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siderations may serve to show, not merely that the political education of the people is attended with none of the danger to the peace of society which the objectors apprehend, but that a positive security is afforded by it against the very worst dangers to which the cause of good order in any degree is exposed. But we must go yet a step further, and observe, that the right of the people to be instructed in public interests, and the duty of their superiors to educate them in political science, rests upon higher ground than has yet been taken. The force of public opinion must be acknowledged in every government, save that of the most purely despotic form. How important, therefore, is it, with a view to the people's only safeguard, and the ruler's only curb, that they should be well informed upon their political interests!
This superintendence (of the people) is most wholesome, if exercised by an enlightened people, and affords the only effectual security for constant good government-the only real safeguard for popular rights. How many fatal errors would rulers of all kinds, and in all ages-whether consuls and senates, or archons or assemblies of the people, or monarchs and their councils, or kings and their parliaments, or presidents of chambers, have been prevented from falling into!-and how many foul crimes, both against the peace and happiness of the world, and against the interest of their subjects, would
they have been deterred from committing, had the nations submitted to their care been well instructed in the science of public policy, acquainted with their true interests, aware of the things most dangerous to their liberties, and impressed with the sense of duty to their species which an enlarged knowledge of political philosophy can alone bestow. * Nothing, then, can effectually and permanently instil the sound doctrines of peace and of justice into any people, but an extensive political education, to instruct them in their interests and their duties. It is the same with the frauds as with the oppressions of statesmen. The sacrifice of the many to the few would be impossible in a well informed country. That game of party in which the interests of people are the counters, and the power and the pelf of the gamesters themselves the only things they play for, though not the only stake they risk, never could be played to the destruction of public virtue, and the daily peril of the general good, were the people well acquainted with the principles which should govern the administration of their concerns; and possibly it is an instinctive apprehension of this truth that has made all parties so averse to the general diffusion of political knowledge."
Here, then, we have clearly stated, the right of the people to political education, nay, the absolute necessity that they should so be educated. But,
how, upon what system shall they be educated? And let it at once be said, let all those systems and teachers be disregarded, who make the science of politics to differ from private and personal morality; the economy of the State to differ from the machinery and management of domestic economy. It is in a proposition like this that all our political difficulties have taken their origin. There is not a public and a private morality; the public morality rather grows out of the private; the morality of the State is but an expanded version of the morality of the individual it follows from this, that the morality of the State, and the morality of the greater number of individuals in the State, will be identical; the one will represent the other; there can, therefore, be no amendment of the political condition of a nation, until there shall be a change and a regeneration in the greatest number of individual minds composing the State. These are the principles which lie on the threshold of all political truth; there is nothing remote or ambiguous about them, all can understand them, let every citizen labour, in his degree, to apply them. Now, the education may be said to be made up of three parts, and woeful consequences may follow, if the subject is not acquainted with them all.
FIRST, There is ECONOMY. principles of trade?
What regulates wages?
What are the
What regulates value?
are the rights of labour? What is money, and what regulates the price of money? What are the rights of capital? How may the labourer best secure his interests without interfering with the rights and interests of others? Questions like these universally answered, would tell on society generally in the increased wisdom of those who replied to the interrogatories. The questions of political economy will, perhaps, be best answered by calm and quiet and consecutive discussions in the class rooms of Mechanics' Institutes; with the exercises of Colonel Thompson, and Whateley's Lectures, and Mill's Principles; and especially as a class book, a condensed compendium, too little known, called "Questions on Social Science," on the table. It is eminently the duty of every thinking man, to study closely the questions and dissertations on Political Economy.
Mr. Denison, the member of parliament for the West Riding of Yorkshire, declared on the hustings on the day of his election, that he knew nothing of political economy, and advised from the hustings the working classes not to attend at all to its teachings and teachers; perhaps to some eyes it seems too utilitarian a science, but it is an effort to bring back the reign of justice, and to establish equity between man and man; the careful study of its abstract principles becomes more and more necessary every day. Man is now, in
these days, introduced into relations and states of society so new, that it behoves him attentively to study the principles of internal and external trade upon which society may be said to rest. Perhaps the duties of senators in reference to political economy, are better summed in negatives, than in any other way: yet the citizen should define clearly to himself the principles of society. But a government has duties which are positive; the people need to be enlightened in reference to what those duties are, for we have already intimated that government is an affair of all men in the state. The State is a ship, and all hands on board are called upon to labour to their utmost, to enable her to ride with safety, and ease, and dignity, through the waters; the quarter deck is not to be regarded as the place to which a certain class of men by hereditary rank and privilege are entitled; but a place to be occupied by the most able hands on board. Government is not a sinecure to be monopolised by a few, but an office to be conferred upon the clearest head, and the bravest heart, and most alert arm on board. It is a question which you ought to settle in your own mind, what is your worth to the country? have you any share of power in the country? and what do you regard as the source of your power? is it your property, your intelligence, your ancestry, or yourself, that you recognize as the fountain of influence and of worth?