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reason for entertaining such a hope, if no such instances had occurred; or that we should not have had reason to despair, if four such experiments had been made, and if they had all failed. They afford us again ground for believing, that there is a peculiar softness, and plasticity, and pliability in the African character. This softness may be collected almost every where from the Travels of Mr. Mungo Park, and has been noticed by other writers, who have contrasted it with the unbending ferocity of the North American Indians and other tribes. But if this be a feature in the African character, we may account for the uniformity of the conduct of those Africans, who were liberated on the several occasions above mentioned, or for their yielding so uniformly to the impressions, which had been given them by their superiors, after they had been made free; and, if this be so, why should not our colonial slaves, if emancipated, conduct themselves in the same manner? Besides, we are not sure whether the good conduct of the liberated in these cases was not to be attributed in part to a sense of interest, when they came to know, that their condition was to be improved. Selfinterest is a leading principle with all who are born into the world; and why is the Negro slave in our colonies to be shut out froni this common feeling of our nature?-why is he to rise against his master, when he is informed that his condition is to be bettered? Did not the planters, as we have before related, declare in the House of Commons in the year 1816, that their Negroes had then imbibed the idea that they were to be made free, and that they were extremely restless on that account? But what was the cause of all this restlessness? Why, undoubtedly the thought of their emancipation was so interesting, or rather a matter of such exceedingly great joy to them, that they could not help thinking and talking of it. And would not this be the case with our Negroes at this moment, if such a prospect were to be set before them? But if they would be overjoyed at this prospect, is it likely they would cut the throats of those, who should attempt to realize it? would they not, on the other hand, be disposed to conduct themselves equally well as the other African slaves before mentioned, when they came to know, that they were immediately to be prepared for the reception of this great blessing, the first guarantee of which would be an immediate and living experience of better laws and better treatment?
(To be continued.)
VOL. II. NO. III.
ART. II. The Colony of Fredericks-oord-an Experiment for relieving the Poor by the Cultivation of Waste Lands*.
BENEVOLENT Society was instituted at the Hague in the year 1818, with the view of providing for the subsistence of the poor by their own labour; and of creating, for that purpose, effective and economical resources.
We shall preface our account of the labours of this society by a statement of the principles on which it was established. With every people, labour is limited by the quantity of food which can be disposed of. The truth of this principle may be thus confirmed. Land actually in cultivation requires only a definite number of hands. If the number of persons, of which a nation consists, exceed that which agriculture demands, the excess of population can find the means of subsistence only by the production of such articles as will tempt the agricultural class to give in exchange for them the surplus of their own consumption.
But as the portion, which may for this purpose remain disposable, is circumscribed by the extent of the lands appropriated to agriculture, by the fertility of the soil, and by the system of cultivation, it is evident, that the other branches of industry can only furnish the means of support for a definite number of individualsfor so many, that is, as the surplus of the harvests can subsist. If the wants of a society surpass this measure, a part of its population is necessarily reduced to indigence; that is, it is no longer in a state to gain by its labour the means of subsistence. And such is unhappily the state of the greater part of European nations, as the following facts will sufficiently prove.
All the provisions, which the soil of Europe produces, are consumed. There is no country so fertile, that any part of its alimentary produce can remain unappropriated, and become superfluous. As land does not produce gratuitously, the cultivator would have no interest in plucking from its bosom, what is to cost him constant toil, without compensation. That part of the produce which the cultivator himself consumes not, finds other consumers; and, as it is an unquestionable fact, that many human beings, in the actual state of things, cannot procure sufficient food, it is clear, that either some consume beyond what is necessary, or else, that the whole of the food which the land produces, falls short of the whole wants of the people by which it is inhabited. But both
these cases exist.
It is unquestionable, that if the rich, and such as are in easy
* Vide a statement published by Major-gen. Van den Bosch, the superintendant of the colony.
circumstances, retrenched their luxuries; if they were content with more substantial and less expensive food; if they sacrificed a part of the enjoyments with which they studiously surround themselves, the same quantity of land now consecrated to their use, would no longer be necessary for them.
If we consider how many fields are withdrawn from the cultivation of human food, to subsist horses kept for pleasure, to raise colouring substances (which are not articles of the first necessity), to convert them into gardens, and groves and walks, to procure the means of indulging the sense and gratifying the taste, we shall soon be convinced that a large portion of valuable soil serves solely for factitious wants, and that the poorest class of the human race employs more of it than is necessary to secure its subsistence.
But as it is essential to the order of society, that every one should use, at his pleasure, what he has legally acquired, this superabundant consumption of some cannot be limited in favour of others, without utterly subverting the edifice of society, and violating those rights, the preservation of which is the very object of the assemblage of men in political communities.
With respect to others among us, there are unhappily a very considerable number who do not find the means of comfortable subsistence, after opulence has provided for its wants, and satisfied its desires; for, if there were enough for all, each must find his share, or some portion must remain unappropriated.
The first of these suppositions is contradicted by the obvious fact; and the second is inadmissible, because, as has already been observed, there would be an absurdity in the employment of time and labour, for the production of what could be subservient neither to the wants nor the pleasures of life.
There is no remedy against the misery which overwhelms one portion of the human race, but in the two following measures-to augment the quantity of food, and to secure the augmented subsistence to the support of the indigent class.
In admitting the possibility of augmenting by encouragement, by the extension and improvement of agriculture, the fruits of the earth, till they were equal to the real wants of all animated beings, still it would not follow, that those who are now in want of the necessaries of life, would find the means of comfortable subsistence. For it is possible, it is even probable, that some of the richer orders, availing themselves of the advantages of their position, would hasten to anticipate the indigent class, and outstrip it, in order to get possession of this new wealth.
The prosperity of one class of society would without doubt be a gainer by such an amelioration in the state of things: in one point of view, whatever tends to realise such an amelioration is certainly a
matter of high importance. It is the direct means of advancing art and science, and to a certain point, of diffusing an increase of accommodation over the whole of society. But it is not by such an amelioration, that we can hope to pluck a nation from the deep misery, into which a great number of its members are plunged.
Let us only turn our eyes upon North America. Nature there presents in sufficiency, and even in abundance, all that is requisite for the acquirement of necessaries, by means of labour. There exist immense tracts, which, when rendered productive, might furnish food for ten times, and more, the actual population of those vast countries; and, nevertheless, a multitude of paupers are scattered over the soil. Is this matter of astonishment? Alas! there are every where unhappy persons, who either through want of industry, or the consequences of former prodigality, or profusion, or debauchery, or other less blameable causes, sink into a state of destitution, which leaves them neither vigour nor courage enough to recover or escape. Bereft of all moral energy, they abandon themselves to public charity; and calculating on gratuitous assistance, prefer their misery to labour. Freed from many of the obligations, to which the other members of society must submit, the indigent of every country resign themselves too readily to drag on a degraded existence, in which, however, irregular enjoyments (the fruit of injudicious liberality) compensate occasionally the most painful privations. Their children grow up in idleness and profligacy; and thus a race of Pariahs every where springs up, propagates, and becomes at once a burden and a source of danger to society.
It is of importance, then, not only to assign the means of subsistence to those who are without them, and prevent others from invading them; but also, in some measure, to force the indigent to improve these means by well-regulated labour, to use them with reserve and foresight, and thus re-enter honourably into that society, of which they are now the shame and the scourge.
To this subject we shall have occasion again to recur. have first to show more distinctly, how strongly the plan we have just described, ought to fix the attention of governments and of the friends of humanity.
Since machinery has been introduced and multiplied in our manufactories, manual labour must of necessity have diminished in value. At least triple the sale of an article is now necessary, to furnish subsistence for the same number of workmen which it subsisted before. Every consumer employs in his consumption now a more considerable portion of raw material, and a less value of manual labour than before.
Now this raw material being, for the most part, agricultural
production, the progress of agriculture left to its natural course must improve the condition of the farmer, and enable him to consume more manufactures of every kind.
But the labouring class of society would not by this gain any thing like the amount of what it has lost, by the introduction of machinery into the workshops of the manufacturer. For again we repeat, the manufactures which issue from them contain now a much greater value in the raw produce, and much less in manual labour, than before. We must therefore set about creating new resources, and directing those which agriculture places at our disposal, in such a manner that not only the indigent, who existed before the invention of machinery, may find in them the means of subsistence, but also that the multitude of hands which, since that epoch, has been thrown out of employment, may be replaced in a state of productive activity.
To cast a little more light on the solidity of our reasoning, let it be supposed, that a machine has been invented, by means of which the cultivator can himself give to the raw produce of his own industry, the form and quality, which his occasions require. The cultivator might thus subsist in society alone by his own labour. The only effect of any amelioration in the state of agriculture, would be in the increased consumption of the cultivator. For the machine, which he would have at his disposal, applied to the products of rural industry, would place him in an independence, nearly complete, of all foreign assistance, for the procurement of whatever was necessary for his accommodation.
Now the number of men, who can find the means of subsistence in any other branch of industry than agriculture, must become less in proportion as the want of hands, when armed with machinery, diminishes. For the cultivator will always himself consume a greater share of raw produce in proportion to the smaller sum, which he will require to get it worked up, and fitted for his own purposes; and thus the number of those, who can subsist by any labour independent of agriculture, would be annihilated the very moment there existed machinery, which the farmer could employ at his pleasure, in transmuting the produce of the earth at once into a manufactured state.
If agriculture, in its turn, demanded a greater uinber of hands, in proportion to the improvements and augmentation u which it is susceptible, there would be a compensation; but this is not the case. Improvements of this kind are effected in a great measure by the employment of horses, instruments, mechanical means, so that the resources of those, who must labour for subsistence, are not materially multiplied.
The improvement of agriculture, abstractedly considered, is