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



In continuation, for a General Division of Property -- and for the method proposed to be pursued in effecting it.

The two preceding chapters have been confined, principally, to showing, if even an equal division were admitted to have been made, how easily and quickly such equality would be destroyed; if charters, conferring exclusive privileges, were allowed to be granted; if disqualifications for civil office, or for any other purpose, or, if exemptions from equal contribution to the public treasury or to the public service, were tolerated either in the constitution or the laws; if the right of property were not extended to all, without regard to color, or other factitious and foolish distinction; if the right of suffrage were not equally extensive; [299] and if parents, more than others, were compelled to contribute to the support of their children, during their minority.

It became necessary to examine all these questions, in discussing the various articles of the PLAN, proposed to the consideration of the reader, at the close of the IVth Chapter, (pages 137 to 144;) and it is apparent that they are involved in the details, rather than in the main subject. For it was, as a matter of course, to be admitted that a division, in some one way or other, could be effected. Thus, for example, if we could suppose all the present possessors of property, to have such a just sense of the right of all their fellow-beings, to an equal share of it, and to have also such a sense of rectitude as to give it freely up to them for its equal subdivision among them; the discussions on the subjects mentioned, which have taken place, would have still been, necessary; so long as the public mind, or any considerable portion of it, was afflicted with the errors, which it was the object of these discussions to explode.

But it is not to be admitted as a general principle, that the rich will give up what they call their properly willingly. The force of habit on them is as strong as it is on others; and although they may and will be compelled to see the injustice of the title by which they hold possession; yet, many of them, will resist the force of that conviction, which will be sent home to their understandings, and will cling to an undue share of that which belongs to all equally, with nearly the same tenacity with which they cling to life itself. Those who expect to be the successors to these possessors of property will also, many of them, display their hostility to that system which proposes to reduce them to the common level of their fellow-citizens; much in the same way, as we behold the successors of [300] those who possess political power, which is to descend in an hereditary manner. Nor in point of principle, is there any difference in the two cases. Certainly in a republican government, it will be quite as proper to admit of hereditary right in the son, to his father's political power, -- as to his property. Let no man mistake himself so far as deny this; for, if he shall be disposed to say that the political power, spoken of, is not his; but the property is; I answer, it is not so. He has both of them, for the time being; and after he has done, with either the one or the other, they are no longer at his disposal. He has no just power to say, into whose hands either shall succeed. Let it be recollected, too, that as in the case of political power, when it is deposited in the hands of an agent, for the common good, such power, at any moment, when the community shall think proper so to order, may be taken out of his hands; so also, the property, which any community, no matter for what reason, has heretofore suffered to remain in my hands unequally; whether it be in ignorance of their own rights, or otherwise, may be taken out of my possession, by the great community, of which I am a member, and be appropriated to the good of all equally; for it is to these, to whom it belongs; and not to me, beyond my equal portion.

But as, when they fully understand their rights, their interests and their happiness, a very great majority of any nation will, I may presume, be found to be in favor of the principles which this Work supports and inculcates; and as such majority will possess almost the entire physical force of the State; there is but one way in which those, who shall wish to oppose the will of such majority, may be able to do it with success. This is, by fraud and cunning. There will be those who, even under an oath having been given by them to the contrary, will go and bury their [301] dollars in the earth, rather than report them in their inventory. Others would send out of the State, or otherwise conceal, their personal property, subject to their future use; and remain themselves to obtain their share of the general dividend; notwithstanding heavy punishment might hang over their heads for having done so; and notwithstanding the perjury they would find it necessary to commit to conceal the act. Others again would enter into collusive understandings with strangers, not parties to the proposed division, to make claim to their property, in order to keep it out of the general division; although for all this conduct, the same awful peril to person and character, would attend the transaction if detected.

It is evident, therefore, if the few, (for the rich are the few,) may be able, by fraud and cunning thus to counteract the designs and the rights of the many; that the method to be pursued in obtaining possession of the property to be divided, should be as effectual as it is possible to make it. And yet it ought to be of such a character, as not to do injustice to a neighboring State. Thus it would seem that the landed property of a citizen of New-Jersey, which he holds in this State, should not be given up and apportioned among our own citizens, without giving him an indemnity. And so might the same be said, of every other citizen, of every other State or nation. Nor indeed would there be any objection to giving such indemnity; provided all the landed property, or the full value thereof, which our citizens own, in all other States or nations, could be wrested from them, and placed in our State Treasury. For, then, this sum, so placed in the Treasury would probably be equal, and perhaps more than adequate, to pay the amount of the indemnities in question. It would, in effect, amount to an exchange between foreigners holding land here, and our citizens holding [302] land abroad. Let us now suppose that such an exchange had voluntarily taken place, and that all the land within the State was actually owned by our own citizens, and none by foreigners of any kind or description whatever; what then might not be said? Could it be pretended, that the land which the foreigner lately owned within our limits, and which, by way of exchange, he has just conveyed to one of our own citizens, should not and ought not to come into the division. No man's property ought to come in unless good reason be shown therefor And one good reason may be that his title to such property is not a just one. Now, the titles to all men's property are things which all communities have a right to inquire into. Thus they have a right to inquire into the title, not only of the man who might have received his land from a citizen of New-Jersey, of Connecticut, of Vermont, of Pennsylvania, or of any other State, but also into the title of every other citizen, and of every other kind of property

It matters not as to the kind of tribunal, -- which shall be appointed to try their titles, so that it decides justly. The whole community, may appoint agents, whom we call judges; and order them to enquire. Or the community may do it, itself, in its own primary capacity. It may investigate every man's pretensions; and after having done so; it is proper for it to say, if it thinks so; to this claimant, "you hold too much; you have more than is your own; to that, "you have too little; receive from the other, what he holds too much;" and so on, through the whole community. Nor is this community, so acting in its primary and original character; to receive rules or principles from any one, by which to govern its decisions or to guide its judgment: it acts for itself; and upon principles, which it sees, itself, to be good and equitable, and upon NONE OTHER. [303]

If then, there shall appear to be some thing worthy of consideration, and about which we should hesitate, when it is proposed to take the lands, in this State, held by a citizen of another State, without indemnity; so also is there similar consideration due to the creditors of our citizens in another State, when it is proposed to nullify the debts which are due to them. But investigation will set the matter in a clear light, such that we shall see justice done to all parties. For, it is impossible that men can have rights, and that there shall be no way in which to come at their possession. They were made for their enjoyment; and the means were never wanting to obtain them, by any people, when they saw in what they consisted, and when also they possessed the means of creating among themselves a perfect concert of action, by the agency of a community of opinion.

But, if we are to hesitate when it is proposed to abolish the debts, or to appropriate the lands in question, on the one hand; so on the other, are we to hesitate, before we undertake to say we will not do it. Besides there is not so much of inequality and injustice in such an abolition and appropriation, as at first thought might appear. For, it is to be understood, that when we refuse to pay any debts, we refuse to receive any also; and that when we take ourselves land, which are within our State, owned by citizens of other States; we also renounce all lands owned, in other states, by our own citizens. And speaking for his own State, a citizen of New-York, might probably say, that in the aggregate, however it might be in particular instances, we should give up, quite as much, as we should retain, and probably more. In the gross, therefore, there would be no injustice done.

But, let us look at this matter a little more minutely. Suppose this State to renounce debts in its favor, to the [304] amount of one hundred thousand dollars, due from sundry citizens of New-Jersey to our citizens: Suppose, again this State refuses to pay to sundry other citizens of New-Jersey, a like sum of one hundred thousand dollars, due to them, by our own citizens. As between State and State, the account would be exactly balanced. There would be no injustice done, by or to either party. But individuals on the one hand, would be the losers of the whole amount; and on the other hand, other individuals, in the same State would be the gainers. Suppose the State Authority of New-Jersey, now, to interfere and order these gainers to give all they have gained to the losers; would it not be perfectly right? And would it not equalize every thing, precisely as if New-York had received and paid all?

Again, if the debts renounced by the State of New-York were still as I have supposed them to be; that is, one hundred thousand dollars; and the debts refused to be paid, were one hundred and fifty thousand dollars; New-York would be a gainer to that amount: and there would not appear to be any means, in the system I am recommending, to replace to New-Jersey this sum, which she had thus lost.

So, on the contrary, if the State of New-York renounced debts to the amount of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, it would lose fifty thousand dollars; and there would appear to be no resource from which she could replace its amount, unless it were from the average result of all her debts and credits.

But we should not forget ourselves. We should remember that it is impossible for such a state of trade as this to exist between the State of New-York, and the State of New-Jersey; or between New-York and any other State or nation, whenever it shall appear that there is shortly to be, in this State, such a division of property as I have proposed [305] in this Work; and when, in order to accomplish it, it appears also, as I shall show, that there must be an absolute and unqualified renunciation and abolition of all debts. Those who are in the practice of trade, look well after all that concerns it; and when they see, that, shortly, they cannot tell how shortly, there will be no collection of debts, they will be very careful not to suffer any to be created at their expense. Thus, in the State of New-York, that citizen who should be in favor of the proposed equalization of property, and its equal transmission to posterity, would be desirous to retain, for the purpose of throwing it into the General Fund, all that an honest trade would make him master of; and he would be as little disposed as any one to credit, where he could not recover it: and he, on the other hand, who was opposed to it, would be quite as adverse to giving credit at such a time, as now he is to one who cannot pay him. But even if he were to credit a foreigner, and if, in anticipation of such an event as that of a general division of property, he should remove from the State, and make himself a citizen or subject of some other State or nation, such removal could not be hindered; but it is very doubtful, if previous to his removing from the State, but subsequent to a very general belief that the supposed abolition and renunciation of debts, by his native or adopted State, would soon take place; I say it is very doubtful, whether the State of New-Jersey, for example, would allow him to recover of one of her citizens any thing which he might have sold on a credit to him, at a time when he, the creditor, was a citizen of the State of New-York.

The same reluctance would be felt not only by the citizens of New-Jersey, but of all other States or nations who should trade with us, to give credit under an expectation of such an event, as would deprive them of the means of [306] collecting it. There would, therefore, be no debts on either hand; and no injustice could be done by any one or to any one. If, indeed, credit were given to any one, each would give it to persons of his own State or nation; or to each other. Thus, if a merchant of New-York bought a cargo of cotton, and took it with him to London or Liverpool, with an intention to buy goods, he might be able to dispose of his cotton to those of whom he might wish to make purchases, nor to any one else for cash; but these latter would nevertheless sell him the goods in question; and, in payment thereof, instead of the actual purchaser of their goods, accept as their debtor, their own countryman, who purchased the cotton, and who had not the means of present payment.

But if, after all, it should he contended, that there would still be some credit given, and taken, on both sides, notwithstanding; both because men are indiscreet, and because they cannot, all, in an equal degree, judge of the probability of approaching revolutions, such, in effect, as this would be, though brought about entirely by the force of public suffrage; yet still the agitations, and discussions, which could not fail to show themselves in the public mind, on such an occasion, would be in the nature of a notice to beware, and to keep himself harmless: as he has always the power to do, who has property to dispose of. If after all this notice he suffered himself to be caught, it would be his own fault. Besides, this is a state of things, as observed before, which would make each of the two trading parties equally cautious; their general course of trade would be, to carry with them the means of payment: and if any little balances, through indiscretion, remained unadjusted, it is altogether probable, that between two nations, the amount of credits given to each, by each, would be as nearly equal as may be. On this supposition, then, [307] that these inconsiderable balances were equal, all that the government has to do, which does not come into the system of abolishing and renouncing debts, in order to regulate this matter among themselves, is, to take the debts due from their citizens or subjects, to the citizens of the renouncing government; and give them to their own citizens or subjects, who have been so injudicious as to give credit to the citizens of a government, who, they had every reason to believe, would soon adopt a measure which would prevent them from collecting it.

These remarks, it will be said, apply only to such transactions as may be supposed to take place, after the anticipated change in our State Government, begins to manifest indications of being finally adopted; and that it does not apply to debts already contracted. These, it may be observed, in reply, are either due, or coming due, long before such an event can have time to take place at all; so that there will be an ample opportunity to make collections of debts already contracted; or to fail of doing so, through the insolvency of the debtors. To propose, therefore, the abolition and renunciation of all debts, as between citizen and citizen, and between citizen and foreigner, can produce injury or injustice to no one; inasmuch as if it shall be considered altogether idle and visionary; it will receive notice from no one, and will therefore be a nullity; and inasmuch as on the other hand, if it appears to be a necessary step for two millions of people to take, in order to obtain their rights and pursue their happiness; then that course of trade will be adopted, by which there will be neither debtor or creditor, in either nation as regards the other.

Besides, this question presents itself under another aspect. That a government, as such, which has contracted, in good faith, a debt on its own account, should [308] observe the same good faith in its discharge, there seems but little cause, in general, to doubt. But how far is the same obligation, in point of morals, for contract, it will not be pretended there is any, to assist a foreigner who credits citizen, to collect his debts? It is not even to be said, that this same government can be called upon to lend the aid of its arm in collecting debts, existing between citizen and citizen. If government shall do so at all, it is from its own good will and pleasure; and from the opinion it shall entertain that the public good will be promoted by it. As a matter of good policy even, it has been doubted by many men of the soundest practical sense, whether such interference on the part of government, between debtor and creditor, is advisable. But, however men may differ on this point, it will not be admitted, for a moment, that the citizen or subject of a foreign government, has any claim on the government of this State, for example, for its aid in collecting a debt, which a citizen of this State may have contracted with the former.

It will be said, that the state of things which existed at the time when the debt was contracted, ought not to be varied between the parties, until the transaction is settled. But to what would not this principle lead? The time has been, in some countries, when not only the body of the debtor, but those of his whole family, and their posterity, were sold for ever as slaves, if a debt were not paid. Is it to be said, then, if a government or people should become sensible of the wickedness, injustice, and enormity of a practice like this: that a creditor, of a few dollars, it may be, should rise up and say; that until he was paid, it should not be abolished? To allow such creditor to have any weight, would be to adopt a principle, which would place the power of the government entirely out of its own hands, into that of the creditor's. It would be, to [309] destroy its power, and to erect on its ruins a fabric, other than that which the people of all countries have ever contemplated in erecting governments for their common benefit. It would preclude the possibility of government correcting its mistakes, or renouncing barbarous principles of legislation, which, from causes out of its power at the time to avoid, it was compelled to adopt.

It is apparent, therefore, that a State may, at any moment, that it pleases, suspend the operation of all laws, within its own limits for the collection of debts, however, and with whomsoever contracted; and more especially so, when it practices the corresponding justice of renouncing all debts to its own citizens by debtors abroad, and provides punishment also for any of its citizens who shall be guilty of receiving debts so renounced, if even a foreign State were to be found that would allow it. And this is more particularly a measure of justice to all, inasmuch as it will be a transaction that cannot be hid from any one. Thus, if in this State, we are ever to have a general division of property, with a provision that it is to descend to posterity in manner much the same as is pointed out in this work, there must be some one to propose it: the way in which this is to be done is by printing: and it may be this Work or another. If it finds readers who think its principles are sound and practicable, it is evident that the Writer is not alone in his thoughts; others will be induced to coincide, as soon as they have read, examined and reflected: the numbers of those whose interests, rights, and happiness, the work demands and defends, will increase; they will soon be sufficient to elect members to the Legislature, to fulfil their wishes, by ordering, in the manner pointed out, in the present Constitution, the assemblage of a new State Convention; and all this cannot be done, without exciting, the daily prints as well as others, to take [310] deep interest in what is going on, and thus to make known, not only to our own citizens, but to all the world, especially such as have any interest in knowing any thing about our affairs; the revolution which is about to take place; and which is not to be accomplished, without a renunciation and abolition of all debts as has been proposed. The whole world, therefore, will have notice; they will be warned, not to trust their property to our citizens; and, if after such notice, they do give credit, they will have no cause to complain of any one but themselves, if they suffer injury thereby.

But even if it were not possible to equalize property among us in the way I recommend, without committing what apparently seems to be the injustice of denying payment to the foreign creditors of our citizens; still such denial of payment would weigh but as a feather in the scale. For, in this as in all other changes or revolutions, it is allowable, if it be unavoidable, to perpetrate some wrong, in order to achieve much good. Thus if injustice were done to the people of another State or nation amounting, as we may say, to 5 -- and justice and right were accorded to our own citizens, amounting to 100; this excess of that which is good, over that which is evil, would justify the measure. In addition to this it may be observed -- that if the principles of the rights of property contained in this work are true; they are true in one nation as well as in another; and then it will follow that a foreign creditor, especially of vast possessions, will only be divested of property, which is not truly his own, if he should lose much the greater portion of it, (due as it may be from one of our own citizens) by the renunciation of debts in question. And if he were made entirely destitute; it would be evident indeed that he was made so, (conjointly with his having trusted his property to a foreign debtor) by the [311] abolition of all debts by the government of a foreign State; but it would be equally evident also, that himself and his fellow-citizens or subjects have the same power that we or any other people have, to give to each what belongs to him, by equalizing all property among themselves. If they do not do it, and thus bring home equal justice to every man's door, it is their own fault; and they cannot, with any propriety, blame a foreign government for it, who are only seeking to make the enjoyment of rights of all kinds equal among their own citizens, and have no wish to injure others.

Nor is there so little of regard in all this proceeding of the abolition of all debts, to the just rights even of the foreigner, as, at first thought he may imagine. For what will be the true character of all the discussion, which this or any other similar work may excite, if it shall excite any? Will it not be in the nature of an inquiry into the rights of property? Will it not be a tribunal, small and of few members at first, but constantly increasing, (if there be justice to all men in the principles I advocate) investigating the title, by which any and every man holds in possession for his own exclusive use, that which he calls his own? And when the entire community of the citizens of this State shall all have taken a share of duty in these investigations; what else will it be, but a great judicial tribunal, of all our citizens, sitting in judgment over, and deciding for themselves in their own primary capacity, upon the right to property, which each man holds or pretends to hold? And if such a great tribunal were seen, as it must be, exercising its talents and its labors, to the ascertainment of how much property belongs to each; how much one has more than belongs to him; how much another has less: and preparing to give the requisite orders; would not the very existence of such a tribunal, so employed, be [312] a warning of the most emphatic kind, to all foreign,, and strangers? Would it not say in substance, to them:

"We are in a state of uncertainty; we know not exactly how much of each man's property, as himself terms it, is his own; we cannot tell whether it be his, or how much of it be his, so that he could in strict justice, contract debts upon it. It is better, therefore, if you deal at all with him, to give and receive equivalents in all your transactions. Let nothing be done on time; for the result may be, that what now seems to be his, will be adjudged to another, or to many others; in this latter case you might lose much. It is in kindness to you, therefore, that we say; trust nothing to any of us, till we have settled our own affairs among ourselves; and then all parties will know better how to act for themselves, than they do now."

Nor is a notice, a warning of a similar kind, though to a smaller extent, wanting among us now. Every day our Courts are employed in investigating the rights of property, as they now understand them. And every day does it happen that the right is adjudged to be in the person of him who is not the holder. How often then does it occur, that the holder or possessor of property, thinking that the right of such property, is in him, contracts debts with some creditor, often to large amounts, on the mere belief alone, as well by the creditor as by himself, of the existence of such right in him, which he would not have been able to have contracted, but for having such property in possession? What then results from the adjudication of the tribunal in question before us? Why that the creditor loses all; for although the debtor may have received an ample equivalent for the amount of his supposed title to possession, he is nevertheless unable to restore it; inasmuch as he has imagined himself to be worth much, and has lived [313] accordingly; though the event proves him to have been worth nothing. Nor does it make any difference where the creditor has his residence. If an English Banker, under an impression that the title to his vast estates, of Henry Rutgers, of this city, was not to be disputed, should lend him on a long credit, a large amount of money; and if previous to the expiration of this credit, our courts should have decided that the title was not in him, but in another; where would be the resource of such creditor for payment? The estates would be beyond his reach; and little or nothing of the avails of the loan would be left; inasmuch as the borrower, imagining that his possessions would justify him in so doing, had indulged in enjoyments freely; and enabled others to do so, too, on his bounty. It appears, then, that even now, all creditors, foreign as well as domestic, are subject to have their claims for payment, rendered wholly abortive, by investigations into the rights of property, by our tribunals; and this, too, without having that friendly public warning given them, which the case before us supposes. It is evident, therefore, that the course I propose to pursue, is even more just to strangers, than the one now practised, inasmuch as he is treated with more kindness and humanity who is warned of the slumbering snake, than he who is suffered, even unintentionally, to disturb his repose and provoke his aggression.

Nor is any exception to be taken to the character I have attached to a whole people when they undertake to investigate, judicially, all their concerns as regards the rights of property. It is quite as competent to them; they have just as good a right; to perform for themselves, in their own primary character, all that they might demand of their judges; (if they thought proper to appoint them,) as they nave to act in their character as legislators, in a similar manner, without the use or intervention of agents [314] or legislatures. So also, in their own original and elementary character, they have a right to fix upon the principles which shall guide and govern them in the decision they shall ultimately make; just as now, if they were about to appoint judges to act in their stead, which certainly they have the right to do, they would have the power to say, by what rules or principles their decisions should be governed. The judges themselves, and the principles of law which are to control them, are of right and of necessity, the creation of that power which has made both; and any such judge having been created, has no power to make his own principles, unless the power that created him gives its consent, in some way or other. And further, if a judge have thus, by consent, made principles, which were agreeable to him; but are not agreeable to the power in whose name he acts; and who gave him his official being; such power can prescribe other principles, for his government, and be must obey them. It is not to be said, that a whole community, acting in their original capacity, are not to be considered as judges. I quarrel not about names; for although it may be granted that judges are a less number, in the usual acceptation of the word, than the community consist of, for whom they act; yet all are essentially so, too, in the case before us: though it is not common to witness their actual existence. If any one doubt this, let him imagine that an entire community has appointed every man in it save one, to be judges; then would it be a part acting for the whole; and so great a part as to make no appreciable difference, between such part and the whole. It is the fact of judging that constitutes a man a judge; and it is the same fact of judging also, that converts a community into judges likewise.

If then it is not to be disputed, that the principles by which the judges shall make up their opinions, as well as [315] the judges themselves, are appointed, of right, by the Supreme Power residing in the whole community; so also is it not to be disputed, that such community or the successors of such community, have the right to alter such principles, or to substitute them with entire new ones, whenever they shall be of opinion, that these will be better adapted to do justice to each and every individual. There can be no obligation, of any force on any one, not to correct mistakes; not to make that better which is capable of it; not to make that perfect, which we have the power in our hands to make so. To think otherwise; to act otherwise; would be to perpetuate error as a duty; and to bar the road to all future improvement.

It is evident, then, that the right exists in any and every community to fix principles for their judges: the same right also exists in them to adopt the same principles themselves; if they should think proper to dispense with judges and act for themselves. In the first case, the community, would order its judges to conform its decrees to certain principles; and this would be a Legislative function, whenever it were performed by the people, in their primary character; or whether they elected agents and thus constituted a Legislature with power to do so. In the second case, the whole people would blend both the Legislative and the Judicial character in one; and unite, both the instructor and the instructed, the commander and the commanded, in the same political person: and would thus fulfil more certainly, and unequivocally its intentions, than it could do, by any agency whatever.

Nor is it to be objected that the act of such community is not legal; is not binding; is not to be considered efficacious, unless done in some specific form, time, or manner. Thus if, for example, a majority of this community -- in whom all right and power belongs, by the perusal of this [316] work, at their firesides or elsewhere, or by any other meant should become convinced that the present system of the rights of property, is actually hostile to, and destructive of their true rights and interests, they would have the right, so soon as they had ascertained their number in such a way as to assure the minority and themselves, that they were such a majority, to order things otherwise, as to them should seem good, without delay. For it is no more to be required of a majority to abstain from taking possession of their rights, when they shall see where they are, and how they can command them, -- than it is for a man meeting with his stolen or lost property, to refrain from taking it into his possession. In this State, however, from the circumstances that all, or very nearly all our citizens, who are of the age of maturity, have the right of suffrage, without any diminution; these, therefore, as soon as they see how to exercise it have the power to confer on themselves, the only right of which they have never been in possession -- that is, the right of property. In other States and nations where they have not such full right, or perhaps have it not at all, there is a struggle to be made for two things at a time; that is, for suffrage and for property. But when men, in sufficient number, see that they have a right to the latter, they will not be long without both. Let me see mankind understand, each that his right to property is equal to that of any other man's; and I engage to say, that the present state of things cannot exist one hour after they know that they have a majority of the same opinion. But the greatest obstacle which exists to the plan proposed, to claim all lands within the State, to whomsoever they may belong; and to renounce all lands out of the State, whoever of our citizens may own them, arises from our connection with the Union as a member of the Confederacy. If the State stood alone, there would be no [317] difficulty. For the uniform practice of most governments, is, to refuse altogether, to allow any man to hold land who is not a citizen or subject. And as regards our own State, when we do not speak of our fellow citizens of the other States of the Union; we may say that even now there are very few exceptions indeed; and these arise from special permission granted by our Legislatures. I have no means near me of ascertaining the number of these exceptions; but I have no doubt that nearly, and perhaps quite every one of them, would cease to be such by the operation of that part of Article 2, which orders every alien to be considered as a citizen, who shall have been resident for five years next previous to the time when the supposed General Division shall have been ordered. If he should foresee that such a Division was likely to take place, and should be averse to it; so much so, as to be induced to leave the State, he could, no doubt, if he had them, dispose of his lands at some price or other; but another citizen would not be more desirous to purchase them than he was to retain them, unless, indeed, he approved of the proposed system; and then it would be of little use for him to purchase. The alien owner would then find that it would be probably quite as well for him to acquiesce and become a citizen. If, indeed, he had much personal property, and this he should conclude it would be much better for him to depart with, and sacrifice, if it must be, his real property, he could even do so; and there would be nothing to hinder him, although in strict matter of right and justice, there ought to be a power capable of restraining him.

I said that the uniform practice of most governments is to refuse to allow lands to be held by any but citizens. If an alien wishes to hold land, he has only to become a citizen. This removes all difficulty with him or the State. In the discussion on the subject of the Salt Springs of this [318] State, it is shown, that a man of large possessions; in other words, a man of wealth, cannot be admitted to come into this State, and become a citizen, without dispossessing himself of all he has, over an amount equal to the patrimony for the time being; unless, indeed, he come from another State, where the equal rights of all to property are acknowledged, as it is proposed they shall be here; and where, also, he has, on arriving at the age of maturity, received his patrimony. It is shown to be manifestly dangerous to the rights of the citizens of this State to allow of the influx of men who have acquired immense sums by the operation of unequal laws, in countries which tolerate their existence. It will be productive of quite evil enough here, to allow a man, who shall become rich (perhaps by transactions in business with men who have amassed great sums, from the impure sources mentioned;) and who have yet had only their equal portion to commence life with. But this it is better to tolerate, than to tolerate the greater evil of interfering with the acquisitions and plans of any man while living.

Yet, notwithstanding all these apparent difficulties with which the subject is environed, they vanish when we ask a single question. Will the State of New-Jersey, for example, compel every citizen of New-York, holding real estate there, to surrender the same, or the value of it to the authority of this State, in order that it may inquire, who, among all our citizens, is or are the rightful owner or owners of it? If they will, there can be no difficulty. Even-handed justice will be done. If New-Jersey, and so of any other State, will hand over to us all such property, within their limits, belonging to her citizens: we will hand over to her all such property, within our limits, belonging to her citizens, subject to such disposition as that State may choose to make of it. [319]

Let it not be forgotten, that the true object of the revolution in this State, which it is proposed to bring about, is two-fold. First, to inquire as the State, or in lieu thereof, citizens, have an unquestionable right to do, into the titles, by which every man holds, or pretends to hold, what he calls his property; and second, if be hold too much, and another too little, to order the excess to be given in such a manner as to supply the deficiency. But, it would be of no use, whatever, to make inquiry into these titles, if, after having decided adverse to their validity, we could not possess ourselves of the property held under them. It is therefore, essentially necessary that the property be secured first, and inquiry be had afterwards. How, then, will the State of New-Jersey proceed to obtain for us so much real estate as belongs to our citizens, within her limits, on the supposition, that the people of this State have made up their minds, to make an equal division of property among them? May not the citizen of New-York, seeing such an event approaching, if he own property in New-Jersey, convey it away, for example, to a citizen of the State in which this property is found? If he does so, may he not either receive payment in money or bond? If in money, an article of easy concealment, may it not, in many cases, oaths to the contrary notwithstanding, be buried in the ground, and omitted in his inventory? If it be a bond, it is a debt; and as such, may be converted into money, and thus withheld from the State, when they shall afterwards demand it. So may he receive in payment for his property, or exchange for his bond, personal effects, such as shall be of easy concealment; and thus would he possess the means of a future evasion of the commands of the State. I say future, because no demand for the property, as yet, is supposed to have been made. Again, might he not deed it away, by way of gift? Yet, if the [320] people of this State, after due and deliberate investing should declare that it was not his to have given away, where would be our remedy? Could the State of New-Jersey annul the gift? Certainly not, under her present code of laws.

Again, may not such property, in anticipation of an event, which many rich men will deprecate as an evil of the greatest magnitude, be conveyed away, through collusive judgments? Will not counterfeit suits be brought into court, by unreal plaintiffs against unreal defendants, for the purpose of suffering, or rather causing conveyances of property to be made through the medium of false executions thus brought to bear against it? How is the State of New-Jersey to be able to prevent these frauds? Yet, if they be not prevented, it is certain that the property of our citizens in that State, would never come into the possession of the people of this State, to receive such investigation into the title by which the present holder claims it, as they have the undoubted right to make.

But half the difficulty is not told yet. For if the State of New-York should undertake to inquire into the right of possession which each of its own citizens has, to what he may happen to possess; it would be doing neither more nor less than what a whole people have, at any time, a right to do. So also, if the State of New-Jersey should happen to think that there was no occasion, within her limits, to make similar inquiry; if her people should be satisfied that property was altogether in the hands of the rightful owners, it would be competent also for that State to remain as she now is.

But, in such an event, what might not happen? Not only would it be impossible for the people of this State to come into the possession of what now actually belongs, in that State, to our citizens; but the entire soil of this whole State might pass into the hands of the citizens of other [321] States! Thus Lorillard might sell all his vast possessions to a citizen of New-Jersey; and, if this State is not to touch, without full indemnity, nor even perhaps with it, any property belonging to a citizen of another State, such a simple procedure would take it out of our hands. Nay, even not so much as this would be requisite; for the gentleman named would only have to remove his residence over to Jersey City, or to Hoboken; and there become a citizen of that State. Van Rensellaer would only have to cross the line of Massachusetts into Berkshire county, or to choose his residence and citizenship wherever else he pleased, in any State but this; and so of any other person. The State of New-Jersey, or any other State whatever, could not prevent either these transfers of title, residence, or citizenship; for, inasmuch as by the first clause, in the second section, of the Fourth Article of the Constitution of the United States, "The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States," it is placed out of their power, if they were even desirous of doing so, to prevent so alarming an occurrence, as the transfer of the soil of an entire State out of the possession of its inhabitants.

There is no question to be made, that the people of each State, as a sovereign State, have full jurisdiction over their own concerns; that, among others, the rights of property held by its own citizens, are, with them, legitimate and proper subjects of inquiry; and consequent upon such inquiry, they have the right to make such disposition of it, as in their opinion, true justice demands and requires: and yet, if the present holders of property should apprehend that the inquiry, which they will not have the power to hinder from being made, should result in showing that they had no just title to any, but a very small portion of what they actually hold, and that the excess would be taken [322] from them; they would have nothing to do; but, before the inquiry is terminated, to sell their property to a citizen of another State; or to transfer their citizenship thither, to evade as effectually the full and legitimate power of the State, as if it were written on the pages of the Constitution of the United States: "No State shall manage its own internal concerns." Such, certainly, was never intended to be the meaning of that instrument. For if such had been the case, the present State Government would not have existed. They would have been abolished, and superseded by one General Government, providing for the legislative wants of the whole nation. And in such an event the proposition which I now make to the people of this State, through the medium of this Work, would have been presented to the people of this whole Union, for their consideration and adoption.

Thus, if it shall appear that this State, for example, is under a necessity to declare, in substance, that all the property found within its limits, is the property of the State, it is because, unless it shall do so, not only the property now belonging to our citizens out of the State, will be lost to it; but likewise all the property within it, would pass into the hands of persons who live without our limits; and over whom, of course, we could have and exercise no control. To undertake, therefore, to investigate the rights of properly, in this State, under such circumstances, with an intention to divide it equally, if it should be determined that such is the rule, which secures to every man his just right, would be the idle task of folly; for it would only be to declare that an equal division should be made of all property, when it would appear that there would be none remaining to divide.

Men who understand their rights, are not, therefore, to be deluded into any frustration of their efforts to possess [323] them, by pursuing a course so inefficient, as that of attempting, under the circumstances before us, to obtain them, and, at the same time, to give to citizens of other states, the possession or value therefor, of that property which they now hold within our limits.

But it will be asked, since there are already citizens, in other States, who own property in this, may it not be permitted to them to receive their equal share among us, as citizens, whenever such division shall take place; and to give them such share in consideration of the property they now hold? Let us look at this proposition. Let us look, indeed, at every step we take, when we go to arrest property; for it is such a Protean being, that it is no easy thing to get it within our grasp. And landed property, since it is invested, by the qualities which a piece of parchment confers, with that transmissible character, which belongs, more naturally to moveable property, is as easy to be kept out of our possession, as a guinea, which may be buried in the earth, where none can find it but he who placed it there.

Thus, then, suppose it to be announced, that the plan of accomplishing the proposed division, is such that citizens of other States, owning land in this, should, when the division is consummated, be considered as entitled to their equal share with our citizens, of the property of the State. What, then, would not happen? The moment there was any thing like, what would by many be considered, a dangerous probability, of the occurrence of such an event, would not very large estates, here, be sold, in very small portions, for large purchasers, could not then be expected to be found, (otherwise, large owners would not wish to sell,) to numerous citizens, of other States, for the double purpose, of giving them patrimonies in our soil and other property on the one hand; and of enabling our property [324] holders, especially those on a large scale, to make their investments in other States. Thus Lorrillard, or Rutgers could sell out their houses and other property to multitudes of purchasers; the proceeds might be laid out in Philadelphia, Boston, or elsewhere; and they thus retain possession of their entire estates. These purchasers would come in and share with us, and as many of them might not be expected to have their present notions of property eradicated; they would very naturally look upon such a proceeding as affording a fine speculation; more especially as, in the General Division which I am supposing to take place, these persons as well as any and every other would be enabled to bid for and retain their share, wholly in personal property; and with this, after the division was completed, could retire with it from the State. The result of such an operation would be, not indeed to transfer our real property out of the State; for, luckily, it cannot be carried away; but a very great portion, if not the whole, of the personal; and, that, for the purpose of enabling the present possessors, to transfer their possessions to other States; and thus to take it out of the hands of those, who alone have the right to say what disposition shall be made of it. No one need say, how calamitous it would be, for the people of this State, by such, or any such operation, to see themselves stripped of every thing in the shape of personal property. It would be little less than to restore the soil again to the condition of a wilderness. It would not meet the objections that rise up against such a proposition to say, that every foreign citizen shall have purchased to an amount equal to the dividend, which he shall receive, even if such a provision itself were practicable. For as the amount of his purchase is paid into the hands, not of the community, but of him who is selling his property in order to evade the anticipated decree of [325] this community, it therefore avails the receiver of the amount so given by the purchaser, to lay it out again, in other States; where it would be out of our control. If it is to be supposed that such receiver would be honest enough to give up to the community, the avails of the sale, it is also to be supposed that he would be honest enough not to sell his property for the purpose of disobeying the commands of the public authority, even by way of anticipation. But it is in favor of the dishonest, that such a provision would operate; and to the prejudice of the community; and, therefore, it is not to be allowed on any account whatever.

And here perhaps it is as proper, as it may be elsewhere, to observe, that, if one thing only could be supposed to exist, it would be better at once to admit, of the immediate influx into our State, of great numbers of poor men from other States and nations; and also to a full participation of patrimonies, with us, in the first instance. The objection to such a practice is chiefly in this. Their notions would be likely to be what they now are, with respect to property: they would imagine it to be the best course for them to obtain what would in such case be them; this, they would be sure to take, in moveable property, and when they had so obtained it, would leave the State, and go to others, where they might enjoy it, upon principles such as have resulted in making them the oppressed portion of the human race, which they now are. Strange as such a procedure would be, it is nevertheless not more so, than it is now, to see, much the greater part of all nations, sitting quietly down, in their own degradation, misery, and wretchedness, and never once thinking for themselves, that their right to property is as good, is as genuine, is as worthy of reclaiming or defending by argument or by the sword, as any right, for the acquisition, [326] protection, and enjoyment of which, any man, or any nation of men, have ever shed blood!

If, however, on the contrary, they could come with enlightened views of their own happiness; and of that of their posterity; there would be no limit to their admission in very considerable numbers, but the quantity of personal property, which will be found in the State, whenever a General Division shall take place. There is of course a limit to the subdivision of this; beyond which if we go, at the first setting out, of the new system, the effect produced, would be, to diminish the quantity of the results of our subsequent industry. The soil, however, of the State, is ample enough. The late De Witt Clinton, if I recollect aright, estimated it as being capable, even under present modes of employing industry, talents and resources, where every thing that is good, great, generous or useful, is paralytic, with the oppressions, which inordinate wealth inflicts upon it, of supporting fourteen millions of people. How happy for the State, would it not be, if we could rapidly approach what to him appeared as a maximum, but which undoubtedly is very far from being such.

As the ideas of men now are, and as they may be expected to be, in nations, where the principles of this work, have not, and shall not have been made known, whenever the time shall arrive that this or any other State is about to adopt the system of government marked out in it, such State will find itself under the necessity of fixing a time, after which no immigrant citizen or foreigner can be entitled to receive a patrimony. The citizens will be allowed to come, without restriction; but inasmuch as it cannot be known whether they have come for the purpose, of identifying themselves with the future destinies of the State or of carrying away a patrimony; such patrimony cannot [327] be given them. If they remain, however, their children will be citizens and be entitled accordingly.

The proposition, therefore, recurs; if another State can and will give up to our governing authority all the property it has within its limits, belonging to our citizens; this State will also do the same as regards properly in its possession, belonging to their citizens. If she cannot do it; is it to be expected, that we must forbear to exercise those rights of sovereignty over our own affairs, which inherently belong to us, as much as theirs belong to them, merely because we cannot separate whatever truly belongs to them, from what truly belongs to us; and because we cannot obtain from them what they also have of ours in their possession? Must the rights of more than a million and a half of human beings belonging to this State, go unattended to; must they be withheld from them, because a most contemptible fraction of this number, have, by the sanction which this State gave to the United States Constitution, some forty years ago, been allowed to own landed property in this State? Did the framers of such a Constitution, contemplate such a construction of it, that no State government would be allowed to make such laws regarding property, as should suit themselves? Did it mean to say, that a State should not pass a law, for example, that no citizen should own over 500 acres of land, if it happened that previous to the passage of such a law, some citizen of another State, should accidentally happen to own, in this, more than that quantity?

If not, then would such State have the right to pass such law; and the native or resident citizen, would be obliged to make sale of the overplus. So also, if the State, instead of fixing at 500 acres, as did the Roman Agrarian Law; should fix the quantity of land at such a number of acres, that all would have an equal share, would it not be [328] competent for the State to do so? All that the Constitution of the United States requires, is that the citizens of another State may enjoy the same rights as native or resident citizens. It may be contended, perhaps, that on this principle, the citizen of another State, while his property went into the General Division, should also have his patrimony; and that against this, I have made strong opposition. But I will cease this opposition, whenever other States shall do the same by our citizens. Besides, in answer to this; I may moreover make two replies; one; that no man has title to patrimony on the ground of putting property into the general division; for this patrimony is not a thing to be purchased -- but belongs to each and every citizen of a State, in virtue of his existence : and another is; that this State also, as a State, has its rights in the other State; that is to say, it has the right to have possession of that property of our citizens which is there, within their limits; and which I have shown (under existing circumstances) cannot be commanded by the entire power of that State, even if it should desire it; and for the simple reason, that it cannot ascertain where it is and in what it consists. If this could be ascertained, it could be given up; and its amount would be known. But as it cannot be ascertained; then it is but fair to presume, that it may be at least equal to that which we, in our own State, retain in satisfaction and lieu thereof.

But if the State of New-York, has rights, in relation for example, to the State of New-Jersey, they are at least equal to those which the State of New-Jersey has in relation to them; so that, if this State may not retain, or lay claim to the disposal of real estate, within our limits, belonging to citizens of New-Jersey; so may not the State of New-Jersey retain or keep possession of the similar property of our citizens, within her territory; and if she [329] does so keep possession, whether from inability to do otherwise, or from whatever other cause it may be; so also may we, in return, do the same. Nor would the Supreme Court of the United States, in such a case as this, be able to afford the citizen of New Jersey any remedy, because it is not a case in which any violation of the laws of Congress is involved; wherein the rights of such citizen could be investigated, without any reference to the State of which he might be a member: but it would be that particular kind of case which may justly come before this Court, wherein the only question to be decided is, do the two States, New-York and New-Jersey, for example, in the exercise of their individual rights of state-sovereignty, act, and re-act equally upon each other. Thus, it would have to ascertain a simple fact; does one State appropriate another's property, existing in the right of its citizens: and does the other do more? In the case before us, like is given for like, for aught that appears, or can be made to appear, to the contrary, and the decision of the Court could not fail to be, that under the circumstances, each party must be left to the full and undisputed exercise of its own sovereignty.

If further confirmation of the position assumed for the the Supreme Court were wanting, it may be found in this. That the Constitution of the United States is the result of a Convention of States, and not of the population of which they are composed. Thus, if New-York has been compelled to allow the citizens of New-Jersey to own lands within its limits at all, it has been in consequence of the compact made between the States by that convention, and afterwards sanctioned, not by a majority of the people, but by a majority of the States. If the State of New-Jersey has also been compelled to suffer a like ownership of lands within its own territories, by citizens of New-York, it has been [330] under the operation of a similar necessity. If now with regard to either of these States, wholly within the sovereignty which belongs to it, a case arises, in which it is necessary for one of them, to call home the property of it citizens; is it to be said, in behalf of the State which refuses or neglects to surrender it up, that it may have its full rights in the other State, in manner the same as if it had made the surrender? The individual citizen, or citizens of such State, so refusing to surrender the property belonging to citizens of another State, could they come into Court, and claim that their rights, fractions as they are of the State to which they belong, should be held of more consideration than the whole adverse State itself? A State, too, which was one of the parties, to the Great Compact of the Union; whereas the individuals in question, are wholly unknown as such? It is impossible. If such citizens are injured, it is their own State which has done it, by not giving up to a neighboring State, that property which such State has as good a right to demand, as their own State has to demand theirs.

Thus far have I argued the question of power existing in this State, or any other State, to take the method I have proposed, of bringing about a General Division of Property; whenever they shall be convinced, that it belongs to to their rights, their interests, and their happiness, to do so; in order that I might have the opportunity of showing, as well that it is consistent with our obligations of duty to the Union, as that it is impossible for it to be done in any other manner. I trust that both are established to the full satisfaction of the reader. I have chosen to defend the right of this State, to make such modification of its internal government as I am recommending, without any necessity to be felt on its part, to wait for, or consult other members of the Confederacy, before they should [331] undertake to build up the edifice of their own happiness. If then such right is manifest, standing alone, and single-handed, as it were, in the cause, with all the relations by which she is connected with other States and the world; how much more manifest would such right appear, if she might hope for co-operation from her sister States? And yet it is not to be admitted for a moment, that if our connection with the Union interfered with our own internal arrangements, so as to prevent us from giving to our citizens, to each, what we think belongs to him; it would be fully competent to us, to break off all such connection as was made by our ancestors; these latter having no just power to bind us to sacrifice what to us shall appear to belong to our own rights and our own welfare.

Thus, if it has been found an impossibility in justice, or any thing like it, to ourselves, or to others, to accomplish our object, without, in the first place, renouncing all our external property, so to call it, and without claiming all within our borders; to renounce all debts; and to refuse all credits: how do the difficulties vanish, when any two or more States combine, at one and the same time, to accomplish the same result? The rights of man are the same every where; the same for the people of New-Jersey as for the people of New-York. If, then, it should happen that they should awake to such a sense of their rights as to order the creation of such a state of things, as I ardently wish to see established every where; at the same time, that this State should; and both should go on together, each to reform its own social system; it would lighten much the labors of both. For, then, if it should be desired, if it should be thought more consonant with the principles of justice, than otherwise it would be; then might each State give up to the other the property of its own citizens; for then, neither territory would be a land for [332] fraud, cunning, knavery, and perjury to flee to, as thieves fly to receptacles of stolen goods, of unworthy debtors to distant and unknown countries to avoid their creditors. For either of these cases apply with great force and energy to men, who, with vast possessions now, which they have once and always thought, perhaps, were their own have, nevertheless, no honest title to it, more than the thief who has stolen his property, or the debtor who owes his creditor, and who runs away from him, so soon as he finds he is in pursuit of him. What better is the man, than a thief, who, thinking, perhaps, for a long course of time that what he happens to possess, is truly his own; yet nevertheless not his; and yet strives to appropriate it to his own use, and detain it from the lawful owner, after he knows where and who he is? Thus a man may, by inheritance, perhaps, obtain property from his ancestor; and among it, without his knowledge, there may be a quantity of stolen property; the owner may be made known to him; and the fact of ownership be established. If he, then, keep it from the lawful owner, and appropriate it, or attempt to appropriate it, to his own use, does he not steal, or attempt to steal it, for the second time? And ought he not to be punished as the first thief would have been, had he been apprehended?

So when men in society awake to an understanding, or are beginning to awake to an understanding of their right to property; if we shall see the possessors of it, flying in every direction, to escape the doom that is approaching, endeavoring, in every manner possible, to put it out of the power of the community, to repossess themselves of that wealth, whatever it is, which is the common property of all; it will be what we have good reason to expect to see; but how little different will such men appear to be from those vile malefactors who now daily march to [333] the gallows, for crimes of not half the enormity? For many of the acts of such malefactors are but the acts of reprisal, which the present unjust system of appropriating and transferring property, has rendered it necessary, in their opinion, for the perpetrators to commit; acts, which never would have been committed, but for the denial of the first and most important right which man possesses, that of his right to property.

When the period approaches, if it ever shall approach, for the realization of the views contained in this Work, every artifice will be resorted to, to defeat or delay them; and one the most likely to occur, is, the proposition to adopt the system in part. But, as Thomas Paine has somewhere observed; "there is no such thing as half right and half wrong;'' and whoever thinks there is, when he awakes to a discovery of the real truth, will find that every half-right and half-wrong system, is a system which is wrong altogether. Thus, of what use would it be to say, that a General Division, throughout the State, of all the property it contains, should not be made; but that the system herein proposed, of transmitting property to posterity, should be carried into operation? Is it to be said that the poor have not been enslaved long enough yet? Must Lorillard retain possession of his five millions, in order that the poor, if he shall yet live fifteen years longer, may be compelled to add five millions more to it, for his use, instead of creating this wealth for themselves? And if he be yet to live other fifteen years, must these same poor swell these ten millions to twenty millions, by the sweat of their brows, when all this increase of wealth is honestly their own, and ought never to be his?

If a General Division is not to be made, such is the effect that is sure to follow. Besides, the evil will not terminate with his lifetime; at least such will not be the fact generally. [334] For, as properly which is not money, may yet be converted into money; so will it be; and if a man, with the present erroneous views of his right to property, is not permitted, in his lifetime, to make a will, which will be valid after his death; he may yet, although against the law of the land, and no doubt, would, (I speak generally,) secretly and clandestinely give it away to his favorites, children or others, in his lifetime. These, again, would continue to act with it, so as to increase it in a similar manner out of the labors of the poor; and thus would the causes which now curse the earth with calamities be perpetuated to an indefinite period of time. Whereas now, if we rip all up, and make a full and General Division, Lorillard, any more than any other man, would have nothing to spare, for the purpose of giving away; none would need it, if he had; and although he would seem to be very poor, indeed, compared to what he now is; yet, he would be as near the alms-house himself, as any and every one of his fellow citizens, but no nearer.

Nor is it improbable that holders of much smaller fortunes, although far above what will probably be the amount of the patrimony heretofore spoken of, would find it much more to their interest, than they at first thought may imagine, to insist upon the levelling of their Colossal neighbors. Every day furnishes evidence of the ease with which capitals of from one to five or ten millions, swallow up and appropriate to themselves, other capitals of thirty, fifty, or a hundred thousand: so that the very precarious tenure, by which their small fortunes are held, ought to be an admonition to those who hold them, to accept of a smaller amount, when it can be held by a tenure altogether secure. In the pecuniary world, it is much the same as it is in the vegetable; large umbrageous trees overshadow those which are smaller, and prevent their growth. Independent, [335] therefore, of every consideration of right, due to any and every fellow being around us, the possessors of smaller fortunes, have an undoubted interest in pulling down those which are larger.

There are those who do not look far enough into the nature of the reasons for this first and General Division of property, to refrain from saying, "that it seems unjust to take what they have acquired from those who began the world with nothing, and divide it among their fellow citizens;" and to these it may be said, that it seems so, indeed. But this is all. There is no hardship, no injustice in the matter, whatever. The truth is, the whole world, and all that it contains, is a vast estate, and all mankind are the heirs. It has happened, no matter how, it has happened, that a few of the heirs have got all the property into their own hands. If now an heir, who, at one time, had none of this vast estate, succeeded in getting any portion of it, he must have obtained it from those who had it, and not from those who had it not. He obtained it, therefore, from those who had usurped it, both from himself and others. If afterwards, by any use which he could or did make of that which he obtained in the first instance he succeeded in greatly increasing it; he in his turn has become an usurper of the rights of others, inasmuch as he retains from them what belongs to them; and these others will not fail to call upon him to surrender. They will say to him,

"We are heirs, in common with you, in this great estate. We have been deprived, till this moment, by you and others, of our right: whereas, if we had had it, we also could have made money for ourselves as well as you. But we did not happen to stand in the same fortunate relation in which you did, to those, or any of them, who robbed us both, or who, at least, became possessed, of our birthright; and, therefore, we have remained poor and [336] wretched, slaves to you and others, and dependent on you and them for our very existence. Nevertheless, the the estate is as much ours as it is yours, and your fellows'; and, inasmuch as you have held it from us must now restore it, with all the profit you have made on it; (such is even the law of the land now in similar cases,) and we will begin life now, as it ought to have been begun at first."

Perhaps a diagram will give force to these reflections and tend to make more visible than can otherwise be done the injustice of the title by which those who are rich pretend to hold what they call their own, and on the strength of which they undertake to resist all attempts to take it away. But the history of all countries, shows two important facts; 1st. That the property of the globe, or portions thereof, has never been equally divided among all; and 2dly. That it has not been transmitted equally to the succeeding generations. Now either of these events having never happened, all title property, is vitiated and worthless from the very beginning; and, therefore has no validity or justice in it, down even to this very moment. Thus the accompanying square, A, B, C, D, may represent the whole surface of the globe, and, for the convenience of argument, we will imagine the quality of its soil, to be equal in value, in all its parts; [337]

Allowing now, that there were, for example, ten thousand equal human beings, upon the surface of this square, previous to its being subdivided; what enormous injustice, would not be perpetrated, if, by any means whatever, one man only, should take to himself the portion of territory marked "No. 1;" another "No. 2;" a third "No. 3;" and a fourth "No. 4;" the remainder having nothing. If the whole territory were divided equally and properly among them; he who now is supposed to own "No. 1" Would have, for example, the small square near B, and no more, for his own equal portion; whereas, by possessing himself of the whole of the large square marked "No. 1" he has actually much, very much more than belongs to him. Those who have none are obliged to hire of him. They pay him for the use of that very soil, which does not belong to him, and which does belong to themselves [338] With what he receives in payment, for this hire, or rent, he builds houses and ships, and buys goods, wares, and merchandize; in one word becomes wealthy, and able to command, as it were, the lives and services of his fellow-beings. But if he had no right to that large portion of soil, in the first instance, he had no right to receive rent from others, for its use; having no right to these rents he can have no right to the property, to the wealth they purchased for him; having no right to what he purchased he has no right to retain it; and, having no right to that large quantity of soil in the original instance, he has no right to convey it away to others; and if such others, have it in possession, they may, and must of right be dispossessed of it. And if any one of those who originally had nothing should succeed in obtaining an unequal portion of property from any of the four, who may have had the first possession of the earth, or from their successors, neither has he any better title, than if he had been one of the number among the first monopolists. For although he may contend, that he has exercised unwearied industry to acquire it, and therefore, has obtained a just title, still it is to be said of him, that the wealth which was offered to his acquisition, and which stimulated that unwearied industry, was not his who offered it; but belonged to others. It would be as unjust to allow such person to hold title under such circumstances, as it would under the present order of things, to allow a man to receive or retain, as a reward for his industry, stolen property, the possessions of a pirate, and what not, the offer of which had stimulated him also to a high degree of activity. But in addition to this original unequal appropriation of property, its transmission to posterity has also ever been unequal, [339] and this doubly annihilates all title to property as now held among mankind.

[As an instance of the original distribution of the soil of the State of New-York, having been so enormously unjust and unequal in principle as my diagram, and its accompanying remarks supposes, I offer, amidst much more of a similar character which I might offer, the following extracts to the consideration of the reader, as they appear in Mrs. Grant's "Memoirs of an American Lady," &c. p. 6.

"After the necessary precaution of erecting a small stockaded fort for security, a church was built in the centre of the intended town, [Albany], which served in different respects as a kind of land-mark. A gentleman of the name of Renssellaer was considered as in a manner lord paramount of this city. A pre-eminence which his successor still enjoys both with regard to the town and the lands adjacent. The original proprietor, having obtained from the High and Mighty States [of Holland] a grant of lands, which, beginning at the church, extended twelve miles in every direction, forming a manor of twenty-four Dutch miles in length, the same in breadth, including lands not only of the very best quality of any in the province, but the most happily situated both for the purpose of commerce and agriculture."
A tract equal to more than three hundred thousand acres, (and more than one hundredth part of the whole State,) to which, if there be any truth in the principles of this work, the grantee had, and of course the present possessor has, (even if derivation from his ancestor were good for any thing,) no more of just title than one man has to the right arm of another!]

Nor let this rich possessor complain, that under the hope and receipt of rich rewards for his labors, he has labored more than sufficient to sustain his own existence; and, therefore, he ought to retain more than his equal share: so also have the great mass of those who are now and ever have been poor, labored, at least, to the same [340] extent, even without the solace of such reward; and these, surely, on the same principle, ought to have more also. But if both of these positions be true, then would the rich; those who have never labored at all, be called upon to take less; nay, to be deprived even of possessions altogether. But would this be right? Is it fair to charge all the evils of the past upon the few; when the many, if they had only understood their rights, and how to have secured them, could have claimed them at any moment; and no one could have resisted with any effect? The fact is both have wandered in errors, the one in supposing their rights to be greater than they actually were; and the other in believing them less. But evils which are done already cannot be undone. If they could, we could go to the graves of the rich, of past ages, and awake them; we could awake also the poor who slumber near them; and say to the one, "the enjoyments, in which during your

"life-times you rioted, were afforded to you at the expense of the toils of these your brethren, who spent their lives in labour for you; now in return, therefore, perform ye also, for them, an equal amount of toil, and let them enjoy it at your expense. Then will justice be re-established between you."
But this is not to be, done, any more than it is that the portion of the evils, of the prevailing system, which afflicts the present generation, is to be remedied by any other means, than that of making a full, and equal, and general division. To do otherwise, would be to commence the new system, by incorporating with it, a principle of inequality, which in the old has been the only and fertile source of all the misery and wretchedness which now afflict the human race.

Let no one undertake to say, that both rich and poor have understood their rights; and that the latter, for purposes which have seemed good to them; have abandoned [341] their right to property, by entering into a state of society. Society has ever had its origin in very different principles. Besides, all men, existing since government was first instituted, enter society without any consent of their own. But admitting for a moment, that they did so abandon in the first instance; such abandonment could affect only those who did abandon; it could not affect others. The present generation, therefore, have the right, to claim, that for themselves which is their own, and which no one has the right to abandon for them. Besides, since government began, show me the instance where it has offered, to any of its citizens or subjects, property, either in his own right, or otherwise, and where it has been rejected, and the point, so far as this instance goes, shall be yielded. -- But such an event never happened. And all that has been urged in this way, has been calculated and intended, no doubt, to make the poor rest as quiet and contented as possible with their miserable condition.

Nor is it to be said, that the various occupations of life are such that some have more need of their original right of property, or rather its artificial substitute, than others. This is not true. The engraver, the pin-maker, the physician, and many others apparently need it less. But do they not require houses to live in? Are they not surrounded with wants, which this artificial substitute would enable them to supply, even if they required no stock, no material, before returns for their industry and skill can come in? Besides, if you dispossess them of their equal right, you place them in circumstances of dependence, such that others, who, thereby, will have, of course, more than they are entitled to, will exercise over them the means of reducing them to slavery, So much as it regards occupations and pursuits requiring small capital; and as to those requiring large capitals, these will be acquired by proper associations. They, therefore, [342] and others, and all, are entitled to receive what belongs to them, without any abatement or evasion whatever.

Another method of accomplishing the adoption of the new System in part, will be to propose exceptions; and one the most likely to be proposed, is that of exempting Churches and Church property from the Great Public Sale. But let it be remembered that the vast amount of property which these institutions possess, has been drawn from the same iniquitous system which has robbed man of his rights for ever; that without such system, a few individuals could not, as they have done, have built gorgeous temples, at an expense of two or three hundred thousand dollars, and added thereto, further, and immense possessions. By the same rule that others may be deprived of that which never justly belonged to them, may these be compelled also to give up that which is not their own, into the hands of those to whom it belongs. "Let, then, the scythe of equality move over the republic;" and when it has done so -- when it has levelled all foolish and factitious and oppressive distinctions -- then, let all men stand equal before themselves and their Creator. If, at such a time, any human being, or beings shall think that their duty to the Being who they believe has made them, requires, at their hands, the purchase of magnificent temples, in which to offer up to him their devotions, it will be perfectly competent for them to do so; and they may buy accordingly, with the dividend which belongs to them as their equal portion; but to suffer them to have such temples, at the expense of others, would not comport with the principles of honesty; much less of piety; and is, therefore, to be tolerated on no condition whatever, among a people who know what their rights are; and who are determined to have them, and the whole of them, without any [343] abatement whatever, at whatever hazard they may require at their hands.

Nor let the man of true piety be alarmed at this. Let him recollect that true devotion resides in the heart of man, in the sincere homage which it pays to the divinity; that it does not consist in splendid pageantry displayed in magnificent buildings, the work of men's hands; and that if it be not found in the lives and bosoms of men, it is to be found no where at all. All else is but one gilded scene of hypocrisy; unworthy of public respect; obnoxious to the disapprobation of the Divinity; and certainly unentitled to retain any property but such as strictly and equally belongs to itself and to all.

It may seem that I have been unnecessarily severe in my suppositions, of the extent of that moral depravity which would, as all must see, prevail to thwart the wishes of the great mass of the community, if there were any possibility of its exercising itself. But those who are capable of making any such objection, have only to consider, that the whole property, for example, of this State, real and personal, on supposition, might be wholly owned by one man, and that he might have two millions of tenants under him. If he were allowed to make disposition of it, out of the State; it is apparent, on the face of such a transaction, that these two millions of human beings must still continue to remain without possession of any kind whatever. So, if there were, taking the whole State together, some dozen, fifty, or five hundred large proprietors, the same principles of defeat, to all the designs of the community, would exist. Perhaps it might not exist, to the same extent, when there should be many of these large proprietors, as when that number should be smaller, and possessing, perhaps, a greater aggregate amount. The evil does not consist, however, so much in the number of the evil-doers, as [344] it does in the amount of mischief, which even a very few of them may be able to perpetrate. Thus one rich, but guilty villain, would be able, under some circumstances, to transfer, out of the power of the State, more than would fall to the lot of a thousand, or ten thousand beings, certainly much better than himself could pretend to be, stained with such a crime as I have imagined him to be guilty of. It would be easy to show, how, among other methods, such a transfer could take place, in case of the State agreeing to pay all debts due from our citizens to others; and assuming to itself all the credits belonging to them. False debts, for false considerations, and to an immense amount, in all the forms, that law could possibly prescribe, would not fail to be presented, in such a manner, that the agents of the State (perhaps themselves corrupted) could not possibly reject them. These false debts, easily amounting to millions, without exciting suspicion, especially when we consider the extensive commercial connections which this State maintains with other States and nations, would easily be saddled upon our people; and they would have no alternative. Abolish all debts, however; renounce all property abroad, except such ships, and their property on board, as may accidentally be absent; and then claim all within our limits, wherever found; and to whomsoever belonging; unless it belong to alien residents and transient owners; impose high penalties for evasion, omission, concealment, or other species of crime whereby a man gains, or attempts to gain more than his proper share; just as now grand larceny, and other similar crimes, are punished; and then, and then only, can a just and equal division be brought about; or so nearly so, (although some concealments will take place, such as that of money, &c.,) as to be productive of all the practical good, which it is to be expected such a division will produce. Every thing being [345] at home, and every man, woman, and child, having an interest in suppressing every species of unfair dealing; in bringing to light all concealments, or attempts at concealment, and punishing the offenders; every counting-house, having its clerks, apprentices, and agents, equal in interest with their employer; every factory; every work-shop with its hands; all the laborers, who know every thing about the property upon which they labor; but of no part of which they can now call themselves the master; all these, and more, will be so many spies upon the wealthy and upon each other; the wealthy themselves also watching individuals of their own number; to insure that every thing shall be forthcoming, and fairly sold and divided. It is thus, I hope, that the poor man will see, that I have not only shown him his rights, but how he may get them, in spite of all opposition. If now he does not obtain them, it will be no one's fault but his own, and that of his associates; and this, I am well aware, will not be chargeable upon them longer than is necessary, for a common understanding of their rights, and the creation of a proper concert of action among them.

It is proper to remark still further, in opposition to any impression that I think unfavorably of the efficacy of moral feeling among men, to bring about and maintain such an order of things, as I desire to see established. No man makes a greater mistake, than when he supposes a vast majority of mankind are not honest. If they are not so, what secures to the rich the enjoyment of their property now? If a rich man plunder another rich man, who protects the sufferer? Who punishes the offender? If a poor man do the same, who measures out to him the justice which the law assigns him? If the rich, as a body, are now in the full enjoyment of what they call their property; to what are they indebted, if it be not to the honesty of [346] the poor, as a body? If the latter, as a body, were not honest, honest even to the fault of suffering others to retain what does not belong to them, what is there to hinder them from indulging in their dishonesty? Is it the law? Is it a little parchment, inscribed with a little ink, as is now the paper I write on? Or is it the valor and prowess of the rich? Is their number sufficient; is their strength adequate; to prevail over the will or the wish of the great mass of the people?

On the contrary, I build my system on the moral constitution of man. If, in the introduction of it, if, in the first instance, it is necessary to use punishment and severity; it is to unclench the hand of avarice, and make it give up its dishonest possessions. But this feeling, which thus requires the use of energetic means, is itself an evil, having its origin solely in the present order of things. Let the new order be established; let the judgments of men be convinced, that no property is their own; that they have only the use of it, while they live; that when they cease to live, it belongs to others; and that it is not for the past possessor to say to whom; and public opinion will support this system, as it now does the present. It will no more controvert any of its principles or provisions, than it does now, those that exist among us. If, for example, it comes to be understood, to be as much of a felony, of a robbery, of a crime against another, for a father, during his lifetime, to give away his property to another, to a son or a daughter, for example, as it is now, to counterfeit coin, or commit highway robbery; will such father be likely to make such gift? Will the son or the daughter be likely to receive it? If the one is about to descend into the grave, will lie dare to leave, at his exit from the world, a tarnished memory behind him? Will his children dare not only to survive their father's reputation, but to live in the infamy of their [347] own? On the contrary; will they not be anxious to avoid any and every suspicion of having had agency in any such transaction? Besides, in what particular would the receiver profit? To bestow it on his or her children, the same offence must be committed again; and that by two parties; and both under the same perilous circumstances. It does not avail to say that a thousand opportunities would exist, whereby it could be done, without detection. So do daily, and hourly, now, opportunities exist where men, in a thousand ways, may commit offences against our present laws, and yet it is not done. The truth is, that system is a good one which is built on the supposition that men are honest; and that is a false one, which supposes them to be otherwise. It is moral rectitude which prevents the commission of crimes now, and it would be the same moral rectitude, under much better circumstances, however, which would prevent the giving property away, under the new system; inasmuch as it would be seen to be a robbery of the next generation

Besides, in the new order of things, both father and son would be equal. Neither would be in need. And every one knows, that gifts do not prevail between equals; not even between parents and children. There is no motive for it. If it ever happen that they are offered, it is seen immediately, that they create resentment. They are received as insults, or as foolish offers of unavailing kindness. For the party to whom they may be offered, instantly feels himself treated as a menial, or a dependent. In this case, besides being degrading, it would be criminal; it would subject to loss of reputation, and to punishment. If, therefore, it has been necessary, in my estimation to provide punishment for a crime so little likely to be committed, it is because it is rendered necessary, in the first introduction of the system, in consequence of the vices already engendered [348] by a corrupt state of things, which this system is intended to supplant and remove.

So much as regards a gift direct. It hardly needs be said that property sold, or service rendered at a price, either above or below its worth, is a gift also; which, on being circumstantially proved to have been made, for the purpose of evading the laws, would subject the parties concerned to the infamy and punishment now awarded to felony. Gaming, by lottery, or otherwise, would be felony also since it is nothing less than a gift from the loser to the winner; and to this practice, the moral feeling which would pervade the community, would put an entire stop. Nor is this, in any manner, to be doubted, unless it is to be supposed that the citizens, in the new order of things, would be indifferent to their children and grandchildren, being deprived of a portion of their patrimony, on coming to the age of maturity. And even these, during the period of minority, would not fail to expose all offences of the kind that came to their knowledge; thus restraining and preventing the practice, if a sense of moral rectitude did not, of itself, prove adequate to the object.

As to insurance, (by private incorporations,) I have not thought it strictly consistent with the design of this Work, to give my ideas in relation to it. There is no doubt, that it bears, in some degree, the. character of gaming. And it is an important question to decide, whether it ought not to be excluded altogether, from the proposed new modification of Society. In this event, however, the State Government itself would find it necessary to become the insurer, in all matters in which it is proper to insure at all. I incline to think that it would be the best system that could be adopted; and that for a multitude of reasons, which cannot fail to suggest themselves to the reader, and which I need not trouble him to mention. [349]

The reader has seen, that the fund which enables each individual to bid for his share or proportion of the property of the State, is in the form of credit. It will not be possible to do it with money, as, for such a purpose as that of selling the entire property of a whole community, at one time, there is not money enough, perhaps, in the whole world. I have no accurate means of ascertaining what amount of gold and silver, for this only is money, and can be received as such, there may be in this State.

As it regards the United States, it appears that, since the year 1793, when our mint was first established, up to the end of the year 1828, there have been coined, a trifle less than 30½ millions of dollars, in coins of every description. If we suppose, anterior to the first mentioned period, that we might have had, already among us, 5½ millions more; and if we further suppose, that we have held our own; neither added to, nor diminished this amount, it would appear that we now have, in the nation, the sum of thirty-six millions of dollars. Taking now our numbers at twelve millions, we discover, that there would be only three dollars to each man, woman, and child, in the United States! If this be any thing like correct, how ridiculous will appear those boastings of the importance of Banking Institutions, which we so often have sounded in our ears, especially on the subject of the safe-keeping of money. When all men shall have their equal rights to property accorded to them, how childish will it not seem, to talk of the importance of such a service; even if a family, say of five persons, were to have even five hundred dollars, instead of fifteen or twenty? If Banks have derived any consequence from this kind of service, rendered to the community, it has been because one only in a million, as it were, has possessed money; and he has felt that he needed some such place of safe-keeping for his ill-gotten treasure. [350] Let the people but have their rights, as it regards property, and they will keep their gold and silver, as well as other property, safe enough, without any aid to be derived from Banking Institutions of any kind whatever. If, however any of them shall be troubled with more than they will have any disposition to keep safe, they can even do with it as a man is obliged to do now, who has cotton, or tobacco which he does not wish to keep himself; they can pay another for keeping it, in his warehouse, and not tax the community with the charge, as is now the fact, with respect to money, in the shape of chartered privileges.

But, inasmuch as the coins of other countries circulate here, by the command of our laws, as well as our own coin, a circumstance I believe, which happens with few other countries, especially, if they be of any great importance in the scale of nations, it may be that this estimate is too low. About the period of the occurrence of the French Revolution, when the population of France amounted to twenty-four millions, M. Neckar [See Administration of the Finances of France, Vol. III by M. Neckar.] ascertained there was above four hundred millions of dollars in gold and silver, in that country, in constant circulation. This would make about seventeen dollars, for every man, woman, and child in France. In England, at the same period, the quantity for each such person did not exceed five dollars. This difference, is in part to be accounted for, from the fact, that, in France, there was no paper money; and that in England the quantity was, as it continues to be, enormous.

If, therefore, I were to make the quantity of gold and silver, which, pro rata, belongs to every man, woman and and child, in America, equal to what it is, in France, it [351] would still be very inconsiderable, when compared with the entire valuation of all the property of the State. The Credit fund, therefore, was indispensable, as furnishing the only means of transferring the whole property, at a time to new-owners; at prices the same as would be commanded for it, if it were sold in any long course of successive negotiations.

It is not possible for any one, much less for myself, to offer any thing more than a mere conjecture of the probable value of the State. So much of property has been exempted from taxation, to satisfy the cupidity of various orders of our people, at the expense of the rest; [Witness the exemption from taxation, of Church property, altogether; and the property of priests, so far as it does not exceed fifteen hundred dollars. Who does not see, in this oppressive privilege, the apostles and followers as they affect to call themselves, of a holy religion, with one hand offering up devotions of piety to the Creator; and with the other plundering the pockets of their neighbors, of money, with which to pay the taxes on their property; since by availing themselves of, if they have not sought, the exemption, they impose the burthen of taxation wholly upon the remainder of the community which ought to be borne equally by all, by themselves as well as by others?] so much of personal property which is liable to assessment for the purpose of taxation, escapes the knowledge of the assessor; so much of what is assessed; is assessed only at a nominal value; so much of it is held by the State, such as our Salt-Springs, and public lands; of the latter nearly one million of acres; and so different would be the circumstances, under which all this property would be put up, to sale, if ever it be done, that I should not at all be surprised, if the result of such sale, should make the aggregate value of five times the amount, at which any actual [352] assessment, under existing circumstances, has ever made it. For it is to be recollected; that every thing would be sold at a price, little or nothing less than the labor would be worth, to supply the place of that which is wanted, but which if it be not purchased, must be made. Thus in personal property, this principle would prevail, throughout; and so also, in real, so far as regards all the labor that has been bestowed upon it to make it what it is.

Corresponding with these ideas, my conjectures would make the whole property of this State, to be worth, two thousand or twenty-five hundred millions of dollars. Putting the whole population at two millions, as it is likely to be, in 1830, and dividing this sum equally among them all, it would amount to a thousand or twelve hundred and fifty dollars each, for man, woman and child. But as none are to have any thing, who have not arrived at the age of maturity, whatever that shall be, this amount will be more than doubled. Thus -- the age of sixteen and a half is about the dividing line. I mean by this that there are as many under this age, as there are over; and as many over, as under. If then this age were selected as that of maturity; the portion which each person of mature age would receive, would be equal, under the estimate I have made, to about, from two thousand to twenty-five hundred dollars. A man, therefore, and his wife, would have from four to five thousand dollars. And by fixing the age of maturity, at eighteen, as recommended in this Work, instead of sixteen and a half; the amount already assigned would be still greater yet.

I do not particularly concern myself to repel any charge of extravagance, which may be brought against me on account of this estimate. I do not undertake to know any thing about it. And such I presume is the situation in which any one will find himself who undertakes to arraign [353] its correctness. It is sufficient for me, that I have shewn, that there is a probability that some such large amount, will be forth-coming to each individual whenever such sale and division is made, as this Work proposes. And such sale, and Division, in addition to the other good effects which it will produce, will also determine, how far I am wrong, and how far those who controvert me are right; for this will be the only way of arriving at the truth. Besides, it is not a fact, that the patrimony is useful on account of the number of dollars which may be made use of, to compare its value, with other things, or with other patrimonies; but because the system which bestows it, makes all equal; because it banishes, in the common acceptation of the words, both Wealth and Want; destroying both the oppressor and the oppressed; the victor and the victim, by preventing accumulation of power in one; and destitution, weakness or poverty in another. And this good effect, would be equally as well accomplished, if the property, placed into each man's possession, were known by a valuation to which we give the idea of five hundred dollars, as if it were fifty thousand dollars. For names do not change the nature of transactions, or facts, whatever they may be.

It is apparent, therefore, without even a moment's reflection, that either three, five, or seventeen dollars each; even if we could suppose, they would all be forth-coming; would be of no avail, towards the purchase of a patrimony for any one. It is of necessity, therefore, that each one must bid; and as he cannot be expected to have the means of payment for any bid over his amount, he is to be restrained from bidding beyond a certain excess: he must be restrained also from bidding below a certain deficiency. In the case of the excess, if it be for fast property; the State may hold a lien on it, for a reasonable time, until [354] the industry of the owner can have opportunity to redeem it. And if it be personal, security, by way of lien on th property of others, or some other adequate arrangement may be adopted to secure its delivery to the purchaser and payment to the State. I need not trouble the reader with details, which he will as well know how to supply as any one else.

As each one must bid, he will naturally bid for that, which will best suit his purpose in future life. Nor will any one be able to buy much of such particular personal property, as would afterwards sell readily; and be converted into money for the use of the spendthrift. All will have use; and that, too, for an equal portion of those articles which enter into immediate and general consumption; such as clothing, food, and luxuries. There will, therefore, be no opportunity of engrossing these articles, which would be particularly saleable and convertible into cash: and if there be even something of the kind, there will be a small field for the exercise of such a propensity, since all, or nearly all, will be supplied with what they have any present means of paying for. If they are to purchase more, they must set themselves to work before they can pay; and in the mean time, he who might have to sell, must work, too, or perish; and he would, therefore, have a much narrower opportunity of playing the prodigal, than he has now.

"This will be, to empty our warehouses and storehouses," says one, "and will you do without merchants?" Not an hour, I answer. "With what will they fill their warehouses, again, since they will have little money? " I answer again, with honesty, with good character, with skill in and knowledge of business; in one word, with reputation for integrity, as chiefly they do now. It will be quite as impossible, then, to do without merchants, as it is [355] now. The cultivators of the soil cannot sell their produce, except in gross; and the artisan and manufacturer will still continue, as he does now, to find his interest in employing a salesman, (probably altogether as a commission merchant,) rather than in being the salesman himself. Whoever, in the new state of things, should fancy that the merchant was the owner of all he had in possession, would deceive himself; but he would deceive himself very little more than he would to fancy the same thing now. The world would be altered in one thing only; the owners of it would be different in number and relative worth; but this would be all; except the, immense difference that would soon make itself visible in individual' and general prosperity.