« PreviousContinue »
70 Fourth Report of the Massachusetts Peace Society. [MARCA this age to extend the benefits of occurrences of the last year, which CHRISTIAN EDUCATION to all classes have an auspicious bearing on the of people in every land, must greatly objects of Peace Societies, it would facilitate the diffusion of pacific sen- be pertinent to refer to the luminous timents, and render it more easy to reports and discussions in the naerect a barrier in public opinion tional legislature, on the Seminole against the cruel resort to arms. The war, during the last session of conestablishment of permanent schools gress. Such documents, published among the American Indians, and the and circulated through the country, liberal patronage which has recently must produce salatary reflections, and been given to these institutions by the operate as a check to military ambigovernment of the United States, are tion and the atrocities of war. auspicious occurrences. They afford When, therefore, we contemplate ground of hope, that a humane policy the various and annually increasing will be pursued, by which our nation means which God is employing to will be saved from the guilt and re- illuminate and humanize the minds of proach of exterminating the residue men, it is natural to anticipate a more of these unfortunate tribes. Should rapid extension of the principles of similar schools be also established Peace. Communities as well as indiamong the white people in the vicinity viduals may soon perceive, that robof the Indian settlements, still greater bery, depredation, and the murder of benefits might result. For the savage the innocent, are atrocious crimes, character is not peculiar to red men. whether perpetrated by a prince, or As means for abolishing War, the a pirate, -that multiplying such acts importance of a virtuous and PACIFIC by public authority, or celebrating EDUCATION can hardly be overrated, them as deeds of glory, cannot render too strongly recommended, or too li- them works of benevolence, justice, berally patronized by communities, or mercy,--that wars and fightings and by governments. For in no way between neighbouring states, are as can money be better employed, than in unnecessary and abominable, as bethat of imbuing the minds of the young tween neighbouring families, - that with sentiments of filial obedience to they may be avoided in the former God, and good will to men. By the case as well as in the latter, and by influence of Education, the spirit and similar means. Were the heads of love of War have been rendered neighbouring families, like the rulers powerful and hereditary. But, with of different nations, mutually to exfar less expense and greater safety, pend a great part of their annual inthe children of every country might come in avowed preparations to conbe so educated, as to grow up with an tend with each other,—were they also habitual abhorrence of war, and every to cherish and applaud in their resanguinary custom. Should govern- spective households a spirit of ambiments duly encourage a Christian tion, envy, and revenge-what better education, and the culture of pacific fruits could reasonably be expected, affections, as preparations for peace, than actual hostilities, depredation, these might soon supersede the sup- murder, and woe? On the contrary, posed necessity of preparations for while the heads of these families are
Should proof of this be re- themselves of a kind, pacific temper quired, proofs the most ample may be careful to display towards each found in the well known influence of other a spirit of confidence, benignity, education among the several societies and forbearance, and to cherish this of Christians who regard war, in all spirit in their children and servantsits forms, as at variance with the pre- friendship, peace, and happiness, are cepts of the gospel.
the natural consequences. Were it needful to adduce other When the rulers of different coun
tries shall incorporate these benign Metropolis, on the plan or on the dictates of reason, religion, and expe- ideas suggested by Mr. Owen, we rience, into their several systems of shall from time to time take notice, government, and discontinue their not from a bigoted devotion to our menacing preparations, their sarcas- own preconceived opinions, but as tic reproaches, and their irritating much as possible to give publicity to triumphs ; the most salutary effects a subject of paramount interest, and will result to themselves, to their re- therefore demanding universal exaspective subjects, and to the whole mination. If, as is generally conrace of man. Then it will be seen ceded, there are in the present formthat the wars of this age, in which ation of society very material defects, millions of men have been sacrificed, it is desirable that the public mind were the natural fruits of maxims, should be roused to activity in deveprinciples, and dispositions, which loping their causes and in spiritedly have been derived from pagan an- attempting an efficient remedy. Especestors, and ages of barbarism. Other cially should we rejoice in being the animating facts and considerations humble assistant instruments in hasmight be added, were it consistent tening the period that shall lessen with the proper limits of this Report, the almost indescribable mental deand the time allotted for its communi- gradation and physical suffering of cation. Perhaps however enough has vastly the greater portion of humanity. been exhibited to satisfy reflecting It were something if the now idle and men, that the object of the Society is famishing population of this and other attainable ; and also to furnish ade- countries were enabled to obtain a quate motives for more extended, libe sufficiency of food by mere dint of ral, energetic, and persevering exer- labour; but this we contend is not tions. The time when the nations enough. Man has a right to subsist, shall learn war no more, may indeed and to subsist rationally ; and it is be so remote, that all the present not less the interest than the bounden members of the Society shall, before duty of governments to foster and its arrival, be numbered with their rear their subjects in a state of comdeceased brethren. But some of them parative ease, freedom, and plenty, may live to witness happy fruits of rather than coerce them under the their benevolent exertions, in the humiliating circumstances of sordid amicable adjustment of many national ignorance, surrounded by penury and disputes, and a consequent diminution privations of every kind. Poverty, of the frequency and ferocity of public the deadly aconite to Mind, Liberty,
And all who have cordially and all that pertains to human Hapengaged for the emancipation of our piness, applies in the most odious acrace from the delusions and calamities ceptation of the term to a very large of war, may leave this world with the proportion of the people of these cheering hope, that they have not Isles; and till its influence, with all lived in vain,--that the seed they its deteriorating adjuncts, shall be have sown will yield to future genera- subdued, tardy and protracted will be tions the blessed harvest of PERMá- the fruits of Education, and by conNENT AND UNIVERSAL PEACE.
sequence no less so the effects most anxiously sought by the opposers and
oppugners On the Evils arising from falsely throw out these few remarks, as in
We merely constructed Systems of Society.
troductory to a short extract from [From the “ Economist.”] No. 2, of The Economist, in which it Op the weekly publication in aid of is asserted, and we think with truth, the Society about to be formed in the that the vice, poverty, and wretched
ness, with which the world is at this tended to be subservient, and not patime and for ages past has been de- ramount, to his reason, they serve luged, are attributable to falsely con- merely to introduce him, as it were, structed systems of society.
to particular stages of action, not to
guide him in his course through that "The poverty of nations, and the endless diversity of circumstances decline and fall of states, have been which each individual may encounter. assigned by different writers to va- It is from the influence of these alrious causes.
The object of some of most infinitely various circumstances, these writers has been to vindicate or and the exercise they afford to the condemn certain principles and sys- intellectual powers, particularly to tems of government: that of others observation, comparison, and reflechas been to enforce the superior wis- tion, that mankind begin to make acdom of that domestic polity which cumulations of facts, to obtain a encourages agriculture in preference knowledge of the nature and properto commerce, or commerce in prefer- ties of things, and to acquire what is ence to agriculture. Some have la- termed experience. The use of lanboured to prove that the prosperity guage (whether natural or acquired) and power of nations are always in in the first instance, and the invenproportion to the extent of their civil tions of writing and printing subseand religious freedom; that their de- quently, have enabled mankind to clension has always kept pace with preserve and collect the experience the declension of public liberty; and (which is the knowledge) of remote that their downfall was necessarily regions and distant ages ; and these, consequent upon her overthrow. successively, have necessarily given Others, again, have contended, not a certain degree of inclination, direconly that the ultimate destruction of tion, and force, to the thoughts and states, but the previous loss of free- pursuits of each succeeding generadom itself, is solely attributable to tion. In proportion, then, to the the accumulation of wealth, and to the amount of error, or of truth, in the effeminacy and demoralization which earlier collections of presumed facts, attend the progress of luxury and of must be the degree of error, or of dissolute refinement. But, from the accuracy, in the deductions drawn knowledge of facts, which we now from them, and in the systems of real possess, it will be easily made to ap- or false knowledge, of which they pear, that these supposed causes of form the foundations. decay are in truth effects. They are “ As men are instinctively led to not the source of the disease, but unite in societies, we may rest assursymptoms of its existence. They are ed that, if their associations were not precursors of the fall, but stages maintained on the true principles of in the descent.
their nature, the further
society " It is in a deeper knowledge of advanced in knowledge, and in the "human nature than had been acquir- invention and exercise of mechanical ed by former ages, and from a more productive powers, their increase of accurate and extensive view and happiness would be in proportion to comprehension of the principles which the progress of intellect, and to the determine the circumstances of man- increase in their means of production kind, not only in society, but as indi- and of comfort. In fact, their sense viduals, that we are to seek the seeds of the great advantages which may of all those disorders and revolutions be derived from the combination of to which society has hitherto been their powers, not to a portion of their subject.
members only, but to the whole com"As the instincts of man are in- munity, would become continually stronger and stronger, until, so far which are capable of producing more from the social principle becoming wealth than the world can consume, continually weaker and weaker, self- has not afforded one ounce of addilove would ultimately be lost in uni- tional plenty to the poor. The very versal benevolence.
increase of knowledge and of intel “ If this assumption be correct, lectual elevation, among some classes, and that it is so will appear to any has been accompanied by correspondmind of ordinary capacity, then have ing degradation and debasement to we obtained a secure footing on which others. Even the progress of virtue to proceed in the course of our in- has been accompanied by an inquiries; then have we arrived at the crease of vice; and this country itknowledge of the only solid founda- self presents the appalling spectacle tion on which human society can per- of the rapidly increasing demoralizamanently be constructed; then does tion and misery of one portion of its it follow that there is some grand fun- people, at the very moment that acdamental error, which has fatally tive beneficence and the principles of found its way into every society the universal philanthropy are more than world has hitherto contained, and ever conspicuous amongst another. which alone, and at once, accounts “ It is quite impossible that the for all those counteractions that have state of society, as all societies have rendered the operation of the social hitherto been constituted, should be instinct, as respects the bulk of man- otherwise. The interest of each inkind, abortive.
dividual having been opposed, in “Soon after any community began almost every situation, and under alto emerge from the most simple state most all circumstances, to the interest of society, the consequences of the of other individuals, and to the inteerror began to manifest themselves. rests of society, innumerable counA class of its members, which has teractions, and the positive negation been denominated the lower orders of the principal advantages, and of -a class necessarily doomed to com- much of the most valuable power,
of parative and positive misery and ig- society, is the inevitable and natural norance, was imperceptibly gene- result. The degree and kind of exrated within it. In proportion as na- ertion which are to be given to the tions have become great and power- productive powers of a nation, are ful, and have made advances in never regulated by the real interests wealth and acquirements, the mass of of the whole nation, but by the supmisery, corrupting and rankling at posed interests of individuals. The their base, has also continued pro- landholders regulate the quantity of gressively to be enlarged, until it may their produce, not by the wants of the be truly said, that the foundations of people, but by the amount of pecusociety are laid in wretchedness, and niary advantage which can be derived that there is no addition made to to themselves. While there are hunthe superstructure of luxury and of dreds of thousands of unemployed wealth, without a more than corres- labourers, and myriads of uncultiponding enlargement of the sphere vated acres, the land is suffered to lie of misery-below. The surplus wealth waste, and the pauper labourers concreated by useful inventions and the tinue to be but half fed, because the skilful combinations of labour, has plough must not touch the forbidden never been equitably distributed soil until its cultivation shall be deemThe invention of machinery, to assisted advantageous, not only to-society, or supersede human labour, has but to its possessors, not only to a fanever been the means of abating mishing multitude, but to individuals one hour's labour to the labourer. already in possession of a superThe discovery of productive powers, abundance. The most eminent agri
culturists have repeatedly declared, large, they are not permitted to rescue that the produce from the soil of this themselves from misery and to relieve country can only be made to equal others, because it is not self-evident the consumption by legislative enact- to a certain number of individuals ments, which shall elevate the price (individually considered) that this of the produce to such a standard as happy change in the condition of the shall be advantageous to the pro- many could not be injurious to the ducer, and must be highly injurious few. to the consumer. In other words, that “At present, from the necessary though the interests of the whole misapplication of the powers of sopeople obviously require that the ciety, the natural and rational order supply of food should be as abund- of production is not preserved. One ant and as cheap as possible, the half of the population of England, supposed interests of a portion of for example, have nothing to do with the people demand that the sup- the production of their food and other ply shall be limited and the price principal necessaries. They neither high. It must not be inferred from take any part in such production, this, that the landholders act other. nor have they any controul over it, wise than the existing nature of nor do they in fact so much as know things compels them. The form whether the requisite measures are which society has assumed renders taken for providing them with necesit indispensable that each individual saries. The quantity of necessaries should disregard the interests of the provided for them does not at all dewhole, when his own immediate inte- pend upon the extent of their wants, rests are concerned; and from this but upon
money-price, which on imperative necessity no
an average of years can be obtained escape. If mechanics, manufactu- for the produce. A great number of rers, &c. were to create all the goods the people, meantime, are occupied which the real wants and necessities in the production of articles wbich of society require, the money-price are unnecessary and useless--which of the commodities would sink below minister only to depraved and luxuthe level which, as society is now rious habits—are frivolous and ridiconstituted, is advantageous to the culous in themselves—and have not manufacturer. A million of men may even the merit of elegance or good be destitute of comfortable woollen taste, to console us for the serious apparel; and a single great many evils that arise from the misapplicafacturer may possess the requisite tion of power in their production. machinery and other powers for pro
“ If all the useless and unnecesa ducing the necessary articles with sary articles which are produced, facility; but the quantity of his pro- uniformly commanded a very advanduct is determined, not by the neces, tageous price, the mischief, perhaps, sities of the people, but by the money- would not be so seriously felt-at price which his commodities can least not for a long time-since the command in the market. Though producers of useless articles would society requires the produce, it has be enabled to enhance the market lost the controul over the power of demand for necessaries. Even then, production. Though there are hun- the creation of useless commodities dreds of thousands of wretched hu- would have a limit, beyond which it man beings, capable, not only of could not pass, without the most fatal performing all the processes which consequences--without the extension are necessary for the abundant sup- of poverty and wretchedness, to an ply of their own wants, but of pro- extent, indeed, so intolerable, as not ducing a large amount of surplus only to check the increase of popuwealth for the benefịt of society at lation, but to reduce it. But, as 80