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subject of population presents itself, and the task cannot be avoided, of examining both the laws which determine the power of the human race to increase its aggregate numbers, and those by which the exercise and effects of that power are controlled. To apply however the results of this general review to our immediate subject of wages, it will be necessary to recur to those different funds for the support of labor, the origin and limits of which will have been already analysed; and to shew by a reference to the story and condition of the different divisions of mankind supported out of each of them, what are the peculiarities in the nature of those funds, which the most materially affect the habits of the laborers; and through these, stimulate or control their disposition to increase.
The laws which determine fluctuations in the numbers of the laboring classes, and in the amount of the funds devoted to their maintenance, once explained, the circumstances which determine the rate of wages in the different stages and forms of human society will be before us. After such a preparation, and with a proper knowledge of the actual statistical moral and political condition of particular communities, we may apply our knowledge of general principles with some confidence, whether for the purpose of explaining their present
position, or of anticipating the future course of the mass of their population.
It is upon the same plan of eliciting principles from the most comprehensive survey it is in our power to make, of the mass of human society in all its details and varieties, that the share of the annual produce allotted to the owners of capital has been investigated. In performing this task, I have not confined myself to those circumstances alone which affect the rate of profits, but have considered the growth of the mass of profits as a point of equal or indeed superior importance. With a view to understand fluctuations in each of these quantities, I have examined in the world, as it lies spread before us, the various and gradually multiplying functions of accumulated stock. They have been traced, first, in those rude tribes or nations among whom the savage may be discerned fashioning his weapons, or the cultivator, with a scanty stock, making the first imperfect attempts at tillage; and thence, through many an intermediate grade, to those more brilliant theatres of industry and the arts, in which mankind may be observed, enriched by the successive accumulations of many generations, as well as by their own; and exercising by the aid of these a commanding and increasing productive power, whether employed in unfolding the resources of the earth, or in fashioning the material world to their purposes.
In the progress
At each step of this progress, society is seen to receive a fresh impression and an altered form. To detect the laws which determine these changes, we shall watch the growth of the capitalists, and observe them at first scarcely distinguishable as a peculiar body; then separating themselves slowly, from the mass of laborers orlandowners with which they were before confounded; assuming a gradually increasing share in the direction of national industry; and influencing at last (in a few instances) in the most marked and decisive manner, not only the productive powers, but the social and political elements of nations. of this survey, there will have been marked the. various sources gradually multiplying and enlarging themselves, which yield the successive additions made to the existing stock of accumulated wealth.
We come then to the causes which determine the proportion which the annual revenue allotted to its owners bears to the mass of accumulated wealth employed, that is, which determine the rate of profit: and while tracking the changes which take place in this, as communities became more full of wealth, we shall, from the results of our previous survey, have been placed in a position to explain a phenomenon, the existence of which, (however contrary to doctrines lately current,) the instances of our own country, and of a few others, will be seen to put beyond the reach of cavil or doubt :-namely, the increasing national power of rapid accumulation, which is seen to advance hand in hand with a decreasing rate of profits.
Rents, Wages and Profits thus examined, the last division of our subject will be in sight, “ The sources of Taxation.” We shall here appeal first to history and facts, to dissipate the error which has led more than one sect of reasoners? to teach, that some portions of the wealth annually produced and distributed, are marked by the peculiarity of yielding no revenue to the state, and that their receivers are unconsciously gifted with a power of throwing back on other classes the impositions nominally laid upon them. Tracing society then once more through its many forms and many stages, we shall endeavour to point out what in each is the nature and amount of the revenue drawn by the state from the incomes of the laborers, the landowners, or the capitalists. We shall then attempt to observe the limits of the financial fruitfulness of each class; and to determine the points, at which an attempt to press further upon a single division, ends in a real burthen upon one or both of the others.
1 Locke and the Economists as to· Profits and Wages ; Ricardo (more partially) as to Wages.
Viewing then the revenues of the community as a whole, it may perhaps be practicable to estimate how far the state may share in the joint wealth of its subjects, without causing production to retrograde: and where the limits are, beyond which all attempts to extract from a people a permanent public revenue fail, and if persevered in, serve only to impoverish the sources of wealth.
Most assuredly it is not even hoped that so large a field as that of which the outline has just been sketched, has been fully explored in one survey, or all its harvest of instruction reaped. But however much may remain to be done, it is cheering to reflect that whatever knowledge is thus elicited by a legitimate and careful reference to experience cannot deceive us.
Even by the present imperfect effort, enough at least of knowledge has been so obtained, to demonstrate the error of those gloomy notions of a perpetual discord between rival interests in society, and of an inevitable tendency to ultimate decline, which it has been the evil triumph of the specious reasonings lately inculcated on these subjects, to make, to a certain extent, plausible and current. We shall see first rising up before us in all parts of the globe this prominent and unquestionable fact;—that under no form or modification of the relations between the proprietors and