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exchange wheat for eastern manufactures, he would get, on an average, about half the quantity that the farmer in Massachusetts would get; while in the exchange of flour he would only lose about from twenty-five to thirty per cent. And here we have a striking illustration of the effects of manufacturing; for the simple process of manufacturing the wheat into flour, reduces the loss in the exchange of this article to about one half; and although this may not be a direct gain to the farmer, it is so much saved to the country, and inures to the general benefit and prosperity of all classes. Beef and pork, upon foot, may also be set down at about double the price in Massachusetts as in Missouri. But the differ. ence is much less when packed in barrels; this is owing to the cost of packing, including the salt and the barrel.
It may be assumed, as a fair proposition, that one half of the value of all the exports from Missouri is paid for transporting them to market, and in the difference of price between the cost here of the manufactured articles which we consume, and their cost at the place of production. But this is only a part of the Joss; for we have endeavored to show that the exportation of the raw material is not only destructive to the land, but that if the consumers were nearer to the producers, the latter would find a profitable market for many articles which might be raised at little cost, without lessening the amount of the larger staples.
We have endeavored to analyze the subject and to state it fairly; and we re. spectfully invite our agricultural readers to examine the matter for themselves; and we think that they will conclude with us, that there is, perhaps, no other country, where every individual is free to choose his employment, in which labor is so unwisely or unprofitably directed as in the western portion of the Mississippi Valley.
ART. II.MORAL ECONOMY. Having noticed the necessity of exercise, as the means of insuring a healthful condition of man's physical nature — and also the importance of its application to useful purposes — we now propose to consider labor as a moral institution.
The Creator, in his benevolence, has associated pleasure with the performance of every office necessary either to the support and comfort of our indiviđual ex. istence or to the perpetuation of the race. Alternate exercise and rest — the grate. ful flavor of food -- sexual love — and parental affection — were ordained as in. centives to human action; and may be regarded as rewards of obedience to the laws of our physical nature. So, likewise, every act of obedience to the Divine will, and every social action which imparts benefits to others, give rise to emotions of pleasure ; and these being assimilated with our moral nature, remain a permanent source of gratification. And he who neglects to enrich his heart with the comforts which flow from a sense of obedience to the laws of his being, or with the pleasurable emotions which arise from social actions, must not only remain a stranger to moral happiness, but also suffer the penalties annexed to disobedience.
We have endeavored to show, that by the economy of man's nature, his existence in a civilized state can only be sustained by labor and knowledge combined; therefore, had labor been attended with no other reward than the gratifica. tion of the senses, the condition of man would have been infinitely worse than that of any other created being. But the Dirine Word, which declared that “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," redeemed man from this hard condition. This added a moral duty to the physical necessity; and although the burthen was not increased, man thereby became the recipient of the rewards attendant upon labor as a moral institution. How benevolent and sublimely beautiful appear the designs of the Creator, when thus considered! Yet man, not perceiving the moral obligation, nor appreciating the rewards of obedience, looks alone to the physical necessity, and esteems labor a curse imposed upon his race. And until this fatal delusion shall be removed, he must continue to labor under the law of physical necessity, or from a morbid desire to accumulate wealth ; and civilization, as ever heretofore, will be doomed to rise and fall like the waves of a troubled ocean.
Owing to the blindness and ignorance of man, in regard to the means of promoting his own happiness, he is prone to look upon labor as a condition degrading to his nature; and endeavors to escape from it by any method which his imagination can devise. As well might we expect that a galley slave would be serupulous in regard to the manner of escaping from the toils of the oar, as to expect that one who perceives no moral reward associated with labor, should be quite conscientious in selecting the mode of escape from a condition which he esteems not less hard and degrading. Void of gratitude to his Maker, and feeling no sympathy for his fellow-man, he submits to the dominion of self love ; and disregarding all social observances and moral obligations, he goes forth prepared for deeds of desperation, and resolves to imitate the rich and privileged orders in appropriating the labors of others to his own use. Hence the knave, clothed in falsehood and deception, like the fabled Proteus, assumes every form and guise. Is he a dealer in small wares, he pratices upon the ignorant and the credulous with false vepresentations of value, with false weights and measures, and ingeniously conceals the defects of his commodities. A merchant, he is a speculator, cunning in the art of raising and depressing the markets by concealment and false intelligence. A mechanic, he is unfaithful and unjust to his employer, and working up to the letter of his contract: to secure the entorcement of his demand, he disregards the moral part of the obligation, and rejoices in the fraud. A physi. cian, he is ignorant of the science, and of all the virtues which adorn the prosession; and, eager for his fee, he boldly exhibits his nostrums, reckless of their
effects. He studies the art of insinuation more than medicine, and imposes upon the ignorant and the unwary, by the use of hard names and the abuse of all systems but his own. A lawyer, unmindful that he is the agent of justice, he is a trickster in practice; and, regardless of the interest of his client, experiments upor his rights by encouraging litigation ; suborns, or is privy to the suhornation of perjury, and aids in defrauding the ignorant of their rights : bringing reproach upon the administration of the laws of the country, and upon the profession to which he belongs. A minister of religion, he is regardless of aught save his own interest: he seeks an alliance with wealth, intrigues for the best living; and having succeeded in his schemes, throws off the mask which covered his knavery, and laughs at the gullibility of the world. A politician, ignorant of every principle which constitutes and adorns a statesman, he is a demagogue, following the lead of the party in power, regardless of all other consequences than his own political advancement; and pandering to the prejudices and passions of his constituents, he manages to divert their attention from the consideration of his baseness; and by his vile practices, deprives the country of the services of more honorable and capable men.
Actuated by the same cause, the more degraded seek to procure by theft the means of existence, which might be acquired with less risk and more certainty by honest industry. While the more daring spirits, armed with instruments of death, go forth to rob the unprotected traveler or the unguarded mansion. Hence, too, the strolling mendicant, the mountebank, and the army of vagabonds, all seeking to reap
where they have not sown. This prejudice against labor, and the evils which flow from it, are not confined to those whose condition requires them to be engaged in useful employment, but extends to all classes. The apprehension that, from some unforeseen accident, they may be compelled to labor —and a strong desire to rescue their offspring from a condition esteemed so hard and degrading — lessen the enjoyments of the rich, and make them timid in the application of a reasonable portion of their wealth to social purposes. And more than all, this prejudice against labor mingles with nature's pure fountain; and those holy affections, which were designed to resolve two hearts into one, are poisoned and polluted with gold. It is true, that in this country, few, or perhaps none, will admit that labor is a degradation, or that it detracts from the respectability of an individual; nevertheless, we can not be blind to the fact, that the prejudice against labor is still strong and deeply rooted in the general mind; and that a desire for the possession of wealth, rather than a sense of moral duty, constitutes the principal incentive to labor -- except in the case of such as are compelled from necessity.
Labor induced by a mere desire for wealth, or by necessity, may develop the resources and increase the wealth of a country, but can not secure the permanent advancement of civilization and of moral improvement. The pe of this country require little to stimulate them to labor; and there is, perhaps, no other country in which labor is so generally and equally distributed. But we desire that all men should labor from a sense of duty: this would equalize and lighten the physical burthen of labor - while a consciousness of obedience to the will of the Creator would be a continual source of moral pleasure. Then, man would no longer desire to escape from this condition of his nature; and the motives to subsist upon the labor of others would cease, and justice prevail throughout the earth : and the causes of social enmity ceasing, sympathy and social love would every where abound; and the precept, which requires that man should do unto others as he would that they should do unto him -- and that other, which teaches him to love his neighbor as himself — would no longer be considered as opposed to his individual interest.
ART. III.-THE OBLIGATION OF CONTRACTS,
OR AN INQUIRY INTO THE NATURE AND DEGREE OF EQUALITY REQUIRED IN COX
TRACTS OF MUTUAL INTEREST.
The subject of our inquiry enters so extensively into the pursuits and business of active life, that to many it may seem an idle undertaking to pursue an investigation of the kind. But to the reflecting mind — to every one who is willing to look into the reason of things — the subject is one of deep interest. In the mere theory of contracts there is sulficient to lead us to the investigation we propose ; and if we have carefully observed the business of life, with its toils and strifes, we have seen enough to show us its practical importance.
If we look to our system of jurisprudence, and note its incongruities in respect to contracts, we shall be led, irresistibly, to the inquiry, Why such a state of things has so long existed ? How it has happened that this matter has remained stationary for so long a time, while, during the same period, there has been steady and rapid progress in the arts and sciences, civilization, and the rules of government?
How frequently has it occurred, in the experience of almost every one, and to his great surprise, that what he had relied on as a valid obligation, is declared, from extraneous circumstances, to be of no binding force whatever. Such a result impresses itself upon the mind as a glaring incongruity in vur system of laws. That incongruities exist, it would be hardihood to deny; but they are more a matter of regret than surprise. The reason of their existence is to be found in the history of our system of jurisprudence. Ours was the slow growth of many ages and several centuries. In each successive modification which it underwent in the progress of civil freedom — in the admixture of foreign learning and law in its necessary adaptation to the ever augmenting wants of an extensive, bold and liberal spirited commerce - as new relations and new usages arose – new views of equity or policy were opened, or old rules were adapted to purposes for which they were never intended, by judges who partook of the altered spirit of the times.
It would lead to an unprofitable digression to pursue the causes and history of the incongruities of the law. Let us return to the consideration of what may be regarded as settled doctrine, so far as external rules are concerned, in the matter of contracts
A contract is defined, by law writers, to be an agreement or mutual bargain between two or more contracting parties.
It is not necessary, for the investigation we have in view, to state the different kinds or sorts of contracts recognized in law. It is next said that it is essential to a valid agreement that it must be founded upon a good consideration. That which is the motive of the contract is regarded as the consideration, and this is essential to its validity. The civilians hold that, in all contracts, there must be something given in exchange — something that is mutual or reciprocal. And lawyers and divines, time out of mind, have said that “ all bargains are made under the idea of giving and receiving equivalents in value.”
In the mere exchange of commodities — the mere giving and receiving things which have a fixed value, or are of such a nature or kind that their value at the time of exchange can be ascertained with reasonable certainty — there need be no apprehension that an unfair advantage will or can be taken. But the point to which the reader's attention is directed, is to the important and difficult question as to the nature and degree of equality in compensation, or in knowledge, required between the parties to a contract, in order to make it binding in law and just and right in morals
If A. has a knowledge of some fact, which is unknown to B., but which materially affects the estimate or value of property of which B. is the owner, may not A. take advantage of his knowledge of such fact and buy the property of B., without communicating such fact to B.; and may not this be done without vio. lating any rule or principle of law or morals ?
Here is a practical statement of the question. In a case like this, ingenious minds, unhacknied in the ways of men and unaccustomed to argue away their first warm impressions, would not long hesitate in pronouncing such an advantage, if not a palpable fraud, at least an ungenerous trick. It is not unlikely that most men would pronounce such an advantage a bold fraud, and would look upon a system of laws which would uphold it, as unjust and disgraceful.
No better proof of the universal agreement of the decisions of untutored moral feeling in such cases, need be required, than is furnished by the indignation which is so frequently excited when an unlettered man- or one of feeble intellect - is over-reached by his crafty and unprincipled neighbor. An opinion apparently so Datural, seldom springs from caprice or accidental prejudice. It must be regarded as the spontaneous result of the moral observation and experience of our whole