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employment, but of those who cannot obtain constant employment. Half the Irish farmers are poor" (the reader is requested to remember what M. De Beaumont means by Irish poverty) during part of the year; and if we only account agricultural labourers or mechanics who never are in want of employment, the number of occupied poor in Ireland would be reduced to a DE mere cypher. It may, therefore, be asserted, without any danger of mistake, that of the eight millions who live in Ireland, one-half have no occupation, or at least no occupation sufficient to provide them with a main
In this extravagant statement our author adopts the most common form of artifice employed by those who wish to disparage the remedy proposed for any evil. First-exaggerate as much as possible the evil, and then it is likely that the remedy proposed will be obviously inadequate to this exaggeration. Why manufactures cannot be introduced into Ireland which may alleviate, if it be impossible to remove, this distress, he gives some reasons which are worth examining, as they afford a fair specimen of his general style of argument. He admits the advantages that would result from their introduction, but he declares the thing to be imprac ticable. He commences, page 111, with a declamation against the injustice of England in former times on this point :
"Il y avait autrefois en Irlande des industries florissantes; le gouvernment Anglais les a tués, et pour cela il n'a en qu'à les enchainer, car la liberté est l'air vital de l'industrie; il a chargé d'entraves la moitie des travailleurs de l'Irlande, et a interdit ses ports et ceux du monde entier aux produits du travail Irlandais. L'oppression de l'Angleterre sur l'Irlande ne se montre peut être nulle part plus a nu que dans sa politique commerciale."
"Ireland formerly possessed flourishing manufactures; the English government destroyed them; and for that it was only necessary to confine them, for liberty is the vital breath of industry. It loaded with restrictions half the workmen of Ireland, and interdicted the products of Irish industry from the ports of England and from those of the entire world. The oppression of England over Ireland has never, perhaps, been displayed with less disguise than in her commercial policy."
We deny the truth of the above
statement. The commercial policy of England towards Ireland, as well as towards itself, was, doubtless, often injudicious, and occasionally unjust. It proceeded on the exploded doctrine that it was possible, by bounties and restrictions, to guide trade into a direction more advantageous to the community than it would freely take; and the regulations made from time to time on this vain hypothesis must have had a temporary injurious effect; but we totally deny that they were the chief cause of the failure of Irish manufactures in former times, or that they have been, in any degree worth consideration, the cause of the present low state of such industry in this country. On the contrary, we find in every old tract on Irish affairs which is not a mere declamation against the English, that the failure of the Irish in particular branches of industry, is attributed to the dishonesty of the Irish chants, or the combinations of the Irish workmen. Even in the Drapier's Letters, written by Dean Swift against the English government, he complains of that dishonesty of our merchants, as having deprived us of the linen trade with Spain, among other sources of profit which we lost from the same cause; and Dr. Doyle (the wellknown J. K. L.) mentions an instance of a valuable woollen trade destroyed by the combinations of our workmen.
M. De Beaumont is perfectly conscious that his invectives against the former policy of England, in this respect, although they aid the general object of his work, are injurious to his immediate argument. They naturally suggest this argument, that, since the absence of manufacturing industry in Ireland, has been caused by the re strictive and oppressive commercial when those oppressions have ceased, policy of England in times past, now
and those restrictions have been removed, according to the admissions of M. De Beaumont himself, we may reasonably hope that manufactures will speedily spring up and prosper in Ire land. Manufactures, indeed, cannot exist without capital, but of this, there is an abundance in England, unable to find any profitable investment, and the capitalist who comes over to Ireland, and employs the cheap Irish labour, will, in the general market of the world, compete at greater advantage with him who, remaining in England, is obliged to pay much higher wages to his workmen. M. De Beaumont
endeavours thus to meet this argument, p. 115.
"Or' en Irlande les capitaux manquent absolument et pourquois? Parce que ce pays à eté long temps sujet aux persecutions d'un gouvernment arbitraire, et que les capitaux ne se montrent que sous les auspices du droit, et des garanties; parce que ce pays, possesseur anjourd' hui de libertés considerables, en même temps qu'il est resté soumis a des institutions radicalement vicieuses, se sert des unes pour repousser les autres, et est tenu, par cette lutte inevitable, dans un etat constant d' agitation. Or, voyez la difficulté ; l'absence de toute industrie ajoute aux miseres, et a agitation du pays. Pour developper l' industrie en Irlande il faudrait des capitaux; mais les capitaux fuient l'agitation; les capitaux eloig nant, la misere augmente. Cet accroissement de misère multiplie les chances de trouble et de desordre, et rend les capitaux encore plus rares. Une fois engage dans ce cercle vicieux, on n' en saurait
"But in Ireland, there is a total absence of capital, and why? Because this country has been, for a long period of time, subject to the persecutions of an arbitrary government, and capital never appears, unless under the auspices of justice and security: because this country, now in possession of considerable liberty, at the same time that some of its institutions are radically faulty, is making use of the one to remove the other; and by this inevitable struggle, is kept in a constant state of agitation. Now, observe the difficulty the absence of all industry adds to the distress and the agitation of the country. In order to develope industry in Ireland, capital is required, but capital flies from agitation, and as capital departs, distress increases. This increase of distress multiplies the chances of trouble and disorder, and renders capital still more scarce. Once engaged in this vicious circle, it is impossible to get
out of it."
We must digress a moment, to make a few remarks on the above passage, in which the author admits that the Irish at present enjoy a considerable share of liberty-that they abuse this liberty to the purposes of political agitation, in order to alter the constitution of the country that they carry this agitation ou with such violence and outrage as to banish capital from the land, (for without violence and outrage capital would not flee)-and that this departure of capital enhances the wretchedness of Ireland.
The conclusion we should draw from this would be, that the first remedy for Irish misery must be sought in the suppression of this mischievous agitation-that it is the duty of the government to discountenance the agitator, and that the laws for the protection of life and property should be adminis tered with impartial rigour. who are inclined to agitate the country, in order to procure the redress of some imaginary grievance, should be looked upon as public enemies, and the people should be taught the folly of taking part in proceedings which, by driving away capital, deprives them of employment, and thus inflicts a greater evil than any alteration in the constitution could compensate. Agitation is the pursuit of an uncertain good by means which entail certain wretchedness on the country. To prevent the reader from arriving at this conclusion, M. De Beaumont assumes that it is certain that the constitution is radically vicious, which is just assuming the thing he wants to prove.
Every man who admits that the constitution is radically vicious, must in consistency admit that it ought to be reformed without delay. By using in its proper place the adjective "inevitable," he endeavours to disguise his second assumption, that it is impossible to check this agitation, and that those who engage in it are not responsible for the mischief which they do. This latter assumption, indeed, pervades the entire of his essay. His theory would altogether fall to the ground, if it were considered possible that reason, conscience, or religion could induce the Irish to obey the laws of God, when they concur with the laws of their country. The "vicious circle" which he unfolds with such apparent complacency, is merely an attempt to reason with accuracy on his inaccurate and exaggerated statements. His propositions are:-In Ireland there is no capital; while disturbance exists, no capital will enter :-the disturbances will not cease while the country remains in its present state of poverty :until capital is brought into Ireland, nothing can be done to alleviate its poverty. If these propositions were all rigorously true, there would, indeed, be what M. De Beaumont calls a vicious circle. But they are not true to that extent. The true propositions, of which they are the exaggerations, are, that although there is some capital in Ireland, there is not sufficient to pro
vide profitable employment for all its inhabitants. That the disturbances caused by political agitation discourage the introduction of British capital. The poverty of the country contributes to its disturbance, and that poverty is in part caused by the deficiency of capital. So far from these propositions constituting a vicious circle, they show those grievances which may be separately redressed-namely, want of capital, want of quiet, and want of employment; at the same time that they are so connected that whatever is done to diminish one evil, tends at the same time to diminish the rest; and thus after the completion of the circle, to make a further addition to the good originally done. If we were asked on what part of the circle the commencement should be made, we should answer, the suppression or discouragement of political agitation, for it is on this point that a judicious government can operate with most effect.
But independent of political agitatation, M. De Beaumont notices another cause which has perhaps still greater influence in preventing the introduction of British capital-namely, the combinations of workmen in every branch of trade-Vol. 2, p. 16 :
"Mais il faut aussi reconnaitre que l'Irlandais, aussi longtemps qu'il demeurt en Irlande, a de certains vices qui tiennent non à sa nature, mais au pays, et qui font de lui un mauvais ouvrier. Accoutumé en Irlande à subir toutes les oppressions, il a, quand il travaille, une idée fixéec'est que celui qui l'emploie ne lui donnera aucun salaire, ou lui en paiera un moindre que celui auquel il pourrait justement pretendre. Aussi qu'arrive-t-il quand une manufacture s'etablit en Irlande? A peine les ouvriers, qui, dans le premier moment ont consenti a travailler pour de faibles gages, sont ils maitres du terrain, qu'ils se coalisent aussitôt pour obtenir un salaire plus élevé, et appliquant à l'industrie les procédés des Whiteboys, ils fixent arbitrairement le prix de la journée de travail, portent des peines terribles contre le maitre qui paierait un salaire moindre, et contre l'ouvrier qui consentirait à le recevoir; et ce code barbare ne contient pas de vaines menaces. Le châtiment a coutume de suivre de près l'infraction; et naguère encore Dublin etait le theatre d'affreux assassinats, commis sur des pauvres ouvriers, dont tout le crime etait d'avoir travaillés pour un prix inferieur au taux fixé par la coalition. Infortunés qui sont frappês de mort pour s'être contentés d'un modique salaire, te qui, s'ils en eussent demandés
un plus élevé, seraient morts faute de travail. Et quel est l'infaillible effet de ces violences ? Si le manufacturier les subit, il se ruine; s'il resiste, les ouvriers refusent de travailler. Dans les deux hypotheses, l'enterprise industrielle echoue ; et l'ouvrier qui se plaignait, non sans quelque raison peut-être, de tirer de son travail un trop faible salaire, n'a plus ni salaire ni travail."
"But it must also be confessed that the
Irishman, as long as he remains in Ireland, has certain faults attributable to the coun
try not to his nature, which make him a bad workman. Accustomed in Ireland to suffer all sorts of oppression, he has, when he works, a fixed idea that his em
ployer will not give him any wages, or will pay him less than he is fairly entitled to. Hence what follows when a manufacture is established in Ireland. Scarcely have the workmen, who at first have consented to work for low wages, been fixed in their places, when they combine to obtain higher wages, and, applying the Whiteboy system to manufacturing industry, they fix at an arbitrary rate the price of a day's labour, and denounce dreadful punishment against the master who pays, and against the workman who consents, to accept a smaller vain threats, punishment usually follows sum; and this barbarous code contains no closely on disobedience; and lately even committed on poor workmen, whose only Dublin was the scene of frightful murders lower than the rate fixed by the combinacrime was the having worked for wages tion. Unhappy wretches who are conwith moderate wages, and who, if they had demned to death for having been content demanded a higher rate would have perished for want of employment. what is the infallible consequence of those outrages? If the manufacturer subunits, to work. he is ruined; if he resists, his men refuse
In either hypothesis the manufacturer's speculation fails, and the workman who complained, not perhaps without. some reason, that he derived from his either salary or employment." labour too small a salary, has no longer
And yet M. De Beaumont mentions this cruel, senseless, unjustifiable conduct for the purpose of excusing it; and his excuse is, of course, to be found in the cuckoo-note with which he accounts for every thing, namely, the habitual oppression of Ireland by England-of the Roman Catholics by the Protestants. "Accoutume en Irelande a subir toutes les oppressions." Hence he says that the Irish are good work. men in the English manufactories, because they have more confidence when
they find that in England the rights of the workmen are as much respected as those of his employer, "qu'en Angleterre les droits de l'ouvrier sont aussi sacres que ceux du maitre." For the same reason he states that manufactures succeed better in the north of Ireland, because there the working classes are chiefly Protestants, and therefore have not been accustomed to suffer oppression. But will any man believe that the workmen who combine, and by menaces force their employers to accede to their unreasonable demand, or to abandon his trade, are influenced by any serious fear of oppression? Are not the employers as well as the workmen generally Roman Catholics, in the south and west of Ireland, and are not the workmen on his own showing, the oppressors, not the oppressed? If liberty is the vital breath of trade, no parliament ever imposed such destructive restrictions as those regulations made by ignorant and reckless men, who interpose between the capitalist and the labourer, and prevent the latter, under pain of death, from accepting the wages which the former can afford to give. He concludes, "that to render possible the develop ment of Irish industry, the commencement must be made by destroying the causes which paralyse it, but these causes are known, they are the anarchy of the country, and the spirit which animates the labouring classes."
In this we fully agree with him, but he assumes without reason that the institutions of the country must be altered by the introduction of democracy, before those injurious causes can be restrained. On the contrary, we are fully convinced that a due attention paid to the education of the people, and a vigorous execution of the laws, would effectually quiet the disturbances and suppress those combinations. M. De Beaumont all through his work assumes these two propositions. First, that if a man disapproves of any law or institution of his country, he has a right, which he will inevitably exercise, to break all laws human and divine, until the change which he desires has been made; and, secondly, that de. mocracy is the only form of government that is worthy or capable of obtaining general approbation. The entire work is occupied with the endeavour to draw conclusions from those principles, and yet to disguise the principles themselves by enveloping them in a mass of words. The propositions
themselves are never openly stated, but are either assumed by the course of the argument, or by the use of some word or phrase which would otherwise not be applicable. Those two propo sitions are the key to the work; concede them, and his conclusions follow so easily that his other arguments are rather an interruption to the progress of his reasoning; deny them, and nothing will be found more inconsequential than his arguments. The Irish operatives are reduced to the depths of poverty, and cannot get employment, because combination and anarchy deter the capitalist from establishing his manufactures here: cannot education, religion, common sense, or humanity induce the workmen to abandon those senseless, those cruel combinations, which deprive the poor of all profitable employment, and impel him to violate the laws of his God and his country by murdering his brother workman for no offence but accepting those wages without which he should have starved? If they can be prevailed on to adopt habits of order and industry, they may still be prosperons, rich, and happy under the present constitution. Without those habits their wretchedness will never cease. The excuse alleged for those combinations is false, and, even if it were true, is insufficient. M. De Beaumont says that the Irish workman is accustomed to suffer every species of oppression. This he has failed to show, and we deny the fact altogether. We assert that the Irish workman suffers no oppression except from the combinations of his fellow-workmen. From his master he can experience no injustice. He has the same legal rights, and the same means of enforcing them here as in England, and the laws in his favour are administered with an equally just and kindly spirit towards the poor. A master unjust or oppres sive towards his workmen could not face the public indignation which his conduct would raise against him. The only complaint alleged is that wages are too low, and every person of common sense admits that this complaint is absurd, and that if the evil existed it could not be remedied by combination. No one except M. De Beaumont supposes that the rate of wages is regulated by the degree of sympathy or friendship which exists between the manufacturer and his workmen. If this influence prevailed, there would be no difference between the rate of wages in different trades. If Irish
wages were for a time too low, one of two things should happen-either the price of Irish manufactures should fall so low as to drive English and foreign goods from the market, or else the profits of the master manufacturer, of the capitalist, would rise beyond its due proportion, and this would attract more capital from England into the Irish trade, and the competition of the capitalists would quickly raise the wages of Irish workmen to their fair level. This will certainly be seen if peace be ever restored, and the law enforced in Ireland. The cheapness of labour here will attract the capitalist, no longer deterred by any feeling of insecurity; and wherever any number of unemployed labourers are found, a manufacture will spring up, at once to create a fortune for the capitalist and a remunerating employment for the poor. The next project which M. De Beaumont suggests, in order to oppose it, or to demonstrate its futility, is to seek for relief of Irish destitution by emigration this he states to be the favourite scheme both in parliament and among the most esteemed political economists. Vol. ii. p. 121
"De tous les systemes qui depuis vingt années, ont ete proposes pour le salut de l'Irlande, il n'en est peut être pas un seul qui ait en Angletrre plus de faveur que celui d'une emigration pratiquée sur une grande échelle.
Cette theorie s'appuie de l'autorité des economistes les plus distingués, elle a plusieurs fois reçu la sanction du parle ment lui meme, et beaucoup croiraient incurable les plaies de l'Irlande si l'emigration ne devait les guerir."
"Of all the systems which for twenty years have been proposed for the benefit of Ireland, there is not, perhaps, one which in England is in higher repute than that of emigration practised on a great scale.
"This theory is supported by the authority of the most distinguished politica! economists; it has several times received the sanction of parliament; and many would think the ills of Ireland irremediable, if émigration was not to be their
potatoes, should venture to eat a morsel of bread, the landlord would see in this change an improvement in their condition, which would encourage him to raise their rents. In order to pay this increased rent, the poor farmer must return to his former abstemious regimen.
If he delays he will be quickly ejected from his farm, and reduced to the same state of misery as heretofore. Thus, even after several millions of Irishmen have removed from Ireland, the condition of those who remain will not be in the least respect altered. The above is an abridgement, and, indeed, is almost a literal translation of our author's argument against emigration. It would not be difficult to find many examples of equally bad reasoning in his two volumes; but perhaps it would be impossible, in the works of any author, to find any thing so obviously inconclusive, and, at the same time, meant for serious argument. In this passage he assumes what is notoriously false, that the rent of land depends entirely upon the will of the landlord, and that the competition of tenants has nothing to do with the matter. This doctrine is equally mischievous and false. It is mischievous and irritating to represent the landlord as measuring out the degree of comfort which he will permit the tenant to enjoy. It is setting the rich and the poor at war, by directly ascribing the avarice of the former. It is false, for of the latter to the unfeeling poverty nothing has been proved more clearly than that land, like every thing else, has its value, which does not depend upon the mere will of the owner. venture to assert that if the hardDe Beaumont himself would scarcely hearted Protestant landlords went to
America, they could extort from their tenantry there the same rents which they receive here for land of equal quality.
We may remark that 'M. De Beaumont, in other places of his work, appears to be conscious of the falsehood and absurdity of this doctrine. Thus, in vol. i. p. 232.
"Que le nombre des farmiers etant de beaucoup superieur au nombre des farmes la concurrence accroit outre mesure le taux des fermages."
"That the number of farmers being much greater than the number of farms, the competition increases beyond measure the rent of farms."
Again, in page 233 :
"La concurrence des cultivateurs qui se disputent la terre eleve peut etre plus