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THE AUTHOR TO THE READER.
THESE pages have cost me too much thought and too much labour to be consigned to oblivion without an attempt to render them of some use. They were designed for publication in one or other of the quarterly periodicals, but could obtain admission into
neither, for various reasons, not necessary to assign here.
The hope of obtaining the attention, and, possibly, the concurrence in my opinions, of even a small number of readers, induces me to print my “rejected article” in an independent form; and it will compensate me for the pains bestowed upon its composition, if I should succeed in rectifying, even in a slight measure, certain errors (all the more formidable for being conscientious) which prevail on the subject of the inequality of conditions between Rich and
London, Feb. 1850.
THE RICH AND THE POOR.
THOUGH the work we are about to notice” is by no means a recent production, it has been selected from a mass of similar labours on account of the rare qualifications brought to it by the author, and the ability with which he has embodied certain views which, in our opinion, require to be controverted and corrected. At the time when M. Léon Faucher made his tour through the manufacturing districts in England, the question of “Le droit de travail’ had not acquired that formidable pre-eminence which we have lived to see it arrive at in the minds of his countrymen. The question of poverty and its painful derivatives has, however, long engaged the attention of some of the clearest-headed and most benevolent individuals among the political men of France, and especially of M. Léon Faucher,t a writer formerly known to the public as the able “rédacteur-en-chef” of the “Courrier Français;” an instructed political economist and financier, and wielding, perhaps, one of the finest controversial pens of the time.
* Etudes sur l'Angleterre. Par Léon Faucher. Paris, 1845. 2 vols.
t Lately Minister of the Interior under Louis Napoleon.
This gentleman, profiting by a period of leisure which his secession from the “Courrier Français” afforded, undertook a journey through several of the British provinces, with a view to obtain an insight into the comparative condition of the people in Great Britain, as well as to examine the working of our manufacturing system; to portray its material and industrial features, and to acquire, if possible, the means of communicating to his countrymen the secret of our prodigious prosperity. M. Faucher was, indeed, already in some sort familiar with the subject, having previously travelled in England (of which he possessed the language sufficiently well), and made notes of much that appeared to deserve attention. Moreover, his connexion with many leading public men here, and the facilities with which they furnished him for penetrating into the very heart of our manufacturing hives, gave M. Faucher advantages which rarely attend a foreigner on a tour of curiosity in a rival country. His work, therefore, of which we have given the title at the head of this article, is entitled to respectful attention, as containing, first, a thoroughly veracious account of what the author saw with his own eyes (and which, by the way, very few of us, we suspect, have seen, or would even wish to see with ours); and secondly, a tolerably comprehensive summary of the views, opinions, and aims of a class who may not unaptly be described as “operative philanthropists.” To give any adequate notion of the quantity of facts and speculations comprised in these two interesting volumes would require long extracts, as well from M. Faucher's descriptive chapters, as from those in which he seeks to unravel the incoherent mass of