Page:Poverty, its effects on the political condition of the people.djvu/8

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The end in view in all this is the attainment of a greater amount of happiness for humankind. The rendering life more worth the living, by distributing more equally than at present its love, its beauties, and its charms. In one of his most recent publications, Mr. John Stuart Mill observes that—

"In a world in which there is so much to interest, so much to enjoy, and so much also to correct and improve, every one who has a moderate amount of moral and intellectual requisites is capable of an existence which may be called enviable; and unless such a person, through bad laws, or subjection to the will of others, is denied the liberty to use the sources of happiness within his reach, he will not fail to find this enviable existence, if he escape the positive evils of life, the great sources of physical and mental suffering, such as indigence, disease, and the unkindness, worthlessness, or premature loss of objects of affection. The main stress of the problem lies, therefore, in the contest with these calamities, from which it is a rare good fortune entirely to escape, which, as things now are, cannot be obviated, and often cannot be in any material degree mitigated. Yet no one whose opinion deserves a moment's consideration can doubt that most of the great positive evils of the world are in themselves removable, and will, if human affairs continue to improve, be in the end reduced within narrow limits. Poverty, in any sense implying suffering, may be completely extinguished by the wisdom of society, combined with the good sense and providence of individuals. Even that most intractable of enemies, disease, may be indefinitely reduced in dimensions by good physical and moral education and proper control of noxious influences, while the progress of science holds out a promise for the future of still more direct conquests over this detestable foe."

In a former pamphlet—"Jesus, Shelley, and Malthus"—the reader's attention was entreated to this grave question. In a few pages it is impossible to do more than erect a finger-post to point out a possible road to a given end. To attempt in a narrow compass to give complete details, would be as unwise as it would be unavailing. My desire is rather to provoke discussion amongst the masses than to obtain willing auditors amongst the few, and I affirm it, therefore, as a proposition which I am prepared to support—"That the political condition of the people can never be permanently reformed until the cause of poverty has been discovered and the evil itself prevented and removed."