The Organization of Labor and Association/Organized Industry

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The Organization of Labor and Association.
Organized Industry.
Back. Mathieu Briancourt. Forward.




"Seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

St. Matthew, vii.

"Wherefore trouble not yourselves, saying: What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? ... Seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be given unto you in addition."

St. Matthew, vii.

We alighted, and perceived here and there long pieces of wall blackened by fire, and half consumed machines, which alone reminded us that fine factories of cloths formerly flourished in this place of desolation.

We directed our steps towards the church, into which we saw several persons going, and we entered it at the moment when the curate ascended the pulpit.

The venerable pastor made a touching address to his parishioners on the subject of love to our neighbor: he recalled to them the numerous instances of courage and devotedness which had been witnessed on the occasion of their catastrophe; be mentioned that several citizens had abandoned their houses and furniture to the flames, in order to give assistance, at the peril of their lives, to a bedridden old man, whose house was on fire.

He then passed a eulogium on the neighboring villages, the firemen of which had rivalled each other in ardor and intrepidity, while all the inhabitants had vied in welcoming the victims of the disaster, and had shared with them their bed and board.

He taught them especially to admire the goodness of Providence, which has placed in the heart of man so much love for his neighbor, so ardent a sympathy for the sufferings of others, that subscriptions in favor of M----- were opened every day beyond the limits of France, although, in consequence of the prejudices [13] with which nations are still imbued, each of them looks upon the others as enemies.

He ended his discourse by returning thanks to the Almighty that he had permitted so many reasons for consolation to alleviate the evils with which he had been pleased to visit the parish.

On leaving the church, we entered the Town Hall with all the rest. The Mayor gave an account of the sums produced by the subscriptions and of those which could be reasonably hoped for; he requested the inhabitants to come to an understanding, in order to make the best possible use of these precious resources; he invited each to give his opinion freely as to the course he thought it best for the community to pursue under its present disastrous circumstances. "As for myself," added he, "while listening just now to our venerable pastor, who has shown us so clearly that men are led by nature to love and mutually assist each other, I asked myself how it happened that all of us, who are neighbors, relatives, or connexions, far from loving and helping each other on every occasion, are, on the contrary, jealous and envious each of the other. I asked myself why we endeavor to crush our competitors, often even by fraud and bad faith; and, I confess it, I have discovered no other cause for this incessant war than the opposition of our interests. In fact, is it not true, gentlemen, a merchant does not look with displeasure upon the success of his partners, so far as they are his partners, be it understood, and this for the sole reason that they cannot become rich without his also becoming so? Now, if it be necessarily thus, would it be impossible to associate all our interests, so that each would find his advantage in the prosperity of all? Let us think seriously of this; the question is surely worth the trouble."

After some moments' silence, a manufacturer of cloths spoke. "It seems to me," said he, "that the problem stated by our mayor is not unsolvable; I will endeavor to solve it :

"Let us see, in the first place, what is done when several persons enter into partnership for any business; then we will examine if the same process would not be applicable to a partnership having for its object the production and manufacture of [14] all things necessary for the inhabitants of a community like our own.

"When I became a partner with Messrs. A. and B. to manufacture cloth, I was already a manufacturer, as you know; I brought into the partnership stock my buildings, machinery, and looms, valued at 400,000 francs. Mr. A., who was a wool merchant, put in what he had on hand, to the value of 100,000 francs, and Mr. B. paid in 200,000 francs in money.

"Then Mr. A. undertook the purchasing of wool, oil, and dye stuffs; also the sale of our manufactures; and he travelled for the purpose of effecting this. He understands buying and selling very well, and takes pleasure in these operations, for you know that people generally do with pleasure those things in which they are skilful.

"Mr. B. took charge of the books and correspondence, and I employed myself in the manufacture of our goods.

"By means of these arrangements, we all three employed our time usefully; and as we do not want for activity and experience in our various departments, as moreover our united capitals are quite considerable, our accounts show good profits, which we divide in proportion to the capital put in, and also in proportion to the labor of each during the year.

"I ask of you, gentlemen, would it be very difficult to make analogous arrangements among us all, in order to produce grains, vegetables, fodder, cattle, clothes, furniture—in a word, those things of which we have need, or which we shall sell, in order to procure in exchange whatever we do not manufacture ourselves?"

All the hearers, rich and poor, declared that such a partnership appeared to them very easily realized, and that as each would there find an advantageous investment for his funds, and assured labor, it was necessary to study this project. Consequently, the manufacturer was requested to give a further development to his thought. He, continued, therefore, in these terms:

"In order to produce the partnership capital, let us proceed in the manner I have cited; let the land owner bring to the stock his fields, his meadows, and his cattle; let the manufacturer [15] give in his cloth, his wool, and his machines, which have been saved from the flames; let each one give up his garden, his money, and his portion of the contributions which are to be distributed. We will estimate, in a neighborly manner, what each one brings, and we will give, in exchange, as many shares, based upon the whole of our property, as there are thousands of francs in the portion of each. These shares of one thousand francs will be subdivided into parts of one hundred and even of ten francs, in order that all of us may be stockholders, or soon become so.

"Our partnership capital being thus formed, and it will be very considerable, will it not? we will begin by building a single factory and distributing the cultivation of our soil. It being well understood that the manufactory and soil, the whole, must be considered as the property of a single individual, as is the case in every partnership.

"We will begin, then, by levelling our enclosing walls and our hedges, by removing the bounds of our fields; we will fill up our ditches.

"That done, our agriculturists will decide what cultivation is most proper to be given to each soil; then they will plant for us a vast vineyard, a large kitchen garden, a superb and spacious flower garden, which will take the place of all our present small -vineyards and gardens. Our domain will be magnificent as that of a king, and a thousand times better cultivated than these kitchen gardens which, more or less badly kept, now surround our houses.

"I say that our domain will be perfectly cultivated. In fact, those of us who excel in the cares to be given to prairies or artificial meadows will take charge of that part; those who prefer the care of trees or of flowers will find work in our vineyard, our vegetable or flower garden; those who like to be with animals will employ themselves in our barns and stables; in a word, each inhabitant will apply himself to those labors he is best acquainted with, and consequently everything will be done in the best possible manner."

"Gentlemen," said a farmer, "the ideas which have been laid before us are admirable in their simplicity and fruitfulness. I [16] do not know, really, why they do not present themselves to everybody. Their application will produce great abundance; for the union of the various parcels of soil in our town will evidently unite the advantages inherent to large and small farms, without having their inconveniences, which are great, as must be confessed.

"Thus large farms cannot be cultivated without the aid of hired laborers, who have no interest in employing their time well, and securing products which shall be abundant and of superior quality.

"Small farms, on their side, present inconveniences of more than one kind, as we see each day; our fields are too small for us to alternate our crops properly, and to raise animals enough to manure them sufficiently. We are very often obliged to sow wheat, which we need to feed our families and to pay our rent, on soil which would yield much more largely if laid down to grass or planted with trees. Then our farms, cut up into small fields, scattered here and there, present obstacles to a well understood cultivation; and that which we give them, imperfect as it is, obliges us to lose a great deal of time in going and coming. In fine, the smallness of our farms, of our capitals, of our manure heaps and our crops, often occasions a deterioration of the soil for want of the means to enrich it; it places us in a condition in which we cannot possibly benefit by the discoveries of science, make experiments or improvements, or take advantage of the tools and machines which so greatly economize both time and labor.

"But give up to us all the territory of the township freed from the hedges, the ditches, and enclosures which disfigure it and make unfruitful an important portion of the soil which will be restored to cultivation; give us good horses, ploughs, and other improved tools; procure for us the necessary hands, which we sometimes feel the want of; yield to us the fountain which has occasioned so many quarrels and law suits, and assure to us the means of properly irrigating our fields, our meadows, and our gardens, and we guarantee to you a crop double or triple that which we now make each year."

"Very well!" resumed the manufacturer, "you will have all [17] this, and moreover good advice, if necessary; for we will consult, at home and abroad, those men who are most experienced in the practice and theory of agriculture; we shall also be able to pro. cure plants and seeds of the best quality; we shall be rich, and we will make for our establishment temporary sacrifices which the earth, that good nursing mother, will soon reimburse to us with usury.

"I say that we shall be rich; I mean by this that we shall have capital enough not to neglect any improvement; for if we have not enough with our united capitals, we can easily borrow upon the security of our land, and we should have no difficulty in repaying within a few years, if desirable, since you promise us a double and even a triple crop.

"Hands will not be wanting, and good hands, I assure you; since our workmen will be partners, proprietors, and not hired laborers; and, in case of need, you can be sure that our hay will be cut, cured, and housed in two or three days; for that hay be. longing to all, we shall all have an interest in its being saved without getting wet; and we shall be anxious to do this at once, whenever the weather is not perfectly sure.

"It will be the same with all the crops, the gatherings and harvestings of every kind.

"You will have good horses, perfectly taken care of; as I have said, by those among us who like to be with animals; we shall so arrange as to retain only those which are necessary for our purposes, and distribute our labors so as not to keep, as now, a number of horses doing nothing a part of the year.

"You will have all the tools and machines which facilitate and diminish labor; in a word, like the great and rich farmers, we shall know how to procure everything that can improve our soil, increase our products, and diminish our fatigue."

"I see very clearly," returned the farmer, "that our workmen, interested in the good and prompt execution of our labors, and undertaking those which they like and in which they are experienced, will work with ardor, and will become very skilful; I foresee that our crops will become still more abundant than I stated just now; but if all the inhabitants put their hands to the work at times of hurry, and if all the farmers accomplish a great [18] deal, as do those who work upon their own lots, the labors of the field will soon be over. Shall we remain with our arms folded when we have nothing more to do in the field, and would it not be possible to increase our income by employing ourselves usefully in the house in our leisure moments, and during the bad weather?"

"When you cannot work in the fields, or there is nothing to call you there," replied the manufacturer, "each can busy himself according to his tastes; some will go to the blacksmith's, the wheelwright's, or the joiner's shop; others into our cloth factory; these will keep the books, those the schools, &c. In this manner, each of us, able to find employment in the house and on the farm, will do a great deal more work than he can now, since he need not lose a single moment, and the profits realized by the whole of the inhabitants will be much greater than they are now.

"At the end of the year, we will take from the gross amount of our profits the sums necessary to pay our taxes and the expenses common to all the inhabitants, to pay also the interest to our stockholders, and on money borrowed, if there be any; then the surplus will be divided among the workmen, in proportion to what each has accomplished, absolutely as in the partnership which I gave as an example.

"Our partnership will always have this immense advantage over the other, that no one need fear any great diminution in his share of the profits from one year to another, inasmuch as our branches of industry being numerous and greatly diversified, even when there should be a loss on one or two branches, our general revenue would hardly feel it. It is quite otherwise when the partnership has but a single branch, for this, when it experiences a stagnation or losses, too often occasions the ruin of those concerned."

All the assembly having approved this project of partnership, the architect was requested to give his opinion respecting the rebuilding of the town; the greatest economy was especially recommended to him.

The architect expressed himself thus: "As the whole territory of the township is to be cultivated as if it belonged to a single [19] person, I think that we shall require but one stable for our horses, one for our cows, one for our sheep, &c.; thus fewer persons will be needed to tend and oversee our animals. We will build but one barn for our hay, one granary {or our corn; it will then be much more easy to take the precautions necessary for the preservation of our crops.

"We will build a single shop for shoemaking, one for joinery, &c.; our workmen thus assembled will find their labor less wearisome; besides, these workshops, store-houses, and stables, will be vast, commodious, well ventilated, well lighted, properly warmed, and they will nevertheless cost us much less to build, and keep in order, than those which have been destroyed by the conflagration, and which were so inconvenient, so dark, so dirty, and unhealthy.

"The private houses only will remain to be built. Each family will arrange this to their liking. You will remark, however, that these buildings will not be very extensive, since it will no longer be necessary to add to them either stables, barns, or workshops."

"But," observed an old soldier, "when we wish to provide lodgings for a regiment, we do not build a barrack for each soldier; when we establish a boarding school, we take good care not to furnish a house for each scholar; that would be too costly, expensive, and inconvenient. It seems to me that, in our town, as the families must have frequent communication with each other, and as each of them will require but a few rooms, it will be more reasonable, and much more economical, to construct only one large building, in which the workshops shall be placed, and where each can hire a lodging as modest, or as magnificent, as he may desire."

"And why," added a travelling clerk, "not establish a single kitchen, in which food shall be prepared on a large scale, so that we can all be served according to our taste and our means, as is the case in the great restaurants at Paris? Why not, also, build a single wash-house, such as is seen in certain public establishments, where skilful chemists bleach linen so perfectly, and at such small expense? "

"An excellent idea!" said a housekeeper; "those of us who [20] understand cooking will prepare the food for all; the economy will be enormous, and the food will be more varied and better prepared than it now is upon the best tables in the town. And then so many less cooking utensils will have to be bought!"

"Add," said the mother of a family, "that the women, freed from the details of their housekeeping, will take part in the labors of the garden, of sewing, of manufacturing, &c.; they will take care of the children, keep the workshops and apartments in good order, and will, therefore, have a right to share in the profits of the partnership."

"All these observations are perfectly correct," returned the architect, "and I consider it very reasonable that we establish only a single kitchen, but abundantly provided with ovens, boilers, pumps, &c.; a single wash-house, one brewery, one bakery, provided with all the machines and tools necessary to economise time and labor.

"As to the lodgings, we will place them together in one wing of the building; we will so arrange them that there shall be both large and small, sumptuous and modest, "in order that there may be enough for all tastes, and all fortunes; but all shall be convenient, well provided with those things which render habitations comfortable; such as bathing rooms, abundance of hot and cold water. All will be well warmed in winter by means of steam, which can be done without great expense by making use of the waste heat of the kitchen, of the steam engine, &c.

"The whole building will be perfectly lighted during the day by numerous lofty windows, which will allow the air and sun to enter for the health of the population; and at night we can light our courts, our assembly rooms, our workshops, and our apartments, with gas.

"We will arrange a fine corridor, which will make the circuit of the buildings, in-order that we can go easily to our work, to our pleasures, and visit our friends, without fear of the wind, the snow, or the sun.

"This style of architecture will economise roofs, beams, staircases, entrance doors, carriage doors, party walls, &c.; it will also economise overcoats, umbrellas, overshoes, and other articles [21] of the same character; it will enable us to avoid many colds and coughs."

"Do not forget a handsome ball-room," said the young girls; "it will cost much less to warm and light than the two or three hundred chambers in which we now pass our evenings alone."

"Do not forget, either, dining halls, in which we can frequently dine in company with our friends," added the old men; "chatted food is half digested, says the proverb; and besides, it will not cost more to take our meals in company with those we love, than to have them served in our own apartments."

"Gentlemen," said a machinist, "allow me to bring to your notice the great economy of labor and time, which will necessarily result from our executing the labors of our farm, and of our workshops, upon an extensive scale. We shall have the hardest executed by machines, as is the case in our great manufactories, and in a great number of workshops, where articles are prepared destined for the table; such as in the English breweries, the bakeries, where kneading is done by machinery, &c.

"It will be neither very difficult, nor very expensive, for example, to raise by steam power the water necessary for our workshops and our apartments; that which will be used in the irrigation of our fields; that, in fine, which is reserved for fires, which, I will say in passing, will become almost impossible.

"Machines will soon be found, I assure you, to assist our threshers, to load and unload our hay and our manures, to sweep our roads and our court yards; in a 'Word, to take place of the arms or men in all unmeet and fatiguing labors.

"And, since we are to operate in all matters upon a large scale, I must point out to you, gentlemen, some of the precious advantages of this method of production.

"Manufactures upon a large scale, in the first place, allow great products with few hands. England is a very evident proof of this truth, and I recently read in one of our newspapers, that fifteen establishments in Lancashire manufactured cotton goods enough to provide three shirts a year for every inhabitant of France. These prodigious results are evidently owing to the employment of machinery; now, their use becomes practicable only in manufactures upon a large scale; it is clear, in fact, that [22] the mother of a family cannot purchase a stocking machine, in order to knit stockings for her children, and that a man who should make cloth without the assistance of any other person, could not buy the power and the machines used by great manufacturers in the production of this article. If he should procure them, those machines would soon deteriorate, and absorb far more than the profits on his products.

"In the second place, manufacturing on a large scale gives products of a superior quality and at a low rate. These results are owing to two causes; to the use of machines, and the division of labor. An example will easily make me understood.

"If as I supposed just now, a man had to make a piece of cloth alone, that is, sort, clean, and scour the wool; wash, dye, card, and spin it; set up his piece, and weave it; then full it, clear it, nap it, shear it, press it; in a word, give it all the dressings; certainly, if he had the greatest experience in manufacturing, he would still make very poor work, and in very small quantity; and in order to derive any profit from his labor, our man would have to sell his inferior cloth at perhaps more than one hundred francs per yard. And remark, that he would already have made use of machines in all his operations; for if he had had only his fingers, his whole life would not have been enough to make a yard of the most common stuff.

"But let a rich man establish a cloth factory: he brings to his assistance five or six superintendents employed in directing and overseeing exclusively, one the fulling, another the dyeing, this one the spinning, that one the weaving or the dressing; and all these various operations are executed by special workmen furnished with the most improved machines, which spin, full, shear with the assistance of very few hands, and accomplish each more work, and work superior in quality, than twenty men could have done with the machines in use fifty years ago. Thus our manufacturer produces, with few hands, a great number of pieces, and he can sell his handsome cloth at twenty francs the yard.

"In fine, manufactures on a large scale, finding their superiority and profits in the use of machinery, tend incessantly to improve them; in other words, they tend to render the labor less [23] fatiguing to the workman, to subdivide all the operations, and consequently to render them more easy to be learned. It is thus that, nowadays, a child understands a trade in a short time; the shearing of cloth for example, which formerly required several months' apprenticeship in a grown person; and that the greater part of the operations necessary for the production of our fabrics are of such easy execution that an apprentice receives wages from the beginning.

"You see, gentlemen, that manufactures on a large scale owe their superiority to the use of machinery and to the division of labor. If, therefore, we wish "to produce much and well, we who will also execute on a large scale the labors we undertake, let us do like all extensive manufactories: let us employ machines as much as we can, and subdivide our operations so that each laborer may perform a simple detail the smallest possible: he will easily learn to accomplish it, and soon he will do it well and quickly.

"But as a simple detail, always the same, is an exceedingly wearisome occupation, each of us will apply himself, according to his activity, his tastes, and his fitness, to ten, twenty, or thirty different details; at one time in the fields, the vineyard, the vegetable or the flower garden; at another in the workshop, the counting house, the factory, &c. This variety of occupation will change our labor into pleasure, since we shall leave one job to pass to another quite different, before weariness or fatigue attacks us; it will also increase our profits, for we shall not lose a moment."

"This manner of living," said the physician, "these employments, alternating between the fields and the house; these labors of the body and the mind, united with an abundant and healthy nourishment, with cleanliness, with the absence of great vexations, and especially of anxiety for the future lot of one's self and children, will all contribute to the increase of gaiety and health: we shall soon see the greater number of diseases disappear; the successive generations will become more and more healthy, handsome, and strong; the physicians of the future will have only to take care of the public hygiene."

"It has been shown to us," said the justice of the peace, [24] "that our crops will be at least doubled; we can calculate that our cloth factory, in which so many will work as partners, will give a large product of good quality, from which we shall derive considerable profits; we will wait the most favorable moment for our sales; we shall be rich enough not to hurry in realizing; it is therefore evident that the income of our town will be greatly increased.

"On the other side, we have seen that our table, although better and more abundantly served than it now is, will nevertheless cost us much less, as the dinner of a soldier who eats at the ordinary of his mess is preferable to that of a man who lives alone and spends twice as much. We shall also be lodged and clothed much more cheaply.

"We may therefore boldly conclude that we shall live six or eight times better, physically speaking, when associated together than we do now. As to our moral enjoyments, they will necessarily be such as to make it impossible to establish a comparison between those of the past and those of the future.

"Believe me, gentlemen, I am far from exaggerating; association is the source of all economies; it alone possesses the means of rendering accessible to persons of small fortune enjoyments which, without it, would be beyond the reach of kings.

"Is it not in fact to a species of association that we owe our primary schools and the colleges attended by our children for the payment of a small consideration? Is it not from an association between the owners of animals in our village that we are able, for a small contribution each, to pay a shepherd to take charge of and pasture our flocks? Is it not to an association of the lovers of reading of a great city that are due those reading rooms which place at our disposition the greater part of the newspapers and recent works, for a subscription of a few francs each year?

"Again, it is association which enables us to travel at a small expense more rapidly and more conveniently than the most powerful monarchs could in former times; it is this which reduces to a few sous the postage on letters from the most distant countries; it is because a great number of persons are associated for their pleasures, that for two or three francs we enjoy the best [25] dramatic representations, or purchase the right of hearing a band of musicians whom a sovereign would not be rich enough to keep in his pay.

"It is, in fine, to the association of all the inhabitants of a country that are due the museums, the libraries, the fleets, the armies, the roads, the canals—in a word, all the gigantic enterprises of their governments. " I was, therefore, quite right in saying that association is the source of all economies.

"Thus nothing is more certain: we shall economize, as you have been told, in all things; in the purchase of housekeeping utensils, in heating and lighting, in the building and preservation of the edifices, which we shall know how to construct with solidity, without having any disputes about contract."

"I wish to point out to you an economy of another kind, which is not to be despised: we shall have no more lawsuits.

"In fact, there will no longer be any method of getting up a law-suit about service, encroachment upon property, a right of way, a spring, a party wall, and a thousand other things which now engender a great deal of hatred, and cause the loss of much time and money.

"I must confess, nevertheless, that I fear there may be some difficulty in the distribution of work, in which each would like to command, and in the division of profits."

"It seems to me," said a retired general, "that it is not impossible to reassure our honorable justice of the peace. It is enough, in my opinion, that we organize our laborers, in order to avoid the disputes he fears. I was formerly employed by the emperor in the organization of the regiments composed of foreigners who served France against their will; and yet I succeeded. I do not think it will be more difficult to organize workmen who engage with pleasure. Therefore, if you think well of it, I will undertake to organize our labors, and this is the method I will adopt:

"Suppose that we take up our factory of woollen cloth. I will make a call upon all well-inclined persons, men, women, and children, of whom I will form a fine regiment, which I will divide into as many battalions as we manufacture kinds of cloth. [26]

"The first battalion will manufacture, I suppose, cloths; the second, cassimeres; the third, mousselines.

"Each battalion will be composed of companies; there will be a company of spinners, one of weavers, one of shearers, &c. Several companies will be out of file, that is, will belong to two battalions, or even to the whole regiment. Such as the scourers, dyers, &c. It is thus we see our artillerymen, our companies of engineers, of the baggage train, not forming part of the regiments with which they work on the day of battle, but still belonging to the same division, or the same army.

"Each company will, in its turn, be divided into squads, performing one same work, but by different processes. Thus in the company of scourers, for example, some squads will operate with carbonate of soda, some with soap, &c. Each squad of the company of dyers will apply itself exclusively to one color; in the company of shearers one squad will employ the transversal, others the longitudinal, or shears of different systems, and thus in all the companies.

"This organization will excite rivalry among the squads, and will tend to perfect all the operations; each squad, each company will become passionately fond of its labor and peculiar processes, the esprit du corps will soon display itself and will produce wonders.

"Every workman will have charge of a detail of the work executed by his squad. In a squad of nappers, I will suppose, some will fix the teasles without attending to other details; others will secure the frames to the machines; these will take charge of the cloth during the operation of napping; those will remove the frames or clear the teasles, and so in all the parts. The smaller is the portion to be executed by each person, the more speedily will the work advance, as our machinist has very truly told us; besides, this is so clear that you have only to look at what is going on in every factory to be satisfied that such is the case.

"It is well understood that each squad must have its corporal, each company its captain, each battalion its commandant, and every regiment its colonel, to direct the labors and superintend the operations. All these officers will be appointed for a fixed time, by the laborers engaged in the work: the corporal by his [27] squad, the captain by the corporals of his company, and so with the others.

"I promise you that the chiefs will be well selected, for all the workmen will have their interest and their honor involved in their rivalries, and consequently all will wish to have for commanders those most skilful in leading the work, in exciting the ardor of the laborers—in a word, in sustaining the honor of their flag.

"And not only will all wish to make good selections, but all will be able to choose the most capable, since every day each will see everybody at work, and will know exactly the worth of the men of his squad, and that of the chiefs who are immediately over them."

"This organization," remarked a farmer, "appears easy to establish in a woollen factory as large as ours will be; but how can it be applied to field labor?"

"I would proceed exactly in the same manner to organize the regiment of agriculturists," replied the general; "I would compose it of several battalions, one of which should cultivate grains, another the meadows, a third the vineyards, a fourth the gardens, &c.

"The battalion of grain-growers would be formed of companies attached, some to the culture of wheat, some to that of rye, to that of barley, &c.

"The company cultivating wheat should be subdivided into squads, each cultivating a particular species, or making use of a different system of cultivation.

"The other battalions and companies of agriculturists should be subdivided in the same manner; and as we have seen in the regiment of manufacturers, there would be companies out of file; such would be the company of ploughmen, whose labor would be required by all the battalions which might need ploughing done.

"I would organize, in the same manner, in battalions or only in companies, in proportion to the importance of the work, or, to speak more exactly, in proportion to the number of workmen necessary to execute it, those persons who take charge of the house-keeping, of the joinery, &c.; and in all the squads, I repeat, I would take care to divide the work to be executed into as many portions as possible. [28]

"The women and children will enrol themselves in all the companies, or in almost all; they will there form distinct squads which will apply themselves to such details as are conformable to their tastes and strength."

"Such an organization," returned an old officer of dragoons, "will be an inexhaustible source of gaiety, or emulation, of enthusiasm and earnestness in labor; the battalion which manufactures cloths will be in continual emulation with that which makes cassimeres; they will endeavor to surpass each other, and, to succeed, they will spare neither pains nor sacrifices; and their efforts will result to the advantage of our general income and the glory of our town.

"A similar rivalry will be established between the companies of the same battalion, between the squads of the same company; the squads of men will emulate those of the women and those of the children, and reciprocally, and all will be led to work a great deal and well. It is thus that on the field of battle, and during the siege or the defence of a place, we have seen the different portions of the army make superhuman efforts to surpass each other. The enthusiasm will be permanent among our peaceful battalions, since the strife will be a daily one, the combatants will have for judges or witnesses of their exploits, their friends, their lovers, their mothers, their sisters, and before them an advance in rank and profits increasing with their efforts. Really, it would be difficult to foresee where the impetuosity of our soldiers would stop.

"Still, as we must neglect nothing to stimulate that ardor, since the general prosperity will increase with it, it will be well, I think, to recompense those persons who distinguish themselves by premiums, honors, and decorations. You know, general, to what prodigies of valor the hope of a cross has incited our brave soldiers.

"It will be well, also, when practicable, to execute our labors in the midst of songs and instrumental music. Have we not seen our troops surmount incredible fatigues owing to the excitement of their drums and fifes? It will be really a pleasure to see the reviews and parades in which our columns will defile, in brilliant uniforms, preceded by fine and good music. And if [29] our stout ploughmen, with vigorous horses, execute their rude labor to the sound of flourishes; the joyous songs of our young girls, united with the harmonies of the piano, will give an infinite charm to our saloons of seamstresses and mantuamakers.

"Musicians, and other artists, will certainly not be wanting. The schoolmaster will tell you how many, among our children, have a natural aptness for the fine arts, and especially for music. Before ten years have passed all our young people will be musicians, of unequal power, of course. We shall also have, in a few years, skilful painters to adorn our church and our saloons, and poets to sing our happiness. .

"But please to tell us, general, who will take care of the establishment, of the buildings, who will keep the accounts?"

"Those labors," replied the general, "will be executed by a battalion which I will name, if you please, the staff. This battalion will be composed of companies, one of which will buy at wholesale and at first hands those things which we require, and which we do not produce ourselves; another will sell to the battalions, to the companies, to the squads or to individuals, the articles required by them, and this at cost, that is, at a price much lower than that which we now pay to the retailers, who themselves buy from second or third hands, and too often sell us only damaged or adulterated articles.

"Different companies of the staff will sell abroad those products of our industry which we do not consume, take care of the children, bring up and educate the youth, watch over the repairs of the buildings, &c. One of them will keep the accounts, the correspondence, and the great book, upon which every person, man, woman, or child, every squad, every company, every battalion, will have an account opened, where will appear their earnings and their expenses. In a word, the battalion of the staff will be the father of the family to our township.

"It now remains for me to show you," added the general, "that the division of profits which the justice of the peace fears must be a stumbling-block, fill become the easiest thing in the world with the organization which I propose to you.

"In fact, you understand that in true justice we ought not to recompense equally an hour spent in the cultivation of flowers, [30] and an hour spent in cleaning our pig-pen. We will begin by classifying our labors according to their degree of usefulness and of difficulty; and if we allow a share in the profits, represented by the figure 20, I will suppose, to the most irksome and most necessary work, we shall attach only the figure 20 to an occupation which is useful but not repugnant, and the figure 10 to a labor of pure pleasure.

"To determine the figure belonging to each battalion, and consequently its share of profits in the yearly division, all the inhabitants of the township will assemble every year at a fixed period.

"The figure of a battalion being determined, all the workmen of that battalion will fix the figure of each of their companies, and the soldiers of each company will determine the figure of each squad. After some trials, we shall attain a perfectly equitable arrangement.

"It will be easy for each squad to share the dividend which falls to it, in a manner exactly proportioned to the labor and the talent of each of its members; for the chiefs will keep an account of the work done, or of the time employed by each person; and, on the other hand, talent will be always represented by the grade which will be its exact expression.

"You understand, gentlemen, that the figure of each battalion will be fixed every year for the following year, in order that each may know if he will or will not continue to belong to it, it being also understood that the Society will diminish or increase this figure according as the work to be executed shall be more or less easy, more or less useful; according, in fine, as fewer or more persons present themselves to undertake it. Thus, when too few persons offer to enrol themselves for the purpose of executing a disagreeable but necessary work, workmen will be attracted by in. creasing the dividend of the company, or of the squads which undertake that work.

"Moreover, glory will very naturally be awarded to those generous companies which, for the interest of all, apply themselves to repugnant labors. In a society which will not be acquainted with poverty, honors will be a much more powerful lever than money for those noble and devoted hearts which, thank [31] God, are not so rare as might be thought; our disastrous conflagration has shown this very clearly."

"I begin to believe, general," returned the justice of the peace, "that lawsuits will disappear entirely from our village; but nevertheless you cannot deny that the division of profits will always give occasion to discussions more or less earnest, for you know that men deceive themselves respecting the value of their own work, which they look upon as more important than that of their neighbors. Thus, the battalion which cultivates flowers, for example, will allege, at the general meeting, that its products embellish our greenhouses, our garden, and our fields, that they make the ornament of our church, our workshops, our festivals; that they adorn our young girls, and are the charm of our habitation, to which they give, throughout the year, a holiday appearance. This battalion will consequently claim a large share in the profits. For myself, I should be quite disposed to consider their claim a just one; but everybody might not coincide with me, and thence would arise disputes, or at least very animated discussions."

"Your observation is a very just one," replied the general, "and matters would probably pass as you say, if each associate had but one trade; but you will remember that it is not so. All, on the contrary, will belong to different battalions; consequently the florists will be employed also in the factory, in housekeeping, millinery, keeping accounts, &c. If therefore, they were to cabal in order that their battalion should receive an unreasonable recompense, they would be working against their own interests, concerned in all the other battalions; which would be absurd.

"On the other hand, there will not be a company, not a squad perhaps, in which our florists will not have a friend, a child, a relative; then personal interest, and that of those connected with them, will therefore compel them to be always just."

"All that you have told us, general," remarked the officer of dragoons, "is strikingly true, and as easily arranged as the organization of an army or of any administration. One difficulty still troubles me, however; allow me to state it: I do not see where you will find the people necessary to fill the ranks of so [32] many battalions; you will require twenty or twenty-five thousand workmen, while we are not more than two thousand inhabitants, one half of whom probably know nothing of the labors in which your soldiers will be engaged."

"In the first place," replied the general, "the workmen will be much more numerous than they are now, and this for several reasons easily understood.

"1st. No one will wish to remain idle when each can choose the occupations which please him, and when, moreover, there will be details for all strengths, all ages, and all tastes.

"2d. The shopkeepers will increase the number of our workmen, inasmuch as they will no longer have any business at their counters, since two companies of the staff will have the sole charge of purchases and sales.

"3d. The women will take part in all the labors, freed as they will be from the cares of housekeeping, and the worrying of their children, since special companies will undertake the labors of the kitchen, and others which fill up the lives of our housekeepers, and the children will be tended, brought up, and taught, as I have told you, by those companies to which the education of youth is intrusted.

"4th. The children themselves, instead of destroying, as they do now, impelled by their unconquerable need of movement, will enter with delight into the squads of infantine laborers, which will be open to them from their tenderest years, in order to initiate them to work, and in which they will render services proportioned to their strength.

"You see, therefore, commandant, eighteen hundred at least of our two thousand inhabitants will enrol themselves under our standard. The sick, those who are absolutely decrepit, and very young children, will alone remain out of our active ranks.

"But let us suppose an effective force of sixteen hundred workmen, and suppose that each of these enrols himself; on an average, in twenty squads,-that will give thirty-two thousand soldiers. Confess, dear commandant, that with such materials we can form some fine battalions, and accomplish a great deal.

"Besides, it is well understood that we shall form our regiments only in proportion to our materials, in the same manner as we [33] shall undertake only such cultivation and such branches of industry as are perfectly appropriate to our soil and our locality. "We can readily procure whatever we have need of that we do not produce.

"We will remember, in forming our battalions, that we have agreed it is indispensable we should operate in all things on a large scale, and that, consequently, it would be impossible to undertake a great number of different branches.

"We will remember, also, that, to excite and keep up the emulation among our workmen, the squads of the same company ought to be numerous, so that each of them will have work almost similar to that of the neighboring squads.

"You tell me," added the general, replying to one of his neighbors, " you tell me that you do not well understand how each person can become perfectly acquainted with twenty or thirty trades, while at present it is so seldom that a man understands well the single trade which he constantly exercises.

"You have forgotten, my dear sir, that we do not here speak of trades such as we now see carried on, but simply of the details, sometimes very small, of a trade. Now, it is evident that a workman, executing only a trifling portion of any trade, must quickly render himself skilful in it; it is also evident that as the apprenticeship of a detail requires but little time, each workman will be able to learn a great number.

"See, moreover, what actually takes place, and you will find that there is not a cultivator, not a mechanic, who does not accomplish a crowd of these details of which we speak. A gardener, for example, digs, hoes, sows, waters, harvests; he plants trees, prunes, grafts, and cultivates them; he takes care of espaliers, quenouilles, and standards, those trees which bear fruits with seeds, as well as those which give stone-fruit, vines and peach trees, apple and pear trees of every kind; he cultivates vegetables of every species; he takes care of green-houses and hot-beds, of Bowers and shrubs: in a word, he exercises some hundreds of trades, which, in our society, will become the occupation of more than fifty squads. "Thus, in supposing that each person, on an average, has [34] twenty parts of trades, I have confined myself far within the reality."

"Few men, as you have said, are perfectly acquainted with their trade nowadays, and this will cease to astonish you if you remark that it is almost always chance, and not a vocation, which decides the choice of the trade that each of us embraces; especially if you pay attention to the fact that each trade is made up of a number of details which, for the most part, are by no means in accordance with the tastes and dispositions of the persons compelled to execute them."

"This is also the reason why, let us observe in passing, we meet with so few women who are really good housekeepers; the cares of a household and of a family, the order of a house, require so many multiplied and very different inclinations, which God rarely grants to a single person, but which, in our great societary household, will all be found in an eminent degree, divided among all our women.

"You ask me, moreover, how it will be possible to undertake twenty different kinds of work each day. I have never said, sir, that each must be occupied every day in all the labors he is acquainted with. That would be impossible; the day would not be sufficient: impossible, because many squads, many companies, and even whole battalions, like those of the cultivators, will work only a part of the year; and some companies of those battalions, such as those which dig, plough, plant trees, or graft them, will not be able to exercise their talents more than a few days each year.

"Nevertheless, it will be easy to undertake seven or eight, or even ten, different labors in a single day. In fact, every one may remark that men accomplish more during the first two hours of any employment than during the three following hours. It will, therefore, be for our interest to proceed by short sessions; and when a squad has not finished its task in an hour or two, if the chief perceive that the ardor of the workmen is relaxed, he will cause the ranks to be broken, and each soldier will depart to begin a different work with one of the numerous squads of which he is a member. It is unnecessary to say that, if the work requires [35] it, the squad will prolong its session, or be replaced by another.

"Every evening, by order, the employment of the next day's time will be fixed: thus, each can so arrange as to occupy his days with the labors most agreeable to him, and not lose a moment."

All the audience applauded, and the curate spoke pretty nearly as follows: "My dear children, what we have heard is admirable in its simplicity. The organization which is proposed to us can be easily tried. A trial cannot compromise the public order in any manner; for this organization, limiting itself to the formation of workmen into regiments, and to their association for production and consumption, requires no change in the civil, political, moral, and religious laws which govern us. The processes of the organization of labor, which have been laid before us, are in perfect agreement with the character God has given to us; for man is passionately fond of the society of man: he dies or becomes crazy in isolation. He also loves with passion variety in his labors and in his pleasures; his health deteriorates, his organs become weakened, his intelligence brutified, in an occupation always the same.

"The labor chosen by each of us—I say us, because I certainly intend, in spite of my advanced age, to enrol myself in more than one squad of gardening, of teaching, of accounts-the labor, I say, always of our own choice, always varied, and executed in the company of persons whom we love, will become a continual pleasure, an incessant source of gaiety and of perfect health.

"Association, as has been demonstrated to us, is, in itself; the source of every abundance in production, of every economy in consumption, of every justice in the division of its products.

"Thus, my good friends, if we form an integral association, poverty will evidently give place to abundance; if we organize our labors, idleness will give place to activity; and all the vices will disappear with their mothers, poverty and idleness.

"Jealousies and hatred having no longer any occasion for their production, we shall give ourselves up with happiness to the affectionate feelings which God has so abundantly implanted in [36] our hearts. Our parish will be a model for the neighboring parishes, which, envious of its happiness, will not delay imitating it; for what is more contagious than happiness? and our own dear country will become the abode of wealth, of order, of true liberty, of all the talents, of all the virtues.

"Then you will understand me when I speak to you of the providence of God and of his goodness; for we shall be filled with his benefits every moment of our lives."

And raising his voice: "We thank thee," said he, "O Almighty God, who hast permitted men to discover the means of rendering practicable and easy the law of thy Son, which commands us to love each other as brothers; we thank thee that it has been granted to us to see the dawn of the thousand-fold happy day when thy will shall be done on earth as it is done in the heavens; when thy kingdom shall come; that kingdom of truth and justice, the coming of which we ask of Thee every day in our prayers; that kingdom which Jesus recommended his disciples to seek before all things, assuring them that the rest (food and clothing) should be given to them in addition."

And all the inhabitants of our unfortunate village, full of hope, congratulated themselves, embracing each other and clasping hands.

All soon left the hall, and groups more or less numerous were formed here and there, to converse respecting the advantages promised by the proposed association, and respecting the measures to be taken in order to organize it in the township. [37]