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his demand and support from the people of his own nation, and conferred them on the people of another nation.
They who are charged with the duty of governing have to discern the terrible effects that result from this drawing away of income and support. Hundreds of poor labouring families have to endure the consequences. From enjoying a condition of bare sufficiency of food, of clothing, of lodging, and of other necessary things, they are reduced to a state of want and destitution; and all this because one man, with his family, chooses to pamper body and mind with the enjoyment of superfluous luxuries. The governing party have to interfere, and the interference may be presumed to have been exercised on account of the state of things here mentioned. A noble and salutary maxim has to be announced and acted upon, viz., that property has its duties as well as its rights; and then, most justly, the remittances of income are commanded to be stopped. If this man and his family, and other men and women like them, who do devote, or who would, if they could, devote themselves to delicious living, and to self-glorifying courses, would receive a reminder of duty from no higher source, they might receive it from the following noble sentiment of rebuke of wrong, and of sympathy with right, which our noble poet has made to spring from the heart of a King:
"Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
* King Lear, act iii. scene 4. I have taken the liberty of inserting
the word mankind instead of the heavens.
As a matter in course, the demonstration that I have given in this chapter, of the question of Absentee Expenditure, and the doctrine connected with it, will be, as I have before declared, generally denounced and rebelled against. It will be asserted against it that it militates, most potently, against individual free action,-against free production and free consumption, against free commerce or free trade, against unrestrained or free competition; against the free communication and intercommunication of men and of nations. What! it will be exclaimed, are men placed under a natural social law which demands of them a daily sacrifice of their tastes, of their inclinations, and of the opportunities of gratifying their highest faculties of enjoyment, in order that some of their fellow-creatures may have at their command the necessaries of life? Is such a condition of sacrifice as this inserted by the Creator in the lease of every man's life?
The substance thus objected against, and so generally hated, is all true, good, and indispensable: a substance and condition with an appending obligation of sacrifice, from which not one man can escape. The character of the natural social law is this. It does not forbid, but, on the contrary, it enjoins due production and due consumption- due trade and commerce both of a home and of a foreign kind - proper and due effort of labour and of skill- a just and salutary competition
due communication and intercommunication of men and of nations. But at the same time that all this is permitted and even enjoined, the following declaration is delivered by the will and voice of a just Creator. Take care that you have sufficiency, sufficiency of means, sufficiency of capital, wherewith to accomplish all these things. Fulfil your duties; maintain properly your people, or your families, in the first place; and then you may lawfully indulge. First of all, pay regard to, acquire, and distribute things that are necessary; and
then you may add to these things those things that interest you, those things that you place in the category of — enjoyment, delight, and pleasure.
The men and women of lust hate and despise this salutary part of natural social law. They say, as was said of old, and they inherit and conserve both the spirit and the saying "What have I to do with my brother? Am I my brother's keeper? Have I not got enough for myself, for me and mine? And may I not do what I like with my own? Am I not free? I resolve, then, to do the best I can for myself with the means I have at command, and let my neighbour do the best he can for himself. Fortunately I am rich, and so I am not under the necessity of exerting my faculties to earn riches. I am endowed with desires, and being so endowed, I may, and I will, gratify them." This is the character of the antagonistic spirit and principle. This is the rule and doctrine of the world, before which our school of Political Economists have, in base humility, bowed their hearts and their heads. I contend that the great truth which I have shown and maintained, from the beginning of my argument, and throughout its whole course, namely, the necessity for the operation of a social law of action over all the facts which are comprehended by the cases adduced, can in no case be dispensed with.
It should, then, be clearly understood, and strongly enforced, by all the most powerful advocates of social right, that, as regards social practice, there is no class of persons who are greater destroyers of the subsistence and happiness of their fellow-men than that class, numerous as it now is, who, addicting themselves to a love of change, pursue the common unstable course of change which the practice of moving from place to place, whether it be in their own or in foreign countries, involves; for by this class of persons all the sustaining and solemn duties that have been made by the Creator
to be inherent in the constitution of property are disregarded
There is an old and wise saying. "The rolling stone gathers no moss." It not only gathers nothing of itself, but, in its incessant movement, passes over, disturbs, deranges, crushes, and injures. Whilst, then, the persons who compose the ever-restless, moving, roving, and wandering class, are constantly engaged in pursuing their courses of selfish indulgence and consumption, they turn away from the recognition and observance of that great physical, moral, and social law by which right production, sustaining diffusion, or the just distribution of property, can alone be insured.
On finishing my argument on the character and social working of Absentee Expenditure, I will again bring under notice the fact, of the writers on the science of Political Economy having shrunk from, and evaded, an honest treatment, a full and clear solution, of the question; and likewise another fact, which is, that our statesmen have so far acquiesced, as to permit to stand uncontradicted before the world this dishonest and evasive treatment.
I will only add, in addition, that it would be fine and most useful scientific practice to have the whole school of modern Political Economists assembled in the chief examiner's room within one of our University Institutions, there to be closeted for the purpose of showing the good results that arise to a nation, on the point of increase of capital, from Absentee Expenditure, for it is this result which they have contended for, and predicated, as an issue of that free principle of commerce which they have adopted;-to have it insisted on that the schoolmen, when so closeted, should work out a course of demonstration-not a demonstration of a character like that assumed demonstration which has hitherto passed-but substantive, practical, and businesslike demonstration and proof.
What a dilemma would here be created! If one of them should, under the extra pressure, be able to discover the truth of the question, he would have to make a most disagreeable announcement to the assembled sciolists. The announcement would be, that this great social question of Absentee Expenditure, when so taken by itself, as it was then taken, and treated with truth, and the ability due to truth, was found to contain a premiss, which, when placed at the base of that system of Political Economy which they had all been engaged in constructing and in commending and recommending to the world, shattered and destroyed this system from its foundation to its apex.