Chips from my Studio
CHIPS FROM MY STUDIO.
Here is philosophy and solace for the souls it will content:—
- What I don't see
- Don't trouble me;
- And what I see
- Might trouble me,
- Did I not know
- It must be so.
The poet who furnished the above thus records his encounter with a critic:—
- Idle oftentimes thou seemest,
- And, for acting, only dreamest;
Thinking not, although not talking; Lying, when thou should'st be walking.
- Not so idle as I seemed I
- Know ye, then, of what I dreamed r
- I in purer realms was .flying;
- Only left my bundle lying.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish," said the Hebrew prophet. There are plenty of people "up and doing." Who is dreaming? Where is the vision without which the people perish? "The outlook," we say. But let us confess the matter of "vision" in this country is none the clearest. The impatient radical clamors for " action." His impatient zeal is a radical defeat. Wait on the vision, and be still. Inevitable will be the earth's transformation. " I saw a new heaven and a new earth,"—the earth taking on the pattern of the sky, —wrote John at Patmos. A radical new sky,—after that, action.
American affairs are encouraging. We are able to keep the faith. The die was cast, the choice made, in the beginning, for a wondrous human felicity as the outcome of all endeavor here. We cannot go back on that record; we cannot decline our task. Tis set in our hearts; it flows in our blood. We are not a race of individual free-wills that we can break away and piece-meal destroy our heritage. " The human race is one man who never dies, but is alway advancing." We are coercive each with the other; traitor, no less than loyalist, points the way. That we have to-day accomplished is never a satisfaction. If we have no meaning to put into it beyond the mere appearance, the source of all cheer and courage is not touched. No sensible person judges a work half done. He will "call again," and see what has come of it. But the artist himself is not always sure what will come of it . He is working to an ideal he cannot, in advance of his trial-effort, always define. To express outwardly, in speech, form, color, that which he sees or feels with an inner sense, is the endeavor of his life. And this is his resource: fail often as he may, the vision itself, if he has wrought in sincerity, never fails; but, in each valley of despair, shines forth again to reassure him; puts new courage into the heart of him, and drives him on to more satisfying labors. So is it with the man who is the nation. How do affairs tally with his ideal ? Out of each despair rises faith. He cannot be "disobedient to the heavenly vision." But whether success tend to permanence, depends on the sort of vision he has descried as "heavenly." The vision may be of the earth, earthy; then permanence were a curse. But we of America think we have seen a star in the very heaven of heavens.
Patience is half the battle. Every thing seemingly goes wrong at first. But what if this wrong-right be part of the Tightness ? Patience is saving grace. There are no " royal roads," no " short cuts." The world must grow, as well as see and do. It must grow, that it may see and do with good result. Here in this land we have undertaken to grow, as it were, by a sort of universal experience; and 'tis a slow and, to those who do not heed the fact, disheartening process. Then, this universal experience is of universal liberty. We have launched our fate on the hazard of all men's freedom. Much faith does it take to compass this daring venture. But what we are to win, is to be won so, and only so. Saint and sinner are each factors. Cromwell found his " godly men " the most impractical rulers. Liberty to go wrong is a persuasion to the right. Let all the people try it, and the end is a permanent advantage. Tis a long way round, but the shortest way home. To dwell blissfully in a Paradise they do not create, is not to fill up the measure of human destiny. Of such import is the fable of the exiles from Eden. Theirs proved a woeful bliss. Experience poisoned and killed it. Fruit from a garden ready tilled loses flavor. There is a tilling of the man to be done \ and he is the man to do it. He may loiter on
" Till old experience do attain To something like prophetic strain,"—
then, as they advise one on the streets, he must and will " brace up," and put on some new style of behavior. Thus " old experience " is teaching by manifold accumulations of testimony at length, that all short cuts which sacrifice the principles of universal well-being through self-effort are ever pitfalls and snares. For example, we of this coun
f try, in our hundred years of desire to establish " Union," have been seeking by many a compromising short cut results we could be entitled to only by loyal living. Not through liberty, but without it, we sought our peace. " No such miserable motto as liberty first," said the great defender of Union. That was our treason long flaunted as noblest patriotism, and by no means now wholly forsworn. Yet, step by step, this rebellion has been forced to yield. Union, harmony, peace, are not to be taken by violence. Every gift of such sort laid on Union's altar has been spurned. " Thou fool! first go and be reconciled to thy brother." The Empire is peace! Not for America. Liberty is
\_peace. The emphasis is changing from force to persuasion. Put no obstacle in the way. Be patient. It will take longer to convert men than to shoot them; but conversion abides; shooting does not stay. And then, conversion once in fashion, surprising results are possible.
If there has been a vast deal of "rough hewing" done in this world, there has also been a " divinity shaping our ends." In other words, the persistency of God in human affairs cannot be gainsaid. Sensible people demur to the idea that there is an outside providence watching and interfering when occasion requires. But it is sensible to assert that there is a providence in the deeps of human nature, outworking its perfect will, not spasmodically, but continuously. Man sums up in his being all the universe contains. There, within him, dwell the gods, the angels, and the kingdom of heaven. Mankind are not many, but one soul. We wander away from this central soul, and meet as strangers, alien and enemy. But deep calls unto deep, and we awake at length to know each other as ourselves. All speech that does not call upon this oneness in our natures must be backed up by force. What comes of force ? It dissipates at last the illusion that society can be fashioned from without; that perfection in human beings is possible by compression in iron moulds. It is a part of our growth that we must first have this damnation of outwardness. We " are given over to believe the lie." It inheres in the beginnings of individuality. Inflated with our selfishness, we think we have nothing in common. We do not know how to get hold of each other. We grasp at the visible, and think it is the substantial part, and that much is to be gained by pounding on that. We dump a load of this outwardness into the station-house, and think society is improved. Or we found a reform school like that at Westboro', and use "sweat tubs," and ply other tortures, till the boys call "Enough!" and say they will be good. The illusion vanishes. Flesh and blood slip away. We haven't got even a ghost of a soul to show for all our pains. Addressing each other as other than ourselves, is continuing conflict. Tired out at length with our wranglings and blood-spilling, we open our eyes suddenly to behold each in the eyes of his neighbor—himself! Tis no lone, exceptional voice that has cried out on supreme occasions, "Love neighbor as self." All experience, culminating, brings just this revelation. Men see, finally, they are not many, but one. And this is the dawn of society. Its terms are equality: but 'tis the equality of the many in the one. Recognize this, and we have manners,—to which there is nothing superior.
"Is it self-culture, self-assertion, self-respect ? Is it unselfish selfhood ? Or is it loss of self,—of self-conscious self-hood ? I pass a man in the narrow street. What have I done ? I have, without thought of self, without thought of the man, graciously given him the right of way. It was the spontaneity of my manners that lent them their charm. This is not a special culture. I did it not to perfect myself, nor the other man; nor to accommodate him. No doubt he was accommodated. But my motive was not that. I had no motive. It was my salute to the Universe. Wholly unpremeditated, 'twas a right and beautiful thing to do. Was that not enough? No praise for me. I was not there for blame or praise. How could there be praise or blame ? Our meeting and passing was the rhythm and music of life. What of him I met ? Was he grateful in his heart toward me ? Possibly. Why ? Not, I light, break where or how it will! In this connection it may be pertinent to quote Mr. Murray. In a sermon on the Bible, abounding in waywardness from Orthodoxy, is to be found this sentence : " Even the ox and the ass could teach some Christians. For, if the Bible may be compared to a field, it may be said with truth that they begin at Genesis and eat their way clear across to Revelations,—stubble and grass, bitter and sweet, useful and useless alike."
Joseph Cook thinks that " Massachusetts law ought to be made in Massachusetts, and not on the Tiber." What he means to say is that Massachusetts should decide the sort of religious education she will enforce in the prisons and common schools, without reference to Papal ideas. American law shall be supreme here, and not Roman canon law. It seems that within Charlestown prison, where a majority of the convicts are Romish, there is a Protestant chaplain, and the Protestant Bible is circulated. Against this the Roman Church in some form or other has entered her protest. Now, says Mr. Cook, who disclaims energetically having one drop of sectarian blood in his veins,—
"All who are there are wards of the State. They are not under the care of any denomination. Massachusetts is the preacher to those convicts. Massachusetts directs their moral culture. Massachusetts is not denominational. It has been the opinion of Massachusetts that she had the right to manage the instruction of those convicts according to her own ideas. Massachusetts was so narrow, so benighted, so sectarian, as to suppose that she possessed the right to appoint a chaplain over there, and to instruct him to teach nothing denominational, but to put the Bible into the hands of the convicts; to organize, if you please, a Sunday school, not sectarian at all, but in the hands of all denominations; to hold devotional meetings, and thus train these convicts into preparation for a life of freedom, treating them in all ways as a wise parent would treat an erring child. Massachusetts thought she had a right to do that, and that is what she did."
Mr. Cook's remarks were received by the vast audience in Tremont Temple with " loud and long-continued applause," which shows with what rapture a purely partisan statement, addressed, as is claimed, to more intelligence than was ever gathered in New England before, can be entertained. Mr. Cook maintains that " every thing in this country must go by count of heads and clack of tongues." Suppose it possible that some day in our State Romish heads shall outnumber Protestant heads. Then will the law made on the Tiber have become American law, and rule here. If, in that day, in the prison "under the shadow of Bunker Hill," the majority are Protestants, will Mr. Cook repeat his triumphant strain, "Massachusetts is the preacher to these convicts; Massachusetts is not denominational" ? The probabilities are, if he has not then—to borrow his own favorite phrase— "gone hence," that he will clamor far more vehemently than does now the disaffected Romanist for religious teaching and a Bible of the convicts' own choosing. The State Romish will be as much the State, as the State Protestant is. Or suppose, under the impetus to rational thought given by the Monday Lectureship, the State turn infidel, and for chaplain—if prisons are then extant—select some savant of science. Will not the State still be " undenominational" ? Or will Mr. Cook then insist that science taught as a substitute for religious training is equivalent to denominational bias ? There is nothing he more values than clear ideas and utmost fairness. Let him say, then, that the State which labors only to satisfy all Protestant sects is still denominational. It is denominational as regards the Romish sect; were Roman and Protestant united as one Christian body, it would still be denominational as regards Jews, Infidels, Free Religionists, etc. It is sectarian or denominational for any one of these opposing parties to establish religious or non-religious instruction in prison or school.
Mr. Cook would have law made in Massachusetts, and not on the Tiber. But whence comes the kind of American law in which he delights ? Is it of American soil ? No; it is transplanted from Judaea; it is Judaean law. Well, it might as well come from the Tiber as from the Jordan, if it is to ride rough-shod over the consciences of men. American law, whatever else may be said of it, is pledged not to do that.
The discussion of the school question betrays the virus in the blood of American politics. The security which the idea of maintaining a majority vote offers is that to whose shelter all parties flee. The Catholic, perhaps, is more thoroughly consistent.' He proposes education on the same principle that he proposes religion; namely, that of Authority. He does not profess to support freedom. Freedom to do right, he may say; that is, right as Mother Church conceives it. Individual freedom apart from this restriction is not in the Catholic's programme. Hence education, in his view, is education in those things the Church has sealed with her approval. All else is denounced as error with evil and corrupting influence, or as absolutely wrong and vicious. The Catholic is consistent. He says there is authority for the individual, and tells you where it is. He also declares that this authority has its basis in the right of things, and not in the will of men. Revolution, or the vote of the majority, does not affect it. The priest is but the mouthpiece of the everlasting right. Here may be the assumption ; but it carries with it a consolation not found in the mere reflection that one's neighbors are strongest. Gov. Rice, speaking before the Episcopal Church Congress, said that sectarianism, and not religion, was at the bottom of all our public school difficulties. Religion, as defined by Jesus Christ, was love. No one could object to that. Put love in the schools, and leave sectarian teaching out. But what is love ? Even Gov. Rice defined it as love to God as well as man. Well, but what is God ? " The author of all we see that is beautiful and good," responds the Governor. But that will not satisfy all who will be interested in the schools. " God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," says one; " God is the other side of the moon," says another; " God is nothing: there is no god," quoth yet another. Thus sectarian views creep in, in spite of the simplicity to which religion is reduced by His Excellency.
Again, the schools can be made entirely secular, and thus, in the opinion of many of our most earnest liberal thinkers, the sectarian rock can be escaped. But liberal teachers cannot discard morality; and immediately we hear of natural morality and Christian morality. The latter says to the ingenuous youth, " Turn your other cheek, and let your enraged companion strike that also." " Not a bit of it," says natural morality; " hit back, and defend yourself." Now it is plain that right here, even on these little hooks, hang all the law and the prophets. Shall the liberal pay taxes to have his boy taught the vile doctrine of tame submission to injury ? He ought not, he says, to be taxed for a religion he does not believe; no more for a morality; especially when that morality is so intimate a part of his religious faith. On the other hand, shall the Christian pay taxes to have his child indoctrinated in—speaking more accurately, perhaps I should say encouraged in developing—the natural depravity of his young untutored blood ? However tamely he may submit to be physically buffeted about and shorn of his birthright, he has no disposition'to yield to any liberal usurpation of this sort,—not while there are left to him two such peaceful weapons as the ballot and the bayonet. This is but a sample. Sects in morals can be multiplied indefinitely. In short, compulsory taxation, in whatever shape, is an unwitting confession of the homely old truth that men differ.
The refusal of the authorities of Philadelphia to allow the memory of Thomas Paine its just celebration in Independence Hall, by the placing there, as a fit recognition of his services to the country in the early days "which tried men's souls," a simple portrait bust, maybe regarded as by no means a final decision. Times change. People grow wiser, if not better. The religious opinions of Paine, though, if uttered in our day, they would cause hardly a ripple on the surface of popular opinion, were, at the time of his bold, unreserved criticism of the Bible and Christian assumptions, sufficient to arouse most deadly and venomous animosity. The man whose political career had won him unbounded popularity sank suddenly beneath the tumultuous waves of a bigotry and hatred more fierce than ever forced the tortures of the Inquisition. But the pith of his protest outlives the storm, and his character is destined to receive ample vindication. The following unique tribute was spoken by Walt Whitman at the recent anniversary of Paine's birthday in Philadelphia. It should put an end to the old slanders:—
" Some thirty-five years ago, in New York city, at Tammany Hall, of which place I was then a frequenter, I happened to become quite well acquainted with Thomas Paine's perhaps most intimate chum, and certainly in later years very frequent companion, a remarkably fine old man, Col. Fellows, who may yet be remembered by some stray relicts of that period and spot. At one of our interviews he gave me a minute account of Paine's sickness and death. In short, from these talks I was and am satisfied that my old friend, with his marked advantages, had mentally, morally, and emotionally gauged the author of " Common Sense," and, besides giving me a good portrait of his appearance and manners, had taken the true measure, not only of his exterior, but interior character. Paine's practical demeanor, and much of his theoretical belief, was a mixture of the French and English schools of a century ago, and the best of both. Like most old-fashioned people, he drank a glass or two every day; but was no tippler, nor intemperate, let alone being a drunkard. He lived simply and economically, but quite well,—was always cheery and courteous, perhaps occasionally a little blunt, having very positive opinions upon politics, religion, and so forth. That he labored well and wisely for the States, in the trying period of their parturition, and in the seeds of their character, there seems to me no question. I dare not say how much of what our Union is owning and enjoying to-day,—its independence, its ardent belief in, and substantial practice of, radical human rights, and the severance of its government from all ecclesiastical and superstitious dominion,—I dare not say how much of all this is owing to Thomas Paine, but I am inclined to think a good portion of it decidedly is. But I was not going either into an analysis or eulogium of the man. I wanted to carry you back a generation or two, and give you by indirection a moment's glance ; and also to ventilate a very earnest and, I believe, authentic opinion, nay, conviction, of that time, the fruit of the interviews I have mentioned, and of questioning and cross-questioning, clinched by my best information since,—that Thomas Paine had a noble personality, as exhibited in presence, face, voice, dress, manner, and what may be called his atmosphere and magnetism, especially in the later years of his life. I am sure of it. Of the foul and foolish fictions yet told about the circumstances of bis disease, the absolute fact is that he lived a good life, after its kind: he died calmly and philosophically, as became him. He served the embryo Union with most precious service,—a service that every man, woman, and child in our thirty-eight States is to some extent receiving the benefit of to-day; and I, for one, here cheerfully and reverently throw my pebble on the cairn of his memory. As we all know, the season demands—or rather, will it ever be out of season ?—that America learn to better dwell on her choicest possession, the legacy of her good and faithful men; that she will preserve their fame, if unquestioned; or, if need be, that she fail not to dissipate what clouds have intruded on that fame, and burnish it newer, truer, and brighter continually."
Mr. Peter Bayne produced some year or so ago a very remarkable study of Walt Whitman's poems, which was printed in the " Contemporary Review," and has since been reprinted in several American periodicals. As showing the color of this criticism which Mr. Bayne submits to the moral world—he is a moralist of the pure type—several of the illustrations he has plucked from " Leaves of Grass " are here set forth with a touch of his grimly earnest accompanying comments. Whitman, in the eye of his critic, is guilty of "extravagant conceit." The following is submitted in evidence:—
" I conn'd old times; I sat studying at the feet of the great masters: Now, if eligible, O that the great masters might return and study me I"
" Much good would it do them!" exclaims Peter Bayne. Walt innocently remarks,—
" Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain, or halt in the leafy shade 1 what is that you express in your eyes ? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life."
Whereupon Bayne: " Whitman's eulogists tell us he reads Shakspere, Homer, and the Bible. Can they pretend to believe it to be anything but fantastic affectation to say that there is more in the eyes of oxen than in these ?" Tis doubtful if Whitman ever had a critic in grimmer earnest. Once more. Says Whitman,—
" I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd; I stand and look at them long and long, They do not sweat and whine about their condition; They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins; They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God; Not one is dissatisfied—not one is demented with the mania of owning things 5 Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago; Not one is respectable or industrious over the whole earth."
Mr. Bayne is simply disgusted. He refers us to those industrious creatures, "the bee and the ant," and declares that Whitman's statements are neither " accurate nor sagacious." And then, with all gravity, he continues: " They are a confused echo, extravagantly absurd, of teachings which he has not understood,"—by which he means simply to say that our " barbaric " poet is an ignorant Darwinian.
But I cannot go with Mr. Bayne when he denounces Whitman for his religion. He says : " His extravagance in his pious tone is almost equally offensive." Indeed, I think Mr. Bayne gets a trifle mixed when he touches this phase of things. He has been so stirred up and shocked by the poet's line in praise of the "brutes"—
"They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God"—
that he has lost his way. Mr. Bayne loves to hear such discussions; or, at least, he thinks they ought to occur among human beings. So, when Whitman continues,—
"I say that the real and permanent grandeur of These States must be their Religion; Otherwise there is no real and permanent grandeur: (Nor character, nor life worthy the name, without Religion; Nor land, nor man, nor woman, without Religion),"—
Mr. Bayne (with a perversity I cannot explain) observes: " This is just as silly as to praise pigs and foxes for not worshipping God." Mr. Bayne is fully persuaded that Whitman has " no maxim which he more energetically enforces than this,—'Reverence nothing.' "He says of Whitman, "With a flourish of his pen he accounts for and effaces all gods," and quotes as follows:—
"Magnifying and applying come I, Outbidding at the start the old cautious hucksters, Taking myself the exact dimensions of Jehovah; Lithographing Kronos, Zeus his son, and Hercules his grandson; Buying drafts of Osiris, Isis, Belus, Brahma, Buddha, In my portfolio placing Manito loose, Allah on a leaf, the crucifix engraved, With Odin, and the hideous Mexitli, and every idol and image; Taking them all for what they are worth, and not a cent more;
What do you suppose I would intimate to you in a hundred ways, but that man
or woman is as good as God ? And that there is no God any more divine than Yourself?"
To conclude: I cannot, in perusing any of the above quotations, quite enter into Mr. Bayne's perturbed state of feeling. What do I care if Whitman " professes to ' inaugurate' a religion of which the one duty, the sole worship, is to be the 'dear love of comrades,' " or if he does " speak with the authority of a founder of a new church " ? This is a free land. I can still worship as I please. Says Whitman, as Mr. Bayne quotes him :—
"No dainty dolce affettuoso I; Bearded, sun-burnt, gray-neck'd, forbidding, I have arrived, To be wrestled with as I pass, for the solid prizes of the universe; For such I afford whoever can persevere to win them."
"These last two lines," says Mr. Bayne, "either mean nothing at all, or they announce that Whitman is a god." It may be so; but then Mr. Bayne has already quoted our poet to the effect that we are all gods. One thing offsets another. I am content. And so at last is Mr. Bayne ; for he has found in Whitman's own words—" most reasonable of all his prophecies "—that which ought to satisfy him surely. Here is the "philosophical resignation" he is able at last to reach. All along he has desired to " cast his [Whitman's] works away," and now at last Whitman yields him comfort:—
' " I bequeathe myself to the dirt;
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles."
This, Mr. Bayne thinks, will do. And so think I. But if any one would further judge, and for himself, the " Leaves of Grass," since Mr. Bayne's critique, are to be found at all our most enterprising American book stores.
I Have been permitted to look over a portion of the manuscript of Samuel Johnson's forthcoming work on China. This volume will give us as full an account of Chinese civilization as his work published a few years since did of Indian. Starting from the characteristics of the Chinese mind, and recognizing its remarkable difference from the Hindu, it traces these peculiar traits to their grounds in human nature, and their relation to Universal ideas and principles, through an elaborate study of Chinese civilization in its productive elements, its structures of government and education, its rationalistic teachers, its religious and philosophical' beliefs, and in especial relation to their bearings on the great problems—social, commercial, political, philosophical, and religious—of the present time. It is a contribution to the practical reconstruction of religion and philosophy on a larger basis than those special claims and symbols which are now yielding to the growing faith in science and the sympathies of races and creeds. One of the most interesting features is the connection of Chinese philosophy with the principles of evolution, as developed in our Western Science. The author is a firm believer in evolution, but affirms also the infinite element, which, as Cosmical Mind, is essential to every step in the evolutionary process. The questions of civil service reform, of moral and intellectual tests for official functions; the failure of the missionaries in the work of converting China, and their success as physicians, surgeons, and translators of Chinese Scriptures for the uses of comparative religion; the history of the opium war and of European intercourse with China; the problem of Californian immigration ; the special function of the Chinese in modern civilization; and the picture drawn of the industrial and social achievements of this hitherto uncomprehended people,—are all treated with great thoroughness.
The profound philosophy of Lao-tse forms a pendant to the mechanical and institutional methods of Chinese culture, and its individualism is shown to be a reaction to noble personal principles and aims. Three new extended chapters on Buddhism are added to those in the former volume, explaining its philosophical evolution as a whole, and its special relation to China. Every great monument of the rational literature in all its branches, which has exerted important influence on the nation, is here analyzed, and referred to its place in the vast civilization of three thousand years ; and ample extracts are given from them all. Ancestral worships, Patriarchalism, Fetichism, Chinese Theism, the national poetry in all its forms, and the evolution of language through all its stages, with special reference to the written signs of this remarkable literature, are each the subject of a chapter of philosophical inquiry.
The labor and extent of research to which the work bears witness, is perhaps at first the most noticeable fact about it. But the most important is certainly its contribution of original philosophical and religious thought to a subject which covers all the speculative and social aspects of our time. The timeliness of a work like this must also be felt,—coming, as it does, in the present state of our relations with a people whose character and history are likely to have so important an influence in shaping our own destiny.
Chattel slavery was one phase of the labor problem. The blacks emancipated rose to the level of the white race, so far as the law could affect them. Still remains the far more difficult problem of finding out and satisfying the just demands of labor,—not for one race, but for all, white as well as black. This new agitation passes out of the political arena. Just so fast as the people come to perceive its true import, they will discover that it prophesies and proclaims a new moral growth, quickened by a new intelligence. It will be natural, however, for the poor, sharing the prevailing distemper, to seek first a political salvation. But escape from the luring but unreal might of the ballot will be their first great deliverance. Their remedy lies beyond and above all that legislation can do for them. Instead of a new labor party, a new labor college or institute will better serve their cause. The grievance is great, and not easily borne. But the sooner the complaining laborer is able to state his case, and intelligently show the nature of the injustice that keeps him down, spite of all his efforts to rise, the sooner will come the relief he is bound to have. Now, to a very great extent, the poor who work hard,—the " industrious poor," as they are frequently referred to by leading sympathetic journals,— know they ought to fare better than they do ; yet they propose only to seize the first opportunity to mount into fortune that will inevitably send others to the hard fate they themselves have escaped from. I do not mean this is a deliberate purpose on their part; but simply that it is the necessary effect of the system they, with the rest of the world, still maintain. They are out; they would be in. There is no proposition going to show how all may go in. Cooperation is talked of, and serious attempts to put it in practice have been numerous. But no cooperative enterprise has yet found it possible to include universal interests. A class effort is fostered. The outcome cannot be prosperity for all.
Confess that the problem is difficult. Yet why should we hesitate to say that the goal to be striven for is the annihilation of poverty ? I know a smile creeps over the face of the incredulous. They will say, " The poor ye have with you always." Armed with this old-time text, as though it were a justification rather than irony deep and reproaching, they will discourse of wise management, temperance, economy, etc. But it needs only a straightforward glance into the real facts of the case to perceive that rich and poor do not divide on any such line of merit and demerit: on the one side, all the sobriety, wisdom, and frugality the . world contains; on the other, a woeful display of the lack of all these factors of success. Grant all that may be said in behalf of temperance, mother-wit, thriftiness, and whatever else is good for a man,—does it follow that all people thus armed could abolish their poverty, and still keep up the same money-getting conflict ? Where there is conflict, there is a certainty that somebody will be pushed to the wall. Equal chances to join in a strife against each other for the necessaries and comforts of life,—is that the solution we are to be content with ?
Let us hope for better things. There is a sentiment of mutualism predominant throughout the world to-day as sentiment, that cannot pass away, but must be translated intelligently into the accepted laws of society. Society includes the world, not a part only. How to pass over into this new state in which the welfare of all shall find ample support, is the profound problem. There can be no peace until universal industry is heartily encouraged by being equitably rewarded. The late Josiah Warren pointed out, to my mind, the new adjustment the enlightened moral sense of mankind will ultimately accept. I can only here refer to one illustration, but it is one on which hangs a revolution. Reduced to its simplest terms, the new rule he proposed may be thus stated: Price regulated by cost or damage to one's self, not by benefits conferred on others. All of the civility of life now runs upon this principle. But when people "do business," and mean business, they regulate their conduct by exactly reversing it; their inflexible motto becomes : " Pay me according to the benefit you receive." Now it needs no argument to show that simply conferring favor upon others lays no basis for charge. " No trouble," we say. But just in proportion as it becomes trouble, involving time and labor, it squares with our sense of right to demand, if we choose, equivalents in return. All Mr. Warren asked was the application of this simple rule to the world's business. Test the matter of rent, interest, profit, in this way, and see the result. Rent would assume this equitable shape,—it would cover " wear and tear," sacrifice, and risk; enough to keep the owner in possession of capital invested. As for interest on money, the lender might find the damage done him so slight that he would waive all charge; or, on the other hand, he might make the loan at great inconvenience, in which case he would ask an equivalent. In either case —in all cases—his price would be modulated by the actual loss he sus tained. As for profits, the idea would vanish in the effort to render unto all the full measure of their labor. Each would add to his capital by his own labor, not from the earnings of others. The claim of capital to increase without labor would be surrendered. For the moment it ceased making demands on labor for conferring benefits, it would have of itself no cumulative resource. The capitalist, in the present sense of the word, would disappear. All being laborers, each would have only the capital he was able to save up from his own earnings, unless enriched by voluntary gift from others. There would be as much of these saved earnings, or capital, as now: only it would not, as now, be gathered into few hands. By a natural, equitable distribution, secured by this rule of receiving compensation equivalent to sacrifice, capitalists, in the new sense, would arise by the million. The war between labor and capital would end. A harmony of interests would develop ways and means for all great enterprises of mutual concern.
This may be a dream. But, if it be a dream of Equity, it will in due time pass into the life-blood of the people, and circulate, with every strong heart-beat, the blessedness of a peace the world has never yet known.
A Cordial greeting to " The Radical Review!" My friend, just gone from my studio, felt that the "Nineteenth Century," or some other less provocative title, would be preferable. But wherefore the " nineteenth," or any other century, that sailing under its partisan banner would be wisest! Not to reflect the passing time, the day's doings, to be newsy with "current events," as I gather and surmise, is to be the business of the new Quarterly. News it shall bring; news from the unseen—news from that which is not and is to be. To make history, not to write it: out of invisible truth newly to summon the social worth peoples and prophets long have waited for—be that the burden of its life. What word more fitting to describe this high intent than that chosen? No light and frivolous task; no mere addition to the ranks of aspirants for new or fine literature; but serious purpose and consecration; yet no lack of good cheer. There are those who love to paint " your genuine radical" grim, sour, void of patience. Never a graver mistake. Who sees the invisible shore, and sees how all tides and blowing breezes, as well as all thought and work, are thitherward driving,—can he turn sour-hearted?
I like full well the editor's purpose not only to "welcome all subjects pertaining to human welfare," but to hear differing views of the same subject. Let editor, contributors, and readers make this welcome " hearty and hot." Emphasize it. Let the old spirit depart. A margin of doubt as to one's own orthodoxy may prove no bad road to health. Wisdom is not born of conceit. No one is more unfree in mind than he whose politics, religion, philosophy, science, or whatsoever else, has so captured him that he can give patient audience only to his own thinking. It is not always the ignorant who are most ignorant and enslaved. Scholarship can fetter as well as liberate. "A little knowledge is dangerous," runs the proverb. But I have known cases when much knowledge has proven equally disastrous,—where the "light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world" has been put out, or bartered for the light that cometh from behind over the shoulder. Man's eyes are set in the front of his head. He could have been given no stronger hint that he was born for a forward, upward look. The true scholar will take his cue from this circumstance, and learn he is to see towards the future, as well as store his mind with the past. Wordsworth has these suggestive lines, worthy a place in the memory of all:—
- "Whether we be young or old,
- Our destiny, our being's heart and home,
- Is with infinitude, and only there;
- With hope it is, hope that can never die,
- Effort, and expectation, and desire,
- And something evermore about to be.
- Under such banners militant the soul
- Seeks for no trophies, struggles for no spoils
- That may attest her prowess, blest in thoughts
- That are their own perfection and reward,
- Strong in herself and in beatitude
- That hides her, like the mighty flood of Nile
- Poured from his fount of Abyssinian clouds
- To fertilize the whole Egyptian plain."
Sidney H. Morse.
CHIPS FROM MY STUDIO.
T TERE is the verse Carlyle loves to quote:—
The Future hides in it Good hap and sorrow ; We press still thorow, Naught that abides in it Daunting us,—onward.
I Once offered a friend a book containing some " new views " of society, or rather, of the reorganization of society. " Is it millennial ?" he asked. Though himself the advocate of " new views " of religion, he still held in a certain abeyance or dread almost every thing that implied the slightest disturbance of existing social relations. This seemed all the more strange to me inasmuch as his new religion, as he himself would contend, was chiefly to be commended because of its utility in the present world. I mistrust, however, to do him full justice, he was suspicious of a nostrum, some "universal cure," serviceable for all ills, and never failing. George Jacob Holyoake testifies that " Englishmen, as a rule, get so few generalized ideas into their heads, and are so afraid of any one who has any in his, that they make rather too much of one when they get it. If a new principle makes its way into their minds, whether political, religious, or social, they go mad about it for the first few years. They see nothing but that. Every thing else in the world is obscure to them; and they believe that their crotchet is the high road to the millennium for all the world." Fear of tumbling into some such vortex as this»may have laid its restraint upon my friend. I would not, more than he, tumble into every such " millennial" rut. But of all things I would avoid fear. One must be free to listen to new views, let their advocates put upon their regenerating power however marvelous an estimate. What they bring may not explain the universe; but every thinking person, I am more and more led to believe, hits somewhere, and one can soon discover of what value these special hits may be for his or her own thinking.
He need not run after them, but, if such lions—or asses it may be— cross his path, he need not be frightened. The surest way not to fall into the individual rut is to lie open on one side, at least, for what invasions your fellows about you may be moved of the spirit to make, come they " sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought," or brawny with the day's common sense. As to new views being " millennial," in one sense, if they have the iota of a truth in their make-up to commend them, they certainly are. If truth were unmillennial, 'twould indeed be a wasting of time to entertain it. Though I do not envy that person, yet he who valiantly stands, through fortune adverse and crushing, even for one truth, swearing evermore that it is the sole pivot on which all else turns, may not be denounced as one gone mad and wholly wrong; for when we consider how all truths do tread one upon the other, the starting with any one of them seriously to embody it in social life, by the very necessity of the case, is an entrance to the citadel of all truth. In the working-experience of the race it will so prove, if not in the individual's limited career. Far better be the enthusiast of one idea than so all-sided and serenely broad as to be afraid to touch anywhere. Courage, then, brother, and patience,— even to confront millenniums!
By suppressing somewhat in the way of place and personal reference, I am enabled to publish a speech delivered before—thus much I may say—the " Invisible Club " at one of its recent meetings,—a speech which, to my mind, though a trifle audacious and not wholly sound in some parts, contains that which commends it, and is not without the merit of timeliness:—
"Now, friends, let me tell you, you are altogether too nice and mincing. You divide up into cliques and castes by far too much. Indeed, I do not know why one of you should put on airs. You don't know what you lose by your exclusive demeanor. Are you poets, or preachers, or philosophers, or governors, or merchants, or mechanics, or day-laborers on the street; rich or poor, learned or ignorant, saint or sinner,—you are all alike; just come out of your shells, and see! For myself, I would rather emulate the god who is no respecter of persons, and deal in friendliness with all people I meet, never driven from home in whatever corner of the earth. Often the laborer is more agreeable than the master, the maid than the mistress. I have often found more downright honesty and direct, manly speech among the ' roughs,' whom all men know as ' lawless and desperate' by the very 'cut of their jibs,' than among youths of much culture and pretension. Intelligence, too, resides as often with those unfamiliar with books, as with omnivorous readers. And religion, if I know its visage, sits often with more grace on the faces of unprofessionals. Refinement, also, I have been surprised to find genuine manifestations of under roughest exteriors. But, 'tis no use to dwell on everybody's experience. We all know how Burns's line has its world-wide applications,—
' A man's a man for 'a that.'
" What I have to say is that the best people are not all in one class. There is no class that does not contain them, and none that has not its due share of the worst. And then, even these worst have redeeming traits it will do to hitch to ; so that we may take to ourselves no superiorities, but freely live, honoring all.
" I am free now to say that I truly sympathise with those who object to Fraternity and Equality being made into a cast-iron formula, so that impertinent creatures may wilfully thrust their society and claims upon you. I demand freedom, and will not be tyrannized over by this sort, more than by despots of nobler mien. Tis a friendliness not to brook such intrusion. This from no assertion of superiority, it may be, but say 'tis your whim, and that shall end it. The point is this: you deal thus with individuals, and are free to fraternize or exclude by genuine recognition of your personal likes and dislikes,—not doubting or denying all the while that those whose social overtures you refuse may and do have vast virtues and agreeablenesses to commend them; only, they are not so made up, and you are not so made up, that you two can flow on happily together. That is one thing; another, and quite unlike, is the inability to pass over class distinctions, and found your friendship in all ranks and races. I said in the beginning that we are all alike. This equality is not of merit, nor of greatness : rather of our nothingness : equal we are in God,—in being by our individual selves nothing. Who is great alone ? Who is rich alone ? Who is wise alone ? Isolation, then, is weakness, poverty, ignorance,—blank and eternal. But in society we are heirs of all there is. You, and I, and every soul, is thus endowed: we are nothing; we are all the universe holds.
" 'Oh why should the spirit of mortal be proud?'
is the sole line of Lincoln's favorite verse I am unable to forget. Not proud, but full of content, as having all.
" The boldness of these impromptu utterances, friends, you will forgive, nor deem my paradoxes without point, since what we feel strongly, I am persuaded, goes hand in hand with the spirit of truth."
Extract from a letter to an acquaintance in Australia:—
" Your friend has brains: so he tells you. Do they count for nothing, , as equal only to dull, brute, muscular force ? Is his time not worth far more than that of the fellow who works on the road and digs your ditches ? In short, being in possession of a goodly amount of brains, well cultured and mature, he, without challenge, ought to receive for the service he renders mankind much more abundantly of this world's goods than his horny-handed brother there,—whose brains are few, and whose culture is nothing to speak of,—for the labor he performs. If they exchange labor, measuring it by time, the disparity will be great. How great? 'Very great,' he will respond. Yes; he said that before. ' Well,' he replies, ' the fellow ought to have a comfortable living ; but / require far more for my activity in the world than he does; my nature is more costly; it takes more to run me ; besides, the more I have, the more I return to society. I am useful in proportion to my income.' This is your friend's gospel: he is a believer in it, and no shadow of doubt crosses his mind. The more he has, the richer is the rest of the world: that is his solace,—though, for the matter of equity, were he the only fellow with brains on this planet, the balance of the world could not compensate him overmuch for their use; he would be entitled to all they could rake and scrape, he using said brains of his to tell them where the raking and scraping should be done, and how many hours they should keep themselves at it. The question as to how much of other people's labor he should command as the equivalent of his own would be solved thus : he would take all he wanted, and they all he pleased to give them.
"Well, your friend is a type of the business world—in Australia. A man must be paid for his brains as if he owned them. ' What!' I hear your friend exclaiming; ' don't own his own brains ? What is the world coming to?' Coming to the much talked of 'truth of things,' I hope. He need not be alarmed. There is no disposition to do him any harm; but only a harmless desire to show him how it is he is not bound to be hoggish on the sole ground that he is in possession of brains. He will excuse the phrase; I say it good-naturedly. In truth, I attach no blame whatever to him. Other people, endowed as he, would think the same, and act the same,—though his acting, as I have noticed in your reports, in many instances is not as his thinking, but vastly'better. Personalities, then, aside; let us see what the nature of things has to say.
" I suppose that what is meant by ' brains' is not that they are so uncommon a thing with mankind generally; but that a certain number of people, by much painstaking and labor, have greatly improved the quality and the usefulness of their inherited portion, and that, in so doing, they have added to their costliness. So when they meet other people to exchange labor, they have a right to all the advantage this extra and prior labor of theirs will afford them. It means this, and it means something more. It means, further, that because the number of those who have brains thus skilled and apt for difficult tasks is comparatively small, that fact entitles them to a consideration which they would lose if the number was greater. There are two grounds of compensation : 1, culture; 2, culture only in a few. The first I admit. The second, though told every day of my life of the 'eternal and irreversible law of supply and demand,' I cannot fathom with any sense of simple equity I am in possession of. I will glance at these points in reverse order, the last first.
" 1. Why should your friend charge for his labor all he pleases, irrespective of any principle of equity, just because he stands alone among his fellows, competent to do a particular kind of work ? As I understand him, he has a perfect right to do this; in other words, his doing so is altogether fair and square. He cannot be complained of if he make his price so exorbitant—I need go no further. I have unwittingly used the very word that upsets the whole theory. I was going to say he could not be complained of if whole communities were put in such straits that, to purchase his services, they were forced to reduce themselves to abject and life-long servitude. But that one word,—current enough, I am glad to say,—that one word 'exorbitant ' is proof irrefutable that equity cannot be established by laws of supply and demand. There is a sense of what is fair that this much-dwelt-upon ' law' will not explain. A man may not justly take more than the equivalent of his labor, be the circumstances as tempting as they may. More than that is'exorbitant.' It is seen, nevertheless, that he is liable to do so. Examples are too numerous to doubt that such is the tendency. The quick wit of the world has also seen that he can be managed and effectually headed off in his vile extortionary practice by competition. No, I fear I am conceding too much. What people see is something akin to what Mr. Webster saw when he told the young lawyer that there was 1room up higher.' They see there is a chance for them,—each individual envious of your friend who has the field all to himself with the ability to get royal compensation for his every stroke of labor—up where competition is not so active as it is down where they are; their aspiration being not to reduce your friend to equity, but to share his advantage. ' There's millions in it,' they shout, and up they go. The result, however, redounds to the general good, suggesting the old text, 'The Lord causeth even the wrath of man to praise him.' Here I touch what some are pleased to call the great ' incentive' to all improvement. Take away this impulse to struggle for the opportunities to gouge mankind, and you reduce all the world to an ambitionless dead-level. Is it so ? If it be so, I am sure it would be well if it were quickly done. Let us turn again, and live as the cattle,—
' they are so placid and self-contain'd; ******* Not one is dissatisfied—not one is demented with the mania of owning things.'
But that there are other and higher incentives to industry and selfimprovement all sane minds freely grant, and are indignant when they find they have laid themselves open to such an aspersion. ' Gouge mankind!' That they never meant, of course. But when a man hears that matches are going to be scarce, and goes directly and buys up all there are in his native village, that he may hold them for the big price, it isn't a very neighborly act, is it ?
" We have seen, then, that your friend may be brought to equitable terms by competition. Shall we therefore rely on the ' law of supply and demand ?' What becomes of your friend ? Is he made a better man when he is brought down to decent behavior by the rigors of this law ? Are all these others, whose ' incentive ' was to pluck from golden opportunity colossal wealth, but who, rushing finally in too solid rank, tumble, or are thrown back by their infectious greed,—are all these moral-natured souls made happier at last, happier and better ? I want your friend to see that competition, or the lack of it, is not the only thing that ought to persuade him from indulging in ' exorbitant' demands for his labor. If he has ' brains,' let him so use them that he shall not be the only soul disposed to give thanks. I do not urge him to philanthropy,—that is his own affair,—but to equity, pure and simple.
"2. This brings me to the second query: What extra compensation is your friend entitled to ? He has already answered for himself sufficiently near the mark by laying his claim upon the basis of extra previous labor in preparing himself for to-day's work. Where he errs is in falling into the far-spread delusion that this extra outlay is to be provided for by the advantage it affords him over his fellows in being able to charge a fancy price. The simple and honest way is to seek to exchange with his fellows equivalents of service. In naming his price he will ask, not what benefit his service will be to his neighbor, but what is the drain and damage to himself. His neighbor will consider the same question; and then time against time, in such proportions as their joint appeal to facts shall determine. There may arise a competition among his neighbors for the article or service he wishes to dispose of, and the temptation to wait for the 'highest bidder' may be strong; but I see no escape for him, if he will preserve his equitable intent, but in a faithful adherence to Josiah Warren's dictum,—' Cost the limit of price.'
" It were impossible here to anticipate, now that this brief communication is so near its end, the numerous objections which the mere suggestion of the ' cost principle' gives rise to. Nor shall I attempt it. Once let the moral sense of your friend play upon the old maxim that 'a thing is worth what it will bring,' and he will work his own way, I do not doubt, to some other conclusion than that he should make the dire necessities of his fellow-men the basis of his wealth. On some future occasion I hope to take the subject up where I am now about to leave it, and supply to some extent the argument that will commend ' Equitable Commerce' to his more favorable consideration.
" But I must not close without a word in regard to the ' ownership of brains,' as I doubt not your friend is still curious as to the scope of the reform contemplated under that head. I do not at all imagine he is unduly agitated, for he knows as well as any one that ' possession is nine points of the law.' With the citadel so well defended, he may well feel he can scoff at danger. I mean to say—and I anticipate his concurrence—that no man can have so exclusive an ownership of his brains as to free him from obligations to the social state. However much he may do himself towards their culture, of which he is at least cognizant if not proud, the society in which he has lived has contributed its by no means inconsequential share. Let him ' put that in his pipe and smoke it.' Without society his 'brains' would be small in calibre and of little import. He would not even have the pleasure of a comparison with the inferior equipment of others. The President of Amherst College has said with much force, ' Endow a man with any possessions you please; give him any kind or degree of culture; let his culture be clothed and crowned with virtue till it shines like the sun, and lesser stars fade in his light; then leave him to himself; take away the restraints and incentives of society,—how long before his glory will be gone ?' Now, your friend and the world at large will respond heartily to all this, and yet, at the same time, remain wedded to the opinion that a man's brains are so much his own that he is morally free from observing a more devout respect for Equity than is forced upon him by the ' Law of Supply and Demand.' " I take my present leave of the subject here."
This evening I talked with the conductor of a horse-car on my way in from . He was intelligent, educated, and seemed to appreciate the situation. He averaged twelve hours a day, for which day's work he received one dollar and seventy-five cents. He had seen the time when he would have " turned up his nose " at such pay; but now he couldn't help himself; he was glad to get any thing to do, and most any kind of wages; he had friends enough who couldn't tell where their next meal was coming from; they belonged to the " tramp brigade," much against their will; they were "drafted, and couldn't get off, even on a furlough." I inquired after a conductor I used to know, whom of late I had missed. He had been discharged, not for any thing he did, but for something he omitted to do. The " spotters " didn't hear the sound of the " punch " as often as they thought they were privileged to. When he was paid off, he informed the Company that he had not worked for nothing. They judged he. had not, as he soon went into a profitable business for himself. I said that I had read in some respectable daily journal that " the honest conductor regarded the punch as a badge of honor, the Company thereby assuring the public that here was a man who could be trusted to record the number of his freight." He smiled, and said, if they were obliged to wear a ball and chain, he supposed it would still be regarded as an honorable appendage by the enlightened press, which was always ready and eager to defend the upper dog. " Not so bad as that," I interposed. " They always take the side of the capitalist as against the laborer,— all the respectable journals do," he responded vigorously. I made some inquiries as to the management of the road in respect to the salaries of the different officers. " The President of the road is paid ten thousand dollars," he went on to say; "the Chief Conductor twenty-five hundred dollars,—or two thousand dollars by the Railroad Company and five hundred dollars by the Punch Company. He was influential in getting the punches introduced, and they have some sort of an arrangement. The punches are rented at twenty cents a day; each conductor has two. The Punch Company is making a big thing out of it; they wouldn't sell a punch for love or money. That makes forty cents a day for each conductor. If they would add that forty cents to the conductor's wages, and whatever else they pay for spies, in my opinion it would be a better .investment. There would be a few who would steal all they got, any way; but most of them, when they knew the square thing had been done by them, would reciprocate. As it is now,
the Company says to every man, ' We've done our d dest to fix you
so you can't steal,' and that makes a thief even of an honest man. If he's got to wear the name, he may as well have the game. The fact is, no conductor has any sympathy with the Company. If he does well, it's to keep his place. The thing ain't run right anyhow. If it's for the public, why don't the public manage it ? Why does the city let a private corporation have such roads all in their hands ? If the people had good sense, they would take all such things under their own protection. Fares on the roads could be reduced half, and gas could be furnished two-thirds less. All these corporations are just plundering the people, and there's no use in it." I must not omit to report one other remark, which will further serve to show that a conductor on a horse-car may not be without a commendable public spirit. " I have as much pride in Boston as any man dare have; but I would like to see Boston welfare include all classes of people. Boston, of all cities, ought not to measure her prosperity by a few rich people. What kind of success is it, when only a few succeed and the rest fail,—and fail, not because they don't deserve success, but because, as things are arranged, success for them is impossible ? There ought to be one city in the world—just for the novelty of the thing, if for no better reason —which would secure a chance of prosperity to all. They may talk as much as they please,—it isn't done; and those that have the upper hand don't want it done. I know, for I have been there, and have seen how things work. Don't you suppose I would like to do something besides just earn a living for myself ? I would like to be able to contribute to the general good and pleasure by improving and beautifying the city. But I can't, and there are thousands like me. We can't on twelve dollars a week. But the President of the road, with his ten thousand, can. Now the question is, Are his two or four hours worth so much more than our ten or twelve ?"
Of course I give this conversation from memory, but have made my report as faithful as possible. I have deemed its significance to lie in the expression of opinions indicating a new social science, which are by no means, as I have some opportunities for knowing, rare among this class of working people.
The " Molly Maguires " are broken up. We are told that " the history of this terrible organization is, in fact, a portion of the history of trades-unionism. It was carrying to an extreme—a logical extreme— the notion that the accumulation of capital is a robbery of the laborer, and that any means to right the wrong is justifiable." I am by no means as well informed on the history of trades-unionism as I could wish, nor do I believe in the principle of its organization, which is a denial of individual liberty as regards the disposal of one's own labor; but I am entirely confident that no trades-union ever organized, in whatever part of the world, ever in word or deed proclaimed that " the accumulation of capital is a robbery of the laborer." Nothing of the sort. It cannot be shown of labor agitators anywhere. Trades
I unionists have sought to limit the accumulation of capital in the hands of capitalists by asserting, and, so far as they could, enforcing, their own rightful claim to compensating wages. That they have been often exasperated and driven into violence no one needs, or cares, to deny. The principle of individual liberty of choice, which they have disregarded under the plea of mutual protection and benefit, is set aside no less arbitrarily by every government organized by force for mutual
, protection that the sun ever shone upon. It is the doctrine of protection denying free trade between nations applied to the different trades. The trades-union people have gone to school in the world's politics. If trades-unionism has logically run into this extreme of killing the enemy, National-Unionism has not been far from setting examples of extremeness in similar directions. I am aware that a difference may be pointed out in the two cases, but I see also a similarity that bodes no good for either.
But what my attention is more particularly called to is that, while great pains seems to be taken to emphasize all the atrocities of these late Molly Maguire murderers, little or no mention is made of the provocation in which the order first originated. That the order fell under the control of a set of very bad and desperate fellows is probably true; but without some adequate cause there could have been no excuse even for a suggestion of such a Union. I have seen but one attempt to explain the origin of the " Mollies " which has seemed to me at all reasonable. I find in the New York Herald of June 15.a statement by a correspondent to which I give full credence. The writer refutes the assertion, freely made by some, that the Molly Maguire organization is only a dark and deadly deduction from the idiosyncrasies of Irish character, and says : " Disguise it as we may, this organization and its crimes are part of the contest between labor and capital, and, but for this contest, the Molly Maguires would never have been known to America." A part of the further statement he makes is as follows:
" Up to the beginning of the war nobody ever heard of the Molly Maguires, or the Buckshots, or the Black Spots, or the Sleepers. With the war came an unexpected development of the coal regions, and with this unexpected development disorder and anarchy. Coal commanded enormous prices, and the supply was unequal to the demand. New mines were opened and new collieries established in every direction, and yet the supply fell below the demand. Even black dust sold as coal; and slate and shale, and indeed any thing that was dark in color, was weighed out to the unresisting customer as fuel. The carrying companies prospered as they had never prospered before, and used the extraordinary surplus they had acquired in this unexampled era of prosperity to become coal-mining as well as coal-carrying companies. In a few years the six great transportation companies owned all the coal lands in the anthracite region. In the " London World " of only a few days ago I find an interview with Mr. Gowen, which is reprinted with approval in the Pottsville journals, which not only comes by authority, but is in itself as clear an exposition of the origin of these Molly Maguire outrages as it is of the arguments upon which the President of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company expects to raise money in the English markets.
"' I found,' he said,' that thirty million dollars had been spent in constructing lines to certain mineral basins, and that these lines had no value whatever except for the mineral traffic they carried. Yet anybody else was free to make a line to the same point, and so ruin our line. I therefore deemed it a measure of safety to purchase thpse mineral basins entirely, and the fifty million dollars which this required left us rather bare of money. Then came long continued depression, arising from various causes and local troubles; and now, in order to put the property on a thoroughly sound footing, we want a little time.' If Mr. Gowen's frankness had continued, he would have added that the same policy which induced the aggrandizement of the coal basins had also compelled the oppression of labor, and that the ' local trouble' to which he referred was the rebellion of the laborers against a grinding monopoly that had undertaken more than it could perform. Without excuse as the Molly Maguire murders are, the Molly Maguire opposition was the natural and necessary outgrowth of the policy pursued by the great mining and carrying companies, which combine to make coal cheap at the mines and dear in the market, because both the producer and the consumer are at their mercy."
It is much too common with us all to look on one picture, and not on the other. There is woe enough pronounced on the offences that come, but not a careful disposition to discern " by whom the offence cometh."
Recently a chance acquaintance of mine was a young Russian, who could " speak not much English." He had a thoughtful, serious face, for one of his age, and a certain dignified demeanor that arrested my attention, especially as he had accosted me asking alms. I felt instinctively, though his years might not justify it, that he was not without some unusual experience of an ennobling, heroic sort. Our conversation was brief, and my questioning not at all prompted by a curiosity to try his honesty. That I conceded at once. The impression he made upon me was of one fallen into adverse circumstances, yet retaining pride of character and a reserved purpose for the future. He was down for the time, but was not likely to stay down. His story ran thus. He was six months away from Russia,—three or four months alone in this country. His sister came with him, and died. They "was run away from government." They "join the Revolution, get suspect, and hurry away." His "sister write book to make mad the peasants; they too stupid to know much; by and by they get some sense, and do some great thing; get free the whole Russia, and have no Tzar; poor people be free, and enough to live and be educated." He would "go back some day, and help." He came to America with about one thousand dollars; he had got no work yet, and the money was gone,—but may be he would get some by and by. He "must get some to send back to the Revolution." As he came to talk of the " Revolution," his speech and gesture became very emphatic and earnest.
I recall the above related incident at this time upon reading in the " Nineteenth Century" a paper on " Russian Revolutionary Literature." The writer gives, in some detail, an account of the recent trial in St. Petersburgh, " which reveals the inner working of a Russian secret society of the most revolutionary nature."
" The prisoners belonged, most of them, to the always interesting class of revolutionary enthusiasts; and their proceedings, though almost insanely unwise, are rendered to some extent romantic by their nature and pathetic by their result." Their leaders " were all persons of more or less culture, being what we should call ' gentlemen and ladies,' but their aim was to carry on a revolutionary propaganda among the common people.
" With this intention they disguised themselves, adopting the dress of the peasants and artisans, and by this means obtained access to manufactories and other centres of labor. Having become personally acquainted with small groups of their fellow workers, they then proceeded to inculcate their peculiar doctrines, recommending them at times in conversation, but more often relying upon the efficacy of the secretly printed books, to which they seemed to attribute a kind of magical influence. With a child-like faith, resembling that of many of our own tract distributors, they held that a good deed was done whenever one of their seditious publications was placed in a workman's hands, and they toiled on, in spite of meeting with little or no encouragement, with a determination worthy of a better cause."
As touching the character of these revolutionists it is shown that men and women alike were ready to undertake any hardship, and perform the most menial of services, in carrying out their plans.
" The most interesting by far of the conspirators are the women. The type of character which they represent is one which is very unfamiliar with us. We find it difficult to believe that young girls, belonging to what we should call the upper middle classes, well educated, and by no means destitute of culture, can leave their homes and go away of their own free will, to lead a hard life among strange people of a lower class,—all for an idea. We can understand such a sacrifice being made in the cause, let us say, of religion or loyalty, but for the sake of irreligion and disloyalty it appears unaccountable. Yet it is just because these young women refused to respect any existing laws, whether claiming to be of divine or of human origin; because they looked upon Church and State as equally obsolete institutions; and because they wished to sweep away all political and social distinctions, and to leave nothing but a common land equally divided among the working classes,—that they gave up their homes, and severed themselves from their kith and kin, and went into the wilds of Russian city life as Nihilistic Missionaries. They had nothing to gain by the changes they desired to bring about; they had every thing to lose, if their efforts should be detected. And yet they worked on, amid discouragement and discomfort, with never ceasing energy and determination."
Their propagative literature is in many respects remarkable, evidencing a genuine movement of thought on topics regarded as of prime and pressing importance. It reveals a philosophy as well as a purpose, and, if revolutionary, it is revolution with intelligence. The " Tale of Four Brothers " is related as follows:—
" There were once four brothers who lived in a forest, unconscious of other folk. But at last one day they chased a bear to the top of a mountain, from which they got their first view of the outer world, and saw villages and homesteads, and men tilling the soil. So they determined to explore the new land which lay before them, and to make acquaintance with the ways of civilized men. The first man they met strongly recommended them to go back to their forest home ; but they paid no attention to him. The next passer-by was a pilgrim, who sang, as he went, a doleful song, the burden of which was, —
'I roamed all over Russia : groans the moujik and moans; From hunger he moans, from hunger: From cold he groans, from cold.'
Hearing this, the brothers took counsel together, and resolved to separate for a time and travel in different directions, and then to come together again and compare accounts, so as to find out where men live most comfortably. One of them, Ivan, went northwards. Coming to a village, he was surprised to find the peasants hard at work beneath a blazing sun, while a landed proprietor was looking lazily on. Venturing on an expostulation, all that he gained was a flogging, whereby he at length understood that laws mean this,—that the rich man may bully the poor, and the poor man must put up with every thing, and always hold his peace, and grovel, moreover, at the other's feet. A little later he was told by an old man, with whom he drank, all about the peasants: how they were serfs until they were freed by the Tzar, and how arbiters were appointed from among the gentry, who gave only bad land to the peasants, and called in soldiers to shoot them if they complained. Musing on all this, Ivan went further. Many villages and towns did he visit; every
where was life bitter to the peasant and the workman. At last he witnessed a case of such oppression on the part of a village elder that the peasants mutinied. The police came and seized Ivan as ringleader, and he was sent to Siberia. Meantime the second brother, Stepan, had gone south. There one day he found an official arbiter attempting to force some villagers to accept the worthless land he wished to allot to them as their official share. As they refused to agree, the arbiter called in soldiers, who attacked the people. In the fight that ensued a young soldier killed his father. Horror-struck at the sight of the old man's blood, the soldier turned and slew the arbiter, whose orders had brought about the parricidal deed. The other soldiers were then beaten off by the villagers, whom Stepan proceeded to harangue, saying that the soldiers ought to make common cause with the people, and all Russia ought to rise in simultaneous rebellion, and not go on trusting to the Tzar. ' It seems to me a shame that so many millions of men should be able to do nothing for themselves, but should go on trusting in some one else.' But the peasants merely replied: 'We'll hand you over to the authorities for such speeches.' At last they did so, and Stepan was sent to Siberia as a rebel. The third brother, Demian, had visited the cities of Eastern Russia, and there worked hard. But, however much he toiled, he never could do more than barely support existence. Money he could by no means acquire, for the employers of labor kept it all for themselves. One day he was present when some villagers refused to pay their taxes, saying that< they were too poor to do so. A priest was sent for, who urged them to obey the authorities, whereupon Demian argued the point with him; and the result was that he also was sent to Siberia. Thither also, about the same time, was the fourth brother sent. He had been so delighted by the sight of a monastery, with its white walls, and green roofs, and gilded domes, rising amid trees on a cliff above a river, and so struck by the interior of its church, in which pilgrims knelt, and monks sang, and tapers burnt, and incense smoked, that he asked leave to live in it as a servant, thinking it a kind of Sacred Paradise. But, to his horror, he found that the monks were dissolute hypocrites, and the abbot an impostor, who used mechanical means to draw tears from the eyes of a miraculous picture and money from the pockets of the faithful. For attempting to reveal this and similar frauds, Luke was seized by the people, and sent, like his three brothers, to Siberia. On the road leading ' from dear mother Russia to step-mother Siberia,' the four brothers met again. Comparing their experiences, they came to the conclusion that nowhere was there to be found a place in which poor people live happily. But the time would come, they all agreed, when the people would rise in revolt, and their oppressors would be overthrown, and the poor man would be able to live at ease. Thereupon they all four made good their escape. ' And from that time forth they have been traversing Russia, ever rousing the peasants, inviting them to the bloody feast. They wander north, south, east, and west. Nobody knows them, no eye sees them, but all can hear their loud-sounding voice. And at the sound of that voice the peasant takes courage, lifts up his downcast head, feels his blood spring like a fountain within him, and is ready to stand up for his liberty, for his land, and for his freedom from taxes. And when they have enlightened all the peasantry, mother Russia will resound with a mighty music, and will roll like the blue sea, and with mighty billows will she drown all her evil foes.'"
Another of these tracts is called the "Khitraga Mekhanika," or " Cunning System," and is a treatise on political economy designed to instruct the peasantry as to whence their incomes are derived and how they are spent. Its purport is as follows:—
" The moujik works incessantly, endures the heat of summer and the frosts of winter, and gathers together a few roubles, most of which are swept away by the taxgatheier, for from hard-earned gains of the poor are formed the riches of the State. Out of these riches go nine millions of roubles to the Tzar, and one hundred and seventy millions to the army and navy; and all that is allotted to the share of the working classes, who really supply the money, is seven hundred and sixty thousand roubles for national schools."
The " Story of a Copeck " is a most interesting " tract," and is so briefly told that I will transcribe it also :—
" Russia was a pleasant country to live in when there were only peasants in it. But as there was consequently no sin there, the devil neither slept nor broke his fast for seven years, at the end of which time he invented priests. Two similar periods of abstinence subsequently qualified him for the invention of landed proprietors and traders. All of them were well received by the peasants, whom they soon got into their hands. One day a peasant asked mother Earth where he could find a copeck. The answer was ' Dig.' So he dug and dug, and at last he found the coin. This he gave to the priest in exchange for a crumb of bread, and the priest gave it to the sacristan, telling him to get therewith a pig. And the sacristan took it to a tradesman, and demanded in return for it a pig and a honeycomb. And the tradesman took it to the peasant, and told him to produce a pig, and a honeycomb, and a wolf-skin. The peasant handed over the pig, and went into the forest, where he found wild honey and slew a bear. The bear-skin he took with honey to the tradesman, who gave him the copeck, but insisted on his leaving a part of his apparel behind, as he had brought the wrong kind of fur. The copeck he straightway carried to his landlord's house, as money due to him. After this he met with a series of accidents, resulting in the return of the copeck into his hands. Thereupon he determined never to part with it again. And he kept his resolution, although first the police, and then the soldiers, were sent to take it from him. And one night, as he slept, the copeck came to him and led him to a sage, who ordered a bird to carry him away to a far-off land. There he saw the harvests being gathered by joyous bands of peasants, working together like so many brothers. There, he was told, there were no authorities, no traders, no landlords, no priests. Therefore fraud, and oppression, and sorrow were unknown, and all men lived in peace and unity. When he awoke, he went forth into the world as the apostle of such ideas as were realized in that happy dreamland."
There is one pamphlet entitled " From Fire into Flame," which treats directly of the freedom of the serfs, and states that to which the prevailing condition of the emancipated race in our own country helps to give the aspect of truthfulness. The statement is that the peasants, though prizing their freedom as sure to work them in the long future a good result, are now no better off.
" Only one-fifth of the soil has passed into their hands. The gentry have kept the other four-fifths for themselves; so that, while each peasant holds only three desiatines, the shares of their former masters average six hundred and seventy-three apiece. There are even worse evils than this to complain of. 'The former system was like a wolf falling upon a man in a thick wood. The present one is like a swamp full of leeches,' which suck his life's blood. The yoke of the capitalist is heavier now than in former days was that of the serf-holder. . . . An average Russian family of five persons may obtain from their land each year about one hundred and ten cwt. of corn, which is valued at one hundred and eighty roubles. This leaves the family about half a rouble—or eighteen pence—a day to live upon, supposing that they make enough by their winter handiwork to pay all dues and taxes, reckoned at one hundred and fifty roubles. But if the lands were properly divided, the peasants would be at least ten times as rich as they are now."
There is a vast deal of this sort of literature, setting forth with more or less skill in poetry, fiction, and argument, the evils and sorrows of the "Troublous Time in Russia," and proposing rebellion as the sole efficient remedy.
" In rebellion lies the sole chance of saving the people from the poverty, hunger, and cold which it endures, and from the final destruction which awaits it in the future ; rebellion against landholders, against labor employers, against the Tzar, and against every authority which undertakes to defend the spoilers of the people. . . . There draws nigh the terrible, deadly contest between the working people and their oppressors. Already over all the land are spread our friends and comrades; already do they everywhere secretly sharpen their knives and prepare matches. Like a torrent will blood flow ; like a burning sea will glow fires. But as rusty iron is purified in the furnace, so will the world also be renewed when that struggle is oyer."
" Arise, stand up, O working people 1 Hungering brother, rise against thy foes 1 Spread abroad, O cry of national vengeance I
" The Vampire-Tzar sucks thy veins: The Vampire-Tzar drains the people's blood. He requires soldiers for the army; Send him thither, then, your sons. Feasts and palaces by him are needed; Give him, then, thy blood."
A " Poem by a Working Man," is thus translated :—
" It is not the grass that is sighing in the steppe, Nor the wind moaning in the oak-wood. A bold and mighty cry makes itself heard, — It summons us to war with the foe.
It is not falcons that are flying, scenting corpses nigh at hand; It is the working folk rising in arms To avenge their sires and grandsires!
" Let us forth, then, brothers in friendship, To quaff together the cup of Fraternity I And above fallen monarchism, To unfurl the banner of Equality I"
From all accounts it appears that the Russian Empire is honeycombed, as is indeed the whole continent of Europe, with a restless socialism, which, spite of all repressive measures, is steadily increasing in power of numbers and strength of intellectual conviction. What does it all portend ? The writer of the paper in the " Nineteenth Century," to whom I am greatly obliged for these paragraphs, is of opinion that these revolutionary societies, especially in Russia, are of no great political significance. As was developed, he thinks, in the recent trial at St. Petersburgh, the mass of the peasants do not appear to relish the doctrines thrust upon them. Yet he believes it advisable for the " authorities to think seriously of providing other outlets than now exist for the self-sacrificing enthusiasm which at present drives so many of the Russian youth of either sex into rebellion." He also concedes that " there must be something radically wrong in the institutions of a country where the good qualities of its inhabitants become enlisted on the side of rebellion." Nevertheless, he regards " rebellion " as ".criminal," and is pleased to think the Russian working people turned a deaf ear to " revolutionary appeals." " Criminal as was their conduct, it is impossible not to feel pity for enthusiasts who gave themselves up for an idea to an almost certain fate." He characterizes their literature as " trash." Elsewhere I have quoted his expression of surprise that such sacrifice as the lives of these conspirators illustrated could be made "for the sake of irreligion and disloyalty,"—a "surprise" which could only originate, in my judgment, in an utter failure to understand the true character alike of religion and of loyalty. It is time to learn that sacrifice for humanity is the only practical act a true religion can exhibit. We have had enough of piety that sings praises to God and takes the side of the oppressor. Let men deny God, if they will: it shall be forgiven them. But whoso denies the claims of human nature is for ever the only atheist the world needs to fear. Irreligion ! Young men who will leave comfortable homes and all " fair prospects of advancement, personal gain, to toil at common trades and in factories ;" young women who will forsake refined society, ease, and luxury, renouncing marriage that they may become apostles of an idea, wearing the dress of the common peasant women, going barefooted, fetching water, doing all the work of the house for themselves and their brother propagandists,—what shall we say of such devotion ? What judgment pronounce upon young men and women whose self-surrender rises until its conspicuousness astonishes even stupidity itself ? Simply this: if religion is not there, religion has missed one more golden opportunity of commending itself to mankind.
As to the " disloyalty " of these people, what a strange perversion of every iota of justice does such a charge contain! Here, again, it is time to learn that loyalty is not fealty to reigning usurpation, though it be clothed in sacred robes of State. No soul in Russia owes loyalty to Emperors or nobility. And this is what the " social propagandists " have discovered. Their devotion is to mother Russia,—to the cause of human rights and duties among the people. Against this cause 'tis the Tzar and his minions who are in arms, maintaining a long and bloody conspiracy.
I do not forget the " philosophy of evolution " that will historically justify the pretensions of the Tzar; but it will also justify the " Revolution," which cries, Down with him, and all the unjust ways and devices he upholds, in the name of Providence/
I know a sentiment of this nature has an unpleasant sound to many good people, because it appears to sanction violence and bloodshed. But a previous question it were well to ask,—who is responsible for this disturbance of social peace ? If it be seen that the government itself is the real invader,—the lawless party that robs and murders without restraint,—then the " Revolution " may assume the aspect of the party that is striving—not always wisely, perhaps, but striving after what sort it can—to protect society and insure domestic welfare and peace. I am certainly no advocate of war; but, if it must needs come, I can see that it is no more attractive, or deserving of apology, when instituted by despotic governments than when resorted to by oppressed people impatient for their liberties. My sympathies are assuredly with ' -^the latter. Mr. Seward used often to repeat that " under despotic governments the people must redress their grievances by the bayonet; under republics their reliance is on the ballot." Neither, in my judgment, are final, as nothing can be final that rests on will. Intelligent recognition and free acceptance of the right is the only finality. Until that time, men will bayonet and ballot, and the best one can say is, " May the best side win, be it ' established government' or ' Revolution 1'" In Russia, success to "Revolution !"
Mr. Walter Smith, the Director of the Massachusetts Normal Art School, has fearlessly discharged a duty for which he is likely to get no great praise. In company with the mayor of Boston, and other officials, Mr. Smith has visited Deer Island, the home of juvenile offenders, to whom he made a speech which was quite out of the line of the hum-drum oratory usual on such occasions. If those who invited Mr. Smith do not desire him to go again, they can say so ; but for once, at least, we have the felicity of acknowledging that under official sanction the truth has been told—told without reserve or fear. I wish to record my own faith and pleasure in the manly and heroic speech. Here is a passage:—
" You have been told to-day that you have most of you committed crimes, and that you are down just now, but that you can reform and get up again. I've no doubt that that is true; but there is another view of this matter which I take, and that is that your crimes against society are not half as black or as numerous as society's crimes against you. The blame doesn't all belong to one side. Keep up your hearts, boys, even if you are down; for the society which cannot get along without shutting up three hundred boys on an island in Boston Harbor is a bigger failure than you are; you may be down, but this boasted civilization of the nineteenth century is lower down. Don't you go and believe that we have all come here to-day to patronize you. We have come to ask you to forgive us, and make friends with us. We want to atone to you for our blunders. The sight of three hundred boys shut up in prison is enough to make a thoughtful man shudder, the angels weep, and everybody lose faith in the progress of the age.
" Count me on your side, boys, and let us tell the Governor of this Commonwealth, and the Mayor of this city, and the legislative and administrative and educational bodies represented here to-day, that they are all bigger failures than we are, or we should not be here. Don't let the manhood be crushed out of you because you are here. It is not so much of a disgrace for you to be here as for us to be here. We come down as grown men to confess to you small boys that we are not intelligent enough, don't know enough, to keep you boys out of prison; although as legislators, administrators, teachers, it is our business to do so.
" I don't doubt but that every one of your distinguished visitors will allow that we are penitent for our sins, and want to make amends, and don't feel any disgrace in this true penitence, or in the honest desire on our part to do better in the future. So, boys, you can, not only count me in on your side, but also count as friends all your visitors. We are all tarred with the same stick. I am just as much ashamed of being here to-day as you are; but we are going to try and do better, and want you to do the same. Let us all start fair in the same race, and may the best horse win ; or rather, let us say that this is a race in which every good horse must win, if he will only run ; and, when wc have all won this race, you won't be in Deer Island Reform School, and no other little boys and girls will need to be sent here; and then there will be no necessity for mayors, aldermen, clergymen, and school-teachers to come and talk to them."
There are enough, I dare say, who will take or feign alarm at this bold statement, and be ready to cry Mr. Smith down as not a public benefactor. I perceive without surprise the distress of " The Nation," —a journal of such moral elevation it could see only virtue in the advice that a Republican member of the last electoral college should feel himself at liberty to betray the confidence of his constituents. The bewilderment of this journal is so utter it is "driven very close to the conclusion that the desire to improve their fellows carries men constantly along the very edge of the abyss of mental unsoundness," and is for a time in doubt if it has not fallen on some " extract from a farce by Mark Twain." The fact that those having charge of this Deer Island Reformatory should " permit an harangue containing such ridiculous jurisprudence shows how far this craze has gone." Following in this wake comes "The Inquirer," a journal of liberal theology published also in New York : " We would not treat any one harshly, but there are some interests bound up in civilization the defence of which occasionally requires plain language and prompt and decided action." I have not noticed that any like outburst has taken place here in Massachusetts, but do not doubt there are those capable of it. What Mr. Smith has courageously done is to step over the line dividing two philosophies. Not at all new in the world, either of them; but the increasing intelligence of mankind has furnished a steadily growing importance to the one, that is beginning to render the defenders of the other, who for ages have had all things their own way, alert and demonstrative. Their tone, of course, is that of persons rooted in common sense, scornful of wings and all high flying. It is their pride to remain " level-headed." They sit serenely'on the walls of our Zion of civilization, and see danger only in the guise of " too much philanthropy." It is their unruffled mission to repeat the rigors and the righteousness of the Law. Meanwhile, however, heedless of their evil prophesying, a new spirit is taking possession of the world, and even in some degree of these ironclad, solid men themselves. A change has crept over the spirit of their dream,—if they will pardon the bare supposition that they have ever lapsed into dream-land. Their ancient philosophy, as "The Nation " allows, down to " the beginning of the present century," proclaimed that the " rule of personal responsibility for all misfortunes and offences " should be " mercilessly, and even savagely, applied. . . Criminal jurisprudence had but one object in view, viz., to rid the world of law breakers, or else make them as wretched in it as possible." But there came a reaction, and we had a new illustration of " the falsehood of extremes." This " diminished the falsehood of the other extreme, and made legislation for the repression of crime rational." It is encouraging to be informed by so high an authority that the " sentimental reformers" have been successful in accomplishing even that much. When legislation begins to be "rational," we may all take hope. It is pretty certain, however, that in the old time, when "no defects of education—no temptations, surroundings, or physical weaknesses—were allowed to temper punishment," those stern administrators of law did not deem their conduct zr-rational. It is, moreover, not difficult to show that, if the doctrine of "personal responsibility," as announced by "The Nation," is the only one to be enforced upon the criminal, "defects of education, temptations," &c, do not properly come in to "temper punishment," or affect it in any way. We are told, " If there be any lesson which a boy who has begun his career by crime, and whose training and surroundings in his earliest years have been evil, needs to learn, it is that there is nobody on earth to blame for it but himself." So monstrous a declaration is hardly to be credited even to the ««-sentimental school to which "The Nation" belongs. One would ask what is the significance of the phrase, " whose training and surroundings in earliest years have been evil " ? Has the boy " begun his career by crime " in consequence of this " early training," or was that without importance or effect on his " career " ? If it is to be counted in as having had some weight in deciding his character, then why is it so essential that he should be made to believe (or " learn " ) a lie ? Because, answers " The Nation," for him to learn a contrary lesson will " stifle the seeds of manly resolution and noble ambition." Comment is superfluous.
The change in criminal legislation which " The Nation " speaks of —from "merciless punishment" to "judicious punishment"—was undoubtedly effected by the gradual growth in the public mind of a conviction that there is at least a divided responsibility which the so-called criminal and society do rightfully share. Not only the boy needs to be impressed with the truth, but society, which presumes to undertake his chastisement, needs to put away its phariseeism, and humble itself to the fact of its own complicity in the crimes it proposes to abate or altogether check. It will do no harm to preach once more, with wider application, the famous and searching "sentimentalism " of Jesus, " He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone." I agree entirely that) " there is no foundation for private or public morality but the individual conscience," and it is for the good reason that conscience was appealed to when the prisoners at Deer Island were told that society takes "shares " in their disgrace,—that they are not alone to blame,— that Mr. Smith's words become, to my mind, not a " tramp's gospel," but the sole gospel of truth effective to "convert the criminal." He did not speak for any effect on legislation, but to restore, if possible, the broken union of feeling between the unfortunate youths before him and the rest of society. " The law cannot prescribe the performance of the virtues." Mr. Smith left the law behind, and bridged the gulf which the law helps to create, confessing the truth, and making humanity whole once more. He did not go breathing thanks to God for his own immaculateness; he said in substance: " If any are sinners, all are sinners together; let us confess our faults one to another, and start anew to strive for a common welfare." It was religion,—the religion of humanity; of which there is none too much preached on Deer Island or elsewhere.
Forty years ago Dr. Wm. Ellery Channing wrote the following, which I am glad to reproduce here as a contribution to the subject I have been considering above:—
" The time has come when the history of pauperism should be written out fairly, fully, without compromise or concealment. The materials are ready at hand, stored in well-arranged statistics; and modern society has reached a point of view which enables us to overlook the progress of this desert, whose moving sands are drifting in to swallow in desolation gardens and cornfields, temples, law-courts, and homes. To any one who will fairly study out the problem it will soon become evident that pauperism, if it may be said without paradox, is one of the regular institutions of our so-called Christian and civilized communities. By our present modes of industry and division of profits, we as irrevocably doom a class of our fellow-beings to the unutterable sufferings, anxieties, fears, temptations, crimes, and numberless and nameless pollutions of pauperism, as the laws of Hindostan condemned the Pariahs to their all but brutal degradation. The energy and ingenuity of a score of Bonapartes, directed to this point, could not prevent, as society is now constituted, a certain number of our fellow beings from undergoing this unmitigated penalty of living death. We read with horror of the tyrant who sought to renovate his diseased frame by a bath of children's blood. Society perpetrates this crime each day anew. And meanwhile conscience is lulled to sleep by the lie that pauperism is a selfinflicting woe ; that the poor man deserves his prison of a cellar or garret in crazy, ruinous houses, amidst foul streets, unventilated, unwatered, unlighted ; deserves temptations of dens of drunkenness and stews of prostitution, with their revelry, opposite his window, beckoning him to forgetfulness ; deserves that his children, ragged and shoeless, should learn to gamble, and lie, and swear, and thieve in the streets, without schools, which they are not clean or whole enough to enter, without one healthful influence of order, while himself and wife, each more wretched than the other, in petty chores are seeking to earn a few pence whereby to buy musty bread, and food half decayed and putrid; deserves to be shoved aside, scowled upon, cursed at, excluded from church and social assemblies, and made to feel by every word and look that his brothers wish him dead and out of the way; and when goaded, frenzied, heart-sick, hopeless, he helps himself to the least portion of society's superfluities, or forgets in his own wrongs another's rights, that he deserves a stone cell and barred window, and a clanking iron door, a coarse, striped convict's suit, and the brand of disgrace. In the name of humanity, if he, being poor, deserves all this, what does society deserve that first makes him poor and then torments him ? The deservings of a human being may be summed up in saying, as a man he claims from his brothers, and has a right to claim, every facility to become and do all that his Maker purposed, and the removal of every hindrance in his way."
Gov. Chamberlain's masterly speech at Woodstock fell on unwilling ears. The country had made up its mind to abandon, for the next four years at least, the white and black races of the South to themselves. Grant, in the last hours of his administration, had discovered this to be the drift of popular sentiment. Hayes, encountering that same tendency, made a virtue of it, and called it "reconciliation." Harmony was to be restored between the two sections, and only one way lay open,—" the withdrawal of Federal interference in local State affairs." That was the phrase, though Gov. Chamberlain shows unmistakably that the interference complained of had been simply a discharge of the national government's duty to suppress " domestic violence." Grant never did more than this; when he did less, it was in deference to public opinion. Hayes has disregarded his constitutional obligation entirely in this respect, and left white usurpation triumphant, as the surest way to end "domestic violence." It was as if he had been commissioned to interfere in a contest between two boys, and maintain the side of the one in the right. Instead of doing this, he made up his mind which of the boys, if left to themselves, would whip, and advised the other to submit, or run away. His advice is heeded, but the small boy retires exclaiming that the President didn't do his duty. He never so much as asked who was right, but only who was stronger. This is exactly parallel with the President's dealing in the Southern question. His constitutional duty was to inquire into the right and wrong of the case, and then maintain the right with all the force at his command. The solution of the difficulty he reached was that "Might" must be left to "make Right." The plea that, at the time of his withdrawal of the troops, there was no "domestic violence," within the meaning of the Constitution, visible to his eye, Gov. Chamberlain has sufficiently exploded; the fact being as it would appear in the case of the two boys above referred to, had those combatants, at the moment of the President's arrival on the scene, been simply not pommelling each other's bodies, but standing at bay,—the smaller boy, if you please, under cover of a wood-shed, whither he had been driven; the larger fellow holding possession of all territory beyond, standing and awaiting the nature of the President's decision. No one in his senses would proclaim that this arrested strife did not still denote a belligerent attitude, nor doubt the intentions of the big boy, if foreign aid did not come to the relief of his antagonist. He had nothing to lose—any more than Nichols—by waiting; on the contrary, there was the show of magnanimity, which would be sure to tell in his favor. It is still claimed by some of the journals, which have set themselves as flint to the defence of the President, that he has not been remiss in constitutional duty, because—to quote the Boston " Evening Transcript "—" he saw no warrant in the Constitution for maintaining State governments by the national military arm, which, if left to themselves, would inevitably fall." The force of this remark is easily shown by asking, What State government, not likely to fall if " left to itself," would ever ask for Federal interference ? Either there is, or is not, such a thing as " domestic violence " which the National Executive is bound, when properly summoned, to suppress. Such " violence " can only claim Federal attention when the authorities of a State are unable to suppress it. Instead of having " no warrant" to interfere when a State government cannot maintain itself, that is precisely the only time when the President may interfere. But it is added, as if to give the above a little color of reason, that either " exclusive military sway should be established in the disturbed States, or the people decide for themselves who should rule over them;" the meaning of which is that no State government would fall, if it had been freely chosen by the "people themselves,"—that is, if it represented a majority of the popular suffrage. But that is the very point the new President refused to consider. Which claimant to the government was right, which represented a majority of voters, he has never asked. It is one thing for a State government to fall at the ballot-box; another, before the victorious rifle. With the former no President may interfere ; the latter, if there is any thing clear in constitutional provision, all Presidents are under oath to prevent. Negro suffrage may be a very unhappy thing; but, if it give certain Southern States over to negro rule, that rule, by every legal obligation, must be maintained against white insurrection, or white intimidation. This is the law as it is written, the law that has been evaded.
Gov. Chamberlain will not be listened to. The Northern ear, for the time, is tuned for another strain. But his arraignment of President Hayes, from a constitutional point of view, is not only masterly, as I said in the beginning,—it is overwhelming. I have seen no serious attempt to refute him. The papers say the issue is past, and will not discuss it. Had the speech been delivered when times were different, it would have ranked with, if not surpassed, the philippics of Sumner in old pro-slavery days.
But there is somewhat else to be said, and of quite an opposite sort . Gov. Chamberlain has not covered the whole ground. The letter of the law killeth. The situation of affairs in a country is superior to the limiting words of written Constitutions. Andrew Johnson carried the Constitution under his arm, until disgusted people wished he might somewhere lose it. My own judgment would be that we should all be far safer and happier without one. With a disposition in the people to decide what is right rather than what is constitutional, liberty and justice would escape a vast deal of mystification. So in consider-' ing public affairs at the South at the present time, for my part, I am not content with a "constitutional view." I prefer a direct look at things as they are, and the privilege to draw from thence—as the country unquestionably is doing, President Hayes included—a proper course of action. I cannot avoid seeing the unfortunate position in which the President is placed,—sworn to do one thing, yet obliged to do another. It opens a question it will be well sometime to consider; but, for the present, the interest settles upon the one point of the pacification of the country. Somehow the people of this country will have to get over the feeling that they are enemies. " Reconciliation " is before all other issues. It is in this aspect of the situation that a " Presidential policy," to which Gov. Chamberlain objects, may be welcomed. It may be welcomed, if it be such a policy as will not delay reconciliation.
Let us see what we have to contemplate. I take it that the whole question lies at the South. If there is reconciliation and peace there, there is no more to say. Peace between North and South, so far as it is dependent on the so-called negro question, follows as a natural result. This, then, is the goal to be reached,—an agreement between the two races to be humane and just. The difficulties of the problem are by no means slight. It is easy to say, " Go with might, and stamp out the offending race;" but it can't be done. If it could, it would not be just. Offence is never all on one side. Besides, the " stampingout " principle is a relic of barbarism, not to be helped to a survival by the side claiming to represent the highest forces of civilization. Belligerency may be worked out of people in more ways than one. That way which does not kill, but cures, is best. Now, it is not deplorable, but altogether delightful, to perceive that the people of the North, with a goodly unanimity, have come, by whatever course of reasoning, to the conviction that it is best to try to dispose of this Southern question in other fashion than by the use of force. And, in saying this, I do not at all invalidate the history of the past ten or twelve years. Up to a point, which we have now seemingly reached, force was inevitable, because it was the only road the people were able to travel to a better idea. That it was ineffectual and disappointing does not prove it a failure. Before Grant's eight years of interference, neither side appeared to appreciate the true significance of noninterference. The good sense of the country has seen at length that the trouble between the races is not wholly due to the bad faith of one side. The white race has much to contend with ; they have that to contend with which would test even the staunchest anti-slavery devotion of New England. If the State House on Beacon Hill should be overrun by representatives of a population the most ignorant the country contains, black or white, it is not to be supposed that the intelligent class would sit quietly down in the lap of joyful reconciliation. It is well to ask what was the fate of the South. A candid answer must run somewhat as follows:—
At the close of the war the Republican party enfranchised the negro race, placing it on an equality with the white. Numerically, in many States, the blacks were the stronger. But they were ignorant and easily duped, and, when they came to take the reins of government, made themselves intolerable to the more intelligent or educated white race. They were led, in many cases, by unscrupulous fortune-seekers from the North, in whom the very nature of their situation induced them to put fullest confidence. Between the two the complaint of the native Southern white people is that that part of the country has been led to the verge of ruin. What the war did not do, this new state of affairs was certain to accomplish. Desperate beyond measure, the whites resolved, by means fair or foul, to put an end to negro rule, and rule themselves. This is what has been done : but it is accompanied with the promise that, if now left to themselves, the negro shall be protected in all his interests equally with the white. This pledge has been secured. Whether it will be kept or not remains to be seen. There are many, whose vision often has been clearest, whose warning now is, "The South never yet kept its word." But the majority believe a fair trial of their present professions is not only wisest, but, under the circumstances, really the only course left open to the general government. President Hayes has to consider that negro suffrage is incompetent to direct Southern affairs to any peaceful or prosperous result. It cannot maintain the governments it establishes without foreign aid. The race has been armed with the ballot before it had the skill to organize, or the wisdom to conceive the duties thrust upon it. To prop it up with Federal support does not increase its ability to defend itself. It must win its way by education, and a long experience in shifting for itself. He deems it wise to stand aside, and see if affairs have not now reached that point where they will shape themselves better than they can be shaped. His position, as I have endeavored to show, is not constitutional. It is extra-constitutional.
What of it ? It will form a happy precedent, if the policy shall work well. It is worth trying.
It is pleasant to turn from the consideration of constitutional duty and Presidential policy to the memorable discourse in which Senator Bayard recently set forth the supremacy of the " Unwritten Law." One cannot overrate the significance of the speech this distinguished gentleman has made. Nor less gratifying is the general approval accorded to it by the press. It encourages the belief that we are entering on a new era in our history as a people pledged to illustrate the close union existing between liberty and the highest social welfare. Recognizing the written law, which depends on " the final argument of force " as having still a validity, he is yet free to say, " It is to the hearts of the American people that I turn with most confidence, and in the force of the unwritten laws my chief hopes are reposed." Of our "medley of laws, scarcely to be called a system," he remarks, "the opportunities I have had (I will not say enjoyed) for closely watching its practical working would lead me to believe the most beneficial legislation in our day would be statutes of repeal, bills for necessary appropriations, and resolutions of adjournment." It may be observed, by the way, that Mr. Bayard is not alone or original in cherishing this sentiment. One may hear it on the street almost any day of any year. Yet, so all-controlling is the delusion that in the making of many laws the world is preserved, Congresses and Legislatures are still generously supported, and, after a sort, believed in, even when they stretch their unprofitable lengths across two-thirds of each year. There is distrust,—without justification in reason or fact, but wide-spread, and as often emphasized by men of intelligence as by the unlearned,—a distrust of the ability of the people to render voluntary support to just principles. Senator Bayard affirms that " our better nature will almost always respond to the appealing voice of higher motive and more generous emotion; especially when set free from outward constraint." He would say to his fellows, "This is the way I would control you. I would give you power to do right [or wrong], and then I would defy you to betray the trust. You yourselves should be the conquerors." That such procedure would always win need not be asserted. But that, if persevered in, the sense of personal honor would steadily increase in any country is not to be doubted. The least of driving and the most of freedom is the safest motto and the most fitting text for all modern discourse. Samuel Johnson thus presents Lao-tsd's political gospel:—
" The great should become lowly.
" Long indeed have we been sunk in delusion.
" The more Kings multiply prohibitions and penal statutes, the poorer the people become.
" Learn how to refrain from doing, and let the people of themselves find the right way. Let them alone that they may have a mind for good.
" Why did the ancients honor this right way? Was it not because it is found by force of Nature, without long searching ? Was it not because, by means of it, wrongdoers obtain true liberty and life ?"
The above quotation will serve also to enforce Mr. Bayard's declaration that " there is a unanimity of the entire human race in the great rules of duty and the fundamental principles of morals; the general sympathies of mankind flow together, and a general judgment is arrived at. There are certain principles to which all nations do homage, and the majesty and authority of virtue are derived from this common consent. One proof of this is to be found in the proverbs common to all nations and their great antiquity. Not only is voluntary fealty to high principles possible among men, — it is clear that the thoughts of men, left free, converge in a sufficiently practical agreement."
In this connection I am tempted to notice, briefly, the advice of Secretary Schurz to the literary circle at Cambridge concerning " the scholar in politics." "Let them not believe," he said, "that they do their whole duty when they sit in their studies and occasionally give an ■ enunciation of their views," etc. I cannot help feeling that it would be just as well for the country if there was a still greater proportion of I illustrious men and women set free from political manoeuvring and fear of popular disfavor, able to abide in the presence of great principles and ideal hopes, whereby alone the " Unwritten, Law " is steadily endowed and human nature uplifted.
Wordsworth had a companion,—a soldier,—"by birth he ranked with the most noble : "—
" Man he loved As man; and, to the mean and the obscure, And all the homely in their homely works, Transferred a courtesy which had no air Of condescension."
He was a true lover of his kind. " Meek, though enthusiastic," the poet describes him. And these two, soldier and poet, in their walks, held that delightful converse which two hearts, believing and accordant, know so well how to prize. They discoursed of " dearest themes," since the world began so oft repeated,—
" Man and his noble nature, as it is The gift which God has placed within his power,
His blind desires and steady faculties
Capable of clear truth, the one to break
Bondage, the other to build liberty
On firm foundations, making social life,
Through knowledge spreading and imperishable."
And the record runs on:—
" We summoned up the honorable deeds
Of ancient Story, thought of each bright spot,
That would be found in all recorded time,
Of truth preserved and error passed away:
Of single spirits that catch the flame from Heaven,
And how the multitude of men will feed
And fan each other;
» * • * *
" How quickly mighty Nations have been formed,
From least beginnings; how, together locked
By new opinions, scattered tribes have made
One body, spreading wide as clouds in heaven.
To aspirations then of our own minds
Did we appeal; and, finally, beheld
A living confirmation of the whole
Before us, in a people from the depth
Of shameful imbecility uprisen,
Fresh as the morning star. Elate we looked
Upon their virtues ; saw, in rudest men,
Self-sacrifice the firmest; generous love,
And continence of mind, and sense of right,
Uppermost in the midst of fiercest strife.
- • • • •
" And when we chanced
One day to meet a hunger-bitten girl,
Who crept along fitting her languid gait
Unto a heifer's motion, by a cord
Tied to her arm, and picking thus from the lane
Its sustenance, while the girl with pallid hands
Was busy knitting in a heartless mood
Of solitude, and at the sight my friend
In agitation said, ' 'Tis against that
That we are fighting,' I with him believed
That a benignant spirit was abroad
Which might not be withstood, that poverty
Abject as this would in a little time
Be found no more, that we should see the earth
Unthwarted in her wish to recompense
The meek, the lowly, patient child of toil,
All institutes for ever blotted out
That legalized exclusion, empty pomp
Abolished, sensual state and cruel power,
Whether by edict of the one or few ;
And finally, as sum and crown of all,
Should see the people having a strong hand
In framing their own laws; whence better days To all mankind."
Thus these ingenuous youths with fresh warm hearts held fast the faith of love, " and built thereon their hopes of good to come." Later on in life, of himself Wordsworth records :—
" With settling judgments now of what would last And what would disappear; prepared to find Presumption, folly, madness, in the men Who thrust themselves upon the passive world As Rulers of the world; to see in these, Even when the public welfare is their aim, Plans without thought, or built on theories Vague and unsound; and having brought the books Of modern statists to their proper test, Life, human life, with all its sacred claims Of sex and age, and heaven-descended rights, Mortal, or those beyond the reach of death; And having thus discerned how dire a thing Is worshipped in that idol proudly named ' The Wealth of Nations,' where alone that wealth Is lodged, and how increased ; and having gained A more judicious knowledge of the worth And dignity of individual man, No composition of the brain, but man Of whom we read, the man whom we behold With our own eyes,—I could not but inquire,— Not with less interest than heretofore, But greater, though in spirit more subdued,— Why is this glorious creature to be found One only in ten thousand ? What one is, Why may not millions be ? "
With these following words addressed to the poet's friend, " The Prelude " is brought to its close :—
" Prophets of Nature, we to them will speak A lasting inspiration, sanctified By reason, blest by faith: what we have loved, Others will love, and we will teach them how ; Instruct them how the mind of man becomes A thousand times more beautiful than the earth On which he dwells, above this frame of things (Which, 'mid all revolution in the hopes And fears of men, doth still remain unchanged) In beauty exalted, as it is itself Of quality and fabric more divine."
Sidney H. Morse.
CHIPS FROM MY STUDIO.
HESE lines from Goethe are worthy all men's heeding : —
To recreate the old creation,
All things work on in fast rotation,
Lest aught grow fixed, and change resist; And what was not shall spring to birth, As present sun a painted earth,
God's universe may know no rest .
It must go on, creating, changing, Through endless shapes for ever ranging,
And rest we only seem to see. The Eternal lives through all revolving ; For all must ever keep dissolving,
Would it continue still to be.
When Napoleon III. said, "The Empire is Peace," he knew what chord to strike, the one that would vibrate most readily. He touched the lower instinct. Yet since it is there to touch and to respond, it is not to be set aside too impatiently : sufficient if we do not make the mistake of esteeming it as the higher. The peace of the Empire, as also the peace of the Republic, may not always prove a social blessing. At most its power is limited. It cannot re-create social life. It has no such aim. It may easily, as often is the case, lend itself to dangerous repression. It grows timid, more conservative, fixed. We call it "law and order." It is esteemed good citizenship to support it. The lower instinct is intolerant, and will have this " peace " at any price. Measuring itself against all odds, counting its battalions, it proclaims itself the State. It is the State of despotism, with Emperor; or the State with the forms of liberty, with President: but a State all the same, zealous for the shows of peace. It bids us make choice between it and the "mob." It is adroit, and knows how 10 frighten us. We have the choice of evils, we are informed: the worst State being declared better than the best "mob." That we are not exactly put to such straits, r
we are permitted only approximately to prove. The temper of the time, however, insists on some experimenting, showing how well people behave when the State relaxes its hold. We are surprised to find what new guarantees more liberty creates. We see the public safety lies less and less in acts of repression. We are learning to differentiate the seeming from the real. The cry of "peace, peace, when there is no peace," provokes us, as it did Henry of the Revolution. We assert a higher law and a higher order, and a peace that passeth the understanding of the devotees of the lower instinct, the champions of the State. Above the State, its peace, its order, its law, there sits the necessity of social evolution. We are not to be cheated with a false alarm, as though whatever did not conform to the " law and order " enforced by the State was a menace of society. Society is of the future. All things must flow on towards it, — the State no less than all else, — and be lost in it Society is to be created. A " mob" may be its forerunner no less certainly than a dead calm of endurance beneath the eye of the sentinel-State. 'Tis a question of how all things work in concurrence to plant the seeds of a social peace which shall at length announce, with broadest application, the end of interference. The true lover of and believer in peace is he who sees on what just and broad foundations it must rest, and counts all State shows and outward appearances as transient and unenduring, destined to be outgrown, broken up, dethroned, and finally banished from the face of the earth for ever. This is the higher instinct.
It is a happy augury when our Secretary of State recognizes the fact that the country is " tired of politics." A singular, yet propitious, thing in all respects it is to have a whole Administration bent on disregarding the ordinary political divisions, manners, customs. 'Tis a reform to be encouraged. The role of peace-maker, stimulating common devotion to right principles, is superior to that of Chief Magistrate. The headquarters of the Administration may well be " in the saddle," and in whatever part of the country it finds an office to perform. No longer merely " Executive," it may lend itself to predisposing all sections to a friendly faith and harmony of relations. No one can read the very remarkable speech of the Mayor of Atlanta welcoming the President, the President's response, and the accounts of the fever heat of enthusiasm, shared alike by both races, to which the vast concourse of people was stirred, without believing that the President's visit was a happy, auspicious event. More potent than armies are a few fitly spoken words. May the lesson commend itself in many new directions 1 " In the name of the State, I abolish the State," was the burden and substance of the President's speech. By-gones shall be by-gones, if we approach this millennial arbitration of ideas !
But the pacification of the country lies not wholly in the healing of the sections. South and North may come together, white and black lines disappear, and the law of the land come to know neither male nor female, and yet we shall not escape disturbing topics. The sum total of our political troubles weighs light when thrown in the scale against the social issues that are rising for recognition. It has taken a hundred years to dispose of the political problem. I assume it has been disposed of, because logically it has run its race through all the phases of form, until the paternal element has been practically eliminated. At most, it is now esteemed essential merely as police force. The Revolution of the fathers was governmental simply. We have advanced to the beginnings of the social. The whole world is again in a very wilderness of transition. Not yet alive to the drift of events, timid people see the growing disrespect for forms of law and the dignities of government on the one hand, and the alarm which signals a relapse into despotic personal government on the other, and augur universal reaction of the most discouraging character. It is undoubtedly true that in the wide breaking up of the dependence on the old rigime, whether political, religious, moral, or social, a temporary falling away from the " virtue of the fathers " may be observed. But its true interpretation is missed, unless regarded as an intervening step towards a new growth. Agassiz was accustomed to point out in the passage of organic forms to a higher structure a partial descent into a yet lower form; you might suppose the process of development reversed; but it turns out to be only a necessary retrogradation in preparation for an advance, as boys, jumping, run back a few steps to "get a good start." The Chinese proverb, " In every affair, retire a step, and you have an advantage," suggests the recognition of a similar law. Nature insists on all her victories. Whatever is left behind must be regained before the march proceeds. Not to remember this is to go astray in our calculations. It is pertinent to inquire, then, what our civilization has gained, | and what it has lost. It has gained the ideas of law, order, and liberty. It has sought to embody them in institutions which should apply them for the common benefit. It has put the people under an outward control for their mutual protection. These institutions have been like the shells that lower orders of animals wear on their backs, — useful in their season. But just as in time this bony structure is
drawn within to become the frame, or skeleton, on which the animal life is supported, and a new liberty thereby is gained, so the new, advanced civilization must have its law of order within the life of the people, and not outside and over it. All the signs concur in saying that we are at the beginning of this new departure. Witness the universal aspiration toward liberty ; the denunciation of personal government; the demand for local self-government, more and more asserted for the individual; the wide-spread appreciation of every new honor rendered to the " Unwritten Law." It was an old Athenian who said, " I will do of mine own accord what the righteous law would compel me to do." " You did not distrust us," said the Mayor of Atlanta to the President. No more effective appeal was ever made than when Nelson said to his men, " England expects every man to do his duty."
Such is the new expectation on which the future civilization is to depend. Government is to be transferred from the State to the Individual. This is the new faith: faith no more in the gods over man, but in the God within him. The saying of Lucretius may be translated to depict the character of the new era : " Nature is seen to do all things spontaneously of herself without the assistance of the gods." Our protecting gods have been our strong governments : henceforth, they shall be our strong men and women.
No one, however, may expect that this new era is coming upon us full-grown. The old does not end and the new begin. There is the dawn of the new, and the old lingering long into the growing day. " It is our lot to live in this time of transition, when the world is at once dying and coming anew to life. Our civilization is in process of moulting, losing the grace and consolation of the faith that blessed it of old, but losing only to replace them with a grace fairer and a solace surer."
We have gained the ideas of law, order, and universal brotherhood.
We have gained by experience the knowledge that these are to be conserved no longer by coercive systems of government.
We see that they must find their fruitful life in the spontaneous support of the people.
We see also, at length, that it is this spontaneity which has been lost, or left behind.
The loosing of the bands of outward authority lets down the lives of the people from a constrained moralism to show forth the real character to which they have attained. What we see is neither the degree of propriety shown in the old, nor the fruitage of the new. We have only to observe the two tendencies, the downward and the upward. We are to render no mere surface judgment. We are to contrast the reigning ideas of the old with those of the new, and frame our judgment by the " logic of ideas," leaving events to follow as they can. There are undoubtedly those who will deplore the evil tendency of the time, and seek still to prop up what they call a " tottering civilization " with new resorts to "better government." Adding "woman suffrage" as a new expedient, they may say with King Henry, " Come, wife, let's in, and learn to govern better."
But the day of political influence is passing by. The great questions that are appearing on the new horizon are, as I have intimated already, of a purely social character; to be answered not by legislation, but by the increase of knowledge and the kindling of a new enthusiasm for the common weal. In the place of legislative bodies and executive officers, we shall welcome the teachers of equity and congresses of social science. Let the President and his Cabinet set the example of turning attention to the friendship there may be in all the relations of the people, and lead the way to a genuine reconciliation of mankind everywhere.
John Ruskin is undoubtedly a busy man, but what he is busy about the world for the most part appears not to care. Yet it is by no means safe, for that reason, to assume that his labors are of little or no importance to his fellows. It is quite possible that, though a private citizen, the prime minister of England, — nay, Parliament itself, — has on hand no more momentous concerns than he. He may be dealing with problems that are to shape the whole future of his country. He may be throwing light on great questions that shall illumine the pathway of the world for many generations. Who knows ? " About all I know of Ruskin," said an acquaintance of mine, " is that every now and then I hear he has given another huge growl." It is not long since a letter of his, copied from his "Fors Clavigera," went the rounds of the papers, that had been written — it must be confessed, in manner altogether frank — for the purpose of defending himself against the intrusions of too many friends who came " asking for sympathy, instead of giving it." What could be more to the point than the following? "I don't care any more about my friends, unless they are doing their best to help my work; which, I repeat, if they cannot, let them at least not hinder; but keep quiet, and not be troublesome." Perhaps my afore-mentioned acquaintance has put this down also as one of those " growls " that serve still to remind him that Ruskin yet manages to preserve himself above the ground. Were he, however, to cross the sea and find out for himself the occupation of this "growling" man, he might be astonished to find how effectively he had passed, and is still passing, all the days of his life. The bare list of the published works of Mr. Ruskin, when one considers the wide range of topics they embrace, the ability of scholarly research they evince, their wealth of illustration, the careful regard he has shown in their publication, making them works of beauty as well as of interest, amply supports the genuineness of his plea for a chance to work. It may be doing good service here to catalogue some of them: " Sesame and Lilies," " Munera Pulveris," "Aratra Pentelici," "The Eagle's Nest," "Time and Tide," "The Crown of Wild Olive," " Ariadne Florentina," " Val d'Arno," " Queen of the Air," " The Two Paths," "The Stones of Venice," " Love's Meinie," " Mornings in Florence," " St. Mark's Rest," " Frondes Agrestes," "Unto This Last," "The Ethics of the Dust," "Proserpina," "Deucalion," " The Laws of Fe'sole," and many others.
It will also be discovered that Mr. Ruskin is at the present time engaged in founding a community on a piece of English ground which he proposes shall remain for ever untouched by speculative sale. This community, he intends, shall represent what he regards as the prosperous condition of the human family upon earth. This organization is called "The Guild of St. George." Each member subscribes to the following creed: —
I. I trust in the Living God, Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things and creatures visible and invisible.
I trust in the kindness of His law, and the goodness of His work.
And I will strive to love Him, and keep His law, and see His work, while I live.
II. I trust in the nobleness of human nature, in the majesty of its faculties, the fulness of its mercy, and the joy of its love.
And I will strive to love my neighbor as myself, and, even when I cannot, will act as if I did.
III. I will labor, with such strength and opportunity as God gives me, for my own daily bread; and all that my hand finds to do, I will do with my might.
IV. I will not deceive, or cause to be deceived, any human being for my gain or pleasure; nor hurt, or cause to be hurt, any human being for my gain or pleasure; nor rob, or cause to be robbed, any human being for my gain or pleasure.
V. I will not kill nor hurt any living creature needlessly, nor destToy any beautiful thing, but will strive to save and comfort all gentle life, and guard and perfect all natural beauty, upon the earth.
VI. I will strive to raise my own body and soul daily into higher powers of duty and happiness; not in rivalship or contention with others, but for the help, delight, and honor of others, and for the joy and peace of my own life.
VII. I will obey all the laws of my country faithfully; and the orders of its monarch, and of all persons appointed to be in authority under its monarch, so far as such laws or commands are consistent with what I suppose to be the law of God; and when they are not, or seem in anywise to need change, I will oppose them loyally and deliberately, not with malicious, concealed, or disorderly violence.
VIII. And with the same faithfulness, and under the limits of the same obedience, which I render to the laws of my country, and the commands of its rulers, I will obey the laws of the Society called of St. George, into which I am this day received ; and the orders of its masters, and of all persons appointed to be in authority under its masters, so long as I remain a companion, called of St. George.
He proposes " to train into the healthiest and most refined life possible as many Englishmen, Englishwomen, and English children as the land we possess can maintain in comfort, and establish for them and their descendants a national store of continually augmenting wealth ; and to organize the government of the persons, and the administration of the properties under laws which shall be just to all, and secure in their inviolable foundation on the Law of God."
The experiment is already under way, and in Mr. Ruskin's estimation is full of rich promise. He personally superintends all its workings, issues each month " Fors Clavigera," and has under way, for the special benefit of his " Guild," literary enterprises of no small magnitude. He is preparing works on botany, geology, and zoology, and is publishing a series of classic books called "The Shepherd's Library," which he " hopes to make the chief domestic treasure of British peasants." Defining what he means by "classic," he says, "the word classic, when justly applied to a book, means that it contains unchanging truth."
Who shall say Mr. Ruskin is not a busy man ? And who shall say, on reading his works, that he has not given a vast deal of information and good suggestion to the world well worthy its attention ? In one of his monthly letters to British workmen, there is the following piece of writing, which, though it will occupy considerable space, I desire to commend to my acquaintance, sure that, even if he finds no other way of regarding it than as another of those Ruskinian " growls," he will yet be benefited by its perusal. For who knows how far even a "growl " may penetrate intellectual fibre ?
"There are a few things concerning Magi and their doings which I have personally discovered, by laborious work among real magi. Some of those things I am going to tell you to-day, positively, and with entire and incontrovertible knowledge of them, — as you and your children will one day find every word of my direct statements in ' Fors Clavigera' to be; and fastened, each with its nail in its sure place.
"A. In the first place, then, concerning stars in the east. You can't see the loveliest wh ich appear there naturally, — the Morning Star, namely, and his fellows, — unless you get up in the morning.
" B. If you resolve thus always, so far as may be in your own power, to see the loveliest which are there naturally, you will soon come to see them in a supernatural manner, with a quite—properly so-called — 'miraculous' or 'wonderful' light which will be a light in your spirit, not in your eyes. And you will hear, with your spirit, the Morning Star and his fellows sing together; also, you will hear the sons of God, shouting together for joy with them; particularly the little ones, — sparrows, greenfinches, linnets, and the like.
"C. You will, by persevering in the practice, gradually discover that it is a pleasant thing to see stars in the luminous east ; to watch them fade as they rise ; to hear their Master say, Let there be light — and there is light; to s,ee the world made that day, at the word; and creation, instant by instant, of divine forms out of darkness.
" D. At six o'clock, or some approximate hour, you will perceive with precision that the Firm over the way, or round the corner, of the United Grand Steam Percussion and Corrosion Company, Limited, (Offices London, Paris, and New York,) issues its counter-order, Let there be darkness; and that the Master of Creation not only at once submits to this order, by fulfilling the constant laws He has ordained concerning smoke, — but farther, supernaturally or miraculously, enforces the order by sending a poisonous black wind, also from the east, of an entirely corrosive, deadly, and horrible quality, with which, from him that hath not, He takes away also that light he hath; and changes the sky during what remains of the day, — on the average now three days out of five, — into a mere dome of ashes, differing only by their enduring frown and slow pestilence from the passing darkness and showering death of Pompeii.
"e. If, nevertheless, you persevere diligently in seeing what stars you can in the early morning, and use what is left you of light wisely, you will gradually discover that the United Grand Steam Percussion and Corrosion Company is a company of thieves; and that you yourself are an ass, for letting them steal your money, and your light, at once. And that there is standing order from the Maker of Light, and Filler of pockets, that the company shall not be thieves, but honest men, and that you yourself shall not be an ass, but a Magus.
" F. If you remind the company of this law, they will tell you that people ' didn't know every thing down in Judee'; that nobody ever made the world; and that nobody but the company knows it.
" But if you enforce upon yourself the commandment not to be an ass, and verily resolve to be so no more, then — hear the word of God, spoken to you by the only merchant city that ever set herself to live wholly by His law (Florence).
" ' I willed, and sense was given to me.
I prayed, and the Spirit of Wisdom was given to me.
I set her before Kingdoms and Homes,
And held riches nothing in comparison of her.'
" That is to say, — If you would have her to dwell with you, you must set her before kingdoms; — (as, for instance, at Sheffield, you must not think to be kings of cutler)', and let nobody else in the round world make a knife but you ;) — you must set her before homes; that is to say, you must not sit comfortably enjoying your own fireside, and think you provide for every body if you provide for that: —and as for riches — you are only to prefer wisdom, — think her, of two good things, the best, when she is matched with kingdoms and homes; but you are to esteem riches — nothing in comparison of her. Not so much as mention shall be made "of coral, nor of pearls, for the price of wisdom is above rubies."
The editor has turned over to my drawer a letter of such pithy sort that I feel like bringing it forth for the benefit of my friends, or those who do me the honor of glancing at these pages of " Chips." The attentive reader will discover that the writer does not strike deep, though dark and deadly are his thoughts. He deals rather with the surface or cover of things. He — but he speaks fully for himself. I need only to acquaint the reader with the fact, which he may possibly surmise, that the writer, whose name I of course omit, is engaged in the practice of law : —
" Editor Of Radical Review,
" Dear Sir, — I am a subscriber to the ' Radical,' and consequently fancy I have a moral right to abuse any of its shortcomings. Thus far (of course there will be more hereafter) I have been disgusted with only the cover of your, or our, valuable magazine Not indeed that the color or style is unpleasant. On the contrary, I rather like the environment. Black and red—the original colors of Captain Kidd and others — appeal to me from a professional point of View; so much so, that a skull and cross-bones on the title-page might perhaps increase my aesthetic pleasure. The trouble, however, to be serious, arises in the fact that your black is a dirty black; it comes off without any provocation upon hands, cuffs, papers, tables, piano-covers, et ic^genus omne. Now, I don't object to black as a color. On the contrary, I have a sneaking fondness for funerals, broadcloth, negroes, night-time, and even that poetic old dream, hell. But I want a clean black, a nice, smooth, enamelled, inky surface, — one that my infant son can bite and play with without immediate symptoms of gangrene or rapid mortification.
" So please change the black. If all blacks in the market are dirty, take a new color. Shed the dark chrysalis, and come out a red butterfly. Life is too short and the ' Radical' too long for a reader to wash his hands every three minutes. Moreover, take no umbrage at my remarks. They are uttered in a philosophic and radical vein. I know that they will not affect you in the least; that your next issue will be clothed in a dirtier sombre than the present one. Still I wish to put my objection on record. Sorrowing for your typographic phantasies, I remain, &c."
" Mythology Among The Hebrews " is the title of a book recently published by Longmans, Green & Co., written by Ignaz Goldziher, Ph. D., member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. His English translator observes, " If any one takes up the book with an idea that it will settle any thing in the history of the Jews, he will be disappointed. Its aim is not theological nor historical, but mythological: and mythology precedes history and theology." Dr. Goldziher deals at the outset with " a widespread asssumption " that nations may be divided into Mythological and Unmythological, " those which have had a natural gift for creating Myths, and those whose intellectual capacity never sufficed for this end." He claims that " the Myth is the result of a purely psychological operation, and is, together with language, the oldest act of the human mind." Referring to Renan's exclusion of the Semites from the domain of Mythology, announced in these words, " Les Semites riont jamais eu de mythologie," he says : —
" This arbitrary assertion is deduced from a scheme of race-pyschology invented by Rcnan himself, which at the first glance seems so natural and sounds so plausible, when described with all the elegance of style of which he is master, that it has become an incontestable scientific dogma to a large proportion of the professional world, — for even the territory of science is sometimes dominated by mere dogma, — and is treated by learned and cultivated people not specially engaged in this study as an actual axiom in the consideration of race-peculiarities. The foundation of this scheme is the idea that, in their views of the world, the Aryans start from multiplicity, the
Semites from unity On intellectual ground, therefore, the former create
mythology, polytheism, science, which is only possible through discursive observations of natural phenomena ; the latter create monotheism (' the desert is monotheistic,' says Renan), and have therefore neither mythology nor science. ' If it is difficult,' justly observes Waitz, ' to estimate the capability of single individuals well-known to us, it is a far more dubious task to gauge the intellectual gifts of whole nations and races. It seems scarcely possible to find available standards for the purpose, consequently the judgment is almost always found to be very much founded on personal impressions. The various nations stand at various times on very different stages of development, and if only actual performances permit a safe induction as to the measure of existing capabilities, then this measure itself seems not to remain the same m the same nation through the course of time, but to vary within very wide limits, especially if we are to assume in all cases that a state of original savageness preceded civilization.' In fact, the words of this cautious psychologist apply admirably to Renan's scheme of race-psychology; for history is just what that scheme disregards. He does not observe that Polytheism and Monotheism are two stages of development in religious thought, and that the latter does not spring up spontaneously without being preceded by the former stage, and that Polytheism itself is preceded by a preliminary stage, — that of the mythological view of the world, which is in itself not yet a religion, but prepares the way for the rise of religion. ' The Semites cannot form a Myth,' is a proposition the possibility of which could be allowed only if such an assertion as ' This or that race has no digestive power or no generative power' could be treated otherwise than as an & priori absurdity."
There are those, however, who " are willing to know something of Semitic Myths in general, but resist the assumption of Hebrew Myths." Dr. Goldziher quotes Bunsen, who speaks of " the spirit of the Jewish people, historically penetrated through and through with aversion to mythology." " The Bible has no Mythology; it is the grand, momentous, and fortunate self-denial of Judaism to possess none." Bunsen, on the other hand, had stated that, " in the long period from Joseph to Moses, there were inter-woven with the life and actions of this greatest and most influential of all the men of the first age [Abraham] and the history of his son and grandson many ancient traditions from the mythology of those tribes from whose savage natural life the Hebrews were extracted." Of this "hypothesis of borrowing" myths, Dr. Goldziher regards it as " superfluous at the present day to attempt a serious refutation," but, " under obligation to find an explanation of the manifold coincidences exhibited in the independently produced myths of nations," he says: " If the myth is a form of life of the human mind psychologically necessary at a certain stage of growth [which he believes he has abundantly shown], then the intellectual life of individual, nation, and race must pass through it." His effort is to show on the grounds of science, (1) that Hebrew myths were inevitable ; (2) by a careful study of Biblical literature, what they were and how they were produced, and this notwithstanding a " mistaken religious interest " which has "warned off mythological inquiry " in that direction. He separates Myth from Religion, and shows how Mythology becomes Religion, " The latter always arises out of the materials of Mythology, and then finds its historical task to be to work itself upwards into independence.
Religion must, in the progress of its development, sever its
connection with Mythology, and unite itself with the scientific consciousness, which now occupies the place of the mythological."
It were impossible in this brief mention to give even a summary view of what the author has accomplished. The result, however, is not deemed by him a " System of Hebrew Mythology;" his " immediate task was only to show that Semites in general, and Hebrew in particular, could not be exceptions to the laws of mythological inquiry established on the basis of psychology and the science of language." An English reviewer remarks: " It is a book at which many will shake their heads as destructive of the historical basis of religion, but which itself claims to elevate spiritual religion to a higher pedestal than before."
The shadow of the "great strike" has lengthened, but the discussion in many new phases bids fair to continue. Curiously enough, public opinion was for some time devoted to the consideration of the "folly of strikes," the "wrong of violence," and the "utter indefensibleness of mobs." These may all be very interesting topics, and their presentation was to be looked for. But it must be admitted that they each and all assume a secondary importance in presence of the fact that they do not illustrate the disposition of large numbers of people to do wrong, but are the natural outcome of a state of affairs wholly estranged from all just and peace-making principles. There is the old saying, " all is fair in war," that lends a justifying face to whatever happens in the dispensations of warfare. The state of war is itself an evil state/and evil are its issues. If you discuss the issues as you taste fruit to judge the tree, there is wisdom in that. But to lay all the emphasis of your critical sense on some accompanying conditions of the war-disease, forgetting or neglecting the disease itself, —that is folly.
" Where the greater malady is fixed, The lesser is scarce felt."
The " malady " is the state of war into which nearly all we call business is steadily thrown. The railroad war illustrates on a large scale what is going on almost universally from boys trading jack-knives up to the solid men of world-wide enterprises. It is not called war; but a war of interests, clashing furiously, can be set down as nothing less. As the antagonism increases, and grows more and more serious, the conflict steps over the bounds of ordinary business warfare, and "violence" is inaugurated. There are enough to deprecate this last stage of affairs, but few yet realize the real character of the so-called civilization that precedes it. There is a chapter in Stuart Mill's " Political Economy " that contains valuable suggestions for all who would forecast the future of our industrial progress ; who believe that the state of war will ultimately end, and a state of peace ensue. Mr. Mill has presented the "general theory of the economical progress of Society," and is brought to the question, " to what goal ?" He answers with his chapter on " The Stationary State," which, in his view, is finally to supersede the "progressive state." The paragraph I especially refer to is this : —
" I cannot regard the stationary state of capital and wealth with the unaffected aversion so generally manifested towards it by political economists of the old school. I am inclined to believe that it would be on the whole a very considerable improvement on our present condition. I confess I am not charmed with the ideal of life held out by those who think that the normal state of human beings is that of struggling to get on; that the trampling, crushing, elbowing, and treading on each other's heels, which form the existing type of social life, are the most desirable lot of human kind or any thing but the disagreeable symptoms of the phases of industrial progress. It may be a necessary stage in the progress of civilization, and those European nations which have hitherto been so fortunate as to be preserved from it may have it yet to undergo. It is an incident of growth, not a mark of decline, for it is
not necessarily destructive of the higher aspirations and the heroic virtues
But it is not a kind of social perfection which philanthropists to come will feel any very eager desire to assist in realizing. Most fitting, indeed, it is, that while riches are power, and to grow as rich as possible the universal object of ambition, the path to its attainment should be open to all, without favor or partiality. But the best state of human nature is that in which, while no one is poor, no one desires to be richer, nor has any reason to fear being thrust back by the efforts of others to push themselves forward." •
The objection to a peaceful state as thus depicted is trite, but for that reason none the less urged by very many excellent people. It is said, " life must always be a struggle;" there must always be the " incentive " to acquire wealth, and hence distinction, or civilization itself would halt and come to an end. Mr. Mill has a brief reply, which must commend itself to intelligent minds : —
"There would be as much scope as ever for all kinds of mental culture, and moral and social progress; as much room for improving the Art of Living, and much more likelihood of its being improved, where minds ceased to be engrossed by the art of getting on. Even the industrial arts might be as earnestly and as successfully cultivated, with this sole difference, that instead of serving no purpose but the increase of wealth, industrial improvements would produce their legitimate effect, — that of abridging labor. Hitherto it is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being. They have enabled a greater population to live the same life of drudgery and imprisonment, and an increased number of manufacturers and others to make fortunes. They have increased the comforts of the middle classes. But they have not yet begun to effect those great changes in human destiny which it is in their nature and in their futurity to accomplish."
It is curious to observe to what extent the worship of " great possessions " is for the most part carried as yet. Vast wealth, quite independent of its service in efforts at a higher culture, is esteemed an object worthy every energy. The prevalence of this opinion, however, is not universal, and, in spite of appearances, it is by no means gaining any permanent ground. As Mr. Mill suggests that it is their right to do, the working-classes have conceived the idea of entering the lists themselves in this contest for wealth and power. The example of " rising from the ranks " is contagious. It has been spreading everywhere, and the poorest are not shut out from this privilege of at least dreaming of the vast possibilities that are said to be within the reach of all. Formerly, especially in older countries, there was no slightest ground for hope with the millions. Their horizon never lifted, never broadened. But in more recent times, in this country surely, the chances in life for all have assumed a more cheering aspect. At least, the idea is evolved, and has got possession of an entire people. What we see, therefore, is the rush of this whole population into the struggle for wealth. The bounds set to this new ambition are not self-appointed. Fate, inhering in the nature of the contest, deals with each after its own fashion. Some shall win, but more shall lose. After all, we are the victims of an illusion. What is desired is impossible. Vast possessions, except as they may be intrusted to individuals for the general good, if not impossible, are undesirable. Impossible they are undoubtedly believed to be for all, since a contest for their acquisition is deemed inevitable. The ideal aim must be reconsidered. As this is done, one or two points emerge distinctly enough to be perceived and remembered.
1. What is desirable is the opportunity for all people, by their own efforts, to make sure of their own education and highest culture, with such surroundings of comfort as are on this earth possible.
2. This can be accomplished only when we cease warring one upon the other, and begin to transact what we call our "business," not as enemies, but as friends.
It is plain to me that those liberals who talk of " educated " and "uneducated " conscience do not propose, as a matter of fact, — whatever they may imagine, — to regard conscience at all. They tell us conscience must be reasonable, or it has no claim to respect. It appears, therefore, that what they respect is not conscience, but whatever, in their judgment, is reasonable. Of course, they respect nobody's conscience whose reason is not in accord with their own. How, then, can they raise the cry of violated conscience, when others, deeming their conscience "uneducated," "irrational," "spurious," propose to ignore it, and carry their own reason into affairs by force of bullets or bayonets? Says my Orthodox neighbor, " The State requires, for its safety, not only secular education, but reverence for God and His Sacred Word." " ' His Sacred Word,' " exclaims the liberal, " is your whim, and I do not desire that my children should be so educated. You do me wrong to compel me thus to support your religion." " But I cannot avoid it," the Orthodox replies; "my duty to society, the Republic, my respect for my own conscience in this matter, compel me. Were you properly educated, you would see that the religious sentiment is the very foundation of all our liberties. You cannot expect wild, savage liberty, if you remain in a civilized, Christian land. We grant the most liberty compatible with universal security." It is the liberal's own ground. I do not see how he can complain. He thinks conscience is not to be respected except in his own case, when he dislikes the prevailing religion. Bnt Orthodoxy may as well complain of his desire to enforce no religion in affairs. So long as both parties insist on communism, there is no way for them but to fight it out. But that either has any regard for the other's conscience — except to concede mutual honesty of purpose — is a claim without foundation.
In an article on "The Modern Type of Oppression," published in the " North American Review," October, 1874, Mr. D. A. Wasson sets forth his interpretation of the drift of the modern world, and of the return to soberer and wiser counsels which he believes to be imperative. I cannot here undertake an extended criticism of this article; indeed, though written apparently from a nearly opposite standpoint from my own, it contains so much in which I heartily concur that I am ill disposed to turn my thoughts into criticism at all. And yet, the more I consider his presentation of the subject, the more clearly I perceive that he has touched the vital point of controversy, — whether what he calls the " liberty of unrestraint," to which he avers the modern world has chiefly given attention, is, or is not, the evil it is represented to be. Mr. Wasson is not disposed to see only one side of a thing, and that the dark side. It is due to him to indicate the real scope of his thought by a few quotations. He states that " there are two kinds of liberty, unlike in character and often opposite in effect," and adds:
" The one consists in the mere absence of restraint; the other, in such an order and discipline as shall make the relations of men wings rather than fetters, salutary, serviceable, productive, rather than a means to demoralization and degeneracy. Now, it is apparent that the attention of the modern world has for some time been devoted chiefly to the first named ; that is, to liberty which consists in being left to follow one's personal inclination. The stress of effort for the century has gone to the removal of social restraints; as, for example, in that setting aside of restrictions upon the liberty of assemblage, of speech, and of publication, which, if complete only in America, has more or less taken place in all civilized lands. These changes constitute an important amelioration, and it is by no means with a design to disparage them that we remark upon the peculiar and somewhat exclusive character of modern reform. The century has done well to deliver itself from many restraints, which, however appropriate to the moral conditions of an earlier age, were only hindrances or impertinences in ours. Liberty in the customary sense, that is, the free initiative of the individual, contributes greatly to impulse, energy, enterprise, zest, and thus is the proper correlative of a capable social discipline: combine the two, each at its best, and the highest productivity of civilization is provided for. Our time, however, has set its heart upon one of the two, to the temporary neglect of the other. We disestablish, displace, abolish, make room for ' the voluntary principle,' and meantime hold it for the highest merit of government, not that it should be wise, capable, steadfast, able to secure for the nation the liberation of social health, but that it should be in the nature of a weather-vane, well poised and oiled, to turn with every wind."
And further, Mr. Wasson says, " as there are two kinds of liberty, so also there are two distinct types of oppression, the one proceeding directly from government, the other from the want of it." The former " exists where the just, wholesome freedom of personal choice and action is of purpose invaded, restricted, taken away by a public authority ;" the latter " exists where, in the absence of a sovereign, sanitary control, liberty becomes lawless and a canker." The one oppression " government may of purpose and upon system inflict;" the other " it alone can prevent," and, "in a complex, powerfully-motived civilization, it will be able to prevent it only by having a masterly head and a skilled hand."
Thus much suffices to cover the point I suggest. The " modern oppression " which Mr. Wasson deals with is that which follows the " liberty of unrestraint." " If it is bad to be beaten or bound," he says, " it is not felicity to commit suicide." The drift of the modern world is toward "suicide." Only "able government" can rescue it. "Private interest" is to be " kept momentaneously under correction by an honorable and averting public system."
Now, one may wholly sympathize with Mr. Wasson in his desire for that liberty which delivers society from whatever oppression, and sets it free to follow all the paths to "social health." I take it that agreement among people in this respect is so widespread as to render it scarcely a question in debate. Those who think we are arriving, if we have not already arrived, at the time when " energetic government" has ceased to be efficacious, will hardly consent to what must seem to them the arbitrary definition Mr. Wasson has given to liberty. They know nothing of "two kinds of liberty." They will be surprised to hear that one — that which they advocate especially — " consists in the mere absence of restraint." It is a change of emphasis which they are believers in. " Personal inclination " is indeed to be governed. That is, the individual is to comport himself in the best way to promote "social health." There remains only the question of method. How will society be best served ? The question is not to be settled by an appeal to mere theory, to the unsupported dream of mild enthusiasts unwilling even to harm a fly. It is not simply a question of feeling. It is as truly a scientific problem as any that may be mentioned. It is a matter of fact. It is a fact that the idea of the comparative unimportance of "government " has been historically reached and accepted more or less by all people. It is a popular instinct, and one, too, that in the popular mind does not forebode " demoralization and degeneracy," but rather the advance of mankind to a profounder sense of that responsibility and " obligation " which Mr. Wasson desires to see enforced. No one is more ready than he to admit that " the century has done well to deliver itself from many restraints which, however appropriate to the moral conditions of an earlier age, were only hindrances or impertinences in ours." So far, at least, he will not charge upon it the "liberty of unrestraint." The restraints of "energetic government " have been withdrawn from the " liberty of assemblage, of speech, and of publication." What has'followed ? The people have found their proper restraint in their greater liberty, suggesting the saying of Macaulay that " the proper cure for the evils of liberty is not less liberty, but more." When people are most regulated, even by a " wise head and skilled hand," they may become extremely sensitive as to what they may, or may not, do, but the sense of responsibility is not likely to increase, for it is not appealed to. It can be set down as a general truth that liberty and responsibility do not go apart, but hand in hand. And " obligation," though it may have been laid upon people from without with good effect before the intuition of popular liberty had its birth, to-day gets little enough respect by being made a political or civil dogma. " Civil rights " are not, as we have discovered, best promulgated by the Federal whip.
The fact to be observed then is this : that while the general welfare is none the less intended, there is a growing conviction that the method by which this desired goal is to be reached must be changed; indeed, that it is already changing. The emphasis of the century has been more and more placed upon the method of liberty. Mr. VVasson's own words illustrate what I say : " The attitude of us Americans toward our government is singular, and may be counted by a future age among those curiosities of history which would be incredible, were they not history. In the form of it we have an enthusiastic faith ; in the. fact of it, next to none: profuse praise of the one, prodigal distrust, incrimination, contempt of the other, run side by side, like the clear waters of the Mississippi and the turbid current of the Missouri immediately after their junction." And I think Mr. Wasson quite right in adding. " It may be, however, that the contradiction indicates good sense rather than the want of it," though he does so for another reason than the one I would suggest. It is such a gleam of " good sense " as this transition epoch would be most likely to show. It is natural to cleave to the forms of things after the substance has perished. Or the cheat of the form may linger, while the good result of our political system may hourly disappoint our too easily placed expectations.
There would seem to be no more easy question than this: Should girls and boys have the same, or equal, opportunities for highest culture ? A very simple question; yet Massachusetts, boasting her superior educational system for nigh a century, is only now beginning to consider it, and very grave objections are made to the demand that the Boston Latin School, which fits young men for admission to college, shall be as serviceable to young ladies. It often appears that nothing so develops latent genius in a class of men whose abilities have in no way advertised themselves, as the calling in question of some time-honored rascality or abuse. Immediately their slumbering intellects are in arms. They wake to an ingenuity of objection and argument that challenges your admiration. You think the whole question settled; its merest statement seems so wholly consonant with common sense, who on earth can trump up the slightest disapproving word ? But don't be too sanguine. 'Tis the very opportunity a goodly number of well-fed and most respectable citizens have longed and waited for. Now is their time. They are on their feet. Be patient. You have got to go through with it. They must be heard. You must reply. There must be a " Committee " and a " hearing." Public opinion must be agitated. The daily journals must have editorials long and short, and plenty of paragraphs. At last you get a report. It may go against you. It will take a year or two. But at last, at last, the game ends; everybody is tired out; the question has become a bore; it is settled ! What was all this fuss about ? Why, about this, only this: If the boys need latch-keys to get into the house and have them, ought girls to need latch-keys and have them also ? Very funny, isn't it ? And yet, grave and reverend gentlemen do not hesitate to puzzle you after this manner: " A boy is a boy; a girl is a girl; therefore, a boy should go to College, and a girl to the High School. Let each go to his or her own place, and each keep in his or her own sphere. Girls at College ? Whew! It's bad enough to have boys there. Coeducation !" The case goes against him, and he subsides until the next time.
It is curious to read the dispatches that come from the election in Ohio. " What has overthrown our party ? " " The President's policy! the President's policy!" So chime all the reports. But it is also announced with all gravity, " The President says he will stand firm, believing that he will come out right in the end." So far as I have observed, there has been nothing of a boastful character in all that the President has said or done. He appears to be animated with a desire to establish amity and friendship throughout the country, and to conduct the business of his administration in what he regards as the square and honest fashion. Although I indulge myself in a private belief that the country has no business to have an administration of the character established at Washington at all, I nevertheless propose, if there must be one, to enjoy all the excellences it may chance to present. And what I more and more see in the administration of President Hayes is simplicity and earnestness, — together with a clear perception of the idea that there is a fraternity and brotherhood among men, which is ever potent and effective in the degree that it is relied upon. This he has undertaken to illustrate — having the opportunity thus to crystallize a wide-spread and growing public sentiment — in the relation of the Northern■ and Southern people. It was supposed that most of the Republican leaders had as good as reached this same determination. The letter of acceptance was explicit in this direction; the inaugural reaffirmed all that that letter contained, but went no farther. What, then, is the trouble ? Is it that the party is likely to suffer because it has no longer a passionate rallying cry ? It does not matter much, and I will not dwell on the point. It is enough to know that the course of the President is one in harmony with the high interests of the nation, and that, whichever party may gain or lose, if he shall remain quietly firm in his course of reconciliation, — and there is every evidence to show he intends so to do, — he will have won a fame far beyond any service of party, however illustrious that may possibly be supposed to be. President Hayes may not be a great man, but if he is great enough for this task which he has now assumed, his degree of greatness, whatever it may be, will prove all-sufficient to baffle the inconstancy or the evil machinations of each and all the parties that this prolific, party-breeding country can bring forth. His word will go to and fro, East and West, North and South. In the South especially it will have a steadily converting charm. He may illustrate anew the saying of Douglass, " one with God is a majority," by the force of supreme ideas. Though the politicians all forsake him, let him not fear to stand alone. In the end he will not have counted without his host!
The Chinese have in their schools a text-book wherein is to be found this comparison of benefits : " Some men leave gold to their children, but I give them instruction, and leave them a book." The leavers of books to the children of this world have been many, and their end is not yet; indeed, one thing seems established, —" to the making of books there is no end." And 'tis no misfortune, since one is permitted a choice of best things. Nature grows unequalness in apples, books, and men. Happily, tastes differ. Good and bad are interchangeable. What one likes, another loathes, and contrariwise. There is a variety in the demand as in the supply. So it remains true, as Bronson Alcott in his " Table Talk " has said, that " one cannot celebrate books sufficiently." "That is a good book," he also remarks, "which is opened with expectation and closed with profit." And he continues, " I value books for their suggestiveness even more than for the information they may contain; works that may be taken in hand and laid aside, read at moments, containing sentences that quicken thoughts and prompt to following these in their relations with life and things. I am stimulated and exalted by the perusal of books of this kind, and should esteem myself fortunate if I might add another to the few which the world shall take to its affections." " Table Talk " is the new book Mr. Alcott so modestly offers. A long list of inviting topics — some hundred and fifty — are touched upon; if any thing, all too briefly. A little more space would have vouchsafed his pen a greater freedom. Nevertheless, much is given in the book, but much remains behind. I deem it no sin to report what a distinguished neighbor of Mr. Alcott once said to me, though I must do so now in my own language, all but the idea having passed from my memory; but as near as I can recall, it may be stated somewhat in this wise : " Mr. Alcott needs a bright companion to whom he can talk, and one who will listen reverently, and privately report him. Such a young man could render the world a great sen-ice. For if tapped when he is in his full power, no man of these modern times has such profound words toutter. He cannot put his wisdom in his books." 'Something like this, too, is the appreciation expressed by others who have known Mr. Alcott, especially in earlier years. And in turning the leaves of "Table Talk," I feel in a degree its force. Mr. Alcott is better in the parlor than in the book, and oftentimes, in conversation with one whose sympathy invites him forth, surpasses himself. Nevertheless, I find myself returning to his book, and in the quiet hours of the evening his little chapters or paragraphs have meanings the busy day obscures. Read at broad noon amid the bustle of the city, such a book falls with a certain vapidity upon the mind. It seems hardly to hit anywhere. Read in the serenity of night, the tables are turned, and one feels the hit was without report because, forsooth, it fell on his own stupidity. The higher knowledge of the soul only starlight reveals. And quoting where by chance my thumb holds the book open, "One's Star," I judge the reader will not be slow to guess who was the youth and the man whose biography is thus sketched: —
" Follow the star of promise first seen in your early morning, nor desist, though you find the labor toilsome and your guides mislead. In the ardor of his enthusiasm a youth set forth in quest of a man of whom he might take counsel as to his future, but after long search and many disappointments, he came near relinquishing the pursuit as hopeless, when suddenly it occurred to him that one must first be a man to find a man, and profiting by this suggestion, he set himself to the work of becoming himself the man he had been seeking so long and fruitlessly. When last heard from, he was still on the stretch, near the end of his journey, the goal in bis eye, his star blazing more brightly than when he first beheld it.
" 'The eldest god is still a child.' "
I Began these " Chips " with some lines I value from Goethe, and thought simply of closing with one of Schiller's poems, translated from the German by Christopher P. Cranch. But in looking over the " Notes " to the collection I have at hand, I find much interesting matter, and am disposed to preface the poem I shall give with selections touching both Goethe and Schiller.
" The radical difference of these two natures appears in their free, restless youthtime, no less than in their principled manhood. Schiller is the warm, aspiring youth sick of all about him, yearning for a vague ideal, showing himself in all he writes. Goethe is the very child of Nature, who lives in and celebrates every smile the bounteous Mother throws him, and sings his own moods, and his own loves, and longings, and regrets, as if they were new gifts of hers to keep his poetry alive One interests us by the constancy of his generous air; the other — we know not what to make of him, but for the sake of the charming songs, we are quite willing to let Nature be sponsor for her child
" The relation in which these two great spirits stood to one another, so opposite, and yet with such a deep ground of sympathy, is beautifully illustrated in Carlyle's 'Life of Schiller:' —
" ' How gifted, how diverse in their gifts I The mind of the one plays calmly in its capricious and inimitable graces, over all the provinces of human interest; the other concentrates powers as vast, but far less various, on a few subjects; the one is catholic, the other is sectarian. The first is endowed with an all-comprehending spirit ; skilled, as if by personal experience, in all the modes of human passion and opinion ; therefore tolerant of all; peaceful, collected; fighting for no class of men or principles; rather looking on the world, and the various battles waging in it, with the quiet eye of one already reconciled to the futility of their issues; but pouring over all the forms of many-colored life the light of a deep and subtle intellect, and the decorations of an overflowing fancy; and allowing men and things of every shape and hue to have their own free scope in his conception, as they have it in the world where Providence has placed them. The other is earnest, devoted; struggling with a thousand mighty projects of improvement; feeling more intensely as he feels more narrowly ; rejecting vehemently, choosing vehemently; at war with the one half of things, in love with the other half; hence dissatisfied, impetuous, without internal rest, and scarcely conceiving the possibility of such a state.' "
Schiller's own estimate of the poet's life and calling is thus given, as quoted by Carlyle: —
' The Artist, it is true, is the son of his age; but pity for him if he is its pupil, or even its favorite I Let some beneficent Divinity snatch him when a suckling from the breast of his mother and nurse him with the milk of a better time; that he may ripen to his full stature beneath a distant Grecian sky. And having grown to manhood, let him return, a foreign shape, into his century; not, however, to delight it by his presence; but terrible, like the Son of Agamemnon, to purify it. The matter of his works he will take from the present; but their form he will derive from a nobler time, nay, from beyond all time, from the absolute, unchanging unity of his nature. Here, from the pure ether of his spiritual essence, flows down the Fountain of Beauty, uncontaminated by the pollutions of ages and generations, which roll to and fro in their turbid vortex far beneath it. His Matter caprice can dishonor as she has ennobled it; but the chaste Form is withdrawn from her mutations. .... But how is the Artist to guard himself from the corruptions of his time, which on every side assail him ? By despising its decisions. Let him look upwards to his dignity and his mission, not downwards to his happiness and his wants. Free alike from the vain activity that longs to impress its traces on the fleeting instant, and from the discontented spirit of enthusiasm that measures by the scale of perfection the meagre product of reality, let him leave to common sense, which is here at home, the province of the actual; while he strives, from the union of the possible with the necessary, to
bring out the ideal. This let him imprint and express in fiction and truth, imprint it in the sport of his imagination and the earnest of his actions, imprint it in all sensible and spiritual forms, and cast it silently into everlasting Time."
Fittingly now will follow his verse: —
THE DIVISION OF THE EARTH.
" Here, take the world I" cried Jove, from his high heaven, To mortals — " Take it; it is yours, ye elves; Tis yours, for an eternal heirdom given; Share it like brothers 'mongst yourselves."
Then hastened every one himself to suit,
And busily were stirring old and young, — The Farmer seized upon the harvest fruit;
The Squire's horn through the woodland rung.
The Merchant grasped his costly warehouse loads,
The Abbot chose him noble pipes of wine, The King closed up the bridges and the roads,
And said, " The tenth of all is mine."
Quite late, long after all had been divided,
The Poet came, from distant wandering; Alas I the thing was everywhere decided, —
Proprietors for every thing I .,
" Ah, woe is me I shall I alone of all
Forgotten be — I, thy most faithful son ? " In loud lament he thus began to bawl, And threw himself before Jove's throne.
" If in the land of dreams thou hast delayed," Replied the God, " then quarrel not with me; Where wast thou when division here was made ? " " I was," the Poet said, " with thee; —
" Mine eyes hung on thy countenance so bright, Mine ear drank in thy Heaven's harmony; Forgive the Soul, which, drunken with thy Light, Forgot that Earth had aught for me."
"What shall I do?" said Zeus; "the world's all given; The harvest, chase, or market, ho more mine; If thou wilt come to live with me in Heaven, As often as thou com'st, my home is thine."
Sidney H. Morse.
CHIPS FROM MY STUDIO.
A FINE poem in Bayard Taylor's new book, " Home Pastorals," is entitled "Napoleon at Gotha." Especially noticeable are the opening lines : —
We walk amid the currents of actions left undone, The germs of deeds that wither, before they see the sun. For every sentence uttered, a million more are dumb: Men's lives are chains of chances, and History their sum.
" In the Lists " also attracts my attention : —
Could I choose the age and fortunate season
When to be born, I would fly from the censure of your barren reason,
And the scourges of your scorn: Could I take the tongue, and the land, and the station
That to me were fit, I would make my life a force and an exultation,
And you could not stifle it .
But the thing most near to the freedom I covet
Is the freedom I wrest From a time that would bar me from climbing above it,
To seek the East in the West. I have dreamed of the forms of a nobler existence
Than you give me here, And the beauty that lies afar in the dateless distance
I would conquer, and bring more near.
It is good, undowered with the bounty of Fortune,
In the sun to stand: Let others excuse, and cringe, and importune,
I will try the strength of my hand I If I fail, I shall fall not among the mistaken,
Whom you dare deride: If I win, you shall hear, and see, and at last awaken
To thank me because I defied 1
I Have been entrusted with the following report of a late interesting occasion at the " Invisible Club : " —
There was a breeze at the " Invisible Club " the other evening when it was announced that the distinguished gentleman from the far wilds of the West, Rev. Justinian Floorman, would take the place on that occasion of the regularly appointed essayist. The venerable Mrs.
immediately fumbled for her eye-glasses, while the ponderous head of the Plato of the club was seen slowly to raise itself from its usual resting-place on its owner's gold-headed cane. Two gentlemen and a lady holding an animated discussion in one corner of the room on the ill or good there might be in intoxicating liquors whirled violently to encounter the new sensation. In short, the commotion that suddenly displayed itself in all parts of the room was simply intense. The fact was that for a number of evenings the situation had been precisely as
Miss , a maiden lady of some fifty-five summers, had described it,
— " rather prosy." A disinterested spectator might not be able to discover any good reason why it should have been otherwise. Not that the club can be charged with a lack of brilliant talent, nor that genius even might not put in a valid claim for recognition. But the subject that had persistently been kept before the club for eleven long evenings by the committee in charge had been the by no means novel one of " Temperance." For a season the discussion ran high, there being marked and irreconcilable differences, which it was found impossible to confine, as a member had remarked, " within a purely intellectual consideration." The extreme temperance advocates were bent on making of it a personal and moral question. This so irritated the moderate members that angry feelings showed themselves, until it was observed that, in the whole history of the club, no such general and prolonged excitement had before occurred. The danger of an explosion came to seem imminent; but for the last three evenings discretion had got the better part of valor on both sides, and the effect of this had been to tame the discussion down to the merest commonplace. Hence, for these three evenings the interest in the club had waned measurably. Many had absented themselves purposely, preferring to wait until there should be a change in the programme. The radical element especially, on the occasion now referred to, was but sparsely represented. The conservative and Christian members were there in better force.
No sooner had it been announced that the Rev. Justinian Floorman, from the "far wilds of the West," would honor the club that evening with his presence, and would open the conversation with a few remarks on the great subject of the " If," than a small, rotund-looking man, with sparkling black eyes and a radiant face, rose to protest that he feared the Committee had unwittingly sprung a trap on that portion of the club which only he and a few others had on this present occasion the honor to represent. He had all respect for the distinguished gentleman who was to address them, but he thought that, if he was to treat of the " If " before the club, the club ought to be fully notified of that fact: for he believed he understood pretty fully what kind of views lurked under the subject the gentleman had selected, and he felt sure those members who were absent, and who were so perfectly competent to oppose those views, would deeply regret their absence, and he appealed to the Committee, in all fairness, to know whether the distinguished gentleman could not postpone his remarks until the next evening, when they might have a special meeting and a full attendance.
After a brief conversation with the Rev. Justinian Floorman, the Chairman of the Committee announced that the Rev. Mr. Floorman had been caught on a flying visit to this Eastern country, and that his time was absolutely all preoccupied with lecturing engagements, so that it was " this evening or never." He would leave it to the club to decide. Several voices responding, " Go on " and " Hear him," the reverend gentleman was introduced once more. He came rapidly forward, and seated himself in a large arm-chair almost in the very midst of his auditors. Then, spreading his hands over his knees, with a slight upward toss of his luxuriantly-robed head, he spoke as follows: —
" Gentlemen of the Invisible Club, — and Ladies, whom I now perceive with abounding gratification, — we are to discourse of the ' If.' Do you ever measure the vast possibilities that lie concealed in that all-fructifying word? I remember well when, one cold, wintry morn, I sat 'mid the wigwams of the red and ductile Indian on the banks of the Longtombigbee. It was the tribe of the Arrapahoes. Slowly raising his head, after long and thoughtful meditation, the great chief broke the solemn silence by saying, ' I fear my people are learning from the white man the " If." ' I heard, and I was abashed. Gentlemen, in this Eastern land that ' If' was born; here, by the side of Plymouth rock; here, in the ' Cradle of Liberty.' What do you say? Shall it circumnavigate the globe; or shall it be strangled here in the land of its birth ? [Visible sensation.] If I have any mission on this earth, I believe in the very deeps of the deepness of my soul that it lies solely and for ever in this, and only in this, one direction. We are menaced, gentlemen, on this mdst excellent globe of ours by a modern revival of this all-devastating and heaven-annihilating ' If.' Behind the sun, burning in yon blue azure, there is another sun, a sun of glory; behind the calm moon, silvering the darkness of the night, there is another moon, a moon of peace; but behind this 'If there is—nothing! [A gathering applause, in which it was noticed that two of the out-and-out materialists, who had recently entered, generously joined.] Your applause is reassuring, gentlemen; I ask it not for my words because they are mine, but because I know that it is scientifically demonstrable that they are true. Walking one sultry day with the Sultan along the shimmering sands of the shore of the Bosphorus, I said to him, 'What is the limit of your majesty's knowledge ?' His response, electric and supreme, caused me to hang my Christian head before the genius of the Infidel. Prostrating himself three and twenty times on the earth, he turned his eyes toward the heavens, and ejaculated, in tones musical as a summer breeze, these simple, all-inclusive, decisive words, ' Great is Allah!' I said to myself, that people are invincible who stand thus on the luminous summit of the most scientific peak of the ages! "
Loud applause from a few members at this point caused considerable disturbance, and so broke into the flow of the reverend gentleman's remarks that a lady present timidly ventured to interrupt him merely that she might be set right in her own mind as to the precise force of his words, which, owing doubtless to the confused state of her own mind, did not appear to her to be as clear as a devotee of the strictly scientific method could wish. She begged to know if the speaker intended to say that the Sultan claimed that the limit of his own knowledge could only be discerned by measuring the extent of the knowledge of Deity? Several voices chimed in, "Hear, hear!" upon which the reverend gentleman remarked dryly, his manner indicating plainly that he was a trifle disgusted, " I have to regret if my language is not in range with the wisdom of a portion of this company. It must be very plain to every thoughtful mind that I only meant to say that this Sultan of all the Moslems affirmed the being of God. To him and his people the ' If' was unknown." Another round of applause greeted the speaker, and he was about to resume, when one of the materialists present, who had been showing unmistakeable signs that he was eager for the fray, astonished the club with a further intrusion : " Professor Huxley says, ' If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger ?' Now I would like to ask the gentleman, did the Sultan of all the Turks affirm the being of God from so much knowledge as to be out of danger of one day finding out his ignorance ?" There was a defiant glance in the eye of the reverend gentleman as he turned haughtily to confront his new assailant, and a perceptible movement of rising indignation on the part of the conservative members. But forbearing any direct response, the essayist continued : —
" Gentlemen, my purpose is to discourse of the ' If.' Do you remember the words of your Shakspere's Coriolanus : —
' My soul aches To know, when two authorities are up, Neither supreme, how soon confusion May enter 'twixt the gap of both, and take The one by the other ?'
Gentlemen, I have turned my ardent gaze from the mere 'If of theology to the ' If' of the scientific materialist. I was in radiant, allpenetrating earnest. I" said, ' My soul aches to know.' When Socrates turned from all other authorities, he looked at the nature of things, and the radiance was dazzling. Try Christianity by this standard, and your ' If' goes out with the darkness you have dispelled. God, Immortality, the Atonement, the Triune Unity, the blessed state of all who go hence in peace, — in the Nature of Things are all these established.
" 1. God — as a distinguished gentleman of your own city has remarked, speaking figuratively — wears on His finger Gyges' ring, which, according to Greek mythology, makes the wearer invisible.
"2. Being invisible, how do we know, why do we affirm, His existence ?
" 3. We know, because it is scientifically demonstrable that matter is inert.
" 4. Matter being inert, it is not living matter.
" 5. Inert or not-living matter cannot produce life.
" 6. We know that life is.
" 7. Hence we know there is a power other than this inert, notliving matter.
" 8. That power is God."
There was breathless attention while the Reverend gentleman was thus proceeding in logical sequence with his bristling points. But the smile of deep satisfaction which for a time was visible on the faces of the orthodox and conservative members gradually wore away, and disappeared : settling, if I may so speak, into a calmly pictured sort of heroic intellectual weariness, as he followed on, point after point, with rapid utterance and unabated energy, until at last he reached the final and concluding one, which was — I am ready to vouch for it in any court — the
"172. Now, gentlemen, in the radiance of this demonstration, will any one presume to say that the chaos-bringing, power-annihilating ' If' is not cast for ever into the abyss ? "
The club awoke, as if startled from a long dream by the loud crack of a whip, as the reverend gentleman, with all the energy his ponderous, swaying physical frame could impart, — his face beaming with what Joseph Cook might describe as the " indescribable solar look," — brought thus his — as he himself evidently deemed it — exhaustive illustration of the luminosity there is in the " nature of things " to a close. He had then, however, only just begun what he had proposed to say. Immortality; the Thirty-nine Articles; the " Te Deum ;" and all that pertained to the vital character of Christianity as reinforced and reestablished by the scientific method, deriving its vast recuperative power from the Nature of Things, — all remained behind. It was more than reason or friendship could expect any one man to do, however, and so when he waived the further consideration of the subject, and invited criticism, there was loud and long-continued applause.
As the excitement lulled and the club recovered itself, it was plain that the first response from the members was to come from the happy, unperturbed materialist who, in the beginning, had desired a postponement of the subject until another evening. He rose to his feet, a glance of confidence twinkled in his eye, and with a slight wave of his hand toward the President, he said : —
" I need waste no words at this hour of the evening in expressing
what I am sure is the unanimous feeling of the club in regard to the
remarkable discourse to which we have listened. Did I not think it
able, I should not essay a reply. As we all know, it was able ; I may say also, it was peculiar and brilliant. I come at once to the point. The gentleman says there is a God. There is no longer any ' If' in the case. He has annihilated the ' If;' he has cast it into the abyss. Let us see. What are his main propositions ? He admits, in the first place, that his God is invisible. We cannot see him. Neither can we hear him, feel him, taste him, or touch him. We are not able to do any one of these things. All our senses fail us. Nevertheless there is such a being, — a God who eludes our every ability to discover him. Now I say, ' if there be a God like this, it is a piece of gross impertinence in us to be for ever following him up and striving to find him out. He has chosen to veil himself in obscurity, to hide himself and be alone. I, for one, have too much self-respect to insist on disturbing the desired privacy of so august a personage. Nay, I would not so molest and illtreat the humblest individual. I apprehend, however, that this God, ' if' he exists, has not any fear of our ultimate success. He had the thing all in his own hands. He might have given us another sense by which we could recognize him as he passed to and fro on his rounds through the universe. He did not choose so to do. He rests, we may suppose, serene in his knowledge that only his own creative power can add that he has not given, and so render our much-seeking fruitful. But I see the gentleman is impatient with this strain of remark, and I will not pursue it farther. We are all agreed, apparently, that, by our five senses, a God is past finding out. How, then, is he discernible ?
" The gentleman affirms : —
"1. God is invisible. But,—
" 2. There are evidences which, in spite of his invisibility (I may add, his inaccessibility in every way), are proof beyond question of his existence. For instance, —
"3. There is living matter and not-living matter.
"4. Passing from not-living to living matter cannot be accomplished except by the intervention of some external power.
" 5. That Power is God.
" I think I have restated the gentleman's positions fairly. My reply shall be brief.
" 1. In not-living matter there begin to appear signs of life.
" 2. What is the conclusion ? That an external power was then first at work upon it ?
"3. It is only rational to say that what we supposed to be matter not-living was, in fact, matter living. To suppose a power outside is gratuitous.
" 4. Matter we know. All its powers we do not know. But it is fair to assume that, whatever manifestation comes of it, the cause of that manifestation inheres in it.
"5. By all analogy and experience we should hold this conclusion, until we discover some extra, outside cause, or being, whose office it is shown to be to produce the effect we witness.
" 6. God must not be an inference.
" 7. The illustration of the invisible player on the keys of an organ fails. For if it had been our uniform experience that an instrument constructed in a certain fashion would produce even the fifth symphony of Beethoven, we should not say, or even surmise, that an outside person, visible or invisible, was necessary to account for the music we heard.
" 8. The phenomenon might be wonderful as we contemplated it, but we still should feel bound to account for it by natural causes, and not by supernatural ones.
"9. Hence the 'If' is not cast into the abyss."
The spiritedness and vim the speaker put into this little speech was quite refreshing, and it was evident that all the members felt a certain membership-pride in the creditable manner in which he had acquitted himself. There were but two of them, however, who honored him with their applause, but they clapped in most approved, vigorous style. There was a momentary pause, no one seeming inclined to follow up the discussion; but just as the President was preparing to break the silence with some remark, a member, who, I was told, had never before at the club ventured upon any observation whatsoever, rose, and in a low, quiet tone said he had a few thoughts on the general subject before the club which he would endeavor to present. He spoke nearly as follows: —
" I approve the conclusion of the member who has just interested us. The distinction of not-living matter is purely arbitrary. Either all matter is alive, or all is dead. It is perilous to say that mind enters matter at any one point. It is perilous, for it is an assumption of which'there is no proof. To rest the affirmation of God on evidence which is not evidence is to establish not God, but the ' If,' beyond controversy. For myself, I believe in mind. What we call matter is but the mind's expression. Matter in reality is illusion. Rather than the question whether there be any God or not, I query if there be any thing but God. The All-inclusive, the Infinite, is one with endless manifestation. I have not the gift to follow either of the gentlemen in their logical order. My view is rather a picture than a process of reasoning. I do not need to go delving in the mud with microscope to see where God begins. In doing so, I should violate my own integrity. Man himself is the highest expression. Why go from one's self, when all there is is there presented ? I have been amused at seeing your men of science, with dark-lantern vision, go wandering over the earth, peering outwardly into 'first manifestations of Mind' to see where, if anywhere, the god appears. Why, the deadest matter you can imagine is his appearance. Dead will you call it, and yet his manifestation ? Have you forgotten the old Scripture that the world was created out of nothing ? What is the world ? Nothing, — nothing but an appearance. I put no slight upon it for that reason. Let us not turn mere matterists, — fumbling for matter-facts, drawing conclusions, inferring. ' God is not an inference,' as my friend has well observed.
" I must confess my surprise that the reverend gentleman, who, by all just expectation, should support the spiritual view, is himself in his method as rank a materialist as our friend and fellow-member who, on the gentleman's own ground, has — let me say it — defeated him thoroughly. [Sensation.] Does he not, as he has charged the materialist, quoting another, 'swim with fins of lead' ? He is weighed down by the science of materialistic investigation and evidences. He and my friend, for instance, — what do they do ? They both go to material phenomena, and they ask with eyes cast down, peering into the mud, ' Is there a god ?' ' No, sir.' ' I say there is.' And from that day to the end of time they may discuss the point, and they will get no further, and the world will be no wiser. I would quote to the gentleman his own Scripture: ' Canst thou by searching find out God ?' No, not by searching. God is known by living.
" I wish to be brief. Let me outline my own knowledge.
" I will say that I know God. It is not a belief, a speculation, a search : mud or no mud, God is. What is God ? Ask yourselves this question : What dominates, what transcends, what controls your life ? Whatever that may be, you are conscious that it is a supreme somewhat in which, in very truth, you live, move, and have your being. What is your objection to calling the personality that is yourself, and yet other and .vaster than yourself, God ? // and you ! And yet, one! Two there would be, but that you are illusion. This personality which you are is the equivalent of the all-beautiful, the all-true, the all-loving, the all-just. Whatsoever is supreme in your inner, pulsing heart, — that is God. Gentlemen, do you know this God ? I aver that you do ; that we all do. We are all not simply believers; we are knowers. Are not your disputes, then, as to the livingness or deadness of the mud supererogatory ?
" I have said, mind is all. Let me for a moment dwell on that proposition. What is our experience of mind ? What is the nature of mind? The gentleman dwells on the nature of things. I ask a higher question: What is the nature of mind 1 How does it manifest itself? Is there more than one kind of mind ? We may keep within the limit of our knowledge, and answer, ' No.' Then, each may study mind for himself; that is, mind may testify of mind. Look now, each one of you, at your own mind. I will report what I myself discover, and you shall say how it tallies with your own discoveries. I find states of mind : a conscious personality, and a conscious individuality. But the consciousness of the one differs from that of^the other. My personality does not say ' I.' My individuality does. The former is a state of being, but without bounds ; without form or shape ; an infinite, not in the sense of greatness, but as not feeling limitation: in brief, it is existence emptied of individuality. And yet, it is the very bliss and energy of the perfect: perfect not by comparison, but as the allcontent. This very day I have been surprised and greatly pleased at reading that Tennyson relates his own experience of how, " out of the intensity of the consciousness of individuality, the individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being; and this not a confused state, but the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the surest, utterly beyond words, the loss of individuality seeming no extinction, but only true life." That is one state of mind. Do I err in calling it infinite ? There is a state corresponding to this which precedes individuality or finite manifestation. I was about to speak of it as the impersonal infinite. But I should better express my meaning by saying the three states of mind may be enumerated thus: 1, unconscious personal; 2, individual unconscious and conscious; 3, conscious personal,— this last being that referred to by Tennyson. Now, to test this, take any new creative effort. First, individuality disappears; unconscious of self, what you see is a vision without form or color, — an mtlying, shapeless glory: then, secondly, individuality of self and of vision as your effort brings order or shape out of the beautiful chaos. But never is this finite expression satisfying. What, then ; do you give way to despair ? No ; in moments of bliss you float away, in a" conscious personality utterly beyond words, into the very joy of life. I say conscious personality, but a very unlike state to conscious individuality. In the latter you are conscious of the me that is living; in the former you are so alive you cannot stop to think, or in leastwise to say, ' Me!' Self-reference does not lie in that state of boundless being. When you do say ' me,' you wake out of blessedness, as by a fall. Perhaps this is akin to what Bronson Alcott means by his doctrine of the 'lapse.'
" Now, have I stated the process of creative mind as we, by experience, may know it ? Well, as we may not affirm that there are two kinds of mind, shall we not say, even so was the world made ? Did the creative world-mind not lie in unconscious personality ? Did it not pass into million-folded individuality, into conscious finite intelligence, most fully manifested in man ? And, finally, in man does it not return again into itself with the added consciousness of personality which I have described ? That which was and is and ever shall be is personality, boundless being; passing through individuality, unconscious and conscious, its gain is that it has added to personality-living personality-conscious-of-living. Hence I say God. Hence I say Immortality : for each soul is this living personality conscious of living.
" I know I have now only arrived at a point where questions thickly arise, but I have trespassed too far with my speech. I will close abruptly and at once."
As the gentleman took his seat there was a hush over the souls present, as though they were all illustrating the loss of individuality that had been spoken of. For two or three seconds, at least, there was a silence as profound as there would have been had the members of the Invisible Club all, of one accord, turned into the not-living substance from which the Reverend Mr. Floorman had declared only an outside, interfering Somewhat could summon life. The revivification, however, was consummated by a very thin, yet penetrating, voice, coming from one of the most intensely orthodox ladies that belonged to the club. " I cannot say," quoth she, " that I have not been interested in the discussion this evening, but I should do myself great injustice, did I not add that I have felt, all through it, a pang of sorrow that no reference whatever was made to the atoning merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by whose blood alone we are sanctified and made fit for an inheritance of glory with God and his angels in the heaven of heavens." It would be impossible to describe the ludicrous effect of this remark. All at once rose to their feet, the Reverend Mr. Floorman foremost of any, as if by common, silent consent the club had decided that it had better avoid, by speedy adjournment, any further catastrophe that might be impending. It was high time, too, for the old-fashioned, tall, closet-like clock that stood in the corner, was just then striking eleven.
It has been said that we are "born believing." I take it that the race emerged from the abyss not with a negation, but with the joy of affirmation on its lips. This affirmation, however, must have been a blank negation to the bliss of the quadrupeds lurking behind. The new-born man opened his eyes rejoicingly, with his faith in the Unknown triumphantly fixed. Intellect became conscious of a destiny, — the liberation of the soul. In the new heavens, though no sun appeared, shone all the stars of promise. In man creation began consciously to believe in itself. The characteristics of man as a progressive being appeared, announcing a new, if far-off, millennium. , He was filled with new and irresistible longings. From that time forth was he divided within himself into old and new, conservative and radical. The universe had borne in upon his soul the assurance of a possible new being. He could be born again, and many times. He was not cast, as a rock, to abide for ever firm. His human nature was set free to flow upward, and fashion itself anew for ever. This universe could not break faith with him. He could not break faith with it.' He lived and moved and had his being in his faith. Faith led the way. Science followed, and must ever follow: for faith is not intellectual expression, but the condition of it. With growing intelligence the mind achieved
broader and yet broader interpretations. But it must have accepted the universe, or it had made no attempt to explain it; it must have accepted it in the spirit of reconciliation, or it never had had the heart to explain the mystery.
Manifold the interpretations, but it were rash to say the solvent word has yet been spoken. One achievement is to be celebrated, however, — the weaning of the world from dependence on the belief in the fatherhood and care of a Supreme Mechanic. Not wholly passed away, but passing, is this natural, early conception. All things are still possible with God, but God now dwells not apart from human life and activity.
A Somewhat embittered controversy is pending between Dr. Carpenter and Mr. Alfred R. Wallace in regard to the phenomena of spiritualism. Dr. Carpenter has stated his opinion that Mr. Crookes and Mr. Wallace are "typical examples of men suffering under an epidemic delusion comparable to the witchcraft epidemic of the seventeenth century." Mr. Wallace replies that Dr. Carpenter is a "curious example of fossilized scepticism." He says : —
" To refuse belief to unsupported rumors of improbable events is enlightened scepticism ; to reject all second-hand or anonymous tales to the injury or depreciation of any one is charitable scepticism; to doubt your own prepossessions when opposed to facts observed and reobserved by honest and capable men is a noble scepticism. But the scepticism of Dr. Carpenter is none of these. It is a blind, unreasoning, arrogant disbelief, that marches on from youth to age with its eyes shut to all that opposes its own pet theories; that believes its own judgment to be infallible; that never acknowledges its errors. It is a scepticism that clings to its refuted errors, and refuses to accept new truths."
It is clear to an observer that neither of these gentlemen is in a mood to repeat Burns' lines,—
" O wad some power the giftie gie us, To see oursels as others see us, —
as respects each other. Dr. Carpenter, so far from accepting his opponent's estimate of himself, " honestly believes " that he has " unusual power of dealing with this subject;" and.Mr. Wallace thinks it strange indeed that he and his friends should be pronounced " psychological curiosities " because they rely upon what philosophers assure them is their "sole and ultimate test of truth, — perception and reason."
Whatever one may think of the results of Mr. Wallace's " perception and reason," it is not possible to doubt his entire honesty of purpose. It is probable that the same may be said of Dr. Carpenter; but his opinion would carry more weight if he confined himself to the legitimate business of investigation, and withheld his gratuitous arraignment of such men as Wallace, Crookes, and others as men afflicted with an "epidemic." It is not a personal controversy that is desired, but a close-sticking to the facts and the argument.
Among some old manuscripts written a year or two since I find a little statement of my own impression of spiritism, which I do not feel the need of now revising. Perhaps it may be of enough interest to warrant me in giving it space below.
There is an apparent lull in the discussions of mediumistic power, so far as the daily press is concerned; but it would be a mistake to suppose that the number of believers in the phenomena of spiritualism is therefore decreasing. The interest survives, seemingly, all " exposure." The vitality which the new, or old, doctrine — whichever it may be — displays, renders it not a little difficult to pass it all by as sheer delusion. Of one thing there can be no question: the great body of believers in spiritualism are as sincere in their faith as are believers in whatever other or contrary doctrine. They have won this title to respect, if no other. Still I am at loss to understand why they persist in calling their ism a science. To be a science the proofs must be universally accessible. But in all the manifestations I have been able to witness, or in any way become acquainted with, the only approach to certainty is enjoyed exclusively by the medium himself. Verification by others is cut short at a certain point, where it must be eked out with faith in mediumistic truth-telling. " The word of the medium is entitled to some respect," we are told. Yes, if it be a matter of personal faith; no, if we are studying a science.
It is true, the " word of the medium " predisposes to investigation. Did he advertise a " trick," it would pass for that; but by saying it is no trick, serious attention is challenged, and should be met in return with solicitation unreserved and fearless. If there is truth to be obtained in this way by scientific methods, as the mediums claim, however marvelous it may seem in our eyes, let us rejoice in and possess it. Let it become fact of common experience. Its marvelousness will simply be its newness. The universe we know is a succession of wonders to the discovering mind of man. Nothing is so incredible that it is to be banished ere its claims are sounded. And yet, 'tis no part of liberality to stand open-mouthed, ready to swallow all that fills the air. A little unperturbed steadfastness in adhering to the old conception of the nature of things is prudentially wise.
To establish spiritism as a science, it is not enough to say that disbelievers are unable to furnish any other explanation than the one the believers insist upon. Science rests not on what we can't, but on what we can, do. There is no veiled secret accessible only to the few. Universality is its chief factor. There is no caste; it is wholly democratic. We may accept the word of the scientific savant as authority, but there is no obstacle to our own full verification of all that he affirms.
As to many of the " conditions " mediums insist upon, they may be, for excellent reasons, unavoidable; but the fact is certainly unfortunate. It serves to keep alive suspicion. Conviction halts, and awaits a more opportune occasion. It puts the performance on a level with wonderful tricks of jugglery, with the one difference already noticed, — that of the medium's contrary profession. The most one can fairly say is that he does not see how it was done. If he believes it was not jugglery, he does so on faith in the medium, and not as the result of investigation. The natives of Hindostan will allow you quite as favorable conditions, and puzzle you even more effectually. For instance, they will place a wicker basket on a gravel walk in your own door-yard. You see into it and through it. A boy gets into it. He is enveloped in a coarse net, which is securely tied at the end. He lies down, and the cover is shut over him and fastened well on the outside. You see him lying there in the basket. They cover the basket with a blanket. They retire some distance, and play upon their viols and stringed instruments. This done, they return, and thrust swords through every portion of the basket. The cover is then lifted. No boy is seen. He has vanished, leaving only the net in which he had been tied. Where is he ? Presently he comes dancing up the road. All this is done out of doors in broad daylight, and was witnessed recently by a party of Englishmen traveling with the Prince of Wales.
Now, suppose those jugglers had asserted that there was no trick in the case. The boy was a medium able to dematerialize his body and so escape his confinement, materializing it again somewhere down the road. Would it not be a case parallel with many reported here in America, which we are asked to accept as genuine manifestations of spirit power ? I read, not long since, something very similar in a leading spiritualist journal.
Suppose, again, that the request had been made that no blanket should be thrown over the basket, the investigators desiring to see the boy as his form dissolved or passed into invisibility. Such a request, in all probability, would be refused there as here. The blanket must remain over the basket as the sole condition under which spirit influence could work, light being too positive, etc.
It is plain that the position of the investigators would be one of some embarrassment, at least. If they could not affirm that the boy had not escaped from the basket by a dematerializing process, neither could they abandon their uniform experience that caused them to believe such things impossible. What would convince ? Not the Hindostan boy-medium's testimony. Mere lookers-on would be obliged to remain " sceptics " until ample daylight had been let in upon such mysterious doings, and even then conviction absolute would be reached only after accumulative experience had tested and established the phenomena as indisputable fact.
I may add to the above that personally I have not the slightest objection to any new discovery which anybody is able to make in the worlds visible or invisible. I have no pet " faith " or theory of any sort which I care for in the least as weighed against the truth as it is in the universe. I may almost say that I believe more in what I don't know than in what I do know, — so much, I am sure, remains behind yet to be revealed. But this also appears certain: the fruits of this universe, so far as they are to become our possessions, are. all capable of rational interpretation.
Some twelve years ago there had grown up within several of the leading Unitarian parishes of this country a feeling of dissatisfaction with what was called the "denominational life." Eminent preachers who had the popular ear discoursed of the " deadness " and " inactivity " of the liberal churches, — of their lack of cooperative sympathy and unity. There was really no "denominational life," but only isolated societies holding occasional conferences, having a sort of a good time socially when they met; the injunction, " Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel," was but poorly heeded. The time seemed to these liberal preachers and many of the laity to be especially propitious for a grand liberal movement. The future was theirs, if they did but bestir themselves. The war just closed had had a strong liberalizing influence. On the battle-field and in the hospital men of all creeds and of no creed had met and fraternized; they had fought side by side, suffered together, and vast numbers had died. Converted and unconverted lay slain and piled together. Theology was at fault. Could it be that a just and impartial judge would separate these fallen heroes as goats and sheep to go to the left and to the right on the great " last day," — some to hell, and some to heaven? Human nature shrank from such a catastrophe. Indeed it was too horrible. If the unrepentant slain had not been "washed in the blood of the Lamb," they had gone down to their graves shedding their own blood, — blood quite as precious to loved ones as any blood else, — and freely, that their country might live. Well, would God damn such as these ? Whatever theological champions might say in the pulpit, the response of comrades and of mourning friends at home gave no uncertain sound. In brief, more potent than all Universalist preaching since the days of Murray was this face-to-face encounter with God's justice on the battle-fields of the nation. It might almost be said that America ceased to believe in " eternal damnation " from that day. Throughout the country evangelical churches are just awakening to the fact that the dogma is obsolete.
Hence it was that Unitarian leaders felt that, taking the country in the temper in which it issued from the war, liberal ideas had a great advantage. Their new and zealous endeavor to avail themselves of this providential ally may be stated as follows : —
The first word was organization. The liberal churches must come together, and for all purposes of missionary enterprise must become one body. The denomination, so only in name, must become so in fact. In the spring of 1866 a grand council was held in New York City, with delegates from all churches choosing to send them. The avowed purpose was a closer union for the work of liberalizing the country. It was urged that a vigorous denominational life would supplement and reinforce local parish life. These local churches — weak and struggling, many of them — would acquire new importance at home when the victories won by the denomination at large should be reflected back as a part of their common work. Then, there were those who were not without hope that some common statement of belief might be agreed upon, so that it would no longer be so difficult a thing to answer the pertinent question often asked, What do Unitarians believe ? To tell inquiring souls to believe what they pleased, or what they could believe, was not, to say the least, the most successful method of proselyting. People accustomed to definiteness and authority in their old beliefs were not prepared to find these both lacking in a — they could hardly say new belief; for was it, after all, more than a speculation ? To be sure, the local minister might be supposed to know what he believed ; but he spoke with no authority, and his successor might, and probably would, on some vital points, teach wholly different doctrine. There needed to be discovered some common ground for the whole denomination to give liberal ideas authority and inspire respect for them. Thus was developed a state of affairs within the liberal fold, if I may so speak, for which the leaders in the new movement were scarcely prepared. That there was a " right" and a " left wing " to the denomination was no secret; but that the " left" could show so strong a front, or had any such vitality as was afterwards displayed on due occasion, was not realized. It required but this attempt to organize and state the denominational faith to bring out the whole truth. Unitarianism was all adrift. "The Drift Period," as a keen observer had already pointed out in the columns of " The Examiner," had been going on quietly for a long time; and this " drift," singularly enough, had been away from rather than towards the very dogma it was proposed to set up for general acceptance, — namely, the " Lordship of Christ." That was the very pith and marrow of the radical protest. In the Convention, however, the radicals were largely outnumbered. The obnoxious resolution was voted. It may be said that it was carried with a rather high hand, or head, — a prominent speaker declaring amid great applause that he would rather turn back to Rome than go forward with a body that refused to confess the leadership of Christ. It was said that this was no creed adopted to be enforced ; that it was only the expression of the majority, and those who disliked it need not feel at all bound by it; or, they might, as they perhaps could, interpret the Lordship of Christ in a way not at all to conflict with their own cherished views. But the cardinal point with all radicals had been the placing of loyalty to truth before any personal claim whatsoever. They could not call Jesus " Lord and Master " without doing violence to this their profoundest conviction. What they asked was simply a united effort of the churches to liberalize public sentiment and free the land from superstitious and old-time ignorance, leaving both conservative and radical.unembarrassed by any seemingly authoritative outline of creed or faith on the part of the general convention. Failing in this, a number ceased from that time to hold further relations with the Unitarian body. Others determined on an effort at repealing the obnoxious clause in a convention to be held at Syracuse two years later. They tried what they could do, and failed. The prime movers in this effort at repeal then withdrew from the association, renouncing not only Unitarianism, but Christianity itself. A curious fact here to be noticed is that, in the opinion of the leader of this repeal-movement, Christianity was then and there put upon the stand to decide for ever whether or no it could be harmonized with liberty. The vote of that Convention settled the case adversely and for all time, thereby determining that all liberals must henceforth range themselves in opposition as anti-Christian. As though the antagonism of Christianity to liberty was not as much a fact two years before at New York as then at Syracuse ! If it could be allowed two years of grace, why not forty ? The fact is, the vote had no great significance for or against liberty, so far as regards the country at large; but it helped dispel the illusion that there was, or could be, a Unitarian body; and if no body, then how could there be wings 1 From that time there has been very little said about the "two wings," and the "body," for great missionary effort or otherwise, has given no sign. The old disturbing resolve has fallen into neglect. Perhaps there are a few among the clergy and more among the laity in country towns who would still defend it with old-time zest; but the majority seem now to have passed on to new positions, so that, if one were an entire stranger, it might be puzzling to tell whether he had got into the midst of a Unitarian or Free Religious festival. The same general air of respectability would be observed in either, and the utterances of the speakers would mostly harmonize, save where in the latter some zealous anti-Christian might be holding forth. The Unitarians have not become a great denomination, but they have become vastly more liberal in spirit, and have advanced, as I believe, to much more reasonable and truthful convictions. Their pulpits are in a great measure radicalized, and their only remaining organ, — if I may so speak of it, — " The Christian Register," is certainly not in the hands of one who belonged to what was formerly known as the " right wing." Organization has failed. Liberality — not that kind once scoffed at as a " mush of concessions," but the liberality of free minds unwilling to be enslaved or to enslave — has grown.
The recent trial of E. H. Heywood on the charge of sending through the mails two publications alleged to be "obscene," brought by the United States Government Agent, Anthony Comstock, attracted much attention. The court-room was crowded by a remarkably intellectual and intensely interested audience. There seemed to be a general appreciation of the importance of the issue. The case furnished a test of American intelligence in discriminating between that sort of publications designed to corrupt and deprave by appealing to the passions of young people, and the free expression of opinion, however obnoxious, when addressed to the reason of mankind. Large numbers of Mr. Heywood's personal friends and sympathizers were present, but much the larger portion of the audience was made up of the general public, brought together not by mere curiosity, but in all seriousness of purpose. The verdict of the jury by no means echoed the opinion of these unprejudiced lookers-on. In the first place, it was manifest that almost every thing like fair play was, from the beginning of the trial to its close, set aside. The rulings of the Court swept from the defendant his whole line of defence. Nothing concerning his character, his manner of conducting his business of publication, or the character of his works as distinguished from ordinary publications conceded to be obscene, or as compared with standard works of a recognized moral character, was permitted. The Court allowed but the two simple questions: i, Were the two books specified in the indictment sent through the mails by Mr. Heywood ? 2, Were they obscene, — the Court charging the jury as to the interpretation of obscenity ? The jury decided that " Sexual Physiology" was not an obscene book, but that " Cupid's Yokes " was, and on the latter count rendered a verdict of "guilty." The case was thus narrowed down to Mr. Heywood's own work, the tendency of which this jury, under charge of the Court, felt authorized to declare to be demoralizing, and therefore obscene.
In the brief space at my command I can but touch upon the remarkable features of this trial, and express the hope that it does not in any sense represent the final determination of American society to defend its liberties and render justice.
A true record of the facts in the case as they have thus far transpired would appear to run about as follows: —
1. Mr. Heywood publishes the pamphlet entitled " Cupid's Yokes," in which he sets forth his views on the true relation of the sexes. He has positive opinions; he makes bold to tell the world what they are.
2. Anthony Comstock reads this book, and pronounces it immoral in its tendency, and as coming within the kind of publications the law classifies as obscene. He arrests Mr. Heywood, and this is the issue made up by the District Attorney, and presented to the jury: the whole doctrine of the book from beginning to end is foul and degrading, proposing, as it does, the abolition of marriage, etc., etc. Various passages are read and commented on in a manner, to say the least, not calculated to impress the jury with a fair idea of its author's spirit or the meaning of his words. The point, however, is sufficiently made out that the intent of the book is to present the " free-love " doctrines as Mr. Heywood understands them. The whole force of the Attorney's argument is directed to showing that such doctrines have an immoral tendency, and for that reason he pronounces them obscene, etc. He gets the obscenity out of their tendency, rather than their tendency out of their obscenity. In other words, the whole objection to the book is that it advocates ideas which the District Attorney does not conceive to be moral and sound.
3. The Attorney is ably supported by the presiding judge, both in his rulings and in his charge to the jury. The undisguised partisanship of the Court is commented on by nearly all present. To specify one or two instances: What can be said in defence of the exclusion of all comparable publications which would tend to illustrate or interpret the real meaning of the law ? What of the Court's telling the jury that "such doctrines" would turn the State of Massachusetts into one great house of prostitution ? Such might indeed be the private opinion of the eminent judge, but that it had aught to do with the question of "obscenity" no unprejudiced mind can for a moment affirm. Then, by what authority did the Court instruct the jury in words to this effect: You have been told by the counsel for the defence that you are to consider the influence of this book over yourselves, whether it would tend to corrupt or demoralize you; but I charge you, you are to consider its effect on the happy homes of this Commonwealth: it was * not designed for such as you, but for the young, etc. ? Now, what source of knowledge had the Court to draw upon in making this assertion ? There was not a particle of evidence introduced as to the class of persons the book had been sent to, but every thing that would throw light on that point was carefully excluded. The whole charge was gratuitous and baseless, unsupported by any fact proven in court. Other points equally irrelevant and improper helped to furnish and complete the most extraordinary charge twelve jurymen probably ever listened to.
4. The defence admits the anti-marriage doctrines of the book, but denies that they are in any sense " lewd, lascivious, or obscene," either in their spirit or presentation. They are calm statements addressed to the reason of the people, and made within the clear right of the defendant as a free citizen.
Whatever may be the present issue of this case, — a question of the constitutionality of the law is pending while I write, — I am clearly convinced that the final result will be all that it should be. A verdict against the free discussion of all topics important to public welfare cannot in this country be permanently enforced. It stands to reason that if a custom may be supported it may also be opposed. No one is bound to be right in the estimation of others before he utters his opinion. He may oppose prevailing opinion; he may urge the repeal of the laws; he may use the platform and the press in the dissemination of all his convictions, whatever they may be. He may even advocate " treason " in security from any legal penalty. We have got to take the risk in this country of all the errors the human mind is heir to. It is our one faith that error may be tolerated safely where reason is left free to oppose it. Jesus made no greater contribution to his kind than this saying: " Even the spirit of truth shall lead you into all truth." Who is wise to sit in judgment and abolish error with a scourge i Let him that is without error rise and proclaim himself!
I am free to say that I do not accept, or at all believe in, the general doctrine set forth by Mr. Heywood in " Cupid's Yokes." But I am wholly persuaded of his perfect right to express his own convictions. I should say that his ideas, if generally accepted and put into the world's life, would prove by no means to the world's benefit. But I say also that he has a clear right to propose them to the world, and the world, if it chooses, has a clear right to adopt them. I do not fear. The world has much to learn. It will not be dictated to by judges or juries; it will grow into its own convictions of propriety and duty, of truth and right, and never be satisfied with hearsay or author. itative egotism.
But all in good season.
Mr. Heywood is testing the faith of Americans in their own principles of freedom more stoutly than they have ever been tested before. The subject is a new one comparatively, and one which awakens great prejudice and feeling. But there is but one way to meet him, as they finally will become convinced, and that is with their abundant reason and good sense. We, as a race, think we have won some important victories over ourselves for religious toleration and freedom. In a similar way may I not say we have victories to gain for moral toleration and freedom ?
Meantime the cause will have its martyrs.
Mr. Heywood in Charlestown prison emphatically may be regarded as one of them.
There are those who think the doctrine of universal salvation has a demoralizing tendency. But the time has gone by when any one would propose the imprisonment of all Universalist preachers.
There are those who believe the doctrine of the atonement has a demoralizing tendency. But who thinks of forcibly exterminating Orthodoxy by the aid of a penal statute ?
So there are those — most people, apparently—who believe antimarriage doctrines pernicious and demoralizing. Very many of them seem to be of opinion that the rule they apply to other cases should not hold good in this. They would cast free-love preachers into prison, and thus root out the " heresy " once and for all.
They have yet to learn their own lesson better.
Such a determination would not only be wrong in principle, but equally foolish and vain. Do they forget that persecution is the scattering of firebrands ? Mr. Heywood has twenty readers to-day where yesterday he had one.
The aged postmaster summoned by the Government from Princeton testified that he had known Mr. Heywood from his boyhood, and that, so far as he knew or had ever heard, his private character was irreproachable.
It is best to let all such men have their say on whatever topic. They cannot be choked off, even from the proclamation of grossest error, with profit to society.
Emilio Castelar declared in the Spanish Cortes: " If the Roman Catholic creed be true, it will prevail by force of truth; if Protestantism be true, it will prevail, and you cannot crush it. If liberty of conscience be of God, you cannot crush, if of man, you need not crush it."
How excellent is this doctrine, and how wide its application!
Most opportunely the following lines, written by John Hay and published some years since, come to my hand. Heartily I commend them to my readers: —
What man is there so bold that he should say,
" Thus and thus only would I have the sea " ?
For whether lying calm and beautiful, ,
Clasping the earth in love, and throwing back
The smile of heaven from waves of amethyst;
Or whether, freshened by the busy winds,
It bears the trade and navies of the world
To ends of use or stern activity;
Or whether, lashed by tempests, it gives way
To elemental fury, howls and roars
At all its rocky barriers, in wild lust
Of ruin drinks the blood of living things,
And strews its wrecks o'er leagues of desolate shore; —
Always it is the sea, and all bow down
Before its vast and varied majesty.
And so in vain will timorous men essay To set the metes and bounds of Liberty. For Freedom is its own eternal law. It makes its own conditions, and in storm Or calm alike fulfills the unerring Will. Let us not then despise it when it lies Still as a sleeping lion, while a swarm Of gnat-like evils hover round its head;
Nor doubt it when in mad, disjointed times
It shakes the torch of terror, and its cry
Shrills o'er the quaking earth, and in the flame
Of riot and war we see its awful form
Rise by the scaffold, where the-crimson ax
Rings down its grooves the knell of shuddering kings.
For always in thine eyes, O Liberty I
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved ;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.
Sidney H. Morse.