Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

the beauties of past generations ad- in laboring to reform social abuses, no justed their “amber-twisted ringlets.” hostility is felt towards individuals or A loftier communion than with mere classes, but only against the false instidumb matter is awakened by the beau- tutions, which create classes, and make tiful proportions of the Grecian Tem- poverty an inevitable lot,—which load ple, or amid the solemn majesty of the this one with favors more than he can Gothic Minster. These things are fit- employ, and deprive that other of his birthted to nourish the sentiment and the right of an equal share of his Father's love of Beauty, one of the deepest in- bountiful and plenteous earth, and of the stincts of man, in its true and natural means of training himself for the holy. unfolding, leading the soul to the love and lofty services to which that Father and worship of the true and good. has appointed him. No war is waged But their true use is perverted by their against the capitalist in behalf of the becoming appropriated and exclusive laborer, for the mere purpose, as a final possessions, sought for and valued end, of reversing their positions. If chiefly as tokens of the more fortunate poverty is an inevitable condition of husocial conditions. They are made man affairs,-poverty not produced by things of ostentation and idle vanity, misconduct,—it is of little consequence pampering luxurious pride, and starving who are the individuals that suffer, or the nobler sentiments they are fitted to that enjoy; especially since among us nourish. Their true significance is these distinctions are not likely to be lost, and they remain only as evidences hereditary through many generations. of the sad and terrible contrasts of the Social evils are not to be remedied by puthuman lot. The evils which afflict the ting down those who thrive by abuses,and favored classes, may be less gross in putting those who suffer, in their places. their outward exhibition ; but perhaps "The evil,” says La Mennais,“ is in the even more dangerous and debasing, injustice, and not that it is this one, more hopeless of reform, and make rather than that, who profits by the inmore utter wreck of manhood, for the justice. Whoever is uppermost, very reason that the veil of decency man will still continue in a state of and external decorum covers their gross- equal suffering, and the world remain ness even from the eyes of their victims. unchanged. Good and evil will subsist

In this exhibition of social injustice, in the same proportions; they will only and the oppressions of labor, it is not in- be differently arranged in respect to tended to impute any particular degree persons. One will mount, and another of blame to any individual, or class or will descend, and that is all.” Nothing, party. The differences of social con- therefore, will be gained by substituting dition are the results of maxims and one domination for another. The end laws which have been transmitted from to be aimed at, is to subvert all dominaall the past centuries, are consecrated tion, to abolish the social institutions by tradition and authority, interwoven which give rise to separate classes and with some of the most intimate convic- exclusive privilege, and thus prevent tions of opinion, and pleaded for, per- any pre-eminence of one man over anhaps, even by the self-love of some other, but what is derived from superior who suffer from their operation, who wisdom, or higher virtue. The object endure with slight reluctance for the of the reformer should be so to re-organpresent, in the hope that their, or their ize society, as to make it the nurse of children's, turn may come to profit by manhood, by removing the limitations of them. They may be defended by so man's freedom, and placing him in the many plausibilities of feeling and argu- most direct relations with the law of his ment, that men are slow to perceive nature, giving him full scope for the their radical injustice. The fact of free unfolding of himself, and the clear their constant existence in all ages, exercise of his activity in that sphere stands for an ultimate reason, the voice to which his individual gifts direct him. of Providence, that original inequalities The end is, in other words, so to arrange of condition are not only inevitable, but the conditions of society as to make it a essential to the harmony of the world. true school for the education of man. While these things are so, few will be Society is now, and will be under any found who will hesitate to seize the condition of human affairs, the school of opportunities, which the times afford, to man's practical education.

He was mount above their fellows. Therefore, placed in it for that end, and in it only can

he grow to the perfect stature of a man. gates praise, but because its edifices are Let the name be given to whatever in- built with rubies and emeralds, and its stitution, endowment, form, establish- harmonies are sung to the chords of ment, institute or inechanism, it may, golden harps ? “The world dishonors its life is man's real university,—his prac- workmen, stones its prophets, crucifies tical education is in the influence its saviors; but bows down its neck to which society and his fellows shed wealth however won, and shouts till the around the path of his life. All these welkin rings again, Long live violence are not evil. Society is not all a false- and fraud!hood. Manifold are its influences, Few of the evils which men suffer are which are sanctified and holy, beneath the results of an inevitable destiny. which the strong soul, who truthfully Man was made for society. Society is seeks wisdom, may walk in salety, and a law, a necessity of his being. Social find peace. But only the strong. For existence, therefore, was not designed numberless are its temptations and ad- to be a state of antagonism, isolated verse influences, which the weak find interests and selfish competitions, in it impossible to resist. What then shall which the strong and wise should overbe said, viewed in their relation to man's ride and oppress the weak and simple. culture, of society's primary denials of Its true mission is aid and mutual help, manhood ; its falsehoods organized in to protect the feeble against the powerinstitutions ; its insane rivalries and ful, and secure to every man the free partizanships ; its fierce struggles for equality of a common humanity. power; its discordant sects and parties, Founded in the oneness of humanity with their mutual criminations; its re- amid the diversity of its forms and mastraints upon free opinion and utter- nifestations, its primary essential idea ance; its sordid, selfish, and solitary in- is brotherhood, and brotherly help; not to dustry; its isolated households ; its take away from any one, but to ensure selfish competitions of office, trade, to each and all the full enjoyment of the pleasure; even its refinement generat- bounteous resources provided imparing on one side pride and contempt, and tially in nature for human subsistence hatred and envy on the other; its laws, and improvement,—to give to each freewhich punish misfortune as crime, and dom to grow, and attain to the stature weave cobweb-nets for magnificent vil- of a perfect man. lainy ; its administration of justice de- If such are the true functions of sopending on prescriptive forms and sub- ciety, it is a mere absurdity; yea, worse, tle technicalities; its gorgeous palaces it is to calumniate the Creator, to supbuilt by withholding of his wages from pose that its conditions may not be so the hireling on whose tattered hovel arranged as to fulfil them. If it do not they look down in cold, glittering mock- fulfil them, its organization is false, or ery; its hereditary wealth won without imperfect Social evils are the fruits toil, and received without deserving; its of the perversion of the natural laws of pride, contempt, luxury, licentiousness, society. The existence of such evils is and multifarious vanities, contrast- itself the evidence of a false and unnaed with its poverty, ignorance, and tural state. The only adequate remedy, broad-lying degradation ; its frequent then, the only true protection to labor, spectacles of youth without culture and is a return to nature and justice. It has without hope, its manhood without re- been seen that one of the prime sources spect, its age without reverence; its of evil is the unjust distribution of proworkhouses, prisons, and penitentiaries, perty, which has imposed upon vast where it consummates its injustice on its inasses of mankind a life of ceaseless own victims; its public wars and private toil for mere animal necessities, made feuds; its merchandise of human flesh, even their labor a sordid drudgery and and its shambles where man is bought dishonor, and robbed them of the leisure and sold; its engrossing avarice beat- for mental improvement, without which ing tumultuously through all its pulses, the individual must remain dwarfed of and filling all the currents of its life, the just proportions of a man. That which measures Man, his intellect, af- leisure is man's right, and it is written fections, reputation, hopes, necessities, in the book of Providence that the race rights, good and evil, by Money, and shall one day attain it.

Silently, which dreams of heaven, not be through the ages of the past, where the cause its walls are salvation and its laborer has been doomed to unrequited toil and unpitied suffering, the stripes of may become one. The capitalist of tohis scourging have been working out day may become the hireling of to-morand hastening his deliverance.

The row.

It is the real interest of all to rebrass collar has been filed from the neck move social abuses, since all in turn of “Gurth, the son of Beowulf, the born may be their victims. In any event, thrall of Cedric, of Rotherwood.” But many successive generations cannot that is not the end. The silver gorget profit by them. There can be no hereof “Wamba, the son of Witless," still ditary advantages of any long continupresses upon the neck of his descend- ance.

Every man is interested in the ants. That, too, shall be cast off; for hu- well-being and just order of the present, manity has not yet attained an ultimate in such a sense as no cominunity of anstate. Man, the laborer, in acquiring cient or modern times has been. And political rights, and the privileges of for the future, love of posterity, the wages, has not attained the highest con- strong and just motive for so much of dition of his existence. In the past, the the activity of society, would impel progress of labor towards the successive every man, without exception, if he improvements of its condition has been viewed it wisely, to labor for a perfect effected, in almost every step, by con- social equality, as the surest provision vulsion and blood. It may be so in the for the welfare of his descendants. future. It may be that, from every new What, then, shall hinder a peaceful and position he shall gain, he may have to perfect development of the theory of our turn back upon his path, to build up the institutions, the righting of the wrongs desolations, and repair the wastes he of man, the laborer, and the reconstruchas made on his way thither. But thus tion of society, in fact as in form, upon it need not be. Thus it will not be, if the principles of immutable truth and they, to whom wealth and wisdom, or justice ? History, experience, and prothat which passes for wisdom, have phecy, with voices of many tones but given the direction of the world's out- one accord, incite us to earnest, loving ward affairs, will set themselves in work for such a renovation, which all earnest to meet, or anticipate, with the past and the present are working togenerous manliness, instead of foolishly gether to consummate in the future. striving to counteract, the march of How near a future, who can tell ? Let events, the ordinances of Providence. not indifference, or unbelief, or despair, Let political economy leave its poor struggle to retard it. They are evil fantastic problems of demand and sup- and unclean demons, spirits of the outer ply, of furnishing employment to labor, darkness, and have no right to interfere and other speculative vanities. Let in man's affairs. Faith and hope are American statesmen and politicians the guiding stars of his fortunes, and cease their idle babbling about the ba- always is his salvation nearer, as soon lance of trade and discriminating tariffs, as he believes, and loves, and hopes. and labor to carry out the authentic Such a reorganization is practicable, " American system,” by which alone without violating any of the rights acthe laborer can be really protected, quired under the existing social arGive to labor all its rights, social rangements; that shall reconcile the equality, freedom of industry, and it conflicting claims of labor and capital, needs no other protection from govern- and

a just distribution of ment, though all the world conspire wealth, without evoking any hideous against it. This is the true American agrarian spectre and chimera. It conSystem which we are called to pursue, sists simply in the application of the equally by the social principles we principle of Association, which is the profess and the motives of mere selfish mainspring of so much of the activity interest. The elevation of labor is the of the present age, to the industrial afpeculiar mission of our institutions, the fairs of society. I have no definite basis of our history, the only hope of scheme to propose, but only offer some our public fortunes. Our national ex- desultory hints. The labor and the capiistence is the affirmation of the worth tal of the world are now, in a large of man, as man, of the essential equality, degree, hostile, and their interests adsocial and political, of all men. To the verse. Capital is the master of labor. people, the laborer, the low as well as Labor itself is solitary, antagonistic, the high, are the fortunes of the nation and inefficient. In consequence of the committed. Every man is a laborer, or misapplication and want of a proper division of labor, an incalculable amount, tion, men will never know how rich and even in the employments most skilfully glorious a world they occupy; what conducted, is wasted, and yields no re- prodigality of wealth is laid up for them turn. In various ways, besides the ap- in the open storehouses of Providence; propriation, by a part, of an undue how fcolish, unnatural and insane is share of the products, industry is barren their unbrotherly struggle for the richof results, its activity is dissipated in est vintages and costliest bowls, while profitless toil, and it is made a drudgery Nature has provided for every one goldand curse. By a judicious union and en cups and the waters of life. coöperation of the capital and labor of Such an association of industry, and society, and an equitable distribution of equitable division of its fruits, would rethe products of their united activity; solve and supersede most of the hiththe evils which now encompass both, erto insoluble problems of political econand weigh upon the latter with so terri- omy, with which Congresses are vexed, ble a pressure, would be avoided, and and nations disquieted. It would give both incalculably benefited. By coöp- to labor a substantial protection, which eration, a vastly increased amount of will be attempted for ever in vain by comfort for any one may be obtained at tariffs and discriminating duties. Proless expense, than is possible under the duction and consumption, instead of bepresent disjointed, counteracting and ing dependent upon commerce, and a hostile arrangements. It is capable of thousand unknown and incalculable statistical demonstration, that if every contingencies, would be brought into one who is able, should labor only four fixed, permanent, and manifest relations. hours a day, with the aid of the me- The number of consumers would be chanical facilities already in the posses- indefinitely increased, by the conversion sion of society, the whole, and vastly of millions of laborers, whose demands more than the present work of society are now restricted within the limits of would be done, and more perfectly than the most indispensable physical wants, it now is. If this be so, what an enor- into independent workmen, in whom the mous, oppressive and terrible wrong is wants of sentiment and taste no longer inflicted upon the laborer who is com- clamor for supply in vain. There pelled to labor twelve or fifteen hours a would be an end to the unsatisfactory day, for little more than a bare subsist. inquiries concerning the causes, preence, and to whom that is the destiny of vention and remedies of high and low his life! Under a just distribution of prices, over-production and scarcity; and labor and its products, the luxuries and the endless controversies about specie embellishments of life would be indefi- and paper currencies would vanish into nitely multiplied, and instead of being thin air. Above all, and as the end of made the panders of the pride of a few, all, man will obtain leisure,-no longer would be brought within the reach of degraded and enslaved by labor, but enall, and serve their true mission of re- nobled and strengthened thereby to the fining the manners and sentiments of most appropriate culture, and clearest all. Until industry is made harmonious, development of his moral and intellecthelpful, brought into loving coöpera- ual powers.

secure

The above article contains a few passages not exactly corresponding to our own views; yet, in the main, it is so just and excellent, that we do not allow a few points of slight difference to constitute a reason against its publication in these pages.-ED. Dem. Review.

THE SHEIK OF ALEXANDRIA AND HIS SLAVES.*

BY THE AUTHOR OF GIAFAR AL BARMEKI, A TALE OF THE COURT OF HAROUN

AL RASCHID.

ALI BANU, the Sheik of Alexandria, ments to delight him with music when was a singular man. When in the he desired it, and the most learned of all morning he walked through the streets had several scrolls to read before him. of the city clothed with a turban of the But they delayed in vain for his nod; costliest cashmere, a rich robe and gir- he wished neither music nor song; he dle which were worth fifty camels, as he would hear no sentences nor poems of passed slowly along with grave step, the wise poets of former times; he dehis forehead gathered in dark folds, his sired no sherbet nor to chew betel root; brows knit together, his eyes downcast, even the slave with the peacock's and thoughtfully every five steps strok- feathers had his labor in vain, for the ing his long black beard,-as he thus Sheik noticed it not when the flies went to the mosque as his office de- swarmed humming about him. manded, to read the Koran to believers, Those who passed by often stood then would the people stop in the streets still and wondered at the splendor of and gaze after him, and say to one the house, the richly dressed slaves, another, “ He is a handsome, stately and the luxury with which everything man." “ And rich, a rich man,” anoth- was provided; but when they looked er would add perhaps; " very rich, has upon the Sheik as he sat serious and he not a castle at the harbor of Stam- gloomy beneath the palms, and turned boul ? Has he not estates and fields, his eyes upon nothing except the blueish many thousand cattle and many slaves?” clouds from his chibouk, they shook “Yes," spake a third, " and the Tartar their heads and said, “Truly the rich who was lately sent to him from Stam- man is a poor man; he who has much boul, from the Grand Seignor himself is poorer than he who has nothing; for (the Prophet bless him), the Tartar told the Prophet has not given him underme that our Sheik stood in great es- standing to enjoy it.” Thus spoke the teem with the Reis Effendi, the Capu- people, laughed at him, and went their dan Bashas, with all, even with the way. One evening, as the Sheik sat Sultan himself." “ Yes,” cried a thus before the door of his house befourth,“ his steps be blessed; he is a neath the palm trees, surrounded by all rich, noble lord, but—but-you know the splendor of the earth, and lonely what I mean ?” “Yes, yes," murmur- and mournfully smoked his chibouk, ed the others, “it is true, he has his some young people stood not far off, burden to bear ; I would not exchange considered him and laughed. with him ; he is wealthy and renown- “ Truly,” said one, “ he is a foolish ed, but—but”

man that Sheik Ali Banu. If I had his Ali Banu had a noble house upon the treasures I would apply them very diffinest square in Alexandria; before the ferently. I would every day live gaily house was a broad terrace, walled and in pleasure; my friends should eat around with marble, and shaded with at my table in the splendid chambers of palm trees; there he often sat in the the house, and merriment and laughter evening and smoked his chibouk. In should fill those mournful halls." respectful distance, twelve richly dress- Yes," replied another, ed slaves awaited his nod. One bore not so bad, but many friends consume his betel root, another held his parasol, an estate, even were it as great as the a third had vessels of solid gold filled Sultan's, whom the Prophet bless; if I with rich sherbet ; a fourth carried a sat so in the evening under the palm fan of peacock's feathers to scare away trees upon that beautiful spot, then the flies from his master, others were should yonder slaves sing and play, my singers, and held lutes and wind instru- dancers should dance and leap, and

[ocr errors]

66 that were

Translated from the German of Hauff.

« AnteriorContinuar »