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lation of the towns. The peasant apprentices his son to a tradesman instead of sending him to the plough.
Distress occasioned by changes in the system of agriculture appears to become less frequent as the cultivation of the soil is improved by repeated applications of capital and science. A farmer in England at the present time, applying capital to the improvement of his farm, will on the average increase the labour in some departments of his farm to an extent at least equal to the labour saved by the introduction of machinery and contrivances for economizing labour in other departments, so that the effect of his improvements will be seen in the increase of his produce without any material alteration, one way or the other, in the number of men he employs.
Thus, improvements in the system of agriculture occasion not only an increase of the gross amount of agricultural produce, but an increase of that produce as compared with the number of persons employed in raising it. Now the surplus produce of the land that remains after providing subsistence for those who raise it, limits, and to a certain extent regulates, the numbers employed in producing the comforts and conveniences of life.
In point of fact, however, the amount of manufactures produced increases far more rapidly than the numbers of the non-agricultural population ; for although a considerable proportion of the non-agricultural population produce nothing, the continual inventions in machinery, and in improved processes of manufacture, make the amount of articles manufactured to increase much faster than the population employed in producing them. If the whole population of Great Britain was to be employed in the manufacture of cotton goods, according to the system of fifty years ago, they would not be able to produce as much as the present number of manufacturers working according to the improved system.
Thus in the rudest condition of mankind, each labours only for himself, and wages have no existence. But when a surplus is obtained from the land beyond the wants of its cultivators, a
maintenance is provided for those who supply the wants and provide for the comforts of others, and a foundation is laid for the superstructure of civilized society. As this surplus augments, so does civilization advance.
And though in its progress, by sudden alterations, it sometimes occasions intense though transitory distress, its permanent effects are uniformly beneficial.
It is not here intended to assert, that every rude society goes through this process of improvement, but merely that those which are civilized have at one time or other followed such a course.
Those countries that first boasted of wealth and knowledge possessed a luxuriant soil, where such a surplus was easiest obtained,—the banks of the Euphrates, and the valley of the Nile; while the nomade tribes of the desert continue nearly in the same condition as at first. But the characters of particular peoples,* or of their
* Examples :—The Dutch, English, and Americans.
rulers,* accidents,f or necessities, have often guided the progress of improvement through a more eccentric course. Abundance has been raised from a niggard soil, while fertile districts still remain a wilderness.
* The Czar Peter.
+ “ The Cherokees and Creeks, tribes of American Indians, being surrounded by Europeans, could not retreat before them, like their northern brethren, but they have been gradually enclosed within narrower limits, like the game within the thicket before the huntsmen plunge into the interior. The Indians who were thus placed between civilization and death, found themselves obliged to live by ignominious labour, like the whites.”—(De Tocqueville“ Democracy in America,” vol. ii. p. 300.)
† The forced emigration of the Puritans to North America.
ON THE EFFECTS OF CIVILIZATION UPON THE
HEALTH, LONGEVITY, AND INCREASE OF MANKIND.
“ All the world's a stage,
As YOU LIKE IT, Act II. Sc. VII.
IF, as civilization advances, a greater amount of comforts and conveniences are diffused among a population, it seems natural to expect that some alteration will be effected in their general health and longevity. We find accordingly that the life of man has been sensibly lengthened since linen clothing has been substituted for woollen, since more attention has been paid to cleanliness, and more enlightened cares bestowed upon infancy, since men have learned to prevent the invasion or effect the cure of diseases for