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Where, then, is the subordination of general principles to mere details to stop ? Surely there must be some point at which we must pause and analyse our records of fact, if we wish to escape the fate of a botanist, who was so fond of collecting that he died before he had time to learn the structure of a single specimen.
It is obvious that the theory of Ricardo pre-assumes, as a condition, such freedom on the part of the tenant. Mere dead force, despotism, or custom, cannot create a tenancy of which competition for holding can be an incident. What is the position of the serfs? In return for a certain amount of labour to be bestowed on the soil, these men are allowed a certain share of the estate for their own subsistence, Mr. Jones admits that they are not unfrequently found in a state of personal slavery (p. 198); that the state of bondage and dependence in which they exist to their lords (a condition incident to a rude population, in times of scarcity obtaining a bare subsistence), places them in a position in which, struggling for life, they can be scarcely termed tenants in a commercial sense, any more than the brutes which aid their labour.
Take the case of the ryots, the hereditary occupiers of the East. These men Mr. Jones admits to be at the mercy of their sovereign, and any exercise of his right might push them to starvation, &c. (Jones, p. 457 and p. 211); and he sees in this state of things the main cause of the subordination which makes it possible for a foreign government to rule a distant people (and we would add, perish our rule rather than it should become an eventual check to the civilisation of our Indian subjects). Here; again, there is nothing analogous to that sort of tenancy which Ricardo's theory embraces; for the ryots are a race of labourers on the soil of the State, upon whose sense of justice, rather than on any rights which they can themselves enforce, they repose. Is this, then, a legitimate tenancy?
The metayer (p. 202, Jones) is a peasant-tenant, extracting his own wages or subsistence from the soil, and paying a producerent to its owner. Thus, he occupies a grade between men like serfs and ryots, and the cottier and farming-tenant. The
fixed and languid condition of this tenure it is not hard to explain. In the first place, it would seem to be a tenure involving some perpetuity of interest in the descendants both of the owner and the metayer, each with claims sufficiently vague and indeterminate to prevent the stimulus to high exertion, and without that element of easy transfer of the land to new cultivators, which would introduce the life and energy of competition into the lethargic reign of custom.
The cottier system does involve competition; and, when the land is not at a monopoly value, the Ricardo definition of rent is seen at once to apply; in other words, the meanest cottage which pays some rent would be a guide to a landlord demanding a rent for his newly built one. Here, however, the principle of population is brought to act directly upon land, and not, as in England, upon capital; for the demand of land depends on the number of competitors, and here these consist of the whole rural population; and the rent being regulated by competition, and land thus obtaining a monopoly value, the principle of ascertaining the rent from the principle of the superior value of the land itself, becomes absorbed in the yet earlier principle of supply and demand.
How ver, the cottier and metayer rents do afford some indications of the universality of the theory of Ricardo—that is, as soon as the owners and cultivators of land are placed on some ground of equality of contracting power, this equality of contracting power being necessary to prevent the constant injustice done to the cultivators of the soil, an injustice never remedied till the capitalist farmer, able to bide his time and being at the mercy of nobody, enters the scene.
England is a hothouse for the creation of capital when compared with other countries; but, compared with his ideal, Mr. Jones well notes her deficiencies. He sees a large number of agriculturalists waiting for employment, which does not exist for them at the country workshop; while he rates, at a very small proportion, the numbers of these employed in the great manufactories. These complaints are scarcely pertinent now, while railways and improved communications are constantly tending to
enlarge the sphere of productive successes; while they facilitate the transference of skill and capital to the localities where most beneficial. In page
410 Mr. Jones raises, rather than solves, the interesting question of the compensating relations between wealth and poverty in regard to virtue and vice; a question which the economist must assume to be settled eventually in favour of wealth and virtue.
In Lecture V., p. 415, Mr. Jones discusses the labour fund of the world, and lays deserved stress on the great share which, in the earlier ages, self-produced wages have in the sustentation of mankind: a condition of things which always closely borders in practice on that in which the chief labour-fund of a region consists, of revenue expended in labour; for where, from any cause, the stimulus and efficiency of labour is not strong enough to produce capitalists, or men possessed of such an amount of savings as makes them insist on their civil rights, they are always apt to be enslaved to a despot who concedes to them the bare means of living, receiving the revenue himself. This is the state of a large and most fertile portion of the earth. In India the stimulus to labour is weak, in consequence of a soil and climate so prolific as never to induce those habits of toil and exertion which the hardy northerns attain, and which they owe to the niggardliness of nature, which imposes on them, from the necessities of diet, a struggle with the most subtle and ferocious animals. In easy circumstances, the self-producing class has a tendency to become absorbed in a mass of population, mere tributaries to the state; or, which seems the first step to the creation of capitalists, to attach themselves to men who, while their power, rank, and knowledge enable them to wrest from the tillers of the ground the greater part of the profits, occupy something of the position of capitalists towards those who, whether serfs, metayers, cottiers, or hereditary occupiers, are more immediately connected with the soil.
Wherever Mr. Jones enters upon the practice of political economy, as distinguished from its philosophy, or when he catches a glimpse of the latter by his quick insight into the wants, pas
sions, and minds of his fellow-men, he seems to breathe a more congenial air. No longer trammelled by words or definitions, his quick sympathies enable him now to place before his audience the concrete man, warm with his hopes and impulses; while his own knowledge of the pressure and form of outward circumstance, surrounding us like an atmosphere, and his quick perception of the useful and the adaptive, enable him to forecast the bonds and restrictions within which free agency must be limited. This power of realizing in colour and form the very life of the labourers, gives Mr. Jones unusual scope for observing the many agencies which determine their social condition ; in truth, he seems to place them by his side while giving them sound practical advice, which he depicts in language whose vital energy never fails to touch the broad experiences which, by a quick intuition of the moving pulses of others' thoughts, he seems to make his
For instance, Mr. Jones in his last Haileybury lecture is full of suggestions for raising the condition of the people, and thus to stop the mere animal growth of population by introducing the human refinements which check it. It is clear that all the inducements by which Mr. Jones would increase to the utmost the standard of refined comfort, and of intellectual and moral wants, act suggestively, and upon the associations. would add to Mr. Jones's remarks, that the more healthfully fastidious our notions of comfort in the married state become, the more also shall we be select in the choice of a partner of life. The accomplished scholar feels far more resignation in the absence of matrimony than the boor—to whom, if he can but stock his farm, the question as to who shall become his wife is comparatively insignificant. In reference to the purchase of comforts and the laying by of rent, such matters as the form and time in which it is paid become important; much, too, depends upon dearness or cheapness of comforts; and much, too, upon the abolition of those notions of protection and interference, which, while checking its true scope and activity, seek to encourage labour by such bonuses as those of the French government to their potteries at Sèvres, whose expensive luxuries remain
unsold because beyond the reach of the masses—a great contrast with our Staffordshire potteries, whose cheap and graceful wares every labourer can purchase.
The value of a gradation of ranks in facilitating the rise of the labourer into more elevated notions of comfort and refinement, by the examples of those next above him, is remarked on by the professor. But the value of this principle, as one of far higher scope and importance than any of the others to which be alludes, is missed when it is not remembered how great the stimulus thus given to the intellect itself, by the diffusing over all ranks of common ideas and sympathies.
We see, too, how the arrestation of the direful consequences of a fall in wages takes place in nations, which, becoming acquainted with comforts, are actuated by prudential motives, and thus diminish their marriages. Yet does the professor fully admit the value of an increasing population with increasing means ; and we would add that, wherever we place the pressure of population on the means of subsistence, some such incentive is required to fire the activity of the national mind, and to vary its protean resources. On the whole, this lecture is a rare specimen of genial and exuberant thought and information.
Upon Mr. Jones's remarks on the theory of Ricardo, p. 583, we would answer that, if, before discussing any of the elemental questions of political economy, it were required that the concrete phenomena should be universally the same, there could be no such a thing at all as the science of political economy. Now, in the same way as it is assumed that the action of Ricardo's law (not the law itself) must vary with all the causes which intercept men's capacity to deal in the best way for their own interests, so too the law of profits, and the laws upon which the law of profit itself depends, become more or less dominant in action, as the freedom of action, of intercourse, and of trade, is more extended. Surely there is as much a tendency all over the globe in profits to equalize themselves, as there is a tendency in water not intercepted to fill up a vacuum. If only we can shew that there is a normal tendency of profits to an equality (the