THE REPUBLIC AND DEMOCRACY.
Democracy and the Republic. Socialism and Communism. Are the
Democracy and Republicanism.
THE difference between a Democracy and
Athens called itself a Democracy. The people were
"masters," but did not rule. There was liberty, but not equality.
The inequality of class distinctions was still maintained as the normal
condition of society, and the liberty was for the freeman only. The
Athenian Democracy kept slaves.
The little Swiss Cantons of Zug and Uri are in the form of
their government purely democratic; but alongside of the popular power
stands the priestly influence. Zug and Uri are Catholic, and the
outward manifestation of universal suffrage is found to accord very well
with the papacy, when the Jesuits rule the consciences of the suffrages.
These Catholic "Democracies" are theocracies of slaves.
America—we are told—is a Democracy. How, so?
Freedom is not universal; equality does not exist. If there is
neither a royal nor a noble class, there is yet the worst monarchy and
aristocracy of mere wealth; and for freedom—the adult population has just
the freedom of changing its masters at every election for Congress.
Nothing more than that 250,000 slaveholders at the South rule the
decisions of Congress, said Theodore Parker; and by means of more wealth
one-eightieth part of the population controls all the rest.
Republican America is not even a Democracy.
A real Democracy is an assemblage of the free where every
adult has an equal right, an equal place, an equal voice. A Republic
is an organisation of the free. One is freedom, the other is freedom
turned to its right use. A real Democracy is the beginning of a
Republic; but a sham Democracy, like that of Athens, or that of Uri, or
that of the United States of America, is not the beginning of the
In 1848 they proclaimed "the French Republic." It was
not a Republic, but a Democracy, and not perfect as a Democracy, for the
women half of the population was left unenfranchised; and real power was
not put in the hands of even the enfranchised moiety. The men of
France were not the rulers of France; they only chose the rulers. To
be sure they called them representatives; but—"a rose by any other name
would smell as sweet." A master is not less a master for being
called something else.
The French Democracy chose an Assembly of Representatives,
the most of whom were traitors to France. Tired of them, the
Democracy chose the worst traitor of all, the vilest knave in France, not
of course this time as representative. They gave his odourousness
Democratic France has not shown itself very Republican.
Aristocracy is the governing power in the hands of the few.
Now-a-days the few take care to exercise it. In old time they chose
a feudal representative, and found he was a master. In later times
they have avoided this folly. They now only put a man of show upon
the throne, just to fill the place and keep each other out. The
power in their hands they use, trusting to deputy. When they allow
their man of show a voice, it is only that the people may be deceived into
thinking the guy alive, and so be uncertain who their real masters are.
Democracy is the governing power in the hands of the many.
Why should not the many use it? Power unused is not better than
impotence. Simply to choose one's masters is not freedom.
Democracy becomes merely an idle word if it stops at deputing its powers
into the hands of an Aristocracy. It is not really Democracy when a
"representative" Aristocracy rules, no matter how democratically
appointed, chosen, or deputed. American Democracy has no reality
while "one-eightieth part of the population controls all the rest."
A real Democracy—an assemblage of the really free—is the
beginning of the Republic. The free are assembled together, not
merely by standing anarchically one against another, each on his abstract
right, till a few, if only an eightieth part wiser than the rest, combine
and enslave the whole—but to turn their freedom to its full account, by
organising all their powers for the good of the whole.
This organisation of the powers of all, for the good of the
whole—this good of all, by all, for the government of all—is the
Democracy is either the basis of the Republic or it is
Among monarchists and aristocrats are honest men, men really
loving order, seeing the worth of organisation, the necessity of giving an
aim to power. These men become tyrants or tyrants' helpers and
supporters, because the people choose the anarchical side of Democracy
instead of the orderly. The tyrants catch at such recruits,
and borrow from them the words of Law and Order to hurl like
thunderbolts into the popular camp. We have but too much deserved
it. Especially we Englishmen, with our noble individualism and
self-assertion, run mad into all sorts of anarchical wildnesses.
Cow-hides and tar barrels, and Pierce or Barnum platforms,
and filibusterings, and reactionary know-nothing conspiracies, are enough
to make honest men of not very strong principles turn with loathing from
Democracy. Better—say they—is the compelled law and
order of even a Louis Bonaparte than this "chaos come again." It
is an excusable error. An error nevertheless.
Royalty-real kingship, the rule of him who can—even when the
place is taken by the strong hand—has a good in it. In old times
when one man might stand really by divine right above his fellows—a god
among brute beasts—when the great truth of an brotherhood was all
unknown, a king was needed. Then, as now, was necessity for human
association for the sake of power to force the way of progress. How
obtain that power? Mere brutes have no will, but must be led or
goaded by the shepherd or drover, Mere slaves must be chained together.
So kings—the capable—led, or drove, or bound together the unthinking,
the un-willing masses; and cleared forests, drained swamps, and built
pyramids, if nothing better. Law and order were in the hands of an
Alfred. That was the good side of the Monarchy. There was an
evil side also; for to every principle there are two sides —the better
and the worse.
When capability passed from One to Many, the power of good
and evil of course was there also. This is the constitutional
transition-state: when men are halting between the two principles of
Monarchy and Democracy (Aristocracy being only a compromise), the two
principles of authority and conscience. Great things have been done
in this transition time by the Aristocracies that have dared to rule to
the best of their ability. The rule of our own Commonwealth's men
was indeed, to speak strictly, aristocratic, though these nobles intended
and prepared for the Republic. Very different their principles and
conduct from those of the Aristocrats—that is to say, the rulers (we do
not of course mean only the peerage) of England and America of the present
Men even of high mind might well prefer the godly law and
order of Cromwell to the lynch law of democratic America or the disorder
of a people—English or American—which does not yet perceive that freedom
is only the ground of brotherly organisation, and that there is no freedom
without equality. But, as the rule of the one or the few has its two
sides—outrageous despotism and compulsory order, so the rule of the many
has its two sides—anarchy and an orderly organisation.
And either way Democracy is preferable. Anarchy is not
so injurious as despotism, and the compelled order of slaves can never be
of equal worth to the order which results from the freewill of reasonable
beings. We said honest men, even high-minded, but of not very strong
principles, might prefer compelled order to anarchy.
However, men better grounded in the truth would see that the
fair comparison does not stand between the worst of Democracy and the best
of Monarchy or Aristocracy: but that the principle of Monarchy and
Aristocracy being false, their best result can but be unsatisfactory, and
that no real necessity exists for the good principle of Democracy being
Our argument is for two classes: for those whose impulses are
democratic, but who are deterred from confessing the true faith because of
having only looked at the evils of democratic power; and for those
who—confessing the faith—bring discredit upon it by always pointing to
those abuses as the results at which they aim.
Democracy has but one word upon its banner—The people:
but one definition—The people as the sole source of power. There is
no aim in this: no religion. It is the mere egotistical assertion of
power for power's sake. And power, as we have said before, is
capability of good and evil.
The Republican banner bears on it a religious creed,
connecting the passing with the eternal: giving also the aim of the
Republican life. God and the people implies the organisation
of the people, in order to do the will of God; the association of the
whole people, not under Judge Lynch or Bonaparte, but under God as their
only sovereign: the organisation of the whole people, not to make such
laws as may suit the lusts of a capricious majority, but to enact the laws
of God in human statutes.
The Republic is the organisation of the Democracy to realise
in daily human life the prayer of all life to the Father which is in
Heaven: Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth!
This was the Republic Cromwell and his fellow-nobles hoped to
establish by the sword upon an old Hebraic basis. They mistook a
transient ground for an eternal, and the sword, though necessary to clear
the way for truth, is powerless to establish her dominion,
But it rests with us to build upon the holier Bible of God's
Law, written in the universal conscience, to build up even without
bloodshed—if we have the true daring of self—sacrificing faith—that
great English Republic of virtuous aspiring which shall fulfil the
prophecy of our Divinest, and be, indeed, that goodly tower of a
commonwealth which shall overshadow kings: a Republic, both social and
democratic, in which the Democracy shall make its own laws, ruling its own
life on that hard and difficult way which leadeth to God and happiness."
Socialism and Communism.
[See note p.129]
What is Socialism, and wherein is it different from
Communism? is the first question, and it will not be readily answered by
For some of them occasionally deny their masters, lacking
courage to follow them to the end: and others are of such foggy and
uncertain mind that they are unable to define their own views.
It was said that Proteus would change himself into an
infinite variety of shapes to escape those who held him bound in order to
obtain his opinion. "Socialism" has the Protean faculty.
Grapple with it under any form, and it takes refuge in another. We
must follow it through all its appearances before we shall be able to
close with its real spirit and meaning.
Christianity had for its basis the dogma of human equality.
The Christianity of 1800 years has been the endeavour to realise this
dogma through the establishment of individual liberty.
The emancipation of the bourgeoisie by the Revolution of 1789
was but one step upon the way. The bourgeoisie enthroned in 1830
forgot this, forgot that the rolling ball had but increased its impetus,
that there could be no stopping short of the liberty of the very lowest of
In the eyes of what was privileged to be called society in
old time, slavery was the natural order of things.
Christianity abolished this, and transformed the slaves into
Feudal society had no doubt that this was the right order;
but the Christian dogma advancing, abolished serfdom, and changed the
serfs into journeymen—hirelings.
Bourgeois society is satisfied with going so far. Now,
at least, we have arrived at a settled order. Alas! the logic of
history has no pity even for a respectable bourgeoisie.
Humanity yet progresses, insists on going faster than our
gigs. The Christian dogma of equality must abolish the slavery of
wages. The journeyman serf must become the free associate.
Individual liberty is not else complete.
The endeavour to stop short of this was the cause of the
terrible insurrection of June. Continue the endeavour, and that June
conflict will have been but as a skirmish of a few stragglers from the
advancing army of the poor. You cannot stay the rising of the tide.
Absolutism is dead, though the corpse yet moves.
Feudalism is gone, though the ape of the baron's fool is some little
longer lived. It was historically necessary also that the
bourgeoisie should have its day.
Every dog in turn. The bourgeoisie may now be packing
up its movables.
The enfranchisement of the people is about to be the order of
society. What does that mean? The enfranchisement of the
middle-class was not merely political, it brought also its social
advantages, sufficiently solid.
The enfranchisement of the people will also be not only
political, but social. They will not only assume power, but they
will exercise power, and in their own behalf. This is the
much-dreaded "social reform."
Let us inquire now how the reformers have laid down the
course of proceeding. That there should be dictators of the course is
natural enough. Notwithstanding, we maybe allowed an endeavour to
ascertain where the dictators differ, where they agree, and how far their
differences or agreement may avail for our guidance.
Victor Considerant—perhaps the most enlightened Socialist of
his day—will help our enquiry.
Babœuf would have established Communism with the strong hand.
He desired a community of goods, to be obtained in the first instance by
confiscation. His project pitilessly absorbed individuality in the
community, abolishing liberty for the sake of equality, breaking every
will, every personal spontaneity, under the absolute despotism of the law.
Owen would also put an end to private property, to the
personal rights of capital, labour and talent, but without the
intervention of force. He would form voluntary associations and
trust to the power of education to make the rising generation docile,
well-disposed, and contented Communists, the abundance of their common
wealth being also sufficient to satisfy every individual craving.
Religion he ignores or is afraid of; and his equality does not prelude a
Of the passions and aspirations of men he takes no count.
Let them be well fed and comfortable. His system,
rather sentimental than scientific, is that of one led away by his
benevolence, well-acquainted with modern industry, but without invention,
depth or genius.
Cabet is the French Owen. His system is also negative,
getting rid of the difficulties of property, individuality and religion,
by throwing away the principles.
The whole amount of his economic and social science consists
in the willing abandonment of private property, and in the words
"distribution according to wants and fraternity." Everything is to
be done by individual devotion in the name of individual interest.
Saint Simon, or rather Saint Simonianism (for the school was
not formed till after the master's death), also denies individuality and
property. The voluntary surrender of their property by the rich and
the legal suppression of the right of inheritance was to be the foundation
of the Saint Simonian State, which would thus become universal proprietor,
supreme regulator of labour, chief and absolute director of the three
functions—art, science, and industry. In one of these three
functions every one would be a worker, his place assigned to him by the
priests (for the Saint Simonian rule was to be theocratic), a hierarchy
composed hypothetically of the most loving and most capable, ruling
in divine right, absolutely independent of any election.
The Saint Simonian formula was "to each according to his
capacity, to each capacity according to his works." It started from
a principle of inequality and authority, while the schools of Communism
base themselves more or less on democratic equality, and proclaim either
absolute equality of distribution or the puerile device of "to each
according to his wants."
In their methods of procedure, therefore, Communism and Saint
Simonianism are at variance. Both, however, place all power in the
State, making the individual only its tool, under the form of a public
But Saint Simonianism meditated no change in the position
of society. The farmer, for instance, might remain on his farm, only
he would he the servant of the State, employed, directed, paid and
removable by the State. Conviction and religious exaltation were to
induce submission to the new priesthood; and life would thenceforward
proceed under their direction.
FOURIER discovered the law of human
progress—that law the law of attraction. Duty is but a human device
to make men content with misery.
The true method of progress is to harmonise the conflicting
interests and passions of men by satisfying all. Make life
pleasurable; attract men by the exhibition of a terrestrial paradise, so
admirably contrived that everyone will therein find the special happiness
(however vile or exalted) for which he longs; there will no more be room
for duty, no longer need of law. God will be an unnecessary
supplement, religion impossible, sufficient unto the day will be the
immensity of its own good; and life after life, age after age, will be but
variation of enjoyment.
Make labour attractive, that is the whole art and
mystery of Fourierism. Fourier, it is clear, does not destroy either
individuality or property.
Buchez, an old atheist and carbonaro, was converted to belief
in God, and in Saint Simon; but when Saint Simonianism inclined towards
becoming a new religion, he parted from it to settle down in a sort of
Christianity. His system is nothing more than an attempt to found
communities of workmen, little industrial monasteries where men might make
shoes or pianos, and become independent of capitalists, common workshops
The supporters of the "ATELIER" are
associates to this extent. Professor Maurice and his friends are of
the same class. A spice of orthodox religion and a sentiment of duty
and disinterestedness help to bring into these little firms some few
better men than would be led by the mere prospect of personal gain.
Minter-Margan aspires to more than this mere partnership of
labour. In his "happy villages" also, the love of God is to be an
A patriarchal scheme with community of property is to be
established for enthusiastic and pious working-men, under the patronage of
the Anglican Church.
The Leeds Redemption Society stands on the other side of M.
Buchez' plan. It is simply a partnership for economical purposes,
without any question of politics or religion.
Louis Blanc's system is also similar to that of M. Buchez.
But in place of the religious sentiment M. Blanc would depend upon the
instinct of fraternity which he deems more philosophic.
Industrial corporations, with equality of wages for a time,
and in the end distribution according to wants, to be set going by
the State and kept together by spontaneous cohesion, the whole forming one
scheme under the superintendence of the State. It is the system of
Buchez with the action of the State instead of the dependence upon
religious impulse; the Saint Simonian theory of functions rendered
democratic after the first start—or partly democratic, for M. Blanc would
regulate the suffrage.
Well now, what is a Socialist? and what is a Communist?
A Socialist we would define to be one who is not merely
convinced of the necessity of social reform (for every Republican is
convinced of that), but who has the whole or part of a remedial measure
ready cut and dry for immediate use. He may or may not be a Communist. The Fourierists, says Considerant, and, indeed, it should be clear enough
without his telling, are not Communists. A Communist is one who would
have property held in common, or have men live in common, or perhaps both.
We are aware that our definitions are disputable; that men will say the
mere organisation of labour is Communism, simply because men labour
together, however the produce
is held, or whether they live in community or not. We can not surely prevent the abuse of terms. All we can do is to request our readers to bear
our definitions in mind while
they judge of our remarks. Recollect that we speak of "Socialists" and
"Communists" only within those limits. And now to our
Those once cleared away, we shall be able to see how far we can work
The vices of Communism we take to be these. The denial of property,
individuality, family, country, and religion. More or less, one or other
of these vices taints every
scheme of Communism.
Communism would have no private property because men have abused the right
of property. Have they not also misused their arms? Would you therefore
cut them off,
denying that they can be used legitimately?
The wrong of private appropriation is when one takes that which ought to
belong to another.
To take from the robber does not benefit the robbed. This objection to
property is but a violent reaction excited by the tyranny of capital, by
the excesses of competition.
It is the violence which (like Jack in the tale of a tub) cannot stay to
reform, but destroys.
It cannot untie the Gordian knot: so thinks it is enough to cut it.
The denial of individualism is consistent with the denial of property. When you deprive a man of all right to the result of his own active life,
you make him to all intents and
purposes the slave of the State.
It matters not whether you would establish Communism by force or by
universal consent. The only difference is that in the one case you kill
the man, in the other he kills
himself. For slavery is the death of the soul.
From the assertion that the man's life—or work, which is the fruit of his
life, belongs absolutely to the State arises naturally the necessity of
the State directing that work.
The State is task master as well as pay-master. It is no longer a question
of human growth, each as he will rendering of his first fruits, as a duty,
to humanity. It is the forced
growth of the plant in a hot-house, the forced labour of the beast in the
field, well-trained, and well fed, it may be, but beast-like,
machine-like, slavish, nevertheless.
And if the men are but the machines of the State, women and children of
course are but the same. What meaning can there be in all those mysterious
sympathies, through which the parents lay the groundwork of the education
of the child? The State wants machines; that is all. It is easier perhaps
to classify them in
communal stalls or cells, as number one, number two, number three, etc. If, in spite of the very natural reluctance, even abhorrence, of
Communists themselves, such a
system should end in abolishing marriage, it would not be surprising, nor
inconsistent. If the State is absolute master, may regulate life, labour
and reward, why not the
beginnings of life also, for the better service of the State—appointing
this man to that woman as may occasionally seem best to the direction?
The prejudice of country follows. The community is all. Patriotism being
too narrow for us we shut ourselves up in communal barracks, and in our
forget the very existence of humanity as a whole. Our little Utopia is
the known world.
And religion. The slave has none. In place of duty we have interest, in
place of God and His law of growth we have the Communist Patriarch or
Patriarchs, and the dictates of
an unnatural and intolerable formalism.
Thank God that the Patriarch has not yet dethroned Him, that His law of
growth is strong enough to burst the most inveterate form of Communism, if
by any chance it could
Communism is the negation explicit, or implied, of individualism and its
attributes; that is to say, it is tyranny. It matters not that men consent
to it. My submission does
not make me less a slave, nor my master less a tyrant. Nay more, a
majority, where the Communists would elect their Government (which is not
always the case), is no
less tyrannous than a single Patriarch. I cannot abdicate my right to
control my own life, I cannot consent to suicide, to make myself the slave
even of a majority, albeit I may
have the chance to-morrow of being tyrant in my turn.
Communism is the destruction of anything like foal co-operation, for it is
simply the ordering of galley slaves, instead of the combined efforts of
The willing partnership of a number of individuals agreeing to arrange
together their work, with certain stipulations for returns, does not
necessarily imply the destruction or
abdication of individuality; the partnership may be dissolved at pleasure. But when a nation becomes socialist, when the Government, no matter how
constituted, even though
elected by a majority, dictates the labour and its reward, how shall the
objecting partner escape? He has no choice but between slavery and exile,
possibly not that. This is
tyranny; and make it as advantageous as you can, it will be tyranny.
Babœuf's Communism was tyranny, to be established by force. Owen and Cabet would establish the same tyranny by persuasion; the Saint Simonian
who is not a Communist, would also tyrannise. Louis Blanc would do
so. The private experiments of a few religious enthusiasts, or the commercial
partnerships of men associating
simply for the sake of personal gain, have but little opportunity of
exemplifying the principle.
Fourierism certainly is not tyranny. But there is another evil principle
running through all these schools, of which Fourierism is even the most
notable example; it is the error
of losing all their reforms upon utility, upon interest, upon selfishness.
Self-love is not the ground of human action; and there every school of
Socialism or Communism is at fault.
It is true that St. Simonians, and some others whom we have named, appeal
to some vague religious sentiment; but they do so only as a help; they
dare not depend on it.
The real inducement held out is personal gain. A home in a happy village,
a cell in some comfortable bee-hive, a promise of every possible
gratification, even of the lowest
appetites—though there may be difference in the kind of reward held out,
it is reward: it is still in all their systems the appeal to the
selfishness of man. What difference is
there between this and the "old immoral world" system?
The difference, it will be said, is that very wide one between cooperation
and competition. But there is co-operation now. There is co-operation as
far as man's selfishness
thinks it advisable. Your whole social reform resolves itself then into a
question of how best to minister to the selfishness of men.
It involves no alteration in the principle of the present system: it is
only an extension of the system, or an improved method. Then we must needs
give the preference to
Fourier, who does not affect a jargon of duty, sacrifice, and religion,
but boldly offers to be pander to all and any of the lusts of man.
His Socialism alone is consistent. He attempts no compromise between love
of God, which is duty to humanity, and selfish enjoyment of all that one
can attract to oneself;
he repulses the communistic sophistry of enslaving oneself for one's own
He preaches boldly—eat, drink, and enjoy thyself:—God is not; thy
brothers are but so many ministers to thy pleasures; duty is a pious
fraud, invented to prevent thy
happiness; sacrifice and martyrdom are but eccentric modes of enjoyment,
the pranks of fools. This, at all events, is honest. We can understand at
least the logic of such
Socialism as this.
Is this all? Is this stying of the human animal in the most elegant of
phalansteries the be-all and the end-all of our life? We appeal to the
Socialists themselves, to those, and
they are not few, among them who, in contradiction of their own theories,
nobly suffer for their brethren. In the name of what?
Is your martyr-course, indeed, only a sham? Is it that you like to be
Persecuted? What difference then between you and the worst of tyrants, who
also consults his liking,
only he likes to persecute? Is not choice free under your defence of
But again, we appeal to those who do really suffer to redeem the world. In
the name of what are ye martyrs, if God's law is but
happiness—self-interest, what you call utility?
But you will answer—we do not think this. We
acknowledge the nobleness of duty, we would not degrade human longings to
the level of the beasts; but we believe that man cannot be ennobled, cannot rise into true human dignity, while he
continues to be the slave of his material wants.
And we Republicans can believe that with you; but we believe also, that
appealing to his selfishness will not raise him out of the slough; for he
needs even health and purity of
will more than strength of body.
And though you acknowledge with us the necessity of elevating the moral
nature, as we recognise with you the need of immediate material
amelioration, we still must cavil at
your means. Do what you can to remedy the material evils, but do not
mislead mankind by telling them that through that process they shall
ascend to the improvement of
They may be rendered comfortable, and yet remain slaves, irreligious, and
beasts. But seek first the reign of righteousness, and all other things
will be added unto you.
When the first Christians became Communists, their guiding motive was
self-sacrifice for the sake of the brethren. How miserable is your modern
The most degraded of our population need moral even more than physical
regeneration. There is brute strength even now in our wretchedest holes
and cellars to shake to
pieces in a day the whole monarchical framework of society. But there is
no moral power. What hinders the progress of your own partial experiments?
for what is your fastest
progress, considering the relative numbers of the populations among
which you preach? What is it but your want of any high principles round
which to gather your hearers!
Raise up the banner of a charter which should be only as a key to future
reform, and two millions of men could follow it. In one light the French
Monarchy is overthrown by the
very name of the Republic. And that charmed word Country, how men gave
their blood for it in Hungary and Italy. Who follows to your shabby cry of
You think to regenerate the world bit by bit, while the very system which
has caused our need of regeneration remains dominant and almost unassailed. You expect that
power will remain a passive spectator of your attempts to sap it. It does
so, in silent contempt of those who would overthrow a selfish tyranny by a
newer adaptation of
selfishness, knowing well, too, that could you succeed, there would be
nothing changed except the form.
Yet continue your experiments. Every wretchedness that you remove shall be
carried to the account of your good works. We, too, dare not hesitate to
help your endeavours
in that direction. But we will neither preach to men that the material
redemption is the one thing needful, nor remit our efforts to inspire that
higher spirit of patriotism, of
religion, and of devout sacrifice, through which alone a people can be
regenerated, and rendered worthy of enjoyment.
Work on, preaching to slaves in the language which slaves only can
understand. Who shall forbid your sympathy? But for us we will rather
follow in the track of the apostles
and martyrs of humanity, summoning the spirit of manhood that lives even
in the lowest, rekindling the sacred fire even in the slave's heart, till,
forgetting all except that
deepest wrong of slavery itself, he shall rise, ay, crippled as he is, and
overthrow injustice, and build upon the marrow of his victory, with
unshackled hands, not a palace for
his own appetites, but a temple in which he may be healed, wherein he may
serve God, the true, the beautiful, the eternal.
Are the Socialists Republicans?
Republicanism is not republican unless it is social as well
as democratic. But, on the other hand, Socialism may be republican
What is a Republican?
We abandon the vague definition—one who objects to a king.
One who objects to monarchy would be right enough; but then monarchy must
bear its widest sense—the rule of a portion, whether one, a few or a many,
as opposed to the rule of the whole. A Republican is one who objects
to any fraction of the nation ruling; who would have the whole nation its
Republicanism is government by all for all.
By all: every adult member of the State helping
to interpret, and to set in action the laws of life.
For all: for the protection, the aidance, and the
assurance of the utmost possible progress, of every member of the State.
The supreme Republican law is the progress of Humanity.
Humanity is all of human life. The conditions of this law, the terms
without which its full development is impossible, are liberty for all,
equality for all, fraternity for all.
Liberty: perfect freedom for each to develop his
nature, to grow to the utmost of his capacity.
Equality: the necessary corollary and only safeguard
of liberty protection of each from each, that the growth of one may not
impede the growth of another; equal provision for all, so that none may
want the elements of growth, moral, intellectual, or or physical.
Fraternity: the law of duty, the only bond of
association the duty of God's children one to another; the law which makes
of the many human individuals one whole Humanity.
We accord the name of Republican only to him who admits this
as the basis of his life and doctrine.
We are only logical in denying the name of Republican to
whosoever denies this basis: for every departure from it is a step into
Monarchism—that is to say, the usurpation of a fraction, a treason against
the wholeness, the oneness of human society; and Monarchism, however
disguised, is the opposite of Republicanism.
Now, Socialism is not always republican. And when not,
certainly does not become any more republican because the Socialist
possessor may happen to call himself a Republican—having, it may be, a
very earnest hatred of every kind of Monarchism, except that which may be
hidden—even from himself—under his particular formula.
Socialism is not always republican. To take an
instance. The Socialism which would make the State (and let it be
the government of even a majority, and however great the majority) the
director and dictator of labour, with only this change from our present
system—that the workman would be under, instead of the tyranny of single
or combined capitalists, the stronger tyranny of a corporate majority:
such Socialism, however well it might feed the workman, would not be
republican, for it would violate individual liberty by passing
beyond the mere protection and provision of elements to an interference
with personal action. Suppose a Manchester "Republic," with the
combined masters as the Government, say even elected by universal
suffrage: does not every one see the tyranny, the Monarchism, to which the
workman would be subjected? But suppose you elect, instead of the
masters, the Committee of the Amalgamated Engineers or the Promoters of
Christian Socialism, can you not see that nothing would he altered except
the men? The false principle of interference with liberty remains
the same in either case.
Is that Socialism republic which invents a hierarchy, a
system of castes, like the Saint—Simonian? What matters how
comfortable it may make its lowest class? It is not republican, for
it breaks the law of equality. It forbids the low-born to
hope to become the equal of the high; it attempts to make such
Is that Socialism which teaches interest instead of duty,
which tells men to form happy villages, comfortable co-operative corners,
wherein they may shut themselves up in shabby enjoyments and escape the
tumult of political action, the inconvenience of sacrifice, while their
brothers in the world spend doubly of their sweat and pain because of the
desertion of these co-operatives? Has it not thus, as but too often
before, as in France, when the workmen, taught to be patient for so long
as their little "associative experiments" might escape the fangs of the
Reaction, stood tamely by and left a few brave men to weep tears of blood
for the ignominy of their country? Is such Socialism republican?
No! for it is a denial of the duty of fraternity; the wholeness of
Now, it does not follow that, because these and such like
Socialisms are false and unrepublican, false indeed inasmuch as they are
unsocial, forgetful of some portion, of the indivisable law of social
life—it does not necessarily follow that the teachers should be
traitors. It is most likely that most of them are very sincere men,
who have only cramped their minds or partially blinded themselves by too
exclusive study of certain chapters of progress or by dwelling too long on
the dazzling page of their own plenary inspiration, and who have so become
unable to perceive the insufficiency of their own theories. But we
are not, therefore, bound to hold our tongues when they insist on such
nonsense as—There is no god but Fourier! no duty except Icarianism! etc.,
etc. Let men be never so honestly blind, and yet we may warn others
from letting the blind lead them.
There are Socialists (and here it matters not of what
description their Socialism may be) who teach to us that political action
is of little use; that is, in the teeth of opposing institutions we may
reform everything. Little argument is needed to prove that such!
Socialists are not Republicans.
Whatever theory, or whatever course of action, loses sight of
the perfection of the individual or the completeness of Humanity, that
theory, that course of action, is not republican, however its followers
may insist on assuming the name of republican or to whatever denomination
of Socialism they may lend the credit of their principles or conduct.
In truth, the system-maker, however true to Republicanism his
system may be, runs some risk of becoming an enemy to the Republic.
Let him systematise, and proselytise, and solve all difficulties up to the
seventh heaven: all that is his right and may be useful. But when he
insists upon the acceptance of his system as a preliminary for union, or
when others, lacking the modesty which characterises system-builders,
insist for him that there is no road to salvation but through his theory,
then he, or they, must be condemned as impeding progress. For they
hinder union and action with the dogmatisms they so impertinently thrust
in the way of men who have yet to win the opportunity of change; they so
waste the time which is wanted for immediate work, and, still worse,
withdraw many from the army of the future on no better ground than a
refusal to accept their singular fanaticisms for the watchword of the
combined force. This treason to our cause has been committed again
and again by men who pride themselves on being pro-eminently socialist.
Socialist, but surely not republican.
We throw out of this argument all consideration of the more
democrats, who are not Socialists. While the Socialists are
lamentably but too often not republican, these mere politicians are never
republican. Again, it matters nothing what a man may call himself.
Judge him by his doctrine and his work. To follow this out may
compel a lessening of the presumed number of the Republican array; but we
shall know who are indeed on our side, and not occasionally strike our
best friends in defence of some who are friends only in name, in the blind
intent of a sincerity which cannot reason, or under pretence of a
"co-operation" which has no faith but in its own poor popeship.
Let us again remark that the Republican neither doubts the
necessity of a thorough social reform nor shirks the declaration of his
views upon social questions. Only, holding the Republican faith,
that in the free people alone resides the right of interpreting God's
laws and ruling the method of realising the same, he deems it but
consistent to refrain from prescribing on his individual authority what
that interpretation shall be. He rather calls his brethren to help
him to win freedom upon which alone the future can be built, and, though
he may be gifted with prophecy, he does not hold the may-be as an excuse
What then is the Socialism of the Republic? We have
endeavoured broadly to define Republicanism, and the further definition
will not be difficult. The Republic "democrat and social" is not a
mere catch-phrase in our mouths. That "democrat and social" is
indeed the sufficient condemnation of all the systems of mere Socialism.
Our republican Socialism is not the abrogation of property
because the true principle of property has been abused, but the assurance
of property to every one: not the destruction of individuality because men
have stood in antagonism, but its recognition as an element in society, as
necessary as the distinct note in music; not the denial of national
characteristics because king-led peoples have warred against each other,
but a perception of the value of national varieties as aids to the
progression of Humanity; not a blind conceit that the competition of men
has been "nothing but a mistake," but the knowledge that competition as
well as cooperation is a principle of human life, to be used to the same
end, the perfection of the race.
Our Socialism is, as much as that of any "Socialist," the
assertion of the right of every human being to the tools, the means, of
work; the right to education, and to the credit, the capital of the State;
but we would neither make the State the task-master to the ruin of
liberty, nor by any equalisation of wages violate the equal right of the
better workman to his just reward—such gain as his better work may bring
him without undue advantage of his fellow-worker.
Our Socialism is the harmonising of society, not by
compulsory drilling into arbitrary formulas, but by freedom and
opportunity of association—not by empirically attempting to prevent
difficulties of growth, but by opening and keeping free the ways of growth
for the weakest as well as for the strongest, and by caring that each grow
to his utmost; it is the religious organisation of Humanity, not by trying
to bribe men to orderly behaviour with a better table or with any of the
poor insufficient lures of material interest, but by touching the deeper
spring of human endeavour—the inherent tendency to aspire toward good,
and so leading on through nobleness to nobleness, from progression to
progression, to a higher and yet a higher and more excellent future.
This is the Socialism of the Republican.
For everyone education, freedom, association, unstinted
assistance, a sure reward, and incentives to the true dignity of manhood.
The organisation of all by all and for all. What "Socialism" offers
As for the special means by which these results are to be
produced, the Republican camp has also its system-builders, but at least
they avoid the reproach of wasting time in demanding subscriptions to such
articles; choosing rather to combat for the ground whereupon alone the
freed peoples shall decide on the programmes of our several utopias.
We Republicans, indeed, are Socialists. Let the
Socialists learn Republicanism, and some of our utopias may become real.
SLAVERY AND FREEDOM.
Slavery and Freedom—Two Pictures of Slavery—Applications to our own
Country and our own Day—Voluntary Slavery— Non-Intervention and Fair Play.
IT was well said by our great Milton
that "no man apprehends what vice is so well as he who is truly virtuous."
Even so, unless we have closely looked, though it be but in spirit, upon
the glorious beauty of Freedom, we shall not be able to thoroughly
appreciate the worthlessness and vice of Slavery. What then is
Look around you and behold! Observe the oak in the
forest, the pine on the mountain, or the palm-tree in the desert. No
axe has come against his boughs; no limb has been torn away; man has not
trained or lopped him; nothing has hindered him from growing as Nature
ordered. Spring and Summer, Autumn and Winter, and their change of
blessed ministries, have reared him to the majesty of that perfected
growth. His faculties have been fully developed. He has
neither been nailed against a wall, nor crippled for some useful
invention, nor forced aside to make room for another who would assume a
diviner origin. He has reached his utmost stature; he fulfilleth the
number of his days; and when he shall fall it shall be in the late old age
of an accomplished life. The forester, the mountaineer, the
desert-dweller—each is free.
Watch the stars as you see them travelling on the highways of
glory and of joy, when the veil of sunlight is withdrawn, and the skirts
of the infinite realm of night become visible unto us. The stars are
free. Each pursueth his own path; each fulfilleth his own destiny.
No capricious tyrant says unto one—"Obscure thy glory for me, that thy
compelled dimness may serve as a foil to ray exceeding splendour!" or to
another—"So far shalt thou go, and no farther; stay thy proud course at a
respectful distance from me!"
The flower on the forest's heart, the velvet moss that
cushioneth the decrepid oak, the heath on the mountain-side—they too are
free. They are where God planted them; the energies God gave them
they can use; the life He gave them they can enjoy. So they are
free. Free: because none forbid their growth, their fragrance, or
their abundant blossoming. They are free to fully develop the
individual peculiarities of their being—to work out their task of life—to
fulfil the will of that Beneficence whose universal law is Growth.
The wild herds, and the wild fowl, fish, insect and
animalculæ, all things with which man has not meddled are free. None
says unto another—"Stay thy growth for me! change thy nature for me!
forget the special purpose of thy own being, and live, not for thyself,
but for me, not in accordance with thy own nature, but wholly and solely
with reference unto mine!" The wild horse bridleth not his fellow.
The fish enslaveth not his kind. Not even of the meanest insects is
there found one so mean as to bend the knee unto another. There is
war among them; but they are not tyrants and slaves. They are free.
Each lives for himself. Everyone controlleth his own life under no
authority except the conditions of his nature. Freedom is the
opportunity of healthily developing one's nature, the opportunity of
growth, the Condition of excellence. It is the soil in which
alone the seed of improvement can be made to germinate, in which every
nature must be planted, or the nature cannot reach its full perfectness.
This freedom is necessary even for the lowest creature. And as
necessary, and so much more excellent, as man's nature exceeds that of the
mere brutes, is the freedom of Humankind. He, whose will is the
promise of virtue, needs room for development, even as does the palm-tree
of the desert. He, who looketh beyond the stars, whose mighty hopes
are farther reaching than the strongest sighted telescope that peereth
through the multitude of worlds, he should be free to move in his
God-appointed course, healthfully and strongly, stepping onward from
growth to growth to that end for which the Creator set him in the pathway
of Eternity. What would man be without this freedom? man, on
whom, beyond all other gifts, the gift of conscience has been bestowed, a
means (so far transcending any possessed by other animals) for regulating
his own life and actions, proclaiming him with peculiar emphasis as born
for freedom? What would he be without freedom? No
longer man. "Man, who man would be, must rule the empire of himself,
in it must be supreme."
Freedom implies self-control. In man this self-control
involves the exercise of will, the use of reason for moral and
intellectual growth; and it is this extension of freedom, or rather this
greater capacity for turning freedom to account, which distinguishes man
from his inferiors in creation. Every true system of religion, the
whole theory and doctrine of virtue, the very idea of duty and
responsibility, whether to God or man, are built upon the assumption of
this being the natural and proper state of Humanity. They can exist
only in such a condition. They can find room nowhere but in freedom.
They are mere unmeaning words except in reference to this freedom.
For how can he be virtuous who has no will, no control over himself?
Virtue is not a mere doing some other's bidding. Virtue is the
righteous action of a free man. Or what duties can he owe or perform
who has no power of determining his own actions, who is not his own
master, who is a slave? The lower animals possess a kind, a degree
of will. The very trees and mosses are free; and without that
freedom, could not accomplish the purposes for which they exist.
Shall man with nobler purposes to answer, with greater
requirements for freedom, with means for further using it, with reason
teaching him how to choose the good and to refuse the evil, making him
wise to his own salvation, lifting him from the stagnation of sloth, and
leading him on from progression to progression, from glory to glory, even
as by the Spirit of God—shall this man have less of freedom of will?
Shall man alone of all earth's creatures, shall man especially, be bound
down, be "crippled, caged, confined," and still be expected to attain his
full growth? The plant and the brute reach their proper development
by virtue of the vital energy or instinct, and its condition of freedom.
Has not reason too its requisitions? Needs not reason also its
proportionate condition of freedom? And that, too, so far greater a
share of freedom than is the allotment of instinct. Shall the mighty
and excellent human fabric, with its god-like heart and intellect, be
built up to perfection with less opportunity than the mere existence of a
plant? All things need freedom for self-development. Man has
greater capacity of development; greater freedom therefore must be his,
that he may attain his higher destiny. Freedom—the opportunity for
healthy development—involves in man not only that self-control which is
implied in the instinctive growth of any and everything in its own
peculiar way; but also that further self-regulation and higher
sovereignty, which is the requisition of reason; without which there is no
such thing as conscience, no such thing as virtue, no such thing as
progression; without which there is nothing to elevate man above the
inferior creatures; without which indeed he is immeasurably below them,
seeing that they do fulfil the conditions of their natures, and this
completer freedom is the condition of his.
Slavery is the prevention of growth and development; the
prevention of that self-control and free conduct which God assigned to man
with the gift of reason, as the means of virtue. "The Essence of
Slavery"—says Lamennais—"is the destruction of human individuality, that
is to say, of that natural liberty and sovereignty of a man, which makes
of him a moral being, responsible for his actions, capable of virtue.
Degraded even below the animal, in losing his individuality, he is
deprived of the right of his humanity, consequently, of all right, and in
course of all duty. Not knowing how to name him, because we know not
how to understand him, we must call him a thing. See what
becomes of God's noblest creature."
Slavery destroys the will of man: then of what use is reason?
Slavery stays human improvement, or at least compels its slow progression
in certain arbitrary and confined channels: then what becomes of the
indefinite power of progress with which man is endowed? He has no
thanks for well-doing who does well constraint: so slavery abolishes
virtue. Slavery robs a man of himself, makes him a mere machine for
the tyrant's work. Slavery murders man. Slavery damns the
future of the whole race. Slavery is the blight which forbids the
opening of the buds of human promise. Slavery is the chain which
binds the spirit to menial tasks when it would be soaring Godward.
Slavery is that curse of contempt and disbelief and cruellest mockery,
which reserves man's prayers, making his beat deeds of no worth, Slavery
heapeth useless burdens on the already over burdened. It deprives
life of its smile. It dethrones God, leaving to its victim no
redeemer except Death.
Slavery is of two kinds—the active and the passive.
The slavery of the hammer, which strikes in obedience to the will of him
who wields it, which allows itself to be used, which acts at the
bidding of another; and the slavery of the nail, which is only stricken,
which does not act, but is acted upon—which drives not but is driven—which
is the sufferer and not the executioner. Between these two there is
a difference. There is much the same difference between the man who
is simply the victim of tyranny, because of his inability to resist a
mightier power, and the man who consents to be the agent and active tool
of tyranny, repeating and transmitting the evil which he endures—that
there is between the diseased man whose illness is as much as possible
confined to himself, and the plague-smitten who willingly infects all
within his reach. Let every man well examine his own condition and
conduct, that he may ascertain which of these unfortunates he is.
Does he act in accordance with his own determinations in all
cases save only when absolute power, either of law or circumstance,
compels his self-surrender? Does he never succumb to power till he
has tried his utmost of resistance; and even then in yielding, look for
means wherewith to renew the struggle; and ever protesting against the
hindrance which mars his conscientious acting? Then, though foiled
at every point, though driven from the course he had marked out for
himself, though forced to march on the very opposite road, or bound down
and fixed to the evil place whence he had desired to remove—then though
indeed he must feel himself a slave, though the iron enter even into his
soul, it shall not destroy him. He may at least say—"I have striven,
though I am defeated. Yet am I not conquered: for I will renew the
fight, again and again, however hopelessly; and again and again I will
rebel against the yoke imposed upon me." He is rather the captive
than the slave. He is the compelled slavery of the victim, which may
make a man miserable but not guilty. Honour to the struggling slave!
He too may be a hero and a martyr. And however degraded let him not
be despised! There is indignant pity for him, but no condemnation.
But woe to him who is a slave in soul! to him who aids in
enslaving his fellows. Who, not content with bowing himself
to the usurped supremacy of law or custom, plays jackall to the oppressor,
caters for the ravenous and prowling tyranny, and toils, in envy of
others' uprightness, in very hatred of freedom, to make others as himself,
to drag down the high-souled, and drive them, if possible, beneath even
his own infamy: as if endeavouring to be the veriest slave of slaves, the
ape of tyranny—at once its victim, its tool, and its accomplice.
This is the lowest depth of slavery. It need hardly be
said that there are numerous grades of this misery; that a line is not to
be drawn where the one species sinks into the other; that the shades and
gradations of this wretchedness are imperceptible; and that we can
scarcely distinguish where the tyrant slides into the slavery himself had
caused. But by these marks you shall know the slave. By these
signs shall you detect slavery, whatever its trappings or disguises, or
whatever the decency and holiness of baptism with which it may have sought
to cleanse and beautify its foulness:—
If you see a man against his own will sacrificed for another,
know that he is sacrificed to slavery.
If you see a human being prevented from travelling on his own
path toward that state of perfectness of which his organisation is
capable—if you see him debarred from education, from physical or mental or
moral culture, know that slavery is there at work for that man's ruin.
If you see one prevented from exercising his energies for his
own benefit, when he might do so without encroaching on the rights of
others, know that slavery is there.
If you perceive that one submitteth his will and judgment to
another's, doing another's bidding instead of obeying his own free
conscience, then be sure that slavery has robbed him of his birthright,
whatever mess of pottage, of love or contentment, he may get in exchange.
If you find one who says—"I know this to be my duty, but I
dare not do it," know that slavery hath enchained that man's conscience;
or if another says—"This is my interest, but I dare not do it," though it
interferes not with the rights of another, know that slavery is devouring
If you behold one acting against his conscience because
another commands or compels his obedience, set him down as the tool of
tyranny. Lo, the oppressor is there!
Or if you find one who does right, and but because another
orders it—one who acts wisely and discreetly, but solely because
constrained by another—mark him too as a slave. Recollect that a
slave cannot be virtuous; that slavery can never wear the honours of
If you see a man hindered from aught that might conduce to
his well-being and happiness; if you find a man compelled to do aught that
may conduce to his own mischief; and if you see that it is not a
consequence of his own nature and the laws of the Eternal, but occasioned
by the will of some other man or men, it matters not whether few or many,
then you shall know that such a one is in the thrall of tyranny, that he
is losing himself, that he is fallen from the dignity of a man.
But if you find a man who dares to think and to reason, who
listens obediently to the voice of God within him—that revelation which
ever visits the heart of him who seeketh earnestly for knowledge, and who,
having convinced himself, dares all consequences in the endeavour to
follow the impulses of his convictions, who for conscience' sake confronts
all opposal, swerving neither to the right hand nor to the left; then,
however he may be defeated and enthralled, reverence the shadow of
freedom still abiding on that man; and when you see him crushed by the
weight of evil though you know that there too is a manifestation of
slavery, and that the Son of God is trampled beneath the Cross, yet say to
your own hearts that faint beholding the agony of that Holy One—"Verily
slavery here has but a poor triumph; captivity is led captive; the blood
of the martyr is the seed of the world's future freedom."
In all these cases there is slavery, more or less; a slavery
that is intolerable, that must be rooted out.
No vigour of human endeavour, no supernatural aid—not though
the "stars in their courses fought" for man in the battle against sin and
misery, can avail anything while man usurps a sway over his fellow, while
the will of one is trampled under foot or dragged at the heels of another,
while man dares meddle with another's conscience; while man's
arbitrariness, whether of brute force or over-reaching intellect, presumes
to limit or direct the progress of his fellows.
Room for the healthy development of all man's capabilities,
of each one's capabilities. Room for the spirit to expand as for the
body to grow.
Room for the exercise of conscious will, without let of human
enactment, caprice, or craft; or men cannot rise to the dignity of
Manhood; but must continue as they have so long been—the bondmen and prey
of a debasing slavery, the sport of accident, less healthy than the
meanest of existences, unworthy of reason, abusers even of the faculty of
speech—continually lying in calling themselves men.
Let us now see what SERVICE is; for men
have too long been led to confound it with slavery, cheated into the
belief that slavery and service are the same.
It is not so. Service is rather the completion of
freedom; the turning freedom to its proper use.
Freedom and service are help-fellows, upstaying man's steps
on either side. Freedom and service—man's right and man's
duty,—are like two palm trees which bear no fruit unless they grow
together. Service and slavery are utterly at variance, of
uncombining dispositions, miserably yoked together and ever childless.
But the plenteous fruit of the marriage of service and freedom are peace
and love, and strength, and self-respect, and thankfulness, and joy, and
clear-eyed hope and beauty, worshipful as one born in heaven.
Let us learn how this is:—
Service is voluntary; slavery is constrained. Service
is Godlike, and raises man to the height of heaven.
Slavery degrades him below the brutes. Let him who
would be first among you be your servant.
Truly, the servant of all is the greatest of all. What
diviner title shall we invent to excel that noblest title of Omnipotence
the—the universal Servant?
But is that the slave? Service is voluntary; that which
is voluntary is free. Slavery is compulsory.
Herein is the difference.
A man hires a servant. He must have, he cannot do
without a servant. Think how many menial offices there are.
Let him say a slave then; and we know his meaning. But if it is
indeed a servant—let him understand that he who serves is the greater.
He who needs his service is by so much beneath his servant. Must it
be repeated that God is man's servant?
But to examine more closely into the common relation of
master (or mistress) and servant, domestic or other; if the connection is
that of a willing contract, for the benefit of both, and each serves the
other for "interest " sake—or, even if one chooses to wait upon the other
for love's sake and without remuneration—such service need not be slavery.
If each serves the other, they are so equal.
If one only serves, the servant is the greater.
But, if on the one side there is any assumption of
superiority on the ground of receiving service—of service being the homage
of an inferior, while on the other side the service is at all induced or
affected by fear, or by any circumstances independent of the will—if there
is any over-ruling of the moral will and conscience of the servant—any
stretching of the contract between the hirer and the hired to the
over-reaching of the servant—then there is no longer the God-like service;
but the vileness of slavery.
Possibly a very trifling slavery, possibly quite a pleasant
sort of slavery: but none the less it is slavery; an abasement of
humanity; and, however amiably it may be managed—a usurpation and
tyrannous invasion of the natural right of self-sovereignty.
Or again, to take the relation of master and workman.
This is manifestly a contract for mutual benefit. Each serves the
other; so far there is no superiority.
If the master would put on any haughtiness because the
workman serves him—does he not also serve the workman? (What respect
may be due to either for intelligence or moral worth is beside our present
Let the haughtiest know that no kind of service willingly
rendered can degrade the server.
But when the master would strain the power of his position
beyond the fair terms of a mutual contract, to the injury of the
workman—when he dares to meddle with the workman's conscience, or to
dispose of his life, not in virtue of the willing agreement between them,
but simply because he is master and will have such and such things
done—then he is the tyrant and the workman sinks into a slave.
There is no longer any contract; there is no longer willing
service either for love or interest. What then remains? On the
one side assumption of authority, on the other prostration of will; and
these are the sure tokens of slavery.
The mother waiteth upon her child: she ministers to it
without compulsion, without fear.
What, indeed, shall keep her from serving the beloved?
The child tends her sick or infirm parent, doing all menial offices, as
they are called; but there is nothing menial to Love. The physician
serves the sick: the teacher serves the ignorant: the philanthropist
serves whoever needs his ministry.
The loving delights in the service of the beloved; the
consoler waits upon the sorrow-stricken. All these are services:
services which degrade not, but which ennoble the servant: service
scarcely possible in slavery, but well compatible with the most God-like
freedom: services not to be commanded, but flowing freely from the heart.
Who says that service is a degradation? Who says that
the child may assume authority because its parent is the servant of its
every want? Who calls the teacher less than the taught, the
physician less than him in need of healing? Who needs another 's
service must yield precedence to that other. His servant, in Virtue
of that service, ranks above him. He who compels another's slavish
attention calls for himself only a comparative grandeur.
The tyrant is only a degree above a slave. But the
freeman and the servant of humanity, whether the object of his service be
all humanity, his country, or only the least of the little children he is
great beyond comparison. As a servant, as the true son of God, he
takes rank above all human distinctions. And even the hired servant
is the equal of the hirer. If each makes his own terms; serving his
own purpose, what difference is between them? If one is forced to
accept the terms of another—whether through any iniquitous or social
arrangements or any other tyranny—such a one is not a servant but a slave.
This have I found, said the preacher—that God made men
up-right, but they have found out many inventions. And this of
slavery is the worst.
Look back to the beginning of human life, and see in what
dull ignorance and brutality this curse had birth. It is plain that,
originally, man was monarch of himself. The solitary savage was his own
Master: he had complete and undisturbed possession of his own life, his
will was paramount in that realm, nothing limiting it save the laws of his
organisation—the laws of Nature and of God.
But it was not good for him to be alone. Even in that
first grey dawn and twilight of existence his wants and weaknesses led him
to seek the society of his kind. The lesson of the bundle of sticks,
which, bound together, can not be broken, but which, severally, are weak
and worthless—this lesson was early forced upon him; early and late, for
even until now the struggles and strivings of mankind have been and are
but the heavings of the unremitting endeavour to work out this great
problem of human life—the union and organisation of humanity.
Naturally enough, for man must learn by experience and prove
all things, to know how to hold fast the good: naturally enough, man's
first attempts at union were falsely based. He sought to force it.
He relied on liberty only, without equality—the liberty of
the strongest to take liberties, to compel.
He asserted only his own will: he trampled upon the will of
his fellow. The stronger compelled the weaker, robbed the weaker of
his birthright, his right to self-control, making the robbed his slave, an
appropriation for the purposes of the tyrant's selfishness.
Soon numbers congregated together: it was no longer merely
individual against individual, man against man, woman against woman: there
arose a conspiracy and combination of the strong; and masses of human
beings were degraded into mere instruments of tyranny. So brute
force—the liberty of the anarch—ruled supreme.
And then, as the human mind advanced in knowledge if not in
wisdom, men discovered that intellect is stronger than brute force—that
craft can subdue power. So men were cheated into slavery.
Fraud and force, both tyrants, learned soon to work together: and the
chains were firm.
Are they not even yet unbroken? But is not this a
usurpation? Do the long ages of endurance wear out the original
right? Does slavery become God-like, or tyranny become truth,
because the pile of freedom's martyrs reaches nearly unto heaven? Is
not our right the same?
The same, despite all tyrannies, charters, compromises,
conventions, and constitutions, as when human beings first met together to
lay the foundations of society. Did they not meet then with equal
rights? Man with man—what matter if they were savage? Did not
each come crowned with self-sovereignty, a king in his own right, to treat
on terms of equal alliance with his fellow for the benefit of both?
What right had one to say to another—to say either by words or deeds—"I
care not for your rights, I know you would join me for your own benefit,
or freely for the benefit of us both: but I am stronger than you.
You shall be my captive, my tool, my slave. I will sacrifice you to
my god—the short sighted demon of self-interest. I will rob you of
what Nature gave you. I care nothing for your interest. Your
life shall be my property"?
What specious apologist for some particular sort of tyranny
will defend this naked wrong?
Had justice indeed been arbiter between these, between the
first tyrant and his slave, would not this have been righteous judgment?
Human creatures to whom God gave freedom to fulfil the
purposes of your existence, in order that you might become virtuous and
aspire to the heights of duty-for what objects do you seek to unite
together? Is it not because each of you feels the insufficiency of
his loneliness, because each would have bettered by union, because only
your combined strength is capable of insuring the progression of your
race? On equal terms as the free children of God; on equal terms
since each is sovereign over his own life, on equal terms as co-inheritors
of each, equal in your need of help; equal in your rights and in your
duties, you have met together to establish the conditions of your
Know that on the maintenance of that equality depends the
preservation of real liberty—through which alone can come the true
fraternal organisation of humanity.
Without it, all is anarchy and contention, the anarchy of
slavery, the contention of tyrants for precedence.
Did no such voice come down from heaven when the second Cain
(the tyrant) slew—not the body, but the soul of his brother? Yet,
with the lesson of ages before us, should we not ere this have learned the
wisdom of that first law of humanity? Equal freedom, there can be no
other enduring bond of union. Should some moral tempest scatter to
the winds the conventional forms which now enchain society (for so
we call even our present savage herding together), we could only remodel
social life upon this law. It is the law promulgated by Him whom
eighteen centuries have worshipped as Divine, worshipping Him without
understanding, for in the formal enunciation of that law of equal freedom
lies the true meaning of Christianity; it is the law already accepted as
the only ground of union by revolutionary France; it is the law which all
men yet shall recognise, when the last of the usurpers shall be
overthrown, and the peoples work together at the broad altar of Democracy
to swear to maintain the Republics of the free.
And now, look at two pictures of slavery, common enough and
well-known. Let them be brought forward and some application made of
their unmitigated horrors; an application to be taken to men's firesides,
for closest questioning.
Our first picture is negro-slavery in America.
A slave—said the Louisana Code—is in the power of the master
to whom he belongs. The master may sell him, dispose of his person,
his industry, his labour; he can do nothing, possess nothing, nor acquire
anything, but which must belong to his master.
The definition is very precise. "Slaves shall be
deemed, taken, refuted, and adjudged," said the South Carolina laws—"to be
chattels personal in the hands of their masters, and possessions to all
intents and purposes whatsoever." Baptist ministers in the Southern
States declared that "the will of the master may lawfully annul the
marriage of the slave, or compel him to marry again," to keep up the stock
of the Estate. "Religion clinches Law."
The Methodist conference decreed that the testimony of a
coloured member of their churches should not be received against a white.
The slave was driven by the lash to work from which he could derive no
property, yet these slaveholders were, as slaveholders all over the world
are, assessors of the rights of property. The slave was cared for or
worked up according to which process was most profitable to his owner.
He had a wife and children only for his owner's use, or abuse.
And if he dared attempt to escape from this hell upon earth,
he was hunted down like a wild beast, with bloodhounds and rifles, by the
slaveholder and his accomplices.
Here was slavery carried out to its utmost, a slavery so
naked that it really shocked the sensitiveness of many well-dressed
slave-dealers on this side of the Atlantic.
Our second picture of slavery is that of woman in the slave
markets and seraglios of the East. We will not unveil its
Well, slavery in what are politely called free countries may
not be so horrible as this; but is the principle there? If nearer
home you can trace the principle which caused the horrors of
America and Asia, know that there is slavery, the same wrong, if not to
the same extent—the same evil with whatever pretty names we may have
christened it. Hear what the truest freeman and noble servant of his
country even unto death— hear what Algernon Sidney said of slavery: "The
weight of chains, number of stripes, hardness of labour, and other effects
of a master's cruelty, may make one servitude more miserable than another;
but he is a slave who serves the best and gentlest man in the world, as
well as he who serves the worst, if he must obey his commands and
depend upon his will."
Working-men of England, for whom but not by
whom the laws are made, on whose will do your lives depend? Upon
your own, or upon others? You are slaves, and yet the poorhouse
skilly is not mock turtle.
If, in some of the newspapers, which find readers even among
the most careless, you read of men whom stump-orators call free, and of
children, the children of these same freemen, tasked against their will
and beyond their strength, deprived of all hope of benefit of their
labour, uneducated, ill-fed, and poorly housed and clad, treated in all
respects like rascally blacks, driven by blows, or hunger, worse than
blows, to daily toil, and used up or allowed to retire on a superannuation
of disease and famine, according as seems most conducive to their
employers' profits, their wretched lives ever chained to degradation and
vice, denied all healthy development of their natures, all fair
opportunity of virtue, and if they dare attempt to alter or escape from
this serfdom, brought back by force and atrocious punishments;—if you read
of labourers—the mass of the population of a country, who are the
possession to all intents and purposes of the landowner, or whoever is
rich enough to rule the market to which they must resort; who can be used
as beasts of burden, or cleared off the land as may seem best to their
masters;—if you hear of service, not voluntary nor mutual, nor the
answering of the natural law of union, but a hard necessity, the result of
the iniquitous arrangements of human usurpation—the servant compelled to
obey those arrangements by arbitrary threats of hunger, of destitution,
and injury; if you learn that in any country the mass, or say only great
numbers of the people, their persons, their industry, their property (so
much or so little indeed as they can possess), are not in their own hand,
but under the power of another class of men, who dispose of them as they
think fit, pressing this man as a soldier, kidnapping this other for a
sailor, branding the third as a convict, and the fourth as a pauper,
driving their wives into the streets to prostitute themselves for the
maintenance of their beggared babes;—if you see that the inhabitants of
any place are submitted to the dictation of thieves, who order their work
and wages, and leave their souls to the misleading of knavish
hirelings;—if you know of men starving by the million in the midst of
plenty, while others feed on vilest garbage, though the production of
their own toil is more than sufficient for their sustenance; if you hear
of calculations of the hours that children may work without perishing—of
women and children sacrificed as matter of economy when men would cost too
much;—when you hear of human beings, not as a fearful and lamentable
occasional necessity, but as a regular occupation and deliberate ordering
of society, imprisoned for life in the foulest circumstances, physical and
moral, for the sake of so much per cent. to respectable jailers;—when you
know that women may not lawfully unite themselves with men unless they
surrender the natural right of sovereignty and stoop to be the property
and possession of their lords, having no power over their own persons, so
that they may "do nothing, possess nothing, nor acquire anything but which
must belong to their masters;"—when you are told that in regions nearer
home than the Seraglio there are regular markets wherein even girls of ten
or twelve years old are sold to gentlemanly disease and lust, and that in
the very heart of the land we tolerate schools of the filthiest
obscenity;—when you hear of such things and find in addition that every
attempt at radical alteration is punished as a crime, and every
denunciation of the evil denounced as an attack upon "law and order," to
be repelled with curses and injury;—when yet further you are aware that
the ministers of religion and justice are bribed to aid and abet the
manifold enormities of their time, that the "independent" teachers of the
people dare not speak their real thought, but lie and palter continually,
from the press and from the pulpit, for fear of public execration, or
haply ex-officio prosecutions, outrage, fine and imprisonment; and that
men, meeting their fellows in the daily haunts of life, in the very stench
of such doings, dare not talk of the plague surrounding them, but poison
each other with infectious hypocritical breath, as if lying was a most
religious rite and right salutary custom;—when you have well weighed these
things, be not content with complacently congratulating yourselves, saying
to one another—What excellent and delightful customs these are!—neither,
if you hear them called in question by certain hardy blasphemers of
Almighty Custom, think it enough to say—It is worse still in the West or
in the East; but whisper to your own souls that all these things are
manifestations of Slavery; and ask, not idly, how you can redeem the
sufferers, even if they are not yourselves. Why do I say—If you read
of, and learn and discover such things? You have read them, each of
you some of them in his own life; you may all of you find this Devil's
Scripture in any daily paper of "free and great and glorious" Britain.
They are here: about our path, and about our beds, companioning us
everywhere. Are you so blind that standing in the broad glare of day
you cannot see the fetters that are clinging around you? or have you grown
so callous through long suffering, so benumbed and torpid from ages of
oppression, that you do not feel the iron enter into your soul? O
blind and slow of heart! was it not rightly said—that you must understand
what Freedom is before you can see even your own Slavery? Take the
film from your eyes; dare to use your own understandings! Look at
our factories, at our fields; look into our prisons and penitentiaries,
our penal colonies, worse than ever Sodom and Gomorrah; and into those
pleasant homes and hospitals of our outworn poor, the poorhouses—the
poorhouses where the brutalized young children may be seen like apes with
down upon their faces, till we learn to thank God in our bitterness that
His image cannot be effaced. Look into our street of prostitutes,
our regular markets to supply the necessary consumption. And do not
forget to question the "words" that fill our churches and our chapels with
the smoke of an idle sacrifice. Nay, look into your homes, be they
never so virtuous, or so happy, for there are wives and children and
servants. Try, like men in earnest upon the track, if you cannot
detect the trail of the old serpent of Slavery, the fiend that robes you
under cover of the night. Wheresoever you may find it, grapple with
it till it shall be no more. Spare it not neither in the sanctuary,
nor at your own hearth! Slay the accursed! For while it exists
is neither worth, nor hope, nor honest happiness, for man.
But what if a man chooses to be a slave? Seeing that
the tyrant is like God, wise and benevolent, caring for his slave, even as
a father for his child. Or seeing that the tyrant—or tyrants (the
old Greeks called all absolute rulers Tyrants)—are of his own choice, that
his own shoulders helped to carry them to power.
Or seeing that his rents or profits come in duly, or that his
wages are regular.
Why need a man trouble himself by too curiously considering
whether he is a slave or a free-man, so long as the collar does not gall
him, and especially if it may be gilded?
What matters whether it be called liberty or slavery, if all
is well with him?
Play the pendulum between thy desk or work-bench and thy
hearth, marking the dead moments of thy monotonous life! Thou
workest, thou sleepest.
What matters who is master? While thou keepest out of
the Gazette or the poorhouse, what difference to thee between
slavery and freedom?
Little perhaps, if man's life is but a lethargic dream, the
hereafter a foolish tale, and duty a word without meaning.
But the natural and proper course of a man's life is action,
the active search after truth; this life is but a stage of our existence,
man owes duty to humanity, virtue to eternity, and life to God.
Virtue is free will. If a man acts only on compulsion,
how can his act be virtuous? Or what virtue is there in the act
which a man does only by the allowance of another?
To seek after truth—to be truth's diligent follower; servant,
and wooer—this is man's duty upon earth. But how follow truth if any
stand between him and truth?
If the tyrant's will, or the tyrant's law, is the rule of a
man's morality, how can he serve truth?
He may be allowed or ordered so to do: or he may not.
Either way he acts not of his own free will. But if of my free will
I submit to slavery!
That is to say if of my free will I surrender my free will. Compulsion
cannot be free will, nor can slavery be aught but slavery.
The slave is he whose will is overruled by another. The
freeman is he whose life has no other master but God.
If a tyrant order me to do evil, I will disobey him, not only
because of the evil, but to vindicate my will.
If he order me to do good, though I will do good, it shall be
because it is good: and I will make it clear that I act from no obedience
to him. I should be, not a man, but a mere machine, if his will
could be my motive.
Though one be never so wise, he cannot live for me, nor
dictate my life. My acts must be my own. I may sometimes defer
to his great wisdom—but if I do this unwillingly, and not of my own
judgment, belief, and will, exercised at each act, I am a slave.
I may not give my life to another; nor let my acts bow down
to another's will. For my life is not mine, but God's. The
power of wilful action was given me by God in order that it should be
used, not to be abdicated whenever I may think some other wiser than
If one may submit in one act, why not in a series of acts in
a life? If one may submit to another, why may not two, or more?
If the husband may be the master of the wife, why may not the
Czar be lord of all mankind?
My smallest action should be because of its seeming good to
me: not because of the will of another. Let it seem good to me to
sometimes please another, that may be well. But let it seem good.
If I may surrender my will and judgment of good or evil
consequence to the will and judgment of another even in the lightest
action, why may I not in the weightiest? Where fix the boundary
between unimportant and important? But the lightest action is
important having an eternity depending on it.
If I do well only to please another, or only at another's
bidding, why should I do ill at the same pleasure or command? That
is, if another's will is my law, instead of my own judgment of right and
Obedience. There is submission of the
judgment out of respect to what is judged to be the better judgment of
another, when it is clear to us that on a certain matter the other's
judgment is better than our own. There is no other obedience
possible to him who would be a free-man, a lover and worshipper of virtue.
Human laws are man's interpretations of the moral law of God,
that is to say, whenever they are not the mere edicts of tyrants.
Shall I let my neighbour interpret God's law for me, and take
no thought for myself of what may be its meaning?
Suppose he makes a wrong interpretation. His law is
bad; and I—shall I obey it?
It is a question only between one and one. Let him
interpret as he likes. What is that to me? He is no law-giver
But when the question is between me and the many? Shall
I neglect to utter my idea of the meaning of God's law, and leave the many
to interpret for me, and to compel my obedience to their interpretation?
I will rebel.
Ay! rather be a slave. For I have no right to stoop to
the yoke of another's interpretation. As before said, if I may
submit to be guided in one matter, I may in all, and so in harness of
other's law be driven into the worst of evil.
But better than that first silence and the remedy of
rebellion would be the endeavour to make my interpretation of God's law
clear to my fellows. So our conference might prevent rebellion, I
possibly enlightening them, they possibly convincing me.
For the one everlasting duty of man is to endeavour to make
God's will (the Law of life) known and so "done on earth." To make
it known by our words and by our works. Therefore should we take
counsel together, in order the more readily to discover the law and to aid
each other in carrying it out.
If law is good for anything it is as a rule of life.
Nay, every law, however imbecile its origin, affects some action of a
Every action ought to be in harmony with God's law; how shall
that be if any part of human law is not in accordance with it?
Then a man has no more right to abstain from his part in
making the laws which are to regulate his life (or, at least, some portion
of his life), than he has to hire himself out as an assassin, to any
tyrant that may need him. For the assassin is only a slave; one who
has submitted his conscience to the will of another.
And what else but a slave is he who suffers another to make
laws which shall bind his actions against his conscience? He is the
assassin of so much good which but for him would be living in the world.
Lo, a virtuous woman, who has no will but that of her husband!
A virtuous machine! a free slave! a truthful liar!
And the honest citizen who troubles himself not about the laws,
except to obey them! The patriot who suffers lies to be the tyrants
of his country! The honest dutiful citizen who cares not whether
truth or falsehood rule the land! The slave who waits till the
collar galls him!
Virtue is free worship of truth. The automaton that
utters the truest words, the machine that acts correctly, is not virtuous.
Again and again, there is no virtue without will. A slave cannot be
A man sits by his hearth, and says: Let who will make the
laws, so long as they do not impede my growth or thwart my will, while my
conscience is safe, why should I disturb myself? Man's business is
to worship truth. What is this but to make God's will—which is
truth—manifest on earth? How shall he do this if he separate himself
If thou art of the illuminated, let thy light shine before
men; if thou art dark mayest thou not find help among thy fellows?
"Let who will go wrong so long as they do not constrain me to join them."
Is this a virtuous worship of truth?
But such unconcern does of itself impede growth and interfere
with action. The man who has no concern with humanity, has shut
himself out of the path of truth. Is truth a mere relative to thee?
Think somewhat of the nature of truth, and learn that alone thou canst not
Truth leaves him who will not follow her beyond his
Man's life is not his own. He owes it to humanity, of
which he is an integral part.
He owes it to eternity, whose harvests shall follow from his
acts. He owes it to God, the Spirit of truth, who gave life to him,
to be used truthfully.
And thou sayest—I may be a slave if I will; say rather, I am
a slave when I cease to will.
Fool! Fool! if I will at all, I am no longer a slave.
I am a slave only when I do not exert my will.
Whenever I do not exert it.
But men who would hold their lives as a drawn sword if any
tyrant presumed to reign over them, sheathe themselves in bestial
submission to the tyrants of their own appointing.
Between the elected and the self-elected, says one who
thought like a free man, I see certainly some difference, but of choice I
see none; and be their means of coming to the throne diverse, yet always
their manner of reigning is much the same.
And what matters it whether the Czar violently set his foot
upon our necks, or we ourselves assist in the enthroning of some pettier
tyrant or tyrants? Except that in the latter case our degradation is
the more complete.
For the freest souled may be overcome by force; but only the
slave consents to fashioning his own fetters.
And what matters it whether we bow down to the one tyrant, or
to the many? Except that the many have a firmer tread upon our
necks; especially if they may equal us in number.
Whether one tyrant or many, whether the style and title be
King Force, or the honourable Mr. Accomplice—whether the slave be
turbulent or contented—slavery remains the same—a lie flung in the face of
God, who made man in his own image, free, and truthful.
We will say nothing of the injury done to our children when
we leave them only a heritage of slavery. Time was that men walked
uprightly, not asking whether it was toward the scaffold or the
battlefield: throwing their lives upon a cast for freedom, for the future,
for God. But now we are more practical.
And yet, if the tongued flame might touch the foreheads of
the prone, out of this slough of self-contempt which is pointed at as
England, might arise a nation of free-men worthy to inherit the land of
Eliot, Hampden and Milton.
Non-Intervention and Fair-Play.
It is the fashion to talk of non-intervention as the rule of
English policy. But non-intervention is not the rule.
The rule of English policy is utter denial of any relation of
duty towards the world, utter contempt of Justice and disregard of Honour;
care only for the shop, and for our allies the despots, whose welfare is
supposed to be identical with the shop.
Lacking a name to characterise so revolting, so hideous a
system, they have christened it "non-intervention"—par excellence,
Do we not love Peace? Truly we do; but we love Justice
more. And till Peace and Justice be synonymous, while "Peace" means
anything but Justice, we would not have "Peace."
We object to the pretence which hinders the, real advent of
We object to those who, when the streets run with blood,
exclaim, "It is peace," simply because none of their own family have been
murdered. This is the non-intervention policy, if carried out
We object to those who, when a town is on fire, refuse to
lend a hand to extinguish it, because their house has party-walls.
The non-interventionists again.
We object to those who assert that they are excused from the
duties of humanity, they have no quarrel with Injustice, because of their
"geographical position" or "peculiar constitution"; that their moral
position depends on the geographical, Justice on some peculiarity in their
constitution. This is the creed of the non-interventionists.
Our most Christian statesmen, when told to love their neighbours, do not
indeed ask who are their neighbours, but openly plead in bar their
We object to the "Peace"-preservers whose souls are branded
with the shame of complicity with the massacres of Galicia and the
bombardment of Rome, and whose hands are red with the blood of the Punjab.
We object to such "Peace" as won for Louis Philippe the title
of the "Napoleon of Peace," the applause and fellowship of those who
support, and are supported by, the policy of non-intervention: the
"peaceful" policy which betrayed Poland and Italy, which invented African
razzias; the "Peace" which needed a Spanish marriage for its maintenance,
with Soulonque the Second as its just and most logical reward.
The patron-saint and friend and exempter of the Traders-inpeace—the
master of the non-intervention school—was at war with Africa during the
seventeen years of his most peaceful reign, as the men of Lyons and the
Rue Transnovain might testify. But the African war did not affect
The cry of non-intervention is not honest. It is a cant
word to deceive the nation. The non-intervention of English
diplomatists and tradesmen is an excuse for occasions, when the Shop is in
danger, or when liberty fights against odds. It is not used else.
Our geographical position and peculiar constitution prevented
us from interfering to rescue Rome from the barbarians, to aid the
development of Italian freedom proclaimed and promised by our agents when
a purpose was to be served.
Meanwhile, our geographical position and peculiar
constitution allowed us to pocket the King of Mosquito. But then the
cost was very small.
Our peculiar constitution prevented us from intervening to
stay the massacres of Galicia; our geographical position debarred us from
maintaining the stipulations of our own treaties with regard to Cracow.
But when the Liberals of Oporto went nigh to overthrow a
worthless Court, then we could interfere to ruin the Liberals, though
acknowledging that Right was on their side.
The same game was talked of towards Switzerland; but the
Swiss settled their affairs before the non-interveners could interfere.
It is non-intervention when such policy may serve the cause
of Despotism: then only. For the Shop is believed to depend on Court
custom. So they hold together. If you have any doubt of that
matter, read—not the news, but the state of the Funds. They rise and
fall with Despotism. They indicate exactly the peculiar constitution
of the non-intervening Traders, no matter what may be the geographical
position of their correspondents—the Despots.
But we "are wronging the Peace-men." "They would
interfere for Justice." Would? Yes, Hell may be very
handsomely paved with their own intentions. "They would interfere
persuasively; " and, while cities are being bombarded and sacked, talk
quietly in and out of Parliament, it does not matter where, yet not too
loudly lest some friendly King of Bombarders may hear them, of the
wondrous power of gentleness. "How much better it would be to
arbitrate these quarrels!" "Then our trade need not be interrupted."
Whereupon, some laugh in their sleeves: all, perhaps, except the cossocks,
who have not yet learned politeness.
"Arbitrate," say the most eminent of the
non-interventionists—those who deny national duty and make a mock of
national honour—Arbitrate! But there can be no arbitration between
Right and Wrong. It is a quarrel to the death.
What arbitration between Italy or Hungary and the Austrian
Emperor; between Rome and the Pope; Naples and the Bourbon; or between
Poland and the Czar?
What arbitration, or say compromise, between Lédru-Rollin and
Louis "Bonaparte," between the oppressed and their oppressor ; between
Liberty and Despotism?
Do the "arbitrators" propose to arbitrate in the case of
Arbitration now could mean but one thing: a convention of all
the existing Governments, an agent never more to quarrel but to uphold
each other against their Peoples.
For, say the supreme arbitration is agreed upon. What
is that to Sicily, to Rome, to Lombardy, to Hungary, to Poland?
Say Poland. Poland will not be recognised or
represented in your Court. She revolts against the "Three" Powers.
She can never arbitrate. What becomes of your peaceful arbitrament?
We ask it of those who may honestly think that tiny supreme court of
arbitration can prevent war so long as Injustice rules the earth.
There may be such a supreme court of arbitration when the
earth shall be divided into nations, instead of kingdoms—when the
world shall be organised, not as now, parcelled out to please the caprices
of statecraft, without regard to nationality, in defiance even of
geographical position and peculiar constitution.
But there can be no arbitration till Despotism is no more; no
Peace till Justice rules the world. Let the utopian Peace-men cease
to be utopian; and, no longer giving countenance to the Traders-in-peace,
consider how practically to advance Peace. They will so accomplish
more than by repeating a parrot cry or by any premature conventions.
For, though Peace is yet an unmeaning word upon the earth,
Duty should have significance. And only by close following of Duty,
though it be through the cannon-smoke, and over bloodstained fields, can
Peace be permanently secured.
If a robber would attack my house, meaning to outrage my
sister or slay my children, shall I seek peace with him to-day, knowing
that he would return to-morrow to repeat his attack? Or shall I
stand courteously on the threshold, and bid him pass to his work, in the
name of Peace objecting to interfere ? Will I not rather slay him on
Would I talk of Peace in the forests, till the last wolf's
head was on my spear?
Aid the wronged and the weak! Gird up thy loins
dutifully to follow Justice wherever she may lead thee.
O most desired Peace! whom the true, the beautiful-natured,
alone can really love or perceive, where shall I worship thee? Shall
I not be first in my own conscience? There, at least, will I
maintain a service, whatever storms may rage around me, overthrowing thine
altars in the high places of the world.
And how at peace with conscience, if I shirk, for any
quiet's sake, my duty to the suffering?
Yes! for the sake of true Peace, the peace which passeth the
understanding of the non-interveners, I will make no dishonourable truce
with Injustice, whatever may be its geographical position or peculiar
But we are told that non-intervention is but a new phrase for
our old English fair play. It is a lie: the old English maxim
was not the "non-intervention" of modern peace-men.
Old English fair play was to stand by in a doubtful
quarrel, to see then that the trial by battle was conducted without
odds on either side.
This is very different from the "interference in behalf of
non-interference" (how choice and logical a sentence!) which even
"Friends" of Italy and Hungary were not ashamed to recommend.
Old English fair play never meant hanging back from a
quarrel which was not doubtful, meant not shirking thorough service to our
Fair play never meant indisposition or refusal to take
the side of Right, because the quarrel was "none of ours."
It matters not how high the authority which may endorse the
modern acceptation, by telling us that England might rest content with
preventing intervention, with providing for "fair play" between any
oppressed nation and its particular oppressor. If the highest told
us so, we would still reply, that the doctrine is false and damnable.
It is not enough merely to keep off two from one. Is
not one to one odds sometimes? Where lies the question?
Fair play indeed! What fair play between
Right and Wrong, between Weakness and Force, between the fair and the
Between two honest, two equally-respected combatants maintain
fair play. See that your friends play fairly.
But when known Wrong is in the field, and the fight is to the
death, step in no longer with an useless wand, but with fierce sword, as a
champion for the Right. The herald's part has ceased; Banners,
Fair play! It is no longer play, but work.
Strike in! fairly of course; and let the Foul take care of themselves.
And now see how curses (as the proverb says) always "come
home to roost."
You deny your duty to your neighbour. Ha! who is my
neighbour? Next relation is "no relation." Have done with
patriotism too! To-morrow we will cease weeping at that
home-tragedy, because it is "in another parish."
Read sentimental, peaceful Lamartine's non-intervention
programme (of March, 1845); and track it to its interesting logical
conclusion—Cavaignac's June massacres as the "beginning of the end," and
the 2nd Dec. for winding up—an elegant peroration that should teach the
inmost hearts of all Englishmen not too thickly crusted over with the
cowardly, atheistic, or sordid theories of "peace" and "minding one's own
Like causes produce like results. Whither are we too
Notice that the Manchester non-interventionists and the
canting "peace"-men were just the men who, pretending liberalism, yet
openly or secretly endeavoured to prevent the franchise for every
Of course; as men of expedients and huckstering compromises,
self-seekers, cowards, and atheists, scoffers at principle, and utterly
without understanding of the divine significance of duty, what other
conduct could we expect from them?
But ask them if non-intervention is fair play! Yes, sir;
non-intervention between the Czar and yet bleeding Poland; and fair
play between a well-garrisoned ministry and the "million or so" of
British helots, who will not dare even claim the benefit of the last
dodge—"to be only rated to the poor."