Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

missed seeing the inconsistency of this opinion, when he stated “ that an absentee cannot possibly spend his income abroad until he has previously spent it at home.” The difficulty appears to be in the rent being exported in the shape of manufactures. If an additional quantity of manufactures is exported, equal to the rent of the absentee, how is the expense of manufacturing these articles paid for if it be not by the rent ? The answer to this is, that there are no additional manufactures exported. For the fund for the maintenance of labour in England remains precisely as it did before, minus the fund exported by the absentee. There is therefore no additional manufacture of goods of any kind, and consequently no more are exported. But the value of a portion of those that are exported is made over to the absentee in payment of his rent, and no raw produce can be imported into England in return for it. So that the payment of rent to the absentee is made by the importation into England of a smaller amount of goods, and not by an increased exportation of manufactured or other articles.

CHAPTER V.

ON THE ORIGIN OF THE FUND FOR THE EMPLOY

MENT OF LABOUR.

-“ His days
Rolled heavy, dark, and unenjoyed, along :
A waste of time! till industry approached,
And roused him from his miserable sloth.”

Thomson's Seasons, Autumn, v. 71.

We have seen how the fund for the employment of labour is limited. It remains for us to trace its origin, and the manner of its increase..

In the infancy of society there may be said to be no distinct trades. Each man provides food for his family, rears his hut, and makes for himself what clothing he considers necessary. But when civilization is so far advanced that trades unconnected with agriculture make their appearance, food acquires an exchangeable value.

The cultivator of the ground will now no longer confine his exertions to the amount of food required by his own family, but will endeavour to raise a surplus, with which to purchase whatever articles the rude manufacturers of his neighbourhood can supply. The extent of farm now desirable is no longer limited by what is sufficient to raise food for the support of the agriculturist's family, but by the labour that he is able and willing to bestow. For whatever surplus he can now raise, which before would have been wasted or expended in acts of hospitality without return, he can now appropriate to his own wants and comforts. This change will therefore occasion more labour to be performed by the same number of persons.

Suppose a man to occupy such an extent of farm as to employ one-third of his time, and that the other two-thirds of his time, being spent in idleness, are lost to the community : if three such tenements are thrown into one, this will require the whole time of one man, and the other two occupants will be turned adrift upon the world, and be obliged to earn their subsis

tence by manufacturing for the former, clothing and other articles.

By such a change in the division of land, the whole population will be employed the whole of their time, and the industry of the country consequently augmented two-thirds ; at the same time that agriculture and manufactures of every description are improved by the division of labour, each man having to turn his attention to fewer objects. Now as two-thirds of the population are employed in producing the comforts and conveniences of life, the enjoyments of all will be augmented, at the same time that manufacturers, a new and distinct class, are added to the community. · Industry being now limited only by a man's strength and not by his immediate wants, it will be the interest of each agriculturist to get into his own hands as much ground as he can manage. More land will be taken into cultivation, more food raised, and consequently subsistence provided for an increased number of manufacturers. The manufacturers, on the other hand, by improving, cheapening, and inventing

anu

various objects of artificial enjoyment, will be continually giving fresh stimulus to agricultural industry. This may be termed the first step in the progress of agriculture ; and the extent of farm most advantageous to the cultivator and to the community will be just as much as the labour of one man or one family is able to turn to account.

A change, however, takes place as soon as a little capital has accumulated, and improvements in the system of cultivation are made, and horses and many useful but expensive instruments are introduced, some of which, although sufficient for all the purposes of a large farm, are equally necessary for the proper cultivation of a small one. A plough may be required for. the proper cultivation of an acre of land, and yet suffice without any additional expense for a hundred. Horses may be required by a small farmer, who may be incapable of turning onehalf of their labour to account. The comparative profit, after paying the expenses of cultivation, will now be great in proportion to the size of the farm ; and this will continue to be the case until

« ПредишнаНапред »