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THE WORKING CLASSES AND THEIR RELATION TO
THE STATE. The Chartist outrages, the question of the Corn-laws-the rate of Wages--and the interests of Manufacturers are now of such pressing urgency, that we must devote a large space in our present number to political discussion. Perhaps no calumny has been more industriously circulated than that the aristocracy of a country are the natural enemies of the lower and middle orders. It is easy to prove that the true noble is their best friend. While the lower class of politicians make wealth, either in explicit terms or by implication, the basis of right, it has always been the doctrine of the higher aristocratic class, that so far from having a less, the labouring man has a greater stake, if possible, in the country, than even the owner of the soil himself. What principally entitles the bolder of the soil to its possession ? Only the industry of his ancestors or his own. His fathers, by much labour, brought the land which he possesses to its present state of fertility and value. The strongest right to property in land rests upon the ground of improvement having followed occupation, in other words, that by labour and skill it had been deservedly appropriated to an individual trustee for the public benefit. Where no improvement takes place, the right of property loses considerably in strength, and is only supported at all by the consideration that in improvement there are many gradations, as also in occupation, and that it would be difficult to fix the precise amount of either; and that as the very occupation of the land may be taken as the first step of improvement, improvement must be supposed to have begun, and length of time allowed to complete it ; the languid improver not being, for obvious reasons of expediency, to be arbitrarily removed for one more active.
So far, also, from the labourer being a mere citizen of the world, in the sense intended by some writers who profess to take the poorer classes into their especial keeping, he is in, perhaps, 110 sense entitled to such character. More than any man probably, he is, by circumstances and necessarily, a patriot, and attached to the soil of his birth; nay, so disinclined is he to bear with him to another market that stock-in-trade of his, on which so much stress is laid-namely, his capacity for labour -that, frequently, he would rather starve in his native land, than seek a foreign shore in the way of colonisation, even at the expense of government. He feels it as a sort of indignity offered to his person that he should be carried, however beneficially for himself or his country, to a
N. 5.- VOL. 111.