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mulate capital or wealth; and he thus remains poor because he has not learnt the way to acquire wealth. His poverty may be imputed to ignorance or misfortune; but in this country, where industry meets with so much encouragement, a man's abject poverty may, in far too many instances, be traced to improvidence, to extravagance, idleness, dissipation, or to some depravity.
To illustrate my assertion that “wealth is the aggregate surplus of labour realised," I will ask you to picture to yourselves a man saving some little of the value of his own labour. In time he employs a fellow-labourer, and saves a little from that; then a third, and a fourth, and so on. He soon economises manual labour, by employing some machinery, which represents the united labour of 100 or 1000 men: and thus the man who perhaps the first year saved only £1, the second £2, the third £1, may, if he retains the same ratio, realise in twenty years—how much do you suppose? Why, £500,000 at least. And this has actually been accomplished by many men once as poor as any in this room. I know one such, who in early life worked for 15s. a-week: he managed to lay by a little in the Savings Bank, which he so increased yearly that as the result of his industry and good conduct, he became an exceedingly wealthy man, and well deserving the fruits of his labour, for he is generous and charitable in proportion to his wealth, and exceedingly beloved and esteemed by all who know him ;-wealth having but enlarged and rendered practical the noble qualities of his nature.
The history of Chess affords another example of multiples of the smallest beginnings. It is said the game was invented by an Eastern philosopher, who claimed from his sovereign in payment à grain of wheat for the first square, two grains for the second, and so on,--doubling the quantity for each square in succession. The monarch, astonished at a request so apparently simple, ordered a sack of wheat to bo
Dalton, Franklin, and many such contributors to in pation, and having always an end in view, steadily,
their industry for the benefit of their posterity. The
proud Peerage, the reverend Bishops, the learned Ttion Budges, the valiant officers of our armies, or to the
front rank of any eminence, -you will find among
party-did not hesitate, even at a sacrifice of friends
, and the claim to be discharged. The sack
Almost al great results have had humble origin.
hands; men who thoroughly understood their occusie es patiently, and perseveringly worked it out; men who
prodited by their labour, and laid by the profits of
descendants of such men having the advantage of muzpisi superior education, enter upon another sphere of useforgetful of the class whence they sprung. And such are not ungrateful to, or
, suggested to his conscience was the right
tenfold the value of the labour accumulated by their ancestors. Practically, in such cases, the talents entrusted to the father yield other ten talents in the blessings diffused by his heirs. Labour, therefore, economised, produces seed, the return and the fruits of which for future generations are incalculable.
What is the origin of our benevolent institutionsour richly-endowed hospitals for the sick-our comfortable almshouses for the old and infirm-our refuges for the destitute and the outcast-our happy homes for the fatherless and the widows-our quiet asylums for the unhappy in mind, body, or estateour public parks for the enjoyment and recreation of all classes ? Why, these noble institutions are founded with the grateful offerings of wealth, and are endowed and maintained by the employers or consamers of labour, or its equivalent;they are blessings established for those who benefit by them, in return for the benefits derived from the labour of their ancestors. Thus have I endeavoured to shew that each class of society contributes to the welfare of the others; strengthening and consolidating the fabric of which you form the broad base and the corner stone, and of which our beloved Sovereign is the head,
As further reason for contentment, let us take another view of your condition, as compared with that of the working classes in other countries. We will rapidly travel over Europe, and proceed first to France--the most refined and the most polished of all nations; and yet, what a sad history she presents! But about half-a-century ago, the streets of her capital ran with the blood of her best citizens; the hor. rid engines of death could not satiate the monsters who ruled that lovely country; and her rivers were therefore polluted with the wholesale massacre of her people ;-and of so revolting and so barbarous a character, that the wild Indian with his scalping knife never committed such atrocities: and even now,
what is her condition? Why, one of mental slavery. The people are governed by a despotism so arbitrary and so oppressive, that no one dare openly express bis opinions to his neighbour; and liberty is nearly crushed by the arrogant and usurping power which now rides triumphant over all puny efforts towards the recovery of its freedom. Wealth and dominion revel in their selfish gratifications; but the working classes are so over-burdened by the weight of taxes and impositions, that they are becoming demoralised and degenerate,-their energies paralysed, their industry stagnate. While we have increased in
popuLation-notwithstanding the extraordinary extent of emigration-during the last ten years, about 25 per cent.,-France has (excepting to a very slight extent in some five or six large towns) decreased. While in England you see in every manufacturing village the substantial evidence of progressive wealth and comfort,-in France you would (with some few exceptions, as Paris and the chief cities) behold decay. ing habitations, grass growing in the streets of even important towns, absence of all sewerage, filth of every description running down the open channels of the streets; no symptoms of cleanliness, and no active boards of health benevolently forcing away the pestilential matters and vapours injurious to life. All presents an unprogressive aspect, as if improvement was arrested, energy departed, and apathy predominant. And then look to Spain, Portugal, and Italy -countries swarming with beggars and banditti. In Russia, the working classes are slaves to the nobles. In Germany, liberty is gradually unfolding her banner. Austria still rules
with the iron hand the fair plains of Lombardy, but so oppressively and so exactingly, that at this moment Freedom is awakening, and will soon shake off the chains which bind her. Sardinia is aroused from her lethargy, and, as you are aware, lately sent 10,000 of her sons to support the noble cause in the Crimea; and although there
is still a contest between freedom and feudal power, yet a well-intentioned king, and a right-minded and liberal minister, have aided the popular voice for free institutions and progressive improvement; and the consequences are, a rapid and universal development of industry. But in no country will you find the same -or even any approach to the same-substantial comfort, quiet peace and happiness, sound health and prosperity, as in “dear old England." The only country where the liberty of the press is so unconfined and so unfettered, that every action of government is subjected to its scrutiny and exposure, and if the popular will decree, to punishment and disgrace. Our prominent men, our ministers of state, our great generals, our eminent judges, all-aye, even the head of the state—are aware of their responsibility, and recognise the assertion that the great sovereign power is the will of a free nation.
I have commented tediously, I fear, upon our general political position; but I consider it as the safeguard and guarantee of our social happiness. And tertainly, if things are good or bad by comparison, we have much cause for thankfulness, and should hesitate long before we imperil or tamper with such a sound and glorious constitution, And yet there are men, highly gifted with the power of eloquence, who see and know well that we enjoy to an unparalleled degree the blessings of peace, freedom, liberty, health, comfort, and happiness, who under some unhappy influence or mistaken philanthropy, would agitate and disturb the serenity of our progress, because it is too gradual to satisfy their ardent desires. They would ruffle our tempers,—-create discontent against our rulers,-excite one class against another, --raise a storm of angry controversy, and overwhelm us with clouds of doubt and trouble, darkening the sunshine of our prosperity; instead of patiently improving, step by step, and so admitting by degrees, and after repeated tests of value, innovations which,