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this man takes home to his wife about thrice as much as the average of mechanics, what with the loss of time, and loss of money, arising from their drunken habits, so that he may make a liberal weekly deposit in a savings' bank, yet constantly give to the manufacturer twice the custom or employment that other mechanics give on an average.
Is it not clear, that if every mechanic in England acted thus, they would afford to each other twice the employment they now do ? That they would pay for what they bought? That all those they dealt with would be much more enriched by them than they now are ? and, by being so, would give them, in return, more employment, because they would have more money to spend ? Is it not obvious, that they would contribute more to the wealth of every class (with a few exceptions, as the distiller, the pawnbroker, and a few others)? Now some may say this is well, in theory, but the fact is, there is already want of employment for one-sixth at least of the producing power of England :admitted; but do we not here show an adequate cause for it in the self
created poverty of the manufacturers, and the oppression and self-created poverty of the agriculturists? Only imagine, if all were altogether improvident, and did no work; as soon as the present stock of food was gone, we must part first with those things we could best spare, and so on to the rest, until we had nothing; and how could any then give profitable employment to others? There would then be no employment for any, because none would have any thing to work upon; but reverse the case: if all those, whose circumstances required them to work, were industrious
upon all the profitable work they could procure, and economical in applying their resources, they would be REGULARLY drawing on the labours of others; not as now, suspending it continually; and others would REGULARLY draw on their labours, without any suspension either : thus would a really healthy and perpetual demand be produced.
Indeed, if all the working classes acted on this plan, and the farmers paid their men fair wages, is it too much to say, that in less than twelve months there would be abundance of work for every man, woman, and child, whose circumstances required, and whose capacities enabled them to perform it: that by the end of two years, nineteen families out of twenty (excepting the widows and orphans) would have begun to get a few substantial comforts about them, (and that, with the above exception as to widows and orphans, for which peculiarly interesting class, by the by, we could then afford to make a suitable provision) but with their exception, we might reckon on scarcely one family in one hundred seeking parish relief, except in long illness : and a sufficiency of food and work, together with the order, sobriety, and cleanliness they would promote, would greatly reduce ill health also ? At this rate nearly all would, in a few years, save some property; and this constant additional increase of wealth, being chiefly absorbed by the classes that produced it, (although they would not a little contribute by these means to increase that of the rich,) and appropriated economically, would go on rapidly accumulating in cause and effect; so that journeymen mechanics, having had constant employment, and having fully availed themselves of it, and having their industry supported by their wives' economy, might retire from business with a moderate competency at from forty-five to sixty, according to the profitable nature of their work, and their capability on the one hand; and the number of their children, illness, and other drawbacks, on the other: thus retiring from toil, except so far as was needful to their health and amusement, before their strength and constitutions were worn out; and their income being just about suitable to their wants, not overgrown, like the reinvesting capitalist, would spend their income both from necessity and choice : thus employment and comfort would cheer the country from one end to the other, to that degree, that the Augustan age at Rome would be a speck, compared to it. But this points to an
accumulation of wealth by the journeyman mechanic and labourer; and many may say, We cannot see how it is possible; what is their property to consist of?. It is to consist of what they like to buy with it, whether food, raiment, furniture, merchandise, houses, or loans. But some will say, How are they to find these things, to buy to this extent, more than threefold what was ever seen ? Why the very head, and front, and foundation, supposes that industry and care which produces and preserves ; and which would be sufficient, in a very few years, to double the moveable property of the people of England; and who so suitable to have the additional property produced out of additional labour, as those who produced it by their additional labour ? And if England should get so full of inhabitants and property as to need more room, there is plenty, as yet, in her colonies; and if further, the system must continue of making the people support the land, instead of the land supporting the people, by excluding what the people need from other lands, and thus stand in the way of the extent of wealth to which England might otherwise attain, they will only have to move off a little quicker; but it is grievous to think of the degree of selfish