All this arises from their IGNORANCE, or want of reflection: from their not asking themselves how it is, that they who do not work grow rich, while those who do work grow poor. If they would only ask themselves this one very simple question, and search about till they find an answer to it, they would discover the secret, and learn how to grow rich, or at least independent, like many of their masters, and like all those who are called the UPPER CLASSES.
It must be so, and could not be otherwise: for all the wealth of the world, that ever did exist, or ever will exist, must necessarily 50 be produced by the WORKING CLASSES, and by them alone. Wealth consists of FOOD, CLOTHES, and HOUSES principally. These, and everything else, must be made by the workmen. They are the works of some individual men. They are not made by masters, nor by men of capital, but by those, and those only, who labour.
It often happens, that a piece of work, for which the workman receives but a few shillings, will last for many years-or if taken care of, for ages. It will be extremely useful to the possessor: it may be absolutely necessary to him, for his pursuits and studies : it may be a means of gaining him a livelihood: it may be a constant source of amusement and happiness to him: and yet the workman who made it, converts the few shillings be received for it, into food, which he consumes in a few hours; and there ends the value and enjoyment of his work. Thus, the workman exchanges the happiness of a few hours for the happiness of many years. Can anything be more absurd than this? Would a workman do this if he were aware of it, if he did not think himself under an absolute necessity of doing it? in short, would he do it, if he did not think, in a very strange way, somehow or other, that he would really be reduced to starvation, unless he exchanged his labour according to this plan
You say if the workman did not do this he would starve! Who is to starve the workman? The workman is the only person who grows all the food. Cannot be eat the food which he has himself grown? yes, you will say, if his master will let him. But if the workman does not grow the food, will the master grow it? Certainly not: he does not work. If the workman does not grow the food, nobody else will; and all the world must starve--not the workmen only, but everybody else.
How is it then, that when the workman has grown the food, or made a valuable piece of goods, he can scarcely get enough food to support life, or a tolerable stock of domestic comforts? Everybody else has plenty. But the man who grows the food, or makes the cloth, or builds the houses, can scarcely get any food, or clothing, or a house to live in!
This is certainly a most extraordinary FACT. People in the present day, are fond of talking about FACTS of all kinds. They hunt about for such as are new or extraordinary; but we may well defy them to find one which is more EXTRAORDINARY than this— the “distress of the working classes.”
If they were to speak of the distress of the NON-WORKING classes, we should not be surprised: but it certainly is surprising to hear, that the only people who are in distress, are those, and those only, who produce all the food, clothes, and houses, of the world.
(To be continued)