Thomas Skidmore, The Rights of Man to Property, 1829.


In support of a General Division of property, and of the means pointed out for effecting it; continued.

There is no opinion more erroneous, nor perhaps more generally entertained, than that if you destroy the power of making wills and of course of making disposition of estates as to the future, you thereby destroy all incentive to exertion, or industry. It would be like gathering the wheat from the field, it is said, of the farmer who has raised it, and leaving only the stubble. This opinion deserves to be deeply investigated; and when it is, I apprehend it will be found full of errors. When put in proper language, it says, that a man works for his posterity and not for himself. Let us see how this is. I can speak for myself and others can judge, from their own bosoms, how far my feelings coincide with their own. I like property because it gives me a house in which I am protected from the heat of summer, and the cold of winter, and the storms of both; where I can receive my friends and accommodate my family. [On the principles which this Work advocates, however, these will have their rights guaranteed to them as well as others.] I like it, because it covers my floors with carpets; [222] gives me looking-glasses and side-boards: became it furnishes me with chairs and tables; books and maps and papers. I like it because it furnishes me with clothing, and with food; and provides me with the means of prosecuting distant journies on pleasure or business; and guarantees my return; because it furnishes the paper I write on, and will provide for the means of publishing this Work to the world. These, and a thousand other reasons, all pointing to my own personal gratification, are those that form my attachment to property; and I can truly say that if I can see, as it regards the future, that all those who are to succeed me will have the means to make their own condition better, than I can make it for them, that I have and ought to have, no wish to interfere, in any arrangement or disposition which they may wish to make. It is evident, therefore, that I like property for its own sake; for the coals it places in my grate; for the roast beef it puts upon my table; for the medicine and comfort it gives me when I am sick; for the carriage it gives me when I do not feel disposed to walk; and for the means it affords in a thousand different ways of giving me pleasure, comfort and happiness, without so much as a thought entering my mind, that I entertain this attachment to property, for the benefit of another.

If then, there is, as there evidently is, such an innumerable multitude of causes of attachment to property, for its own sake, and causes which must not only exist as long as man shall exist, but which will continue to increase as artificial wants increase; there can be no danger of a proper want of incentive to industry. Besides, when we hear men saying that they are gathering wealth, purely for the love they bear to their children, are we sure they do not deceive themselves? Are we sure they do not mistake, the love of property, for their own sake, for the love of it, for [223] their children's sake? How does it happen so often, that parents retain possession of their property, till very late periods of their lives and indeed almost always, until they have ceased to be? Surely if we suppose there really is, as much attachment to property, among parents, for their children's sake, as is now pretended, we should oftener than we do, be witnesses of such parents giving to their children a full and sufficient patrimony, at their first setting out in life, when, if ever they are to have it, it is capable of doing them most good. As it is now, nothing is more common than for a man of fortune to die at the age of eighty; and, then, for the first time, to give to his children, the property he has acquired. The oldest of these, in some cases, may then be sixty or near it; and may have raised a family, the youngest of whom may also have a family. Of what use is a descent of property in this way, at all, if a better system can be devised? Surely the tenacity with which men cling to property; a tenacity which nothing but death itself can conquer, can have but little claim to be considered as evidence of any thing but the owner's attachment to it, for its own sake, and for his own use!

But if all these reflections do not carry conviction, what shall be said, when we see, as we do every day, men eagerly pursuing the acquisition of wealth, who never have had children, and never expect to have? The attachment they have to it, is not less certainly, than that of any, other description of people among us. Is it to be said, then, there is not in the constitution of things, in man's nature, and the circumstances with which he is surrounded, enough to stimulate his industry to the proper degree of activity?

But let us proceed a step further. It is still insisted, that this attachment to property is, so intense, in all cases, not so much because its possessor may desire to give it [224] particularly to children, but because he may say who the future owner shall be. I have already shown, as I think, that the true cause of this attachment is to be found in the individual man himself, in the adaptation of property to the gratification of his own wants, and is due to no other source. But, by way of illustration, I might show, that it is likewise true, that if I were a traveller (and obliged to be so from stern necessity) in some foreign country, and knew, that in some period of my travels, I knew not when, I should be attacked by robbers and ordered to dispossess myself, of all my treasures, with the permission however, of saying to whom they might belong thence forward forever, that, here, I should stand, precisely in the situation of a man who is acquiring property, knowing that he is yet to die, at some uncertain and unknown period. The mere circumstance, of my having permission to say to whom these treasures shall belong, when the time arrives for me to surrender them up, would not, of itself, be a sufficient inducement to amass these treasures; if I did amass them, there must have been some other motive, Thus, why should I toil for years and years; to obtain these treasures, when all that I have to do, is, not to amass them; but to meet the robbers without any. Thus is it the case with the dying man. If he has amassed treasures, during his life-time, he has done it, not for the purpose of having it in his power to say who shall have them when he must give them up, when death approaches him as the supposed robber does me, and orders him to surrender all; first naming his legatees; but, because they were valuable to him in his life-time; because the period of his death was uncertain; because he had fears of being dispossessed, in whole or in part, by incidents over which he might have no control, before he should die; and because all these circumstances created a habit of being [225] tenacious of property, which time rendered more inveterate and confirmed. If any thing further, were wanting to shew the singleness of purpose, with which the acquisition of property is pursued, it may be found in the fact, that many persons, towards the close of life, are known, greatly to hesitate in their choice of heirs; particularly those who have no children, and who, therefore, find it difficult to please themselves, in their selection.

It is to be said for the honor of human nature, that there are abundance of instances, in which parents nave given to their offspring, as well at to others, property with which to commence their career in life; if it had not been so, the dark side of the human character, would have been darker yet. That such parents have had their cares augmented by the wish to bestow something on their children in the morning of their lives, is no doubt true; but, it is not equally true, that had some other person, the State, for example, made the same provision for them, that they were able to make, that their industry, would have been less. Their cares and anxieties, for their own welfare, no doubt would have been; but their industry would have received a fresh impetus, by the increase of power they would have felt, to have, added to their enjoyments, by new gratifications. It is not to be expected then; it is not in the nature of things, that man shall cease to have a love, a very strong love of property. That it is possible to be carried to excess is certainly true; and the proof is, that men, in order to possess themselves of it, are guilty, in the present state of things, of the greatest crimes and enormities, although those who are guilty of them, are often already in the possession of great quantities of it; and would therefore, seem to have very little to offer in palliation of their conduct.

But let us grant, for a moment, that a dying man, has [226] obtained.the property he has bequeathed to some successor, solely, or even chiefly for the benefit of him who receives it. What is the bequest intended to accomplish? Treasures, it may be, have been lavished upon the successor in question; yet it is possible, that he may receive them all, and have them subject to any disposition he may order; and still, not derive from them the benefits which the legator and legatee both may have expected. Suppose the legacy to consist, of houses in cities, lands in the country, fitted and prepared for cultivation, and money. Strike now, out of existence, all the poor men, all those who labor, and by their labor support the human race; and then let me ask, where is the value of the legacy? Where would be Lorillard's hundreds of houses? Without men, and poor men, too, to come and occupy them, (for rich men have their own houses), where would be the rents, that he now draws from them? Of what use would the farms be, with no one to hire them, and pay the hire required for their use? Where would be found borrowers to pay interest on the money? The truth is, when Lorillard shall die, and leave a legatee with his vast possessions; at the same time that he shall will away, his houses, and his lands, his money, his snuff and his tobacco; [It is proper to say to those who may not know it; that this gentleman is a large and respectable tobacconist, in this city.] he will will away, also, hundreds and thousands of poor men along with them, to make them valuable to his successor; otherwise they will not be valuable in the way in which they are intended to be; for they are intended to enable their possessor to live on the labor of others; and those others, of course, must be those who have little or no property. Let the poor man look at this operation of things; let him understand, that every generation of proprietors, wills away [227] every generation of the poor, like so many cattle; and that under the existing order of things, there is no more possibility of avoiding this sale, or rather transfer of their bodies, as it truly is, than there is for the slave at the South, to escape being sold on the plantation of his master, if he shall so order!

But if the transfer of property to successors, by way of will as it evidently is, is attended with such effects; how glaringly erroneous will appear the common and prevailing idea, that parents employ their industry for the future support of their children? If, indeed, it could be said, with truth, that any parent, provides for his children, for example, as many breakfasts, dinners, and suppers, as they may need during their lives; if such parent provides for them, as many hats, shoes, and other garments, as they may require; if he supplies them with houses, furniture, fuel, and every thing else, that their animal and intellectual wants may demand; and all these out of his own personal labors; then, it might truly be said, that he had supplied the future necessities of his children. But, if he has not done this; if he has only left behind him an estate, (and left it, certainly, for the same reason that a traveller leaves the road behind him, because he cannot take it with him), then he has not supplied the future wants of his children. They must, either work for themselves, and supply their own wants, out of their own labor; or the poor who live at the same period with them, must do it for them. If the estate is large, the children who inherit, do not labor for themselves; they compel the poor, who exist at the time, and in their vicinity, to support them, while they themselves do nothing. When men therefore, say they seek to supply the wants, the future wants of their children, they deceive themselves. All the fathers of any generation, under the present order of things, may be [228] considered as engaged in a struggle, not to supply the wants, the future wants, each of his own children, out of the labor of such parents; but to compel the children of some of these fathers, (and it happens to be a great majority of them), to labor for and supply the wants of the others, while these last riot in idleness and luxury. Let me repeat, then: it is not the rich father, that supplies his children's wants; it is not the children themselves, who supply their own wants; but it is the poor children of other fathers around them who do it; it is none else; and they do it for the single reason, that they are deprived of their just and equal share of property. It follows, of course, from these remarks, that the parental feeling, by which many parents attempt to justify and even commend themselves for providing property for their children, as the system now is, is far from being amiable or laudable; on the contrary, that it is culpable and criminal, and rather resembles the propensity of those birds of prey, who feed their young upon the young of other birds, whom they are able to make victims, than any thing which the mind of justice or benevolence is able to look upon with pleasure. It is thus, that vultures feed their young; and it is thus also, that rich parents provide for their children. Let the poor, who feel as tenderly for their offspring as do any others, look at this operation of things, and prepare to put a stop to it.

If such then, be the operation of wills; if they are able to convey away vast quantities of property, and with it vast masses of people, the latter of which it certainly cannot be pretended is the property of any one, much less of testators; is it not time to question the validity of wills, even on principles which are acknowledged by those who desire to preserve their existence among us? Is it not time for the people; those who have rights as well as the rich, to interpose in their own behalf? [229]

Besides, on the score of policy, in order to encourage the augmentation of wealth by the testator, it is and has been urged as necessary and useful, to allow of the willing away property, to such successor as he might think proper to name. On the score of the same good policy, (I say nothing of right now), would it not be quite as beneficial, in the way of stimulating the augmentation of riches, of encouraging industry, so to order affairs, that vast bodies of men, should have some property, to begin life with; as it is to leave them, as we do now, without any thing? Would not a few millions, such as Lorillard's estate for example, distributed among a few thousand men, at their first setting out in life, be productive under their management, of more wealth, than if the same were given into the possession, perhaps, of a single man? This is a question which I do not expect the rich to hear with pleasure, or to answer with candor; but the men of toil, the million who prepare the feast, but never taste it, will find an answer in their own bosoms which need not be told to any one, to be known.

It is easy to enlarge, and to multiply arguments in favor of the policy even, of giving, in addition to the benefits of a good education, a patrimony, and that an equal one too, to every individual on arriving at the age of maturity. Those who object to it, on the ground that it would tend to make men indolent, and improvident of their future welfare, seem not to be aware, if the ground of their objection be true, that they prove too much. They are in the situation of the sophist, who declared "there was no such thing as truth in the world;" and, to whom a by-stander replied; "Then, Sir, your assertion is not true; for, if it be, there is, at least, one truth among men." If the giving of property, be it little or much, to those who are entering the stage of mature life, is to be considered as visiting the evil [230] of indolence and laziness, upon those who receive it is, and is, on that account, to be objected to; so, also, must we object to property being given to any human being whatever, whether it be by our present system of wills, or otherwise. Now, to say, that no one, ought to have any property at all, by way of bequest, or gift, from any source whatever, is proving too much; and more I apprehend, than those who fancy they see evil in giving to all an equal amount of property on arriving at the age of maturity, have any wish to prove.

Besides, how doubly absurd, does it not appear, to object, to a moderate and equal share of property being given to each person at the age before mentioned, on account of its inducing indolence; and still, at the same moment, to contend for the giving of immense estates, as is now done by way of will? If, by a system of equality, the giving three or four, or five thousand dollars, to individuals generally, is to be objected to, as creating idleness and laziness; how much more, ought we to object, as the system now is, to giving three, or four, or five millions? Those who oppose the equal system, which it is my pleasure to support in this Work, and every where else; ought to take care in the first place, that their facts be true; and in the second, that being true, they do not do more injury to themselves, than to those whom they attempt to assail. I apprehend my readers will,agree with me, in the present instance, that these facts are not true; and that if they were, they would be of no avail, inasmuch as by proving too much, they prove nothing at all. And such, I imagine, is the condition, in which all men must invariably find themselves, who oppose the doctrine of equality; of equality in property, as well as in every thing else.

Men who contend for the descent of property to the next [231] generation, in the way in which it now descends; and object to its descending equally to all, as I desire, on the ground of its tendency to promote indolence, seem to consider mankind as consisting of two distinct species of being; one of slaves, whose duty it is to toil, but having a very great aversion to it; and the other, of despots, to whom it belongs to use the lash, and thus coerce their fellow beings to perform it.

They seem to forget, that most of the indolence, now existing among mankind (the effect which labor-saving-machinery has to destroy employment, and thus force men to be idle, excepted), is the indolence of despair and discouragement, on the one hand; and, on the other, that of ease and indulgence, springing from enormous fortunes, acquired without labor, and possessed without right; and that if these two causes of indolence, were banished, by the introduction of a system of equal property, indolence itself would be banished also. All would then labor for the gratification of their wants; and this gratification would then be, as it truly is, the true, and only genial and healthful stimulus of industry.

.1 have already observed that if the State, for example, had bestowed patrimonies upon the children of certain supposed families; it would have relieved the cares of the parents of those children, to a very great and beneficial extent; and that their industry would have received, in consequence of such relief, an augmentation of its exercise, by being at liberty to direct itself to the acquisition of the means of new gratifications. There is little doubt, that the present inveterate attachment to the exercise of the rights of the testator, as they are called, owes its origin, principally to its being made use of, as an instrument of conveying property to children. Had it ever been the case, that a State had given a patrimony, and an equal [232] one too, to every person in it, on his coming to the maturity, it is altogether probable that men would have ceased to have any attachment to wills whatever. It is to be said, indeed, that it would never have been known. It should be understood, that to the term will, I affix a signification, which, direct or implied, controls the disposition of property which a man has died possessed of, in manner known, or supposed to be agreeable to his wishes. Thus, although a man, technically speaking, may die without will, yet, if the Legislature order his property, by a general or any other law, to be divided equally among his children or next of kin, it presumes what his will would have been and supplies the omission.

But let us look a little at the obstacles which go to prevent the execution of wills, however beneficial they may be said to be. A man, it is said, acquires property for his children, and gives it to them by way of will. How far is this true? there is no doubt he may intend it. But let us hear what the facts are. His will may be made, and deposited in the care of a friend, perhaps, in whom he has confidence, and who does not deceive it. Still it may be lost or destroyed by some casualty or accident; where, then, is the will of the testator? It is a nullity. It has no legal existence. It is the same thing as if it had never been made. In another instance, the treachery of another (supposed) friend, to whom another will may have been committed, puts it out of the way altogether. Here again is another violation of will, as effectual as if it had never been made. Let the dying man, if you please, fearing to trust his will out of his own house, order it to be deposited in his bureau. How often, when death has sealed his eyes, has such will been committed to the flames. If the destiny, the good or ill fortune of heirs, is made to depend on an occurrence of this kind, how precarious and uncertain [233] may we not consider it? Again -- where it has been supposed that no will has been made, how often has it happened that a counterfeit one has made its appearance, clothed in all the legal formalities, and has carried away the state of the deceased? Besides, let us suppose the genuine will to be preserved, and to become known to the administrators of the laws. Yet the debts of the deceased must be paid? Most certainly. Well, then, in court here come witnesses, as many as are necessary, and make oath false oath, it is true, but which, however, no one has it in his power to prove to be false; and swear that they saw him, for example, sign or endorse a promisory note, to a great amount; judgment is rendered, in consequence of this testimony, and away goes the estate, out of the children's hands. But let us pursue the matter still further. Admit the estate to be realized. It must come, of course, into the hands of the executor. What if he should fail in his duty? Would not the estate pass from the heirs? No, it is said, if his surety were available. That might happen not to be the case. Moreover, himself and the executor might act in collusion. And then who could evade the consequence? Like other men, they could if they pleased, be guilty of fraudulent insolvency; or increase the number of absconding debtors. In any of all these numerous contingencies happening, and more might have been named, what becomes of the testator's designs? Where is the security of the heir? What dying man can say he has labored for his children? If they do not gel his property, he certainly has not labored for them. He has labored for some one else, and he will not know for whom.

On the ground, then, that it is impossible, in a very great many cases, to fulfil the intentions of the deceased, it will be advantageous to look for a better system. For although it may be said, that in a great majority of instances, [234] estates descend in the way in which their former possessors desire them, yet there are not wanting instances of a contrary description. And these are pregnant with great evils to those who are affected by them. They are too well understood and felt, to need any elucidation. To place numerous families without resources of property of any kind, into a world which seems to be governed almost altogether by one ruling principle, avarice, is calamity too much to be contemplated with indifference. But such calamity is no greater to him who has had an estate intended to have been given to him, and who did not succeed in obtaining it, than to him who is possessed of nothing, because he had no parent or legator able or willing to give him property.

Inasmuch as I am now speaking of the policy of wills altogether, separate from any consideration of them as being consistent or otherwise with the equal rights of all; it is not out of place to look at their moral action, in another point of view. Who does not know the insincere course of conduct, which the expectation of possessing property through the medium of wills, generates in those who have a right to indulge in such expectations? Do we not know, that, particularly the latter part of any one's life, who has properly to any considerable amount, to give away by will, is assailed by every species of flattery, fraud, and cunning? And when the unhappy man is about to resign his life, who does not recognize, around his death-bed, a scene, very much resembling the hovering of carrion-crows over a dying horse, wishing every moment to be his last, in order that they may feast themselves on what remains after death has done its work? It would be no small service rendered to our race, if such a disgusting and revolting moral nuisance were eradicated from all human society. [235]

Nor is this death-bed scene of immorality that which is the most offensive to every feeling of purity and virtue, of all those which the exercise of the power of making a will presents to our view. How often do parents in possession of property, while living, employ it as the instrument of the most revolting tyranny? How often is the son, under the fear of being disinherited, compelled to comply with the unjust and iniquitous desires of the father? How often is the happiness of the daughter sacrificed, by being compelled to marry a man, whom her parents order her to marry, but whom she regards with indifference, and often with disgust? And what, in such a case, does the exercise, by the father, of this power of making a will, produce, but the legalized prostitution of his daughter? Yet this is what happens almost daily; and men have not seen how this great demoralizing agent is to be exterminated from all human society; nor even thought, except in few instances, that a power producing such effects, must necessarily be one which has no just right to exist; since no man will pretend that he ought to have the power to prostitute his own daughter; though such is the power he actually holds in his hands, under the present order of things.

In my third chapter I have abundantly shewn, I think, that man cannot own property after he ceases to be; nor give direction who shall own, to the exclusion of another; or how it shall be disposed of; that to allow of such disposition, would be to interfere with the rights of the living, at a future day; and therefore is not to be tolerated, any more than any similar injustice is allowed to be practised with impunity, in a society of individuals now living. For justice is as much to be practised to those who are absent as to those who are present; to those who are on distant journies, as to those who are at home; to those who have not yet arrived on the stage of existence, as to those who [236] have. It does not take its character from the wishes of any man, or of any generation of men, from any period of time, past, present or to come. It is eternal and unchangeable, and operates, if it operate at all, for the benefit of all. But, notwithstanding all this is self-evidently true; although every human heart; as well his, who feels tyrant-propensities, as he who suffers the anguish they occasion, acknowledges their truth; still does there lurk a wish in the heart of him, who is now wealthy, to extend his monopoly beyond the grave; and although he cannot see that it is right, at all, for him to will away the materials of the world, so to speak; to throw, for example, if he had the power, the plantation on which he has once lived, into the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there to be sunk in the fathomless deep, or to commit any similar annihilation of property; yet he feels "one longing, fingering" wish, that the labors of his life, the result of his yearly toils, those productions of his personal exertions, should be at his disposal. Strange man! If such be your wish, if you are so inhuman as to desire, when you are about to slumber in the dust, as to make a preference, (for that is all that remains in your power) among those to whom you would give your labors, when the Creator has made them all equal, and knows no difference among them; show me which and what are your personal labors, and how your wish can be accomplished, and you shall be gratified. If you have made for yourself a bow, from materials obtained in the forest -- go, and replace that material as you found it; and if you can possess yourself of the labor, and the labor only, which you employed in its manufacture, go and bestow it upon whom you please. If you have made yourself a pipe, in which to smoke your tobacco -- go and restore the clay of which it was made, to its original place and condition as you found it; and, if you can possess yourself of the labor you [237] expanded in its fabrication, give it in welcome to your successor. If you have written the Iliad, go and restore to their original condition, the materials of the paper, ink, &c. which were essential to its existence among mankind; then, if you can detach the labors you employed in its construction, from all connection with physical existence, my sensorium or another's, give them in welcome to whomsoever you will. If you have made a ship, replace the materials of which it is made, in situations and conditions as you found them, and if you can lay your hand upon the labor, upon the industry you employed its construction, do so, and give it as you will. But, touch not material! Take only labor, skill and fancy! All else belongs to the succeeding generation. Even the materials of your own body, the moment that animation has departed, belong to them, and not to you. They can, as they have ever done, make such disposition thereof, as to them shall seem fit.

Say not to me, that you will exchange some of all your vast amount of labor, for our materials. We will not consent. We will make no treaty with you. For what could labor do? All that you have ever exercised, and all that the whole human race have exercised, since their existence, are not competent to the formation of a grain of sand. If, then, you cannot give us the equivalent, even for the very smallest fraction of a grain of sand, why should we allow you to bestow it away? Besides, it is only ours during the period of our existence; when it will belong to our successors, who will talk to us, as now we talk to you.

Besides, is it not altogether possible, that you have received the benefit of the labors of a preceding generation, from ten thousand sources, fully equal in amount, to that which you now so reluctantly transmit to the generation which is to succeed you? Are you not in fact a debtor? Are you not, indeed, a very great debtor? Have you not [238] had of enjoyment, yourself, a hundred, nay a thousand, or ten thousand times more than you could have had if preceding generations (and that without any regard to those of your kindred among them) had not left their labors behind them? And is not this, of itself, a sufficient reason for you to wave your pretensions altogether? One would surely think it was.

But let us make another investigation: -- Some one will say, as many have often said, "this is my property; I have made it by my industry; it is the work of my own hands; therefore is it mine, to will away, as well as for any and every other purpose." If it be his, his it is, beyond all dispute; and his shall it remain for any thing that I will do to dispossess him. But let us inquire. Let us ascertain, when a man boasts how much he has done in his life time, by his own industry; I say, let us ascertain for ourselves, how much, after all, it may happen to be. Over-estimates are a very common thing; and happen as often among rich boasters, as any where else.

Let us take the supposition that Lorillard shall give his five hundred houses, and other property to some single legatee. If he manage them with prudence, with industry, I suppose he would say; inasmuch as principal at five per cent. per annum (whether it comes in the shape of rent or interest is all the same) doubles itself in a little more than fourteen years; let it even be fifteen; his houses would be doubled in number in that time; and in fifteen years more, they would be doubled again. So that in thirty years from the time at which the legatee came into possession, be would actually have fifteen hundred houses more than Lorillard left him, making an increase of fifty houses a year. Is it now to be said that this annual increase is the labor is the industry of one man? Is it to be said that he has performed the equivalent of so much work? Would these [239] houses have been built, or their equivalent in labor performed on something else, by this legatee, (who in the mean time has not lifted his hand), if, at the time, he received his legacy, all the poor, who perform the labor that supports the whole human race, had been struck out of existence? Do not these same poor men see, that they are slaves of this vast possessor of property? Do they not see, that their fathers have been slaves to his predecessor? Do they not see, that their children, if this state of things is to continue, will be slaves to his successor or successors? Do they not see, that they will be required to build for them, in the next thirty years, 6,000 houses more! which, under a new order of things, they would build for themselves, or employ its equivalent in something else? And for what is all this? What particular service to mankind, does Lorillard, or Lorillard's successors, or any man's successors, render more than themselves? Is the work of creation to be let out on hire? And, are the great mass of mankind to be hirelings to those who undertake to set up a claim, as government is now constructed, that the world was made for them? Why not sell the winds of heaven, that man might not breathe without price? Why not sell the light of the sun, that a man should not see, without making another rich? Why not appropriate the ocean, that man should not find space for his existence, without paying his fellow-being for it? All these things could be done if it were practicable, with as much propriety, as the present exclusive and eternal appropriation is made, of the land and all that belongs to it.

Mankind have enquired too little after their rights, their interests, and their happiness. If it had not been so, such enormities could not have been allowed to take place, daily and forever before our eyes, without having been [240] remedied. They could not have been plunged into such deep distress and degradation as we now see them. The high and the lofty, those who have become so, from the inevitable operation of causes, which they did not bring into being; and which neither they have had, nor could have had the power to control; would have been tumbled from their elevations, and seated on a level with their fellow-beings. Then would they have enjoyed their equal chance of acquiring property; for then, would they have had only their equal share of it, to begin with; and with this, they could have had only their proper opportunity to employ their industry and talents; others would have been in the same enviable situation; and no one would then be found, in such necessitous condition, that he must work or die; and work, too, on such terms, that a very great share of the value of his labor must go to the employer, or to him, who, no matter how, affords the means of employment!

It is not long since a member of the Common Council of this city, 1 do not now recollect his name, and on some occasion of which I do not remember exactly the nature, indulged in a strain of feeling and invective against the poor, which brought forcibly to my mind, a tragic affair of the French Revolution. In the origin of this affair, a very wealthy citizen of Paris, was guilty of saying, in an exasperated tone of feeling, that the people were no better than horses, and ought to be fed on hay; or words to that effect; the consequence was, that the populace became exasperated in their turn, by the barbarity of the expression; they seized him, cut his head off; stuck it on pole; filled his mouth full of hay; and paraded through the streets, in revenge for the unfeeling manner in which their victim had spoken of their rights and their happiness.

On the occasion to which I have alluded, the honorable [241] member launched out into some intemperate expressions against those, whose lot, as society is now modelled, is to perform THE LABOR THAT SUPPORTS US ALL; such as this, "that he would not work ought to starve." There is no occasion to question the general truth of the observation; but the barbarous feeling with which, it struck me, it was uttered, could not fail to raise my indignation. I could not but resent it in the name of my fellow-beings, as an insult to that class who now perform all the work that is done in our support, as well of the honorable member, as of all others, implying an unwillingness to work, which there is no kind of propriety in laying to their charge. But it implied also more. It implied, that it is right enough for a certain description of men, among us, to live without labor of their own; while others are called upon to labor, not only enough to support themselves, but to support also, these DRONES in the hive into the bargain. It is the object of this Work, to inquire why these things should be. Why is it, that men, at our Hall, or elsewhere, should not be called upon to perform the labor that supports them, as well as other men? If a man will not work, why should he not starve? This is a question which may well be asked. If it is intended to mean, that all men, shall be called upon to work alike; and to depend solely upon the labor of their own hands, and draw nothing from the labor of others, but what they are willing to pay for with an equal return in labor of their own hands, I agree to it. It is an object which I wish to see accomplished. And it will be the object of every man, who has not been corrupted by the sweets of another's labor. Let all our legislation square with this principle; and there will then be no occasion to suffer large estates to descend to particular persons; for these it is, (and it is nothing else) which enables them to live on the labor of [242] others; nor on the other hand, to maintain an order of things, the result of which is, to leave an immense portion of our population without property of any kind whatever, in the utmost misery and wretchedness.

But the honorable member, there is every reason to believe did not contemplate so general an application of his maxim. But, why should he not? Is ii not quite a reasonable for a poor man to eat a good dinner, without having labored to earn it, as for a rich man to do it? Is there a difference in rights? Is there one sort of rights for one class of men, and another for another? May one do lawfully what the other will do criminally; have we two codes of law among us? Have we a law for the Lilliputians, and another for the Brobdingnaggians? We have been told, in the Declaration of Independence, that "all men are created equal;" but if one man must work for his dinner, and another need not, and does not, how are we equal? If the gentleman shall say, the rich man has property, and the poor man has not; then the question is only changed for another; what is his right to such property?

If it should turn out, that he has no better right than he whom now he calls poor, and on whom he casts his insults; it would at least compel him to make his application of his maxim, more general, I presume, than he had intended to make it.

In order, therefore, to ascertain the poor man's rights, or the rich man's either, we must go back to the first formation of government. When we have done so; when we have ascended to the first era of society; where do we find our poor man? Where do we find our rich one? They are no where to be seen. Every thing is in common at this period. No man can call this tree his, or that the other's. No man can say this field is mine; or that is yours. Field there is none. All is one wide common, [243] unappropriate to any. How they did appropriate, when they resolved to divide among them, that which equally belonged to all, we may not know at present. But, how they ought to have divided, we know full well. It is engraved on the heart of man, and there is no power, while he lives and has his faculties, that can efface the engraving. That heart tells him, what it tells every man now who has one; that he has an equal right with any and every other man, to an equal share of the common property; or its undoubted equivalent. That heart tells him, that if, previous to any time, the soil, the common property of all has been pre-occupied by others, it is his right to demand an equivalent; or, as the only alternative left him, to enter by force, if necessary, into the possession of that which belongs equally to him, as to another. That heart tells every citizen of this State, or of any other State, that he, too, has the same inalienable right to his portion of the property of the State. That heart tells him, that if those who have first occupied this property, have done it in such a manner, as to shut him out, of his equal original right; and have not given him his equivalent, in lieu thereof, it is his right, and those who are in the same condition with him to combine their exertions to produce such an arrangement, and division of the State, as will be able, even at this late, or at any later day, when they shall possess themselves of power enough to do so; to secure to themselves the enjoyment of their own equal portion. That heart tells him, that no length of time which oppression may have endured, can legalize its existence : and that the day of its death has come, when moral and physical power enough is found to exist to be able to destroy it.

How, then, if the present people of the State of New-York, had now for the first time, met on its soil, and were about to make appropriation of what they found here, how [244] would they proceed? If their knowledge and experience convinced them, that the system of private and exclusive property, in every thing, or nearly so; and consequent upon this system, the system of one pursuing one occupation and another another; and so on through the whole circle of occupations; was better adapted to promote their comfort and happiness, than any other; because, the sum total of the effects of their industry would be greater in this way, than in any other; would they not, then, be likely to pursue such systems? Would they not divide the State as nearly equal as possible? Would they give to one man a territory, equal to the county of Rensselaer; to another a territory equal to the county of Putnam; and to a thousand, or ten thousand others, none at all, or any equivalent? Would the thousand or ten thousand, if they understood their rights, sanction such a division as this? Would they not overthrow it in an instant? And if, two hundred years ago, such an appropriation, or a similar one was made, shall it not be overthrown now? Shall it not be put out of existence now, and every thing, as it regards equality, be placed in the same condition as if it had never been? Is the error, is the injustice of such a distribution of the soil and property of the State, to receive our sanction because it has existed two centuries?

Well, if the people of the present day, upon the supposition I have made, that they were now, for the first time met upon its soil, would not sanction or authorize such an unequal distribution of property; ought they to be called upon to sanction it now? Ought they to be called upon, and besought to forbear, and not to break it up? Whose benefit is that, which calls upon the people any longer to tolerate such an injustice? Is it the benefit of the people themselves? Is it the benefit of their children, and their children's children to the latest generation? Or is it the benefit of the single individual among ten thousand? If, [245] then, the people, by altering this condition of things, can yet make all things equal, and consistent with the original rights of all; and can, among others, make the same provision for him of the ten thousand; ought it not to be done? Who is to gainsay? No man, nor even any majority of men have, or ever have had, or ever can have any right to destroy the equality of rights, or to suffer it to be destroyed. It belongs, inalienably belongs, to each individual of the universe, even though every other individual in the same universe, should oppose its admission or acknowledgement. It is not in the moral power of numbers to say, it shall not be.

Let it not be said, that because the soil of the State has undergone a vast change in its value, by the progress of improvements; by the labors of art and industry, which for two hundred years, have not failed, in the possession of the present and former owners to be bestowed upon it; that therefore division ought not now to be made. Whose were these labors? Were they those of the proprietors? Were they those of the rich man? On the contrary, were they not those of multitudes of men, who had as good a right to the soil they cultivated for another, as that other himself? Were they not those of the ancestors, of the fathers and grandfathers, of the present generation of poor men? Were they not those whose bones now sleep in dust along with those who never labored at all? What right, then, has the rich man of the present day, to retain possession of the result of the labor of their lives, and to deny it to their children? What right has the rich man of the present day, to hold by inheritance from his ancestor, the labors of a previous generation, when even the ancestor himself had no kind of just title to it? If there is any one principle, among all the principles which prevail in governments organized as they now are, which can be allowed to [246] have an operation here; it is, that the children of these sons of toil, have, at least, an equal title to the labors of their ancestors, with that of the son of him who never labored at all; who lived on the labor of others; and who, if it be yet said, as it may sometimes be, with truth, that he did labor as much as the poorest man living, could certainly claim for his son, no more than an equal share of all these improvements, of all these productions of art and industry.

Nor let the man of toil; the man of no possessions; forget to understand himself. Let him not believe that there is aught of value or of worth in man, save such as he and his kindred producers, bring forth to mankind. Let him not forget, that all these improvements; all these productions of art and industry; the surviving fruits of the labor of his ancestors, are now actually less, than they would have been, if rich men had never existed. For every dollar paid to them by way of interest; by way of rent for houses and lands; by way of profit in trade or manufactures, over and above the same return which poor men receive for similar service in superintendance; is so much for idleness to subsist upon. Let him not fail to see, that the Grand Canal would have been made at less labor furnished by the class of men to which he belongs, but for the existence among us, of what are called, men of fortune. For the labor on which these have subsisted, and that, too, which they have wasted, has been drawn from those whose rights I am vindicating; and this labor might as well have been given to the Canal, as to have been given where it was. It would have been better. For all that is given to support the rich, (or the poor either) who by their labor, might be able, if they had the opportunity, or were compelled to it by necessity arising from the operation of equal laws, to support themselves, is so much thrown into the sea. Let [247] us look then upon the rich man, as he has been, or as he now is among us, rather as a curse, than as a blessing; rather as a something, himself, which it is proper to exterminate than to allow him to arise in the midst of us, and say, "The changes you design to make, shall not be made." Nor let the word exterminate, be thought a harsh one. Both rich and poor ought to be exterminated: the latter by being made what we may call rich; and the former by being brought to the common level.

If, then, the soil, in its present cultivated state, as well as in the condition in which it comes to us, from the hand of its Creator; with all the results of the toil, skill and industry of the present and former generations, as well as when none of these existed -- belong to the present people of the State of New York -- what is the disposition, which they may and ought to make of it?

That it would be an equal division in the first instance, no man will doubt. For if he did doubt it, if he did believe that it would be unequal; and further, if he could believe that himself could have the larger portion; he would not object. If, therefore, any man objects to a division, it is because he expects after a division is made, to possess less than he possesses now. It is not in the nature of things, that he should object on any other ground. Whoever, therefore, does object to a division, not only desires to have that which is truly his own, by just and equal right, but that of his fellows -- a hundred; a thousand, or ten thousand in number, in addition thereto. But these, when they understand their rights; when they see clearly what belongs to them, as much as the same in amount belongs to another, are not to be prevented from possessing it, by any thing.which can be done by any human agency.

The division, therefore, beyond all question would be equal. At least it would approach as near to it, as it [248] would be in the power of the community to make it. I am not to be understood as meaning any thing by equality, other than that the value of the effects of our citizens, whether it be lands, or ships, or goods, or whatever else it may be, would be apportioned equally among us all. And if it were not exactly equal; if it varied from equality, say by five, or ten, or fifty dollars in a thousand, it would be because, under present circumstances, or perhaps under any, a division mathematically equal, cannot be made. But it is not necessary. It is sufficient that it be substantially so. And this it can be without any difficulty, arising in executing such division, whatever.

But, after this equal division be made, how is it to be perpetuated? How is it to be maintained? How is it to be preserved, at least so far, as to allow wealth, in any man's hands, to accumulate no faster, than his greater talents, strength, ingenuity, industry or economy, will enable him? So far as these qualities are possessed by any man, they ought not to be denied having their full scope. But at the same time, they are not to receive impetus, from having the opportunity of operating upon the destitution of another. Wealth is not to be allowed to augment its treasures, by making treaties of profit with poverty and misfortune. Care, then, is to be taken that such poverty and misfortune shall have no existence.

The question, then, arises, how is this to be done? Divide the State equally to-day; and all will be equal for the moment. But if you give to any of these equal possessors the power to consider that which they have received, as being theirs to the end of time, what will not happen? Suppose these possessors to be, all fathers; to have an equal duration of life; to have an equal number of children, who shall be supposed to have an equal duration of life also; to have equal talents, strength, [249] ingenuity, industry and economy; still under all these circumstances, property would soon become vastly and enormously unequal. And why? Because each of these possessors; if he have the power to the end of time, as I have supposed him to have, of disposing of that which is now his, could and would will it away unequally. He would entertain, such is every day the fact among us now, antipathies to, or less partiality for, one of his children, than he would for another. He would bestow his property accordingly. To him, whom he disliked, (wisely or unwisely, it is no matter) he would give nothing. He, therefore, would be the first of a race, and ultimately of a very numerous race of poor men; of unfortunate human beings; without resources of property; and, therefore, dependent, even for their very existence, upon the pleasure, the caprice, the tyranny, or the folly of others, who, no better than themselves, had yet the better fortune to be the favorites of some former possessor of property, now slumbering in the dust. To him whom he liked less than another, he would give little, and he would be the father of another race, who would be more or less of tyrants, or more or less of slaves, and dependant beings, as the property their ancestor should receive at the hands of his father should be of greater or smaller amount. To the most esteemed, he would give all, or nearly all; and here, then, would be the source from which inequality would spring, and continue to grow, never to be repressed, as long as present circumstances continued. This possessor would be in the situation such as now we behold the rich to be. If it pleases any one to say so, let it be said, that with his greater talents, strength, ingenuity and economy, he goes forward in the career of life, to add to his already great possessions; yet it is not on these alone, that he.depends for making acquisitions thereto. No; it is on the still better, the still [250] more productive resource which he finds he is in possession of, in the destitution, in the absolute want of every thing, in which he finds a vast mass of men around him. It is on this destitution; it is on this want; it is on this poverty, that he brings his personal qualities, and his hereditary possessions to bear, with a most appalling energy. And without such destitution; without such vast bodies of men around him who are obliged to make a treaty with him, as it were for their lives; what would he do with his greater talents, strength, industry, ingenuity and economy, about which he and others, [See Raymond's Political Economy, Vol. 11. pp.12 and 13.] talk so much, and talk so much in vain? Would they avail him, to obtain those vast augmentations to his estate, which it is now so easy to accomplish? Most certainly not. How alarmingly hostile then, to human happiness, in the case before us, does not the power of wills appear to be? And yet worse than this happens every day; inasmuch as legators often dispossess their families entirely, and give to those who already have other testators to give them more.

It would no doubt, abate, in some measure, the evils growing out of the existence of the power of making wills, if they were required to be made so as to divide all property of the father, among his children, equally. But, as all families do not have the same number of children, and some none at all; and if they even were to have the same number, still they do not live to come to the age of maturity; so if, in the new disposition of things, the property of the fathers went to the children, even on the principles of equality, still a most enormous disproportion would soon ensue. One father, may have, it may be said, a fortune equal to another, and indeed, in this respect, in the division of the [251] State which I propose to make; all families would be equal; yet, one will have twelve children; another, ten; another eight; another, six; four; two; and one, and some even none at all. Where, under like circumstances like these, should we find our system of equality, in a short time, if we were to allow the power of wills to come in at all, even though it required all the property of the testator, to be apportioned equally among his children? The father of one child would give him all his property; and the father of ten or twelve children would give them all his. But the child of the former father, would thereby possess, ten or twelve times as much as any one of the children of the latter father. Would this be right? Would this be consistent with the purpose all should have in view, of maintaining that equality, which the rights of every man require? But the inequality, thus supposed to be generated, does not stop here. It may be, that the son who receives ten or twelve times as much as others of his fellow-beings of the same age, may also, have one son only; and when the father dies, he would be required to leave his property to him, with all the acquisitions he had made to it, and that too, under extremely favorable circumstances for making those acquisitions. But, on the other hand, these ten or twelve children of one and the same father, might also, be the fathers of ten or twelve children more each; and this second generation of children; 100 or 144, as the case may be; would have only so much property, if even that remained, as is now in possession of a single individual of another parentage. And every generation would see the evil increasing in aggravation and enormity. Nor to the mischievous operation thus placed in review before us; is any thing attributed to the effect which would be produced, by the will of him, who has no children to whom to leave his property. If, as such things have happened. [252] he should give to those who already have more than they ought to have, the evil would be greatly heightened; and this is an event, judging from the past history of mankind, which is more likely to happen, than the contrary more desirable and reasonable disposition.

But, we must in justice to our subject, take back another supposition. All fathers cannot have the same term of existence. They cannot be supposed, then, to have the same opportunities of acquiring property, for their children, admitting for a moment, what is very absurd indeed that these children are to look to their parents, as such for their future mean of existence, or comfort, or happiness. Here, then, is another fruitful source of inequality of property, to be added to the foregoing. There needs evidently some other principle than this, on which to found the operation of transferring property from one generation to another.

Once more I am to say, that the ground I have taken by supposition, is not borne out by facts. All men, in any one age, cannot be supposed to have the same talents, strength, industry, ingenuity, or economy; and, for this reason alone, it would not be possible, for every father to be able to leave an equal amount of property to his children, allowing every other circumstance to be as equal as I have made it by my suppositions. Is it to be said then, that the child's right to property, is to depend on the personal quality or qualities of the father? I am aware; I know too well, indeed; that every argument that the imagination of man can conjure up, has been, and will be resorted to, to defend the miserable system at present prevailing, in the transmission of property from one generation to another. And I regret extremely, to observe the talents of a writer, so respectable as Mr. Raymond, so perverted, as to be employed in supporting a principle [253] which would go to no less a length than that of declaring that the immortal Newton should never have had, by any acknowledgment which his government should have made, the right, even to the material of so much paper, as would have been necessary to communicate to the world his Principia, if his father had happened to have been an idiot, and in consequence of such idiocy, had been incapable of obtaining property for him. I am not to be repulsed from the truth of this declaration, by any other declaration; such as, that Newton could have negotiated for the paper for himself. For Newton either did, or did not own, in his own person, as derived from his supposed father, enough of something wherewith to purchase. If he did not so own it, and the fact so happened, because of his father's supposed idiocy; then I repeat, that he has nothing wherewith to purchase; for, although he might offer his personal services; those who possess the world, and, of course, the materials of which paper is made, could say to him;

" we want them not; we will not negotiate; you cannot have the material; we have monopolized it ourselves; and the government we have placed over us, has so ordered if, that nothing shall be taken from us, but by our consent; and this we do not think fit to give; you must, therefore, remain without the paper you so much desire."

Such without number, are the absurdities, which great men as well as others must encounter, when they leave out of view, or have never found, the true sources of our rights.

But there is yet another exception to our, list of suppositions. Although to day, property should be made equal among us all who are of the age of maturity; and, although an additional supposition were made, that no more persons were to come among us; and, that we were to [254] continue forever in the possession of what is now assigned equally, as we think, to each of us; still, we should discover sources of inequality springing up among us. In what would these consist? To-day when division is made, a mine of the precious or other metals, which, ever to this time, has been productive and profitable, is given to some one or more, as his or their equal portion. In a month or so afterwards, it fails to be productive of as much profit as heretofore; and, finally ceases to be of any value at all. On the other hand; on the property of another; where, at the time, when division was made, there was not known, or suspected to be any such mine, in a month or so afterwards, it may be, discovery of it is made. Here then are two sources of inequality; the one acting to depress, the other to exalt the condition of the respective proprietors. And, it is easy to imagine a multitude of sources, of a similar character in kind and degree. To be prepared to meet all these, to be expected occurrences is a part of the duty of those, who shall be prevailed upon to attempt to give to man in society, the rights which belong to him, in a state of nature, or in lieu thereof, his undoubted equivalent.

Amidst all these sources of inequality, it may appear, that we might, without subjecting ourselves to any unworthy imputations, set ourselves down in despair; and conclude that nothing was to be done. For, of what use would it be, to provide for an equal division of property, if it could not be perpetuated, from age to age, from generation to generation, without breaking in upon the operations of the living? To make a general division now; and then to be obliged to make another in a month, or a twelve-month, or even in a life-time; in order to preserve the same equality of rights, in our social as in our natural existence, is an evil of no ordinary magnitude. But, [255] happily it is not necessary. The reader will have seen, long before he has proceeded to this extent, in the perusal of this work, the means by which it is to be accomplished. It has been necessary however, for me to pursue the discussion of this subject, in the way in which I have done it; not so much to recommend the utility of the methods to be pursued in giving to man his rights in question, as to remove the train of falsely founded ideas with which he may be impressed, and which owe their origin to his contemplations of society, and of man in society, such as he has ever found them.

It is necessary; because it presents the only means of giving to every one now living, and who is of and over the age of maturity, his equal share of all the property of this State, of whatever kind it may be; that a General Division of the whole of it, should take place in the first instance. But, it will never be necessary again, to disturb the operations of the living; by interrupting the plans of life, which each individual has marked out for himself. Nor would it have been necessary now, if two hundred years ago, or at any period subsequent to that, and anterior to this, all men had been placed in possession of their rights. But, as they were not; as they still continue to be held in the possession of others; it is right; it is proper; it is requisite, in duty to those who have to this time, been despoiled of what is their own; to wrest it from those who now detain it from them. It is time, now, that each should, begin to live for his own happiness, and to draw his own resources for its promotion. It is time, now, that he should begin to live for himself; and, not like a slave as he truly is, for the benefit of another. As every man's share of the property of the State, is essential to his pursuit of such happiness; it is right for him, and for all who like him, are in a similar situation, to rise, in the [256] majesty of their right, and claim at the hands of man that which he holds by title from the Creator. Nor, is it to be objected, that it would produce all the evils of a general bankruptcy. There is no doubt, that all those vast proprietors, whom to pull down to the just level of their fellow-citizens, is the prime object of this work, will feel it indeed, to be very much like bankruptcy to them; but, it will be very far from deserving that character after all. For, they will have assigned to them, if they will have it so, as much of the effects of the Bankruptcy as any of their fellow-citizens. And, are they to set up a hue-and-cry that, having always had more, they cannot continue to have it still? Besides, I am willing to suppose them for a moment, for argument's sake, to be utterly reduced: reduced to the possession of nothing; is it by any means, an uncommon occurrence? Every day, do we not see instances of great wealth lost to the possessor in toto, and himself and family reduced to extreme need? And yet, this excites very little commiseration any where; not so much, indeed, as it should. What propriety, then, would there be, in any man's resisting his own reduction to the common level? After that, if he can ascend above his fellow-citizens, by virtue of his superior enterprise, industry and other commendable qualities, he will be welcome to do so.

But I am anticipating myself. I said it would not be necessary, ever again, after the proposed first General Division, to have another. The remedy against the necessity for its occurrence a second time, is natural and easy. Let there be no wills. It has already been shown; that they do not exist, of right; that they originated in wrong and usurpation; and that they contravene the rights of the succeeding generation. When we appear on the stage of existence, we are ourselves, the posterity of those who have gone before us. In our turn we shall be the ancestors [257] of those who are to come after us. In the first instance, it is to our interest, that our ancestors should have been just to us. It is but justice in us, that we practice same rule of right to those who shall succeed us. Let then, each generation manage its own affairs, without being interfered with by those who have gone before it; and without interfering, itself, with those, who are to come after it. This is genuine justice; this is true policy. Let this be resolved on, and all is easy to accomplish.

Wills, then, are destroyed, they exist no more to curse the earth with calamities. Let the dead rest in peace; and be suffered no longer to disturb the living. Let a daily register be kept of them, as they depart from among us. Every day, if you please, let the properly of those, throughout the State, who shall die on that day, be assigned to those, also throughout the State, who shall on the same day, arrive at the age of maturity; let it be divided equally among them all, male and female, and given to them as their patrimony forever.

Thus will it be easy to cause a perpetual and imperceptible transmission of the property of the State into the hands, (and equally too) of the succeeding generation. Every person will take that course of life that suits him best; pursue it undisturbed, till he shall choose to change it for himself, or till he shall have lived out the term of his existence. When he dies, he knows not who his successor or successors are to be; but this is of little consequence to him. If he shall think it accords better with the dictates of nature and reason, or either, that he should feel more solicitous for the welfare of his own children, than for those of others, although the Creator has made all equal; it will be sufficient for him, that his children are provided for, by the State, from the effects of deceased persons, forty years, may be, before the expiration of his own existence; that [258] they have their patrimony in the morning of their lives, without distressing or disturbing him for a dollar of it; and pursue their course rejoicing; that, even his grand-children, will or may have similar provision made for them, also, in the same way, before his race is run. How much more consoling to him must such a system appear; than that which calls upon him, either to see two or three generations waiting for his death, in order that they may have wherewith to provide for their welfare; or to see himself compelled to give up, during his own life-time, for the satisfaction of their wants, what he may feel to be essential to his own. How much more agreeable to his feelings, than the present wretched system, whereby, he may be stripped, through calamity, or villany, of all that he has, and thus have it in his power to give to his children nothing? Whereas, under the system which it is my happiness to propose, nothing of this sort can happen; and consequently, his and all children, on coming to the age of maturity, will have provision made for them, of which nothing can deprive them.

It is probable, that these enlightened and humane considerations may fail to have their full weight on the minds of some rich proprietors; but, with how much propriety may not the government address them;

"you are rich, it is true, to-day; but, you have no assurance that you will be rich to-morrow: we order you, therefore, to submit to the introduction of the system in question; that the future happiness of your children, may not be dependent on any contingency whatever, which may befall you. Your offspring have rights, which we will cause you to respect, and which we will not suffer you, either, to violate yourselves, or to place in situations, in which they may be exposed to the danger of violation by others. We will take care that they shall be sure to have an equal [259] and reasonable amount of property, at the commencement of the mature part of their lives, rather than to be made dependant on any one, possibly for a greater sum, at a more unsuitable period of life; with a probability, that they may never receive it at all."
Reasons like these, are such as a whole people have a right to address to those, who shall oppose that humane and equitable system, which seeks to provide for the happiness of all. And such, too, is the language, which the children of the wealthy, if they understand their own true interests, will wish to see addressed to their parents.

Such, in substance, is the plan proposed to be made use of, to supersede all wills, by means of which, property may daily transmit itself to the approaching generation. Literally, however, to fulfil it, would not agree with that strict and equal justice, which is attainable, by a trifling modification. It appears, from registers kept of deaths in our different cities and elsewhere, that they do not happen so nearly uniform, one day with another, as might at first thought be imagined. I have not now at hand any work of the kind to refer to, other than a printed "Statement of deaths, with the diseases and ages, in the City, and Liberties of Philadelphia from the first of Jan. 1828, to first of Jan, 1829;" from which it appears, that the deaths of Adult persons

During the Spring months, were 449
During the Summer months, were 492
During the Autumnal months, were 587
During the Winter months, were 487
The average being 504.

So that, if we suppose the births of children to be uniformly equal in number, one day with another, throughout the year, the patrimonies would be as the numbers above; that is, children born in the Spring months, on arriving at [260] the age of maturity, would receive, say 449; those born in the Summer months, would receive 492; those born in the Autumnal months would receive 587; and those born in the Winter months 487: the highest being in Autumn, and the lowest in Spring; the former being more than 30 p.cent above the latter; a difference quite too great to be admitted to have place, when we can so easily find the means to remedy it. And as to the particular months in those seasons, the foregoing statement adds, that the greatest number of Adults died in September, the smallest number in May. So that the difference would be, for those two months, even yet wider.

But, it does not happen, as supposed, that the birth are equal, one day with another throughout the year. The variation is considerable. I have no means near me, of ascertaining numbers in this respect; but, "Observations made in several countries, concur in determining the months of December and January, to be those in which the greatest number of children are born." [Malte Brun's Geography, Book 22, p. 196.] This circumstance, therefore, will have its influence, in rendering patrimonies still more unequal than is already shown. I apprehend that they might differ so much, as that one should be double that of another. This would be an unpardonable difference; when, by simply directing all the estates of persons dying within any one year, to be divided among all those who should arrive at age, during the same year, (or during the succeeding year would be the same in principle), the whole difficulty would be removed, and that with every practical advantage that could be desired; thus preserving all the beauty of principle, which is visible in the daily division above mentioned. Article 12, of the PLAN page 141, is predicated on these facts, respecting births and deaths. [261]

With respect to any difference in the actual value of the shares, arising to each person at the first General Division or in the patrimonies afterwards, alluded to already in some previous remarks, as being a source of creating inequality, after such division had been made, or such patrimonies given; it is to be observed, that under any plan of division that can be devised, it cannot fail to have some effect; but it is to be observed also, that the evil continually corrects itself during every generation; for, he who should find a silver mine on his farm, after it was assigned to him, which was not known to be there before, could only enjoy its advantages during his own life time; when it would revert to the State; and, be again offered for sale, under such known circumstances, as would ensure the production of its worth. Nor, could it be said that by selling it before death, this could be evaded; for, if it were so sold, by the owner, and sold for its actual worth; in that case, this actual worth, must necessarily be forth-coming to the State at the time of his death. If it were a collusive sale, for less than its worth; then it becomes a criminal transaction in both parties; and subjects both to punishment under the 18th article, wherein it is prohibited to give property to another; the propriety of which prohibition, if not already evident, will be made so, as further advances are made towards the completion of this Work.

But, another subject presents itself. We have said already, that when children arrive at the age of maturity, they are to receive their patrimonies. An apprentice, having spent the requisite time of his minority in qualifying himself, for the future supply of his own wants, and the pursuit of his own happiness; instead of going into the work-shop of a man employing perhaps, a hundred workmen, as a journeyman; and surrendering a very great proportion of the value of his labor; takes his own share of [262] property, and goes in as proprietor, a joint proprietor with them, receiving out of the joint avails of their operations of labor, trade &c. his equal and proper share, according to such rules and regulations as they may make among themselves. But, what is to be done for children before they arrive at maturity?

Article 16. (See PLAN, p. 143), provides that

"all native born citizens, from the period of their birth, to that of their maturity, shall receive from the State, a sum, paid in monthly or other more convenient instalments, equal to their full and decent maintenance, and support, according to age and condition; and the parent, or parents, if living, and not rendered unsuitable, by incapacity or vicious habits, to bring up their children, shall be the persons authorized to receive it. Otherwise, guardians must be appointed to take care of such children; and to receive their maintenance allowance. They are to be educated also at the public expense."

Governments, as we have heretofore seen them organized, having made little or no provision for securing the rights of the coming generation, have, as it were, imposed it upon the sympathy of parents, to make, provision, (the best they could), for their offspring; and from this circumstance, more than from any natural impulse, which they feel as parents, they have been induced to believe, that the duty of bringing up their own children, was peculiarly incumbent on them, rather than upon others, who stood in no relation of consanguinity. But, why do we feel more particular attachments to acquaintances than we do to strangers? Not because there is natural reason for it, further than that by some, and almost always, by many associations, their presence or recollection, gives us pleasure. Why do we prefer a countryman to him who is of another nation? Not, certainly, because he is a better [203] man; or more worthy of our esteem or affection. So now, if I am induced to lend my friend, or to assist my countryman, rather than others; is it to be said, that I do it from a natural impulse; and, that if I do not do the same, for the man who is not my acquaintance, or my countryman, that still I act according to the dictates of nature? Let me be assured that this stranger, that this foreigner, stand in the same need for the assistance which I have extended, and would be as greatly benefitted by it; then, if I am called upon to say, why I should not as readily render it in one case as in the other; what can I say, but that there is no reason whatever, to make any distinction? If there be any, why I do, rather than why I ought, it is this; that I myself, may feel more pleasure from extending the relief in question, to the acquaintance and countryman, than to the stranger, in consequence of some association of ideas, agreeable to me, which do not accompany the same transaction as applied to the latter.

But, it will still be contended, by those who have not considered the subject, as much as it ought to be, that parents are the natural guardians and protectors of their children; and, that the duty of providing for their wants, devolves solely on them as parents, in contradistinction, to their duty as citizens. But, how is this made to appear? If such be the fact; if it be true, that a child ought to look to its parents for support, and to no one else; then, ought not nature to suffer a parent to die; at least, until all his children are raised to the age of maturity. And further, he ought not to fall sick; for, in this case, the child may fail of that support, which is necessary to the preservation of its existence. Again, the parent ought not to be visited by calamity of any other description; nor be circumvented by the designing, and robbed of any, or all that he has. In any of these contingencies happening, what [264] would become of the resource of the child? Shall that be called a natural resource, which is thus inevitably at the mercy of so many uncontrollable agents; and, more especially, shall we say so, when we can point to one, which cannot fail in any event whatever?

But, we may go farther. How is it to be said, that parent is the natural resource of the child? If that parent be disqualified by vices and bad personal habits, is he the natural guardian of such child? If it be so, then has not nature done its duty; and art must supply its place.

But the true theory to be laid down in this matter, is this: The child, and every child, as soon as it is born, is co-proprietor with all citizens, in the property of the State. It is not, it is true, at this period of its existence, capable of entering into possession of its rights of property; but it nevertheless has them. They belong to it, and are not to be taken away from it, without the perpetration of the grossest act of tyranny. Why, then, should those who have no children, contribute, their equal share to the raising of the new generation, with those who have? Because they have the property of these children in possession, and enjoy the use of it. This is one reason, and it is the same, in effect, as that which obtains, now, where a father dies, leaving minor heirs. These latter have a right to support from the estate; and, to their equal proportion afterwards, if an unreasonable father, through the exercise of the power of the will, have not ordered otherwise. But, there are other reasons. Those who have arrived at maturity, have not done so, without being in debt to a generation which has gone before them. This debt they must discharge, by rendering payment to the generation which comes after them. If I, as an individual, have no children myself; I have, nevertheless, received in infancy, that aid and assistance, which has conducted me to manhood. [265] I must, therefore, make return to those, to whom only it is in my power. Besides, if a new generation were not to come up; what would become of me in my second infancy; in my old age? There would be none to lend me help. There would be none to comfort my last illness, to close my eyes in death. I am to be benefitted, therefore, in the existence of the new race, which is coming forward. I ought, then, to contribute to their subsistence and support; none the less, because I may not be the parent of any of these; but my full and equal proportion, because they will bestow on me benefactions, as great as on any one else. Taxes, therefore, will be necessary to create a State fund, out of which, the maintenance and education of the ascending generation is to be afforded; and I, and every other man, will be properly called upon to pay in proportion; not to the number of my children, but to the amount of my property.

Nor, are these all the advantages, which all enjoy at the hands of the rising generation. The greater our numbers are, the stronger we are for the public defence. The faster we increase, the sooner are great and beneficial public works undertaken and executed. If population, had been greatly more retarded than it has been, in this State, we might not have had the Great Erie-Canal, for one hundred years to come. In almost every way, that the mind of man can conceive, is an increase of population, beneficial, and beneficial to all; and more especially will it be so, wherever, there shall be an equal, or nearly equal possession of property among the citizens. Even my very letters cost me less, in the postage I pay on them, when I am one of a million, than when I am one of a thousand. There is reason, therefore, in these considerations, why all should contribute to support the approaches generation. [266]

Thus far is it evident, that the duty of raising the new generation, devolves upon all equally; and for the plainest of all reasons; that all are to partake equally of the benefits they will confer upon us, as they arrive at maturity. It would be obviously unjust, therefore, to impose this duty upon parents only; for, this would be no less than to create a new source of inequality of property among the citizens; inasmuch, as by requiring more from some than from others, in the rearing the new race, we should manifestly, levy greater contributions on this man, than on that; though all equally would enjoy the benefits of the objects to which the contributions were appropriated. This therefore, is an additional consideration, in support of bringing up children, at the public expense; though, in the care, in almost all instances, however, of their parents.

At stated periods; perhaps, at the periods of payment, all these children must be presented to the proper Authority, to verify the fact of their continued existence, and residence among us. Or any other means may be taken that shall seem more judicious. Register will be kept of the date, and place of their birth, parentage, &c. (and death, also, whenever it shall happen, interment being made at the public expense); so that all who shall arrive at the age of maturity, may know where to look for the proof of their age and of the place of nativity; and so that the government also, may have knowledge of those, who, and the time when, they are entitled to receive patrimonies.

Under the best form of government, which the faculties of man, at any time, and under any circumstances may he able to create, there is likely to be more or less of calamity falling upon individuals, which it will not be able to foresee or prevent. As each and every citizen, is therefore, equally exposed to those casualties, contingencies and accidents, by which he may be reduced to necessitous [267] circumstances, requiring assistance from those of the community, who may happen to have the good fortune to be exempt from them, it is altogether reasonable and proper, that these last should afford the assistance in question. They are the proper authority to judge of the existence of the necessity that calls upon them for help, and the proper body to give it. Under equal liability to meet with misfortunes as we all are; it is manifestly proper that we should all stand ready, through the organ of our government, to assist the unfortunate; and nothing can be farther from the spirit of equal and exact justice, than to call upon, or allow the children, for example, to support unfortunate parents; or parents, on the other hand, to be burthened, or burthen themselves, with the support of unfortunate children. More generous and just than this, the government, in fact, should say to the parent, "It is we who will, and whose duty it is, to provide for your children; we will not leave the burthen on you." And to the children it should say;

"The misfortunes of your parents, must not fall as a calamity on you; it is for us to alleviate them, since we are altogether more able than you are to do so, and since, also, it is our duty. We cannot, therefore, suffer you to assist your parents, but as members of the community. You will, therefore, abstain from gifts in any and every form whatever; not only, because it belongs exclusively to the community to assist the unfortunate; but, because, if gifts by private citizens, were not forbidden, it would open a door, through which posterity might be defrauded out of their rights of property; since, whatever is given by an individual to another, is, or may be, so much robbed of the next generation; inasmuch, as he who gives, will have so much the less to leave behind him, when he dies, as he may have given to another.''
These observations [268] explain and enforce, the necessity and propriety of Article 18 18, p. 143.

It may not be amiss to add, that in a community, which shall have been based upon the equal principles of this, or any similar work; men will respect the claims of misfortune, with a feeling of humanity which belongs to our nature as truly benevolent beings; but, with shame be it said, contrary to what happens in human society as now constituted. Support, therefore, to the victims of misfortune will be rendered, in the new order of things, upon principles, and with feelings, and with a liberality, which will leave no one any occasion to regret, that such support is rendered by the public, rather than by a private hand. Neither parents, children, or others, will be able to say that they could, if permitted, have done better for those who require help; and, they will therefore feel no constraint, that they can no longer make gifts, since there will be no longer any occasion for their use.

Article 20. (See PLAN, p. 144,) is as follows :--

"Property being thus continually, and equally divided forever, and the receivers of such property, embarking in all the various pursuits and occupations of life; these occupations must be guarantied against injury from foreign competition; or otherwise, indemnity should be made by the State,"

It is possible the reader may ask, what application a provision of this kind, can possibly have, in a system which professes to be made to suit the necessities of a single State; since any such State, of itself, by the connection it has with the Union, can have no power to give it a practical existence?

The answer is easy. The principles contained in this Work, are either well founded, or they are not; they are well suited to our condition, as human beings, desirous [269] to make the most of our means of happiness, or they are not; they are either exhibited in a plain and comprehensible manner, so that the people, with proper allowance of time and circumstance, can easily understand them, or they are not. If then, they are compatible with man's nature, and his rights; and if they are comprehensible by the people; such people will feel them to be essential to their own happiness; and will not fail to order them to be put into execution; and no power will be found able to prevent it.

But if the people of this State, shall thus be enabled to investigate, and understand this system; and, after understanding it, shall be prevailed upon by the causes mentioned to adopt it; so, also, will the adjacent States; and, more especially those, whose population, in the freedom of their character, closely resembles that of our own. To all the free States particularly, will the principles of this Work extend, if they shall be found to be of any value to this. The extension of instruction, is now so general throughout the Union, that, if it be acceptable here, it is likely to be acceptable elsewhere; and particularly so, where the evil of slavery does not exist. And, even in the slave-holding States; the rights of the poor white man, in opposition to what are now considered as the rights of the rich white man, will not fail to be demanded and defended by the former, whenever this Work shall find its way to their understandings. They, as well as we, in our own State, will not fail to make inquiry, why it is, that one white man is better than another; why he should possess more houses, or lands, or negroes, than another; why wills are not as unjust there, as in other places? And, if no satisfactory answer can be given to the poor white man of the South, by his rich brother; what is to hinder him and his associates from doing as we can and may do here; that is, making a General Division of all [270] property of the State, wherein he lives, and taking the necessary measures to transmit it equally to posterity?

I go even further. I even believe that if it were possible, in any short time, for the poor white man of the South to renounce his prejudices against the slaves and to admit that it is no more consistent with right, that the slaves should be subservient to him, than it is for the poor white man, to be subservient to the rich one; that even the slaves, themselves, might at once be admitted to an equal participation with themselves. Those who have been at the South, know, that among the slaves, there are many, who would not willingly take their freedom, if it were given to them; and, for this reason; inasmuch, as they would have no property; they, therefore, think they could not support themselves. Such is the habit, which slavery has impressed upon their feelings, that they think they would fail of subsistence, if they had not a master! But, if, with freedom, they were presented with lands, and other property also; wherewith to obtain subsistence the case would be very different; and, nothing could intervene to create dissension or disturbance; if the whites could prevail on their own feelings not to envy and oppose, this easy and natural method of extinguishing slavery, and its ten thousand attendant evils. To say that the whites are not capable of labor, would be no less than to say, that nature had made a mistake in creating them; by giving them wants in abundance, without the means of supplying them; and, would be just as true, as it would be, for our rich white man of the North, to say that he, too, could not labor; and, therefore, must have white men to labor for him, in every respect as good as himself!

Under present circumstances, however, I think, that such an event is impossible. But, I imagine, that it is very far from being impossible, that the poor white man of [271] the South. may demand his rights of his rich brother. The day of inquiry into rights, is yet in its morning; and, men having once awakened to search them out will not cease their labors till they have found them. They will not lay down to slumber on their pillows, till they possess them in full and secure enjoyment. Let the rich; therefore, prepare for an event, of which they can no more defeat or retard the approach, than the Kings and Emperors of the last hundred years, have been able, to refuse to the people of many nations, what they have heretofore denied to them with absolute sway.

It is evident, therefore, that, at least, the free States of this Union, may with one accord, and, as it were, simultaneously, adopt the system now under consideration. Under such a supposition, then, it is a very proper subject of inquiry; to ascertain how far the importation of foreign commodities, will interfere with the rights and happiness of each individual among us.

To free it of all difficulty, I shall suppose that the System herein recommended, is adopted, at least, by a great majority of the States. These States become then, in this respect, one great community, so far as foreign trade is concerned, erected on it. I shall suppose, too, that the constitutional question is at rest. For, if the Constitution be admitted, now, to deny the power to impose prohibition, or prohibitory restrictions on importations, of any and every kind; yet, as majorities can do any thing, (and the free states are a majority), they can amend it, so as to confer the power in question. And, this power so to amend the Constitution, the majority possess, and have the right exercise it, even with reference to the existing order of things. Certainly then, their power to make such amendments, under a change of sentiment, in each of the States forming the majority, as it regards the internal disposition [272] of their own affairs, cannot, in any respect, be questioned.

What now, do we suppose this great community about to do? To make a General Division, of their effects, real and personal, equally among all their citizens. And for what purpose? In the first place, that each may have, in the midst of society, all and equal the rights, in substance, which he would have in a state of nature. And this, it is necessary to do now, by a full and General Division, because governments, when they did begin, did not begin on right principles; they began, and continued, in such a manner, that as the result of these wrong principles more than nine-tenths of the human race have been robbed of their right of property, and as a consequence are slaves and panders to the other tenth. Therefore, is it necessary to remodel every thing, and begin on principles that are true and equal in themselves; and to organize public affairs, in such a manner as to preserve this equality unimpaired to the latest period of man's existence. And for what other purpose is this general division to be made? That there may be, among all these citizens, a judicious and equal distribution of the pursuits of industry. Thus more labor is accomplished by one man's doing one thing; another, another; and so on, through the whole circle of occupations, than could be done, if each one must do something of every thing; that is, as much as his wants require, even supposing them to be very few, limited and unrefined. How much more is accomplished in this distribution of occupations, than could be, under a contrary system, no man can tell. It no doubt exceeds in numerous instances, several hundred thousand times; and in others, the ratio ascends to infinity. It is of the utmost importance, then, avoid every discouragement to the full operation of a system, which produces such wonderful effects. [273]

But what discouragement should I not feel, if, on receiving my portion of the common property -- suppose it to come in the shape of money, I should have assigned to me the duty of making thimbles, for my fellow citizens; my portion affording me the capital to do so, and, on my getting them ready for use, I should be told, that thimbles are already brought in from some other country, and at a cheaper rate? Would my fellow citizens be justified in buying those cheaper thimbles? Had I expected, that on laying out my patrimony, I who never wanted a thimble in my whole life, should not have been able to have sold these thimbles, would I have made them? Would I have sunk my patrimony in them, and left myself in utter destitution? It is understood, of course, that the return I demand for them is no more than equal to the time employed upon them. It is further to be understood, that this labor is no more than would have been expended, if any other of my fellow citizens had made the same thimbles, instead of myself. What justice, then, is there, in their refusing to purchase mine, and in supplying themselves from the foreigner? I care not what are the foreigner's offers as to price. I do not care, if he have any price; he may even, if any one pleases, be disposed to give them to my fellow citizens. They shall not receive them! If they do, they break the civil compact; the bonds of society are snapped asunder; and I, and others like me, have a right to dispossess them of their property; and re-enter into the enjoyment of our original right of soil; or to parcel it off into new allotments. For society is as much a compact to consume the productions of each other's industry, in total exclusion of those of the foreigner, as it is for the common defence against the attacks of the common enemy. The moment a cotton-planter, for example, refuses to consume the productions of the spindles, the looms, or the anvils of his countrymen; and buys the [274] like articles of foreign manufacture; I care not at what price; that moment he breaks the Social Contract; and society has a right to thrust him from his plantation, and order him to go, and from his own experience learn how useful it is, not to requite industry with its just return. The truth is, that plantation is not his, unless he will cultivate cotton, in excess, beyond his own wants of the article, on the one hand; that he may have a superfluity to afford to his fellow citizens; and on the other, unless he expends the avails of that superfluity, or so much thereof as he requires, in such articles of the arts and industry of his fellow citizens, as he may need. He may not buy those articles of the foreigner at all. And the reason for this is, that this same cotton-planter, in consequence of my undertaking to make thimbles, for instance, has my share (by original right) of the common soil, in his possession; while I, who do not want it, give it up to him, and expend my time and capital in doing that for him and others, which they need, but which I do not. If I am not to have return for my capital and labor, my patrimony is gone, my labor lost, and myself a dependent upon him and others, by their breach of faith with me, induced by the appearance of the goods of this foreigner among us.

And such is the argument which will apply to the whole circle of occupations. Each for himself may make the application. No man is, of right, to consider himself the exclusive owner of an advantageous pursuit, of a location on, or title to soil, or other property; unless he fulfils these conditions. Nature never yet made a farm, or a plantation, and engraved the owner's name upon it. It is government, it is institution, it is men, in one word, who haw said, who shall be the owner; and when they shall be ready, or prompted to it, from any motive, they can UNSAY it. They can speak to this farmer, to this planter, as they can to [273] any other man:

"Sir, if you think you can compete with foreigners, on equal terms, and make a living for yourself, you shall do it. It is you who shall manufacture -- and we will be farmers and planters. No longer shall you have this portion of the domain of nature, on which to practice oppression upon your fellow citizens. We are men of toil; and we demand that you, and every other man, shall be willing to afford to us as great a return for that toil, in whatever it may consist, as you and others would require, if it were yourselves who had performed it. This we will have, or we will raze society to its foundation, and tumble you among the ruins."
And such is the language which is applicable to all sections of our country -- and to all classes of our people, and to all the pursuits that engage them.

But may not the public power, it is asked, admit, at all, of foreign productions, rude or manufactured? It has the right to judge; is my answer. It will have no objection, in general, where the importing state does not produce the article or its substitute. If it does produce it, then it may allow it, if it shall seem good to do so; but only on one condition; and this condition is, that full indemnity be given to every man in the community, who suffers by such importation. If it ruin the business of any man engaged in the production or fabrication of what is similar, so much must be given him, as will not only replace the expenditure he has already made, but as much more also as will enable him to commence in some new pursuit, and get it into the same prosperous condition, as is the one which foreign trade is now destroying. And so has every other citizen a similar claim, who is situated in a similar manner. If governments took this rule for their guide, they would not only do justice to the parties affected by their legislation; but they would take care, oftener than they now do, how they [276] ruined, in their ignorance, corruption, sport or caprice, the labors of whole classes of the community.

I enter not now into any discussion as to the details of th policy, which the Public Power ought to observe, in relation to importation from, other countries. I have desired only to show, that when a man surrenders up his original right of soil, and leaves others in possession of it; and goes and employs his industry, and the artificial substitute which he has taken in lieu of such original right, (whenever such substitute shall have been given at all,) and invests them in the arts, that the community has a made a contract with him to consume the productions which he thus prepares for their use. If it be so, and I think it is so unquestionably, such contract is to be literally fulfilled: and in case of failure, the community are indebted to him in an amount equal to a full indemnity.

Let, therefore, society be organized upon principles, as regards property, such as that every man must live by his own industry, instead of rioting upon the labors of others; and there will be no doubt, that he will be as willing, whoever he may be, as any one, that there be as ample room as possible for his industry to display itself in. Not to desire this, would be not to understand his own interest; for, his own interest, under the circumstances I have supposed, would be, to have as few competitors as possible; and in order to obtain this object, it would be necessary to shut out the foreigner's productions to the greatest possible extent; for, by so doing, a much greater variety of occupations would remain to the balance of the community; who would, or might otherwise have to come and interfere with him, or he with them. Under the organization in question the people would soon tell their governors, in a voice not to be misunderstood or disregarded, what to shut out, and what to admit; and this latter would very speedily be very [277] little indeed. If, heretofore, it has been, and still continues to be very great, it is because those who live on the labors of others among us; who have no industry of their own to be dried up by importations; whose resources are not annihilated by that very trade which, as they think, will give them more for their possessions, than their countrymen give; have so far held the ascendancy in the councils of the nation, as to be enabled to suffer immense importations to be made to the manifest prejudice and injury of large classes of our citizens. Let these, however, be placed in situations where their own labor must support them, and they will be as ready as other men who live by labor, to shut out the productions of the labor of other countries. Any discussion, therefore, in detail, as to what policy, or rule of policy, the governing authority ought to pursue, in relation to importations, it would be not only out of place here, but would be better left to be judged of by those who shall have occasion first to call it into action.

But although we waste our time to speak of these details, (for they would vary as to different countries; and even in the same country, as to different times,) still it may not be amiss to offer a remark or two, by way of general principles, as to the theory of a highly restricted trade, in opposition to that which is called free; a theory which all, or nearly all nations, will feel themselves compelled to adopt, whenever their people shall awake to an understanding of their rights of property, as developed in this work.

That an universal free-trade throughout the nations of the world cannot exist, without incalculable injury to a majority of nations, is evident from this: that, though all nations may have, or may be supposed to have, the same, or in other words, equal artificial facilities for the production of the commodities of commerce; yet they cannot have the same natural facilities. Climate and diversified natural [278] productions; and these too, in circumstances more or less advantageous, have ordered otherwise. That nation, therefore, which has the greatest aggregate of both these facilities, will be the one, which, going into the common markets of the world without any restriction, if the free-trade system is to prevail, will be able to undersell all other nations; and, if her resources be sufficiently extensive to break down their industry altogether; if not so extensive to inflict on it irreparable injury. For it is not to be controverted, that those will sell, to the exclusion of all others who will give the most for the same money. And he who has the greatest natural and artificial advantages, is the one, of all others, who can give the most. Thus of two nations, alike in the number and skill of their people, alike in every circumstance save one; that is, that the wheat-fields, for example, of the one, with the same cultivation, yield double the produce of the wheat-fields of the other one will have advantages over the other, with which the latter cannot contend even in his own country. So, in some countries, three crops of wheat are raised in a year, with less expense than is obliged to be laid out, in other countries, to produce one. All other circumstances being the same, the latter, on free-trade principles, would never raise its own wheat; much less export it to foreign countries; and the field that should produce it, will be left barren; and the men who should employ their industry upon it, will bury that industry in the grave of idleness for ever.

But, it is not, usually, in a single particular only, that nations are found to have advantages over others, in natural facilities and resources; and the consequence is, that such fortunate nations, in a system of free-trade, must, and inevitably will, have the power of greatly injuring less fortunate nations. The only protection against such a calamity, of which these latter can avail themselves, is, to [279] resort to exclusion; leaving the principles of free-trade to operate only within their own limits; and, within these, their operation should be unobstructed by the slightest hindrance.

But, if the power of fortunate nations appears so formidable to the prosperity of others, who are less so, under the supposition that their artificial facilities are equal; how much more dangerous to the latter, may it not be, when nations which have the greatest natural, shall happen to have the greatest artificial advantages also? Against such competitors, there could be none but an unavailing and suicidal attempt at competition.

It is evident, therefore, that statesmen, who have contended for the application of the free-trade system to the commerce of the world, have not considered, that the physical constitution, itself, of the globe we inhabit, forbids it, by a decree, which man has not the power to revoke; since he cannot make all climates similar and equal: and and have not reflected, even if he could make them equal, that still we could not have free-trade. We should then only have free ports, into which the vessels of all nations might enter; but which they would have no inducement to enter; since, all climates being equal and similar, I, for example, should buy sugar of my next door neighbor, rather than to purchase it of a man who brings it from a distant country, and who, in consequence, must charge me more for it than my neighbor will demand.

If there be those, who, living in an unfortunate climate, still wish to have the productions of climates more favored, and at prices consistent with their advantages, they should know that there is only one way in which their wishes can be gratified, compatibly with the welfare of the State in which they live; and that is, to emigrate to the favored country in question. Any other method of gratifying their [280] desires, would lead to the destruction of the happiness of those among whom they live, by rendering it impossible to cultivate whatever advantage's and resources they might happen to possess. There is an old proverb which says "As you make your bed, so you must lie." And we may say much in the spirit of it, that where a man lives, there is the country which must afford him, chiefly, the means of his subsistence; and foreign nations must be allowed to come as little as possible, with their productions into its market. Thus will the whole, or very nearly the whole fund of the industry of the country, be reserved for its own people; and this fund, in a System of Social Institution, which aims to place all men in situations in which they will be compelled to live by their own labor, cannot be preserved with too much care, perseverance, and tenacity.

As it regards the application of these principles, with respect to the United States, which may be called a great importing nation; it might be shewn, that by resorting to the system of a vigorous exclusion of the productions of the industry of other nations, an addition would be made to the fund of our own industry, of probably fifty millions of dollars annually. Our imports are now about eighty millions. This is the Custom-House valuation, which is always below the truth. To this consideration, smuggling is to be added; so that if we put our imports at one hundred millions, it will probably be none too much. Now, there is no doubt, if we were to cease to purchase these 100 millions worth of merchandize; such is our commercial and political situation, that we should still be able to sell to the world at large, at least fifty millions of our produce; thus making an addition to our industry of the other fifty. And this, and more, would be required, when the unproductive classes among us should be compelled to live on their own labor, instead of the labor of others. Indeed, there need [281] be little hesitation in saying, even as things are now, that there is, at this time, a sufficiency among us, of unemployed industry, so to speak, to perform, thrice told, all the labor that would be necessary to earn the fifty millions of dollars in question, if foreign trade did not take it out of our hands.

To these reflections may be added another; that the system of a severely restricted trade would bring along with it another advantage. This is, the impossibility there would be of the existence of speculation in the rise and fall of the prices of the commodities of commerce. A home market, held exclusively by our own citizens, would be unfluctuatingly steady, or very nearly so. War or peace would scarcely affect it at all. In this point of view, it would be of the utmost importance; inasmuch as it would be evident that no man could make his possessions greater than another's, otherwise than by greater industry, economy and skill. Opportunity for speculation being cut off, by having as little commercial connection with foreign nations as possible, it would have no field in which it could operate at home. For all men, being nearly equal in point of property, no one would have the means, as now many have, of monopolizing whole markets, through the agency of gigantic credit or capital; and in the new state of things, nothing could be done in this way, but by means of conspiracy or combination; and this the laws would punish and prevent.

One or two remarks further, in relation to this branch of my subject, it may be well to make. There are those who, contemplating the unhappy effects visited upon children employed in many of the theatres of national industry, in many countries of Europe and elsewhere, have felt and still feel a strong repugnance to this national industry, on that account. But it should be remembered that, in the [282] proposed new modification of society, the tender years of children would be devoted to instruction and education; and that none of them would be put to labor of any kind, till nature had given them age and strength sufficient for the accomplishment of what would then be required of them. It is to be considered also, that many of the processes of the arts, which now call for the employment of many children, will, under the new organization of things, (the event is happening even now,) be so improved and modified, as to supercede, sooner or later all necessity for their help; and thus enable human society to profit by these arts, more without the assistance of these children, than now they can with them. I trust therefore, that those who have felt objections to take care of and encourage the labor, in whatever it consists, of our own people, in exclusion of that which is foreign, from humane and kind considerations to the welfare of children, will see that they will have no cause for such objection in the equal condition of things which it is the purpose of this work to recommend and maintain.

The view I take of the probable extent and condition of our foreign and domestic commerce, under the contemplated new organization of human society, provided all, or even a majority of the States of our Union, should adopt it, makes it proper to say a word in respect to our National Navy. It will be said, that if all men are to have equal property on on coming to the age of maturity, and previous thereto, equal education, that it will be impossible to find men to man it. Be it so. And let the navy go down for ever. If it be said that a strong naval power would then command all oceans; I answer, that it may be so. So might the armies of Napoleon, if they were upon them, subjugate the deserts of Arabia; and what would it profit him? If any nation desires it, let them, by their navies, conquer these oceans. [283] All that the rest of the world has to do, is, to make them an Arabian desert to them. Not to trade between nation and nation, or only to trade in swift sailing vessels, at the hazard of their owners, will accomplish all this. There would then be nothing but loss in such conquests; and the consequence would be, that they would be speedily renounced for ever.

It is to be said, besides, that nations, which are commercial, and sufficiently so, to create and maintain such a navy as would be of any avail in any such attempt, are possessed of a population having intelligence sufficient to understand the plan of government marked out in this work; and will be altogether likely to adopt it, if it shall be so fortunate as to be adopted in this country. In such an event they would be as desirous as ourselves, to have nothing to do with navies; and thus they would sink into non-existence for the want of support.

Thus far has this work proceeded in discussing the moral and political features of all governments, as they are now constructed: and thus far is it seen how these features can be modified so as to compare much better than any system does now, with the actual equal rights of all men. Thus far will it appear, that all governments may and ought to be put down, which do not preserve to all these rights. If it be one man's right, to let the earth out on hire, so is it another's; if one man may not sell to his fellow-men, the use of what God created for all, and for one as much as for another, so may not another. If one may live without labor, so may another; if one may live with little labor, so may another; if one must live by much labor, so must another; if one man may take another's labor, and appropriate it to the support of him who did not labor, so may any and every man do the same. If one may have, of the property of a generation, that has [284] gone before us, five, or ten, or fifty, or a hundred, or five hundred thousand dollars; or a million, or five million, so may another, and every other. Nor is it to be said, even as things are now, that it is the dead who ever give property to their successors, after all. It is not NOT THEY WHO GIVE: they have power to do nothing: for, if they had, many of them would carry it away with them to another world, if any such there be. It is THE LIVING who give the present holders of property the possession of it; it is we ourselves, (for in us and us alone, rests the title) who have done it; and who yet allow it to be said, and hardly without contradiction from us, that others have done it: it is a mistake: IT IS NONE BUT THE GENERATION PRESENT, -- that gives, to what are called heirs, the possessions they enjoy; without this gift, this unjust and undeserved gift, they could not and would not have it at all! It is in OUR POWER, then, to CALL BACK the gift, whenever we shall think fit! That NOW IS THE TIME, need not further be shewn; for in showing that ALL MEN HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS, as well TO PROPERTY, as to life and liberty, every thing is shewn that is requisite. The time for acting on these principles is, when they are seen to be true; whenever they find a confirmation of their correctness in every human breast.

It remains then now, to speak more particularly of the methods which will be found most convenient in practice, to bring about the General Division in question. It may appear at first view, to be a matter of great difficulty to do it, however just and proper it may, in itself, be.

But on examination, it will be found to be of very easy execution, although it is a subject interwoven with the concerns, with the multiplex concerns, of more than two millions of people. But when so important an object as [285] the re-possession of man's rights, is to be achieved, means will be found which were scarcely imagined to be in existence. And that so great a work, can be so easily done, is, I think, one of the strongest proofs of the genuine character of the rights in question.

I shall suppose, however, that the course I recommend to be pursued, is the one which shall be adopted, and that the details necessary to execute it, will be much of the character, which I now proceed to describe. If the reader shall think that the measure of disavowing all debts, &c. &c. is too bold and daring, let him suspend his opinion, till I have an opportunity to show him, that both justice and policy demand it; that in its operation it will be found to injure no one's just rights; and that it is the cheapest, surest, readiest way in which he can obtain his own rights. The first of these details consists in an universal suspension of all business, except in so much as is necessary for subsistence, until the whole can be accomplished. All persons having domicil or residence, will remain where they are. Those who have not any fixed residence, and many unhappily there are, especially in cities; a grievous evil, this, growing out of the present system of the rights of property, will have such residence provided for them. All without distinction will have food and fire, (perhaps after the manner of rations) furnished to them, at the expense of the State, until the division is accomplished.

That all this may be done in the shortest time possible, it must be the work of many hands: for the old saying is, "Many hands make light work." In numbering the people, then, and in taking an inventory of their property, of whatever kind it may be, it is necessary to subdivide the whole surface of the State, into a very great number of small sections, or departments. And these small sections are more particularly requisite in cities. Thus, the wards [286] ought each of them to be divided into three, four, five, and in some cases, even more departments. The counties in this State, being as I believe fifty-four in number, are subdivided into about seven hundred and fifty-seven townships. [See Report of Superintendent of Common Schools.] These I have ascertained, upon an average, may have a surface of about sixty-four square miles; equivalent to about 8 miles long by 8 broad. This would probably be too large a surface to be suffered to compose one department. The number of school-districts, in these townships, cities included, amounts to eight thousand six hundred and nine. [See See Report of Superintendent of Common Schools.] This would give about eleven such districts to each township. If the departments were made as numerous and as small, of course, as these districts, and were made identical with them, it would be to subdivide the State into departments sufficiently numerous and small. And perhaps two or three such school-districts, might be quite as conveniently made into one department. In the latter case, three for example, the number of departments would amount to about twenty-eight hundred. Each of these departments, then, in the interior, would contain about five hundred and fifty inhabitants upon an average; and occupy a space of about sixteen square miles; that is 4 long and 4 broad. This would probably be as small as the departments need be, for the purpose in view.

Each of these departments, for themselves, and not by any intervening authority, should choose their assessors, appraisers, and whatever other officers may be wanted to carry the proposed measure into execution. This is an important point, to be attended to. It is the inhabitants of those departments, who would know best who among them were suitable. They would choose men, the best [287] qualified, both as regards integrity, and, from habits of business, judgment of the value of all kinds of property. But as no man can be supposed to know every thing, in a matter of this kind, each department should be called upon to organize a committee, to be composed of men acquainted with the value of all kinds of property likely to be found within such department, to go with the appraisers and assist them to form a correct opinion. At the same time that they take this assessment or valuation, they take the census also. But of the details of this part of their service, I shall say more, by and by. In making valuation, the new condition of things in which we are about to enter, is to be considered. It is to be considered that the same principles of valuation, which prevail now, are not to be allowed to have action here. Thus nothing is more common than for an appraiser, now, to make up his mind that such and such a sum would be obtained by a forced sale, either private or public, and to fix his valuation accordingly, whereas this forced sale affords a much less sum than actually the property has honestly and judiciously cost, and less than it would bring, even under the present operation of the prevailing system, acting in the most benignant manner of which it is capable. But the approaching system presents new features. It brings into the market, the whole community as purchasers, by giving them means of purchase; and competition, therefore, to elevate every article to its full value, is made to exert all its force. In the appraisal of articles of property, of which use has been made, nothing is more common, than to reduce the price of it greatly below its actual value. For the actual worth of an article, which, with proper usage, will last ten years, after the expiration of five years, if it has had proper usage, is equal to half what such a new article of the same kind is now worth, and in addition thereto, half the value of its [288] material, whatever it may be. Other articles, again, from their being in the hands of men who do not know the best application of which they are susceptible; although often new, or nearly so; or knowing, cannot succeed in finding those who do both know, and have the disposition and the opportunity to apply them to their best use; and who have also the means of purchase, are often put down at a value merely nominal; whereas if all knew they could purchase, and could apply the article or property they purchased, to a use which would be valuable to them, no species of property would be suffered to go unbought, at its full value, nor unapplied to the purpose for which it is most beneficial to society.

And herein do we see, in a signal manner, the self punishment, which the present system, of obtaining riches, inflicts on those who avail themselves of it. For often when by the force of necessitous circumstances, the rich man succeeds in obtaining property from another, at a price, greatly below what it cost the producer, we see it remaking on his hands, more or less unproductive. And for the very reason, that he, and other rich men, by the arbitrary and unnatural condition of things, in which every thing is placed, and by which he and other rich men together, have the power to do so, have actually prevented every body else, from being able to purchase. They realize in themselves, the absurdity and folly, as well as the wickedness of the man, who as the story is told (a very humble story, too, it is true although not altogether inapplicable) wished every body to die, in order that he might set up a public tavern. So do the rich desire to get the whole world into their possession and afterwards expect to find purchasers for it, and that too at full prices.

It will be proper, then, to take into consideration these circumstances; and when it is done, it will be apparent [289] that no valuation of the property in this State, that has ever been taken, has ever given any thing like the amount, which it would now bring, if put up at public sale, to an entire community, of whom every individual has as much as another, in the means of purchase.

These appraisers, and their accompanying committee, should also designate, the lots or quantities of property, to , be put up to sale, to be knocked off at any one bid. Thus indivisible property, such as a Steam-Engine, is not to be divided at all, for reasons that need not be stated. A Steam-Boat is also of the same description; so also is a Church, and many other kinds of property. On the other hand, property, particularly of a personal kind, should be divided as much as possible; so that all may have opportunity of purchasing what the satisfaction of their wants may require. Thus it would be manifestly improper, and useless to set up whole bales of broad cloths, sheetings, shirtings, &c. and so again as it regards mechanical, domestic, agricultural and other implements. If it be said that people from the interior will require many of the goods, for example, in this city, and that under such an arrangement they could not obtain any; because they cannot be supposed to be able to come to New-York or other cities to attend the sales; I answer, that the way in which this is to be done, is this.

It is understood, that every citizen of the State, of full age, will have, after the appraisal and inventory have been made out, a credit on what may be called the "Credit-Book" of the State, equal to that which any and every other person will have on the same book. If now, there be, for instance, five hundred, or any other number of persons whatever, in Jefferson County, for example, and these should be desirous of obtaining goods in this city, they have only to select an agent that suits them, and [290] instruct him to come here, and make such purchases for them, as they may require. In order to have the means of payment, a portion of their credit, will be placed in his hands such in amount, as those who place it there, choose to determine, and those who thus transfer any portion of their credit, to such agent, in trust for their own use, will be charged on the same book, with its amount. This credit, therefore, in the hands to which it may be committed, is the same thing as money; only that on arriving in our city the person entrusted with it, calls on the public agent or agents here for its verification.

It may be as proper, here, as elsewhere to observe, that when the General Sales take place, owing: to local circumstances, which are not necessary to be mentioned, strangers from other States and places, will be present to purchase also. These should be informed, previous to the time of sale by public advertisement, that nothing but gold and silver will be taken in payment. Bank notes being nothing but a species of credit, the State will not undertake to sell the public property, and take promises of any kind, or of any body, or any institutions in payment.

In all places, after valuation or assessment is made, all personal property except so much as may be necessary for domestic or family use, until the time when the new order of things is fully established, is put in charge of the State, immediately after the valuation of each person's personal effects is completed. But, in very few instances will it be necessary to remove any thing. The houses, buildings, and apartments in which they are contained, may be sealed and locked up and remain so, until the time of sale. As it regards personal property left, as it were by necessity, in the hands of families for their temporary convenience, they are to be answerable for its forthcoming, at the peril of imprisonment, such as would now be visited upon them, [291] for larceny, unless cause were shown to the contrary. As it regards personal property in dress; the holder, if he chooses to retain it, does so, by subjecting himself to the payment of the valuation which shall be imposed upon it.

In the country, it happens, often, that there are small farmers, who ought by no means to have so little land as they now possess; and who in the new order of things, will be entitled to more. Wherever circumstances will admit of it, more land, contiguous, is to be adjoined to it, in order to make such farms of profitable and equal size. And where it cannot be conveniently made contiguous; it should be made as little remote as possible. And where other farms are manifestly too large, such for instance as is sufficient to make more than the average size, they are to be divided accordingly.

All vessels in port, as well as property on board of them, belonging to our citizens, is considered to be within the possession of the State, as intended by Article I. p. 137, notwithstanding they may happen to be absent, on voyages without the State. These arriving before the completion of the sales, are to be appraised and sold in manner the same as all other property. And persons arriving before the period mentioned, are to be entered, if they have not been entered, in the census accordingly. The number of such persons will bear but a fractional ratio to the whole population, perhaps even less than the two thousandth part. All absent persons, being citizens, of full age, whose names shall not have been caused to be recorded by their friends and acquaintances, and who shall not return anterior to the closing of the sales, will be considered in the same light, when they do return, as minors arriving at the age of maturity. All ships, and the property on board of them, belonging to our citizens, which shall arrive at a period subsequent to the completion of the said sales; shall [292] be sold as soon as practicable, thereafter, and the proceeds applied to the benefit of minors afterwards coming of age; and others who shall not be present at the General Division.

Public school-houses, and the property immediately attached and necessary to them, not belonging to corporations, associations, or individuals, to be exempted from sale; so also, large, and valuable libraries. These are to be retained, subject to the future disposition of the State. The latter being particularly valuable, on account of rare books &c. it would be injudicious to have scattered again, after having been collected with much care, trouble and expense. It is better, therefore, that the State should secure them, so as afterwards to extend their benefit to the community in a manner as general as possible.

To facilitate and expedite the transaction of the labors of the Appraisers; as soon as a suspension of all business takes place; every citizen will so arrange and assort whatever he has of property in possession, as to leave little to be done, when the Appraisers come. This he will be easily enabled to do -- inasmuch as he will have nothing else to employ him, and inasmuch as it will be the duty of others to assist him. And it will be to his interest to shorten the period necessary to effect this general distribution; inasmuch as the sooner it is over with, and done as justly and equitably as it can be, the better for him, as the sooner he can commence business for himself.

When the period of sale arrives, (and this should be at a season least interfering with the ordinary business of life; and when, at the same time, the weather would not be too inclement to transact business, to the best possible advantage,) persons who are sick, and who, therefore, cannot bid for themselves, may authorise others to bid for them. And persons absent and attending on the sickness or burial of others, may also do the same. [293]

As now, the husband bids in right of his wife. If the hand be absent, and have authorized no person to bid for him, the wife may bid in his stead.

As at public safes now, no property will be delivered till afterwards; in most cases, probably, not till the sales are generally done with. All persons to whom any thing is struck off, gives in their names; these, and their amounts, are entered in a book, in alphabetical order; and when the sales are over, then it is ascertained who, if any, have exceeded their bids, and how much; and accordingly they receive a written or printed permission, signed by the proper authority, allowing them to receive what was struck off to them.

The order of time in which the sales should be made, should be such as not to be too much hurried, nor too much protracted. Too many should not be going on at a time, nor too few. The public authority will superintend this matter, and regulate it as it should be; but in doing so, the order of arrangement should generally be such, that, on any one day, for example, articles of one kind only, should be offered up to sale; yet the sale of this one kind may be conducted in a great many places at one and the same time. Thus, all who should need groceries, ought to have an opportunity to buy them; and in order to have such opportunity, on the same day on which these groceries are sold, other property should not be offered. Otherwise they would, or might be, prevented from having an opportunity to purchase. And so with every other article. The classification, indeed, of all property, offered up for sale, should be made very extensive, so as to be able to suit, very accurately, the wants of all purchasers. For example, dry-goods, as they are called, would admit of being divided into several classes. [294]

The reason that may be offered for being so particular when the census is taken of the people, as to require the name, date of birth, as near as may be, annexing of course, the age, the place of nativity, parentage, sex, color, occupation, domicil or residence, and length of time resident last resident in the State, is, that as many avenues to fraudulent pretensions to citizenship may be closed as possible, by opening every resource for detection. There is, besides, another and more important reason; and it is this, that as there are, throughout the State, a multiplicity of names, exactly alike, much confusion might ensue; but if all these circumstances were added also, it would scarcely come within the range of possibility, that any mistake should happen; and as each department, even in our cities would be made to consist of only a moderate number of persons, these persons together with the public authority would easily devise the means of preventing any one succeeding in an attempt to appear under the character of two or more different persons. It is to be observed, that severe punishment would hang over him who should be guilty of the commission, or the attempt at commission, of a crime like this; since it would be no less an offence than that of grand larceny; and would consign the offender (such might be the punishment) to prison for fourteen years. And every person would have a deep self-interest in bringing to light any, and every attempt of the kind.

The work of making such appraisement, of taking such census, and receiving the inventories, where every body without payment for services of any kind, concurred to assist; and where as now, there would be nothing else to attend to, further than providing meals, would be very speedily accomplished. The appraisement, census, and inventory of the whole State would be completed, in a very few days, [295] probably in a single week. [ It may be as well, in a note as elsewhere, to say that probably the full and complete division of the State, would be effected in six or eight weeks.] So soon as the appraisers, assessors, &c. of each department have performed this duty, they would next, each for their own section, make out a book; which may be called the "Department Inventory" -- and this would contain :

  1. The names of all persons, being citizens, of and over the age of maturity, in alphabetical order, with the designation!) heretofore mentioned.
  2. The amount of all personal property, in the possession of such citizens.
  3. The amount of all real property, in the possession of such citizens.
  4. The amount of all real property, held by persons, being citizens of other States, and residents therein.
  5. The amount of all property of a personal kind, held by associations or corporations:
  6. The amount of all real property held by the same; and
  7. The amount of all other property, of a public nature, which the State may allow to be set up at public sale.
[It would no doubt be very useful also, and it will probably be put in practice, if the proposition which this Work contains is ever acted on; to give as far as may be convenient and practicable, the gross amount, in quantity, in the whole State, of various kinds of property; particularly of commodities which enter into general consumption. Thus it would be desirable to know how much there may be of flour for example, and other provisions; of sugar, coffee, and other groceries; of cloths and all the various kinds of clothing; &c. &c. &c, in order that some estimate may be formed among the citizens, of the quantity that may be [296] proportionably coming to each, when the period arrives for them to purchase at the Great Public Sale. And to accomplish this the more effectually, as it regards some kinds of property, which do not enter into general use, it would be well to ascertain, in like manner, the number of persons, following particular trades or occupations, and requiring such commodities; so that it may be known, for example, how many smiths, and other artificers in iron, there will be, to purchase the articles they use, and which the State may be found to contain.]

A similar Book, to be called the "Department Alien Book," is to be made out, embracing aliens, in the same manner, as far as their circumstances are applicable.

Each department will also make out, what may be called the "Department Minor Book." This will contain the names of minors, in manner the same as is observed with respect to persons of full age; and in addition thereto, the time when they will arrive at maturity. To this will continually be added, the births that take place ever after; and from it will be taken the names of those who may die. Once a year a copy of this "Minor book" will be forwarded to the centre of the State, to ascertain the number and names of those who may have arrived at the age of maturity.

So soon as the departments have made out, each for themselves, the "Department Inventory," and the "Department Alien Book," let them make out a copy of each, and despatch a special messenger to the capital of the State, therewith; and so soon afterwards, as another copy of each can be prepared, let, also, another special messenger be despatched with it, lest accident should prevent the arrival of the first; and so on, a third, if it should be judged expedient. The State would thus make itself sure of receiving its returns, without delay. Otherwise the [297] whole population might be waiting on a single department.

The State having received all its returns, let there be made out in alphabetical order; "A general Inventory of the State," in manner the same as the "Department Inventory" naming only persons, &c. and amounts; and let there also be made out "A General Alien Book," similar to the "Department Alien Book." Next let printed copies thereof be made, in sufficient number, and sent to each of the departments; first before printing, having ascertained the total amount of real and personal property in the State; and divided it by the number of persons, of and over the age of maturity, in order that the dividend with which each is to be credited, may be made known. The objects of this "General Inventory'' are seen without explanation, but the purpose of the "General Alien Book" may not appear at first sight. It is meant to guard against collusion as much as possible. By thus obliging aliens to record all their effects, &c., together with their names, places of residence, &c, and by spreading such record before every citizen, throughout the State, great opportunity is given for such persons to fall under suspicion, if they shall appear to possess more property than their acquaintances, either in the departments to which the "Alien Book" attaches them, or elsewhere, shall think they are honestly entitled; and suspicion often brings about detection. The knowledge, therefore, of the existence of such a book, would have a powerful effect in preventing crime, which otherwise would be more freely committed.

In each department, previous to sale, from the time when the inventory is made, by the appraisers, assessors &c. let there be a very full and sufficient advertisement made of such property as requires it, in order that the public may have ample opportunity of becoming acquainted with it. Let this be done, while at the capital of the State, "The General Inventory of the State," and the "General [298] Alien Book," are in preparation. Let every reasonable facility be afforded, under proper regulations to inspect such property.

So soon as the general sales are completed, returns are again to be made by the departments, to the Central Authority, of the amount sold, and the persons to whom each in his amount. The total amount of the sales throughout the State, is next ascertained; a new dividend made; and this is the amount which each is entitled to retain, as his patrimony from the State. If he has bought more, he is a debtor to the State; and must repay the excess either now, or at some short period hence; and if he have bought less, he is a creditor; and is entitled to receive his deficiency. See Article 9. p 140.