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every movement that may urge it onward to completion . One striking instance of the growing preference for the associative system is the application of its principle , in the shape of joint-stock companies , to many of those purposes to which it was formerly held , that individual or private enterprize alone was applicable . The conveyance by land and water of goods and passengers , the cultivation of peculiar d
kinds of produce for consumption anmanufacture , the adaptation to the common purposes of life of newly-discovered vegetable substances , the reclaiming of waste lands and the promotion of fisheries , the construction of houses and the making of apparel , are all now carried on by joint-stock associations ; and every day gives evidence of the tendency of such associations to become the means by which the whole business of life will in the end be transacted .
Among these associations is one which demands especially our notice and the public support . The League Bread Company has stood the test of above two years * experience , and has during that period proved , as it is proving now , that it is quite possible to supply good , sound , wholesome bread at a price that shall return a fair and equitable profit . Accustomed to the white and spongy substance daily set before them , the inhabitants of London are apt to forget that the qualities they
admire are the result of the admixture of certain deleterious substances , which , repeated in minute doses , have in time a bad effect on the constitution . Convinced , at length , that the staff of life on which they have been depending is a broken one , they look around them for purer food ; while such of them as have exchanged a country for a town residence long for the wholesome household loaf , which appeased the hunger and added to the health and enjoyment of their early days .
The League Bread Company supplies these wants and wishes . Its bread is composed of the purest materials . " Wheaten flour of the best quality , the proper proportion of pure salt and fresh yeast , the product of a daily fermentation . " Real nourishment may be derived from the use of such food as this ; and when it is remembered that this bread is produced under industrial arrangements , by which the excessive toil of the class of journeymen bakers is obviated , an additional motive for support is given— philanthropy combining with regard to health to induce the encouragement of ah association by which satisfaction may be duly given to both .
SOCIAL REFORM . epi 8 tolje obscukobum virobum . no . v . —govehnment : its pljbpose , its llohts op Tbuth . To David Masson . August 29 , 1850 . My dear Masson , —I remember the gratification which I felt at hearing you seize upon a remark of mine as a political truth too often overlooked , —that the social modes of any particular
time or country are not essentials to human existence . Seeing the self-command and vigour of your mind , and the largeness of heart which inspires you , I was gratified m looking forward to the use which you might make of that truth . It is one of the utmost importance to the advance of any people .
Government is no more than an arrangement ; social modes are no more than habits , more or less approaching to the natural dictates of human sense . The chief use of travel is to detach from the traveller the notion that the customs which he has witnessed at home are part and parcel of his nature and destiny—that man cannot live without butter or tea ; that the matron cannot face the day without precise gold ring on her left third linger ; and that
children cannot continue to breathe unless they are baptized to Biblical names . If he go no further than Italy he will learn to doubt the value of butter as an institution , will forget tea , will transfer his respect from the gold orbit to the red topknot of the decent matron among the vineyards ; and if he go further Eastward , he will learn that the child can not only breathe without a baptismal name , but can thrive though it should not eat with forks "like a Christian . " The lost amazement of the
home-keeping youth at first finding himself among the ways of " outside barbarians , " his difficulty of drawing in such manifest truths as the one that beds needs not be set in order by maidservants , his gradual appreciation of the mosquito curtain , are but symptoms of our own condition when we first
detect in retrospective history the startling truth that mankind was happy before there was linen or glass , and that respectable persons did attain the esteem of society without coat sleeves , boots , or even titles to clothe their names withal ! We take life in the concrete , as it is before us , and mix up the artificial habiliments with the essential flesh and blood that are perdurable as the race . Customs and modes of life are as changeable as the garment itself . Government is no more than an arrangement , built up in a haphazard way , of conscious devices , concessions , neglects , sufferances ,
improvements , degeneracies , activities , indolences , and almost every motive- or lack of motive that send to that central point d ' appui the scraps of hardened and trite custom on the centripetal current of man ' s gregarious impulse . Government represents the abiding mistakes and ignorances as well as the knowledge and accumulated wisdom of society . Government is the depository of the collective conclusions of a family of man as to their guidance ; but as information extends , as conclusions are corrected and enlarged ,
Government must be altered . Let us glance for an instant at some few of the naked truths , correlatives of these two , before I proceed with the separate sections of my subject . I wish to show how the true spirit of conservation harmonizes with the true spirit of incessant improvement , and how both should check the modern tendency to elaboration and complexity of " institutions . "
We deceive ourselves with metaphysical expressions , and erect them into political axioms . Because we derive some kind of satisfaction from the sight of a structure that will last—for it evinces the human power to construct that which can resist decay , that antagonist of vitality hated by our vital instincts — because change is troublesome except to its direct author , we liken our arrangements for governing to material . structures , call them " institutions , " and desire that they should be " stable . " We forget that the action of
organic life abominates confinement within the inorganic . If we could build man up into a *> stable institution" we should doom his growing life to the fate of the toad in the rock . But , indeed , we cannot . Organic life can only create or uphold by a perpetual action . You cannot ,, as we sometimes say , " mould the child like ' wax : " but you can foster his growth as that of a flower , and thus cultivate and train him to the full force and symmetry of his type . As the very type of our bodily form is maintained by the perpetual action of the human organs , so the form of our political institutions depends upon the convictions of the moment , their
efficacy and strength upon the living powers within us . The physical world has been said—and the assertion strikes me with the force of a truth—to subsist by a perpetual act of creation ; we have no doubt that the great globe itself hangs in space , through each successive moment , by active laws , not by a passive " stability "—how ludicrous and death-like that idea seems ! Thus , to attain that particular kind of good which we desire and miscall stability—the stoppage of needless , profitless , vacillating , or backward change—we must proceed , not by " building up stable institutions , " but b y developing to the utmost the powers of our kind according to our lights .
The best government of a country , therefore , is the product of the most highly cultivated powers in the race at any given time ; the best customs are the product of the healthiest faculties . These , the true " principles of government , " expose the fallacy of those institutions which rely for their efficacy on repression of human faculties . Now , what are objects of the association of man into " society , " what the benefits of " progressive civilization , " what the functions of " government" ? why need we have these things at all ? Truly , if we
look empirically at some of the incidents that accompany them , we ought to admit that there is " some truth " in cynical girding at civilization . If we are to stop at a state of society in which " needlewomen " are an institution , in which prostitution is the correlative of a high tone in morals , and a hypocritical ignoring of all new convictions one half of respectability , I should say that we had better go back to more barbarous conditions , where individual powers had at least freer action amid the chances of disorder . But what are the objects of forming society and upholding government ?
Man born on to the surface of this planet is endowed with the faculty of obtaining subsistence from it , by his labour , for himself , his mate , and their progeny ; and as age comes upon him his
progeny can help . He finds , indeed , that association of labour can augment the produce , and can thus augment his comfort and the comfort of those he loves , and can also set them free for the longer time from the toil of labour for the longer and fuller enjoyment of the fruits of labour . Society helps that association of labour ; and the advance of society ought to render the condition of man progressively better than it was at starting . Unless man in a civilized state has more and better fruits returned
to his labour , more leisure time for the enjoyment thereof , and higher-cultivated faculties to enhance that enjoyment , society has been mismanaged . Unless each family in England—speaking ; quite generally , and not cavilling about exceptional cases—has a fuller fruition of labour and a fuller enjoyment of life than one in the half savage , island of Tahiti as' Cook found it , or in the wilds of Anaerica , society has been misbehaving itself . No ^ r , what do the respective facts say ?
You will not answer me with the Maltbusian dogma , nor with the worse dogma of the imperfect political economy of our day , and say that misery necessarily attends encreasing population . We have not yet explored that question , and must not share the arrogance of intellect which presumes a conclusion . If civilization and peace are to substitute needlewomen , or prostitution , or celibacy , for battle-fields and famines , give us rather those sharp calamities : they prune society but do not rot it , nor extinguish the faculties of life in a living death . War is not so bad as the systematic poverty of Bethnal Green ,, nor sudden famine so horrible as chronic short commons for whole communities to drag on a pallid and stunted existance . Civilization , I say , should facilitate association in augmenting the fruitfulness of labour : what , if we find it , under the name of " property " , keeping the whole of our race abiding here in England from the surface of the planet to which we belong , except upon conditions stipulated by a few who do
not labour ? Do not say that I am suggesting . revolutionary ideas : my question simply states a fact . Society , then , is misbehaving itself on this point to the extent of keeping labour from its first field . It also cuts its own throat by imposing other restrictions . on labour . Let . us look into these things part by part . » - ^ - ''" ^ ¦ ., ¦ ••> .
I believe that one reason why our civilization has been so much cursed with stultification is , that our guides , philosophers , and friends in this behalf , since the practical science of modern times has supplied us with a bodily light , have thought it philosophical to go about their work without their feelings . Those are said to mislead you ; the strangest delusion of our day . Let the intellect wander forth without its attendant Love , and it will miserably stray without check from our instincts and conscience .
For instance , if we consider the condition of the labourer without caring for the labourer , our brother , we may easily be reconciled with that " division of employments , " which allots to one man the wealth and enjoyment of labour ' s fruits , while to the other are left labour ' s toil and its suffering poverty . If we consider religion as a thing apart , I can well understand how we can walk abroad in God ' s universe and see the children of God alienated from
the land of God , and His works rendered vain . I believe that our social mistakes are in great part caused by that singular innovation of modern intellectualism which has mistaken Religion and Love for impediments and not for powers , for burdens and not for endowments of our race , for clouds and not for lights . We have learned now-adays to see through the vulgar notion that theory and practice are at odds : we know that all effective practice conforms to sound theory ; we know that our human laws , if they are to be effective , must conform to God ' s laws , otherwise they lead to
perishing , and perish themselves . For by the blessing of God evil is self-destructive . It is Love that makes the conscience bold , Love that renders labour sweet , even though hope be faint , Love that endows the understanding with the wisdom of the instincts vouchsafed to us by God . You , my dear Masson , do not commit that error , of thinking that you must waive half your faculties to attain the full growth of your intellect ; and therefore is it that to me you appear as one of our younger spirits walking forth into the path of life with your eyes open , lighted with the light of Heaven , and seeing to hold out the hand of guidance to your fellows , wandering and stumbling with closed eyes . Alas , how vast a multitude ! Your faithful friend , Thornton Hunt .
Aug . 31 , 1850 . ] ® tM & ** & **? 541 > ' i ¦ ¦
Leader (1850-1860), Aug. 31, 1850, page 541, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1851/page/13/