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by positive provisions in the political organization of society, or by an overpowering influence of public sentiment equally tyrannical.
We look for a new era of history. A change is taking place in the institutions of society, in the course of human action, in the force of moral principle and in the sovereignty of public opinion, which will influence all the relations of life.
The causes of this change are to be found in the intellectual improvement of the age ; in the diffusion of the principles of Christianity, which by means of this improvement, will more and more commend themselves to the hearts, as they are found more and more consonant to the welfare of mankind; and as a consequence of these, the extension of that system of civil government, the offspring of intelligence and religion, by which Power is limited, defined and responsible; which is reconciling by its efficient chemistry, the conflicting elements of liberty and law, proposing the advancement of the race as the object of honorable fame; bestowing its rewards on successful labor, corporeal or intellectual ; bringing into fraternal connection all whose work of any kind is industriously performed ; and making the WORKING MEN'S PARTY THE NOBILITY OF THE WORLD.
But this anticipated progress of mankind is not founded on any fanciful theory of the actual divinity of human nature, inconsistent with past experience, or in a re-construction of society upon any imaginary basis of perfection.
The attributes or faculties of man may be enlarged or diminished, but their essential character cannot be changed. Providence has given him no passion, no inclination, no desire, which, within the restraints of reason, is not calculated to promote his welfare; and has implanted no virtue in his nature, and no tendency to it, which, unregulated by discretion and judgment, does not degenerate into vice.
Neither can there be any rational expectation of a re-construction of the frame-work of society. Civil power must exist, because political government is essential to good order. Labor too must be performed, because it is a part of the machinery of life; but both will be conducted upon the principle, practically as well as theoretically admitted, that the great object of human existence is universal happiness ; the great means of happiness, universal virtue ; and the only security for virtue, universal intelligence,
This new era is already commenced in the country which it is our happiness to call our own. Government and people are here one and the same. Here is no hereditary right of power; no aristocratic privilege of birth ; no formation of castes for specific employment; and the option of peace or war, so far as the nation itself has a voice in declaring it, rests with those by whom its burthens must be borne. Above all, the force of public opinion goes with the current of established law. There is indeed nominal classes, and great variety of individual condition, but nothing that perpetuates these relations, which are changing with every wind. They rise and fall
“ Like summer seas that know no storms, but only
The right of possessing and protecting property is secured in the amplest manner by our fundamental laws, and it seems impossible. that the practical right of property, and the theory of equal rights, should be adjusted by a more reasonable standard.
But this right of possessing property, which is at the foundation of all liberal government, and is solemnly secured by the original compact of the people, is itself the foundation of an inequality of condition, inseparable by any human alchymy from the right itself. There is not by the Constitution, nor can there be in practice, any limitation of this right, but the honesty of the means used in its exercise. The superior faculty of one man over another, and the accidents of life, which for good or for ill make sport of all human faculty, render the condition of society in respect to wealth full of variety. One man becomes rich without merit, and another poor without crime. One man has the blessing of Providence on his industry ; another its curses on his laziness.
A desire for the acquisition of property is the spring of human industry. Without property in some way acquired, a man starves, or is a houseless vagabond on the charity of his neighbors.
Labor of some sort is the prescribed means of acquiring it, and hence an assiduous employment of time, in some lawful occupation, is among the most prominent private virtues.
The encouragement of labor implies that its rewards shall be secured, and held to be the evidence of an honorable obedience to the laws of society under which they are obtained.
But what is property, as a reward of labor, but the possession of the means of personal enjoyment; and what is the difference between little and much, but the extent or limitation of those means in the hands of the possessor? All the progressive states of property, as it rises from the means of bare subsistence to comfort, luxury, or the splendor and magnificence of wealth, are but degrees of that power which is, by the institutions of the most theoretically democratic society, conferred on those who possess property in conformity to its laws.
that a man of property has more means than his neighbor, is only to say, in other words, that he is a rich man. To say he thereby enjoys more advantages, is only to say that he uses those means at his pleasure. To complain of this, as an unreasonable inequality, is not merely to censure the institutions of the country, but the course of Providence, and the moral constitution of man. To sound on this variety in condition an hostility between the two classes, always temporary in the individuals composing them, and
constantly changing in their relative numbers, is to pervert the necessary condition of an active and enterprising people, into a cause of anarchy and confusion.
What is termed property, is made such by the force of municipal law, and is therefore held by its possessors under limitations, and according to conditions, which the law,- in our country another name for the general will, — sees fit to prescribe. Hence, with a strong hand but a prudent policy, the law prevents its accumulation by entail, and annihilates the aristocracy of primogeniture by a statute of distributions which is the Magna Charta of Republicanism.
Wealth can never, in this country, constitute a permanent patrician order. The tide of time rolls over it, and its sands are mingled with the dust of earth, to be re-gathered and melted into new ingots by some hardy son of successful labor, himself the founder of a family equally transitory.
The possessors of wealth are unquestionably answerable to their country and to public opinion for the manner in which it is employed. Individual cases of oppression and extortion, no doubt, are to be found, but the days of hoarding avarice are gone by. Wealth must be used to be of any value, and it is therefore mixed in the common mass of the wares and merchandise of commerce and the materials of labor. You find it invested in the mansions that beautify your cities ; in the rich farms that make the country one great garden of fertility ; in the ships which carry your commerce over the globe ;- in your Rail Roads, whose iron arms bind your whole country in one neighborhood of kindred families;- in those countless steam-boats, which cover your mighty rivers and broad lakes ; — in those manufacturing establishments, which give employment to your native population, and keep the sons and daughters of Massachusetts within the influence of the institutions, and enable them to preserve the character and prosperity of the old Bay State; - in those associations which lend capital to industry, or
divide the misfortunes of life; in those more noble institutions of Education and Benevolence, where Charity ministers to the wretchedness of bodily anguish ; and Intelligence pours her exhaustless treasures upon the mind.
It is common to express and to feel an honorable pride in the wealth of the country. Its growing and almost illimitable wealth is the boast of patriotism with all political parties and all public men. In what does this wealth consist? Simply in the prosperity and affluence of the people. The country has no hereditary domain. Its wild lands are worth nothing till they are purchased and paid for by its citizens. Their separate individual possessions constitute the treasury of national wealth.
The wealth of the citizen, it is equally obvious, is at once the source and the reward of labor.
Mere labor like mere gold can do nothing. The hands of man, without tools, would hardly keep him from starving ; and gold, if it could not find hands to employ, would be equally useless. Acting together they produce those magnificent results, which out-run the boldest imagination.
It is the indissoluble copartnership of capital and labor that constitutes the business firm for enterprises of gigantic magnitude. It is the harmonious co-operation of the in-door and out-door partner, that sustains them and proceeds with them to a successful result.
There can be no quarrel between actual capital and honest labor. The head cannot say to the hands, I have no need of thee, nor the hands to the feet, I have no need of thee. The man who has property, and the man who is willing to work for it, easily understand one another, and join hand in hand; but the man who has no property and no disposition to earn any, who lives upon credit with no means and no expectation of repayment, who speculates on the chance, that if he is successful the gain will be his, and if