« AnteriorContinuar »
it not rather our business to open the highways of progress for the nations, than minutely to assign to thein their rations, or to prejudge the details of every building under which they may seek to shelter themselves ? And ought we to submit to lose the ground which has cost so much of the blood of our heroes, so many tears of our mothers, because we have not altogether explored that which we have yet to conquer ?
We say that this would be at once a crime and a folly. We say that, in the presence of the reaction every where and at every moment fortifying itself, beside the sufferings of the Peoples and the insolence of their masters, beneath the weight of shame which attaches to every systematic violation of right and of human nature, the duty of all those who have given their names to the flag of progress in the truth, is to-day to establish the ground conquered by Humanity and the general tendencies which characterise the epoch; that we must organize ourselves, choose our chiefs, and march with one common accord to overthrow all obstacles, and to open as rapidly as possible to the great realizer— The People -the way towards the end.
Let each thinker assiduously and conscienciously pursue his researches and his apostolate in favour of the special solution of which he has had a glimpse,--the emancipated peoples will know how to judge and to choose : but let him not ramble from the camp where all his brethren ought to be assembled ; let him not divest himself of his active part in the accomplishment of the common mission; let him not desert the revolution for philosophy, action for solitary thought, Democracy for any democratic system. Man is one; thought and action ought to be indissolubly united in him. At the end of the day each of us must be able to ask himself without blushing, not What hast thou thought, but What hast thou done to-day, for the holy cause of truth and eternal justice ?
Does this common ground exist ?
Yes ! it does exist. Surely we have not struggled for nearly a century, under the banner of progress, foreseen as the vital law of Humanity, without having conquered a series of truths sufficient to establish for us all a rallying sign, a baptism of fraternity, a basis of organization!
We all believe in the progressive development of human faculties and forces in the direction of the moral law which has been imposed upon us.
We believe in association as the only regular means which can attain this end.
We believe that the interpretation of the moral law and rule of progress cannot be confided to a caste or to an individual, but ought to be to the people enlightened by national education, directed by those among them whom virtue and genius point out to them as their best.
We believe in the sacredness of both individuality and society, which ought not to be effaced, nor to combat, but to harmonize together for the amelioration of all by all.
We believe in Liberty, without which all human responsibility vanishes :
In Family, City, and Country, as so many progressive spheres in which man ought to successively grow in the knowledge and practice of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and Association.
We believe in the holiness of work, in its inviolability, in the property which proceeds from it as its sign and its fruit:
In the duty of society to furnish the element of material work by credit, of intellectual and inoral work by education :
In the duty of the individual to make use of it with the utmost concurrence of his faculties for the common amelioration.
We believe--to resume
me—in a social state having God and his law at the summit,-the People, the universality of the citizens free and equal, at its basc,--progress for rule, association as means, devotion for baptism, genius and virtue for lights upon the way.
And that which we believe to be true for a single people, we believe to be true for all. There is but one sun in heaven for the whole earth; there is but one law of truth and justice for all who people it.
Inasmuch as we believe in Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and Association, for the individuals composing the State, we believe also in the Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and Association of Nations. Peoples are the individuals of Humanity. Nationality is the sign of their individaality and the guarantee of their liberty: it is sacred. Indicated at once by tradition, by language, by a determined aptitude, by a special mission to fulfil, it onght to barmonize itself with the whole, and assume its proper functions for the amelioration of all, for the progress of Humanity.
We believe that the map and organization of Europe are to be re-made, in accordance with these principles. We believe that a pact, a congress of the representatives of all nationalities, constituted and recognized, having for mission to serry the holy alliance of Peoples and to formalize the common right and duty, are at the end of all our efforts.
We believe, in a word, in a general organization, having God and his law at the summit, Humanity, the universality of nations free and equal at its base, common progress for end, alliance for means, the example of those peoples most loving and most devoted for encouragement on the way.
Is there among us a sane man who can contest these principles? Is there among as a man so exacting, so exclusive, as to declare that this collection of truths, theoretically conquered, does not afford a base advanced enough, and sufficiently defined, to place thereon-with every reserve of independence as to the elaboration of special solutions, — common organization, having for its object to work actively for their practical realization, for the emancipation of the People and of the Peoples ?
We have not now to say what this organization should be. It suffices to-day for us to establish its urgency and possibility. We are not giving a programme; we make an appeal.
To all men who share our faith :
To all those who think that every divorce, even for a time, between thought and action, is fatal:
To all those who feel stirring within their hearts, a holy indignation against the display of brute force which is made in Europe, in the service of tyranny and falsehood :
We say—come to us! Sacrifice to the one great object your secondary disagreements, and rally yourselves upon the ground we are pointing out to you.
The question is the constitution, the establishment of European democracy; the question is the foundation of the budget, the treasury of the Peoples; the question is the organization of the army of initiators. The emancipated Peoples will do the rest. For ourselves, we are to-day in their name upon the breach. Grasp hands with us, and to the combat ! London, July 22, 1850.
For the Central European Democratic Committee :
IIE foregoing Address to the Peoples of Europe was issued by the Central
(The Proscribed), “ for August, 1850. The following chapters are intended as a general explanation of the Address, by way of preface and introduction to our work. I speak, of course, without the authority of the Committee: but I believe my exposition to be in exact accordance with their views, so far as the principles are concerned. As for illustrations and applications (such for instance as the definitions of Property and specially the reference to the Land Question), they must be understood as altogether my own. The first might be fallacious and yet not vitiate the principles illustrated; the second, adapted to the condition of England, could not originate with a committee of foreigners. I believe, however, both illustrations and
applications to be in logical agreement with their principles. If not, I am open to correction. The most thorough examination and complete development of the principles here enunciated, and only broadly explained, is one principal object of this journal.
EQUALITY-LIBERTY-FRATERNITY. We beliere in Liberty, without which all Iluman responsibility vanishes : • In Equality, without which Liberty is only a deception : 'In Traternity without which Liberty and Equality would be only means without end?
Liberty-Equality-Fraternity: these words are the battle-cry of the Republican,—the formula of his faith, without the understanding whereof there is no political salvation. Liberty-Equality—Fraternity,—each and all, indissolubly united. Any attempt to solve the problem of the government or regulation of society, without due regard to each of these three terms, must be a failure.
Equality refers to the ground upon which we would build, rather than to the building: that is to say, equality is a means, not merely an end.
Liberty may be defined as the unchecked opportunity of growth: a means, also and not an end.
Fraternity is the link which makes free and equal members constitute Humanity: it is the completion of the triple law of human development.
By Equality is not meaned the equal condition of all men-as dreamed of by some of the Socialists. Equality as a result like that would be unjust and unequal. To take an easy example :--Two children are born with different facul
• A monthly journal, published in Paris and London. After the appearance of two numbers, it gave place to a weekly publication, La Voix du Proscrit (The Voice of the Proscribed), which is the organ of the European Committee.
ties. b One child is born with a faculty or predisposition for painting. Another has no such faculty; his very organization is against it (he is perhaps too short-sighted to be a painter). What would be meaned by the word Equality applied to these two children? Must both be painters, or neither? Would this be equality ? Would it be equality to prohibit one from exercising a power of good or enjoyment naturally possessed by him? To prohibit only one recollect! Republican equality is not any such prohibitory equality as this. The true equality would be to give each child the space, the material, the culture most fitted for his growth, and support, and improvement: that each might be nurtured and educated to the utmost capability of his nature, even though one should grow to be far greater than the other. Or again : Two children will not grow to the same height: must therefore the taller-growing be stunted? Two men have not the same appetite; one needs for health and sustenance twice as much meat as is needed by the other : must one starve while the other fattens to apoplexy; and because their daily rations are of the same weight, shall that be called equality ? The equality we desire is at the starting point, and to keep the course, -not to check the career of the fleetest, and make all reach the goal at once or not at all.
This is the equality which the Suffrage alone can give us. It is for this that We require the Suffrage as the public recognition and legal guarantee of our equality. For we cannot believe that we shall be treated equally (which means justly) by any who would hesitate to acknowledge and assure our equality. And this, spite of all that may be said in denial of rights, is the equality of birthright, the sense in which all men are born equal, and so should live equal. The tyrant, the aristocrat, the liberal utilitarian, deny that I have any right-even to my own life, to myself; and so they refuse me the suffrage—the public recognition and legal means of using that right. But if I have no right to my own life, who has ? Some other man or men ! Surely such a theory is too preposterous. Or is it the State alone in which all rights are vested? But what is the State ? Am I a part of it? If not, what right can a foreign State have in me? If I am a part of it, only passive, what right have any to kidnap me and make me a passive part, a tool, a slave, of some collection of my fellow men, calling themselves a State ? If I am recognized as an active part of the State,—that is conceding me the Suffrage-the claim to stand upon equal ground before the law, that the law made by all may care for all—may care that all are treated equally: that is to say, that the nature of each shall have full room for development, the life of none be hindered or cleared away to foster or make room for the rankness of another. Without this equality liberty ‘is only a deception.'
For the Liberty we want is for the growth of all. Liberty, except upon the ground of equality, would be only the liberty of the stronger,—the liberty which exists in France and England, and anong savage tribes,—the liberty which would satisfy Messrs. Proudhon, Girardin, Cobden, and others of the 'free-trade' and
b It matters not here to go into the much vexed question of circumstances. Whatever weight may be attached to the force of circumstances after birth, it cannot be denied that circumstances before birth have also weight. No two children are absolutely alike: no two are born with precisely the same aptitude or capacity.
anti-monopoly school, -the liberty which is not regulated, of the Arab kind, every-man's hand against every man, and the weakest going to the wall. We want not this liberty, but that diviner liberty which must be regulated by law, guaranteed upon the ground of human equality—the liberty which is unchecked opportunity of growth even for the least and weakest. The least, whose growth is stunted by the overshadowing of another, is a victim; there is liberty there for one, but not equality and liberty for both. The weakest whose growth must take the bent of another's stronger will, is a slave; there is liberty there too for the stronger, but not equal liberty for both.
And as liberty falls without equality; so also equality fails without liberty. There may be equality under a despot, or in a well-ordered community, without liberty; but how then shall there be various growth, free growth, and progress ?
We want equal liberty for all : because we want the various growth of all for the collective progress of Humanity. Fraternity is the organization of this equal liberty, the harmonization of this various growth. We do not believe that any man lives only for himself; or that a man's life is bounded by his family, or his neighbours, or his parish, or his country. Family, parish or city, country,--these are but so many spheres in which the human life is perfected, in which it lives, from which it draws its growth; to which it therefore owes the product of its growth. Humanity we believe to be one whole, which ought to be harmonized together, continually reciprocating all the advantages which commerce or science (physical or mental science) can procure,—which ought to be organized so that a physical victory once gained by a part of the race should be a triumph for the whole,so that a moral gain achieved by an individual should be a possession for the whole,-a
-a mutual assurance and copartnership, by means of which the whole world should uphold the weakest, through which the universal progress should step steadily on from aspiration to acquirement, higher and ever higher. This is our definition of Fraternity.
The organization of Humanity is, therefore, the problem which the Republican proposes to himself. This is the meaning of his formula-Equality, Liberty, Fraternity. Equality of right, freedom of growth, organization of duty,-these for our means, and the progress of Humanity for end.
We believe in the progressive development of human faculties and forces in the direction of the moral law which has been imposed upon us.'
We cannot be said to believe in Humanity, unless we believe in its progressive development. Deny progress and development, and Humanity is but an idle word. It would mean only the men and women of the present generation, to whom any one might dispute his owing any duty, if he chose to live secluded and severed from them, helping and hurting none, refusing to receive or give, to have any dealings, to make any bargains with them. For cut off the past and the future, and one may well consider all connection with mankind as matter of bargain, and be not in anywise his brother's keeper,' but as careless of his next neighbour as of one at the antipodes.
But Humanity means the whole, the totality of human kind: not only the men and women of this present generation, but of all ages, past, present and