« EdellinenJatka »
late Emperor of France, holding that commerce and colonies constitute this "grand object;" others majutaining that agriculture will more certainly realize it; from these we have bursts of enthusiasm about large farms and drill-husbandry: and a third set seem to think, says Mr. Gray, that the grand object" of a nation is to exist merely for the sake of being taxed. But he, with more wisdom in his views, and with a decided preference in his mind for the end instead of the means, lays it down as the basis of all his reasoning, and as a datum not to be disputed, that happiness is the " true grand object” of every wise nation and individual.
This very original idea being struck out, the author is naturally led to inquire into the nature and springs of happiness; and it gives us pleasure to find him, after a few prolusory strokes of ratiocination, arrived at this conclusion. 'Happiness, says he, consists in enjoying health corporeal and mental, having something to eat and drink, something for shelter, and something to do. When to this is added virtuous dispositions, the blessing of having a few friends, and of being secure from enemies, it must be admitted that the definition comes as near the truth as could be expected, on a subject not strictly scientific.
All this, however, not only implies a certain degree of improvement in society, but it also suggests the topic which is taken up in Mr. Gray's third chapter, namely," the social improveability of man. Our author, be it mentioned to his praise, holds nollning in common with those dreamers of dreams, who indulge in visions of human perfectibility; for, on the contrary, he has found out that in proportion as
men become more learned, they become worse-teripered; and particularly, as they get deep in politics and political economy, they grow every day more snappish and intolerable in their manners. In fact, it is deeply impressed upon his mind, that the good temper which was recommended by the first teachers of Christianity, instead of being improved by erudition and science, has been materially hurt by them. Our learned men, it seems,
66 become morose, haughty, distant, passionate, and overbearings and for the most part, they are destitute of that quality which tends so much to social good, economy.
Fortunately however, in general, it seems to be pretty much in proportion to the progress which a man has made in one particular species of learning or science, that his sociality is hurt. A general knowledge, such as this adept would call superficial, or a smattering of many different kinds, on the whole improves the sociality of the temper."
What a unisery must it be for a man's family, when his mind is engrossed with any particular study in which he happens to succeed! We know that Newton's bed-maker was wretched
beyond expression while he was prosecuting his discoveries in optics; and it was probably in consequence of his profound artainments in political science, that Mr. Pitt judged it expedient to decline matrimony. Accordiog to this view of things, however, we can have no possible doubt that our author is a very good-natured man, and quite uninjured in all his social qualities.
By what means, theis, is man to be improved? We succeed with beech-trees and fir- trees to a certain extent, and even with sheep and horved cattle ; and in the next generation we may count upon the beech-nuts and fir-tops, the rams and the bulls, for a tolerably fair exhibition of all the good properties which we have established in the present. But man is neither a beech tree nor a horned animal, and of course, we must, cording to Mr. Gray, for ever despair of his improvement.
“ Suppose it were possible,” says he, “by an universal system of education, acted upon for an age, to make the great mass of parents perfectly good and social, which is an idea that will never be seriously entertained by any one acquainted with human nature, or human affairs, have we accomplished the task of cor, recting nature? No. We are not much nearer giving complete goodness to the sperms which are to form the succeeding age, than before. Good and social parents, like those of the opposite character, produce bad and unsocial, as well as good and social, children indiscriminately. Our race is, therefore, with regard to what constitutes about two thirds of the whole, just where it was."
The case, we admit, is bad enough ; and as we are not sufficiently enlightened in physiology to venture a prescription for the behoof of the sperms which are to form the next age, we must just leave them to make as good men, as their materials will admit of, in the old way.
After Book I. comes Book II. which has for its subject the very important doctrines of CIRCULAND, or that which is to be circulated. Lest this new term should not on its first appearance convey a very precise meaning, we beg leave to state that it is used to denote any marketable commodity, whether it be the raw produce of the soil, manufactured goods, labour of the hands, agility of the body, or the exercise of ingenuity and talent. Every thing is circuland which enables the possessor to make a charge upon the common fund of national wealth, or, in other words, whatever is wanted by others, and for which they are willing to pay, is, to him who holds it, to all intents and purposes, circuland. The skill and character of a physician, for example, are his circuland; the grimaces of a harlequin and the voice of a singer are their circuland; while a quarter of wheat, a sack of four, and a loaf of bread are the
respective circulands of the farmer, the 'miller and the baker."
* What possible difference can it make,” le demands, “ that
twelfth by collecting the debts due to private individuals, or the assessinents of the nation?”
Were it not that this political heresy has laid hold of other heads than our author's, and has shown itself in the writings of certain journalists, who, on almost every other subject, implicitly follow the doctrines of Adam Smith, we should not be tempted to notice it at greater length in the present article. A few words will suffice. Labour, then, we maintain, when regarded with a reference to national wealth, is, according to the views of economists and of Smith, either productive or unproductive. We say, when viewed with a reference to the aggregate wealth of a nation ; for nothing is more obvious than that the income of particular individuals, or classes of men, may be increased without any addition being thereby made to the mass of public riches. We may adduce as an instance of this, the very honourable professions of law and physic; the gains arising from which, however much they may add to the private revenue of the practitioners, cannot be regarded as additional wealth secured to the country. Such gains are but a tranfer of so much property from one hand to another, and the physician only spends a certain share of what his patient would otherwise have laid out. What addition, we would ask, is made to our national wealth by the theatres or opera-house ; or how much richer did we become from the visit of the Indian Jugglers ! Labour in all these cases is, no doubt, productive as it respects the labourer, that is to say, it increases his private revenue ; but, as it respects the public, it is certainly uịproductive. It merely becomes a channel for the circulation of money from one pocket to another, without adding one farthing to its amount : it enables the lawyer, the physician, the opera-dạncer and the player to go to market and purchase goods, to the exact extent to which the means of their employers have been dimi, nished, by the payment of their fees or salaries. But the case alters entirely with respect to-labour in agriculture or manufac, tures, The man who pays for such labour, derives from it, not only its own price, and the proper hire for the instruments which are used by the labourer, but also a clear profit over and above all charges. The Birmingham manufacturer, for exam. ple, who pays a guinea a week for a man's labour, is understood to reap from the work of that labourer not only the guinea he paid out, and the interest of the money expended in the building of houses and the purchase of tools, but likewise, in addition to all this, a shilling or eighteen-pence of profit ; which, in the first place, adds so much to his wealth, and secondly to the wealth of the country. He gets back, in short, from the work
man, not only as much, in the shape of manufactured goods, as
will have given away twenty-six guineas. Are your gnineas replaced in your pocket by what you see or hear? No: then you must admit that such kind of labour consumes, without reproducing, the money of him who purchases it. But Mr. Gray will say the labour of the Juggler is as productive as that of the Birmingham artizan, because it enables him to charge for it; but we say, in reply, that this is not the sense in which the terin productive was used by Dr. Smith and his predecessors in France, and that there is all the difference in the world between enriching an individual and enriching a nation. Jugglers and songsters, and various other orders of men, may happen to acquire wealth, while the people who feed them may be sinking into poverty; whereas people employed in agriculture and manufactures are constantly found to diffuse wealth over the whole country in which they are so fortunate as to improve their private fortunes.' The labour of the husbandman will draw froin an acre of land ten times the amount of its natural unassisted produce; and manufacturing industry operating upon a pound of Hax or crittoi?, will augment its changeable value perhaps a thousand fold. The hardware of Sheffield and Birmingham, and the manufactures of Manchester and Paisley, bring into the ports of Great Britain, in the shape of French and American produce, an incalculable amount of wealth, if compared with the original price of the material with which it is paid. We see the silks of Lyons and the wines of Burgundy and Champagne purchased with a piece of manufactured iron-stone, to which škill and labour have given its whole value; and cargoes of cotton are every day reaching our shores, which the ingenious industry of our countrymen sends back to the land where it grew, so much increased in its exchangeable value, that a pound will sometimes pay for a ton. And is it possible, in the face of such instructive and notorious facts, for an author to stand
ир and tell the world, that a woman who sings a song, or a man who recites a speech from Shakespeare, contributes as much to public wealth as the manufacturer or the ploughmau!
It would after all have been nothing, had Mr. Gray contented himself with the privilege, which every author enjoys, of advanc.