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Chapter 14 Free Trade; Universal Locomotion.

  • I was much impressed with the justness of the last words of my companion. I_ow became clear to me how every new railroad, every new telegraph line, th_emoval of every obstacle in the process of exportation and importation, doe_ot only directly promote the general interest and welfare, but that they ar_s many links in the great chain by which men are united together i_rotherhood as members of one and the same household. And yet methought _erceived a threatening cloud at this bright horizon. " If then,' said I, "
  • all wars have ceased to be, and if in consequence thereof, as well as throug_ther propitious circumstances of various kinds, commerce and industry hav_een constantly progressing, surely you must have witnessed an alarmin_ncrease of population; and the production of the necessary food can hardl_ave kept pace with its consumption."
  • " If you suppose that we have now, as formerly, many indigent people an_thers occasionally starving in some of the over-peopled districts, then, o_ourse, you are right; but I do not grant that, on the whole, pauperism ha_een on the increase; I am rather inclined to believe the contrary, althoug_uring the last two hundred years the population of Europe has almost double_tself. Two things you should not lose sight of; in the first place, th_ncrease in tlie means of transport having brought about a more equa_istribution of food; and secondly, of nothing now-a-days being wasted, but,
  • on the contrary, everything finding its way to where necessity exists. I_onsequence of a now universal free trade, every country produces exactly tha_hich thrives best in its own soil and climate. Then, again, numberless acre_f waste land have long been, and are still being, cultivated ; whils_rogressive science has rendered imperishable services to the practica_griculturist by pointing out to him various new modes and processes whereb_o increase the crops and fruits of his fields. Thus, for example, we know no_verything connected with the quality and quantity of all matters used in th_ultivation of vegetables; moreover, every agriculturist has become, in ou_ays, a manufacturer. To him the plants are the tools through means of whic_he so-called inorganic matter imbedded in tlic soil and atmosphere is to b_orked and shaped into organic matter, i.e., into matter fit for consumption ;
  • and therefore, as with any other manufacturer, his efforts are constantl_irected towards obtaining the original rude material as cheap and as good a_ossible. Among this 'rude material' not a little is to be found that wa_ormerly looked upon as mere waste, or, worse than that, mixed with the wate_r the soil of the towns, to the great injury of the public health. We ar_iser now in the twenty-first century. Everything by which the produce of th_ields can be increased is carefully collected, and life is thereby muc_etter protected."