A Poem on Equitable Commerce

[The New Harmony Gazette published the following in December, 1827.]

From the Saturday Evening Chronicle we copy, for the amusement of his friends, the following jeu d’esprit, on the Magazine kept by a late fellow-citizen at the corner of Elm and Fifth streets, Cincinnati, wherein a subscriber may receive, for one day’s labor, a similar amount of the labor of any other subscriber,—or may purchase articles at a wholesale price, adding thereto the value of the time necessarily consumed in the sale of the article.

For an equal exchange of Labor, as valued by Time, now in successful operation, at the corner of Elm and Fifth streets, Cincinnati.


All hail to the era of knowledge divine!
When the value of Labor by Time is displayed,
When money, the bane of mankind, must decline,
Since time, peerless time, forms the medium of trade.

Oh, where? for these thousands of years, has been kept,
This science which now, for the first time, is known?
Where! where but in Error’s dark kennels has slept,
This true source of wealth which a Warren has shown.

By a medium of Minutes this traffic sublime,
Displays an Elysium among us begun;
Where labor buys labor for that sum of time,
(from one to another) in which it was done.

Now the teacher of youth, or the master of arts,
The skiful physician, or votary of trade,
Asks but the same time, for the time he imparts,
By those who he serves, in return, to be paid.

A ‘Bill of All Wants,’ ever posted to view,
As rated by time, at all times may be seen;
And those who who supply them, receive as their due,
Notes in Minutes and Hours on the Time-Magazine.

These hours and minutes, so willingly lost,
In the earnings of dollars and cents, or mere cash!
Are now so much valued they purchase at cost,
The Goods which were bought with the obsolete trash.

Then “Ho every one” that’s in want, or is not!—
Here’s a treasure which no one beside us has seen,
Where all sorts of Goods may be readily got,
For just what they cost, at the Time-Magazine.

Then hail, thou great era of knowledge divine!
When the standard of labor by time is displayed;
When the value of money shall surely decline,
Since Labor and Time are the Medium of trade.

[New Harmony Gazette, Dec. 26, 1827. Vol. 3, No. 12, p. 94.]
About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.