should, on the contrary, have appealed to the reason and freedom of man. In fact, it is not only at the "banquet of Nature," as Malthus asserts, that the new-comers demand a place, it is more, and above all at the banquet of humanity; they are men, and men have called them into existence: did any one consult them before giving them the light? And if their parents have brought them to life without their consent, is it not on the implied condition that they will furnish them a share of subsistence in exchange for a share of work? When a child is born into a family, it is rightly said, none of his brothers has the right to prevent his sharing in the property of their father; likewise, there are no "cadets" in a nation. If the family fails, there is still above it the great national family; a solidarity exists between all the citizens of the same country. It is by reason of this that you, legislators, unable to establish a law to regulate the multiplication of the species, have implicitly accepted certain charges in regard to the children who are born, in the event of the failure of their natural fathers and mothers. Such children are neither "usurpers" nor "intruders," for they are not themselves responsible for their birth, and you have no right to say whether you will accept or reject them, for there is actually enough of subsistence for all. The Darwinians will presently show us the necessity of society taking precautions for the future, but the present charge, nevertheless, exists, and we must execute it. In the existing society the capital is not lacking, but all the men have not their share; this state of affairs, the inevitable effect of economical laws, creates in the laborers a condition of inferiority and servitude. Here, then, is a place for the intervention of reparative justice in the form of public assistance. Is the man who, in the midst of a dearth, refuses to sell his corn, or who buys a large quantity of corn to take it out of the market, exercising his right? He might, perhaps, claim that he was the legitimate proprietor of the product of his fields or of his purchases. But the identical principle on which property is founded—that is, the right to work for a living—limits it by the equal right of another. Society has not hesitated to impose restrictions and obligations as to many points on proprietors who assume to be "absolute"; it prevents them from blocking the course of circulation; it expropriates for causes of public use; it punishes the man who burns his goods; it can exact an indemnity from the one who lets his property go to waste. As a rule, no right relative to exterior objects can be absolute; there is always a place for reciprocal limitations, and consequently for conventions and compromises. Respect for already existing properties, and for the established order, can not, in strict right, be exacted from the new-comer unless some means of existence are reserved for him. Here is a relation of contract, a tacit convention: I agree to respect your means of living, on condition that you respect mine; I consent to respect your right to live, on condition that I do not see mine destroyed. There is then a stipulative relation which
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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.