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The Working Man's Manual;
a new Theory of Political Economy, on the principle of Production the Source of Wealth. Including an Inquiry into the Principles of Public Credit, Currency, the Wages of Labor, the Production of Wealth, the Distribution of Wealth, Consumption of Wealth, Popular Education, and the Elements of Social Government in general, as they appear open to the scrutiny of common sense and the philosophy of the age. By Stephen Simpson, of Philadelphia.
To those who have been readers of newspapers, for the last ten years, no man in the United States, is better known than Mr. Simpson, as a bold, ardent, energetic, party politician. He has now given us, under the above comprehensive title, a small octavo upon Political economy. The author could hardly be mistaken were his name omitted; without making the least pretension to elegance and refinement of style,-which, in treating of dry subjects, are often blemishes, instead of graces, his book is written in the same original, plain, and forcible manner, which has distinguished his less useful political essays.
The volume is intended as a plain elucidation of some of the principles of the working men, and as an introductory part to an exclusively American theory of political economy. It is divided into chapters, upon the subjects mentioned above, or their subdivisions. The foundation of the theory is that labor-that is, "active exercise of the body or mind, in the production of what is conducive to the happiness, comfort, and improvement of man; whether useful, pleasurable, or luxurious," is the only producer of wealth, that it constitutes "the sole right to property, land, produce, and all sorts of wealth,"-that it must share with capital, in the profits of trade, in a more equitable ratio," and that industry furnishes, and indeed is, the only true principle, upon which wealth should be distributed.
The propositions and illustrations by which our author supports these views, are of the most liberal and comprehensive character; founded in principles which few individuals in this or any other republican country will be disposed to contradict, or would be willing
to refute, if it were in their power. The chapters upon Currency, Bank Notes, Credit, Manufactures, Education and Population, are especially entitled to the attention of all classes; for all, or very nearly all, belong to some division of the class for whose instruc-. tion the Manual is particularly intended. As any thing like an analytical review of the volume would be tedious to the reader, a short extract from one of these chapters will afford a specimen of the author's manner of reasoning.
What is a bank bill? It is an order on paper, for so much money, drawn upon the producer of labor. Its acceptance, receipt, and circulation, are tantamount to the payment of an order upon the person receiving it. Suppose a farmer sells twenty barrels of his flour for a bank note of $100. The note is an order to take from him this amount of labor, and leave him a $100 bank bill. This bill is worth nothing intrinsi cally, it has no value-it is but a mere presumption, appealing to his faith, that it will bring him $100 in silver, gold, or labor. Acting on this presumption, he travels to town, to purchase goods; which having done, he offers in payment the $100 note. The storekeeper tells him the bank has stopped, or broke! In this manner, the luckless farmer has parted with his $100 of labor for a shadow,-and his property has passed into the hands of the adroit speculator. In many ways, his $100 note may prove equally worthless! But taken at the best advantage, it has this detrimental property, that it cannot purchase an equal amount of any commodity, that his $100 worth of labor would command, supposing the paper money had no existence. Such is the character and operation of every bank bill, and every treasury note, or public stock certificate. It is a draft from capital, drawn upon labor at sight, and paid by public credulity, faith, or what is sometimes termed credit.
Passing over a very singular dedication, "to the shade of Jefferson," which is said to be "borne beyond the confines of flattery," but "still sensible to the voice of truth," '-an absurdity which, if it is calculated to have any influence upon the reader, would have been more advantageously situated on the last, than the first page of the book, -the most important portion of the volume is the Preliminary Dissertation. In this, we find the principles upon which the working men are founding a political party, more elaborately stated than we have before seen them. We do not mean by this, however, to say that they are new to us,-for we should not willingly abandon our claim to membership in the party-or novel to the public. Very serious doubts may be entertained, whether the reformations necessary to make the laws of society and government coincide with
what our author considers the evident directions and intentions of Nature, can now be effected. But he has no such doubts; he seems to think, with lady Macbeth,
But screw your courage to the sticking place, And we'll not fail;
and as any approximation towards the object in view, even "the commencement of the end," cannot be accomplished without benefiting the community, it is to be hoped that his exhortations will be allowed their due weight.
The prominent evils under which the country labors, were borrowed from England, or rather, were not cast out, with the rest of her trumpery, at the close of the revolution. They are, the common law of England, the funding system, and the banking system. Our author avers that there exists in this country, proceeding from these, a moral inequality, not recognized by our constitution, and opposed by all our political theories, but yet sustained by the usages of society. He says, we are bound" to bring the condition of the people, in respect to the wages of labor, and the enjoyment of competence, to a level with their abstract political rights, which rights imply, necessarily, the possession of the property they may produce, on the principles of equity, congenial to the equal rights guaranteed by the organic law." To substitute law for the distribution of labor "amounts to a virtual repeal of the declaration of Independence." He next speaks of the operations which have produced the objectionable inequality. He says
It cannot be concealed, it would be unwise to dissemble the fact, that the most formidable obstruction to the attainment of justice, in the distribution of labor, and the consequent opinion of honor and merit, attaching to industry, instead of disgrace, is to be found in the pride lofty bearing of the literary, erudite, intellectual, and scientific classes. The educated are generally the rich; and where the exception prevails, necessity, or accident, as in the case of labor, soon brings the object under the influence, and within the patronage of the affluNo habit of mind is so decided and obstinate, as the contempt of learning for ignorance, or of genius for stolidity. In addition to this, the FEUDAL forms of all colleges, and universities, place an insuperable barrier between the unlettered mechanic and the classical dignitary. In all situations, and under all circumstances, charters create a virtual NOBILITY. The Doctor of Laws, the Master of Arts, and other similar unmeaning titles, betray the aristocracy of the revival of learning, under Popes, Kings, Emperors, and Princes, and express the determination of wealth, to protect its privileges by golden barriers, as well as legal restraints and intimidations. Literature and education, thus affianced to opulence, naturally feel a strong repugnance to share their intellectual dominion with the mass of society, or
to look upon ignorance with a feeling of complacency, or even of tolerance. The prejudice is by this means confirmed, that the occupations of labor, not only do not require the lights of science, and the polish of letters, but that the successful prosecution of trade, mechanics, and other modes of toil, are entirely incompatible with that celestial light, which education sheds upon the mind.
Every reader will say at once, that this is not true in New-England, whatever it may be in some other parts of the Union. In the following paragraph, also, the enthusiasm of the author has induced him to draw a picture, if it is intended as the portraiture of any thing in existence, much too highly colored for any part of the United States.
The virtual distinctions of rank, which too frequently extend into forms and titles, and which have for their basis injustice and extortion, which are the adjuncts of wealth, and which draw the line of exclusion where labor commences, are the cause of all that moral depravity, over which the pampered man of opulence affects to shed tears of compassion, and projects systems of amelioration. When the
children of toil are as much shunned in society, as if they were leprous convicts just emerged from loathsome cells-the most powerful obstacle is erected between them and all that can make them estimable and happy. The family tie of the race is snapped asunder; and man, thus degraded and oppressed, would be less than man, if he did not feel enmity towards his oppressor, and view with resentment an order of things so contrary to the dictates of justice and humanity-so broadly in contradiction to his political rights, and so basely in violation of his equal attributes as a man. Here is the fountain, the sacred fountain of all revolutions-this is the point at which nature revolts-this is the point to which the productive classes have been depressed, and at which they now rebel-claiming their rights, and resolving to attain them, not by violence and bloodshed, but through the constitutional channels of action-the press, the ballot-boxes, and the power of legislation.
No evidence can be better than that of Mr. Simpson, in relation to the parties of this country, and his remarks upon this subject are entitled to a double weight; for, if his exposures are not occasioned by the bitterness of disappointment, they are, at least, drawn from the very fountains of knowledge.
Nothing of a public nature, at the present era, is so worthy of the attention of the people, as the fallacious structure and pernicious tendency of the parties now in vogue, whose foundations are as futile as their results are nugatory to the great body of the people; neither advancing the good of the nation, nor the prosperity of her citizens; but blindly ministering to the avarice, ambition, or pride of some temporary idol; who is worshiped one day, and immolated on the next. A party grafted purely on principle, has never yet engrossed the ardent people of this excited country.
PERSONAL PARTIES are at all times, and under all circumstances, highly dangerous, and often prove fatal to the liberties of a free people. They are founded on selfishness, and terminate in usurpation and abuses. They first lead to the obscurity of principles, and gradual
ly produce a total obliteration of all the great landmarks, which are founded on the fundainental differences of government, and engraven on the inalienable rights of man. After confounding, in this manner, all distinctions between right and wrong, justice and oppression, freedom and bondage, they soon tend to beget, in the popular mind, a total apathy or indifference to whatever relates to political affairs. What is radically erroneous or pernicious, is often glossed over as right, and adopted by affection or reverence for a name-what is nefarious in principle, and even frightful in its consequences, is often welcomed, cherished, and promoted, without reflection, or inquiry, because a voice gilded with popularity has suggested its performance. Men of conflicting views, irreconcilable principles, and incompetent minds, are huddled together in personal parties for a moment, until some shock of interest severs them wider than ever, with embittered animosity, and aggravated feelings; or, if they cohere after the first collision, it is at the increased expense of all that is worthy of esteem and admiration in the human character. Honesty is sacrificed to expediency, truth to self-interest, patriotism to ambition, and public virtue to private aggrandizement. Honor and right can never tolerate such heterogeneous associations. The most callous and adroit knaves, in such parties, smile at the hypocrisy of one another. Mutual distrust, suspicion, and contempt sit upon the face of every thinking man of the ill-assorted group. Yet nothing discomposes the complacency of these venal spirits; and acquiescence in the ruin of their country is purchased by a bribe, a commission, or a promise of patronage, hid in the mists of the indefinite future. The mere animals disport with their wonted glee, under the shadow of any power, however corrupt; as there are some birds that can live even upon the gum and berries of the upas tree. A wise, prudent, and virtuous people, therefore, in order to continue free, will never lose sight of PRINCIPLE.
Mr. Simpson contends that the revolution is not only not completed, but that it never will be while we are dependent upon foreign nations, in any particular. This is good sound doctrine, but it would have been more useful forty years ago. He objects particularly to the retention of the common law system, the adoption of the statute laws of Britain, as precedents in our courts, and to the same error in regard to our literature. Upon this point, he remarks :
The same prejudice now operates against a reform, equally desirable, in our general literature; which is still IMPORTED exclusively from England; as if she only possessed a climate formed by nature for the happy development of intellect and taste-a climate peculiar to herself, and denied to all other nations. The prejudice against American authors and their productions is but a part of that great infirmity, which has stigmatized us by the inconsistencies and contradictions already alluded to. A partiality for our own offspring is a natural affection, and a laudable weakness; and in relation to the literature of nations, the same preferences ought to be cherished, as the means of happiness, and the safeguards of liberty. Whoever contemplates the load of trash that inundates this country from the book-shops of England, and reflects upon the fact, that when a neglected American author transports him
self to London, his works are sought with eagerness, and devoured with avidity, will confess the truth, that it is the place where he writes, and not the quality of his writings, that stamps him with genius, or gives sterling currency to his wit. The prodigious influence of literature, upon the minds and manners of a people, makes it of incalculable importance, that it should emanate from American mindsminds imbued with the love of liberty, and animated by a spirit congenial to that which pervades our constitution, and is calculated to advance our glory!
If the interest of these extracts, shall be considered an equivalent for the space they occupy, and we think they are, this notice will not have exceeded a proper length. It may be proper to remark that there have grown up, in this country, two sections, or parties of working men, one of which is more commonly denominated the Free-thinkers, instead of being called, as they should be, the wrong-thinkers, or the nothinkers. Mr. Simpson's book will not do for them; it has too much practical good sense, too much regard for society, and places too much dependence in moral restraints, and virtuous influenWith one more short extract, we take our leave of the interesting volume.
If ever a party set out upon scientific principles grounded on mathematical precision, it is surely that of the working men. They are a philosophical, political, economical party. They have gone to the fountain-head of first principles, and dragged forth justice from the waters of time. They have analysed the elements of national wealth, and individual happiness. They have detected the errors of established systems, and exposed the injustice of privileged orders, vested with exclusive rights, to accumulate wealth at the sacrifice of those who produce it.
A Critical Review of the Orthography of Dr. Webster's series of books for systematic instruction in the English language. By Lyman Cobb.
This is a very elaborate piece of literary workmanship, or critical carving, published in a pamphlet shape, for the convenience, it is presumed, of transmission by mail, but containing matter sufficient for a ponderous octavo. It is a long time since have seen such a specimen of criticism;-not in the cut-and-slash manner of the Mac Growler school, but the careful turning-over, and turning-out, of legitimate judgement and condemnation. A pretty accurate knowledge of political movements, furnishes us no better example of what has been denominated the searching operation." The style is uncommonly lively and piquant,
but the manner of the author is unnecessarily, if not unjustifiably, harsh ; so that, although the work is divested of the dryness of common philological writings, the pungency and frequency of the sneers subtract very considerably from the pleasure of the reader. We are unacquainted with the author's previous works, nor do we know what kind of intercourse has existed between him and the friends of Dr. Webster; but no "impartial and intelligent reader' can peruse a page of this Review, without being convinced, in his own mind, that there was some 66 unwritten" prompting at the heart of the reviewer, which made him quite as uncomfortable before its emission, as the proprietors of Dr. Webster's copy rights, may have been, and reasonably too, since it appeared. With this, however, the public have nothing to do. The numerous class of literary journeymen are under obligations to Mr. Cobb. We have received much instruction from his labor. But we acknowledge it as we should the civility of a surgeon, and with the same ambiguous satisfaction with which we should compliment the dexterity of his dissections, or thank him for the information he communicated, of another kind of humanity.
It is generally admitted that the nation has some reason to be proud of Dr. Webster, and that his great labors have been not only honorable to himself, but useful to the public. It is impossible to read this pamphlet without perceiving that it is calculated to injure his feelings, to shake, if not demolish the newly-finished fabric of his reputation, and to destroy, entirely, the sale of his works. We are aware that considerations of this kind have no weight with the critic, engaged in the investigation of truth, and the exposure of errors; they certainly do not appear to have relaxed the acerbity of the reviewer in the present case, or to have sweetened his severity. He feels that he is abundantly competent to the task he has undertaken; if he does not strike straight forward in every instance, it is because he can make a deeper wound through the medium of a sneer; he hunts every wandering consonant into its place; and he hardly leaves Dr. Webster's friends the poor consolation of admitting, as they have ever cheerfully done, that his labors are not completed. He examines the innovations and improvements, comparing them with the heretofore acknowledged standards, so far as there are any such
things, and with the principles of the language; showing the inconvenience and impropriety of adopting some of them, and making out a very strong case against others. He also points out numberless inconsistencies, and variations from Dr. Webster's own principles and practice, as laid down and recommended in his own writings, which, it appears to us, can neither be excused, nor easily palliated; showing the impossibility of receiving either one of Dr. Webster's books as a standard for the public, when no one of them is a standard for another. Few people, probably, were aware of the extent of these errors; and notwithstanding the ungracious manner in which Mr. Cobb has performed the labor, we suppose it is but just to be thankful for the collection and arrangement of them.
In his examination of the Quarto Dictionary, the reviewer dwells particularly upon the innovations of Dr. Webster. The first of these, is the omission of k, in the words ending with ck; of about five hundred words of this class, he has terminated something like three hundred and twenty with e only, and the remaining one hundred and eighty, with ck. This innovation the reviewer follows through many derivatives of the words properly ending in ck, to show the difficulties which would result from its adoption. Thus, if attack, be written attac, a proper and necessary uniformity requires, that attacking also be written attacing; and as c, before a vowel, is sounded like s, the pronunciation of the word is changed to attasing. The same remark applies to frolick, physick, &c. &c. Another objection is drawn from the rule of the language which requires, when a primitive, accented on the last syllable, terminates with a consonant. the repetition of the consonant when the syllable added commences with a vowel. If is not a part of the primitive word attack, we have no right to insert it in the derivative attacking; therefore, if the c or k, be unnecessary. c seems to be the redundant letter, and hence, according to the rule, the word will be written attakking.
The second innovation examined by the reviewer, is the omission of the u, in the termination of such words as labour, honour, &c. It is undoubtedly true, that there are numerous letters in the language, which are necessary to the pronunciation of the primitives, but unnecessary in the derivatives; as
vigour, vigorous; explain. explanation; waste, wasting; &c. &c. Again, many words of similar pronunciation, are distinguished by the use of silent or unsounded letters, the expulsion of which, as superfluous, would cause great confusion, as rein, reign, rain, &c. And finally, if Dr. Webster's reason be sound, that there is an impropriety in writing labour with u, and laborious without it, the reviewer avers that the desirable uniformity is not attained in the Quarto Dictionary, where the u is omitted in about fifty words ending in our, and retained in about six hundred ending in ous.
A third innovation of Dr. Webster's is in the class of words ending in re, preceded by a consonant, as sepulchre; in these the final letters are reversed, as in sepulcher. As this class of words is now spelled, the final e is dropped in the derivative, as sepulchre, sepulchral, which is certainly more convenient and natural than omitting a letter in the body of the word, as will be necessary in making sepulchral from sepulcher. The reason of Dr. Webster for this alteration is, that the present mode of terminating the primitive leads to an awkward mode of spelling the derivatives, as sepulchred, massacred, instead of sepulchered, &c. Mr. Cobb objects to the insufficiency of this reason, on account of the awkward pronunciation which may result, as massacre, massacer, massacered, in which the c be
The reviewer examines, at considerable length, many other innovations of the Quarto Dictionary, as the omission of one f, in such words as tariff, the change of c to s, in the termination of such words as offence, the change of ch to k, in ache, and its compounds, the insertion of the double l in skillful, where it is not necessary, and the omission of one I in traveller, the omission of b in crumb, thumb, &c. &c. &c. in which the discrepancies, inconsistencies, and contradictions in the dictionary are shown to be almost innumerable, and are treated with great severity. He then proceeds :
I will now attempt to show wherein Mr. Webster's "American Dictionary" is particularly objectionable as a "STANDARD OF OR
It is presumed that every person will readily admit, that a dictionary should, if intended to be a "standar of orthography," possess the following qualities in an eminent degree.-1. "Certain rules should be adopted and pursued through the several classes of words, and their orthography should be reduced to uniformity." -2. No innovation in orthography should be made, unless by the introduction of that innovation an "anomaly" is corrected and uni
formity produced.-3. The orthography of the primitive and derivative words should be uniform and consistent.-4. The same words should not be differently spelled, either in the text, or in the definitions of other words; and want of decision in this particular alone, should be a paramount objection to the adoption of any dictionary as a" STANDARD OF ORTHOGRAPHY!"
I have already shown, it is beli in the first, second, and third particulars, above alluded to, Mr. Webster has not, except in a very few instances, produced uniformity, either in the "certain rules which he has adopted and pursued through the several classes of words," or in the innovations" which he has made; and, that he has, in the orthography of primitive and derivative words, more contradictions than Johnson, Walker, Jones, Todd, or Jameson yet Mr. Webster has stated that "No two English writers agree on the subject of orthography; and what is worse, no lexicographer is consistent with himself!" when he has more inconsistencies" than all of them!!! But the fourth, and most important and prominent particular, which should be manifested on the part of the lexicographer who writes a dictionary, designed as a "standard of orthography," is decision in giving the orthography of each word; and I will now endeavour to show that Mr. Webster has exhibited a greater want of decision in this important point than any of his predecessors. First-he has, spelled many words in two different ways without having given a preference, each of which he has defined precisely or nearly alike, and these words have been spelled but one way in his former dictionaries, and in the dictionaries of Johnson, Walker, etc. Secondly-he has in using the words thus differently spelled in his text, in defining other words, spelled them sometimes with one orthography, and sometimes with the other: Thirdly-he has frequently spelled a word two ways, and has given a preference; but he has as often, in his definitions, used the orthography which he has not preferred as that which he has preferred: Fourthly-he has, in many instances, changed the orthography of a word, and inserted the former orthography, and has referred the reader to the new spelling; but he has changed the orthography of other words without having given the former orthography, or any reference to it: Fifthly-he has many words that are spelled two different ways in his text, which he has coupled, sometimes even without reference to their alphabetical arrangements, so that the reader can see the different spelling of the same word at once, which is a great convenience; but he has other words differently spelled which are not thus coupled, which is a great inconvenience: Sixthly-he has, in his text, coupled many words which he has spelled in two different ways, with one first in its alphabetical arrangement, and in another place the other word first, agreeably to the alphabetical arrangement of that word; in this manner, alternately giving each word thus coupled, a preference by placing it first!
This is followed by a thorough examination of the whole dictionary, to show wherein it does not conform to the rules here laid down, coupled with abundant citations to prove the truth of the six charges; from which he arrives at the conclusion that the American Dictionary, is more erroneous, less uniform and consistent than any one of them [Johnson, Walker, Jameson, Todd, and others,] and if adopted as