mutual  assurance 
of  property  against  fire  and  hail-storms, 
by  the  co-operation  of  small  farmers — 
the  most  scientific  and  expensive  of 
aU  agricultural  operations  in  modern 
times,  the  manufacture  of  beet-root 
sugar — the  supply  of  the  European 
markets  with  flax  and  hemp,  by  the  hus- 
bandry of  small  farmers— the  abund- 
ance of  legumes,  fruits,  poultry,  in  the 
usual  diet  even  of  the  lowest  classes 
abroad,  and  the  total  want  of  such 
variety  at  the  tables  even  of  our  middle 
classes,  and  this  variety  and  abundance 

*  The  manner  in  which  the  Swiss  passants 
combine  to  carry  on  oheesemaking  bj  their 
united  capital  deseryes  to  be  noted.  **  Each 
pariah  in  Switzerland  hires  a  man,  generally 
from  the  district  of  Gmydre  in  the  canton  of 
Freyburg,  to  take  care  of  the  herd,  and  make 
the  cheese.  One  cheeseman,  one  pressman 
or  assistant,  and  one  cowherd,  are  considered 
necessary  for  every  forty  cows.  The  owners 
of  the  cows  get  credit  each  of  them,  in  a  book 
daily,  for  the  quantity  of  milk  given  by  each 
cow.  The  cheeseman  and  his  assistants  milk 
the  cows,  put  the  milk  all  together,  and  make 
cheese  of  it,  and  at  the  end  of  the  season  each 
owner  receives  the  weight  of  cheese  propor^ 
tionable  to  the  quantity  of  milk  his  cows  have 
delivered.  By  this  co-operative  plan,  instead 
of  the  small-idsed  unmarketable  cheeses  only, 
which  each  oould  produce  out  of  his  three  or 
four  cows'  milk,  he  has  the  same  weight  in 
large  marketable  cheese  superior  in  quality, 
because  made  by  people  who  attend  to  no 
other  business.  The  cheeseman  and  his  a»* 
ristants  are  paid  so  much  per  head  of  the 
oows,  in  money  or  in  cheese,  or  sometimes 
they  hire  the  cows,  and  pay  the  owners  in 
money  or  cheese.** — Ifote$  of  a  Traveller,  p. 
851.  A  similar  system  exists  in  the  French 
Jura.  See,  for  full  details,  Lavergne,  Bund 
jeeoMOiMf  of  France,  2nd  ed.,  pp.  139  et  seqq. 
One  of  The  most  remarkable  points  in  this 
hitwesting  case  of  oombination  of  labour,  is 
the  confidence  whioh  it  rapposes,  and  which 
experience  must  Jnstlff  in  the  integrity  of 
the  persona  amfloied 


essentiaHv  connected  with  the  hus- 
bandry of  small  farmers — all  these  are 
features  in  the  occupation  of  a  country 
by  small  proprietor-farmers,  which  must 
make  the  inquirer  pause  before  he 
admits  the  dogma  of  our  land  doctors 
at  home,  that  large  farms  worked  by 
hired  labour  and  great  capital  can 
alone  brine  out  the  greatest  produc- 
tiveness of  the  soil  and  furnish  the 
greatest  supply  of  the  necessaries  and 
conveniences  of  life  to  the  inhabitants 
of  a  country." 

§  4.  Among  the  manv  flourishing 
regions  of  Germany  in  which  peasant 
properties  prevail,  I  select  the  Palati- 
nate, for  the  advantage  of  quoting, 
from  an  English  source,  the  results  of 
recent  personal  observation  of  its  agri- 
culture and  its  people.  Mr.  Howitt, 
a  writer  whose  habit  it  is  to  see  all 
English  objects  and  English  socialitiea 
on  their  brightest  side,  and  who,  in 
treating  of  the  Rhenish  peasantry, 
certainly  does  not  underrate  the  rude- 
ness of  their  implements,  and  the  in- 
feriority of  their  ploughing,  neverthe- 
less shows  that  under  the  invigorating 
influence  of  the  feelings  of  proprietor- 
ship, they  make  up  for  the  imperfec- 
tions of  their  apparatus  by  the  inten- 
sity of  their  application.  "  The  peasant 
harrows  and  clears  his  land  till  it  is  in 
the  nicest  order,  and  it  is  admirable  to 
see  the  crops  which  he  obtains.*'* 
"The  peasants t  are  the  great  and 
ever-present  objects  of  country  life. 
They  are  the  great  population  of  the 
country,  because  they  themselves  are 
the  possessors.  This  country  is,  in 
fact,  for  the  most  part,  in  the  hands  of 
the  people.    It  is  parcelled  out  among 

the  multitude The  peasants  are 

not,  as  with  ufi,  for  the  most  part, 
totally  cut  off  from  property  in  the  soil 
they  cultivate,  totallv  dependent  on 
the  labour  afforded  by  others— they 
are  themselves  the  proprietors.  It  is, 
perhaps,  from  this  cause  that  they  are 
prebabljr  the  mest  industrious  pea 
santry  in  the  world.  They  laboui 
busily,  early  and  late,  because  they 

*  Ittvral  and  DometHe  Life  qf  Q^nuuim, 
p.  27. 
t  Ibid.  p.  4a 


162 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  VI.    §  8. 


feel  that  they  are  labouring  for  them- 
Belves.  ....  The  German  peasants 
work  hard,  but  they  have  no  actaal 
want.  Every  man  has  his  house,  his 
orchard,  his  roadside  trees,  commonlj 
BO  heavy  with  fruit,  that  he  is  obliged 
to  prop  and  secure  them  all  ways,  or 
they  would  be  torn  to  pieces.  lie  has 
his  corn-plot,  his  plot  for  mangel- 
wurzel,  for  hemp,  and  so  on.  He  is 
his  own  master;  and  he,  and  eveiy 
member  of  his  family,  have  the  strongest 
motives  to  labour.  You  see  the  effect 
of  this  in  that  unremitting  diligence 
which  is  beyond  that  of  the  whole 
world  besides,  and  his  economy,  which 
is  still  greater.  The  Germans,  indeed, 
are  not  so  active  and  lively  as  the 
English.  You  never  see  them  in  a 
bustle,  or  as  though  they  meant  to 
knock  off  a  vast  deal  in  a  little  time. 
.  .  .  They  are,  on  the  contrary,  slow, 
but  for  ever  doing.  They  plod  on  from 
day  to  day,  and  year  to  year — the 
most  patient,  untirable,  and  persever- 
ing of  animals.  The  English  peasant 
is  so  cut  off  from  the  idea  of  property, 
that  he  comes  habitually  to  look  upon 
it  as  a  thing  from  which  he  is  warned 
by  the  laws  of  the  large  proprietors, 
and  becomes,  in  consequence,  spirit- 
less, purposeless The  German 

bauer,  on  the  contrary,  looks  on  the 
country  as  made  for  him  and  his 
fellow-men.  He  feels  himself  a  man ; 
he  has  a  stake  in  the  country,  as  good 
as  that  of  the  bulk  of  his  neighbours ; 
no  man  ca\i  threaten  him  with  ejec- 
tion, or  the  workhouse,  so  long  as  he 
is  active  and  economical.  He  walks, 
therefore,  with  a  bold  step ;  he  looks 
you  in  the  face  with  the  air  of  a  free 
man,  but  of  a  respectful  one." 

Of  their  industry,  the  same  writer 
thus  further  speaks :  "  There  is  not  an 
hour  of  the  year  in  which  they  do  not 
find  unceasing  occupation.  In  the 
depth  of  winter,  when  the  weather 
permits  them  by  any  means  to  get  out 
of  doors,  they  are  always  finding  some- 
thing to  do.  They  cany  out  their 
manure  to  their  lands  while  the  frost 
is  in  them.  If  there  is  not  frost,  they 
are  busy  cleaning  ditches  and  felling 
old  fruit  trees,  or  such  as  do  not  bear 
wttlL    Sach  of  them  as  are  too  poor  to 


lay  in  a  sufficient  stock  of  wood,  find 
plenty  of  work  in  ascending  into  the 
mountainous  woods,  and  bringing 
thence  fuel.  It  would  astonish  the 
English  common  people  to  see  the  in- 
tense labour  with  which  the  Germans 
earn  their  firewood.  In  the  depth  of 
frost  and  snow,  go  into  any  of  their 
hills  and  woods,  and  there  you  find 
them  hacking  up  stumps,  cutting  off 
branches,  and  gathering,  by  all  means 
which  the  official  wood-police  will 
allow,  boughs,  stakes,  and  pieces  of 
wood,  which  they  convey  home  with 
the  most  incredible  toil  ana  patience."* 
After  a  description  of  their  careful  and 
laborious  vineyard  culture,  he  con- 
tinues,+  "  In  England,  with  its  great 
quantity  of  grass  lands,  and  its  large 
farms,  so  soon  as  the  grain  is  in,  and 
the  fields  are  shut  up  for  hay  grass,  the 
country  seems  in  a  comparative  state 
of  rest  and  quiet.  But  here  they  are 
everywhere,  and  for  ever,  hoeing  and 
mowing,  planting  and  cutting,  weed- 
ing and  gathering.  They  Jaave  a 
succession  of  crops  like  a  market- 
gardener.  They  nave  their  carrots, 
poppies,  hemp,  nax,  saintfoin,  lucerne, 
rape,  colewoi-t,  cabbage,  rotabaga, 
black  turnips,  Swedish  and  white  tur- 
nips, teazles,  Jerusalem  artichokes, 
mangel-wurzel,  parsnips,  kidney-beans, 
field-beans  and  peas,  vetches,  Indian 
com,  buckwheat,  madder  for  the  manu- 
facturer, potatoes,  their  great  crop  of 
tobacco,  nullet — ^all,  or  the  gi-eater  part, 
under  the  family  management,  in  their 
own  family  allotments.  ITiey  have 
had  these  things  first  to  sow,  many  of 
them  to  transplant,  to  hoe,  to  weed,  to 
clear  off  insects,  to  top ;  man^  of  them 
to  mow  and  gather  in  successive  crops. 
They  have  their  water-meadows,  of 
which  kind  almost  all  their  meadows 
are,  to  fiood,  to  mow,  and  refiood ; 
watercourses  to  reopen  and  to  make 
anew ;  their  early  fruits  to  gather,  to 
bring  to  market  with  their  green  crops 
of  vegetables ;  their  cattle,  sheep, 
calves,  foals,  most  of  them  prisoners, 
and  poultry  to  look  after ;  their  vines, 
as  they  shoot  rampantly  in  the  sum- 

*  Sural  and  Dometriiie   Ltft  qf  QtHrmta^ 
p.  44. 
t  Tbid.  o.  fiO. 


PEASANT  PR0PRTBT0B8. 


169 


mer  heat,  to  prune,  and  thin  out  the 
leaves  when  they  are  too  thick :  and 
any  one  may  imagine  what  a  scene  of 
incessant  labour  it  is." 

This    interesting    sketch,    to     the 
general  truth  of  which  any  observant 
traveller  in  that  highly  cultivated  and 
populous    region    can    bear    witness, 
accords  with   the  more  elaborate   de- 
lineation by  a  distinguished  inhabitant, 
Professor   Kau,   in  his  little  treatise 
"On  the  Agriculture  of  the  Palati- 
nate."*    Dr.  Ran  bearg  testimony  not 
only  to  the  industry,  but  to  the  skill 
\n(\    intelligence    of  the    peasantry; 
their  judicious  employment  of  manures , 
and  excellent  rotation  of  crops;  the 
progressive  improvement  of  their  agri- 
culture for  generations  past,  and  the 
spirit  of  further  improvement  which  is 
still  active.      "The  indefatigableness 
of  the  country  people,  who  may  be  seen 
in  activity  au  the  day  and  all  the  year, 
and  are  never  idle,  because  they  make 
a  good  distribution  of  their  labours, 
and  find  for  every  interval  of  time  a 
Riiitable  occupation,  is  as  well  known 
as  their  zeal  is  praiseworthy  in  turning 
to  use  every  circumstance  which  pre- 
sents itselfi  in  seizing  upon  every  use- 
ful novelty  which  oners,  and  even  in 
searching  out  new  and  advantageous 
methods.     One  easily  perceives  that 
the  peasant  of  this  district  has  reflected 
much  on  his  occupation :  he  can  ^ve 
reasons  for  his  modes  of  proceeding, 
even  if  those  reasons  are  not  always 
tenable ;  he  is  as  exact  an  observer  of 
proportions  as  it  is  possible  to  be  firom 
memory,  without  the  aid  of  figures :  he 
attends  to  such  general  signs  of  the 
times  as  appear  to  augur  nim  either 
benefit  or  harm."t 

The  experience  of  all  other  parti  of 
Germany  is  similar.  "In  Saxony," 
says  Mr.  Kay,  "  it  is  a  notorious  fact, 
that  during  uie  last  thirty  years,  and 
since  the  peasants  became  the  pro- 
prietors of  the  land,  there  has  been  a 
rapid  and  continual  improvement  in  the 
condition  of  the  houses,  in  the  manner 
of  living,  in  the  dress  of  the  peasants, 

•  Onik£  AffrieuUmrt  ofths  PalatinaU,  and 
martUmlarl^  in  ike  territory  of  Heidelberg. 
By  Dr.  Karl  Heinrich  Ran.  Heidelberg. 
1830. 

♦  Aaa.  pp.  l^  Mb 


and  particularly  in  the  culture  of  th* 
land.  I  have  twice  walked  through  that 

{)art  of  Saxony  called  Saxon  Switzep 
and,  in  company  with  a  German  guid^ 
and  on  purpose  to  see  the  state  of  the 
villages  and  of  the  farming,  and  I  can 
safely  challenge  contradiction  when  I 
affirm  that  there  is  no  farming  in  all 
Europe  superior  to  the  laboriously  care- 
ful cultivation  of  the  valleys  of  that 
part  of  Saxony.  There,  as  in  the  can- 
tons of  Berne,  Vaud,  and  Zurich,  and 
in  the  Rhine  provinces,  the  farms  are 
singularly  flourishing.  They  are  kept 
in  beautiful  condition,  and  are  always 
neat  and  well^  managed.  The  ground 
is  cleared  as  if  it  were  a  garden.  No 
hedges  or  brushwood  encumber  it. 
Scarcely  a  rush  or  thistle  or  a  bit  of 
rank  grass  is  to  be  seen.  The  meadows 
are  well  watered  every  spring  with 
liquid  manure,  saved  from  the  drain- 
ings  of  the  farm  yards.  The  grass  is 
so  free  from  weeds  that  the  Saxon 
meadows  reminded  me  more  of  English 
lawns  than  of  anything  else  I  had  seen. 
The  peasants  endeavour  to  outstrip  one 
another  in  the  quantity  and  quality  of 
the  produce,  in  the  preparation  of  the 
giound,  and  in  the  general  cultivation 
of  their  respective  portions.  All  the 
little  proprietors  are  eager  to  find  out 
how  to  farm  bo  as  to  produce  the  greatest 
results ;  they  diligently  seek  after  im- 
provements ;  they  send  their  children 
to  the  agricultural  schools  in  order  to 
fit  them  to  assist  their  fathers ;  and 
each  proprietor  soon  adopts  a  new  im- 
provement introduced  by  any  of  his 
neighbours."*  If  this  be  not  over- 
stated, it  denotes  a  state  of  intelligence 
very  different  not  only  from  that  of 
English  laboorers  but  of  English 
£umers. 

Mr.  Kay's  book,  published  in  1850, 
contains  a  mass  of  evidence  gathered 
from  observation  and  inquiries  in  many 
difierent  parts  of  Europe,  together  with 
attestations  from  many  distinguished 
writers,  to  the  beneficial  efiects  of  pea- 
*  The  Social  CondUion  and  Bdneaiion  o/ 
^ke  People  in  ^England  and  £urope;  ahomng 
ike  ReeuUe  ^f  the  Frimarj/  SehooU,  and  of 
^ke  dMoimon  w  handed  Property  in  Foreign 
Countriee.  Bj  Joseph  Kay,  Baq.,  M.A.  Bar- 
rister-at-Law,  and  late  TravelUng  Bachelor 
ofthe  University  of  Cambridge.    Vol.  i.  pp. 

M  ^ 


164 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  VI.    8  5. 


stint  pioperties.  Among  the  testimouies 
whicn  he  cites  respecting  their  effect 
on  agriciilture,  I  select  the  following. 

"  Eeichensperger,  himself  an  inhabi- 
tant of  that  part  (nPrassia  where  tbeland 
is  the  most  subdivided,  has  pnblished 
a  long  and  very  elaborate  work  to  show 
the  admirable  consequences  of  a  system 
of  freeholds  in  land.  He  expresses  a 
very  decided  opinion  that  not  only  are 
the  gross  products  of  any  given  number 
of  acres  held  and  cultivated  by  small 
or  peasant  proprietors,  greater  than  the 
gross  products  of  an  equal  number  of 
acres  held  by  a  few  great  proprietors, 
and  cultivated  by  tenant  farmers,  but 
that  the  net  products  of  the  former, 
after  deducting  all  the  expenses  of 
estivation,  are  also  greater  than  the 
net  products  of  the  latter.  ...  He 
mentions  one  fact  which  seems  to  prove 
that  the  fertility  of  the  land  in  oountiies 
where  the  properties  are  small,  must  be 
rapidly  increasing.  He  says  that  the 
pnce  of  the  land  which  is  divided  into 
small  properties  in  the  Prussian  Rhine 
provinces,  is  much  higher,  and  has  been 
rising  much  more  rapidly,  than  the 
price  of  land  on  the  great  estates.  He 
and  Professor  Rau  both  say  that  this 
rise  in  the  price  of  the  small  estates 
would  have  ruined  the  more  recent 
purchasers,  unless  the  productiveness 
of  the  small  estates  had  increased  in 
at  least  an  e^ual  proportion ;  and  as  the 
srnaU  ^opnetors  have  been  gradually 
becoming  more  and  more  prosperous 
notwithstanding  the  increasing  prices 
they  have  paid  for  their  land,  he  argues, 
widfi  apparent  justness,  that  this  would 
seem  to  show  that  not  only  the  gross 
profits  of  the  small  estates,  but  the  net 
profits  also,  have  been  ^-adually  in- 
creasing, and  that  the  net  profits  per 
acre,  of  land,  when  farmed  by  small 
proprietors,  are  greater  than  the  net 
profits  per  acre  of  land  farmed  by  a 
great  proprietor.  He  says,  with  seem- 
ing truth,  that  the  increasing  price  of 
land  in  the  small  estates  cannot  be  the 
mere  effect  of  competition,  or  it  would 
have  diminished  the  profits  and  the 
piosperity  of  the  small  proprietors,  and 
that  this  result  has  not  followed  the 
Hse. 

^'  Al^irecht  Thaer,  another  celebrated 


German  writer  on  the  diffetent  systems 
of  agricultore,  in  one  of  his  later  works 
(Principles  of  Rational  Agriculture) 
expresses  his  decided  conviction,  that 
the  netprodv4:e  of  land  is  greater  when 
farmed  oy  small  proprietors  than  when 
farmed  by  great  proprietors  or  theit 
tenants.  .  .  .  This  opinion  of  Thaer  is 
all  the  more  remarkable,  as,  during  the 
early  part  of  his  life,  he  was  very 
strongly  in  fayour  of  the  English  sjsten' 
of  ereat  estates  and  great  nu-ms.'* 

Mr.  Kay  adds,  from  his  own  observa- 
tion, "  The  peasant  farming^  of  Prussia, 
Saxony,  Holland,  and  Switzerland  is 
the  most  perfect  and  economical  farm 
ing  I  have  eyer  witnessed  in  any 
country."* 

§  5.  But  the  most  decisive  example 
in  opposition  to  the  English  prejudice 
against  cultivation  by  peasant  pro- 
prietors, is  the  case  of  Belgium.  The 
soil  is  originally  one  of  me  worst  in 
Europe.  "The  provinces,"  says  Mr. 
M'Culloch,t  "of  West  and  East 
Flanders,  and  Hainault,  form  a  far- 
stretching  plain,  of  which  the  luxuriant 
vegetation  indicates  the  indefatigable 
care  and  labour  bestowed  upon  its  cul- 
tivation; for  the  natural  soil  consists 
almost  wholly  of  barren  sand,  and  its 
great  fertilily  is  entirely  the  result  of 
very  skilful  management  and  judicious 
application  of  various  manures.' *  There 
exists  a  carefully  prepared  and  compre- 
hensive treatise  on  Flemish  Husbandry, 
in  the  Farmer's  Series  of  the  Society 
for  the  Difiusion  of  Useful  Knowledge. 
The  writer  observes,^  that  the  Flemish 
agriculturists  "  seem  to  want  nothing 
but  a  space  to  work  upon :  whatever  be 
the  quality  or  texture  of  the  soil,  in 
time  they  will  make  it  produce  some 
thing.  The  sand  in  the  Gampine  caa 
be  compared  to  nothing  but  the  sands 
on  the  sea-shore,  which  they  probably 
were  originally.  It  is  highly  interest- 
ing to  follow  step  by  step  the  progress 
of  improvement.  Here  you  see  a  cot- 
tage and  rude  cow-shed  erected  on  a 
spot  of  the  most  unpromising  as^ct. 
The  loose  white  sand  blown  mto  irre- 

*  Kay,  i.  110-8. 

t  Qeographicul  DieUonan,  art.  **  Belgloa.* 

I  Pp.  11-14 


PEASANT  FR0PKIBT0R8. 


165 


gidar  mounds  is  only  kept  together  by 
the  roots  of  the  heath :  a  small  spot 
onlj  is  levelled  and  sarronnded  by  a 
ditch :  part  of  this  is  covered  with 
yonng  broom,  part  is  planted  with  po- 
tatoes, and  perhaps  a  small  patch  of 
diminutiYe  clover  may  show  itself:"  but 
manures,  both  solid  and  liquid,  are  col- 
lecting, *'  and  this  is  the  nucleus  from 
which,  in  a  few  years,  a  little  farm  will 
spread  around.  ...  If  there  is  no 
manure  at  hand,  the  only  thing  that 
can  be  sown,  on  pure  sand,  at  nrst,  is 
broom :  this  grows  in  the  most  barren 
soils ;  in  three  years  it  is  fit  to  out,  and 
produces  some  return  in  fagots  for  the 
bakers  and  brickmakers.  The  leaves 
which  have  fallen  have  somewhat  en- 
riched the  soil,  and  the  fibres  of  the 
roots  have  given  a  certain  degree  of 
compactness.  It  may  now  be  ploughed 
and  sown  with  buckwheat,  or  even  with 
rye  without  manure.  By  the  time  this 
is  reaped,  some  manure  may  have  been 
collected,  and  a  regular  course  of  crop- 
ping may  begin.  As  soon  as  clover  and 
potatoes  enable  the  farmer  to  keep  cows 
and  make  manure,  the  improvement 
goes  an  rapidly ;  in  a  few  years  the  soil 
undergoes  a  complete  chanee:  it  be- 
comes mellow  and  retentive  of  moisture, 
and  enriched  by  the  vegetable  matter 
afforded  by  the  decomposition  of  the 
roots  of  clover  and  other  plants.  .  .  . 
After  the  land  has  been  gradually 
brought  into  a  good  state,  and  is  culti- 
vated in  a  re^ar  manner,  there  ap- 
pears much  less  difierenoe  between  the 
soils  which  have  been  originally  good, 
and  those  which  have  been  made  so 
by  labour  and  industry.  At  least  the 
crops  in  both  apj>ear  more  nearly  alike 
at  harvest,  than  is  the  case  in  soils  of 
different  qualities  in  other  countries. 
This  is  a  great  proof  of  the  excellency 
of  the  Flemish  system ;  for  it  shows 
that  tiie  land  is  m  a  constant  state  of 
improvement,  and  that  the  deficiency 
of  the  soil  is  compensated  by  greater 
attention  to  tillage  and  manuring, 
especially  the  latter." 

The  people  who  labour  thus  intensely, 
because  labouring  for  themselves,  have 
practised  for  centuries  those  principles 
of  rotation  of  crops  and  economy  of 
jnannres,  which  in  England  are  counted 


among  modem  discoveries :  and  even 
now  the  superiority  of  their  agriculture, 
as  a  whole,  to  that  of  England,  is  ad- 
mitted by  competent  judges.  "  The 
cultivation  of  a  poor  light  soil,  or  a 
moderate  soiV  says  the  writer  last 
quoted,*  "is  generally  suj^rior  in 
Flanders  to  that  of  the  most  improved 
farms  of  the  same  kind  in  Britain.  We 
surjpass  the  Flemish  farmer  gpreatly  in 
capital,  in  varied  implements  of  tillage, 
in  the  choice  and  breeding  of  cattle  and 
sheep,''  (though,  according  to  the  same 
authority,t  they  are  much  "  before  us 
in  the  feeding  of  their  cows,")  "  and 
the  British  farmer  is  in  general  a  man 
of  superior  education  to  the  Flemish 
peasant.  But  in  the  minute  attention 
to  the  qualities  of  the  soil,  in  the  ma- 
nagement and  application  of  manures 
of  different  kinds,  in  the  judicious  suc- 
cession of  crops,  and  especially  in  the 
economy  of  land,  so  that  every  part  of 
it  shall  be  in  a  constant  state  of  pro- 
duction, we  have  still  something  to 
learn  from  the  Flemings,'*  and  not  from 
an  instructed  and  enterprising  Fleming 
here  and  there,  but  from  the  genenu 
practice. 

Much  of  the  most  highly  cultivated 
part  of  the  country  consists  of  peasant 
properties,  managed  by  the  proprietors, 
always  either  wholly  or  partly  bpr  spade 
industry.^  "When  the  land  is  culti- 
vated entirely  by  the  spade,  and  no 
horses  are  kept,  a  cow  is  kept  for  every 
three  acres  of  land,  and  entirely  fed  on 
artificial  grasses  and  roots.  This  mode 
of  cultivation  is  principally  adopted  in 
the  Waes  district,  where  properties  are 
very  smaU.  All  the  labour  is  done  by 
the  different  members  of  the  family;" 
children  soon  beginning  "to  assist  in 
various  minute  operations,  according  to 
their  age  and  strength,  such  as  weed- 
ing, hoeing,  feeding  the  oows.  If  they 
can  raise  xye  ^nd  wheat  enough  to 
make  their  bread,  and  potatoes,  tur- 
nips, carrots,  and  clover,  for  the  cows, 
they  do  well ;  and  the  produce  of  the 
sale  of  their  rape-seed,  tneir  flax,  their 
hemp,  and  their  butter,  after  deducting 
the  expense  of  manure  purchased,  which 

*  Flemuh  mubamdrv,  p.  S. 

t  Ibid.  p.  18. 

t  Ibid.,  pp.  73  et  tea. 


166 


BOOK  n.    CHAMER  VI.    §  5. 


Is  always  considerable,  gives  them  a 
very  good  profit.  Suppose  the  whole 
extent  of  the  land  to  be  six  acres,  which 
is  not  an  nncommon  occupation,  and 
which  one  man  can  manage;"  then 
(after  describing  the  cultivation),  "if 
a  man  with  his  wife  and  three  young 
children  are  considered  as  equal  to 
three  and  a  half  grown  up  men,  the  fa- 
milv  will  require  thirty-mne  bushels  of 
zram,  forty-nine  bushels  of  potatoes,  a 
fat  hog,  and  the  butter  and  milk  of  one 
cow :  an  acre  and  a  half  of  land  will 
produce  the  grain  and  potatoes,  and 
allow  some  com  to  finish  the  fattening 
of  the  hog,  which  has  the  extra  butter- 
milk :  another  acre  in  clover,  caiTots, 
and  potatoes,  together  with  the  stubble 
turnips,  will  more  than  feed  the  cow; 
consequently  two  and  a  half  acres  of 
land  IB  sumcient  to  feed  this  familj', 
and  the  produce  of  the  other  three  and 
a  half  may  be  sold  to  pay  the  rent  or 
the  interest  of  purchase-money,  wear 
and  tear  of  implements,  extra  manure, 
and  clothes  for  the  family.  But  these 
acres  are  the  most  profitable  on  the 
farm,  for  the  hemp,  fl«x,  and  colza  are 
included ;  and  by  having  another  acre 
in  clover  and  roots,  a  second  cow  can 
be  kept,  and  its  produce  sold.  We 
have,  therefore,  a  solution  of  the  prob- 
lem, how  a  family  can  live  and  thrive 
on  six  acres  of  moderate  land."  After 
showing  by  calculation  that  this  extent 
of  land  can  be  cultivated  in  the  most 
perfect  manner  by  the  family  without 
any  aid  from  hired  labour,  tne  writer 
continues,  "  In  a  farm  of  ten  acres  en- 
tirely cultivated  by  the  spade,  the  addi- 
tion of  a  man  and  a  woman  to  the 
members  of  the  family  will  render  all 
the  operations  more  easy;  and  with  a 
horse  and  cart  to  carry  out  the  manure, 
and  bring  home  the  produce,  and  occa- 
sionally draw  the  harrows,  ^<ee»  acres 
may  be  very  well  cultivated.  .  .  .  Thus 
it  will  be  seen,"  (this  is  the  result  of 
some  pages  of  details  and  calculations,*) 
"  that  by  spade  husbandry,  an  industri- 
ous man  with  a  small  capital,  occupying 
only  fifteen  acres  of  good  light  land, 
may  not  only  live  and  bring  up  a  fa- 
mil  v,  paying  a  good  rent^  bu  t  may  accu- 
xnulate  a  consi^rable  sum  in  the  course 
•  WUmUh  Sudtmdry,  p.  81. 


of  hia  life."  But  the  indefatigable  in 
dustiy  by  which  he  accomplishes  this| 
and  of  which  so  large  a  portion  is  ex- 
pended not  in  the  mere  cultivation,  but 
m  the  improvement,  for  a  distant  re- 
turn, of  the  soil  itself — ^has  that  indus* 
try  no  connexion  with  not  paying  rent? 
Could  it  exist,  without  presupposing, 
at  least,  a  virtually  permanent  tenure  ? 

As  to  their  mode  of  living,  **the 
Flemish  farmers  and  labourers  live 
much  more  economically  than  the  same 
class  in  England:  they  seldom  eat 
meat,  except  on  Sundays  and  in  har- 
vest: buttermilk  and  potatoes  with 
brown  bread  is  their  daily  food."  It 
is  on  this  kind  of  evidence  that  English 
travellers,  as  they  hurry  through  Eu- 
rope, pronounce  the  peasantry  of  every 
Continental  country  poor  and  miserable, 
its  agricultural  and  social  system  a 
failure,  and  the  English  the  only  regime 
under  which  labourers  are  well  off.  It 
is,  truly  enough,  the  only  regime  under 
which  labourers,  whether  well  off  or 
not,  never  attempt  to  be  better.  So 
little  are  English  labourers  accustomed 
to  consider  it  possible  that  a  labourer 
should  not  spend  all  he  earns,  that  they 
habitually  mistake  the  signs  of  eco- 
nomy for  those  of  poverty.  Observe 
the  true  interpretation  of  the  pheno- 
mena. 

"Accordingly  they  are  gradually 
acquiring  capital^  and  their  great  am- 
bition is  to  nave  land  of  their  own. 
They  eagerly  seize  every  opportunity 
of  purchasing  a  small  farm,  and  the 
price  is  BO  raised  by  competition,  that 
land  pays  little  more  than  two  per  cent 
interest  for  the  purchase  money.   Large 

Sroperties  gradually  disappear,  and  are 
ivided  into  small  portions,  which  sell 
at  a  high  rate.  But  the  wealth  and 
industry  of  the  population  is  continually 
increasmg,  being  rather  difiused  through 
the  masses  than  accumulated  in  indi- 
viduals." 

With  facts  like  these,  known  and 
accessible,  it  is  not  a  little  surprising 
to  find  the  case  of  Flanders  referred  to 
not  in  recommendation  of  peasant  pro- 
perties, but  as  a  warning  against  them ; 
on  no  better  ground  than  a  presumptive 
excess  of  population,  inferred  from  the 
distress  which  existed  among  the  pea- 


PEASANT  PROPRIETORa 


16^ 


tentry  oH  Brabant  and  East  Flanders 
in  the  disastrous  year  1846-47.  The 
evidence  which  I  have  cited  from  a 
writer  conversant  with  the  b abject,  and 
having  no  economical  theory  to  sup- 
port, shows  that  the  distress,  whatever 
ma^  have  been  its  severity,  arose  from 
no  msufficiency  in  these  little  pi-operties 
to  supply  abundantly,  in  any  ordinary 
circumstances,  the  wants  of  all  whom 
they  have  to  maintain.  It  arose  from 
the  essential  condition  to  which  those 
are  subject  who  employ  land  of  their 
own  in  growing  their  own  food,  namely, 
that  the  vicissitudes  of  the  seasons 
must  be  borne  by  themselves,  and  can- 
not, as  in  the  case  of  large  farmers,  be 
shifted  from  them  to  the  consmner. 
When  we  remember  the  season  of  1846, 
a  partial  failure  of  all  kinds  of  grain, 
and  an  almost  total  one  of  the  potato, 
it  is  no  wonder  that  in  so  unusual  a 
calamity  the  produce  of  six  acres,  half 
of  them  sown  with  flax,  hemp,  or  oil 
seeds,  should  fall  short  of  a  year's  pro- 
vision for  a  family.  But  we  are  not  to 
contrast  the  distressed  Flemish  peasant 
with  an  English  capitalist  who  farms 
several  hundred  acres  of  land.  If  the 
peasant  were  an  Englishman,  he  would 
not  be  that  capitalist,  but  a  dav-la- 
bourer  under  a  capitahst.  And  is  there 
DO  distress,  in  times  of  dearth,  among 
day-labourers  ?  Was  there  none,  that 
year,  in  countries  where  small  proprie- 
tors and  small  farmers  are  unknown  ? 
I  am  aware  of  no  reason  for  believing 
that  the  distress  was  greater  in  Bel- 
g|ium,  than  corresponds  to  the  propor- 
tional extent  of  the  failure  of  crops 
compared  with  other  countries.* 

§  6.  The  evidence  of  the  beneficial 
operation  of  peasant  properties  in  the 
Cnannel  Islands  is  of  so  decisive  a  cha- 
racter, that  I  cannot  help  adding  to 
the  numerous  citations  already  made, 

*  As  much  of  the  distreMlatelyeomplained 
of  in  Belgium,  m  partakes  in  any  degree  of  a 
permanent eharacter,  appears  lobe  almost 
confined' to  the  portion  of  the  population 
who  carry  on  manufacturing  labour,  either 
by  itself  or  in  c<H]^unction  with  agricultural ; 
and  to  be  occanoned  by  a  diminished  demand 
fi>r  Belgic  manufiaccurei. 

To  the  preceding  testimonies  respecting 
Germany,  Switaeriand,  and  Belgium,  may 


part  of  a  description  of  the  economical 
condition  of  those  islands,  by  a  writer 
who  combines  personal  observation 
with  an  attentive  study  of  the  inforraar 
tion  afforded  by  others.  Mr.  William 
Thornton,  in  his  "Plea  for  Peasant 
Proprietors,"  a  book  which  by  the  ex- 
cellence both  of  its  materials  and  of  its 
execution,  deserves  to  be  regarded  as 
the  standard  work  on  that  side  of  the 
question,  speaks  of  the  island  of  Guern- 
sey in  the  following  terms :  "Not  even 
in  England  is  nearly  so  large  a  quan- 
tity of  produce  sent  to  market  from  a 
tract  of  such  limited  extent.  This  of 
itself  might  prove  that  the  cultivators 
must  be  far  removed  above  poverty,  for 
being  absolute  owners  of  all  the  pro- 
duce raised  by  them,  they  of  course  sell 
only  what  they  do  not  themselves  re- 
quire. But  the  satisfactoriness  of  their 
condition  is  apparent  to  every  observer. 
*The  happiest  community,*  says  Mr. 
Hill,  '  which  it  has  ever  been  my  lot 
to  fall  in  with,  is  to  be  found  in  this 
little  island  of  Guernsey.'  *  No  matter, ' 
says  Sir  George  Head,  *to  what  point 
the  traveller  may  choose  to  bend  his 
way,  comfort  everywhere  prevails.' 
What  most  surprises  the  English  vi- 
sitor in  his  first  walk  or  drive  beyond 
the  bounds  of  St.  Peter's  Port,  is  the 
appearance  of  the  habitations  with 
which  the  landscape  is  thickly  studded. 
Many  of  them  are  such  as  in  his  own 
country  would  belong  to  persons  of 
middle  rank :  but  he  is  puzzled  to  guess 
what  sort  of  people  live  in  the  others, 
which,  though  in  general  not  large 
enough  for  farmers,  are  almost  invari- 
ably much  too  good  in  every  respect  lor 

day  labourers Literally,  in  the 

whole  island,  with  the  exception  of  a 
few  fishermen's  huts,  there  is  not  one 
so  mean  as  to  be  likened  to  the  ordinary 
habitation  of  an  English  farm  labourer. 
'Look,'   says  a  late  Bailiff  of 


be  added  the  following  from  Niebnbr,  re 
specting  the  Roman  Campagna.  In  a  letter 
from  Tivoli,  he  says,  "  Wherever  you  find 
hereditary  farmers,  or  small  proprietors, 
there  you  alao  find  industry  and  honesty.  I 
believe  that  a  man  who  would  employ  a  large 
fortune  in  establishing  small  freeholds  might 
pot  an  end  to  robbery  in  the  mountain 
districts."— i4/e  amd  JMUn  vf  Nitbukr,  t  oU 
u.  p.  140, 


168 


BOOK  II.    CHAFTER  VI.    §  7. 


Guernsey,  Mi.  De  Lisle  Brock,  *at 
the  hovels  of  the  English,  and  compare 
4hem  with  the  cottages  of  our  pea- 
santry.' ....  Beggars  are  utterly  un- 
known  Pauperism,    able-bodied 

pauperism  at  least,  is  nearly  as  rare  as 
mendicancy.  The  Savings  Banks  ac- 
counts also  bear  witness  to  the  general 
abundance  enjoyed  by  the  labouring 
classes  of  Guernsey.  In  the  year  1841, 
there  were  in  England,  out  of  a  popu- 
lation of  nearly  fifteen  millions,  less 
than  700,000  depositors,  or  one  in  every 
twenty  persons,  and  the  average 
amount  of  the  deposits  was  30Z.  In 
Guernsey,  in  the  same  year,  out  of  a 
population  of  26,000  the  number  of  de- 
positors was  1920,  and  the  average 
amount  of  the  deposits  40Z."*  The 
evidence  as  to  Jersey  and  Aldemey  is 
of  a  similar  character. 

Of  the  efficiency  and  productiveness 
of  agriculture  on  the  small  properties 
of  the  Channel  Islands,  Mr.  Thornton 
produces  ample  evidence,  the  result  of 
which  he  sums  up  as  follows :  "  Thus 
it  appears  that  in  the  two  principal 
Channel  Islands,  the  agricultural  popu- 
lation is,  in  the  one  twice,  and  in  the 
other,  three  times,  as  dense  as  in  Bri- 
tain, there  being  in  the  latter  country 
only  one  cultivator  to  twenty-two  acres 
of  cultivated  land,  while  in  Jersey  there 
is  one  to  eleven,  and  in  Guernsey  one 
to  seven  acres.  Yet  the  agriculture  of 
these  islands  maintains,  besides  culti- 
vators, non-agricultural  populations, 
respectively  four  and  five  times  as 
dense  as  that  of  Britain.  This  differ- 
ence does  not  arise  fi-om  any  superi- 
ority of  soil  or  climate  possessed  by  the 
Channel  Islands,  for  tne  former  is  na- 
turally rather  poor,  and  the  latter  is 
not  better  than  in  the  southern  coun- 
ties of  England.  It  is  owing  entirely 
to  the  assiduous  care  of  the  farmers, 
and  to  the  abundant  use  of  manure."t 
"  In  the  year  1837,*'  he  says  in  another 
place,t "  the  average  yield  of  wheat  in 
the  large  farms  of  England  was  only 
twenty-one  bushels,  and  the  highest 
average  for  any  one  county  was  no 
more  than  twenty-six  bushels.      The 

•  A  Flea  for  Pea$ani  Proprietor.  By 
William  Thomas  Thornton,  pp.  99—104. 

t  IWd.  p.  38. 

t  Ibid.  i>.  9. 


highest  average  since  claimed  for  the 
whole  of  England,  is  thirty  busliels 
In  Jersey,  where  the  average  size  of 
farms  is  only  sixteen  acres,  the  average 
produce  of  wheat  per  acre  was  stated 
by  Inglis  in  1834  to  be  tMity-six 
bushels;  but  it  is  proved  by  official 
tables  to  have  been  forty  bushels  in 
the  five  years  ending  with  1833.  In 
Guernsey,  where  farms  are  still 
smaUer,  four  quarters  per  acre,  ac- 
cording to  Inghs,  is  considered  agood, 
but  still  a  very  common  crop."  "TTbirty 
shillings*  an  acre  would  be  thought  in 
England  a  very  fair  i-ent  for  middling 
land ;  but  in  the  Channel  Islands,  it  is 
only  very  inferior  land  that  would  not 
let  for  at  least  4Z." 

§  7.  It  is  from  France,  that  im- 
pressions unfavourable  to  peasant  pro- 
perties are  generally  drawn ;  it  is  in 
France  that  the  system  is  so  often  as- 
serted to  have  brought  forth  its  firuit 
in  the  most  wretched  possible  agricul- 
ture, and  to  be  rapidly  reducing,  if  not 
to  have  already  reduced,  the  peasantry, 
by  subdivision  of  land,  to  the  verge  of 
starvation.  It  is  difficult  to  account 
for  the  general  prevalence  of  impres* 
sions  so  much  the  reverse  of  truth. 
The  agriculture  of  France  was 
wretched,  and  the  peasantry  in  great 
indigence,  before  the  Revolution.  At 
that  time  they  were  not,  so  universally 
as  at  present,  landed  proprietors.  There 
were,  however,  considerable  districts  of 
France  where  the  land,  even  then,  was 
to  a  great  extent  the  property  of  the 
peasantiy,  and  among  these  were 
many  of  the  most  conspicuous  excep- 
tions to  the  general  bad  agricultiue 
and  to  the  general  poverty.  An  au- 
thority, on  tnis  point,  not  to  be  dis- 
puted, is  Arthur  Young,  the  inveterate 
enemy  of  small  farms,  the  coryphaeus 
of  the  modem  English  school  of  agri- 
culturists; who  yet,  travelling  over 
nearly  the  whole  of  France  in  1787, 
1788,  and  1789,  when  he  finds  remark- 
able excellence  of  cultivation,  never 
hesitates  to  ascribe  it  to  peasant  pro- 
perty.   "Leaving  Sauve,     says  he,t 

*  A  Plea  fiifr  Pe€UOKi Proprietor$,p.  S2. 
t  Arthnr    Young's    TraveU    in   .FVkmc*, 
▼ol.  i.  p.  60. 


PEASANT  PROPRIETORS. 


le* 


'I  was  much  itrack  with  a  large 
tract  of  land,  seeminglj  nothine  but 
huge  rocks;  jet  most  of  it  enclosed 
and  planted  with  the  most  industrious 
attention.  Every  man  has  an  olive,  a 
mulbeny,  an  almond,  or  a  peach  tree, 
and  vines  scattered  among  them;  so 
that  the  whole  ground  is  covered  with 
the  oddest  mixture  of  these  plants  and 
bulging  rocks,  that  can  be  conceived. 
The  inhabitants  of  this  v^ge  deserve 
encouragement  for  their  industiy :  and 
if  I  were  a  French  minister  the  j  snould 
have  it.  They  would  soon  turn  all  the 
deserts  around  them  into  gardens. 
Sucli  a  knot  of  active  husbandmen, 
who  turn  their  rocks  into  scenes  of 
fertility,  because  I  suppose  their  otm, 
would  do  the  same  by  the  wastes,  if 
animated  by  the  same  omnipotent 
principle."  Again:*  "Walk  to  Ros- 
sendal,"  (near  Dunkirk)  "where  M. 
le  Bmn  has  an  improvement  on  the 
Dunes,  which  he  vexy  obliginglv  showed 
me.  Between  the  town  and  that  place 
is  a  great  number  of  neat  little  houses, 
built  each  with  its  garden,  and  one  or 
two  fields  enclosed,  of  most  wretched 
blowing  dune  sand,  naturally  as  white 
as  snow,  but  improved  by  industry. 
The  magic  of  property  turns  sand  to 
gold."  And  again  if  "  Goine  out  of 
Gauge,  I  was  surprised  to  find  by  far 
the  greatest  exertion  in  irrigation 
which  I  had  yet  seen  in  France ;  and 
then  passed  by  some  steep  mountains, 
highly  cultivated  in  terraces.  Much 
watering  at  St.  Lawrence.  The  scenery 
very  interesting  to  a  farmer.  From 
Gauge,  to  the  mountain  of  rough 
ground  which  I  crossed,  the  ride  has 
been  the  most  interesting  which  I  have 
taken  in  France;  the  efforts  of  iu' 
dustiy  the  most  vigorous ;  the  anima- 
tion tne  most  lively.  An  activity  has 
been  here,  that  has  swept  away  all 
difficulties  before  it,  and  has  clothed 
the  very  rocks  with  verdure.  It  would 
be  a  disgrace  to  common  sense  to  ask 
the  cause  ;  the  enjoyment  of  property 
mtut  have  done  it.  Give  a  man  the 
secure  possession  of  a  bleak  rock,  and 
he  will  turn  it  into  a  garden ;  give  him 

*  Arthur    Toong's    Traveli    m  JVancf, 
woL.  I  p.  88. 
t  Tbm.p.6l. 


a  nine  years  lease  of  a  gaiden,  and  he 
will  convert  it  into  a  desert." 

In  his  description  of  the  country  at 
the  foot  of  the  Western  Pyrenees,  he 
speaks  no  longer  fix>m  surmise,  but 
from  knowledge.  "  Take*  the  road  to 
Moneng,  and  come  presently  to  a  sceue 
which  was  so  new  to  me  in  France, 
that  I  could  hardly  believe  my  own 
eyes.  A  succession  of  many  well- 
built,  tight,  and  comfortable  fitrmins 
cottages  built  of  stone  and  covered 
with  tiles ;  each  having  its  little  gar- 
den, enclosed  by  dipt  thorn-hedges, 
with  plenty  of  peach  and  other  fruit- 
trees,  some  fine  oaks  scattered  in  the 
hedges,  and  young  trees  nursed  up 
with  so  much  care,  that  nothiog  but 
the  fostering  attention  of  the  owner 
could  effect  anvthing  like  it.  To 
every  house  belongs  a  farm,  per- 
fectly well  enclosed,  with  grass  bor- 
ders mown  and  neatly  kept  around 
the  corn-fields,  with  gates  to  pass 
from  one  enclosure  to  another.  There 
are  some  parts  of  England  (where 
small  yeomen  still  remain)  that  re- 
semble this  country  of  Beam;  but 
we  have  very  little  that  is  equal  to 
what  I  have  seen  in  this  ride  of  twelve 
miles  from  Pan  to  Moneng.  It  is  all 
in  the  hands  of  little  proprietors,  with- 
out the  farms  being  so  small  as  to 
occasion  a  vicious  and  miserable  popu- 
lation. An  air  of  neatness,  warmth, 
and  comfort  breathes  over  the  whole. 
It  is  visible  in  their  new-built  houses 
and  stables ;  in  their  little  gardens ;  in 
their  hedges;  in  tiie  courts  before  their 
doors;  even  in  the  coops  for  their 
poultry,  and  the  sties  for  their  hogs. 
A  peasant  does  not  think  of  rendering 
his  pig  comfortable,  if  his  own  happi- 
ness hang  by  the  thread  of  a  nine 
years'  lease.  We  are  now  in  B^m, 
within  a  few  miles  of  the  cradle  of 
Henry  IV.  Do  they  inherit  these 
blessings  from  that  good  prince  ?  The 
benignant  genius  of  that  good  monarch 
seems  to  reign  still  over  the  countiy , 
each  peasant  has  the  fowl  in  the  pot** 
He  £requently  notices  the  excellence 
of  the  ajgriculture  of  French  Flanders, 
where  the  £Eunna  "  are  all  small,  and 

*  Arthur  Yoong^s  TraveU  im  JVonca 
foLl. 


ItO 


BOOK  n.    CHAFfER  VI.    |  7. 


much  in  the  handsof  little  proprietors."* 
In  the  Pays  de  Caux,  also  a  country  of 
small  properties,  the  a^culture  was 
miseraDle ;  of  which  his  explanation 
was,  that  it  "  is  a  manufactnring 
country,  and  farming  is  but  a  secon- 
dary pursuit  to  the  cotton  fabric,  which 
spreads  over  the  whole  of  it/'f  The 
same  district  is  still  a  seat  of  manu- 
factures, and  a  country  of  small  pro- 
prietors, and  is  now,  whether  we  judge 
orom  the  appearance  of  the  crops  or 
from  the  omcial  returns,  one  of  the 
best  cultivated  in  France.  In  "  Flan- 
ders, Alsace,  and  part  of  Artois,  as 
well  as  on  the  banks  of  the  Garonne, 
France  possesses  a  husbandry  equal  to 
our  own."^  Those  countries,  and  a 
considerable  part  of  Quercy,  "  are  cul- 
tivated more  like  gardens  than  farms. 
Perhaps  they  are  too  much  like  gar- 
dens, m>m  the  small ness  of  properties."§ 
In  those  districts  the  admirable  rota- 
tion of  crops,  so  long  practised  in  Italy, 
but  at  that  time  generally  neglected 
in  France,  was  already  universal. 
"The  rapid  succession  of  crops,  the 
harvest  of  one  being  but  the  signal  of 
sowing  immediately  for  a  second,"  (the 
same  fact  which  strikes  all  observers 
in  the  valley  of  the  Rhine,)  "can 
scarcely  be  carried  to  greater  perfec- 
tion :  and  this  is  a  point,  perhaps,  of 
all  others  the  most  essential  to  good 
husbandry,  when  such  crops  are  so 
justly  distributed  as  Me  generally  find 
them  in  these  provinces ;  cleaning  and 
ameliorating  ones  being  made  the 
preparation  for  such  as  foul  and  ex- 
naust." 

It  must  not,  however,  be  supposed 
that  Arthur  Toung's  testimony  on  the 
subject  of  peasant  properties  is  uni- 
formly favourable.  In  Lorraine,  Cham- 
pagjne,  and  elsewhere,  he  finds  the 
agriculture  bad,  and  the  small  pro- 
prietors very  miserable,  in  couBequence, 
as  he  says,  of  the  extreme  subdivision 
of  the  land.  His  opinion  is  thus  summed 
up  :|| — "  Before  I  travelled,  I  conceived 
that  small  farms,  in  property,  were 
very  susceptible  of  good  cultivation; 
and  that  tne  occupier  of  such,  having 

*  Toang,  pp.  322—4. 

t  Ibid.  p.  8S6.         X  Ibid.  toI.  i.  p.  367. 

i  Ibid.  p.  364.  II  Ibid.  p.  412. 


no  rent  to  pay,  might  be  sufficiently  at 
his  ease  to  work  improvements,  and 
carry  on  a  vigorous  nusbandry;  but 
what  I  have  seen  in  France,  has 
greatly  lessened  my  eood  opinion  of 
them.  In  Flanders,  I  saw  exceUent 
husbandry  on  properties  of  30  to  100 
acres ;  but  we  seldom  find  here  such 
small  patches  of  property  asare  common 
in  other  provinces.  In  Alsace,  and 
on  the  Garonne,  that  is,  on  soils  of 
such  exuberant  fertility  as  to  demand 
no  exertions,  some  small  properties 
also  are  well  cultivated.  In  Beam,  I 
passed  through  a  region  of  little  farmers, 
whose  appearance,  neatness,  ease,  and 
happiness  charmed  me;  it  was  what 
property  alone  could,  on  a  small  scale, 
effect;  but  these  were  by  no  means 
contemptibly  small;  they  are,  as  I 
judged  by  the  distance  from  house  to 
house,  from  40  to  80  acres.  Except 
these,  and  a  very  few  other  instances, 
I  saw  nothing  respectable  on  small 
properties,  except  a  most  unremitting 
industry.  Indeed,  it  is  necessary  to 
impress  on  the  reader's  mind,  that 
though  the  husbandry  I  met  with,  in 
a  great  variety  of  instances  on  little 
properties,  was  as  bad  as  can  be  well 
conceived,  yet  the  industry  of  the  pos- 
sessors was  so  conspicuous,  and  so 
meritorious,  that  no  commendations 
would  be  too  great  for  it.  It  was 
sufficient  to  prove  that  property  in 
land  is,  of  all  others,  the  most  active 
instigator  to  severe  and  incessant 
labour.  And  this  truth  is  of  such 
force  and  extent,  that  I  know  no  way 
so  sure  of  carrying  tillage  to  a  moon- 
tain  top,  as  by  permitting  the  adjoin- 
ing villagers  to  acquire  it  in  property ; 
in  fact,  we  see  that  in  the  mountains 
of  Languedoc,  Ac,  they  have  con- 
veyed earth  in  baskets,  on  their  backs, 
to  form  a  soil  where  nature  had  dem'ed 
it." 

The  experience,  therefore,  of  this 
celebrated  agriculturist,  and  apostle  of 
the  grande  culture^  may  be  said  to  be, 
that  the  effect  of  small  properties,  cul- 
tivated by  peasant  proprietors,  is  ad- 
mirable when  they  are  not  too  small : 
so  small,  namely,  as  not  fully  to  occupy 
the  time  and  attention  of  the  family , 
for  he    uftvn    complains,  with  greai 


PEASANT  PROPRIETORS. 


171 


apparent  reason,  of  the  quantity  of 
idio  time  which  the  peasantry  had  on 
their  hands  when  the  land  was  in 
yery  small  portions,  notwithstanding 
the  ardonr  with  which  they  toiled  to 
improve  their  little  patrimony,  in  every 
way  which  their  knowledge  or  ingenni^ 
could  suggest.  He  recommends,  ac- 
cordingly, that  a  limit  of  suhdivision 
should  be  fixed  by  law;  and  this  is 
by  no  means  an  indefensible  proposi- 
tion in  countries,  if  such  there  are, 
where  division,  having  already  gone 
farther  than  the  state  of  capital  and 
the  nature  of  the  staple  articles  of  cul- 
tivation  render  advisable,  still  con- 
tinues progressive.  That  each  peasant 
should  have  a  patch  of  land,  even  in 
full  property,  if  it  is  not  sufficient  to 
support  him  in  comfort,  is  a  system 
wif:iiall  the  disadvantages,  and  scarcely 


any  of  the  benefits,  of  small  propertiea; 
since  he  must  either  live  it.  indigenoe 
on  the  produce  of  hii  land,  or  depend 
as  habitually  as  if  he  had  no  landed 
possessions,  on  the  wages  of  hired 
labour :  which,  besides,  it  all  the  hold- 
ings smroundinfiT  him  are  of  similar 
dimensions,  he  nas  little  prospect  of 
finding.  The  benefits  of  peasant  pn>- 
prties  are  conditional  on  their  not 
being  too  much  subdivided;  that  is, 
on  their  not  being  required  to  main- 
tain too  many  persons,  in  proportion 
to  the  produce  tnat  can  be  raised  from 
them  by  those  persons.  The  question 
resolves  itself,  like  most  questions  re- 
specting the  condition  of  the  labouring 
classes,  into  one  of  population.  Are 
small  properties  a  stuiulus  to  undue 
multiplication,  or  a  check  to  it  ? 


CHAPTER  VIL 


OOWTINUATION   OF  THE   SAME  SUBJECT. 


I  1.  Befoke  examining  the  influ- 
ence of  peasant  properties  on  the  ulti- 
mate economical  interests  of  the 
labouring  class,  as  determined  by  the 
increase  of  population,  let  us  note  the 
points  respectmg  the  moral  and  social 
influence  of  that  territorial  arrange- 
ment, which  may  be  looked  upon  as 
established,  either  by  the  reason  of  the 
case,  or  by  the  facts  and  authorities 
cited  in  the  preceding  chapter. 

The  reader  new  to  the  subject  must 
have  been  struck  with  the  powerful 
impression  made  upon  all  the  wit- 
nesses to  whom  I  have  referred,  by 
what  a  Swiss  statistical  writer  calls 
the  "  almost  superhuman  industry''  of 
peasant  proprietors.*  On  this  point, 
at  least,  authorities  are  unanimous. 
Those  who  have  seen  only  one  country 
of  peasant  properties,  always  think  the 
inhabitants  of  that  country  the  most 
industrious  in  the  wOrld.  There  is  as 
fittle    doubt    among    observers,  with 

*  Th§  Omtton  A9Jba#SUN(Mi»(b«fure  quoted), 


what  feature  in  the.  condition  of  the 
peasantry  this  pre-eminent  industry  is 
connected.     It  is  "  the  magic  of  pro- 
perty,** which,  in  the  words  of  Artnur 
Young,  "  turns  sand  into  gold."    The  I 
idea  of  property  does  not,   however,! 
necessarily  imply  that  there  should  be  • 
no  rent,   any  more  than  that  there ' 
should  be  no  taxes.    It  merely  implies 
that  the  rent  should  be  a  fixed  charge, 
not  liable  to  be  raised  against  the  pos- 
sessor by  his  own  improvements,  or  by; 
the  will  of  a  landlord.     A  tenant  at  a 
quit-rent  is,  to  all  intents  and  purposes, 
a  proprietor ;  a  copyholder  is  not  less 
so  than  a  freeholder.     What  is  wanted 
is  permanent  possession  on  fixed  terms. ' 
"  6ive  a  man  the  secure  possession  of  . 
a  bleak  rock,  and  he  will  turn  it  into  | 
a  garden ;  give  him  a  nine  years'  lease  , 
of  a  garden,  and  he  will  convert  it  . 
into  a  desert." 

The  details  which  have  been  cited, 
and  those,  still  more  minute,  to  be 
found  in  the  same  authorities,  oon- 
ceming  the  habitually  elaborate  syi* 


17»  BOOK  n.    CHA 

tern  of  oultivation,  and  the  thousand 
deviceB  of  the  peasant  proprietor  for 
making  every  superflnons  honr  and 
odd  moment  instmmental  to  some  in- 
crease in  the  future  produce  and  value 
of  the  land,  will  explain  what  has  been 
said  in  a  previous  chapter*  respecting 
the  far  larger  gross  produce  which, 
with  anything  uke  parity  of  agricul- 
tural knowledge,  is  obtained,  from  the 
same  quality  of  soil,  on  small  &rms, 
at  least  when  they  are  the  property  of 
the  cultivator.  The  treatise  on  "Flem- 
ish Husbandry"  is  especially  instruc- 
tive respecting  the  means  by  which 
untiring  industry  does  more  than  out- 
weigh mferiority  of  resources,  imper- 
fection of  implements,  and  ignorance 
of  scientific  theories.  The  peasant 
cultivation  of  Flanders  and  Italy  is 
affirmed  to  produce  heavier  crops,  in 
equal  circumstances  of  soil,  than  the 
best  cultivated  districts  of  Scotland 
and  England.  It  produces  them,  no 
doubt,  with  an  amount  of  labour 
which,  if  paid  for  by  an  employer, 
would  make  the  cost  to  him  more  than 
equivalent  to  the  benefit;  but  to  the 
peasant  it  is  not  cost,  it  is  the  devotion 
of  time  which  he  can  spare,  to  a  fa- 
vourite pursuit,  if  we  ihould  not 
rather  say  a  ruling  passion.f 

*  Supra,  Book  i.  ch.  ix.  $  4. 

t  Read  the  graphic  description  by  the  his- 
torian Michelet,  of  the  feelings  of  a  peasant 
proprietor  towards  his  land. 

**  If  we  would  know  the  inmost  thought, 
the  passion,  of  the  French  peasant,  it  is  very 
easy.  Let  us  walk  out  on  Sunday  into  the 
country  and  follow  him.  Behold  him  yonder, 
walking  in  front  of  us.  It  is  two  o'clock ; 
his  wife  is  at  vespers ;  he  has  on  his  Sunday 
clothes;  I  percenre  that  he  is  going  to  visit 
Uis  mistress. 

**  What  mistress  ?  Hb  land. 

**  I  do  not  say  he  goes  straight  to  it.  Mo,  he 
is  free  to-day,  and  may  either  go  or  not.  Does 
he  not  go  every  day  in  the  week  ?  Accord- 
ingly, he  turns  aside,  he  goes  another  way,  he 
has  business  elsewhere.   And  yet— he  goes. 

**  It  is  true,  he  was  passing  close  by ;  it  was 
an  opportunity.  He  looks,  but  apparently 
he  will  not  go  in ;  what  for?  And  yet— he 
enters. 

**  At  least  It  Is  probable  that  he  wiU  not 
work ;  he  is  in  his  Sunday  dress :  he  has  a 
elean  shirt  and  blouse.  Still,  there  is  no 
harm  in  plucking  up  this  weed  and  throwing 
out  that  stone.  There  is  a  stump,  too,  which 
is  in  the  w»;  but  he  has  not  his  toels  with 
him,  he  will  do  it  to-morrow.  I 

**  Then  he  folds  his  anns  and  saoee.  serious  I 


PTER  Vn.    I  8. 

We  have  seen,  too,  that  it  is  not 
solely^  by  su^rior  exertion  that  the 
Flemish  cultivators  succeed  in  ob- 
taining these  brilliant  results.  The 
same  motive  which  gives  such  inttxi- 
■ity  to  their  industry,  placed  them 
earlier  in  possession  of  an  amount  of 
agricultural  knowledge  not  attained 
until  much  later  in  uountries  virhere 
apiculture  was  carried  on  solely  b^ 
hired  labour.  An  equally  high  testi- 
mony is  borne  bv  M.  de  Lavergne* 
to  the  agricultural  skill  of  the  smaU 
proprietors,  in  those  parts  of  France 
to  which  iho  petite  culture  is  really 
suitable,  "m  the  rich  plains  <n 
Flanders,  on  the  banks  of  the  Rhine, 
the  Garonne,  the  Charente,  the  Rhone, 
all  the  practices  which  fertilize  the 
land  ana  increase  the  productiveness 
of  labour  are  known  to  the  very 
smallest  cultivators,  and  practised  by 
them,  however  considerable  may  be  the 
advancect  which  they  require.  In  their 
hands,  abundant  manures,  coUected  at 
great  cost,  repair  and  incessantly  in- 
crease the  fertility  of  the  soil,  in  scdte 
of  the  activity  of  cultivation.  The 
races  of  cattle  are  superior,  the  crops 
magnificent.  Tobacco,  flax,  colza, 
madder,  beetroot,  in  some  places;  in 
others,  the  vine,  the  olive,  the  plum, 
the  mulberry,  only  yield  their  abun- 
dant treasures  to  a  population  of  in- 
dustrious labourers.  Is  it  not  also  to 
the  petite  culture  that  we  are  indebted 
for  most  of  the  garden  produce  ob- 
tained by  dint  of  great  outlay  in  ^e 
neighbourhood  of  Faris  ?" 

§  2.  Another  aspect  of  peasant 
properties,  in  which  it  is  essential  that 
they  should  be  considered,  is  that  of 
an  instrument  of  popular  education. 
Books  and  schooling  are  absolutely 
necessary  to  education;  but  not  all- 
sufficient.    The  mental  faculties  will 

and  careftil.  He  gives  a  long,  a  very  long 
look,  and  seems  lost  in  thought.  At  last,  if 
he  thinks  himself  observed,  if  he  sees  apaaser- 
by,  he  moves  slowly  away.  Thirty  pacca 
off  he  stops,  turns  round,  and  casts  on  his 
land  a  last  look,  sombre  and  profound,  but 
to  those  who  can  see  it,  the  look  is  tail  ci 
passicm,  of  heart,  of  devotion.*' — 1%0  PmipU, 
by  J.  lliohelet.  Fart  i.  ch.  1. 

*  JBhow  on  fk«  Bvral  Seonomm  ofEnglmnd 
aeoUamd^amd Ireland,  Srd  ed.  p.  Ii7. 


FEASANT  PR0PRIBT0B8. 


178 


be  moflt  deTeloped  where  they  are  most 
exercised;  ana  what  giyes  more  exer- 
cise to  them  than  the  haying  a  multi- 
tude of  interests,  none  of  which  can 
he  neglected,  and  which  can  he  pro- 
vided for  only  by  varied  efforts  of  will 
and  intelligence  ?  Some  of  the  dis- 
paragers of  small  properties  lay  great 
stress  on  the  cares  ana  anxieties  which 
beset  the  peasant  proprietor  of  the 
Bhineland  or  Flanders.  It  is  precisely 
those  cares  and  anxieties  which  tend 
to  make  him  a  superior  being  to  an 
English  day-labomner.  It  is,  to  he  snre, 
rather  abusing  the  privileges  of  fair 
argument  to  represent  the  condition  of 
a  day-labourer  as  not  an  anxious  one. 
I  can  conceive  no  circumstances  in 
which  he  is  free  from  anxiety,  where 
there  is  a  possibility  of  being  out  of 
employment ;  unless  he  has  access  to 
a  profuse  dispensation  of  parish  pay, 
and  no  shame  or  reluctance  in  de- 
manding it.  The  day-labourer  has,  in 
the  existing  state  of  society  and  popu- 
lation, manjr  of  the  anxieties  which 
have  not  an  invigorating  effect  on  the 
mind,  and  none  of  those  which  have. 
Theposition  of  the  peasant  proprietor 
of  Flanders  is  the  reverse.  From  the 
anxiety  which  chills  and  paralyses — 
the  uncertainty  of  having  food  to  eat 
— ^few  persons  are  more  exempt:  it 
requires  as  rare  a  concurrence  of  cir- 
cumstances as  the  potato  failure  com- 
bined with  an  universal  bad  harvest,  to 
bring  him  within  reach  of  that  danger. 
His  anxieties  are  the  ordinaiy  vicissi- 
tudes of  more  and  less ;  his  cares  are 
that  he  takes  his  fair  share  of  the 
business  of  life ;  that  he  is  a  free 
human  being,  and  not  perpetually  a 
child,  which  seems  to  be  the  approved 
condition  of  the  labouring  classes  ac- 
cording to  the  prevailing  philanthropy. 
He  is  no  longer  a  beiug  of  a  different 
order  from  the  middle  classes ;  he  has 
pursuits  and  objects  like  those  which 
occupy  them,  and  give  to  their  intel- 
lects the  greatest  part  of  snch  cultiva- 
tion as  uiey  receive.  If  there  is  a 
first  principle  in  intellectual  education, 
it  is  this — that  the  oUscipline  which 
does  ^ood  to  the  mind  is  that  in  which 
the  mind  is  active,  not  that  in  which 
it  is  iHmve.    The  secret  fpr  develop- 


ing the  faculties  is  to  give  them  much 
to  do,  and  much  inducement  to  do  it. 
This  detracts  nothing  from  the  impo^ 
tance,  and  even  necessity,  of  other 
kinds  of  mental  cultivation.  The  pos< 
session  of  property  will  not  prevent  the 
peasant  from  oeing  coarse,  selfish,  and 
narrow-minded.  These  things  depend 
on  other  infiuences,  and  other  kinds  ot 
instruction.  But  this  great  stimulus 
to  one  kind  of  mental  activity,  in  no 
way  impedes  any  other  means  of  in- 
tellectual development.  On  the  con- 
trary, by  cultivating  the  habit  of 
turning  to  practical  use  every  frag- 
ment of  knowledge  acquired,  it  helps 
to  render  that  schooling  and  vtading 
fruitful,  which  without  some  such  aux- 
iliary influence  are  in  too  many  cases 
like  seed  thrown  on  a  rock. 

§  3.  It  is  not  on  the  intelligence 
alone  that  the  situation  of  a  peasant 
proprietor  exercises  an  improving  in- 
fluence. It  is  no  less  propitious  to  the 
moral  virtues  of  prudence,  temperance, 
and  self-control.  Day-labourers,  where 
the  labouring  class  mainly  consists  of 
them,  are  usually  improvident;  they 
spend  carelessly  to  the  fuU  extent  of 
their  means  .and  let  the  future  shift 
for  itself  This  is  so  notorious,  that 
many  persons  strongly  interested  in 
the  welfare  of  the  labouring  classes, 
hold  it  as  a  fixed  opinion  that  an  in- 
crease of  wages  would  do  them  little 
good,  unless  accompanied  by  at  least 
a  corresponding  improvement  in  their 
tastes  and  habits.  The  tendency  of 
peasant  proprietors,  and  of  those  who 
nope  to  become  proprietors,  is  to  the 
contraiT  extreme;  to  take  even  too 
much  thought  for  the  morrow.  They 
are  oftener  accused  of  penuriousness 
than  of  prodigality.  They  deny  them- 
selves reasonable  indulgences,  and  live 
wretchedly  in  order  to  economize.  In 
Switzerland  almost  everybody  saves, 
who  has  anv  means  of  saving;  the 
case  of  the  flemish  farmers  hM  been 
already  noticed:  among  the  French, 
though  a  pleasure-loving  and  reputed 
to  be  a  self-indulgent  people,  the  spirit 
of  thrift  is  diffused  through  the  rural 
population  in  a  maimer  most  gratifying 
1^1  a  whole,  and  which  in  mdividuM 


174 


BOOK  DL    CfHAPTEB  VIL    §  4. 


instances  em  rather  on  the  side  of  ex- 
cess than  defect.  Among  those  who, 
from  the  hotels  in  which  they  live,  and 
the  herhs  and  roots  which  constitute 
their  diet,  are  mistaken  hy  trayellers 
for  proofs  and  specimens  of  general 
indigence,  there  are  nambers  who  have 
hoards  in  leathern  bags,  consisting  of 
sums  in  five-franc  pieces,  which  ikej 
keep  by  them  perhaps  for  a  whole  gene- 
ration, unless  brougnt  out  to  he  expen- 
ded in  their  mostcherished  gratification 
— ^the  purchase  of  land.  K  there  is  a 
moral  inconvenience  attached  to  a 
state  of  society  in  which  the  peasantry 
have  land,  it  is  the  danger  of  their 
being  too  careful  of  their  pecuniary 
concerns ;  of  its  making  them  crafty, 
and  "calcnlating''  in  the  objectionable 
sense.  The  French  peasant  is  no 
simple  countryman,  no  downright 
"peasant  of  the  Danube:*'*  both  in 
fact  and  in  fiction  he  is  now  "the 
crafty  peasant.''  That  is  the  stage 
which  he  has  reached  in  the  progres- 
sive development  which  the  constitu- 
tion of  things  has  imposed  on  human 
intelligence  and  human  emancipation. 
But  some  excess  in  this  direction  is  a 
small  and  a  passing  evil  compared 
with  recklessness  and  improvidence  in 
the  labouring  classes,  and  a  cheap  price 
to  pay  for  the  inestimable  worth  of  the 
virtue  of  self-dependence,  as  the  gene- 
ral characteristic  of  a  people :  a  virtue 
which  is  one  of  the  first  conditions  of 
excellence  in  a  human  character — the 
«tock  on  which  if  the  other  virtues  are 
not  grafted,  they  have  seldom  any  firm 
root;  a  Quality  indispensable  in  the 
case  of  a  labouring  class,  even  to  any 
tolerable  degree  of  physical  comfort ; 
and  by  which  the  peasantry  of  France, 
and  of  most  European  countries  of 
peasant  proprietors,  are  distinguished 
oeyond  any  other  labouring  population. 

§  4.  Is  it  likely,  that  a  state  of  eco- 
nomical relations  so  conducive  to  fin- 
gality  and  prudence  in  every  other 
respect,  should  be  prejudicial  to  it  in 
the  cardinal  point  of  increase  of  popu- 
lation ?  That  it  IB  80,  ia  the  opmion 
expressed  by  most  of  tiioee  English 
political  economists  who  have  written 
anything  about  the  matter.  Mr. 
*8ee  the  celebrated  fable  of  La  FonUOne. 


M'Oulloch's  opinion  is  wel)  known. 
Mr.  Jones  afiSrms,*  that  a  "peasant 
population,  raising  their  own  wages 
from  the  soil,  and  consuming  them  in 
kind,  are  universally  acted  upon  very 
feebly  by  internal  checks,  or  hy  mo- 
tives disposing  them  to  restraint.  The 
consequence  is,  that  unless  some  ex- 
ternal cause,  quite  independent  of  their 
will,  forces  such  peasant  cultivators  to 
slacken  their  rate  of  increase,  they 
will,  in  a  limited  territory,  verv  rapidly 
approach  a  state  of  want  and  penury, 
and  will  be  stopped  at  last  only  by 
the  physical  impossibility  of  procuring 
subsistence."  He  elsewhere  f  speaks 
of  such  a  peasantry  as  "  exactly  m  the 
condition  in  which  the  animal  dis- 
position to  increase  their  numbers  is 
checked  by  the  fewest  of  those  ba- 
lancing motives  and  desires  which 
regulate  the  increase  of  superior  ranks 
or  more  civilized  people."  The 
"causes  of  this  peculiarity"  Mr. 
Jones  promised  to  point  out  in  a  sub- 
sequent work,  which  never  made  its 
appearance.  I  am  totally  unable  to 
conjecture  from  what  theory  of  human 
nature,  and  of  the  motives  which  in- 
fluence human  conduct,  he  would  have 
derived  them.  Arthur  Young  assumes 
the  same  "peculiarity'*  as  a  fact; 
but,  though  not  much  in  the  habit 
of  qualifying  his  opinions,  he  does  not 
push  his  doctrine  to  so  violent  an 
extreme  as  Mr.  Joues ;  having,  as  we 
have  seen,  himself  testified  to  various 
instances  in  which  peasant  populations, 
such  as  Mr.  Jones  speaks  of,  were  not 
tending  to  "a  state  of  want  and 
penmy,"  and  were  in  no  danger  what- 
ever of  coming  in  contact  with  "  phy- 
sical impossibility  of  procuring  sub- 
sistence. 

That  there  should  be  discrepancy  of 
experience  on  this  matter,  is  easily  to 
be  accounted  for.  Whether  the  labon^ 
ing  people  live  by  land  or  by  wages, 
they  have  always  hitherto  multiplied 
up  to  the  limit  set  by  their  habitual 
standard  of  comfort.  When  that 
standard  was  low,  not  exceeding  a 
scanty  subsistence,  the  size  of  pro* 
perties,  as  well  as  the  rate  of  wages, 

JSstag  on  tk0  Dutribtttion  qf  WmJitk, 


.146. 


t  Ibid.  p.  69. 


PEASANT  PROPRIETORS. 


175 


has  been  kept  down  to  what  would 
barely  snpport  life.  Extremely  low 
ideas  of  wl&at  is  neoesssiy  for  sub- 
sistence, are  perfectly  compatible  with 
peasant  properties ;  and  if  a  people 
have  always  been  used  to  poverty, 
and  habit  has  reconciled  them  to  it, 
there  will  be  oyer-popalation,  and  ex- 
cessiTe  subdivision  of  land.  But  this 
is  not  to  the  purpose.  The  true  ques- 
tion is,  supposing  a  peasantry  to  pos- 
sess land  not  insufficient  but  sufficient 
for  their  comfortable  support,  are  they 
more,  or  less,  likely  to  fall  from  this 
state  of  comfort  through  improvident 
multiplication,  than  if  they  were  living 
in  an  equally  comfortable  manner  as 
hired  labourers  ?  All  ft  priori  con- 
siderations are  in  favour  of  their  being 
less  likely.  The  dependeuce  of  wages 
on  population  is  a  matter  of  specu- 
lation and  discussion.  That  wages 
would  fall  if  population  were  much  in- 
creased is  often  a  matter  of  real  doubt, 
and  always  a  thing  which  requires 
some  exercise  of  the  thinking  faculty 
for  its  intelligent  recognition.  But 
every  peasant  can  satisfy  himself  from 
evidence  which  he  can  fully  appre- 
ciate, whether  his  piece  of  land  can  be 
made  to  support  several  families  in  the 
same  comfort  in  which  it  supports  one. 
Few  people  like  to  leave  to  their 
children  a  worse  lot  in  life  than  their 
own.  The  parent  who  has  land  to 
leave,  is  perfectly  able  to  judge  whether 
the  children  can  live  upon  it  or  not : 
but  people  who  are  supported  by 
wages,  see  no  reason  why  their  sons 
should  be  unable  to  support  themselves 
in  the  same  way,  and  trust  accordingly 
to  chance.  "  Li  even  the  most  useful 
and  necessary  arts  and  manufactures," 
says  Mr.  Laing,*  "the  demand  for 
labourers  is  not  a  seen,  known,  steady, 
and  appreciable  demand  :  but  it  is  so 
in  husbandry,"  under  small  properties. 
"The  labour  to  be  done,  the  subsist- 
ence that  labour  wi.i  proiuce  out  of 
his  portion  of  land,  are  seen  and  known 
elements  in  a  man's  calculation  upon 
his  means  of  subsistence.  Can  his 
square  of  land,  or  can  it  not^  subsist  a 
famil;^?  Can  he  marry  or  not?  are 
questions  which  every  man  can  answer 
without  delay,  doubt,  or  specdation. 

*  Ifotet  qfa  TraoelUr,  p.  46. 


It  is  the  depending  on  chance,  where 
judgment  has  nothing  clearly  set  before 
it,  that  causes  reckless,  improvident 
marriages  in  the  lower,  as  in  the 
higher  classes,  and  produces  among  us 
the  evils  of  over-population;  and  chance 
necessarily  enters  into  every  man's 
calculations,  when  certainty  is  removed 
altogether ;  as  it  is,  where  certain  sub- 
sistence is,  by  oar  distribution  of  pro- 
perty, the  lot  of  but  a  small  portion 
instead  of  about  two-thirds  of  the 
people." 

There  never  has  been  a  writer  more 
keenly  sensible  of  the  evils  brought 
upon  the  labouring  classes  by  excess 
of  population,  than  Sismondi,  and  this 
is  one  of  the  grounds  of  his  earnest 
advocacy  of  peasa."  properties.  He 
had  ample  opportunity,  in  more  coun- 
tries than  one,  for  judging  of  their 
effect  on  population.  I>Bt  us  see  his 
testimony.  "  In  the  countries  in  which 
cultivation  by  small  proprietors  still 
continues,  population  increases  regu- 
larly and  rapidly  until  it  has  attained 
its  natural  limits ;  that  is  to  say,  inhe- 
ritances continue  to  be  divided  and 
subivided  among  several  sons,  as  long 
as,  by  an  increase  of  labour,  each 
family  can  extract  an  equal  income 
from  a  smaller  portion  of  land.  A 
father  who  possessed  a  vast  extent  of 
natural  pasture,  divides  it  among  his 
sons,  and  they  turn  it  into  fields  and 
meadows;  his  sons  divide  it  amone 
their  sons,  who  abolish  fallows :  each 
improvement  in  agricultural  knowledge 
admits  of  another  step  in  the  sub- 
division of  property.  But  there  is  no 
danger  lest  the  proprietor  should  bring 
up  nis  children  to  make  beggars  of 
them.  He  knows  exactly  what  inhe- 
ritance he  has  to  leave  them ;  he 
knows  that  the  law  will  divide  it 
equally  among  them:  he  sees  the 
limit  beyond  which  this  division  would 
make  them  descend  from  the  rank 
which  he  has  himself  filled,  and  a  just 
family  pride,  common  to  the  peasant 
and  to  the  nobleman,  makes  him  ab- 
stain from  summoning  into  life,  children 
for  whom  he  cannot  properly  provide. 
If  more  are  bom,  at  least  they  do  not 
marry,  or  they  agree  among  themselves, 
which  of  several  brothers  shall  per- 
petuate the  family.     It  is  not  fidund 


176 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  VH.    |  i. 


that  in  the  Swiss  Cantons,  the  patri- 
monies  of  the  peasants  are  ever  bo 
divided  as  to  reduce  them  below  an 
honourable  competence ;  though  the 
habit  of  foreign  service,  bj  opening  to 
the  children  a  career  indennite  and 
oncalculable,  sometimes  calls  forth  a 
superabundant  population."  * 

There  is  similar  testimony  respect 
ing  Norway.  Though  there  is  no  law 
or  custom  of  primogeniture,  and  no 
manufactures  to  take  off  a  surplus 
population,  the  subdivision  of  property 
IS  not  carried  to  an  iujurious  extent. 
"Tlie  division  of  the  land  among 
childreu,''  says  Mr.  Laing,t  "  apj)ears 
not,  during  tne  thousand  years  it  has 
been  in  operation,  to  have  had  the 
effect  of  reduciD)^  the  landed  pro- 
perties to  the  minimum  size  that  will 
barely  support  human  existence.  I 
have  counted  from  five-and-twenty  to 
forty  cows  upon  farms,  and  that  in 
a  country  in  which  the  farmer  must, 
for  at  least  seven  months  in  the  year, 
have  winter  provender  and  houses  pro- 
vided for  all  the  cattle.  It  is  evident 
that  some  cause  or  other,  operating  on 
aggregation  of  landed  property,  coun- 
teracts the  dividing  effects  of  partition 
among  children.  That  cause  can  be 
no  other  than  what  I  have  long  con- 
jectured would  be  effective  in  such 
a  social  arrangement;  viz.  that  in 
a  country  where  land  is  held,  not  in 
tenancy  merely^  as  in  Ireland,  but 
in  full  ownership,  its  aggregation  by 
the  deaths  of  co-heirs,  and  by  the 
marriages  of  the  female  heirs  among 
the  body  of  landholders,  will  balance 
its  subdivision  by  the  equal  succession 
of  children.  The  whole  mass  of  pro- 
perty will,  I  conceive,  be  found  in  such 
a  state  of  society  to  consist  of  as  many 
estates  of  the  class  of  10002.,  as  many 
of  lOOZ.,  as  many  of  lOL  »year,  at 
one  period  as  at  another.'  That  this 
should  happen,  supposes  diffused 
through  society  a  very  efficacious  pru- 
dential check  to  population :  and  it  is 
reasonable  to  give  part  of  the  credit 
of  this  prudential  restraint  to  the  pecu- 
liar adaptation  of  the  peasant-proprie- 
tary system  for  fostering  it. 

*  NoHwaux  PrineipeB,  Book  iU.  ch.  S. 
i  Umden^  m  Jfonooff,  p.  19* 


"In  some  parts  of  Switzerland,** 
says  Mr.  Kay,*  "as  in  tjie  canton  of 
ArgDvie  for  instance,  a  peasant  never 
marries  before  he  attains  the  age  of 
twenty-five  years,  and  generally  much 
later  in  life;  and  in  that  canton  the 
women  very  seldom  marry  before  they 
have  attained  the  age  of  thirty.  .  .  . 
Nor  do  the  division  of  land  and  the 
cheapness  of  the  mode  of  conveying  it 
from  one  man  to  another,  enoourago 
the  providence  of  the  labourers  of  the 
rural  districts  only.  They  act  in  the 
same  manner,  though  perhaps  in  a 
less  degree,  upon  the  labourers  of  the 
smaller  towns.  In  the  smaller  pro- 
vincial towns  it  is  customary  for  a 
labourer  to  own  a  small  plot  of  ground 
outside  the  town.  This  plot  he  cul- 
tivates in  the  evening  as  his  kitchen 
garden.  He  raises  in  it  vegetables 
and  fruits  for  the  use  of  his  family 
during  the  winter.  After  his  day^ 
work  is  over,  he  and  his  family  repair 
to  the  garden  for  a  short  time,  which 
they  spend  in  planting,  sowing,  weed- 
ing, or  preparing  for  sowing,  a  harvest, 
according  to  the  season.  The  desire 
to  become  possessed  of  one  of  these 
gardens  operates  veiy  strongly  in 
strengthening  prudential  habits  and 
in  restraining  improvident  marriages. 
Some  of  the  manufacturers  in  the 
canton  of  Argovie  told  me  that  a 
townsman  was  seldom  contented  until 
he  had  bought  a  garden,  or  a  garden 
and  house,  and  that  the  town  labourers 
generally  deferred  their  marriages  for 
some  years,  in  order  to  save  enough 
to  purchase  either  one  or  both  of  these 
luxuries."' 

The  same  writer  shows  by  statistical 
evidence  f  that  in  Prussia  the  average 
age  of  marriage  is  not  onlj^  much  later 
than  in  England,  but  "is  gradually 
becoming  later  than  it  was  formerly, ' 
while  at  the  same  time  "  fewer  illegiti- 
mate children  are  bom  in  Prussia  than 
m  any  other  of  the  European  coun- 
tries." "  Wherever  I  travelled,**  says 
Mr.  Kay,^  "in  North  Germany  and 
Switzerland,  I  was  assured  by  ail  that 
the  desire  to  obtain  land,  which  was 
felt  by  all  the  peasants,  was  acting  as 

•  Vol.  I.  pp.  67-9. 
t  U»id.  pp.  7fr«.       t  ibUL  p.  Ml 


PEASANT  PKOPKIBTORa 


1T7 


the  fitrongest  poBsible  check  upon 
undue  increase  ot  population."* 

In  Flanders,  according  to  Mr. 
Fauche,  the  British  Consul  at  Ostend^f 
"  farmer's  sons  and  those  who  have  the 
means  to  become  fanners  will  delaj 
their  marriage  nntil  they  get  posses- 
sion of  a  farm.''  Once  a  tanner,  the 
next  object  is  to  become  a  proprietor. 
"  The  first  thing  a  Dane  does  with  his 
savings/'  says  Mr.  Browne,  the  Consul 
at  Copenhagen,:}  ''is  to  purchase  a 
dock,  then  a  horse  and  cow,  which  he 
hires  out,  and  which  pays  a  good 
interest.  Then  his  ambition  is  to 
become  a  petty  proprietor,  and  this 
class  of  persons  is  better  off  than  any 
in  Denmark.  Indeed,  I  know  of  no 
people  in  any  country  who  have  more 
easily  within  their  reach  all  that  is 
really  necessary  for  life  than  this  class, 
which  is  very  large  in  comparison  with 
that  of  labourers.'' 

Bnt  the  experience  which  most  de- 
cidedly contradicts  the  asserted  ten- 
dency of  peasant  proprietorship  to 
produce  excess  of  population,  is  the 
case  of  France.  In  tnat  country  the 
experiment  is  not  tried  in  the  most 
favourable  circumstances,  a  large  pro- 
portion of  the  properties  being  too 
small.  The  number  of  landed  pro- 
prietors in  France  is  not  exactly  as- 
certained, but  on  no  estimate  does  it 
faU  much  short  of  five  millions ;  which, 
on  the  lowest  calculation  of  the  number 
of  persons  of  a  family  (and  for  France 

*  TliA  ProflBian  minister  of  statistics,  in  a 
work  {OondiHon  of  th4  P«opU  in  Fru$aia) 
which  I  am  obliged  to  quote  at  second 
hand  firom  Mr.  Kay»  after  proving  by  figures 
the  great  and  progressire  increase  of  the 
oonsomptUm  of  food  and  clothing  per 
head  of  the  population,  from  which  he  Justly 
infers  a  corresponding  increase  of  the  pro- 
ductiveness of  agriculture,  continues :  *'  The 
division  of  estates  has,  since  1831,  proceeded 
more  and  more  throughout  the  country. 
There  are  now  many  more  small  independent 
proprietors  than  formerly.  Yet,  however 
many  complaints  of  pauperism  are  heard 
among  the  dependent  labourers,  we  never 
hear  it  complained  that  pauperism  is  in- 
erMsing  among  the  peasant  proprietors.** — 
Kay,  i.  262-6. 

t  In  a  communication  to  th«  Commission- 
ers of  Poor  Law  Enquiry,  p.  640  of  their 
Foreign  Communications,  Appendix  F  to 
their  First  Report. 

t  Ibid.  168. 

9.  a 


it  onght  to  be  a  low  calculation),  shows 
much  more  than  half  the  population 
as  either  possessing,  or  entitled  to  in- 
herit, landed  proper^.  A  majority  of 
the  properties  are  so  small  as  not  to 
afford  a  subsistence  to  the  proprietors, 
of  whom,  according  to  some  compu- 
tations, as  many  as  three  millions  are 
obliged  to  eke  out  their  means  of  sup- 
port either  by  working  for  hire,  or  by 
taking  additional  land,  generaJly  on 
metayer  tenure.  When  the  property 
possessed  is  not  sufficient  to  relieve 
the  possessor  from  dependence  on 
wages,  the  condition  of  a  proprietor 
loses  much  of  its  characteristic  efficacv 
as  a  check  to  over-population:  and  if 
the  prediction  so  often  made  in  £ng 
land  had  been  realized,  and  France 
had  become  a  "pauper  warren,"  the 
experiment  would  have  proved  nothing 
against  the  tendencies  of  the  same 
system  of  agricultural  economy  in 
other  circumstances.  But  what  is  the 
fact?  That  the  rate  of  increase  of 
the  French  population  is  the  slowest 
in  Europe.  During  the  generation 
which  the  Revolution  raised  from  the 
extreme  of  hopeless  wretchedness  to 
sudden  abundance,  a  great  increase  of 
population  took  place.  But  a  gene- 
ration has  grown  up,  which,  having 
been  bom  in  improved  circumstances, 
has  not  learnt  to  be  miserable;  and 
upon  them  the  spirit  of  thriit  operates 
most  conspicuously,  in  keeping  the 
increase  of  population  within  the  in- 
crease of  national  wealth.  In  a  table, 
drawn  up  by  Professor  Ran,*  of  the 

*  The  following  is  the  table  (see  p.  168  of 
the  Belgian  translation  of  Mr.  Rau's  large 
work): 

Per  cent. 
United  States  ....  1820-30  .  .  2*92 
Hungary  (according  to  Bohrer)  .    .    .    2*40 

England 1811-21    .    .    1*78 

1881-31    .    .    too 

Austria  (Bohrtr)  .    , i-30 

Prussia 1816-27    .    .    1-64 

»         .....    1820-30    .    .    1*3^ 

1821-31     .    .    1*27 

Netherlands    ....    1821-28    .    .    1*28 

Scotland 1821-31    .    .    1*30 

Saxony 1816-30    .     .    1'16 

Baden     ....  1820-30  (UeuniAch)    113 

Bavaria 1814-28    .    .    1*08 

Naples 1814-24    .    .    0*83 

France   ....     1817-27  (liathien)    0-eS 
and  more  recently  (Morean  de  Jonnte)    0'66 
Bat  the  number  given  by    lioreaa   de 
N 


178  BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  VH. 

rate  of  annual  increase  of  the  popular 
tions  of  various  countries,  that  of 
France,  from  1817  to  1827,  is  stated  at 
^  per  cent,  that  of  England  during 
a  similar  decennial  period  being  1^ 
annually,  and  that  of  the  United  States 
nearly  8.  According  to  the  official 
returns  as  analyzed  by  M.  Legoyt,* 
the  increaoe  of  the  population,  which 
from  1801  to  1806  was  at  the  rate  of 
1*28  per  cent  annually,  averaged  only 
0*47  per  cent  from  1806  to  1831 ;  from 
1831  to  1836  it  averaged  0*60  per 
cent;  from  1836  to  1841,  0-41  per 
cent,  and  from  1841  to  1846,  0*68  per 


§4. 

cent.f  At  the  census  of  1851  the 
rate  of  annual  Increase  shown  was 
only  1*08  per  cent  in  the  five  years, 
or  0*21  annually;  and  at  the  census 
of  1866  only  0*71  per  cent  in  five 
years,  or  0*14  annually;  so,  that,  in 
the  words  of  M.  de  Lavergne,  "  popu- 
lation has  almost  ceased  to  increase 
in  France  ":t  Even  this  slow  increase 
is  wholly  the  effect  of  a  diminution  of 
deaths ;  the  number  of  births  not  in- 
creasing at  all,  while  the  proportion 
of  the  births  to  the  p^ulation  is  con- 
stantly diminishing.§  This  slow  growth 
of  the  numbers  of  the  people,  while 


} 


ceding  year  1846,  Is  flammed  up  in  the  fid- 
lowing  table ; 


Jonn^s,  he  adds,  Is  not  entitled  to  Implicit 
confidence. 

The  following  table  ftven  by  M.  Que- 
telet  (On  3f an  and  ih«  DwelopmerU  of  hi$ 
JPacttlHeMt  ToL  i.  oh.  7),  also  on  the  au- 
thority of  Rau,  contains  additional  matter, 
and  differs  in  some  items  from  the  preced- 
Sngi  probably  fh>m  the  author's  having 
taken,  in  thosa  cases,  an  average  of  dif- 
ferent years: 

Per  cent. 

Ireland 2-45 

Hungary     ...••.    2*40 

Spain 1-66 

England 1*65 

Rhenish  Prussia .    .    .    .    1*33 

Austria ISO 

Bavaria 108 

Netherlands 0*94 

Naples 0*83 

France 0*63 

Sweden 0*58 

Lombardy 0'45 

A  very  carefully  prepared  statement, 
by  M.  Legoyt,  in  the  Journal  det  Econo- 
nUgteg  for  May  1847.  which  brings  up  the 
results  for  France  to  the  census  of  the  pre- 


*  Journal  det  Economistes  for  March  and  May  1847. 
t  M.  Legoyt  is  of  opinion  that  the  population  was  understated  in  1841.  and  the  increase 
between  that  time  and  1846  consequently  overstated,  and  that  the  real  increase  during 
the  whole  period  was  something  intermediate  between  the  last  two  ayerages,  or  not  much 
more  than  one  in  two  hundred. 

X  Journal  det  Economistet  for  February  1847.    In  the  Journal  for  January  1866,  M. 
Legoyt  gives  some  of  the  numbers  slightly  altered,  and,  I  presume,  corrected.     The 
series  of  percentages  is  1*28,  0-31,  0*69,  060,  0'41,  0*68.  0*22,  and  0*20.    The  last  census, 
that  of  1861,  shows  a  slight  reaction,  the  percentage,  independently  a£  the  newly  acquired 
departments,  being  0-32. 
i  The  following  are  the  irambers  given  Dy  M.  Legoyt : 
From  1824  to  1828  annual  number  of  burths  981,914,  being  1  in  32*30  of  the  popalatkNL 
„     1829  to  1833  „  „  965,444,      „     1  in  3400        ,.  „ 

„     1834  to  1838  .,  „  972,993,      „     1  in  34-39        „ 

^     1839  to  1843  ^  „  970,617,      „      1  in  35*27        „ 

„     1844  &  1845  ..  „  983,573,      „      1  in  35*58 

In  the  last  two  years  the  births,  according  to  M.  Legoyt,  wsre  swellet^  by  the  effects  of 
aoonsiderable  immigration.  "  This  diminution  of  births,"  he  observes,  **  w  ^le  there  is  a  coti- 
Btant,  though  not  a  rapid  increase  both  of  population  and  of  marrii^s,  can  only  be  attributed 
to  the  progress  of  prudence  and  forethought  in  fiunilies.  It  was  a  foreseen  consequence  of 
Qvr  Qlvil  and  social  institutloas,  which,  producing  a  dally  increasing  mbdivision  of  fortunoc, 


< 

rdingto 
excess 
irths 
deaths. 

Acco 
the 
of  I 

over 

Per  cent. 

Per  cent. 

Sweden .    .    .    ,    . 

0*83 

114 

Norway 

1*36 

1*30 

Denmark   .    .    ,    . 

-    ... 

0-96 

Russia 

0-61 

Austria 

0*85 

0-9O 

Prussia 

1*84 

1*18 

1*45 

0-90 

Hanover     .... 

... 

0*85 

Bavaria 

0*71 

Wurtemberg .     .    . 

0.01 

1*00 

Holland 

0*90 

1-03 

Belgium     .... 
Sardinia     .... 

1-08 

076 

Great  Britain  (ex- 
clusive of  Ireland) 

]    1*95 

100 

France  

0-68 

0*50 

United  States     .    . 

3-27 

PEASANT  PR0PRIET0B8. 


179 


capital  increaaes  much  more  rapidly, 
has  caoBed  a  noticeable  improyement 
in  the  condition  of  the  labouring  class. 
The  circninstances  of  that  portion  of 
the  class  who  are  landed  proprietors 
are  not  easily  ascertained  with  preci- 
sion, being  of  course  extremely  vari- 
able: but  the  mere  labourers,  who 
derived  no  direct  benefit  from  the 
changes  in  landed  property  which  took 
place  at  the  Revolution,  have  unc^ues- 
tionably  much  improved  in  condition 
once  that  period.*    Dr.  Bau  testifies 

both  landed  and  moveable,  call  forth  In  our 
people  the  instincts  of  oonierration  and  of 
comfort." 

In  fSonr  departments,  among  which 
are  two  of  the  most  thriving  in  Nor- 
mandy, the  deaths  even  then  exceeded  the 
births.  The  census  of  1866  exhibits  the  re- 
markable fact  of  a  positiTe  diminntlon  in  the 
population  of  64  out  of  the  86  departments. 
A  signiflcant  comment  on  the  pauper- warren 
theory.  See  M.  de  Lavergne's  analyds  of 
the  returns. 

*  -  The  classes  of  oar  population  which 
have  only  wages,  and  are  therefore  the  most 
exposed  to  indigence,  are  now  (1846)  much 
better  provided  with  the  necessaries  of  food, 
lodging,  and  dothing,  than  they  were  at  the 
beginning  of  the  century.  This  may  be 
proved  by  the  testimony  of  all  persons  who 
can  remember  the  earlier  of  the  two  periods 
tompared.  Were  there  any  doubts  on  the 
subject,  they  might  easily  be  dissipated  by 
consulting  old  cultivators  and  workmen,  as 
I  have  myself  done  in  various  localities,  with- 
oot  meeting  with  a  single  contrary  testimony ; 
we  may  also  appeal  to  the  facts  collected  by 
an  accurate  observer,  M.  Villermi,  in  his 
Picture  of  the  Moral  and  Physical  Condition 
of  the  Working  Classes,  book  ii.  oh.  1." 
(R«$eatehe9  on  the  Oau$e»  qflndigenct,  by  A. 
Clement,  pp.  84-6.)  The  same  writer  speaks 
(p.  118)  of  *'  the  considerable  rise  which  has 
taken  place  since  1789  in  the  wages  of  agri- 
cultural day-labourers;"  and  adds  the  fol- 
lowing evidence  of  a  higher  standard  of 
habitual  requirements,  even  in  that  portion 
of  the  town  population,  the  state  of  which 
is  usually  represented  as  most  deplorable. 
"  In  the  last  fifteen  or  twenty  years  a  con- 
siderable change  has  taken  place  in  the  habits 
of  the  operatives  in  our  manufacturing 
towns :  they  now  expend  much  more  than  for- 
merly on  clothing  and  ornament.  . . .  Certain 
classes  of  workpeople,  such  as  the  eamU$  of 
Lyons,**  (according  to  all  representations, 
liketheircounterpart,onr  handloom  weavers, 
Uie  very  worst  paid  class  of  artisans,)  "  no 
longer  show  themselves,  as  they  did  formerly, 
covered  with  filthy  rags.**  (Page  164.) 

The  preceding  statements  were  given  In 
former  editions  of  this  work,  being  the  best 
to  which  I  had  at  the  time  access ;  but  evi- 
dence, both  of  a  more  recent,  and  of  a  more 
minute  and  nredse  eharaeter,  will  now  be 


to  a  similar  fact  in  the  case  of  anothei 
countiy  in  which  the  sul^division  of 
the  land  is  probably  excessive,  the 
Palatinate.* 

I  am  not  aware  of  a  sinele  authentio 
instance  which  supports  the  assertion 
that  rapid  multiptication  is  promoted 
by  peasant  properties.  Instances  may 
undoubtedly  be  cited  of  its  not  being 
prevented  bv  them,  and  one  of  the 
principal  of  these  is  Belgium;  the 
prospects  of  which,  in  respect  to  popo* 
lation,  are  at  present  a  matter  ot  oon- 

found  in  the  important  work  of  Bi.  L6oiiee 
de  Lavergne,  Sural  Economy  ^f  Frano§  tiwM 
1780.  Aocording  to  that  painstaking,  well- 
informed,  and  most  impartial  enquirer,  the 
average  daily  wages  of  a  French  labour r/ 
have  risen,  since  the  commencement  of  the 
Bevolation,  in  the  ratio  of  19  to  SO,  while, 
owing  to  the  more  constant  employment,  the 
total  earnings  have  increased  in  a  still  greater 
ratio,  not  &ort  of  double.  The  following 
are  the  statements  of  M.  de  Lavergne  (2nd 
ed.  p.  67) : 

*<  Arthur  Tonng  estimates  at  19  sous  [9\d,  \ 
the  average  of  a  day's  wages,  which  must 
now  be  about  1  franc  60  centimes  [U.  SdJ], 
and  this  increase  only  represents  a  part  of 
the  improvement.  Though  the  rural  popu- 
lation has  remained  about  the  same  in  num- 
bers, the  addition  made  to  tbe  population 
since  1789  having  centred  in  the  towns,  the 
number  of  actual  working  dayshas  increased, 
first  beoanse,  the  duration  of  life  having 
augmented,  the  number  of  able-bodied  men 
is  greater,  and  next,  because  labour  is  better 
organized,  partly  through  the  suppression  of 
several  festival-holidays,  partly  by  the  mere 
effect  of  a  more  active  demand.  When  we 
take  into  accotmt  the  increased  number  of 
his  working  days,  the  annual  receipts  of  the 
rural  workman  must  have  doubled.  This 
augmentation  of  wages  answers  to  at  least 
an  equal  augmentation  of  comforts,  since  the 
prices  of  the  chief  necessaries  of  life  have 
changed  but  little,  and  those  of  manufao- 
tured,  for  example  of  woven,  articles,  have 
materially  diminished.  The  lodging  of  the 
labourers  has  also  improved,  if  not  in  all, 
at  least  in  most  of  our  provinces.** 

M.  de  Lavergne's  estimate  of  the  average 
amount  of  a  day's  wages  is  grounded  on  a 
carefhl  comparison,  in  this  and  all  other 
economical  points  of  view,  of  all  the  different 
provinces  of  France. 

*  In  his  little  book  on  the  Agriculture  of 
the  Palatinate,  already  cited.  He  says  that 
the  daily  wages  of  labour,  which  during  the 
last  years  of  the  war  were  unusually  high, 
and  so  continued  until  1817,  afterwards  sank 
to  a  lower  money-rate,  but  that  the  prices 
of  many  commodities  having  fallen  in  a  stUl 
greater  proportion,  the  condition  of  the  peo- 
ple was  unequivocally  improved.  The  food 
given  to  farm  labourers  by  their  employers 
has  also  greatly  improved  in  quantity  and 
N  S 


180  BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  VH, 

siderable  uncertainty.  Belgium  has 
the  most  rapidly  increasine  population 
on  the  Continent ;  and  when  the  cir- 
cumstances of  the  country  require,  as 
they  must  soon  do,  that  this  rapidity 
should  be  checked,  there  will  be  a  con- 
siderable strength  of  existing  habit  to 
be  broken  through.  One  of  the  un- 
favourable circumstances  is  the  great 
power  possessed  over  the  minds  of 
the  people  by  the  Catholic  priesthood, 
v^hose  influence  is  everywhere  strongly 
exerted  against  restraining  population. 
As  yet,  however,  it  must  oe  remem- 
bered that  the  indefatigable  industry 
and  great  agricultural  skill  of  the 
people  have  rendered  the  existing 
rapidity  of  increase  practically  inno- 
cuous ;  the  great  number  of  large  es- 
tates still  undivided  affording  by  their 
rual  dismemberment,  a  resource  for 
necessary  augmentation  of  the 
gross  produce ;  and  there  are,  besides, 
many  large  manufacturing  towns,  and 
mining  and  coal  districts,  which  attract 
ttnd  employ  a  considerable  portion  of 
tile  annual  increase  of  population. 


§  5.  But  even  where  peasant  pro- 
perties are  accompanied  oy  an  excess 
of  numbers,  this  evil  is  not  necessarily 
attended  with  the  additional  econo- 
mical disadvantage  of  too  great  a  sub- 
division of  the  land.  It  does  not  follow 
because  landed  propertv  is  minutely 
divided,  that  farms  will  be  so.  Am 
lar^e  properties  are  perfectly  com- 
patible with  small  farms,  so  are  small 
properties  with  farms  of  an  adequate 
size ;  and  a  subdivision  of  occupancy  is 
not  an  inevitable  consequence  of  even 
undue  multiplication  among  peasant 


quality.  '*  It  \b  now  considerably  better  than 
about  forty  years  ago,  when  the  poorer  class 
obtained  less  flesh-meat  and  puddings,  and 

no  cheese,  batter,  and  the  like."    (p.  20.)  . 

**  Such  an  increase  of  wages"  (adds  the  Pro-  |  those 
feasor)  **  which  must  be  estimated  not  in 
money,  bat  in  the  quantity  of  necessaries  I 
and  conveniences  which  the  labourer  is  ena^ 
bled  to  procure,  is,  by  oniversal  admission,  a 
proof  that  Uie  mass  of  capital  must  have  in- 
creased." It  proves  not  only  this,  but  also 
tliat  the  labouring  population  has  not  in- 
creased in  an  equal  degree ;  and  that,  in  this 
instance  as  well  as  in  France,  the  division  of 
the  land,  even  when  excessive,  has  been 
compatible  with  a  strengthening  of  the  pra- 
ntial    -     - 


§6. 

proprietors.  As  might  be  expected 
from  their  admirable  intelligence  in 
things  relating  to  their  occupation,  the 
Flemish  peasantry  have  long  learnt 
this  lesson.  "  The  habit  of  not  divid- 
ing properties,"  savs  Dr.  Rau,*  "  and 
the  opinion  that  this  is  advantageons, 
have  been  so  completely  preserved  in 
Flanders,  that  even  now,  when  a 
peasant  dies  leaving  several  children, 
they  do  not  think  of  dividing  his 
patrimony,  though  it  be  neither  en> 
tailed  nor  settled  in  trust ;  they  prefer 
selling  it  entire,  and  sharing  the  pro- 
ceeds, considering  it  as  a  jewel  which 
loses  its  value  when  it  is  divided/' 
That  the  same  feeling  must  prevail 
widely  even  in  France,  is  shown  by 
the  great  frequency  of  sales  of  land, 
amounting  in  ten  years  to  a  fourth 
port  of  the  whole  soil  of  the  country ; 
and  M.  Fassy,  in  his  tract  "  On  the 
Changes  in  the  Agricultural  Conditian 
of  the  Department  of  the  Sure  since 
the  year  1800/*t  states  other  facts 
tending  to  the  same  conclusion.  "  The 
example,"  says  he, ''  of  this  department 
attests  that  there  does  not  exist,  as  some 
writers  .have  imagined,  between  the 
distribution  of  property  and  that  ol 
cultivation,  a  connexion  which  tends 
invincibly  to  assimilate  them.  In  no 
portion  of  it  have  changes  of  owner- 
ship had  a  perceptible  influence  on 
the  size  of  holdings.  While,  in  dis- 
tricts of  small  farming,  lands  belong- 
ing to  the  same  owner  are  ordinarily 
distributed  among  manj  tenants,  so 
neither  is  it  uncommon,  m  places  where 
the  grande  culture  prevails,  for  the 
same  farmer  to  rent  the  lands  of  several 
proprietors.  In  the  plains  of  Vcxin, 
m  particular,  many  active  and  rich 
cultivators  do  not  content  themselves 
with  a  single  farm ;  others  add  to  the 
lands  of  their  principal  holding,  all 
in    the    neighhourhood  which 


diBfntial  checks  to  population. 


*  Page  334  of  the  Brnssels  translation.  Hs 
cites  as  an  antbority,  Sohwers,  PopMv  «• 
AgrieuUwre,  i.  185. 

t  One  of  the  many  important  papers 
have  appeared  in  the  Journal  dm  J 


mitUt,  the  or^m  of  the  nrineipal  political 
and  doinr 
ig  honour  to  ^ 
ability.    M.  Passy's  essajf  has  be«n  npriatad 


doing  gnu  and 
honour  to  their  knowledge  and 


economists  of  Frances, 
increasini 


separately  is  a  pamphlM.: 


PEASAlfr  PROPRIETORS. 


181 


diey  are  able  to  hire,  and  in  this 
manner  make  up  a  total  extent  which 
in  some  cases  reaches  or  exceeds  two 
hundred  hectares"  (five  hundred  Eng- 
lish acres).  "The  more  the  estates 
are  dismembered,  the  more  frequent 
do  this  sort  of  arrangements  become ; 
and  aa  thej  conduce  to  the  interest  of 
all  concerned,  it  is  probable  that  time 
will  confirm  them." 

"  In  some  places,"  says  M.  de  La- 
vergne,*  "in  the  neighbourhood  of 
Paris,  for  example,  where  the  advan- 
tage of  the  praiide  culture  become 
evident^  the  size  of  farms  tends  to  in- 
crease, several  fiurms  are  thrown  to- 
gether into  one,  and  fiinners  enlarse 
their  holdings  by  renting  parceUes 
from  a  number  of  different  proprietors. 
Elsewhere  farms  as  well  as  properties 
of  too  great  extent,  tend  to  division. 
Cultivation  spontaneously  finds  out  the 
organization  which  suits  it  best."  It 
ia  a  striking  fact,  stated  by  the  same 
eminent  writerjf  that  the  departments 
which  have  the  greatest  number  of 
small  separate  accounts  with  the  tax- 
collector,  are  the  Nord,  the  Somme, 
the  Pas  de  Calais,  the  Seine  Infe- 
rieure,  the  Aisne,  and  the  Oise ;  all 
of  them  among  the  richest  and  best 
cultivated,  and  the  first-mentioned  of 
them  the  very  richest  and  best  culti- 
vated, in  France. 

Undue  subdivisian,  and  excessive 
smADness  of  holdings,  are  undoubtedly 
a  prevalent  evil  in  some  countries  of 
peasant  proprietors,  and  particularly 
in  parts  of  Germany  and  France.  The 
governments  of  ^varia  and  Nassau 
have  thought  it  neoessaij  to  impose 
a  legal  limit  to  subdivision,  and  the 
Prussian  Grovemment  unsuccessfully 
proposed  the  same  measure  to  the 
Estates  of  its  Rhenish  Provinces.  But 
I  do  not  think  it  will  anywhere  be 
found  that  the  petite  cuUwre  is  the 
system  of  the  peasants,  and  the  grande 
ctdture  that  of  the  great  landlords : 

«  Jtural  Eeonomg  ^Franee^  p.  455. 
t  P.  117.  See,  for  Ikcts  of  a  similar  ten- 
dency, pp.  141 ,  260,  and  other  pa88ag:ea  of  the 
Hune  1xnport«nt  treatise ;  which,  on  the  other 
hand,  eqnallj  aboonds  with  evidence  of  the 
miechlevons  efliBct  of  subdivision  wlien  too 
minate,  or  when  the  nature  of  the  soil  and 
■f  iu  products  is  not  suitable  to  It. 


on  the  contrary,  wherever  the  small 
properties  are  divided  among  too  many 
proprietors,  I  believe  it  to  be  true 
that  the  large  properties  also  are  par- 
celled out  among  too  many  farmers, 
and  that[the  cause  is  the  same  in  both 
cases,  a  backward  state  of  capital, 
■kill,  and  agricultural  enterprise.  Thers 
is  reason  to  believe  that  the  subdivi- 
sion in  France  is  not  more  excessive 
than  is  accounted  for  by  this  cause; 
that  it  is  diminishing,  not  increasing ; 
and  that  the  tenor  expressed  in  some 
quarters  at  the  progress  of  the  mor- 
eeUement,  is  one  of  the  most  ground- 
less of  real  or  pretended  panics.* 

If  peasant  properties  have  any  effect 
in  promoting  subdivision  beyond  the 
degree  which  corresponds  to  the  agri- 

*  Ifr.  Latng,  in  his  latest  publication, 
**  Observations  on  the  Social  and  Political 
State  of  the  European  People  in  1848  and 
1849,**  a  book  devoted  to  the  glorification  of 
England,  and  the  disparagement  of  every- 
thing  elsewhere  which  others,  or  even  he 
himself  in  former  works,  had  tlnnight  worthy 
of  praise,  aritues  that  **  although  the  land  ' 
itself  is  not  divided  and  subdivided"  on  the 
death  of  the  proprietor,  **  the  vidue  of  the 
land  is,  and  with  effects  almost  as  pr^ndicial 
to  social  progress.  The  value  of  each  share 
becomes  a  debt  <»r  burden  upon  the  land." 
Consequently  the  condition  of  the  agricul- 
tural population  is  retrograde :  **  each  gene- 
ration is  worse  off  than  the  preceding  one. 
although  the  land  is  neither  less  nor  more 
divided,  nor  worse  cultiTated."  And  this  he 
gives  as  the  explanation  of  thegreat  indebted- 
ness of  the  small  landed  proprietors  in 
France  (pp.  97-9).  If  these  statements  were 
correct,  they  would  invalidate  all  which  Kr. 
Laing  affirmed  so  positively  in  other  writings, 
and  repeats  in  this,  respecting  the  peculiar 
efficacy  of  the  possession  of  land  in  pre- 
venting over-population.  But  he  is  en^rely 
mistaken  as  to  the  matter  of  fact.  In  the 
only  country  of  which  he  tqpeaks  fh>m  actual 
residence,  Norway,  he  does  not  pretend  that 
the  condition  of  the  peasant  proprietors  ii 
deteriorating.  The  facts  already  cited  prove 
that  In  respect  to  Belgium,  Germany,  and 
Switaerland,  the  assertion  is  equally  wide  of 
the  mark ;  and  what  has  been  shown  re- 
specting the  slow  increase  of  population  in 
France,  demonstrates  that  if  the  condition 
of  the  French  peasantry  was  deteriorating, 
it  could  not  be  flrom  the  cause  supposed  by 
ICr.  Laing.  The  truth  I  believe  to  be  that 
in  every  country  without  exception,  in  which 
peasant  properties  prevail,  the  condition  of 
the  people  is  improving,  the  produce  of  the 
land  and  even  its  fertilitjr  increasing,  and 
flrom  the  larger  surplus  which  remains  after 
feeding  the  agricultural  classes,  the  towns 
are  augmenting  both  in  population  and  in 
the  well-being  of  their  inhabitants. 


idt 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  VH.    |  6. 


eultural  pnetioes  of  the  country,  and 
which  is  cnstomarj  on  its  large  estates, 
the  cause  must  lie  in  "^ne  of  the  salu- 
tary influences  of  thv;  system;  the 
eminent  degree  in  which  it  promotes 
providence  on  the  part  of  those  who, 
not  heing  yet  peasant  proprietors,  hope 
to  become  so.  In  England,  where  the 
agricultural  labourer  has  no  investment 
tor  his  savings  but  the  savings  bank, 
and  no  position  to  which  he  can  rise  by 
any  exercise  of  economy,  except-  per- 
haps that  of  a  petty  shopkeeper,  with  its 
chances  of  bankruptcy,  there  is  nothing 
at  all  resembling  the  intense  spirit  of 
thrift  which  takes  poBsession  of  one 
who,  from  being  a  day  labourer,  can 
raise  himself  by  saving  to  the  condi- 
tion of  a  landed  proprietor.  According 
to  almost  all  autnorities,  the  real  cause 
of  the  morceUement  is  the  higher  price 
which  can  be  obtained  for  land  by 
'telling  it  to  the  peasantry,  as  an  in- 
vvstment  for  their  small  accumulations, 
than  by  disposing  of  it  entire  to  some 
rich  purchaBer  who  has  no  object  but 
to  live  on  its  income  without  improving 
it.  The  hope  of  obtaining  such  an 
investment  is  the  most  powerful  of  in- 
ducements, to  those  who  are  without 
land,  to  practise  the  industry,  fru- 
gality, ana  self-restraint,  on  which  their 
success  in  this  object  of  ambition  is 
dependent. 

As  the  result  of  this  enquiry  into 
the  direct  opecation  and  indirect  in- 
fluences of  peasant  properties,  I  con- 
ceive it  to  be  establishea,  that  there  is 
no  necessary  connexion  between  this 
form  of  landed  property  and  an  im- 
perfect state  of  the  arts  of  production ; 
that  it  is  favourable  in  quite  as  many 
respects  as  it  is  imfavourable,  to  the 
most  efiective  use  of  the  powers  of  the 
soil;  that  no  other  existing  state  of 
agricultural  economy  has  so  beneficial 
an  effect  on  the  industry,  the  intelli- 
gence, the  frugality,  and  prudence  of 
the  population,  nor  tends  on  the  whole 
so  mu(m  to  discourage  an  improvident 
increase  of  their  numbers ;  and  that 
no  existing  state,  therefore,  is  on  the 
whole   to  favourable,  both    to   their 


moral  and  their  phyHical  welfare. 
Compared  with  the  English  system  of 
cultivation  by  hired  labour,  it  must  be 
regarded  as  eminentlv  beneficial  to  the 
labouring  class.*  We  are  not  on  the 
present  occasion  called  upon  to  com- 
pare it  with  the  joint  ownership  of  the 
und  by  associations  of  labourers. 


*  French  history  ■trikinglyoonfirms  thew 
conclusions.  Three  times  during  the  course 
of  ages  the  peasantry  have  been  purchasers 
of  land  i  and  these  times  immediately  pre- 
ceded the  three  principal  eras  of  French 
agricultural  prosperity. 

*'  In  the  worst  times,"  says  the  historian 
Michelet  (Th*  People,  Parti,  eh.  1).  *'the 
times  of  universal  poverty,  when  even  the 
rich  are  poor  and  obliged  to  sell,  the  poor  are 
enabled  to  buy:  no  other  purchaser  pre- 
senting himself,  the  peasant  in  rags  arrives 
with  his  piece  of  gold,  and  acquires  a  little 
bit  of  land.  These  moments  of  disaater  in 
which  the  peasant  was  able  to  buy  land  at  a 
low  price,  have  always^een  followed  by  a 
sudden  gush  of  prosperity  which  people  ccNiId 
not  account  for.  Towards  1 500,  for  example, 
when  France,  exhausted  by  Louis  XI., 
seemed  to  be  completing  its  rain  in  Italy,  the 
noblesse  who  went  to  the  wars  were  obliged 
to  sell:  the  land,  passing  into  new  hands, 
suddenly  began  to  flourish;  men  began  to 
labour  and  to  buUd.  This  happy  moment, 
in  the  style  of  courtly  historians*  waa  called 
ths  good  Lom»  XII, 

"  Unhappily  it  did  not  last  long.  Scarcdy 
had  the  land  recovered  itself  when  the  tax- 
collector  fell  upon  it ;  the  wars  of  religion 
followed,  and  seemed  to  rase  eveiTthtng  to 
the  ground ;  with  horrible  miseries,  dreadful 
famines,  in  which  mothers  devoured  their 
children.  Who  would  believe  that  the  conn- 
try  recovered  from  this?  Scarcely  is  the  war 
ended,  when  from  the  devastated  fields,  and 
the  cottages  still  black  with  the  flames,  comes 
forth  the  hoard  of  the  peasant.  He  boys ; 
in  ten  years,  France  wears  a  new  face ;  in 
twenty  or  thirty,  all  possessions  have  doubled^ 
and  trebled  in  value.  This  moment,  again 
baptized  by  a  royal  name,  is  called  tXe  good 
Henry  IV.  and  the  great  liickelie».'* 

Of  the  third  era  it  is  needless  again  to 
speak ;  it  was  that  of  the  Revolution. 

Whoever  would  study  the  reverse  of  the 
picture,  may  compare  these  historic  period^ 
characterized  by  the  dismemberment  of 
large  and  the  construction  of  small  proper- 
ties, with  the  wide-spread  national  suffering 
which  accompanied,  and  the  permanent  de- 
terioration of  the  condition  of  the  labouring 
Masses  wliich  followed,  the  "clearing"  away 
of  small  yeomen  to  make  room  for  large 
graiing  farms,  which  waa  the  grand  eoono- 
niical  event  of  En^ish  history  during  the 
sixteenth  century. 


METAY£B& 


OHAFTER  VUL 


OF   METATEBfl. 


I  1.  From  the  case  in  which  the 
produce  of  land  and  lahour  belongs 
nndividedly  to  the  labourer,  we  proceed 
to  tlie  cases  in  which  it  is  diyided,  but 
between  two  classes  only,  the  labourers 
and  the  landowners ;  the  character  of 
capitalists  merging  in  the  one  or  the 
other,  as  the  case  maj  be.  It  is  pos- 
sible indeed  to  conceive  that  there 
might  be  only  two  classes  of  persons 
to  share  the  produce,  and  that  a  class 
of  capitalists  might  be  one  of  them ; 
the  character  of  labourer  and  that  of 
landowner  being  united  to  form  the 
other.  This  might  occur  in  two  ways. 
The  labourers,  though  owning  the 
land,  might  let  it  to  a  tenant,  and 
work  under  him  as  hired  servants. 
But  this  arrangement,  even  in  the 
very  rare  cases  which  could  give  rise 
to  it,  would  not  require  any  particular 
discussion,  since  it  would  not  differ  in 
any  material  respect  from  the  three- 
fold system  of  Lsibourers,  capitalists, 
and  landlords.  The  other  case  is  the 
not  unconmion  one,  in  which  a  peasant 
wafitietor  owns  _and  cultivates  the 
End,  but  raises  the  little  capital  re- 
qmredj  by  a  mortgage  upon  it. 
rieither  does  this  case  present  any 
important  peculiarity.  There  is  but 
one  person,  the  peasant  himself,  who 
has  any  right  or  power  of  interference 
in  the  management.  He  pa^s  a  fixed 
annuity  as  interest  to  a  capitalist,  as 
be  pays  another  fixed  sum  in  taxes 
to  the  govemment  Without  dwelling 
farther  on  these  cases,  we  pass  to  those 
which  present  marked  features  of  peou- 
liarity. 

When  the  two  parties  sharing  in 
the  produce  are  the  labourer  or 
labourers  and  the  landowner,  it  is  not 
a  very  material  circumstance  in  the 
case,  which  of  the  two  furnishes  the 
stock,  or  whether,  as  sometimes  hap- 
pens, they  furnish  it,  in  a  deteTminart;e 
proportion,  between  them.  The  essen- 
tial difference  does    not  lie   in  this, 


but  in  another  circmnstaiice,  namely, 
whether  the  division  of  the  produce 
between  the  two  is  regulated  by 
custom  or  by  competition.  We  will 
begin  with  the  former  case ;  of  which 
the  metayer  culture  is  the  principal, 
and  in  Europe  almost  the  sole,  example. 
The  principle  of  the  metayer  system 
is  that  the  laoourer,  or  peasant,  makes 
his  engagement  directly  with  the  land- 
owner, and  pays,  not  a  fixed  rent, 
either  in  money  or  in  kind,  but  a  cer- 
tain proportion  of  the  produce,  or 
rather  of  what  remains  of  the  produce 
after  deducting  what  is  considered  ne- 
cessary to  keep  up  the  stock.  The 
proportion  is  usually,  as  the  name  im- 
ports, one-half;  but  in  several  districts 
m  Italy  it  is  two-thirds.  Respecting 
the  supply  of  stock,  the  custom  varies 
from  place  to  place;  in  some  places 
the  landlord  furnishes  the  whole,  in 
others  half,  in  others  some  particular 
part,  as  for  instance  the  cattle  and 
seed,  the  labourer  providing  the  im- 
plements.*^     "This  connexion,"  says 

*  In  France,  befor*  the  Kevolutlon,  ao- 
oording  to  Arthur  Yoang  (i.  403)  there  was 
great  local  diversity  in  this  respect.  In 
Champagne,  **  the  landlord  commonly  finds 
half  the  cattle  and  half  the  seed,  and  the 
'metayer,  labour.  Implements,  and  taxes; 
but  in  some  districts  the  landlord  bears  a 
share  of  these.  In  Roussillon,  the  landlord 
pays  half  the  taxes ;  and  in  Guienne,  fh>m 
Auch  to  Fleuran,  many  landlords  pay  all. 
Near  AguiUon,  on  the  Garonne,  the  metayers 
famish  half  the  cattle.  At  Nangis,  in  the 
Isle  of  France,  I  met  with  an  agreement  for 
the  landlord  to  famish  live  stock,  implements, 
harness,  and  taxes ;  the  metayer  found  labour 
and  his  own  capitation  tax:  the  landlord 
repaired  the  house  and  gates ;  the  metayer 
the  windows :  the  landlord  provided  seed  the 
first  year,  the  metayer  the  last ;  in  the  inter- 
vening years  they  supply  half  and  half.  In 
the  Bourbonnois  the  landlord  finds  all  sorts 
of  live  stock,  yet  the  metayer  sells,  changes, 
and  buys  at  his  will;  the  steward  keeping 
an  account  of  these  mutations,  for  the  land- 
lord has  half  the  product  of  sales,  and  pays 
half  the  purchases."  in  Piedmont,  he  says, 
'*  the  landlord  commonly  pays  the  taxes  and 
repairs  the  buildings,  and  the  tenant  pa*ovides 
cattle,  implements,  and  seed."    (li.  161.) 


184 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  Vm.    |  «. 


Sismondi,  speaking  chiefly  of  Tus- 
cany,* "  is  often  the  subject  of  a  con- 
tract, to  define  certain  services  and 
certain  occasional  payments  to  which 
the  metayer  bindsnimself ;  neverthe- 
less the  differences  in  the  obligations 
of  one  such  contract  and  another  are 
inconsiderable ;  usage  governs  alike  all 
these  engagements,  and  supplies  the 
stipulations  which  have  not  been  ex- 
pressed: and  the  landlord  who  at- 
tempted to  depart  from  usage,  who 
exacted  more  than  his  neighbour,  who 
took  for  the  bsuEds  of  the  agreement 
anything  but  the  equal  division  of  the 
crops,  would  render  himself  so  odious, 
he  would  be  so  sure  of  not  obtaining  a 
metayer  who  was  an  honest  man,  that 
the  contract  of  all  the  metayers  may 
be  considered  as  identical,  at  least  in 
each  province,  and  never  gives  rise  to 
any  competition  among  peasants  in 
search  of  employment,  or  any  offer  to 
cultivate  the  soil  on  cheaper  terms 
than  one  another."  To  the  same  effect 
Chateauvieux,t  speaking  of  the  me- 
tayers of  Piedmont.  "They  consider 
it"  (the  farm)  "as  a  patrimony,  and 
never  think  of  renewing  the  lease,  but 
go  on  from  generation  to  generation,  on 
the  same  terms,  without  writings  or 
registries."! 

§  2.  When  the  partition  of  the 
produce  is  a  matter  of  fixed  usage,  not 
of  varying  convention,  political  eco- 
nomy has  no  laws  of  distribution  to 
investigate.     It  has  only  to  consider, 

*  8tudie$  in  FoUUcal  Economy,  Essay  VI. 
On  the  Condition  of  the  Cultivators  in  Tus- 
cany. 

t  Letter*  from  Itat/g,  I  quota  from  Dr. 
Rigby's  translation,  (p.  22.) 

X  This  virtual  fixity  of  tenure  Is  not  how- 
ever universal  even  in  Italy ;  and  it  is  to  its 
absence  that  Sismondi  attributes  the  inferior 
condition  of  the  metayers  in  some  provinces 
of  Naples,  in  Lucca»  and  in  the  Riviera  of 
Genoa ;  where  the  landlords  obtain  a  largfer 
(though  still  a  fixed)  share  of  the  produce. 
In  those  countries  the  cultivation  is  splendid, 
but  the  people  wretchedly  poor.  **  The  same 
misfortune  ^ouid  probably  have  befallen  the 
people  of  Tuscany  if  public  opinion  did  not 
protect  the  cultivator;  but  a  proprietor 
would  not  dare  to  impose  conditions  unusual 
in  the  country,  and  even  in  changing  one 
metayer  for  another,  he  alters  nothing  in  the 
terms  of  the  engagement."  Neio  Prineiplee 
^  Political  Economy,  book  iJI.  eh.  5. 


as  in  the  ease  of  peasant  proprietorh, 
the  effects  of  the  system,  first,  on  the 
condition  of  the  peasantry,  morally 
and  physically,  and  seconcQy,  on  the 
efficiency  of  the  labour.  In  both  these 
particulars  the  metayer  system  has  the 
characteristic  advantages  of  peasant 
properties,  but  has  them  in  a  less  de* 
gree.  The  metayer  has  less  motive 
to  exertion  than  the  peasant  proprietor, 
since  only  half  the  miits  of  nis  indus- 
try, instead  of  the  whole,  are  his  own 
But  he  has  a  much  stronger  motive 
than  a  day  labourer,  who  has  no  other 
interest  in  the  result  than  not  to  be 
dismissed.  If  the  metayer  cannot  be 
turned  out  except  for  some  violation  of 
his  contract,  he  has  a  stronger  motive 
to  exertion  than  any  tenant-farmer 
who  has  not  a  lease.  The  metayer  is 
at  least  his  landlord's  partner,  and  a 
half-sharer  in  their  joint  gains.  Where, 
too,  the  permanence  of  his  tenure  is 
guaranteed  by  custom,  he  acquires 
local  attachments,  and  much  of  the 
feelings  of  a  proprietor.  I  am  8^ 
posing  that  this  naif  produce  is  suffi- 
cient to  yield  him  a  comfortable 
support.  "Whether  it  is  so,  depends 
(in  any  given  state  of  agriculture)  on  . 
the  degree  of  subdivision  of  the  land ;  • 
which  depends  on  the  operation  of  the 
population  principle.  A  multiplication  J 
of  people,  beyond  the  number  that  can 
be  properly  supported  on  the  land  or 
taken  off  oy  manufactures,  is  incident 
even  to  a  peasant  proprietary,  and  of 
course  not  less  but  rather  more  incident 
to  a  metayer  population.  The  ten- 
dency, however,  which  we  noticed  in 
the  proprietary  system,  to  promote 
prudence  on  this  point,  is  in  no  small 
degree  common  to  it  with  the  metayer 
system.  There,  also,  it  is  a  matter  of 
easy  and  exact  calculation  whether  a 
family  can  be  supported  or  not.  If  it 
is  easy  to  see  whether  the  owner  of  the 
whole  produce  can  increase  the  pro- 
duction BO  as  to  maintain  a  greater 
number  of  persons  equally  weU,  it  is  a 
not  less  simple  problem  whether  the 
owner  of  half  the  produce  can  do  so.* 
*  M.  Bastiat  affirms  that  even  in 
France,  incontestably  the  least  fiivourable 
example  of  the  metayer  system,  its  eflTect 
in  repressing  population  is  conspicuous. 
'*It    is  a  well-ascertained   fact   that  the 


METAYERS. 


185 


There  is  one  check  which  this  gystem 
■eems  to  offer,  over  and  above  those 
held  ont  eren  by  the  proprietary 
system ;  there  is  a  landlord,  wbo  may 
exert  a  controlling  power,  dj  reftudng 
his  consent  to  a  sabdiTision.  I  do  not, 
howeyer,  attach  great  importance  to 
this  check,  because  the  farm  maybe 
loaded  with  unpeiflnons  hands  withont 
being  subdivided;  and  because,  so  long 
as  the  increase  of  hands  increases  the 
gross  prodoce,  which  is  almost  always 
the  case,  the  landlord,  who  receives 
half  the  produce,  is  an  immediate 
gainer,  the  inconvenience  falling  only 
on  the  labourers.  The  landlord  is  no 
donbt  liable  in  the  end  to  suffer  from 
tiieir  poverty,  by  being  forced  to  make 
advances  to  them,  especially  in  bad 
seasons;  and  a  foresight  of  this  ulti- 
mate inconvenience  may  operate  bene- 
ficially on  such  landlords  as  prefer 
{ature  secnrity  to  present  profit. 

The  characteristic  disadvantage  of 
the  metayer  system  is  very  fairly  stated 
by  Adam  Smith.  After  pointing  oat 
that  metayers  "have  a  plain  interest 
that  the  whole  produce  should  be  as 
great  as  possible,  in  order  that  their 
own  proportion  may  be  so,'*  he  con- 
tinues,* "  it  could  never,  however,  be 
the  interest  of  this  snecies  of  culti- 
vators to  lay  out,  in  tne  further  im- 
povement  of  the  land,  any  jjart  of  the 
tittle    stock  which  they  might  save 

tendency  to  ezeeiiiTe  multiplicAtlon  Is 
chiefly  manifested  in  the  class  who  live  on 
wages.  Over  these  the  forethooght  which 
retards  marriages  has  little  operation^beeause 
the  evils  which  flow  from  excessive  compe- 
tition appear  to  them  only  very  oonAuedly, 
and  at  a  coniriderable  distance.  It  is,  there- 
fore, the  most  adranti^eoiis  condition  of  a 
people  to  be  so  organised  as  to  contain  no 
regular  class  of  labourers  to  hire.  In  me- 
tayer coontries,  marriages  are  principally 
determined  by  the  demands  of  diltivation ; 
they  increase  whoi,  from  whatever  cause, 
the  metairies  oflSer  vacancies  ii^nrious  to 
production;  they  diminish  when  the  places 
are  filled  up.  A  fact  easily  ascertained,  the 
proportion  between  the  sixe  of  the  fum  and 
the  number  of  hands,  operates  like  fore- 
thought, and  with  greater  effeot.  We  And, 
accordingly,  tliat  when  nothing  occurs  to 
miAe  an  opening  for  a  superfluous  population, 
numbers  remain  stationary:  as  is  seen  in 
our  souHiem  departments."  Coiuideratiotu 
on  Metagoge,  in  the  Jcmrmal  d§$  BeoncmitU* 
for  February  1846. 

•  WmUkofN<M(m^ho«ik)ii.th,t, 


from  their  own  share  of  the  produce, 
because  the  lord,  who  laid  out  nothing, 
was  to  get  one  half  of  whatever  it 
produced.  The  tithe,  which  is  but  a 
tenth  of  the  produce,  is  found  to  be  a 
very  great  hindrance  to  improvement. 
A  tax,  therefore,  which  amounted  to 
one-half,  must  have  been  an  effectual 
bar  to  it.  It  mi^ht  be  the  interest  of 
a  metayer  to  mm  the  luid  produce 
as  much  as  oould  be  brought  out  of  it 
by  means  of  the  stock  furnished  by  the 
proprietor;  but  it  could  never  be  his 
mterest  to  mix  any  part  of  his  own 
with  it.  In  France,  where  five  parts 
out  of  six  of  the  whole  kingdom  are 
said  to  be  still  occupied  by  tms  species 
of  cultivators,  the  proprietors  complain 
that  their  metayers  take  every  oppor- 
tunity of  employing  the  master's  cattle 
rather  in  carriage  than  in  cultivation ; 
because  in  the  one  case  they  get  the 
whole  profits  to  themselves,  in  the  other 
they  share  them  with  their  landlord.'' 
It  is  indeed  implied  in  the  very  na- 
ture of  the  tenure,  that  all  improve- 
ments which  require  en»enditure  of 
capital,  must  be  made  with  the  capital 
of  the  landlord.  This,  however,  is  es- 
sentially the  case  even  in  England, 
whenever  the  fanners  are  tenants-at- 
will:  or  (if  Arthur  Young  is  right) 
even  on  a  ''  nine  years  lease.'*  If  the 
landlord  is  willing  to  provide  capital 
for  improvements,  the  metayer  has  the 
strongest  interest  in  promoting  them, 
since  half  the  benefit  of  them  will  ac- 
crue^ to  himself.  As  however  the  per- 
petuity of  tenure  which,  in  the  case 
we  are  discussing,  he  ei\joys  by  custom, 
renders  his  consent  a  necessary  condi- 
tion ;  the  spirit  of  routine,  and  dislike 
of  innovation,  characteristic  of  an  agri- 
cultural people  when  not  corrected  by 
education,  are  no  doubt,  as  the  advo- 
cates of  the  system  seem  to  admit,  a 
hindrance  to  improvement. 


§  8.  The  metayer  system  has  met 
with  no  mercy  from  English  authori- 
ties. ^  "  There  is  not  one  word  to  be 
said  in  favour  of  the  practice,"  says 
Arthur  Young,*  "  and  a  thousand  ar- 
guments that  might  be  used  against 
It  The  hard  plea  of  necessity  can 
*  2Vmw2«,  vol  i.  pp.  404-6. 


186 


BOOK  n.    CHAPTER  Vm.    §  8. 


alone  be  urged  in  its  favour ;  the  po- 
verty of  the  farmers  being  so  great, 
that  the  landlord  must  stock  the  farm, 
or  it  could  not  be  stocked  at  all :  this 
is  a  most  cruel  burthen  to  a  proprietor, 
who  is  thus  obliged  to  run  much  of  the 
hazard  of  farming  in  the  most  dan- 
gerous of  all  methods,  that  of  trusting 
his  property  absolutely  in  the  hands 
of  people  who  are  generally  ignorant, 
many  careless,  and  some  undoubtedly 
wicked.  ...  In  this  most  miserable 
of  all  the  modes  of  letting  land,  the 
defrauded  landlord  receives  a  con- 
temptible rent;  the  farmer  is  in  the 
lowest  state  of  poverty ;  the  land  is 
miserably  cultivated;  and  the  nation 
suffers  as  severely  as  the  parties  them- 
selves. .  .  .  Wherever*  this  system 
prevails,  it  may  be  taken  for  granted 
tliat  a  useless  and  miserable  population 
is  found.  .  .  .  Wherever  the  country 
^that  I  saw)  is  poor  and  unwatered, 
in  the  Milanese,  it  is  in  the  hands  of 
metayers:"  they  are  almost  always 
in  debt  to  their  landlord  for  seed 
or  food,  and  "their  condition  is 
more  wretched  than  that  of  a  day 
labourer.  .  .  .  Theref  are  but  few 
districts'*  (in  Italy)  "where  lands 
are  let  to  the  occupying  tenant  at 
a  money-rent;  but  wherever  it  is 
found,  their  crops  are  greater;  a  clear 
proof  of  the  imbecility  of  the  metaying 
system."  "  Wherever  it'*  (the  metayer 
system)  ^'has  been  adopted,"  says 
Mr.  M*Culloch,t  "it  has  put  a  stop 
to  all  improvement,  and  has  reduced 
the  cultivators  to  the  most  abject  po- 
verty." Mr.  Jones  §  shares  the  common 
opinion,  and  quotes  Turgot  and  Destutt- 
Tracy  in  support  of  it.  The  impression, 
however,  of.  all  these  writers  (notwith- 
standing Arthur  Young's  occasional 
references  to  Italy)  seems  to  be  chiefly 
derived  from  France,  and  France  before 
the  Bevolution.||  Now  the  situation  of 
French  metayers  under  the  old  regime 

•  TraveUt  vol.  ii.  161-3. 
t  Ibid.  il.  217. 
X  FrineipU$  qf  Political  Economj/,  3rd  «4. 
p.  471. 

f  Euay  on  Hu  DUtriiuHim  <^  Wealth,  pp. 
102-4. 

I)  H.  de  Tracy  Is  partially  an  exoepftion, 
iBaunndi  as  hit  experienoa  reachai  lower 
down  th»n  the  revolutionary  period:  but  he 


by  no  means  represents  the  typical 
form  of  the  contract.  It  is  essential 
to  that  form,  that  the  proprietor  pays 
all  the  taxes.  But  in  France  the  ex- 
emption of  the  noblesse  from  direct 
taxation  had  led  the  Government  to 
throw  the  whole  burthen  of  their  ever- 
increasing  fiscal  exactions  upon  the 
occupiers :  and  it  is  to  these  exactions 
that  Turgot  ascribed  the  extreme 
wretchedness  of  the  metayers:  a 
wretchedness  in  some  cases  so  exces- 
sive, that  in  Limousin  and  Angou- 
mois  (the  provinces  which  he  admi- 
nistered) they  had  seldom  more,  ac- 
cording to  him,  after  deducting  all 
burthens,  than  from  twenty-five  to 
thirty  livres  (20  to  24  shilhngs)  per 
head  for  their  whole  annual  consump- 
tion :  *'  I  do  not  mean  in  money,  but 
including  all  that  they  consume  in 
kind  from  their  own  crops."*  When 
we  add  that  they  had  not  the  virtual 
fixity  of  tenuro  of  the  metayers  of  Italy, 
{"  in  Limousin,"  says  Arthur  Young,f 
"  the  metayers  are  considered  as  little 
better  than  menial  servants,  removable 
at  pleasure,  and  obliged  to  conform  in 
all  things  to  the  will  of  the  landlords,*') 

admits  (as  Mr.  Jones  has  himself  stated  in 
another  place)  that  he  is  acquainted  only 
with  a  limited  district,  of  great  subdivision 
and  unfertile  soil. 

M.  Passy  is  of  opinion,  that  a  French  pea- 
santry must  be  in  indigence  and  the  country 
badly  cultivated  on  a  metayer  system,  be- 
cause the  proportion  of  the  produce  claim- 
able by  the  landlord  is  too  high;  it  being 
only  in  more  favourable  climates  that  any 
land,  not  of  the  most  exuberant  fertility, 
can  pay  half  its  gross  produce  in  rent,  and 
leave  enough  to  peasant  farmers  to  enable 
them  to  grow  successfully  the  more  expen- 
sive and  valuable  products  of  agriculture. 
(0»  SystevuM  qf  Culture,  p.  35.)  This  ia  an 
objection  only  to  a  particular  numerical  pro- 
portion, which  is  indeed  the  common  one, 
but  is  not  essential  to  the  system. 

*  Seethe  "Memoir on  the  Surcharge  of 
Taxes  suffered  by  the  Generality  of  Limoges, 
addressed  to  the  Council  of  State  in  I7b6." 
pp.  260*304  of  the  fourth  volume  of  Turgot's 
Works.  The  occasional  engagements  of 
la