« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
would provide for our families after our decease, no health insurance or club would provide for ourselves during dis. ease, and bury us decently when dead, we should provide for these purposes by self-denying accumulations.
A MAN'S PERFORMANCES ARE GRADUATED BY HIS EFFORTS.
A civilized man's wants are numerous, an Indian's comparatively few; hence the civilized man labors more than the savage, and thence proceeds the difference in their performance. Every man's productions will, ordinarily, be thus proportioned to his efforts ; therefore, some governments stimulate efforts by protective duties and honorary distinction; but where a man aspires to only present necessaries, and to a club for assistance in sickness, and a life insurance for his widow and orphans, he will accomplish only what he aspires to. A man's efforts dilate, like the atmosphere, in proportion to the vacuum which the efforts are required to fill; hence, the man who strives for present affluence, as his only provision against sickness and death, will find his efforts expand with his aspiration, and his accomplishments will increase with his efforts. These principles are true of states and nations. The Federal Government refused to construct the Erie Canal, and thereby induced the State of New-York to invoke its own energies, from whence soon proceeded the Erie Canal. A long train of kindred public works immediately followed, by reason that, when men discover their own efficiency, they continue the exercise of it after the occasion hy which it was originally induced. The conflagrations of San Francisco have been severally succeeded by a new city of increased solidity; and the mechanics of that region, acting under the excitement of great demand for labor and high remunerative wages, seem to be a race of giants ; though, when driven, by lack of encouragement, from our Atlantic cities, they went out a race of pigmies. EVERY MAN'S EFFORTS ARE GRADUATED BY HIS NECESSITIES.
What the poor expend in tobacco we lament, forgetting that men labor by only the coercion of wants, and that Diogenes, who disciplined himself to live without wants, lived without labor also. Tobacco, and other coarse superfluities, perform for the poor what equipages and gorgeous furniture perform for the rich. Our organization is so admirably adapted to keep us active, by the coercion of wants, that new wants arise in every man spontaneously as fast as he can satisfy old ones. Napoleon, in the zenith of his prosperity, craved more dominion, with an intensity. augmented by his present possession, not mitigated thereby. The design of Providence, to thus keep men active by the pressure of wants, life insurance and assistance clubs counteract. All sumptuary laws contain the same error, and all Malthusian restraints on marriage. Railroads would never have been invented, had we coercively limited the operations of every man to his neighborhood, as a means of obviating the disadvantages of distance.
LIFE INSURANCE SUBSTITUTES A REMOTE GOOD IN PLACE OF A
A man who labors to purchase an insurance on his life for the benefit of his future widow and orphans, cannot command the energy which he would feel were he laboring for present affluence ;-distance of time operating on man's energies like distance of space operates on the attraction of a magnet. This effect of distance every man feels when, in the midst of health, he indites his last will and testament. Aware of this natural difficulty, when a celebrated
English judge wrote his own will, he took ten guineas from his purse and laid them on the table, that he might stimulate his intellect by the semblance of a present interest. And, still worse, life insurance is obstructive of present interests. A man's early annual savings are ordinarily small; and whether he is to grow affluent or remain poor, depends, usually, on whether he employs his small savings in processes of increase, or extinguishes them in annual premiums of life insurance, or some other way; just as whether a man shall make money in the purchase of wheat, wool, or cotton, depends, usually, on petly savings of expense in the management of his purchase, rather than on any great increase of marketable price between the time of his purchase and sales. Imagine, now, a father who shall keep himself poor, by an annual drain of his savings to some life insurance, for the remote benefit of his wife. He dies, and she commences a like process for the benefit of her children. She dies, and the children severally begin the same process for the benefit of their de. scendants; and thus, like a cat in chase after its tail, the world is made to revolve around a life insurance, in pursuit of an always future competency, instead of a present affluence; whereby a less motive is continually substituted for a greater.
LIFE INSURANCE IS UNFAVORABLE TO DOMESTIC PURITY.
In England, mothers have been convicted of murdering their infants to obtain some petty sum which certain clubs bestow for funeral expenses on members whose children die. Not long since, a man in London killed with strychnia his wife's sister, after having induced her to insure her life largely for the benefit of his wife. The motive to such murders is so operative that they are no longer ancommon;
hence English companies reject all insurances where the applicant cannot show that the beneficiary possesses as much interest in the life of the insured as he is to gain by his death. If our insurance companies are not equally cautious, every life policy which contravenes the precaution is the tender of a bounty for the commission of murder ; and the tender may be fearfully effectual when pestilence makes sudden death escape scrutiny; to say nothing of ordinary diseases, in which, whether the issue shall be life or death, depends often on ministrations whose precise quality cannot be apparent to observers ; and much of the attendance on the sick is secluded from all observation. A man, well known in New York, was prostrate with disease, when his life insurance became renewable. His wife knew the contingency, but she possessed no means of paying the required premium. The policy would expire on the morrow, and, though his recovery was possible, the support of his family depended, probably, on his speedy death. Conjugal duty and pecuniary interest were in demoralizing conflict. Was the wife to attempt a prolongation of his life under the hazard of a widowhood of penury; or was she to intermit ministrations on which alone a prolongation was possible? He died before midnight, the hour at which his policy was to expire; and though charity may hope the result was produced by Providence, against the best efforts of the widow, the less human nature is thus tempted the purer will be our domestic relations.
SAVINGS BANKS ARE AS CONDUCIVE TO THRIFT AS LIFE INSUR
ANCE IS TO UNTHRIFT.
The disadvantages of life insurance proceed from our organization, and, therefore, are inevitable. The advantages of savings banks are equally organic. A boy who makes snow-balls will throw them away as fast as he makes them ; but should he chance to roll up one of more than ordinary size, it will excite in him an ambition to enlarge it, instead of throwing it away; and the bigger it becomes under his efforts, the stronger will become his desire for its further increase. The principle applies to money. The day's earnings of a poor man are cast away as soon as earned, a man's recklessness being as great as his poverty ; but should he deposit any of his earnings in a savings bank, an appetite for accumulation is immediately produced by the unusual possession of a surplus; and the appetite, growing by what it feeds on, will add an impulse to the industry and frugality of the depositor, “ Eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die,” is no longer the maxim of such a man, but rather: refrain from expenditure to day, that we may add to our deposits to-morrow.
ACCUMULATION IS A MORE SALUTARY RELIANCE AGAINST WANT
THAN LIFE INSURANCE.
To become fonder of accumulation than of expenditure is the first step towards wealth. An agriculturist will receive a few grains of an improved species of corn, which he will not eat, but will plant them, and re-plant the product from year to year, till his few grains will become hundreds of bushels. Money is increasable by analogous processes; and success is within the power of every man who shall attain to ordinary longevity. If a man at the age of twenty years can save from his earnings twenty-six cents every working day, and annually invest the aggregate at compound legal 7 per cent interest, he will, at the age of seventy, possess $32,000. Many men who resort to life insurance, can save several times twenty-six cents