Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

talk, who digest it with their lonely meal, and they have risen in a plain intelligible who chew the cud of it as they take their shape, against which no soft words, or sosalutary walks abroad, who seem to meet phistries will induce the English nation with authorities to support it in every vo- to close their eyes. They are the natural lume they open, who dream of nothing and necessary developments-Chartism else, and who can get no restful sleep at of Whig principles, Socialism of Dissent. night till they have been safely delivered They are, in fact, nothing but Whiggism of it in the shape of a pamphlet.

and Dissent pushed to their legitimate consequences.

Of Chartism we do not intend to speak; but the Socialist system has been so recently brought before the legislature by the Bishop of Exeter, to

whom the Church and the country are Art. VI.-1. Speech of the Right Reve- deeply indebted for his exposure of its

rend the Lord Bishop of Exeter on So- enormities, assuredly not before it was cialism. London. 1840.

required, that we cannot be charged with 2. Weekly Tales and Tracts. Under the needlessly drawing public attention to a

Sanction of the Lord Bishop of Ripon. loathsome subject, if we make some ob-
Edited by the Rev. W. F. Hook, D.D., servations upon it.
Vicar of Leeds. London. 1839—40. As no little complaint has been made

of misrepresentation, it should be underWe do not think any man of a serious stood, purposely encouraged, by using temper can look back upon the course of more moderate language in one set of events in this country during the last ten publications, and leaving the same princiyears, without tracing, through all the ples, in their gross and violent form, to be gathering evils, with which it has been advocated by the missionaries of the so. crowded, a mysterious providential hand, ciety as individuals,-it will be best to be. which seems to be preparing good for us, gin with a brief abstract of the last mani. little as we have deserved it. For the fu- festo produced in answer to the Bishop of ture historian of England, it will afford Exeter's accusation :-and we shall, in indeed a melancholy page, full of corrupt limine, give the Section Principles' in principles, of weak concessions, of violent the very words of Mr. Owen. changes, and of convulsions, which threaten to end in bloodshed at home, and dis

* The following are the fundamental principles

of this society » memberment of empire abroad. But yet That man is a being formed to have a comthere are consolatory features. A power, pound character : first, as he is organized at birth, which we cannot see, has been reviving before he has received any direct impressions from at the same time a spirit to cope with, if external objects; and, second, as he is subsequent. not to avert, these coming ills—a spirit objects upon his organization, especially by the

ly made to become, by the influence of external to recognise and reverence truth, to prac- action of experienced man or society on infant or tise and inculcate obedience, to breathe inexperienced man. a new life into our dead forms, and de

• That all man's feelings are formed for him, by cayed belief. It has raised up, one by its reaction.

external objects acting upon his organization, and one, conjunctures and dangers, which have

• That all his convictions are formed for him by developed new truths, or rather have re- the action of external objects upon his organization, called the old. It has staved off, again and its reaction: and again, some of the most fatal blows him by the convictions or feelings separately, or by

• That his will, or decision to act, is formed for aimed at the constitution of the Church; the convictions and feelings unitedly, which have and has opened the eyes of men to the been formed for him by the action of external cir. mistakes of modern self-guided reformers,

cumstances upon his organization.

• That man is so organized as to act in accord. as much as to the necessity of reform.

ance with his convictions or his feelings, whichever But of all these providential circumstan- may be the strongest at the moment of action, or ces to be humbly and gratefully acknow- to act in obedience to these convictions and feelings ledged none appear, humanly speaking, so when united, and which nature and society com. likely to do good, as the permission given

bined have caused him to receive.

• The whole character of man, physical, intel. to two new curses to rise up for a time lectual, and moral, is formed for hiin. among us, and to startle us into sober re. • It is therefore evident that man has not been flection-Socialism and Chartism. They created to be a responsible being, in the ordinary have been permitted to arise before their acceptation of the term, but that he is left to ex. time, while there are yet truths and hearts teach all in the best possible manner-through the

perience the necessury effects of his conduct, which in the country capable of facing them- sensations of pain and pleasure the means of in

[ocr errors]

creasing happiness; and through this knowledge, drilles for the solemnities of worshipadult man, or society, may effect the greatest im. the material world as their God-and provement in the character and condition of infant man, and of the human race.

blasphemous threepenny tracts for prayer A knowledge of the unerring and unchanging books and bibles. laws of nature, derived from accurate and extended V. They will found schools, so admira. observation of the works of the great creating bly managed, that the masters shall teach for the feelings, convictions, and conduct of all nothing but what is true; the children do men, consequent upon such knowledge, constitute only what they are bid; and where espethe Rational Religion.

cially they will learn at once, intelligibly * All members of this society shall have equal and distinctly, the grand truth, which the right to express their opinions respecting the Supreme Power of the Universe, and to worship it new government schools only obscurely under any form, or in any manner, agreeable to intimate, that all religions are alike a their consciences, not interfering with equal rights farce.* in others.'*

VI. And here is the great blot, which, I. The holders of these principles'

we trust, they will find some means of propose then, in the first place, as a novel correcting. This society will have taxinvention, to found a Catholic Society, es, loans, poor laws, hospitals, benefit embracing men of all countries and co

clubs, a national, or rather social debt, lours—but with the addition of this real with pensions, salaried officers, benevo. novelty, that it is to include all men lor of the Exchequer, and, we have no

lences, as in the olden times-a Chancel. alike, good or bad--without professing to

But make, or allow, the slightest distinction doubt, abundance of Mr. Humes. between one and the other—thus carry

as this part of the system is no new dising out fully the principles of toleration covery, although the projectors, by the and non-distinction, under which we are

gravity of its announcement, seem to now happily living.

imagine that it is, we need not dwell on II. They promise to make all men, with it at length. out exception, good, happy, and rich

VII. As they have also discovered that goodness-happy, without any pain or without something to eat, they propose good, without any temptation to exercise Manchester wares, and Sheffield cutlery,

and Birmingham dolls are of little use want, to give zest to enjoyment, and

rich, to cultivate the ground by means of without any poverty by which to measure riches.

farmers, who will raise corn in exchange

for manufactures. III. They intend to abolish from hence.

A very brilliant forth all rods, gaols, gibbets, judges, turn where we are writing has been practiskeys, soldiers, constables and policemen. They will make all men do, as they think

ed for many centuries; and which also right, by talking, and talking only. And sounds strange from the abolitionists of as the present system of government is

corn laws. full of evil, they will reform it by esta

VIII. But their grandest discovery is blishing another, conducted on the same all likings and dislikings, praise and

still to come.

From this time forward principle, namely, that the proper office blame, punishments and rewards, are to of a government is to allow its subjects be banished from this happy worldto govern themselves.

IV. As this wonderful improvement likewise all words implying will, choice, will at first require agitation, but an agi- duty, liberty, virtue, vice, preference, detation after the most approved fashion of liberation, command, freedom, power, the nineteenth century, purely moral, activity—and especially the pronouns I, without any mixture of the physical, they

and thou, with the whole race of active contemplate establishing a church, with districts for dioceses--a congress

for sy

* We are rejoiced to see the principle of religious nods - Mr. Owen for their pope-paid brought to its proper termination so soon, in a fact

non-intervention in omnium gatherum schools missionaries at 30s. a-week for clergy-stated by Lord Teignmouth in the House of Com. men-lectures at mechanics' institutes mons :- In the schools attached to the establish. for sermons-halls of science for churches ment of Mr. the children were found ready -tea-drinkings, masquerades, and qua- religion. An appeal being made to Mr. he

enough to answer questions on all subjects except replied that there were children of Socialists in the

school, and they objected to the introduction of the See Constitution and Laws of the Universal | New Testament! Admirable Socialists! but more Community Society of Rational Religionists.' admirable schoolmaster! And still more admiraCleave, London ; Hobson, Leeds; Heywood, ble founder of such a school on such a plan!!! Manchester; Guest, Birmingham

Times Newspaper, March 6th, 1840.

[ocr errors]

our own.

verbs—all of which it is ascertained, slitical economists point as the great have been introduced into society by a source of our prosperity-to which po. fundamental mistake—and man has no litical reformers would delegate the primore right to use or receive them, than vilege of government-and which, with the cloth has, which the tailor cuts into the very confession in its mouth of utter a coat, or the tin, which the tinman incompetency to provide for itself, is moulds into the cover of a kettle. now desirous to undertake the foundation

IX. When this has been done, and it of a new moral world : . and, what is has been agreed that no man has the more interesting to ourselves, the re. slightest power to form his own charac- formation of this great empire. But men ter, or right to pronounce any opinion will attempt in despair, what they would as to the character of his neighbours, shudder at in their sober senses. It is still less to interfere with its formation, in despair that the Birmingham mechan. we are all to set ourselves diligently to ics are following Mr. Owen’s delusions. work to ure every one around us of the They are starving. They have children horrible follies and evil propensities, in starving around them. They have either which they are now wallowing ; and to no bread for to-day, or none for to-mormould their character-after a pattern of row, or nothing to hope for in any con.

tinuance of the present system ; and X. The rational religion consists in therefore they clamour for another. chemistry, botany, zoology, geology, &c., This wretched state has been brought and in loving all men alike, whether we about by three causes. First, by the relike them or not. This love, however, duction of wages, in many cases to the is not to imply any effort to do them minimum of subsistence. And this re. good. should we think our religion bet- duction itself has been effected, not mere. ter than their own ; with the exception, ly by the natural competition of labour indeed, of the Committee, who will have in a superabundant population, where unlimited authority to proselytise. machinery and capital enable the master

XI. There is to be nothing so gross as manufacturer to control the workmen ; unregulated marriage ; only a power of but in this country, by the influx of Irish divorce without any limits specified. labourers, who, having been inured at

Now, we have no intention of shriek- home to an existence of semi-starvation, ing,' as a modern writer terms it, over can sell their labour at a price far lower this singular specimen of the enlighten than the English workmen. In fact, by a ment of our manufacturing population, singular retribution, England at this moand of the nineteenth century, Society ment is gradually sliding, from this cause, has seldom been visited with those peri. into the same state with Ireland ; and odical fits of lunacy, which break out in Irish paupers are taking possession of the rebellions and murders, without previ. very vitals of our towns, to the degradaously betraying similar symptoms of dis- tion, and, ultimately, to the destruction ease. But as symptoms of disease-of of the English mechanics. a very deep seated disease—we do think But besides the low rate of wages, these absurdities require to be seriously there is also to be taken into account noticed ; and therefore we shall ask our their fluctuation—a fluctuation produced readers not to turn away at once in laugh- necessarily by the unlimited competition ter, but to examine quietly into the histo. of selfishness and avarice in a boundless ry of this system, which would be ludi- free-trade market, which is perpetually crous and harmless, if it did not embrace, shifting its field, and contracting or ex. and carry out to their natural issues, er- tending its demands, without warning, on rors from which few minds in this day every change of dynasty, of political reare wholly free.

lations, of social habits, or of internal Its original root is a real practical evil. commercial speculations. This compe. It commences evidently with a keen per- tition, aided by the powers of machinery, ception of the misery and degradation, to and encouraged by the superior cheapwhich a large portion of the population ness of manufacturing on a large scale, of this country has been reduced by our necessarily causes continual overproducmanufacturing system. We pass over tion. Every glut of the market is follow. the strange contradiction, that it is the ed by a paralysis-every paralysis by a same manufacturing population, thus return to excessive production. Add to sunk in distress by their own powerless- this the shifting nature of the manufacness, or ignorance, or folly, to which po- turing processes themselves - how a

35

VOL. LXV.

ces.

ensure

single alteration of machinery, the, spinning silk or hammering iron-who discovery of a new locality, even the has no right to interfere with their domesdiversion of a road or a canal, may dry tic habits, to take an interest in their up at once an old channel, and open new, comforts, because their homes are not leaving for a time the old population his property–who cannot visit or relieve lying like boulder-stones in the course them, crowded as they are densely in which a torrent has taken ; or, like Tad- narrow lanes, and packed in floors of mor and Palmyra in the desert, to show houses—who can know nothing of their only where trade once passed—and we character, because he can see nothing can understand the utter impossibility of but their hands and feet-who cannot providing, by any fiscal regulations, afford to give them time either for inagainst a constant fluctuation in the struction or recreation, because every price of labour. We are supposing now minute has its price, and every farthing that the average is above-it may be far of price is an item in the necessary above the minimum of subsistence ; and profit? that prudent and economical habits might In this condition of affairs, when every regulate the rate of living accordingly, day, from the increase of competition and But we must know little or nothing of the state of the continent, the crises are human nature to suppose that prudent and becoming more frequent and the remedy economical habits can ever grow up in such more desperate, a man, not, perhaps, a state of things. Prudence is the result of without benevolence, but conceited and regularity of habit, and regularity of habit uninstructed (for this is the character a natural effect of regularity of circumstan- stamped on all Mr. Owen's writings),

When inen are accustomed to see imagines a plan for breaking up the prethemselves suddenly provided for by cir- sent manufacturing system ; in which cumstances, not at their command—to be object we most cordially concur with plunged from affluence into poverty at a him. For, with all its show and glitter, moment's warning—when no calculation and accumulation of capital in the hands will enable them to

a certain of the masters, it never can act without subsistence for the morrow-and yet generating more than an equivalent of want again and again, though all provision and vice in the persons of the workmen. has been neglected, the subsistence He proposes that the workmen, instead comes of itself-scarcely any power upon of hiring out their labour, and enabling earth can prevent them from becoming the master to reap the profits, should wasteful in their abundance, and san- form themselves into a community, and guine in their poverty. These two habits work for themselves. are imprudence ; and from imprudence Now this plan may be contemplated comes misery, and from misery impa- under two forms. If it is intended to form tience, profligacy, desperation, and crime. a joint-stock company, so that all the

But we must go still farther. We said members should share in the dividends on that no human power could create habits of the capital, and thus improve upon the preregular prudence in such a state of things. sent system only by appropriating to themBut what if no power is exerted? What if selves the profits of the master, it is evident these unhappy men are left to themselves, that those profits, however large for a without any eye to watch, any hand to con- single individual, will be but a drop of trol them ; the only authority which they water when divisible among such numrecognise being a taskmaster, whom they bers. As a joint-stock company, moreserve for his gain-who counts nothing but over, they will be exposed to the same the hours of their labour, and the yards of competition as individual manufacturers, cotton which they produce-whose exist- and with the same result of fluctuation, ence as a manufacturer depends on his so long as the present extent of market making the maximum of profit on the mi- continues, but without the same power nimum of wages, and even on their degrad- of improving opportunities, of speculated condition, without which he cannot ing boldly but cautiously —in one word, command them—who cannot afford to be of acquiring profit. We say nothing of the generous—who is bound to them by no difficulty of providing an adequate capital, local or hereditary relations—who can or of regulating wages. No change is cast them off in a moment, as a floating made, in fact, but that, which is no impopulation unattached to the soil-who provement, the substitution in the mancan have no religious association with ufacturing system of democracies for them, because religion cannot enter into'monarchies; and therefore the whole the estimate of an animal machine for scheme must fall to the ground.

But Mr. Owen's plan seems to contem-mon labour and common capital, but with plate also something very different. He the principle of acquisitiveness, which proposes rather to destroy the principle Mr. Owen cannot touch, confined by the of acquisitiveness, to abandon all com. most solemn obligations; their habits mercial speculation, and only to form formed, not as he would form them, to communities, in which individuals should luxury, but to self-denial; their selfcontribute their various talents to make denial' sanctioned and rendered honour. up one perfect society, provided with all able by devotion; and, what is the necessaries for common wants, very much strangest omission in Mr. Owen's plan, a as Plato conceives the formation of his rigid, inflexible discipline maintained polity. The shoemaker is to make shoes, over them every hour, so that the slight. the cotton-spinner to make handkerchiefs, est act of appropriation was vigilantly the miller to grind corn, and from the watched and severely punished. The whole combined is to arise a perfect man. very clothes of the monks were common. It needless to say that the idea, in the. As Plato proposes for his Phylaces, they ory, is as old as the first speculation on not only took their meals together, but the nature of human society; and in prac- no one was allowed to fasten his door, or tice, whether regular or irregular, is co- to lock up any thing in his cell; even the eval with the creation of man. But this plucking an apple in the garden without plan, it is evident, cannot be effected so the leave of the superior was an act of song as individual covetousness is allowed disobedience. Men smile at such notions to exist. If individuals are permitted to now, but Mr. Owen, with his horror of accumulate, competition is necessarily property-his conviction that it forms one, introduced; with competition comes re- as he terms it, of the Trinity of human duction of wages, and with reduction of curses *—will admire the wisdom of the wages the original misery of the labourer. monks. He will allow that, if infringed Mr. Owen, therefore, proposes to exclude in one act, the whole principle of approcompetition altogether. Grand concep- priation would creep in, and, therefore, tion! The only difficulty is, to accom. that the most rigid superintendence was plish it. How will you eradicate from wise and necessary. And he might, perthe human mind the root of covetousness, haps, be prevailed on to acknowledge, the instinct of appropriation and desire ? that the Monks, with the Church to sup: Mr. Owen is totally silent. He seems to port them, and something like historical think it possible ; talks of a state when testimony, however weak he may deem prudence and education will show its it, to authorise their expectation of some evils, and therefore abolish it: but beyond superhuman assistance in controlling the this he does not go. Strange that an in. evil passions of men, had logically more fidel should have stumbled at the very grounds for their plan than the individual threshold of his system on the same max. Mr. Owen, with no one but his starving im with Christianity—that he should pro- mechanics to applaud his anticipations of claim, in almost the very words of the a coming millennium, in which all proBible, that the love of money is the root perty shall have vanished from the earth, of all evil ;' and yet that he should have and all poverty with it. rejected the aid which Christianity pro- For this, perhaps, is one of his strangest mises in order to extirpate the evil, by a hallucinations. To abolish property is spiritual influence controlling the heart,

* I now declare to you, and to the world, that as well as by a spiritual Society maintain

man up to this hour has been, in all parts of the ing a high standard of morals? Strange earth, a slave to a Trinity, the most monstrous that also (were he not a very ignorant man) could be combined, to inflict mental and physical that he should overlook the fact, that the evil upon his whole race. I refer to private or in. first irregularities of Christians were com- of religion and marriage, founded on individual

dividual property-absurd and irrational systems mitted, if not under a clear perception of property-combined with some one of these irra. the same truths, as he in the nineteenth tional systems of religion. It is difficult to say century has, for the first time, as he sup. which of these GRAND sources of all crime ought poses, discovered, at least under a deep interlinked and woven together by time that they moral feeling, which pointed out truth, cannot be separated without being destroyed; each even where the head did not discern it. one is necessary to the support of the other two. The monastic communities, with their This formidable Trinity, compounded of ignorance, vow of poverty, were, in their temporal Devil that ever has, or, most likely, ever will tor. relations, nothing but Mr. Owen's socie

ment the human race.'-Oven's Declaration of ties ; supporting themselves by their com. Mental Independence.

« ForrigeFortsett »