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reignty over nations, without the help of rank, office, or sword; and her faithful ministers will become more and more the lawgivers of the world.*

The opinion, says Bacon, of all men of information divested of prejudice, on a given subject, is nearly the same†: but let us imagine a sound, moral, and judicious opinion on any subject, uttered to a people destitute of information and moral principle. Such a sentiment might possibly be adopted through caprice, but not from conviction; and it would therefore have no hold on the public mind. Take Turkey, for example, where we may assume the population to be as ignorant and fanatical as in any part of Europe. Let us suppose that some intelligent and moral persons were desirous to spread doctrines which in England, or in any truly civilised state, would become public opinion. In Turkey such doctrines would be a nullity, because the ignorance or prejudice of the people would not permit their dissemination. The converse, also, as a matter of course, seems to follow, that as civilisation advances towards maturity, public opinion becomes dominant.


† Bacon's Essays.

In our island there is, no doubt, even now, great room for improvement in the education of the lower classes; yet probably the requisites for civilisation are more generally spread through the land, from the extension of the middle class, than in any other community; and public opinion, therefore, has more power. Moral instruction, information through the press, and facility of intercourse, are more extensive here than elsewhere. This facility of intercourse, so wonderfully increased of late, is a very important agent in civilisation; by which the dwellers in one part of a land

may have easy and rapid communication with

other portions of the same country. Through this agency also, separate nations may interchange commodities, or hold communion with each other, by railroads, canals, steam-boats, or any other inventions that may yet arise. from the ingenuity of man. Marvellous, indeed, are the achievements of modern mechanism! Not only does machinery enrich the whole human family, by supplying, as with the stroke of a magician's wand, the wants or luxuries of one population by the produce or superabundance of another, but it spreads information, and destroys prejudice. It is that mighty power which levels invidious

differences between nations, and causes men of separate climes to regard each other as brothers, and to co-operate for mutual good. Wherever it penetrates, it is found, moreover, to be a potent auxiliary in shaping and nursing public opinion.

This beneficial agency may possibly be followed by some concomitant disadvantages; but the aggregate good received by the people will more than counterbalance any evil that may accrue. It might be imagined that in estimating the civilisation of Europe and of the world, now in such rapid progress, more importance is here attached to facility of communication than, at first sight, would seem warranted. Let us, however, suppose the existence of a population destitute of the means of intercourse, except in some immediate vicinity, or of imparting or receiving information by any other method. How, in such a case, could public opinion be entertained? How could the discoveries or sentiments of men be conveyed to their fellow creatures? Intellect, however vigorous, would waste itself in useless luxuriance, and be a burden to its possessor. By facility of intercourse, it now bears glorious fruit for the sustenance and improvement of society.

Whatever tends to alter the proportion of the several classes in reference to each other, is of moment to the civilisation of the entire community. The power and general use of machinery adds to the middle class, by augmenting the wealth of the people in a much greater ratio than was formerly thought possible; and considering that this power may, by its capability of expansion, be greatly increased, its effect on commerce, manufactures, and trade, sets all reasoning by analogy completely at defiance. Machinery supplies the use of labour without the expense of clothes and food. Accordingly, in whatever country this artificial and wonderful agent prevails, a proportionate amount of capital will be created; and as disposable capital, by its fructifying quality, multiplies itself, it is impossible to assign any limits to the wealth which steam power may produce, or its effect in increasing the middle class.

In saying that by manufactures and commerce, and especially by the use of recentlyinvented machinery, the middle class is more augmented than either of the others, we do not intend to assert that the upper may not, by the same means, receive some addition to

its numbers; but such increase is trifling when compared with that of the middle. Persons well acquainted with the manufacturing world, are aware that very large fortunes are seldom made by one individual. The capital so created, generally diffuses itself through several channels. It gives comfort and competence to many; but large fortunes only to a few.

To exemplify the almost uniform tendency towards increase in the middle class, let us, by way of simile, imagine three lakes near each other in a line, the two extremes communicating with the middle by any channel. Let these respectively represent the upper, middle, and lower classes of society. The use of machinery creates capital, which, being subdivided among the children or next of kin of the party by whom it is realised, lifts so many out of the lower rank into the middle; that is, forces so much of the water from the lower lake into the next above it. The parties by whom capital is possessed, become purchasers of land, and thus encourage the tendency in the upper class, both by facility of sale, and temptation arising from increase of luxuries created by machinery, to

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