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strongly and successfully to the selfish principle, and completely disguises the counteracting penalty. The existence of an organized body of malecontents, (not professing to act on the principles of a political minority,) in a country where station is not affected by any distinction of rank or privilege, and where every citizen's destiny is in his own hands, is indeed a gross solecism. From the nature of its constitution (we speak politically and not with reference to particular legal provisions) its objects must be incompatible with the general welfare; for when any class of society forsakes the open track, disregards the very principles under which it claims to live, and which its members, or those possessing common interests with them have established, and seeks for remedies which those principles cannot sanction, the safety and rights of every other class are endangered, and the compact of society broken up. A league in defence of the law is the necessary counterpart of the conspiracy against it. The result, however modified, or by whatever name it may be called, is a state of war; not necessarily a war of guns and swords, (though it comes to that at last,) but a war of opinion, a war of sentiment, a war of strenuous and agitating effort, a war of bad passions and irritated feeling, a war of desire against possession; the old war, as we said at the beginning, against the security of property and the stability of those provisions by which alone property can be protected.

Are there no indications of the existence or probable commencement of such a state of things here at home? What import the signals of attack upon obnoxious corporations; the threatened repeal of charters; the bold agrarian doctrines of certain societies, exultingly avowed by their practical expounders during the sack of Baltimore? The vultus instantis tyranni,* has an eye for plunder as well as for revenge. What imports the institution whose name may be found at the head of this paper, and which exists but as the branch of a wide-spread combination designed to promote its own interests (for that is the plain English of the case) at the expense of those of the community? It matters not, as a political symptom, that it proceeds upon an utter fallacy which it claims in all sincerity to take for granted. Ignorance or mistake may sometimes extenuate wrong, though even those excuses are no justification for breach of law. We will consider that part of the matter hereafter. Even admitting the truth of the postulate it is applied to an unjustifiable end, which it is proposed by the society to attain by wrong means. Of so much the members of the society are not ignorant. They know that they interfere with

"That worst of tyrants, an usurping crowd."

Pope's Iliad, ii. 242.

other men's rights, and that they do so by a system of proscription, terror, and espionage. But we do not admit its truth. It is a plain absurdity to suppose that legal measures could result in such an end, or that honest ends can require such measures. They are therefore bound to know that their fundamental principle is unsound and fallacious; that they have no wrongs to redress, and are suffering under no denial of right. They ought to judge the tree by its fruit, the fountain by its waters, the influence by its consequence. The doctrine is untenable which can only be upheld by breaking down the law. When the pursuits and progress of society are disturbed. or arrested, we are apt to suspect the presence of a malign influence. Labour stood still when Pluto broke out of hell:

"Turbatur Lipare, stupuit fornace relicta

Mulciber, et trepidus dejecit fulmina Cyclops."

We cannot consent to regard the existence and proceedings of the Trades' Union, as unimportant indications. Not that we fear immediate danger from a combination comparatively so insignificant, but we dread the tendency of measures which accustom the minds of any class of citizens to look away from the laws for redress or protection, as we regret the dissemination of doctrines inculcating the irregular exercise of popular authority. There is a fanaticism in politics as in religion, the more dangerous from the legitimacy of its origin, under the influence of which the judgment is distorted, and desire metamorphoses aspirations into rights. The fly in the fable perched on the pole of the carriage, would fain direct its speed and motions, forgetting the existence of the legitimate conductor behind him, or the disparity of physical force before-the moral and material powers to be contended with and overcome. What are the grievances of which the society in question complain? If of breaches of the law, the law will redress them. Every wrong has its remedy. If of the relations which subsist between the different branches of society, these are no grievances, unless error is to be imputed to the All-wise. Until He changes the powers and passions of men, and introduces equality into their intellectual and moral nature, their relative social condition cannot be altered. The hardest lesson to be learned under a government founded upon equality of political rights, is that human condition can no more be equalized, than the faculties or forces of different individuals. That everlasting rule of society always triumphs over artificial restrictions, as the ceaseless tides of the ocean roll in to their appointed place at last, though checked for a season or a century by mounds of earth or walls of stone. All men feel this well enough in prac

tice, if not theoretically, but they are not willing to admit its consequence. They attribute it to every cause but the true one. They legislate upon it, theorize about it, lose themselves in the mazes of the original compact, study and speculate according to their opportunities, and seldom end without some fresh experiment for altering the economy of Providence. They might just as well regulate the stature of their fellow citizens on the Procrustean model, and cure inequalities by cutting off heads.

Let us look for an instant at the "preamble" to the constitution of the Trades' Union of the city and county of Philadelphia-ex uno omnes. It commences (somewhat ambitiously) as follows:



"When we consider that all men are endowed by the Ruler of the Universe with the same natural rights, and are fitted to enjoy the same privileges, and the same blessings;-when we know also that these are guarantied to us by our constitution, and by the glorious declaration which our fathers made when they wrested from their oppressors at the sacrifice of life and fortune, their invaluable birthrights, civil and religious independence;

And when we see those rights daily invaded, and feel that they are rapidly withering in the unrelenting grasp of usurping power; and knowing also that as the past has lived for us, so we must live for the future;

It becomes our sacred and imperious duty to come boldly Conclusion. forward to the rescue, and, at every peril and by every means to cherish and protect those immunities, which belong not only to ourselves but to succeeding generations."

Now we deny every important postulate and inference in this preamble, which we have divided, for convenience, into the members of a syllogism, and we say that the doctrines contained in it have a direct tendency to uproot society, and are totally irreconcilable with its order and laws. In the first place the natural rights with which "all men are endowed by the Ruler of the Universe," are the rights of the savage, and consist in the absolute power of unrestrained action and the unfettered freedom of individual will. These rights are not "guarantied to us by our constitution and by the glorious declaration" of our forefathers. Our forefathers were not madmen. On the contrary, the rights in question were surrendered the moment man entered into society, and their surrender was the consideration of the protection which society has ever since derived from law, and our society from the very constitution invoked in this preamble. The declaration of independence enumerates "certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." But the unqualified assertion of these rights in that instrument was an act of revolution, and the proposition is only intelligible in that connection. Na

tural rights can only be set up when social rights are invaded, and men are ready for civil war. In ordinary times, society every day declares them forfeited to its exigencies and demands. They are held subject to its laws. A defendant at the sessions would find his natural right of liberty and the pursuit of happiness a poor plea in bar. The "declarations of right" in our constitutions, are abstract recognitions of the right of revolution placed there as barriers between government and people, not as weapons of offence for the use of one class of society against another. They are useless. Every man's instinct tells him all he can learn from them.

If, then, the Trades' Union have no natural rights except such as exist beyond the pale of society, and are only to be resumed on a renunciation of their claims on the community, and a reciprocal release to them on the part of that community, (for be it remembered the contract has two parties,) then one of two things is apparent, either that the assertion in the minor proposition of their preamble is untrue, viz. that "those rights are withering in the unrelenting grasp of usurping power," since that "power," whatever the indefinite term may mean, results from a legitimate source, and is directed to a legitimate end; or else, that they are in a state of revolution, the necessary and justifiable consequence of obvious, palpable and extreme oppression. As they do not assert the latter to be the case, and as they have not shown and cannot show facts which will enable them to assert it successfully, the conclusion to which they come in their preamble, that it is their "sacred and imperious duty to come boldly forward to the rescue, and at every peril and by every means, (revolutionary or otherwise, for there is no exception,) to protect those immunities, (immunities not threatened or infringed, since they have been long ago surrendered,) which belong not only to themselves, but to succeeding generations," is a false conclusion which, if carried out into practice, will subject them to great hazard and difficulty, and which the instinct of self-preservation binds society energetically and effectually to repel.

Were these reprehensible doctrines mere abstract notions, propagated by the Laputans of some flying island, we should not take the trouble to refute them. But they are the fundamental dogmas of a wide-spread combination, which claims to act under them and to promote them "at every peril and by every means." They are rank political heresies, aptly and necessarily followed in the preamble by a delusive economical proposition, and in practice by measures hostile to the very freedom they profess to defend.

"It is an incontrovertible truth," continues the preamble, "that those who do not labour to produce are supported by those who do; and it is

therefore obvious that those who are thus supported will and do, through the impulse of self-interest, endeavour, by every possible means, to decrease the just demands of the manufacturer or producer."

Without stopping here to enquire what class it is in America which does not labour to produce, let us reverse the proposition of the Trades' Union-perhaps it will be difficult to discover "which is the justice and which is the thief." A capitalist might put it thus:

"It is an incontrovertible truth, that those who do labour to produce are supported by those who do not; and it therefore obvious that those who are thus supported, will and do, through the impulse of self-interest, endeavour, by every possible means, to increase the unjust demands of the manufacturer or producer."

But this is on both sides a mere jingle of words, without any possibility of practical application. A combination of persons may, for a period, throw the community into confusion, and the combinations in question have done so, and in many instances they have nominally accomplished their object in an appreciation of prices and a diminution of the period of labour, but they ipso facto drive the remainder of society into a counter-combination, which neutralizes the anticipated effect. The instant the capitalist finds his tradesmen's bills increased ten per cent. he adds ten per cent. to his rents, the pedlar does the same thing with his pots and pans, the farmer with his mutton and turnips, and the Trades' Union is just where it was. The members of that body thought to avoid this result by claiming, in the first instance, to diminish the hours of labour instead of raising wages. It was a stupid notion in them to suppose that they could pay for a week's food with five days' labour, and live as well as they did before. They had a perfect right to have two holidays in a week instead of one, (the authorities of Philadelphia were censured, as we think unjustly, for yielding to the demand,) but they were short-sighted not to perceive that it was a privilege which others would insist on enjoying with them. The farmer would only give his five days for their five. The master mechanic made up his loss out of the consumerthe consumer in turn came back upon the journeyman. Struggle as they would, they could not claim the protection of the magic circle without remaining in it. An advance upon poultry was just as surely the result of an advance upon shoes as the latter was of an abridgment of labour. Nobody would give twelve for ten. That era in the history of barter has not yet come, and we doubt if the Trades' Union will live to see it. Thus far the result of their schemes to society was a certain degree of confusion and embarrassment-to themselves diminished employment and VOL. XIX.-No. 38. 48

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