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There are who say this wondrous world And wheresoe'er the broad moon's rays Is but the work of chance ;

In matchless beauty fall, That earth, like some huge scroll, unfurled, They mirror forth to thoughtful gaze And wrought its own advance ;

The Hand that fashioned all. That senseless atoms blindly grew There's not a plant upon the earth, Into a world of light ;

There's not a tree nor flower, That creatures no Creator knew

But bears the stamp of heavenly birth, That death's eternal night!

The proof of heavenly power. O Man, with aspirations high,

The very leaf on which you tread Is this the end you crave ?

Was wrought with wondrous hand, Oh Man, with soul that cannot die, A fragment of a volume dread And perish in the grave

That speaks to every land : Are all the wonders prophets told

A book unchanged from age to ageBut wild delusive dreams ?

The same since time began : And can it be that human mould

For Nature is a living page Is but the clay it seems ?

That preaches God to man !

CHARLES WILTON.

BRITISH LABOUR AND FOREIGN RECIPROCITY.

66

We

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We hear a great deal at the present our wealtlı, the iron trade, is in a state day, not only from pretended philan- of lamentable prostration. Labour thropists, but from well-meaning in England, by far the richest country and conscientious people, about the of the three, is scarcely better re

Rights of Labour." In fact, the munerated. In the rural districts, we term has become so hackneyed that hear of lowered agricultural wages very rarely is any popular speech de and growing discontent; in the towns, livered from a hustings, or elsewhere, we are told of mills closed or put upon without its occurrence as a marked short time ; and, from the metropolis and leading principle, which the and the larger cities, we bave accounts speaker is determined to uphold. of misery and destitution which did they

But general terms are almost al. reach us from missionaries in a heathen ways susceptible of wide and contra- land, would fill our souls with horror, dictory construction; and when we come and our hearts with righteous indignato analyse this phrase, “the rights of tion. labour," and to consider the differ- To that call, proceeding from the ent interpretations which have been labourers themselves, we cannot and passed upon it, we are forced to arrive we dare not turn a deaf car. at the conclusion, that very few of must listen to it, appalling as it is; those who use the words have any and examine into the cause of it, if we distinct idea of the meaning which wish society to remain as it has been. they ought to convey.

One man We must allow no preconceived ideas or considers “the rights of labour" as impressions, generated, perhaps, by identical with the operation of the the delusions of the last few years, maxim which exhorts us “to buy in or of many years, to stand in our the cheapest, and to sell in the dearest way when so frightful a calamity apmarket. Another defines those proaches as the destitution and derights to mean, “a fair day's wage moralisation of the working and profor a fair day's labour." Aud so the ducing classes of this mighty empire ; term is bandied about among us, re- for we may as well expect a fabric to peated and reiterated, until it has stand after its foundations have been fairly lost the semblance of anything worn away, as suppose that a state like clear significance.

can exist without the support of those Meanwhile labour, in this country who are, in reality, the artificers of at least, is loudly calling for the re- its whole wealth and produce. cognition of its rights, whatever Would to heaven we could persuade those rights may be - not for the men to throw aside, not for a time, shadow, but the substance; not for but for ever, their party notions, and, the name, but for the reality. Labour what is still more difficult, their selfish in Ireland is struck down and para- interests; and induce them to look lysed-paralysed in its first natural this grcat question broadly and fairly function and duty, the production of in the face ! They will not find it food, although millions of acres, capable treated of in their politico-economical of yielding large returns of cercal pro- treatises—those wretched collections duce, are either unbroken or with- of sophisms compiled by the dullest drawn from the tillage of the plough. and most blear-eyed of mankind, Labour in Scotland is becoming daily which have been accepted in our day less remunerative; the northern popu- as monuments of transcendant wislation is driven to emigrate by thou- dom. They will not find the question sands, or to take refuge in the citics mooted at all in the tomes of their and towns already redundantly sup- conceited statists: but if they step plied. Wages are decreasing in the beyond that dreary range, and go Lowlands; the poor-rate is multiply. forth into the scenes of busy life, they ing fast; and the greatest source of will hear it discussed, always eagerly,

The Harmony of Interests, Agricultural, Manufacturing, and Commercial. Skinner, Philadelphia.

sometimes ably, sometimes incompe- an evil to which governments, based tently, in the workshop, the forge, the on the popular representative prinfactory, the cottage, and the mine; ciple, are peculiarly liable; and the and they may then form some idea of skill and prescience of the modern the importance which the working- statesman will be more conspicuously classes attach to that much-abused shown in restraining than in encouterm—“the Rights of Labour." raging the spirit of change. Why

The mere general discussion of such complain of want of activity, or of a point implies that there is some- culpable negligence, when the fact is thing amiss, either in our social or before us that, during the last few in our commercial and national sys- years, the whole of our commercial tem. With regard to the first, we

system has undergone a radical think there can be no argument. change, which has affected, more or Unless some totally new evangel has less, every source of labour, every been reserved for these latter days, branch of industry, every application Socialism, as it is understood on the of capital throughout the British Continent, and even partially among empire? We have been the reverse ourselves, is a wild and miserablc of idle, both at home and abroad. delusion. It has been tried, over At home, not one single interest has and over again, under circumstances escaped the ordeal of experiment; far more favourable for its develop- abroad, we have subjected the coloment than any which are likely to nies to forced operations, from the occur again, and has invariably effects of which it is exceedingly failed. Nay, the tendency of Liberal- doubtful if they can ever rally, at ism has been to sweep what modified least under our tutelary care. Socialism might exist in a civilised These alterations and changes were community away. Guilds, corpora- no doubt intended by their devisers tions, the chartered privileges of to be productive of good, but they burgbs, have all vanished, or been may in reality have been productive reduced to shadows, and nothing is of evil. It is impossible to foretell now permitted to stand between the with certainty the effect of any sweepemployer and the employed. Social- ing change, even when the elements ism, through the law, can have no of calculation appear to be within existence. It may, indeed, lawfully our own control. When they are rear and extend itself, if it can, on its beyond it—as must be the case whenown simple merits ; but, tried by that ever we assume the co-operation of test, it simply resolves itself into a foreign independent powers, without new form of labour, liable to compe- securing it by treaty-the uncertition as before, and powerless to tainty is still greater. It cannot be affect prices, by which labour must denied that the late commercial ever be estimated.

changes proceeded upon the assumpOur firm and fixed belief is, that tion of reciprocity, and that this what are termed social grievances are assumption has been proved by expesimply the consequence of a faulty or rience to be utterly wrong. So far, erroneous commercial and national then, they have not answered_the system. Vapid and superficial writers expectations of their framers. Free have talked a great deal about what imports may be advantageous or the they are pleased to call the “ Laissez- reverse ; but they have at all events faire" tendencies of modern states- failed in producing reciprocity, and in men-intending thereby to convey the converting foreign nations to our insuimpression that Government is not lar commercial doctrines. It would be, active enough in its regulating and to say the least of it, becoming in those modifying functions. According to who advocate the maintenance of the our view, this is a most unfounded present system to remember this, and charge, as against either the Govern- to mitigate the arrogance of their ment or the Legislature.

We can

tone; for, undeniably, the most imdiscern no lack of activity-no want portant half of their prophecy has of interference: on the contrary, we

fallen to the ground. are inclined to complain that changes Still it remains to be seen whether, are too common and rapid. This is in spite of the absence of the pro

VOL. LXIX.-XO. CCCCXXIII.

H

mised reciprocity, we have derived any general prosperity of the nation? Those material advantage from the change; operatives work for the foreigner, and and here men will differ according to are fed by the foreigner. Their contheir methods of estimation. Those tributions to the national revenue, who are determined, at all hazards, to through the customs duties and excry up the advantages of Free Trade, cise, cannot be taken as an equivalent will point to a balance sheet of extend- for their decreased consumption of ed exports as a sure index of the pro- British agricultural produce ; yet how sperity of the nation. Is it, after all, often is such an instance as this paa sure index? The whole amount of raded as a proof of general prosperity! our national exports is but an infi- After all, it is, perhaps, the only nitesimal portion of the annual crea- branch of importance which is prostion of wealth in the country ; it con- pering at the present time. The woolsists of the products of only a few len trade has been steady, but not more branches of industry, and represents profitable than before. The cotton the employment, not of the masses of trade we know to be depressed ; and the population, but merely of a small the iron trade, one of our most valusection. Some of these branches, in- able staples, because the raw materials deed the most important of them, do of the coal and ore, as well as the manot possess the first guarantee for nufactured article, are of British prostability and endurance. They depend duction, is at present worse than unfor their existence entirely upon the profitable. supply of foreign material. But for the We state these things, not as proofs cotton-wool of America, the factories of the inefficacy of Free Trade, but of Lancashire would be shut up; and simply as tending to show that no we shall presently have occasion to sound inferences as to the general proinquire what likelihood there is of an sperity of the country can be drawn extended, or even a continued supply. from the fact that exports have inIncreased exports give us no account creased. The only criterion is, and whatever of internal and home con- must be, the condition of the working sumption. During the last year, classes. We have already pointed with a limited supply of raw mate- out the vast depreciation of larial, owing to a deficient crop, we bour, and the want of employment have sent away more cotton goods which is visible over the three kingthan before. What is the natural in- doms; and we have alluded to the two ference from that, as to the capabilities most formidable symptoms-pauperof the home consumer ?

ism and extended emigration. How Neither is it fair to select any two these unchallenged and admitted facts or three branches of industry which are reconcilable with the idea of genemay be flourishing, and to parade ral prosperity, it remains for our phithese as an index of the prosperity of losophers to show. the whole country. If Free-Trade had To what, then, is this owing? We not been productive of advantage to can only attribute it to one causesome classes, it would not have been the total disregard of the interests of tolerated so long. We know perfectly the British producer. Politicians may well, and are prepared to admit, that attempt, as they have heretofore done, at this moment some trades are doing to explain away evident and startling well; but then they are thriving at the ete facts on trivial and insufficient grounds; pense of the great body of the community. journalists may affect to sneer at the Such, for example, is the linen-trade representations of the sufferers, and of Dundee, supported at the present to turn their complaints into derision; time by a large demand from abroad economists may offer to prove the fita for coarse textures, the origin of ness of existing circumstances, upon which demand may be traced to the certain immutable laws of which they Free-Trade measures. That cheap were the sole discoverers ; demaprovisions, owing to the imports from gogues may strive to divert attention abroad, should be a great advantage from the lamentable consequences of to the operatives engaged in this kind their misdeeds by attacking other inof manufacture, will admit of no stitutions; but the fact of general dedoubt; but how does that affect the pression and distress remains uncontroverted and incapable of denial ; and the most important body of British so it will remain until the national po- producers, and therefore of consumers licy is altered.

in the home market, would speedily It is now precisely twelve months react upon every branch of industry, ago since we drew the attention of we foresaw and foretold; and the the public to the actual state of Brit- result is now before us, evident in ish agriculture under the operation of each day's reiterated tale of distress. Free-Trade prices. We then, and in Notwithstanding all this, we are subsequent articles, quoted the deli- assured in certain quarters, that at berate opinion of those who favoured every hazard the experiment must and carried the repeal of the Corn go on; that, having once embarked in Laws, as to what remunerative prices a career, however dangerous, we must in reality were; we called as wit- persevere to the last; and that pronesses the late Sir Robert Peel, Mr tection to native industry is inconsisWilson, M.P. for Westbury, and tent with the genius of a free and others—and showed that, according enlightened people. to their judgment, not that of Pro- Let us see whether it be so. And, tectionists, wheat could not be grown as to judge of this question we must with a profit in this country unless it look elsewhere than to Britain, let us commanded in the market from 125. try to discover the extent to which to 16s. more per quarter than was at the principles of Free Trade are that time the average of England. acknowledged in other lands, where We were told in reply, by our anta- freedom, both of sentiment and action, onists, that the depression was merely is claimed quite as enthusiastically as accidental. Hardly one of them ven- in our own. It is worth while knowtured to say that they had anticipated ing how far our opinions on this comsuch a result, or that such a result mercial subject have been responded was desirable : on the contrary, the to, not by despotic states, wherein farmers of this country were told to the popular voice might be suppressed, believe that the low prices current but by the most liberal and enterwere simply the consequences of an prising countries, which, we were told, exuberant harvest, combined with waited only for our example to engage the first impulse of new importation, in the work of reciprocity. and that, from sheer want of ma- Among these we are surely entitled terial, the latter would speedily sub- to reckon Switzerland and Germany side. At the close of another year, including in the latter denomination and after another harvest materially that powerful confederacy, the Zolldiffering in quality, we find prices verein, which embraces the Hanseatic actually lower than they were at this towns. These are Protectionist time twelvemonths. Nor is this the determined at all hazards to maincase with grain alone, but with cattle: tain their doctrine of fostering native thus demonstrating how hopeless is industry, and meeting us, not with the condition of the British farmer reciprocity, but with augmented cusunder the operation of the present toms duties. The following extracts law.

from the last modifications of the That the impending ruin of the general tariff of the Zollverein may agriculturists, who constitute by far be instructive :

MODIFICATIONS OF THE GENERAL TARIFF OF THE ZOLLVEREIN.

IMPORT DUTIES ON,
Cotton twist, unbleached, per cwt.,

£0 6 0

0 90 Iron, raw,

do.

(Free.)

0 1 pig, rails and raw, cast and refined steel, 0 3 0

04 Linen, viz. Yarn, raw,

0 0 6

0 6 0 bleached or dyed,

0

0 15 0 boiled with ashes,

1 6

0 90 Thread,

0 6 0

0 12 0 Manufactures, raw,

0 0

0 12 0 bleached, &c.,

1 13 0

3 0 0 Woollen manufactures,

4 10 0

7 10 0

OLD DUTY.

NEW DUTY.

0 6

per do.

3

0

6

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