Pannomial Fragments

Chapter IV.

§3. Axioms pathological, applicable to Subsistence.

Axiom 1. Though to each individual his own subsistence be, by the nature of man rendered the chief object of his care, and during his infancy an object of care to the author of his existence, yet a considerable portion of the aggregate number of the members of the community there will always be in whose instance a subsistence cannot have place (without the legislator's care) without provision made by the legislator to that effect.

2. For the subsistence of all, and accordingly of these, provision will to a certain degree have been made by the provision for security in all its shapes, and for security of property in particular: as also for abundance; for abundance, because of the abundance possessed by some is composed a stock, a fund, out of which matter is capable of being taken applicable to the purpose of affording, whether immediate or through exchange, subsistence to others. But for the subordinate end to the purpose here in question, the utmost of what can be done for these two other subordinate ends, taken together, will not of itself be sufficient.

Of the nonpossession of the matter of subsistence in such quantity as is necessary to the support of life, death is the consequence: and such natural death is preceded by a course of suffering much greater than what is attendant on the most afflictive violent deaths employed for the purpose of punishment.

Rather than continue to labour under this affliction, individuals who are experiencing it will naturally and necessarily, in proportion as they find opportunity, do what depends upon them towards obtaining, at the charge of others, the means of rescuing themselves from it: and in proportion as endeavours to this purpose are employed, or believed to be intended to be employed, security for property is certainly diminished---security for person probably diminished on the part of all.

By the coercive authority of the legislator provision cannot be made for the indigent otherwise than by defalcation from the mass of the matter of abundance possessed by the relatively opulent, nor yet, without a correspondent defalcation more or less considerable, from security for property on their part.

In every habitable part of the earth, people, so soon as they behold themselves and their eventual offspring secured against death for want of the matter of subsistence which security cannot be afforded otherwise than by correspondent defalcation from the matter of abundance in the hands of the relatively opulent, will continue to effect addition to the number of its inhabitants. But this augmentation thus produced will proceed with much greater rapidity than any addition that can be made to the quantity of the matter of subsistence possessed, as above, by the indigent by defalcation made at the expense of security for property, as well as from the matter of abundance, by correspondent defalcation from the matter of abundance in the hands of the relatively opulent.

The consequence is, that sooner or later on every habitable part of the earth is surface the community will be composed of three classes of inhabitants:---

  1. Those by whom, with the addition of more or less of the matter of abundance, the matter of subsistence is possessed in a quantity sufficient for the preservation of life and health;---
  2. Those who, being in a state in which they are perishing for want of the matter of subsistence are on their way to speedy death;---
  3. Those who to save themselves from impending death are occupied in waging war upon the rest, providing the means of subsistence for them selves at the expense of the security of all and the matter of subsistence and abundance in the possession of all.

So long as by arrangements taken for the purpose by government, the thus redundant part of the population can be cleared off by being conveyed from the habitable part of the globe in question to some other part, these two classes of quickly perishing individuals may be prevented from receiving formation, or if formed, from receiving increase. But in no one part of the habitable globe can this be done by government without expense, nor the matter of expense be obtained without defalcation made from security, and suffering from loss, by forced contribution as above; and sooner or later, in proportion as property and security for property establishes itself, the whole surface of the habitable globe cannot but be fully peopled, in such sort, that from no one spot to any other could human creatures be transplanted in a living and about to live state.

Human benevolence can, therefore, hardly be better employed than in a quiet solution off these difficulties, and in the reconciliation of a provision for the otherwise perishing indigent, with this continual tendency to an increase in the demand for such provision.

[Pannomial Fragments, Chapter IV §2] [Pannomial Fragments, Chapter IV §4]