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— the efficacy of prayer , the authenticity of particular passages , the sanctity of the Sabbath , and other " usages of Christendom . " But , in the Judge ' s use of the word , there are great numbers in this country who are not to be counted as " Christians , " and there are numbers who are not so to be reckoned in any use of the word at all . All such people are still more absolutely deprived of their civil rights . This outlawry happens because the people of England , in short , accepts the position of beloved Agnes , and allows its multiform priesthood , in whatsoever sect , to treat it as Thomas treats his wedded slave .
It all lies in the voluntaryism of Agnes . Admit the assertions of a brother Thomas in any sect and he will treat you as he does Agnes . Let pass his primary assertion that he specially " knows God " in the vulgar and human sense of acquaintance , and the rest follows . It might be very well for savages to suffer this assumption of power ; but have you learnt no better ? Do you not ask for some kind of testimony as to this peculiar acquaintanceship ? Do you not ask whether Thomas is a man that bears in his aspect the stamp of this exalted
fellowship ? Is he a man lifted above the world , or is he like his fellows ? Perchance—for there are such among the tribe Thomas—he is a coarser man than the rest , a gross feeder , a man whose aspect and propensities run upon material pleasures , though , perhaps , not such as are called 'immoral . " In proof of his special acquaintance does Brother Thomas adduce some great fact or broad truth at once recognized by your sense or instinct ; or does he appeal to trivial and obscure matters , shift irrelevant truisms into the service of special testimony ? " Why permit a more than Roman Catholic
intercession of saints—especially when you see your saints and know them ? There is , in fact , gross impiety as well as knavery and impudence at the bottom of these pretensions . If you permit to your equal , perhaps your inferior , to come between you and your God , if you consent to blind your own sense , and to accept his doctrine in lieu of a sacred edict , you are sure to connive in elevating a rapacious idol on to the altar , sure to instigate a Thomas to demand your property in the name of heaven , or to set up a Knight Bruce who shall take away your children as a sacrifice to the idol .
SOCIALISM IN STRANGE PLACES . On more than one occasion we have pointed to the fact that Socialism has many unavowed advocates in quarters where it it most vilified and most condemned . While the Times , for example , daily calumniates it by employing the name to denote all that is ruffianly , anarchical , and aggressive , many leading articles in that journal powerfully advocate Socialist views , and it has ^ transpired , even through the columns of the journal
itself , that some of its writers are Socialists . We might extend the observation to several other journals , for the doctrine of Socialism now pervades all classes ; and we know of examples among the aristocracy , the clergy , the men of science , and men of letters , who go as far as the Leader itself in advocacy of the doctrine . But what will the reader say when we tell him that even in the Economist—the organ of the Manchester school , the avowed opponent of all Socialism and staunch champion of Political Economy—there are also traces of the cloven foot ? Is it credible ? Are we not
perverting the sense , or straining the expressions ? You shall judge . In a recent paper on Partnership en commandite , there is an earnest recommendation to adopt that form of cooperation which in France and America has been found so successful . The present law of partnership makes every partner responsible to the whole amount of his fortune , and not simply to the amount of his share . In the partnership en commandite each partner is only responsible to the absolute amount of his share . The
present law operates most unfavourably by preventing small proprietors from combining in any large undertaking , and also by preventing the wealthy from rendering much assistance they would otherwise render to the associative schemes of small proprietors . The Economist is thoroughly aware of the defects of the present law , and is anxious that the new plan should be tried : —
" But our chipf reason for wishing that a favouable consideration and , if possible , a fair trial should be given to the scheme , is a regard to the wishes of the industrious and respectable operatives themselves . Among them , as we have often had occasion to observe , there has long existed a rooted disnatisfaction with the remuneration of their labour . They are convinced that the division of profits between the employers and themselves—of the produce of their joint capital and
labouris unfair—that they , as labourers , receive only scanty and inadequate wages , while the capitalist , their master , pockets enormous returns upon his investment , which they , as they conceive it , make profitable for him . That this impression is generally unfounded , and is often the very reverse of true , few persons closely acquainted with the matter will dispute ; but it is so ingrained into the ' artizan mind , ' and has been so recklessly and wickedly confirmed by the wild assertions both of writers and of orators , that nothing but experience will disabuse them of it . It is on all accounts very desirable that workmen should , where it is practicable , be made in some degree
practically cognisant of the uncertainties of the manufacture on which they are employed—that their interests should be more closely and obviously bound up with those of the capitalist who employs them—that they should learn , by individual experience , what the profits of capital , when fairly reckoned , really are . As long as such participation is denied them , they will continue , and ought to continue , dissatisfied ' , Jealous , and suspicious They would not , perhaps , on the whole , be richer , but they would assuredly be wiser and more contented for the experiment . Tosomestichplan , weconfess . welookwith hope , and evenwith anxiety , as the only mode of eradicating that hostile feeling which too often subsists between the operative classes and their employers . The latter we are
sure , would be gainers by the experiment . A manufacturing enterprise—in which all the head workmen should be partners en commandite , and who , in consequence , would feel their own interests bound up with the success of the undertaking , without having any mischievous control over the management—would find xtselfpossessed of quite a new element of prosperity . Economy would be studied , waste would be avoided , and energy would be infused into every department to a degree unattainable in concerns conducted in the common way . It would be as if the master could be omnipotent—personally and incessantly watching each department and subdivision of the business . But the chief benefit derived would
unquestionably be this : —That , if successful , the operative would cease to be jealous of his master ' s prosperity , because he would be a sharer in it ; and , if unsuccessful , he would learn ' to accuse no man falsely , and to be content with his wages . ' " In this passage the Economist has unconsciously advocated Socialism . First , by advocating the combination of masters and men , the identification of the interests of capital and labour ; secondly , by advocating the economical advantages
of combination . The Economist will , perhaps , disclaim the inference , and will declare that in advocating partnership en commandite it is very far from desiring Socialism ; but if it fairly looks the question in the face , it will see that all its arguments in favour of this partnership apply with still greater force to cooperation . We do not say that the writer wishes to be Socialist ; we say that if he thoroughly understand his own principles he is Socialist .
There is no learned man but will confess he hath much profited by reading controversies , his senses awakened , and his judgment sharpened . If , then , it be profitable for him to read , why should it not , at least , be tolerable for his adversary to write . —Milton .
COMMUNISM AND THE COMMUNE . Sin , —By a " Socialist" I have been accustomed to understand a person who adopts in theory a single definite system of human union , fundamentally agreeing with that projected by Mr . Owen . If , however , a Socialist is to mean one who holds that man is and ought to be a social being , I hope we are all Socialists . While I cannot regard any existing scheme of Socialism ( in its technical sense ) as " a groat fact , yet the widespread desires , hopes , and speculations l
concerning it ought , 1 tliink , to be more deepy pon dered over by those who dread and deprecate it . lo talk about reconstructing society , and to inveigh against competition as an essential evil that ought to be done away with , are fearful symptoms enough ( and this is the " vague talk" which your correspondent L . J . has never heard , or of which he does not see the tendency ) : but for that very reason it is high time that the comfortable classes should inquire what it is that drives men into such speculations . I do not pretend lo exhaust the subject , but to lay before your your readers a contribution of thought concerning it *
All great nations were originally formed by the organic junction of smaller parts . Each part was a little nation , and had again its own subdivisions . If we trace them in an opposite order , the union of families made villages , or parishes , or hundreds , or wards ; the union of these made counties , or thousands , or boroughs ; the union of these made a state ; and , in some cases , a farther union of states made a nation . It is , I believe , an axiom with philosophic politicians that , as morality depends on the good estate of families , so freedom and good government depend primarily on the wholesome and energetic
working of the local institutions which most closely touch the well-being of each humble family . But precisely because local freedom secures the practical independence of the poor , despots everywhere make war against it . The baron , if he was able , destroyed it in the parishes and boroughs . If , however , these were sustained against the baron by the Crown it was only that ( in most countries of Europe ) the Crown might itself ere long perpetrate the same usurpation . Thus every great despotism , has violently
destroyed internal organization to the utmost of its power . It will not permit the natural associations of the people , because association gives them strength . The despot wants to keep them weak , and to convert the nation into a number of isolated families , each singly knit in a filial relation to the sovereign , who is to be the great and absolute parent . In proportion to the completeness of disorganization thus effected by selfish and ignorant despots , is the strength , of the cry for Communism or Socialism ; "which I take to be the instinctive effort of human nature to
recover those unions the loss of which it painfully feels . In England , the actual course of things has been somewhat different . Here , the landed aristocracy , greater and lesser barons , prevailed at last over the Crown , and , by their social power over the middle classes , used these as the tools of their will , and with their aid established themselves as landowners , not merely as landlords . The local institutions decayed in energy and had lost all pretence to purity . They fell in public esteem , so that reformers looked to the central Parliament , with all its defects , rather than
to the parish , or the county , or the borough , where a single squire or nobleman , or a family compact of aldermen was certain to thwart their attempts . The commercial classes , naturally enough , looked on land solely as an article of commerce , and rejoiced in every destruction or evasion of feudal restrictions which were based on an opposite principle . When the improvement of machinery for manufactures and the stagnancy of rural industry on great entailed estates drew together masses of population into the towns , if no statute-law had existed in England ^ a social organization would gradually and inevitably have grown up among the townsmen , as it always
does among barbarians . But the lawyers and the Parliament forbid this , and force us to abide by ancient charters and statutes . The philosophic journalist tells us truly , that organization " ought to groio up , " but he often forgets to ask , what hinders this desirable process . The people however feel the want of it . Each family is unnaturally isolated . If the parents have emigrated from a rural district , and have no kinsmen in the town , the family has no one who will either naturally or legally care for it in sickness or distress . Benefit clubs are one attempt to remedy the evil , and the theoretic Socialism is another .
Savings banks represent perhaps the most selfish form that prudence can assume , and if all these fail , the miserable must have recourse to ^ the falselynamed charity of Poor-laws . Industrious and honourable workmen justly hate the idea of receiving public support as paupers . They cannot look forward to this and count on it as a refuge ; ( who would wish them to do so ?) but they have a true instinct which teaches them that some kind of mutual association is their proper remedy . When therefore a benevolent gentleman comes forward with a complete scheme of some model village with a common library , kitchen , and schoolroom , with or without a church , many of them readily believe that he has hit upon the very thing .
If this is correct , those who dread the existing theoretic Socialism may learn how to obviate it by satisfying its natural and just craving * . All our local institutions arc too stiff and inflexible , or deficient in power . Air , water , and land to dwell on , are things essential to life , and freely given us by God . None of these are or can be private property , in the same full sense that things needless to human life or indefinite in quantity are . They ought to be preserved
uncontaminated and in sufficiency to every member of the community ; but under any circumstances this must be the work principally of local authority . Tho most alarming symptom of our day is , that reformers play into the hands of despotism , by desiring to enforce some monotonous central system , and instead of restricting the imperial Parliament to imperial duties , employ it as the instrument of local legislation and local improvement . While thin continues , it will be overoccupied and neglect will perpetually accumulate . If we would , claim to fall back
June 1 , 1850 . ] © fttf & £ && £ ? + 229
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Leader (1850-1860), June 1, 1850, page 229, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1841/page/11/