The Senator and the Editor
The Senator and the Editor.
"One Little Squeak in One Corner."
The "esteemed Herald" sees in Senator Edmunds the "insight of a philosopher and the foresight of a statesman." We have known that the "Herald's" editor has for some time harbored a kindly appreciation of the Vermont senator in consequence, as we have believed, of his anti-Blaine, mugwumpian proclivities. We are glad now to note that the senator and the editor are travelling apace in a really important direction. The issues in the Blaine campaign were comparatively trivial. The protest of the mugwumps was well enough in itself, but it went not very far, and in no wise justified the claim of the "wumps themselves that they were engaged in a " great reform." They were orating simply over a little detail of business that the barest common sense would settle easily enough when weightier matters of law, of righteousness, and judgment to come, were well canvassed and disposed of.
But, all things in their season.
The time for figs was not yet. But we are glad to see that nobody's cursing hath withered away what then seemed to mortal vision only a barren tree. Tiniest buds are now shooting forth from half alive twigs. We are rebuked and encouraged.
Without further ado let us announce that Senator Edmunds made a speech at the Merchants' Dinner the other evening that touched on "the conditions and jealousies and disorders that are disturbing society in almost every part of the civilized world."
Now we had read this speech before seeing our. editorial friend's comments upon it. But the thing that more particularly impressed itself upon our thought was the peculiarly hilarious tone of it,—of, in fact, nearly all the speeches made by the distinguished gentlemen whom our Boston merchants had summoned from afar for their especial edification and instruction. The Vermont senator exhibited himself, to our eyes, certainly, in a new light. All that grave, sombre, heavy, intellectual cast of mind we had always associated with his name disappeared. The types, at any rate, caused the solemn'senator to assume almost the character of the funny man. And yet there were, as we then noted, occasional relapses when sentences and periods took on the old dignity and seriousness.
And knowing, too, that after-dinner speeches are apt to be jolly, we thought no more about it.
But now the " Sunday Herald" conies to hand to remind us of probably the one notable utterance of the evening. Senator Edmunds, "speaking still to the manufacturers and capitalists before him, said, with much seriousness: ' I wish to tell you that it is well worth your time to begin to study more closely how much we all owe it to that long future which is coming to secure a more careful adjustment of the relations between ourselves and those who. furnish the muscle and toil that give vigor and success to our enterprises.'"
In the same serious strain the senator went on to say: "Nihilism, Communism, and every other kind of ism, wild and violent and wicked as much of it is, grow out of a fundamental sentiment, and instinctive and intrinsic discontent, showing that something is wrong at the bottom." Again, to give emphasis: "There is no general discontent in a considerable body of any part of society that does not have some small basis of truth and justice to start upon."
The editor remarks that, in saying this, the senator " left out of the question the small percentage of agitators who are knaves or lunatics."
One more quotation from the Vermont senator's speech, and our readers will have the case fairly before them. He said also: "If you men who have a hundred thousand spindles buzzing in your factory hear one little squeak in one corner, you know that the machinery is out of order ; and if you let it go on, and if that unpleasant noise happens to be near the engine, you will probably have an explosion."
Thus we have stated the substance of the senator's "insight" and "foresight."
And we have the editor's comment to the effect that these qualities constitute statesmanship in contrast with the characteristics of the "average politician." "The average politician in office thinks of men only as voters, and directs his plans to carrying the election. The statesman, who answers to the definition of a 'philosopher in action,' thinks of them as human beings with needs and wants and aspirations, and shapes his course to secure for them the test and happiest conditions of living."
It is in this direction that the thoughts of Senator Edmunds are turning, and with particular reference to the " relation between capital and labor."
As a matter of common news the senator is informed of the existence of "Nihilism, Communism, and every other species of ism."
Other men — the average politician — allow such news free passage through one ear and out of another.
The "philosopher in action" — the statesman — arrests such news as it enters his mind, and ponders over it.
His insight tells him that something is wrong: "There is no general discontent that does not have some small basis of justice and truth to start upon." He knows that the machinery of society is out of order.
Then, his foresight assures him that, "if the unpleasant noise is allowed to go on, the end will probably be an explosion."
Hence, it is wisdom, at least, — it is also just and human,—to pay attention to the matter before it is too late.
For, as certainly as two and two are four, " the little squeak in one corner" — if allowed to go on — means — if too near the engine — explosion!
The statesman — eternally vigilant — will permit no such catastrophe.
He will study the social machine.
He will discover the cause of the "little squeak."
He will proclaim the cause of the "general discontent " and the remedy.
He will arouse the country.
He will stop the "little squeak."
The senator from Vermont has not gone quite so far as this.
He concedes that "something is wrong at the bottom"; and he urges "manufacturers and capitalists" to study more closely "to secure a more careful adjustment," etc.
But what that "careful adjustment" is, or should
be, he has, so far as we are aware, refrained as yet from stating.
The editor has evidently noticed this. He has, therefore, proceeded, in a manner all his own, to clear up this later and by no means least important factor in the business in hand,—concerning which we shall have somewhat to say at another time.
Giving attention, on this occasion, principally to the senator, we are left to discover his probable opinions as to the method by which the "little squeak" is to be stopped, from the tenor of his remarks announcing it.
He was addressing merchants, manufacturers, capitalists. He says in substance: "Gentlemen, we [you] who employ those who furnish the muscle and toil that give vigor and success to our enterprises are not quite secure in our position. In fact, there is a great agitation against us. Of course much of it, most of it, is wild and violent and wicked. But still it must have at least a small basis of truth and justice to stand upon; else it could not exist. The discontent would not be so general. Now, we must look to it. This discontent must be allayed. Labor must be conciliated, or capital will go up in an explosion."
Thus, by iteration and reiteration, we have sought to impress upon the reader's mind the pith and scope of the statesmanlike utterances of the senator from Vermont.
If the reader still is left considerably in the fog. so are we.
Perhaps in our next, when we come to deal with the editorial utterances of the editor, we shall see some of this fog clearing itself away, and permitting a ray of light.
We do not forget that the senator says the discontent of labor is based on a "fundamental sentiment"; that it is " instinctive and intrinsic."
The Senator and the Editor.
Lubricating the Bearings.
Introducing the senator to the reader in the last Liberty, we intimated that where the senator fell short in "alluding to the conditions and jealousies and disorders that are disturbing society in almost every part of the civilized world" the editor had persevered,— that is, he had gone forward in the same line of thinking until some semblance, at least, of remedial measure* had been commended, if not advocated.
The reader will remember that the " little squeak in the corner " had fixed the editor's attention.
He had exclaimed: "Senator, you are no average politician in office. You are a philosopher in action! You think of men as human beings. You shape your course to secure for them the happiest conditions of living."
After which our editor—shall we say, "in action"? —proceeds with his effort to carry the senatorial utterance to some sort of a finish.
"That these conditions," he remarks, "are not everywhere fulfilled in this country, highly favored as we are, is painfully evident to those who give any attention to the subject. There are little squeaks in our social machinery which do call for attention, though they may not yet threaten an explosion.
[We venture to supply italics for emphasis, and to cut sentences for brevity; but our report shall remain a true one].
" Now, what is the origin of this friction in our social machinery? As the senator affirms, the origin is to be sought in some wrong or injustice.
" The bearings are too close.
"Or, they want lubricating."
We are now ready to suspect that the editor will proceed to show in respect to the relations between capital and labor where the injustice and wrong have crept in, and in what way the too close bearings are to be lubricated.
So we advance with some eagerness to the discovery.
" Capital is wrong when it insists that it shall have power to dictate the conditions upon which it will employ, direct, and pay labor.
"It has no right to say it will buy labor as it buys bales of hay.
" In a country where slavery has been abolished the laborer is entitled to a voice in fixing the terms on which he will work.
" But, labor has no right to assume to do this alone.
"For, capital is not a fund to enable labor to earn and receive wages of its own fixing.
" It is money employed by its rightful owners to earn more money. If it chooses to take the trouble and risk of earning more by active employment than by idly lying by at interest, it is certainly entitled to a potential voice in its own management."
What have we now obtained?
We have got labor emancipated — that is, we have laborers living in a country where slavery has been abolished.
Therefore, the laborer is "entitled to a voice in fixing the terms on which he will work."
We have capital "entitled to a potential voice in its own management."
The reader will probably pause here and ask himself : " What is a voice ? And what is a potential voice? "
The editor has not told him.
He can not tell himself.
But, oh! go a little further:
"Equal rights are secured by the method of ConfkbK\oe and Arbitration. The friction between money capital and labor capital will be greatly diminished by its employment.
"There is no lubricator like good feeling, but justice .and fair play will prevent the ominous 'little squeak.'"
Are you satisfied, reader?
No more are we.
Do you ask why?
This that our editor applauds and heralds as the 'final adjustment, the lubricating feeling, the justice .and fair play between capital and labor, appears to us none other than a cunningly devised makeshift.
There may indeed be a lubricating feeling playing through it.
Capital and labor may now, as formerly they did not, nod one to the other.
There may, in short, be established a truce.
But that which was "wrong at bottom" remains wrong at bottom still.
— We were on the eve of thrusting in here our own opinions, when what we really desire to do is first to get our editor well and fully reported.
Therefore, we quote again:
"The more careful adjustment of the relations between employer and employed, for which Senator Edmunds pleads, calls for something besides justice -dictated by self-interest.
" It requires that every one of us must perforce look out for the welfare of each and every brother man, or
we shall fail in trying to look out for our own
The thing that is 'wrong at bottom' in this country is that wealth is commonly used too selfishly. What is needed to ease the friction is an application of the Socialism of the golden rule."
Here now is a sound as of a coming revelation,—an intimation of editorial sanity.
But let us see the direction it takes. Our editor shall explain for himself what he means by the " Socialism of the golden rule." This he has done in the following words:
"The great and growing disparity between the gains of money and muscle, between the results of financiering skill and mental or manual labor, is producing the condition of 'instinctive and intrinsic discontent' of which Senator Edmunds spoke. And while no chimerical notions of a 'fair division' of property are likely to make headway in a country where the chances are theoretically and legally so equal as they are here, and where the majority of fortunes were made by their possessors, it is yet true that, as our society grows older and its conditions become more fixed, the fortunate possessors of wealth owe an obligation to their fellows which too few of them have yet shown that they acknowledge or appreciate."
In a preceding paragraph the editor has said:
" No man's welfare is properly considered who cannot, by the exercise of industry, temperance, and prudence, maintain himself in comfort, and make some provision, even though it be but a little, for the inevitable sickness or old age."
Now we have exhausted our editor's editorial. Its points are all before the reader.
Is the reader prepared to have us say, At length we have, if not a complete solution, then, the key of complete solution of the relation between capital and labor?
We put ourselves in the reader's place, and respond: " A little oil has been poured on the troubled waters, but the waters remain."
Then let us recapitulate, that the editor's views may, if possible, be shown in greater unity and clearness.
For removing the friction between capital and labor, the editor has advocated:
1. Conference and arbitration.
2. Wealth used less selfishly.
Under the first head we have capital reduced to a "potential voice," while labor is promoted to "a voice," in determining on what terms they will work together. When this "potential voice" and this "a voice" can not agree of themselves what is fair and just, they exercise equal right of appeal to a court of arbitration. Thus, it is assumed, an era of good feeling will be established, and "there is no lubricator like good feeling."
All of which is reassuring; but are we not left still
in the dark? Could we have had just one ray of light to illumine the little query: To what principle of justice, to what idea of fair play, shall this court of arbitration make appeal in order to do no "wrong at bottom " to either party? we should have gone to our rest far better satisfied.
Or, does our editor think of this high court of pacification only as a court of compromise? (Of course not, for justice is what he is after.)
There is barely an intimation of the editor's idea of justice in the remark quoted: "No man's welfare is properly considered who cannot .... maintain himself in comfort," etc. But how many difficulties arise immediately? Not the least of them would be that of determining where "comfort" for the workingman ended and luxury began. His employer with a " potential voice" might speedily pronounce judgment, but the grand court of arbitration!
As to the growth of that "something besides justice dictated by self-interest," we are not exactly sceptical. In a sense there is not space here to define we think there is already much of that sort of thing, and that there is a likelihood of there being a vast deal more in the glorious future. ^
But a self-interest dictated by the charity of the enlightened rich man who says: "I must look out for the welfare of each and every brother man in order to look out for my own," is hardly the goal of the poor man's ambition.
As to the "communism of the golden rule," there may be somewhat in that.
Patient reader! As we left you in some uncertainty of mind in regard to our senator, so now we dismiss you once more, this time with a doubt in your mind as to the editor.
However, in another communication, we shall review the whole matter, and do our best at clearing it up.
The Senator and the Editor.
QUITE ANOTHER AFFAIR.
" Thus Stiith Our Own Report."
We ask the reader's pardon. We have done a very stupid thing. We have blundered.
We ask the senator's pardon.
We ask the editor's pardon.
We are without excuse.
We confess our fault.
There is no penalty so heavy we would not willingly accept it as our just due, our merited punishment.
Such is the fullness of our contrition.
Bul- let us hasten to make atonement.
The speediest thing is best.
So at once we say that by sheerest heedlessness we overlooked our own report of the "Merchants' Dinner," and relied upon that of a wicked contemporary.
And it was not the "Herald," after all!
That is the strangest part of it.
For excellent reasons we withhold the name of the vile sheet whose fabricated report and witless editorial we have expended so much labor upon.
What remains but that we now give the true report of what the senator said to the manufacturers and capitalists at Hotel Vendome?
And what a relief, too, to turn to the columns of
the truly independent "Herald," and find, instead of the indecisive, misleading, meandering sentences we have been quoting, the words of the fearless statement, so wise, so inspiriting, that we now, escaping our contrition, with joy present!
Thus saith our own report:
Senator Edmunds, being presented to the company, offered felicitous remarks on a variety of topics. At length he turned upon the manufacturers and capitalists, who had greeted him with cheers when he arose and rapturously applauded his slightest period up to that moment, and overwhelmed them. Pharaoh and his hosts never floundered deeper in the Red Sea's mud than did these same solid men (merchants) of Boston in their own now hapless, utterly confused state of mind.
Cried the senator:
" Gentlemen! One subject has not been touched upon. Perhaps it has been reserved for my friend, the distinguished senator from New York, to deal with. His proverbial QirecthCss &iid terseness of speech, illumining and exhausting whatever subject he chooses to treat, would certainly carry to your ears words of wisdom and best of counsel. But I must forestall him. I cannot debar myself from the privilege of confiding to you, if in homeliest of phrase, certain sincere convictions at which I have arrived upon the one subject that should, in my judgment, in these perilous yet most auspicious times, engross your profoundest consideration.
"Gentlemen, the subject I suggest to yon for your entirely serious reflection is the one that brings to the front the relations that you as manufacturers and capitalists sustain to those who supply the hard, and, I make bold to add, the unrequited labor that gives vigor and success to your enterprise.
"I ask you, gentlemen, you who are, or should be, watchmen on the walls, what the signs and omens are? That there is a wide-spread agitation among the toiling millions to secure a more equitable compensation for their service, you require no words of mine to apprise you oi.
" This agitation is the outgrowth of a fundamental sentiment. Nihilism, Communism, Anarchism, — what are these isms, and kindred isms, but so many voices proclaiming the general discontent? Do not be deceived ; do not deceive yourselves. Wild or irrational as some of these movements may be, they one and all have a substantial basis of truth and justice to start upon. Depend upon it, there is something wrong at bottom. I conjure you, study well this impending problem of industrial emancipation. You who have a hundred thousand spindles buzzing in your factory, when you hear even a little squeak in one corner, you know for a surety that some part of the machinery is out of order; that it must be attended to, especially when the unpleasant sound is near the engine, or there will probably be an explosion. The law holds equally in that vast and complicated machinery we call society. As regards principle, as regards prudence, I urge you to give the matter your soberest, most unbiased investigation. If I mistake not, in so doing you will discover that you are contemplating the advance of civilization; the expansion, the evolution, the culmination of the Republic. American independence should mean the independence of the humblest individual, an independence which his own labor should be entirely competent to create and sustain.
" Look about you.
" Contemplate the condition of your fellow-countrymen, as you behold them this day in their varied avocations. Consider the gulf that divides them class from class.
" To bridge, to close up, that chasm; to abolish poverty from the homes of industry! That, gentlemen, is the legacy of thought I this evening leave you."
The reader will observe that, while even our own report does not show the senator in the rdle of the practical statesman who points to the remedy while proclaiming the disease, it nevertheless must satisfy the expectation of any rational mind who has studied American politics even superficially, or much noted the public-festival-utterances of our public men. The senator has at least—if our report be the true one— [ocr errors]
•committed himself to the full sweep of the Industrial Revolution.
Evidently such is also the opinion of our esteemed editor, who, seizing the senator's text, has fearlessly improved upon it.
The reader cannot help being amazed, when he reads the following, to find how completely unlike it is in every respect to the quotations from the editorial we last presented. What gives us decided pleasure is the surprise we feel to find ourself forestalled (as the senator might say) in all the important criticisms of our editor with which our own mind was burthened.
We have but one more preliminary word. Should the curious reader, referring to the columns of the 41 Herald " the day after the Vendome festival, fail to find there set down the remarks below set forth, let him remember that we also experienced a like failure •on the occasion of our first reading; nor only so: we read something entirely different, — the very opposite, indeed, of most that we now are prepared to vouch for.
But is it not a gratifying thing that our independent "Herald" is not the same yesterday, today, and forever?
Keep, gentle reader, keep up the search and the expectation. You will surely some day read in that thoroughly progressive sheet something precisely like 'ihis we now present:
SENATOR EDMUNDS AT THE VENDOME.
The great praise of Socrates is that he drew the wits of Greece by his instruction and example from the vain pursuit of natural philosophy to moral inquiries, and turned their thoughts from stars and tides, and matter and motion, upon the various modes of virtue and relations of life.—Samuel Johnson, in " Rambler," June 9, 1750.
"That comparison is not always odious was illustrated by Plutarch, many centuries ago in his lives of illustrious men. The praise bestowed by Dr. Johnson upon the world-renowned Socrates comes vividly to •our mind as we are led to reflect upon the career of the eminent and gifted senator whom the people of Vermont are so fortunate as to secure as their chief representative in the councils of the nation. And again we say comparison is not odious. To lead the wits of any people from vain philosophies and pursuits and turn their thoughts upon modes of virtue and right relations of life, is always a role of honor in whatever age or country. Of those who are deserving of high praise in this respect Senator Edmunds stands, among his contemporaries, easily foremost. The brief remarks which we have the pleasure this morning to report strike no uncertain note in regard to the momentous problem, now moving steadily to the front, -of labor and its just reward.
"It will be discovered, we believe, that the timedisregarded saying, that ' the love of money is the root of all evil,' covers much of the ground it has now become by almost universal consent a duty to explore. Dr. Johnson's remark, to quote his wise words once more, that 'riches are of no value in themselves, their use is discovered only in that which they procure,' adds the common sense interpretation to the saying of the Nazarene. The love of money, not the legitimate craving for what money will bring, is the evil to be cured. Nor is it a despairing thought. Already from the lives of the best and noblest of the human race in all ages has this 'root of all evil' been eliminated. Riches for what riches will procure, — the good sense of the world is sure one day to appropriate this dictum and reprobate any contrary thought.
" Already, indeed, do we thrust it forward to throw light upon the obscurity that has so long shrouded the problem of labor. For what shall men labor? For riches? Yes, truly. In this democratic age all mankind may rightly aspire to riches. Is it not in truth the commonest of boasts that the way is open for all? That there is an equality of opportunity in the pursuit of wealth?
"If, then, the desire of wealth is a natural desire, and the pursuit of it not only permissible, but incumbent on every human being competent in mind and body,—and this is our own cherished democratic doc^ trine, which we lose no opportunity to proclaim,— why, it behooves us, as the senator has advised, to' study well the problem of capital and labor, and dis
cover why the inequnlity in this world's wealth which we behold in the ranks of the industrious continues.
"Is it not time to cry a halt?
" The growing disparity between the gains of money and muscle, between the results of financiering skill and mental or manual labor, may well cause grave senators to sound the alarm.
"Forced to content ourselves with this brief word today, we shall resume the subject tomorrow."
And so, again, patient reader!
The Senator and the Editor. IV.
The Bona Fide Editorial.
One word, reader patient, — reader interested, too, we hope,—one word to explain that, when we began giving the "Herald's" editorial we had discovered, in the previous number, we had quite forgotten that the remarks of our editor that were of real, absolute interest to us were contained in the second instalment of his views inspired by the Edmunds speech. This little fact set forth in order that you should understand our statement that the editorial utterance there furnished would constitute a full reply to the bogus editorial first introduced, we make way at once for
WORK AND WEALTH.
"In yesterday's brief comments on the remarks of Senator Edmunds at the Merchants' dinner, we alluded to the growing disparity between the gains of money and muscle; between financiering skill and mental or manual labor. It must be apparent to the dullest apprehension that this great and increasing difference in the results of different kinds of labor can not be accounted for except on the supposition of some lurking injustice. How is it that money, which of itself does nothing at all, can be manipulated so that it shall command a hundred and a thousandfold to the onefold of labor, and labor not be defrauded? Answer that, financiers, and you will go far to justify the present condition of things. In our judgment you can not answer. If you attempt, you will be confused by your own logic. For what is all your financiering but so much labor? And who are you that your labor is to your fellows, as a hundred to one?
" No, gentlemen, the complaint of labor is legitimate. Senator Edmunds spoke words of truth and soberness; there i» something wrong at bottom. The world is for all
and not for a few. In no other country has so much emphasis been laid on this fact. We have spent a century in vain efforts to establish the political significance of it. America has to learn now that industrial equality is the first step to a free civilization. All else follows.
"In what spirit, therefore, shall we approach this subject? Can any one offer a good reason why we should not regard the wide-spread discontent among the laboring classes sympathetically? It is common enough to denounce the agitators who are getting the ear of the public as 'knaves or fools,' and to decry all their various movements. Socialism, Nihilism, Communism, Anarchism are too apt to be regarded as only the wild and visionary outbreaks of ignorance and passion stirred into frantic life by demagogic appeals. But the wise and thoughtful will make no such mistake. Men like the Vermont senator understand too well the workings of human nature to harbor such a delusion. That a substantial claim for justice lies at the heart of all these outcries of reform only the ignorant will deny.
"What it that claim?
"Suppose in the investigation it shall appear that the 'criminal class' in every community, speaking with a due regard to the fact, goes dressed in broadcloth, lives on the bounty of the land, and moves in so-called highest social circles? If injustice is being done to labor, who is doing it? Who but the well-dressed manipulators of capital?
"We come to the discussion of the labor problem with the profoundest human sympathies. And with a courage, also, to be prepared for whatever startling result honest and patient research shall reveal.
"In considering the various propositions for the redress of the wrongs of labor, we encounter, first, the one rapidly coming into public approval, — that of conference and arbitration. The various labor organizations, for a long time inefficient, have grown so strong of late that capital has been forced into a more conciliatory mood. Suppose that it now consents to meet labor half way, and yield its claims with those of labor to arbitration. Are the demands of justice then met? We shall not question but that this mode of settlement may be an improvement on the past. To say, however, that it is at all satisfactory as a final adjustment of the relation between capital and labor, employer and employed, would be, in our judgment, to abandon the industrial problem as impossible of solution. It is not a little surprising that those who prate most of the 'harmony' that should exist between capital and labor in the same breath glorify arbitration? What opportunity for a third party as arbiter, unless capital and labor are belligerent? In one sentence, it may be said that arbitration is the equal rights of belligerents to be heard and have their claims adjusted in a court of compromise. This is not peace. It is only a truce. Matters are eased up, and work goes on until the next occasion when capital gets greedy or labor ambitious.
"When harmony, of which we hear so much, is really secured, it will not be by some patched-up compromise of conflicting claims, but by direct appeal to a recognized standard of equity. In other words, the labor question will be settled by principle, and not by the kindly offices of a court that has no known law of justice to guide it. Suppose the laborer can not live on his wages? By what principle is it known that he ought to have more, and how much more? Justice may be done, or injustice may be done, by this guess work of the arbiter. Equal rights, fair play in letting out to a third party a decision that ought easily to be made by the two parties directly interested, is only a shifting of responsibility, and to no other purpose than preventing an open fight and letting matters drift a while longer.
"It is said that the employer is wrong when he insists on dictating the terms on which he will employ labor. And the laborer is wrong when he assumes alone to say on what terms he will dispose of his labor. Is not this to confess again that capital and labor are at odds?
"But, aside from this fact, the statement needs clearing up. As between man and man every employer has an absolute right to say what he will pay an employee for his labor. And the right of a laborer to say what he will accept for his labor can not be gainsaid. Neither can dictate to the other. They are equals. The one may have the other at a disadvantage, and so force the other into submission. That is, the one can starve the other out. In this sense there may be dictation. It does not follow, however, that dictation of this sort is always wrong. If A wishes to employ B, and B refuses to be employed except at an exorbitant price, A by refusing to pay that much, or more than a specified sum, may be said to dictate terms to B, if B must yield or starve. But would there be any injustice in such dictation? So, on the other hand, B might dictate terms to A and do nothing unjust. It is when one party or the other getting the advantage forces or dictates terms that are unjust that the wrong is done. But, as we have before remarked, who knows when the terms are unjust? How is this matter of wages to be determined? 'We will not work on starvation wages." You wish to live comfortably and lay by something for old age ? 'Certainly; why not?' And so you consider that your labor is worth enough to allow you to do that ? ' Certainly; it ought to be.' True,—it ought to be. But you and your neighbor differ widely in regard to living 'comfortably.' If you are both to determine your wrongs by that standard, though you may do precisely the same work, the amounts you will each receive in recompense therefor may vary widely. Thus the only standard of equity attained is each individual's caprice or whim. Or, it may be his honest conviction of what he needs in order to live property. But the proposition stated any way can be reduced to an absurdity. If you are to claim reward according to your needs and not in accordance with the service you render, the highwayman can urge precisely the same claim. He may be as much in need as you or the best of men."
Reader, as we find~after all that we shall have to divide this editorial and reserve a part for another time, this may be as good a place to stop as any.
The Senator and the Editor. V.
We hope" the reader will agree with us when we remark that our newly emancipated editor, whose views •we are to continue through this chapter, shows marked ability in the way he seizes the right points to be developed in the discussion of the labor question. He could not have done better than to clinch as he has done the point of arbitration. So much stress has been laid upon this supposed solution of the case between «mployers and the employed that it is quite time the subject was treated to an editorial airing after the fashion of this we reproduce from the "Herald." That arbitration is but a "lubricating" makeshift, and no real intervention of a conciliatory or peace-making principle, a brief act of reflection suffices to show. Some selfadjusting idea of equity is the desideratum.
But—we will not anticipate.
The editor continues:
"We are told that when 'money is employed by its rightful owners to earn more money,' etc.
"'That is,' says Deacon Rich to Jacob "Poor, 'I have money; you have none. You have labor; I have none —or don't care to have. Now, you can't labor unless I bid my money to give you an opportunity. It must do this for you in order to earn more money for me. Well, Jacob, you shall work your ten or fourteen hours six days of the week. I will sit by and watch you and my money do the work. In due season I shall expect my money to return to me seven-eighths of the labor done.'
" Jacob responds with temper: ' No you don't 1 That is a hoggish game."
"But the deacon is fat, or he can live on the fat of the land; he is defiant, and will wait till Jacob's stomach calls him to terms.
"But how does Jacob differ from the deacon? In no essential particular. Let the two swap places, and Jacob would be as obdurate and hoggish as Deacon Rich has been. He would then want his money to be making all the money. Of what, then, is he able to complain? Of bad luck, shall we call it? Of bad luck and that the deacon is too hoggish. But in the brain of neither himself nor the good Christian deacon has been lodged a single idea as to what ought to be the state of a true reciprocity between them. It may be argued that the deacon has gained his advantage over Jacob by his former thrift, by hia diligent labor and economy; or by inheritance from some thrifty ancestor. Let Jacob but be thrifty and economical, and one day he may put himself in an advantageous situation also. But it seems to strike no one that there is an absolute denial of equity in this claim that money can in any sense have an advantage over labor. The old saying that 'the laborer is worthy of his hire' should mean precisely this,—that labor can in no way be defrauded of its full equivalent in whatever exchange it may make. We can not now devote the space to this thought we could wish. But in one brief sentence we say that the true economist of the future will devise for Deacon Rich but one method for the increase of his money,— he must add thereto by his own labor and not by that of Jacob Poor. If he puts his money into business and manages the business, for that labor he is 'worthy of his hire.' But for his money — what hire is it worthy of? Let Jacob Poor and himself continue to lie idle, and he will continue to discover. But, it is asked,— and with such assurance one understands that the question is believed to be unanswerable,—what shall compensate him for the risk he takes in putting his money into whatever sort of working establishment? Suppose he ventures and loses all? Small inducement one would have if there was not the incentive of some additional profit, — if he, in other words, must use his own capital and then work for bare wages like any other common workman!
"So ingrained is the prejudice in favor of this argument, so universally is it accepted as wholly sound and rational, a simple utterance of truth in regard to it, weare well aware, will pass for something very like nonsense. It is always so. The*old error, mountain high and madly worshipped, dwarfs for a long time the modest, unpretending, but omnipotent little truth. And then, the truth, seen through the medium of longcherished error, becomes itself distorted, if not hideous. As Swedenborg said with emphasis, "the truth let down into hell becomes a lie." But we will beseech our readers to put aside, if possible, for a little time at least, their,—we cannot say convictions, for conviction implies a result arrived at by a sustained course of reasoning,— so we must again say their prejudices, or prejudgments. Whosoever will stand outside of prejudice and supposed self-interest and seek the truth for the truth's own sake, the same shall see it and be saved.
" It is for your benefit, Deacon Rich, that the above paragraph has been written. We fear that it has as yet made but little impression on your mind, for all the while, — we venture our surmise,—you have been thinking: 'If Jacob Poor is to share my prosperity, why should he not also share in my adversity? Suppose I fail in business, does he fail with me?' And you have answered your queries as follows yourself: 'No, he doesn't, but he ought.' Now, Deacon, this train of thought has been exciting your mind simply because you have been unwilling first to face the truth of the matter for the truth's own sake. As a Christian deacon, you should long ago have learned the true significance of the text: ' Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all things you deserve shall be added unto you.' You know that 'God is love.' God is also truth. Then be content to lie in the hands of this God—truth—as clay in the hands of the potter. "The Truth is, good deacon, that, when you enter into business life, you do so primarily for your own benefit. Indirectly you may benefit others and be very glad to do so. It would be a sorry world in which it were impossible that our individual efforts to support and increase the worth of our individual selves should render also a helpful service to our fellow-men. And our losses I That our friends and neighbors must not in any sense bear them,—that would be, also, a most unsocial and grievous doctrine. For it would argue that we have no common weal in this earth-existence, but were cut off, isolated one from the other, the fleetest in no way concerned if the devil got the hindmost. But for all this it remains true that you should engage in no business, should invest your money in no enterprise, which you do not feel will be, after its kind, a gain and a blessing to yourself. Now, investing your money in a business you approve, and devoting your energies to carrying it on properly, you take your own risks. You can make no demand upon your neighbor Smith, in case you come to grief, but that of good will. You and he have dealt justly one by the other; the account is square between you. Why is not the same true as between yourself and Jacob Poor? What just claim have you on him for assistance? Why should you ask him to take a part of the risk you think you run in investing your capital? The wage you pay him has no more to do with your risk than has the price of the cow you bought of Farmer Smith. To each you have given precisely and only his due,—the equivalent, let us suppose, of what you have received. Ah I you exclaim, that sounds all well enough, but it is because we evade the real point at issue. You insist that you make on Mr. Jacob Poor no claim for which you or your money does not render an equivalent. You tell us that we forget that you have a legitimate right to a portion of Jacob Poor's labor as a return for the use of your capital. We reply that you have not. You have no more right to his labor than to Smith's. For, —please make a note of it,—it is not Jacob who is using your capital. You are using it yourself. Jacob is as innocent of any use of it as Smith is."
Reader, this editorial well is like that well of water spoken of in the New Testament as "springing up into everlasting life." Inevitably the conclusion of the draught must be deferred till another time. H.
The Senator and the Editor. VI.
"We wish to finish with our editorial from the " Herald" in this number, but, in order to do so, we are obliged to omit a few paragraphs that should properly continue from our last. They are an amplification and rounding-out of the argument against the claim that Deacon Rich had made for compensation against the supposed risk he would run in putting his money-capital into business. We think we can better omit this part than that that follows. The statements of the new truth that property has no power of increase and that nothing can be claimed in its behalf already given are we think sufficient to lead those who follow them in the spirit of truth into all truth. One thought, unnoticed or not presented by our editor, we will venture here to supply. To the Deacon's query whether, if no inducement was offered in the shape of interest or profit on moneys invested as a security against losses, capitalists would be found in any great numbers to embark in business enterprises, one pertinent response might be the following: Is it so bad a thing to contemplate the possibility of a check being placed upon these multitudinous wild-cat enterprises and speculations? Deacon Rich and his co-conspirators will act with more circumspection when they come to feel that they have to shoulder their own risks. But in any legitimate business, under the sway of better ideas of equity, the risks, so-called, will greatly diminish, if they do not wholly disappear.
"But, to conclude with the editorial of the " Herald ": " If what we have said in regard to the accumulation of wealth can be accepted as truth,—and we challenge any contrary showing,—then there remains—having dismissed the popular remedial measures as only tentative or approximating efforts—to consider what course lies within the power of the well-disposed by which to reach some solvent principle that shall touch that 'something wrong at bottom,' removing and destroying it forever.
" For ourselves, we are quite ready to enter upon the work of the great Reform. Why shall we not, then, at once present our demands?
"We will do so —and beg that no reader will turu away from or neglect them, unless he can say: ' I have considered them, and I am able to declare that they are without a practical value.'
"1. We demand a new civilization, because we demand a true civilization. This civilization shall be ultra-democratic. It shall omit no individual, however humble or of whatever race, from its constant, nourishing, saving, ennobling care. It shall be the guardian of the Human Race.
"2. We demand—hi summing up the characteristics of the new civilization—perfect freedom for the individual in all concerns in which he is the necessary responsible agent, —that is, in all that pertains to his own welfare: which proposition defends each individual from invasion of his personal rights against the world.
"3. The invasion of the State in all its multitudinous forms must cease. Let it be understood that invasion is invasion. Popular sanction by ballot or otherwise in no way changes its character. The methods of the highwayman in his attack upon individuals are simpler, but what added right does the State secure by its multiplication of forms and ceremonies? Right is right, and wrong is wrong; no added pomp and show can change the character of either.
" 4. The invasions of capital would practically cease, if they were not backed up and supported by the State. How completely is the individual cornered and defrauded by this invader's monopoly of the business of issuing money? The right of banking should be inalienable: the individual's necessity in operating his capital. If this has been sometime an enigma, the new civilization will demonstrate it. Then, it will be self-evident—even to the blind.
"5. We demand all these clearings out of the survivals of the old invasive civilization in order that Liberty, in whose eyes 'shines that high light whereby the world is saved,' may have her opportunity. We need to return to the more natural and trustful ways of the earlier races, aided and abetted by all the newly discovered laws and agencies that give the earth into the hands of man, dedicating it to his service.
"6. Left thus unprotected in their schemes of self-aggrandizement against individuals as rightfully here and as rightfully heirs to freedom and power as themselves, the moneyed despoilers of the race will lose their grip. There will be no basis for their operations either in the might of governments, or in un-moral instincts of the populace: for it shall not be said, then, that every poor man is a money despot in embryo. The tyranny of money, the devastations and enslavements of capital, will have no lodging in the popular ambition. The new civilization we demand, coming not by force and outward display, but in the intelligence and good-will of the race, shall put an end forever to the despotic idea.
"7. We demand of all labor organizations everywhere marching to the front, as if the decisive battle of man's industrial enfranchisement was to be fought with a foreign foe, that they halt where they are and examine well their own declared cause. Let them set forth their principles in the light of liberty, and consider well the forceful methods they are pledging themselves to adopt. We assure them that the foe they seek is yet lodged in then- own camp. It is of their own household. Let them not persist in fighting fire, with fire. The water of life, the flowing force of right, the flooding light of liberty, are far more powerful and successful agencies.
"8. Finally, we demand discussion. If there are any who think that we are astray in all this, let them come forward and speak their mind. Our columns are open, our welcome shall be cordial. Knights of Labor! To you especially we address our challenge. For you have proclaimed yourselves chief and foremost in the cause of industrial reform, as ' liberty-loving and earnestly truth-seeking.' We do not doubt for an instant your sincerity of feeling. But we do suggest that there is also such a thing as intellectual sincerity,—the following of truth for truth's own sake. If you swerve from this latter following, no sincerity of any other sort will avail you. "Tis a common failing. But to be delivered from it, is the beginning of wisdom.
" Now, we have put our hand to the plough; we shall not turn back.
" The 'Herald' declares for the new civilization!"
Reader, our task is done. H.