The following spirited article, we clip from the Chronotype, a beautiful little daily published and edited by Elizur Wright, Boston. Mr. Wright is a scholar, philosopher and if merit insures prosperity, we predict for this sheet’s abundant success:
“Vote Yourself a Farm.” - The New York Express makes itself quite merry with the rejection of the petitions for the freedom of the public lands. It thinks the petitioners all loafers, who had better earn farms. We know of some of them who have earned farms but have never yet got them, either because they were deficient in bargain cunning or were not mean enough to exercise it. It will do well for one who has the help of a few hundred dollars of capital in warding off starvation, to talk pertly about the ease with which every man may get a good living in this country, and may earn a far,. But is quite a different thing to have a family to support on the hand to mouth principle, and save the first hundred dollars. The chances are the the most frugal and industrious man, who has a family to rear on his own mere labor, will grow poorer instead of richer in the struggle. Why will it not be best to vote every such man at once a place to make such a farm on? What which man would be any worse off in a view of right reason, by having every poor man placed in circumstances of hope and self-respect.
The only reason which can be given for the appropriation of land at all, is, that without it the soil would not be cultivated, and the fruits would not be allowed to come to perfection. If men only lived in a combined order, consulting each other’s interests, there would be no force in this reason. The land would then belong to the mass, each particular district to those cultivating it, and no more to them than they could cultivate. But while men live in isolated households, it is not reasonable that a man should own more land than he can cultivate, that he should speculate in land and monopolize it. It does not and cannot come under the category of other property, such as grain, cloth, metals, the product of industry. Every man has a peculiar right to the products of his own industry, exercised upon the natural elements, a right which cannot extend to these elements themselves.
These elements, the air, the water, the soil, the rocks and the mines, are given for the common benefit of all; and every man, in being born, receives from his Maker a title deed to a fair share of them. Hence the duty of government, if it has any duty, is to se that every man has what is really his. Our present system contrives to keep more than three-fourths of mankind from enjoying any right whatever to the common elements. They find themselves in a world where there is plenty of soil to cultivate, mines to delve, and water power to be turned to account, and yet they have no right by the laws to touch anything. They are thrown into the labor market with their bare hands, to make the best bargain they can. Gracious Heavens! This is not fair play. The owners of land, or what will buy land, can make their own terms in that market. It is no question of starvation with them, for the spontaneous fruits of the earth will keep them alive, their children, horses, cows, sheep and dogs. But the poor landless individual must work on some terms, or starve. So the natural multiplication of such brings them right down to the line of starvation - work as they will twelve hours a day - and ever and anon they plunge below the line.
Abolish land monopoly, and you abolish at one blow idleness and poverty - idleness, because land will no longer cultivate itself, so to speak, by the aid of landless men, neither can money any longer go into the labor market and command labor at its own price; every owner of land and money will have to labor himself - poverty, because every man will have the means of supporting himself and rearing a family, with a reasonable amount of labor. We do not say it would do this by an instantaneous action; that would be miraculous. But it will do it by a sure and effectual tendency. The abolition of the Land Monopoly as the parent of all other monopolies, the main cause of the inequal distribution of wealth, would lead to a total change in the relation of employer and employed, and give the latter his fair share in the products of their common labor.
But how shall the abolition of land monopoly be effected? How shall the soil be redeemed from the shambles of traffic?
It can only be done by the introduction of some principle which shall act prospectively. The repeal of all laws for the compulsory collection of debts, would tend powerfully to prevent the accumulation of landed estates by cunning traders. Limitation on future purchases, and an obligation to divide real estate in wills, would tend to diminish large landed estates. Above all, the division among the landless of all the public lands, at the expense of survey, for homesteads to actual cultivators, would be a death blow at the monopoly throughout the country. Without doing the slightest violence to “vested rights” a course of legislation might now be entered upon which would, in the course of a generation, make every virtuous poor man rich enough and, what is scarcely a less bless, compel every rich man to work enough with his own hands to save his precious soul from moral putrefaction. As to the vicious poor who would not work, at any rate, they would have died off.
That any man with a soul in him, any man fit for any decent heaven, terrestrial celestial or theological, should not deeply sympathise with the land reform movement is a mystery to us. Do we think there will be John Jacob Astors, Van Rennselaers, or Dukes of Richmond in heaven? Do we think that great landed proprietors will loll on sofas there, while poor famished delvers are cultivating the narrow strips between the wall and the roadside? Men keeping vast forests to look at, while others are freezing and eating potatoes half raw because they have not fuel to cook them! In short, will there be human swine in heaven? In short, will there be human swine in heaven? Every man who says no, ought to be a land reformer here.
Freedom of the Public Lands
Many of our readers are already acquainted with our views upon the necessity of stopping farther speculation and monopoly of the Soil. Our opinions on the subject were founded before appearing before the public in our present capacity, and the constant and rapid increase of poverty and ignorance, vice and crime in the world, are daily conspiring to render (if possible) our convictions more settled and certain. We firmly believe that the present inequality and destitution in society is chargeable to the monopoly of the Soil, which our laws sustain and uphold, and our religious and social influences sanction and foster. When this unjust and anti-republican traffick in Land shall cease, wickedness and physical degradation will gradually, but surely become eradicated from society, and Labor, instead of remaining a wandering alien on the Earth begging and starving amidst the abundant productions of its own hands, would rise and occupy its true position, and receive its honest rewards. The first organized on behalf of the Land Reform, in this country, we believe commenced in a New York City, about four years since, and through the perseverance and unwearied labors of a noble land, denominating themselves “National Reformers,” it has rapidly spread through the Middle and Western States, and is gradually working itself into old Massachusetts.
At the head of this “National Reform” party is George H. Evans, one of Nature’s noblemen - a man of rare foresight and talent, though of unostentatious pretensions. - Mr. Evans is editor of “Young America,” organ of the movement, and is doing a great work for humanity in spreading the principles of the “National Reformers” before the people.
The Freedom of the Public Lands in the States and Territories of the United States, and their limitation to actual settlers, in lots of about 160 acres, and the security of ‘The Homestead’ from liabilities, on account of Debt or Mortgage, are the prominent measures advocated by this paper - measures that are sound, philosophical and practical, and which this nation must adopt to save the mass from final destitution and vassalage. Man never was created to live by mere suffrage - at the will of another, no way his superior - but by right; and if he lives by right, or in other words has a right to live, why in the name of common sense, has he not the right to the means of life? To the elements of life - to that without which he cannot live? And this, too, without buying, begging or borrowing.
We are well aware that our views may appear fanatical and visionary, to those who have a peculiar reverence for the ‘established order of things’ - those who would chain the race to that particular epoch, which gave tone and character to their opinions of the social and political relations of society. But we have long since lost all sensitiveness on this account, for we know no man but by deeds, and are willing to abide the judgment. The pleasures and virtues of home ha ve long been a theme of admiration by poets and philanthropists, and if it is such an inestimable blessing why not give every human being a chance to enjoy its healthful and moral influences, by rendering the Soil, the impartial, universal heritage of the people and thereby securing an ‘inalienable home to all?’
Without this, man’s physical; mental and moral culture becomes a matter of chance, subject to all the fluctuating vicissitudes of a homeless populace, which will continue to grow more uncertain as the population of our country increases, - poverty, vice and crime, ever keeping pace. For those and other equally important considerations, we demand that the Soil which God created for the entire human family, shall be held by the people in equitable portions, instead of being put up as ‘stock’ in the market, and gambled away in unlimited quantities to mercenary speculators, who by virtue of their landed possessions, make tenants and vassals of the landless portion of the people. We hope none of our readers will be so uncharitable as to pass this subject by without giving it that thought, its importance demands, recollecting that the history of the past teaches, that man alienated from the soil, becomes the serf and slave of another, and though they may be comparatively independent in this respect their posterity are no way secure from the miser’es which have visited other nations recognizing monopoly of the Soil.
Public Meeting—Agreeable to previous notice, the Reformers assembled at the school house of Philip Strall, in Malta township, and after hearing a speech of some two hours in length, by J.S. Dye, and a few appropriate remarks by Mr. Foreaker, the following resolutions were adopted: -
Resolved. That we are in a favor of the distribution of the public lands among the landless citizens of American, giving to all one hundred and sixty acres, who are not possessed of other land, and will become actual settlers on the same and pay the expense it would cost government to have it surveyed; - that we are opposed to the present system of trafficking in land, holding it to be ruinous to the mass of the public, and only calculated to build up a landed aristocracy.
Resolved. That we are in favor of the reduction of all salaries to the workingman’s standard opposed to the present system of paying Congressmen and other officers as much for a day’s service as we, the farmers, mechanics, and laborers make in a month at hard labor.
A meeting will be held at Humanity Hall St., over Protection Union Store, next Tuesday evening, to discuss the subject of Land Reform – those in favor or opposed, are invited to attend and take part in the meeting.
A Convention of National Reformers is to meet in Worcester, in this State on the thirteenth day of October next, to nominate candidates for Governor, &c., who shall be pledged to the principle, that the land ought to be distributed among the settlers and cultivators, in the conformity with the spirit of Christ. - We rejoice to see that there is a spirit of Christ. -
We rejoice to see that there is a spirit manifested by the mechanic and operative, on this all important question, in which their happiness or wretchedness is involved. We regret to see that a convention is called for the purpose of nominating candidates to the highest offices of the State, before the question is generally understood by that class which is most interested. The attention of the mechanic and operative have not been sufficiently called to question. Far better would it have been had they poured into the legislature for a few years, their petitions, making known their wants and grievances. This would set those most interested, to looking into the subject, who have given it no attention. Light is beginning to spread itself over Europe, on the subject - hence the revulsions and strong symptoms of war there, and all in consequence of so many of those laws which are grinding upon the poor. Consequently a civil war will take place in Europe before the people will be restored to their natural rights. But in our country, we have only to discuss our rights and then go to the ballot box and secure them.
But in this instance, we are likely to have candidates in the field before the wants of the party are known, or their principles understood.
The above remarks, from the Essex Banner, are worthy of consideration. We have long doubted the policy of brining out candidates, pledged to the principles and measures of which the people are ignorant. We believe such a course premature and calculated to secure the opposition of many that a ‘more prudent’ policy would ally to the National Reform cause. By creating a new party and brining into the field new candidates, we waken the prejudices of all other parties, while by urging our principles upon them and questioning their candidates, we awaken the prejudices of all other parties, while by urging our principles upon them and questioning their candidates, we may gain a favorable consideration and thereby bring our measures before the public. The Land Reform question is fast gaining ground and is emphatically the question of the age, and the time of its consummation will depend upon the prudence and wisdom of its advocates. Let light be shed into the political wilderness of this country and the wild beasts, that have preyed so long upon the working people, may be harnessed to the care of the humanity.
We hope our Worcester friends will think of these things, and abandon the policy of nominating candidates, unless those of the other parties refuse to interest themselves in favour of a “Landed Democracy”
Written for the Voice
All men have an inalienable right to life and liberty. No one can live without breathing, eating and drinking. Food can come only from the soil; and Nature has provided earths air and water for our equal use. Whoever denies our free rights to use either of these denies our right to life itself.
Whoever ever heard of despotic savage preventing his neighbor from occupying or using any land which he did not himself wish to use? Yet in this free and Christian country it is so. Government denies our right to the soil, and places it only within the reach of those who have money. Those who have no money stand most in need of access to the soil, but it is not only placed beyond their reach, but government also allows those who are fortunate enough to be wealthy, to monopolize and speculate in the soil, and thus place it in a vast deal father from the poor. The farther it goes from our reach the more helpless we are, and must be. Every railroad and such labor saving improvement which causes a rise in the price of land, brings us so much nearer the condition of the starving millions of Ireland.
Those who are despotically robbed of their right to use the means which Nature affords, for the support of life, are entirely dependent on others for permission to live. - They have only “liberty” to starve to death or live, like slaves, on such terms as capitalists dictate.