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with Pan;* and his frequent habit of introducing Jesus Christ and Orpheust into the same scene in a poem; and often corfounding, or at least putting together the polytheistical divinities with the ghosts of the Jewish and Christian mythology-shews, that he did not really distinguish between the metaphorical character of the one set of emblematical personifications, and the al. leged truth of the literal interpretation of the other. A man of Milton's judgment and cautioti, if he had really believed in the religious scheme of Judaism and Christianity, would never have written such absurd poems as Paradise Lost” and “Paradise Regained,” lest in so doing he should unweetingly commit some blasphemy and be damned for it !!! Baron Maseres used to quote Milton, Locke, and Sir Isaac Newton, as examples of Unitarian believers; but I trust I can shew, that Chaucer, Spenser, Bacon, Shakspeare, Milton, Locke, Newton, and indeed all the great poets and philosophers of those believing agès, were as much Deists as the philosophers of our disbelieving age are—and as people still rely more on authority than trust to reason in matters, of faith, it might be doing science a service to develope the truth of my assertion, which I may perhaps do hereafter.
AN OCCASIONAL CORRESPONDENT. Sept. 22, 1826.
P, S. Observe, I am not an Atheist in relation to physical nature, but only in relation to superstitious mythology; I am a believer in Matter; Vitality, and Intelligence, as eternal necessities, and as constituting the real Trinity: in short, a Somatopsychonoologist, and I shall defend this doctrine against fanaticism.
MACHINERY AND POPULATION.
When any new view of things is brought before mankind, it must be expected to receive much opposition. There are always prejudices to be overcome; and to these men are generally so warmly attached, that arguments, the most convincing to an unprejudiced mind, often fail to make any impression upon them. This obstinate attachment to preconceived notions, is not always, as might be expected, the result of real or supposed interest; it often exists in the minds of individuals who cannot have the least interest in the question at issue. What interest. could medical men have in opposing Harvey's new view of the human frame, his theory of the circulation of the blood? Yet they opposed it for years, almost to a man, in spite of the convincing arguments adduced in its favour, and the circumstances of which they must have been aware, and which must have satisfied an unprejudiced man at the first glance. This attachment to prejudices is perfectly unaccountable. I have somewhere read of an instance in some town in France, where it was proposed to remedy the nuisance of throwing all the filth of every description into the street; but the inhabitants exclaimed en masse against the innovation, against depriving them of the privilege of having their streets as dirty and unwholesome as they could make them; and even some medical men who were called upon, in the hope that their evidence would quell the opposition of the inhabitants, to give their opinion of the effects of the filth on the atmosphere and health of the town, actually declared that it was beneficial. We have ample proof, that such attachment exists, and that it is injurious; but it is of no use to lament it, we must do the best we can with it; we may do with it as an old woman does with her corospick out a bit at a time, till the whole is destroyed. The remedy is practicable in both cases, and if properly followed, up can scarcely fail of being effectual,
The people of this country have for many years been in the habit of considering machinery and bad government as the sources of want of employment and consequent misery among the lower orders. These are deeply-rooted prejudices, and are retained by many very intelligent persons, thongh so evidently fallacious to the careful and candid inquirer. There is in this case some excuse to be made, seeing that it requires a comprehensive mind to view the matter fully, and that there is such a variety of causes tending to produce the effects attributed to machinery and bad government.
In Numbers 6, 9, and 11, of “ The Republican," a writer has argued as well as he could in favour of those prejudices, and, I
doubt not, much to the satisfaction of a large portion of his readers, for “ fellow feelings beget sympathy;" and it is because I conceive that the greater number think as J. F. thinks, that I now write. If I thought that the majority were free from the prejudices attempted to be supported by J. F., I should not notice his remarks ; but as I know this is not the case, I am inclined to do the best I can to clear up the matter, although more competent hands have gone before and will probably follow, me. It is the last shot that opens the breach, but each well-directed one contributes towards it. I speak confidently on this subject-first, from a firm conviction after a patient and unprejudiced inquiry; and secondly, because I have never yet been in frequent collision, with any individual whom I did not convince that my view of it was correct.
The propositions stated by J. F. are:
1. “That the use of machinery reduces the quantity of employment for human beings.
2. “ That the assumed) great increase of population is not the cause of the
distress. 3. “ That increase of population cannot be the cause of any distress.
4. “ Thar the great increase of population' is a piece of political twattle. And,
5. “ That the present and all other public or national evils, except earthquakes and a few other natural phenomena, are to be traced to misgovernment."
I shall first state and endeavour to demonstrate a few propositions in opposition to these; and then show the want of demonstration in the arguments of J. F. I shall make my propositions as general as possible. I am not writing for the Government, nor for any other party, as a party; I am not anxious to throw out a tub to the irritated whale, that is, in plain language, to withdraw
my fellow men from seeing the real source of their evils, as J. F. has thought proper indirectly to charge upon his opponent F. P.; my only desire is to establish a true, and therefore useful, view of the state of mankind. My object is truth and utility, let it favour what party it may. My propositions are:
1. That machinery, or any other discovery that lessens the quantity of labour in the production of any commodity, is beneficial to the happiness of mankind.
2. That the " great increase of population” is not“ a piece of political twattle,” but a fact supported by the universal experience of past ages by an unprejudiced view of the present, and by a scientific view of the productive powers of the human race.
3. That a redundant population must at all times be productive of distress.
4. That a redundant population is the principal cause of the present distress. And,
-5. That the increase of population is the primary cause of bad government and its constant support; and hence that bad government and distress among the people, are effects of the same cause..
1. THE GREATEST HAPPINESS OF THE GREATEST NUMBER is.
now the leading sentiment of philanthropy. No partial inte-, rests, no monopolies, can now be countenanced by the enlightened philanthropist. His object is the happiness of the human rące; not the protection of the claims, falsely called rights, of a few individuals, who would enjoy happiness at the expense of the society to which they belong.
- Happiness is something indefinite, a something to which we may continually approximate but never reach. The best or nearest detinition that can be given of it is, that it is the gratification of desires. The more we can gratify our desires, the happier we are. Man naturally desires ease, but he has many other powerful desires to prompt him to action. He desires, to live independent of labour, and he desires food for subsistence and clothing to guard him against the inclemency of the seasons. These are bis principal desires. Now he must be most happy when he can gratify the latter desires at the least expense to the former—when he can obtain the necessary subsistence and comforts of life with the least labour.
Let us suppose a community of one thousand persons, and that to obtain the necessaries of life they are compelled to labour twelve hours a day. If they discovered machinery that would enable them to do the same labour, to produce the same commodities, in eight hours a day, would it not be beneficial to their happiness ? It is evident that it must. It would allow them so much more ease; or if they still had desires ungratified more strong than the desire of ease, they would have so much more » time to labour for their gratification. Thus then the direct tendency of machinery is to lessen the quantity of labour necessary to the gratification of our wants; and, therefore, gives us the meaps of increasing our happiness-gives us the power of gratifying more of our desires than we otherwise could.
It matters not whether the community consist of ten persons, ten thousand, or ten millions; the discovery of means to lessen labour must ever be beneficial to the happiness of mankind. It is a great good that can be introduced into a co-operative society without any painful result, but cannot be introduced into a society of individual competition without producing a small portion of evil. It is this small portion of evil that is brought forward as the objection to its introduction. But is it not a generally received maxim, especially in the science of morals, that the lesser evil must be borne to obtain the greater good? Once make it a law that no innovation shall be made injurious to an individual, or a
Vol. XIV. No. 12.
few individuals, and then good-bye to every valuable improvement.
· The evil effect complained of is the throwing hands out of employ in those trades into which machinery is introduced. This it may do in some cases, but F. P. has clearly proved that it has not been the case in the cotton trade, on which it has been principally charged. It would throw hands out of employment in those trades where there would be no extra demand for the commodities produced when sold at a lower price; but in some cases, it is evident, lowered price would so far increase the demand as to keep on more hands with machinery than without it.' But this is a point I shall not enforce. I will grant that the introduction of machinery may throw men out of employment in any particular trade. But then the demand for labour is not lessened on the whole. If the introduction of machinery enable me to purchase clothing for five pounds that would otherwise cost me ten, I have the extra five pounds to purchase something else; and therefore I create a demand for labour in another quarter.
“ But the man who made your cloth may not be able to make what you wish to purchase.” True; but if there were no redundancy of labour before, there will be done then. The clothiers, out of employ in their own trade, may not earn as good wagés in another; but that is an accident to which all labourers are liable, from other causes as well as the introduction of machinery; for instance, change of public taste which often causes a falling off in the demand for some articles, and a greater demand for others,
To the assertion that the introduction of machinery does not lessen the demand for labour, an opponent may start the following objection :-Suppose it takes the labour of ten men to produce a certain commodity, which by the aid of machinery can be produced by two; and that the expense of the machinery, say a steam-engine and coals for its support, is equal to the labour of three more. In this case, the commodity will be sold for half its former cost, and the other half may produce a demand for labour in some other direction ; but as there are but two employed in the old line instead of the ten, and but the demand for five in the new, is there not a decrease in the whole demand for labour of three-tenths ?
We shall soon see the fallacy of this objection. I notice it particularly because I think it is a stumbling-block to many who make but a slight examination of the subject of machinery.
The price of any commodity is regulated by the cost of its production; the cost of production is regulated by the quantity of labour employed. This is universally the case wherever there is free competition. Now the machinery is a commodity, and its cost, whatever it may be, is value given for labour; and instead