Part 7 out of 7
In all our operations in this capacity we do not propose to make profit
out of those we benefit; paying over the whole amount received, less
say one halfpenny in the shilling, or some such small sum which will go
towards the expense of providing boards for "sandwich" boardmen, the
hire of barrows, purchase of necessary tools, &c., &c.
We are very anxious to help that most needy class, the "boardmen," many
of whom are "sweated" out of their miserable earnings; receiving often
as low as one shilling for a day's toil.
WE APPEAL TO ALL WHO SYMPATHISE WITH SUFFERING HUMANITY, especially
Religious and Philanthropic individuals and Societies, to assist us in
our efforts, by placing orders for the supply of Boardmen, Messengers,
Bill-distributors, Window-cleaners and other kinds of labour in our
hands. Our charge for "boardmen" will be 2s. 2d., including boards, the
placing and proper supervision of the men, &c. Two shillings, at least,
will go direct to the men; most of the hirers of boardmen pay this, and
some even more, but often not more than one-half reaches the men.
We shall be glad to forward you further information of our plans,
or will send a representative to further explain, or to take orders,
on receiving notice from you to that effect.
Believe me to be,
Yours faithfully, etc.
CENTRAL LABOUR BUREAU.
TO THE UNEMPLOYED.--MALE AND FEMALE.
A Free Registry, for all kinds of unemployed labour, has been opened at
the above address. If you want work, call and make yourself and your
wants known. Enter your name and address and wants on the Registers, or
fill up form below, and hand it in at above address. Look over the
advertising pages of the papers provided. Tables with pens and ink are
provided for you to write for situations. If you live at a distance,
fill up this form giving all particulars, or references, and forward to
Commissioner Smith, care of the Labour Bureau.
Kind of work wanted........................................
Wages you ask..............................................
During past 10 years have I
you had regular employment? I
How long for? I
What kind of work? I
What work can you do? I
What have you worked at I
at odd times? I
How much did you earn when I
regularly employed? I
How much did you earn when I
irregularly employed? I
Are you married? I
Is wife living? I
How many children and ages? I
If you were put on a farm to I
work at anything you could do, I
and were supplied with food, I
lodging, and clothes, with a I
view to getting you on your feet, I
would you do all you could? I
HOW BEGGARY WAS ABOLISHED IN BAVARIA BY COUNT RUMFORD.
Count Rumford was an American officer who served with considerable
distinction in the Revolutionary War in that country, and afterwards
settled in England. From thence he went to Bavaria, where he was
promoted to the chief command of its army, and also was energetically
employed in the Civil Government. Bavaria at this time literally
swarmed with beggars, who were not only an eyesore and discredit to the
nation, but a positive injury to the State. The Count resolved upon the
extinction of this miserable profession, and the following extracts
from his writings describe the method by which he accomplished it: --
"Bavaria, by the neglect of the Government, and the abuse of the
kindness and charity of its amiable people, had become infested with
beggars, with whom mingled vagabonds and thieves. They were to the body
politic what parasites and vermin are to people and dwellings--
breeding by the same lazy neglect."--(Page 14.)
"In Bavaria there were laws which made provision for the poor, but they
suffered them to fall into neglect. Beggary had become general."--
"In short," says Count Rumford, "these detestable vermin swarmed
everywhere; and not only their impudence and clamorous importunity were
boundless, but they had recourse to the most diabolical arts and the
most horrid crimes in the prosecution of their infamous trade.
They exposed and tortured their own children, and those they stole for
the purpose, to extort contributions from the charitable."--(Page 15.)
"In the large towns beggary was an organised imposture, with a sort of
government and police of its own. Each beggar had his beat, with
orderly successions and promotions, as with other governments.
There were battles to decide conflicting claims, and a good beat was
not unfreguently a marriage portion or a thumping legacy."--(Page 16.)
"He saw that it was not enough to forbid beggary by law or to punish it
by imprisonment. The beggars cared for neither. The energetic Yankee
Statesman attacked the question as he did problems in physical science.
He studied beggary and beggars. How would he deal with one individual
beggar? Send him for a month to prison to beg again as soon as he came
out? That is no remedy. The evident course was to forbid him to beg,
but at the same time to give him the opportunity to labor; to teach him
to work, to encourage him to honest industry. And the wise ruler sets
himself to provide food, comfort, and work for every beggar and
vagabond in Bavaria, and did it."--(Page 17.)
"Count Rumford, wise and just, sets himself to reform the whole class
of beggars and vagabonds, and convert them into useful citizens, even
those who had sunk into vice and crime.
"'What,' he asked himself, 'is, after the necessaries of life, the
first condition of comfort?' Cleanliness, which animals and insects
prize, which in man affects his moral character, and which is akin to
godliness. The idea that the soul is defiled and depraved by what is
unclean has long prevailed in all ages. Virtue never dwelt long with
filth. Our bodies are at war with everything that defiles them.
"His first step, after a thorough study and consideration of the
subject, was to provide in Munich, and at all necessary points, large,
airy, and even elegant Houses of Industry, and store them with the
tools and materials of such manufactures as were most needed, and would
be most useful. Each house was provided with a large dining-room and a
cooking apparatus sufficient to furnish an economical dinner to every
worker. Teachers were engaged for each kind of labour. Warmth, light,
comfort, neatness, and order, in and around these houses, made them
attractive. The dinner every day was gratis, provided at first by the
Government, later by the contributions of the citizens. Bakers brought
stale bread; butchers, refuse meat; citizens, their broken victuals--
all rejoicing in being freed from the nuisance of beggary. The teachers
of handicrafts were provided by the Government. And while all this was
free, everyone was paid the full value for his labour. You shall not
beg; but here is comfort, food, work, pay. There was no ill-usage, no
harsh language; in five years not a blow was given even to a child by
"When the preparations for this great experiment had been silently
completed, the army--the right arm of the governing power, which had
been prepared tor the work by its own thorough reformation--was
called into action in aid of the police and the civil magistrates.
Regiments of cavalry were so disposed as to furnish every town with a
detachment, with patrols on every highway, and squads in the villages,
keeping the strictest order and discipline, paying the utmost deference
to the civil authorities, and avoiding all offence to the people;
instructed when the order was given to arrest every beggar, vagrant,
and deserter and bring them before the magistrates. This military
police cost nothing extra to the country beyond a few cantonments,
and this expense to the whole country was less than #3,000 a-year.
"The 1st of January, 1790--New Year's Day, from time immemorial
the beggars' holiday, when they swarmed in the streets, expecting
everyone to give--the commissioned and non-commissioned officers of
three regiments of infantry were distributed early in the morning at
different points of Munich to wait for orders. Lieutenant-General Count
Rumford assembled at his residence the chief officers of the army and
principal magistrates of the city, and communicated to them his plans
for the campaign. Then, dressed in the uniform of his rank, with his
orders and decorations glittering on his breast, setting an example to
the humblest soldier, he led them into the street, and had scarcely
reached it before a beggar approached wished him a 'Happy New Year,'
and waited for the expected aims. 'I went up to him, says Count Rumford,
'and laying my hand gently on his shoulder, told him that henceforth
begging would not be permitted in Munich; that if he was in need,
assistance would be given him; and if detected begging again, he would
be severely punished.' He was then sent to the Town Hall, his name and
residence inscribed upon the register, and he was directed to repair to
the Military House of Industry next morning, where he would find
dinner, work, and wages. Every officer, every magistrate, every
soldier, followed the example set them; every beggar was arrested,
and in one day a stop was put to beggary in Bavaria. It was banished
out of the kingdom.
"And now let us see what was the progress and success of this
experiment. It seemed a risk to trust the raw materials of industry--
wool, flax, hemp, etc.--to the hands of common beggars; to render
debauched and depraved class orderly and useful, was an arduous
enterprise. Of course the greater number made bad work at the
beginning. For months they cost more than they came to. They spoiled
more horns than they made spoons. Employed first in the coarser and
ruder manufactures, they were advanced as they improved, and were for
some time paid more than they earned--paid to encourage good will,
effort, and perseverance. These were worth any sum. The poor people saw
that they were treated with more than justice--with kindness. It was
very evident that it was all for their good. At first there was
confusion, but no insubordination. They were awkward, but not
insensible to kindness. The aged, the weak, and the children were put
to the easiest tasks. The younger children were paid simply to look on
until they begged to join in the work, which seemed to them like play.
Everything around them was made clean, quiet, orderly, and pleasant.
Living at their own homes, they came at a fixed hour in the morning.
They had at noon a hot, nourishing dinner of soup and bread. Provisions
were either contributed or bought wholesale, and the economies of
cookery were carried to the last point of perfection. Count Rumford had
so planned the cooking apparatus that three women cooked a dinner for
one thousand persons at a cost though wood was used, of 4 1/2d. for
fuel; and the entire cost of the dinner for 1,200 was only #1 7s 6 1/2d.,
or about one-third of a penny for each person! Perfect order was kept
--at work, at meals, and everywhere. As soon as a company took its
place at table, the food having been previously served, all repeated a
short prayer. 'Perhaps,' says Count Rumford, 'I ought to ask pardon for
mentioning so old-fashioned a custom, but I own I am old-fashioned
enough myself to like such things.'
"These poor people were generously paid for their labour, but something
more than cash payment was necessary. There was needed the feeling of
emulation, the desire to excel, the sense of honour, the love of glory.
Not only pay, but rewards, prizes, distinctions, were given to the more
deserving. Peculiar care was taken with the children. They were first
paid simply for being present, idle lookers-on, until they begged with
tears to be allowed to work. 'How sweet those tears were to me,' says
Count Rumford, 'can easily be imagined.' Certain hours were spent by
them in a school, for which teachers were provided.
"The effect of these measures was very remarkable. Awkward as the
people were, they were not stupid, and learned to work with unexpected
rapidity. More wonderful was the change in their manners, appearances
and the very expression of their countenances. Cheerfulness and
gratitude replaced the gloom of misery and the sullenness of despair.
Their hearts were softened; they were most grateful to their benefactor
for themselves, still more for their children. These worked with their
parents, forming little industrial groups, whose affection excited the
interest of every visitor. Parents were happy in the industry and
growing intelligence of their children, and the children were proud of
their own achievements.
"The great experiment was a complete and triumphant success. When Count
Rumford wrote his account of it, it had been five years in operation;
it was, financially, a paying speculation, and had not only banished
beggary, but had wrought an entire change in the manners, habits, and
very appearance of the most abandoned and degraded people in the
kingdom."--("Count Rumford," pages 18-24.)
"Are the poor ungrateful? Count Rumford did not find them so. When,
from the exhaustion of his great labours, he fell dangerously ill,
these poor people whom he had rescued from lives of shame and misery,
spontaneously assembled, formed a procession, and went in a body to the
Cathedral to offer their united prayers for his recovery. When he was
absent in Italy, and supposed to be dangerously ill in Naples, they set
apart a certain time every day, after work hours, to pray for their
benefactor. After an absence of fifteen months, Count Rumford returned
with renewed health to Munich--a city where there was work for everyone,
and not one person whose wants were not provided for. When he visited
the military workhouse, the reception given him by these poor people
drew tears from the eyes of all present. A few days after he
entertained eighteen hundred of them in the English garden--a festival
at which 30,000 of the citizens of Munich assisted."
("Count Rumford," pages 24-25.)
THE CO-OPERATIVE EXPERIMENT AT RALAHINE,
"The outrages of the 'Whitefeet,' 'Lady Clare Boys,' and 'Terry Alts'
(labourers) far exceeded those of recent occurrence; yet no remedy but
force was attempted, except by one Irish landlord, Mr. John Scott
Vandeleur, of Ralahine, county Clare, late high sheriff of his county.
Early in 1831 his family had been obliged to take flight, in charge of
an armed police force, and his steward had been murdered by one of the
labourers, having been chosen by lot at a meeting held to decide who
should perpetrate the deed. Mr. Vandeleur came to England to seek
someone who would aid him in organising the labourers into an
agricultural and manufacturing association, to be conducted on
co-operative principles, and he was recommended to Mr. Craig, who, at
great sacrifice of his position and prospects, consented to give his
"No one but a man of rare zeal and courage would have attempted so
apparently hopeless a task as that which Mr. Craig undertook. Both the
men whom he had to manage--the Terry Alts who had murdered their
master's steward--and their surroundings were as little calculated to
give confidence in the success of the scheme as they well could be.
The men spoke generally the Irish language, which Mr. Craig did not
understand, and they looked upon him with suspicion as one sent to worm
out of them the secret of the murder recently committed. He was
consequently treated with coldness, and worse than that. On one
occasion the outline of his grave was cut out of the pasture near his
dwelling, and he carried his life in his hand. After a time, however,
he won the confidence of these men, rendered savage as they had been by
"The farm was let by Mr. Vandeleur at a fixed rent, to be paid in fixed
quantities of farm produce, which, at the prices ruling in 1830-31,
would bring in #900, which included interest on buildings, machinery,
and live stock provided by Mr. Vandeleur. The rent alone was #700.
As the farm consisted of 618 acres, only 268 of which were under
tillage, this rent was a very high one--a fact which was acknowledged
by the landlord. All profits after payment of rent and interest
belonged to the members, divisible at the end of the year if desired.
They started a co-operative store to supply themselves with food and
clothing, and the estate was managed by a committee of the members,
who paid every male and female member wages for their labour in labour
notes which were exchangeable at the store for goods or cash.
Intoxicating drink or tobacco were prohibited. The committee each day
allotted each man his duties. The members worked the land partly as
kitchen garden and fruit orchards, and partly as dairy farm, stall
feeding being encouraged and root crops grown for the cattle. Pigs,
poultry, &c., were reared. Wages at the time were only 8d per day for
men and 5d. for women, and the members were paid at these rates.
Yet, as they lived chiefly on potatoes and milk produced on the farm,
which, as well as mutton and pork, were sold to them at extremely low
prices, they saved money or rather notes. Their health and appearance
quickly improved, so much so that, with disease raging round them,
there was no case of death or serious illness among them while the
experiment lasted. The single men lived together in a large building,
and the families in cottages. Assisted by Mrs. Craig, the secretary
carried out the most enlightened system of education for the young,
those old enough being alternately employed on the farm and in the
school. Sanitary arrangements were in a high state of perfection, and
physical and moral training were most carefully attended to. In respect
of these and other social arrangements, Mr. Craig was a man much before
his time, and he has since made himself a name in connection with their
application in various parts of the country.
"The 'New System,' as the Ralahine experiment was called, though at
first regarded with suspicion and derision, quickly gained favour in
the district, so that before long outsiders were extremely anxious to
become members of the association. In January, 1832, the community
consisted of fifty adults and seventeen children. The total number
afterwards increased to eighty-one. Everything was prosperous, and the
members of the association were not only benefitted themselves, but
their improvement exercised a beneficent influence upon the people in
their neighbourhood. It was hoped that other landlords would imitate
the excellent example of Mr. Vandeleur, especially as his experiment
was one profitable to himself, as well as calculated to produce peace
and contentment in disturbed Ireland. Just when these hopes were raised
to their highest degree of expectancy, the happy community at Ralahine
was broken up through the ruin and flight of Mr. Vandeleur, who had
lost his property by gambling. Everything was sold off, and the labour
notes saved by the members would have been worthless had not Mr. Craig,
with noble self-sacrifice, redeemed them out of his own pocket.
"We have given but a very scanty description of the system pursued at
Ralahine. The arrangements were in most respects admirable,
and reflected the greatest credit upon Mr. Craig as an organiser and
administrator. To his wisdom, energy, tact, and forbearance the success
of his experiment was in great measure due, and it is greatly to be
regretted that he was not in a position to repeat the attempt under
more favourable circumstances." ("History of a Co-operative Farm.")
CARLYLE ON THE SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS OF THE NATION
FORTY-FIVE YEARS AGO. Inserted at the earnest request of a friend, who
was struck by the coincidence of some ideas, similar to those of this
volume, set forth so long ago, but as yet remaining unrealised, and
which I had never read.
EXTRACTS FROM "PAST AND PRESENT."
"A Prime Minister, even here in England, who shall dare believe the
heavenly omens, and address himself like a man and hero to the great
dumb-struggling heart of England, and speak out for it, and act out for
it, the God's-justice it is writhing to get uttered and perishing for
want of--yes, he too will see awaken round him, in passionate,
burning, all-defiant loyalty, the heart of England, and such a
'support' as no Division-List or Parliamentary Majority was ever yet
known to yield a man! Here as there, now as then, he who can and dare
trust the heavenly Immensities, all earthly Localities are subject to
him. We will pray for such a man and First-Lord;--yes, and far
better, we will strive and incessantly make ready, each of us, to be
worthy to serve and second such a First-Lord! We shall then be as good
as sure of his arriving; sure of many things, let him arrive or not.
"Who can despair of Governments that passes a Soldier's Guard-house, or
meets a red-coated man on the streets? That a body of men could be got
together to kill other men when you bade them: this, a priori, does it
not seem one of the impossiblest things? Yet look, behold it: in the
stolidest of Do-nothing Governments, that impossibility is a thing
done."--(Carlyle, "Past and Present," page 223.)
"Strange, interesting, and yet most mournful to reflect on. Was this,
then, of all the things mankind had some talent for, the one thing
important to learn well, and bring to perfection; this of successfully
killing one another? Truly, you have learned it well, and carried the
business to a high perfection. It is incalculable what, by arranging,
commanding, and regimenting you can make of men. These thousand
straight-standing, firm-set individuals, who shoulder arms, who march,
wheel, advance, retreat; and are, for your behoof a magazine charged
with fiery death, in the most perfect condition of potential activity.
Few months ago, till the persuasive sergeant came, what were they?
Multiform ragged losels, runaway apprentices, starved weavers thievish
valets; an entirely broken population, fast tending towards the
treadmill. But the persuasive sergeant came, by tap of drum enlisted,
or formed lists of them, took heartily to drilling them; and he and you
have made them this! Most potent effectual for all work whatsoever,
is wise planning, firm, combining, and commanding among men. Let no man
despair of Governments who looks on these two sentries at the Horse
Guards and our United Service clubs. I could conceive an Emigration
Service, a Teaching Service, considerable varieties of United and
Separate Services, of the due thousands strong, all effective as this
Fighting Service is; all doing their work like it--which work, much
more than fighting, is henceforth the necessity of these new ages we
are got into! Much lies among us, convulsively, nigh desperately,
struggling to be born."--("Past and Present," page 224.)
"It was well, all this, we know; and yet it was not well.
Forty soldiers, I am told, will disperse the largest Spitalfields mob;
forty to ten thousand, that is the proportion between drilled and
undrilled. Much there is which cannot yet be organised in this world,
but somewhat also which can--somewhat also which must. When one
thinks, for example, what books are become and becoming for us, what
operative Lancashires are become; what a Fourth Estate and innumerable
virtualities not yet got to be actualities are become and becoming,
one sees organisms enough in the dim huge future, and 'United Services'
quite other than the redcoat one; and much, even in these years,
struggling to be born!"--("Past and Present," page 226.)
"An effective 'Teaching Service,' I do consider that there must be;
some education secretary, captain-general of teachers, who will
actually contrive to get us taught. Then again, why should there not be
an 'Emigration Service,' and secretary with adjuncts, with funds,
forces, idle navy ships, and ever-increasing apparatus, in fine an
effective system of emigration, so that at length before our twenty
years of respite ended, every honest willing workman who found England
too strait, and the 'organisation of labour' not yet sufficiently
advanced, might find likewise a bridge built to carry him into new
western lands, there to 'organise' with more elbow room some labour for
himself? There to be a real blessing, raising new corn for us,
purchasing new webs and hatchets from us; leaving us at least in peace;
instead of staying here to be a physical-force Chartist, unblessed and
no blessing! Is it not scandalous to consider that a Prime Minister
could raise within the year, as I have seen it done, a hundred and
twenty millions sterling to shoot the French; and we are stopped short
for want of the hundredth part of that to keep the English living?
The bodies of the English living, and the souls of the English living,
these two 'Services,' an Education Service and an Emigration Service,
these with others, will have actually to be organised.
"A free bridge for emigrants! Why, we should then be on a par with
America itself, the most favoured of all lands that have no government;
and we should have, besides, so many traditions and mementos of
priceless things which America has cast away. We could proceed
deliberately to organise labour not doomed to perish unless we effected
it within year and day every willing worker that proved superfluous,
finding a bridge ready for him. This verily will have to be done;
the time is big with this. Our little Isle is grown too narrow for us;
but the world is wide enough yet for another six thousand years.
England's sure markets will be among new colonies of Englishmen in all
quarters of the Globe. All men trade with all men when mutually
convenient, and are even bound to do it by the Maker of Men.
Our friends of China, who guiltily refused to trade in these
circumstances--had we not to argue with them, in cannon-shot at last,
and convince them that they ought to trade? 'Hostile tariffs' will
arise to shut us out, and then, again, will fall, to let us in;
but the sons of England--speakers of the English language, were it
nothing more--will in all times have the ineradicable predisposition to
trade with England. Mycale was the Pan-Ionian--rendezvous of all the
tribes of Ion--for old Greece; why should not London long continue the
All Saxon Home, rendezvous of all the 'Children of the Harz-Rock,'
arriving, in select samples, from the Antipodes and elsewhere by steam
and otherwise, to the 'season' here? What a future! Wide as the world,
if we have the heart and heroism for it, which, by Heaven's blessing,
"Keep not standing fixed and rooted,
Briskly venture, briskly roam;
Head and hand, where'er thou foot it,
And stout heart are still at home.
In what land the sun does visit
Brisk are we, what e'er betide;
To give space for wandering is it
That the world was made so wide.
"Fourteen hundred years ago it was a considerable 'Emigration Service,'
never doubt it, by much enlistment, discussion, and apparatus that we
ourselves arrived in this remarkable island, and got into our present
difficulties among others."--("Past and Present," pages 228-230)
"The main substance of this immense problem of organising labour, and
first of all of managing the working classes, will, it is very clear,
have to be solved by those who stand practically in the middle of it,
by those who themselves work and preside over work. Of all that can be
enacted by any Parliament in regard to it, the germs must already lie
potentially extant in those two classes who are to obey such enactment.
A human chaos in which there is no light, you vainly attempt to
irradiate by light shed on it; order never can arise there."
("Past and Present," pages 231-32.)
"Look around you. Your world-hosts are all in mutiny, in confusion,
destitution; on the eve of fiery wreck and madness. They will not march
farther for you, on the sixpence a day and supply-and-demand principle:
they will not; nor ought they; nor can they. Ye shall reduce them to
order; begin reducing them to order, to just subordination; noble
loyalty in return for noble guidance. Their souls are driven nigh mad;
let yours be sane and ever saner. Not as a bewildered bewildering mob,
but as a firm regimented mass, with real captains over them, will these
men march any more. All human interests, combined human endeavours,
and social growth in this world have, at a certain stage of their
development, required organising and work, the grandest of human
interests, does not require it.
"God knows the task will be hard, but no noble task was ever easy.
This task will wear away your lives and the lives of your sons and
grandsons; but for what purpose, if not for tasks like this, were lives
given to men? Ye shall cease to count your thousand-pound scalps;
the noble of you shall cease! Nay, the very scalps, as I say,
will not long be left, if you count only these. Ye shall cease wholly
to be barbarous vulturous Chactaws, and become noble European
nineteenth-century men. Ye shall know that Mammon, in never such gigs
and flunky 'respectabilities' in not the alone God; that of himself he
is but a devil and even a brute-god.
"Difficult? Yes, it will be difficult. The short-fibre cotton; that,
too, was difficult. The waste-cotton shrub, long useless, disobedient
as the thistle by the wayside; have ye not conquered it, made it into
beautiful bandana webs, white woven shirts for men, bright tinted air
garments wherein flit goddesses? Ye have shivered mountains asunder,
made the hard iron pliant to you as soft putty; the forest-giants--
marsh-jotuns--bear sheaves of golden grain; AEgir--the Sea-Demon
himself stretches his back for a sleek highway to you, and on
Firehorses and Windhorses ye career. Ye are most strong.
Thor, red-bearded, with his blue sun-eyes, with his cheery heart and
strong thunder-hammer, he and you have prevailed. Ye are most strong,
ye Sons of the icy North, of the far East, far marching from your rugged
Eastern Wildernesses, hitherward from the gray dawn of Time!
Ye are Sons of the Jotun-land; the land of Difficulties Conquered.
Difficult? You must try this thing. Once try it with the understanding
that it will and shall have to be done. Try it as ye try the paltrier
thing, making of money! I will bet on you once more, against all
Jotuns, Tailor-gods, Double-barrelled Law-wards, and Denizens of Chaos
whatsoever!"--("Past and Present," pages 236-37.)
"A question arises here: Whether, in some ulterior, perhaps not
far-distant stage of this 'Chivalry of Labour,' your Master-Worker may
not find it possible, and needful, to grant his Workers permanent
interest in his enterprise and theirs? So that it become, in practical
result, what in essential fact and justice it ever is, a joint
enterprise; all men, from the Chief Master down to the lowest Overseer
and Operative, economically as well as loyally concerned for it?
Which question I do not answer. The answer, near or else far,
is perhaps, Yes; and yet one knows the difficulties. Despotism is
essential in most enterprises; I am told they do not tolerate 'freedom
of debate' on board a seventy-four. Republican senate and plebiscite
would not answer well in cotton mills. And yet, observe there too,
Freedom--not nomad's or ape's Freedom, but man's Freedom; this is
indispensable. We must have it, and will have it! To reconcile
Despotism with Freedom--well, is that such a mystery? Do you not
already know the way? It is to make your Despotism just. Rigorous as
Destiny, but just, too, as Destiny and its Laws. The Laws of God;
all men obey these, and have no 'Freedom' at all but in obeying them.
The way is already known, part of the way; and courage and some
qualities are needed for walking on it."
("Past and Present ," pages 241-42)
"Not a May-game is this man's life, but a battle and a march, a warfare
with principalities and powers. No idle promenade through fragrant
orange-groves and green flowery spaces, waited on by the choral Muses
and the rosy Hours: it is a stern pilgrimage through burning sandy
solitudes, through regions of thick-ribbed ice. He walks among men,
loves men, with inexpressible soft pity, as they cannot love him,
but his soul dwells in solitude in the uttermost parts of creation.
In green oases by the palm-tree wells he rests a space, but anon he has
to journey forward, escorted by the Terrors and the Splendours, the
Archdemons and Archangels. All Heaven, all Pandemonium are his escort.
The stars keen-glancing from the Immensities send tidings to him;
the graves, silent with their dead, from the Eternities.
Deep calls for him unto Deep."--("Past and Present," page 249.)
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION.
The Rev. Dr. Barry read a paper at the Catholic Conference on
June 30th, 1890, from which I take the following extracts as
illustrative of the rising feeling of this subject in the Catholic
Church. The Rev. Dr. Barry began by defining the proletariat as those
who have only one possession--their labour. Those who have no land,
and no stake in the land, no house, and no home except the few sticks
of furniture they significantly call by the name, no right to employment,
but at the most a right to poor relief; and who, until the last 20 years,
had not even a right to be educated unless by the charity of their
"betters." The class which, without figure of speech or flights of
rhetoric, is homeless, landless, property less in our chief cities--
that I call the proletariat. Of the proletariat he declared there were
hundreds of thousands growing up outside the pale of all churches.
He continued: For it is frightfully evident that Christianity has not
kept pace with the population; that it has lagged terribly behind;
that, in plain words, we have in our midst a nation of heathens to whom
the ideals, the practices, and the commandments of religion are things
unknown--as little realised in the miles on miles of tenement-houses,
and the factories which have produced them, as though Christ had never
lived or never died. How could it be otherwise? The great mass of men
and women have never had time for religion. You cannot expect them to
work double-tides. With hard physical labour, from morning till night
in the surroundings we know and see, how much mind and leisure is left
for higher things on six days of the week? ... We must look this matter
in the face. I do not pretend to establish the proportion between
different sections in which these things happen. Still less am I
willing to lay the blame on those who are houseless, landless, and
property less. What I say is that if the Government of a country allows
millions of human beings to be thrown into such conditions of living
and working as we have seen, these are the consequences that must be
looked for. "A child," said the Anglican Bishop South, "has a right to
be born, and not to be damned into the world." Here have been millions
of children literally "damned into the world," neither their heads nor
their hands trained to anything useful, their miserable subsistence a
thing to be fought and scrambled for, their homes reeking dens under
the law of lease-holding which has produced outcast London and horrible
Glasgow, their right to a playground and amusement curtailed to the
running gutter, and their great "object-lesson" in life the drunken
parents who end so often in the prison, the hospital, and the
workhouse. We need not be astonished if these not only are not
Christians, but have never understood why they should be....
The social condition has created this domestic heathenism.
Then the social condition must be changed. We stand in need of a
public creed--of a social, and if you will understand the word, of a
lay Christianity. This work cannot be done by the clergy, nor within
the four walls of a church. The field of battle lies in the school,
the home, the street, the tavern, the market, and wherever men come
together. To make the people Christian they must be restored to their
homes, and their homes to them.