W. E. Adams: Pamphlets

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LIFE is sacred.  Life, not mere existence: life as manifested in development and in action—the active principle of man; not existence, which is not manifested, only maintained—the enduring principle of man.

    For a nation to be great and holy, it is necessary for a nation to live, fulfilling in life the special mission God has given it.  But a true and perfect life needs freedom of action; else there can be neither virtue, nor vice, nor responsibility.  In the slave there can be neither virtue when he does well from necessity, nor vice when he does ill from compulsion.  When Cromwell commanded the Duke of Savoy to cease from the persecution of the Vaudois, and he did so cease, the tolerant virtue was not the Savoyard's, but Cromwell's; and when Radetzki compelled, under the compulsion of the fear of death, the Austrian soldier to shoot the Italian patriot, and he did so shoot, the crime hereof was less the soldier's than Radetzki's.  Neither is an enslaved nation responsible for its omissions of duty, its forgetfulness of the purpose and end of all national life; it is responsible only if it does riot seek to avert calamity by invoking against it the aid of the sword.  To take a present example: Italy is not responsible; France is; because the former has striven against the tyrant, and because the latter, at first enduring from compulsion, now permits him from choice.  But the free nation, accountable for all it does, for all it omits to do, is alone capable of that beauty of action—that wise progress in peace, in refinement, in duteous virtue—which imparts to life its sacredness.


    Freedom, then, the first right of every nation, the primal want of all, without which is neither peace nor godliness, is to be maintained at all hazard, regardless of ever defended by the best weapons when attacked, sought by the best means when subdued.  Right is the supreme law of nations, every violation of which it is the first duty of the nation to resist—to resist by protest, by assertion, and when these avail not, by war.  Between the nation and whatsoever or whomsoever stands in the way of its free action and consequent development, there is perpetual war.  It is that, and not the nation, that is the aggressor, solely answerable for all the nation does to restore its heritage; for life and its eternal laws are older than the will of the first conqueror or the caprice of the last tyrant.  Force is the last resort of the righteous: but against a tyrant it is an inevitable resort; only on this ground are the combatants equal.  If an armed man, strong in his crowbar strength, attack your house and maltreat your person, of what avail would be your assertion of right, or your protest against wrong?  He would not listen to the grounds of your assertion, and a blow would probably reply to the reason of your protest.  Or the maltreated may be a nation; the maltreator a middle-age captain of Free Companies, or a modern general of Filibuster Freebooters: Do you think this burglar on a grand scale, this thief among nations, would attend to arguments by admitting which he would convict himself of crime?  He relies on the number of his battle-axes or the animal strength of his adventurers, and will offer no terms but absolute submission.  The nation must accept the contest, or resign its rights.  Then, having faith in the justice of its cause, it appeals to the puissance of its heroes.  Force is thus an element to the employment of which oppression reduces the people.  "The people," says Rousseau, "may certainly use for the recovery of their liberty the same means that were used to deprive them of it; it was either intended to be recovered, or not to be torn from them."  Resistance by the sword is the right of the nations—their necessity and duty; and for all that arises from this employment of force, we have said, the usurper is alone accountable.

    If a nation be attacked by invasion, it organises; if it he subdued, it conspires.  While the enemy is yet distant, organisation is an advantage of which the people can avail, and does avail, itself.  War on the strictest principle of diplomatic honour is then maintained.  The invader plunders the inhabitants to supply his army, devastates the country to support his position, and murders the opposing people to secure his triumph.  Pillage, assassination, the worst excesses of a savage soldiery, are the undenied rights of the invader.  The Croat may dance children on the point of his spear, and tear the unborn child from the Hungarian mother's womb; an army of French savages may suffocate in a cavern a whole tribe of Arabs whom it cannot subdue; the brutal Highlander may shoot down so many Russians per day, and, laying them side by side, rejoice in his day's work, and be commended by his countrymen; the bloodiest hand is held in highest reverence, the most callous executioner decorated with richest honours; an impetuous slaughter is called an act of gallantry, a cool murder a deed of valour.  These are the horrors the laws of civilized war fare permit—all these and many more.  The people upon whom these atrocities are exercised has a diplomatic right to resist.  If the resistance be successful, it has still the same enemy to regard, and the same rapine to fear; but if it fail, the conqueror is lord, sets his throne upon the ruin he has caused, and the world of kings acknowledges his right.  On the "tomb of the nation's hope" diplomacy inscribes the word "Peace."

    This same "peaceful" result may come also in another way.  With fair pretensions and a seeming justice, a secret pretender obtains the suffrages of his countrymen; he swears to preserve their right; in the dead of a December night his soldiers fill the gaols with the elect of the people; amid the light of a December day his assassins—made drunk that no remorse may penetrate their souls—seek their victims in the public streets among unarmed men and harmless women and children.  He terrifies the unconscious people by the audacity of his crimes; and in the midst of the blood he has spilt, and the carnage he has occasioned, he erects an empire.  Kings recognise his rule as righteous, and call him brother; queens become his guests, and are polluted by his kiss; Diplomacy sees "order" in the stability of his throne, and he himself writes thereon, "L'Empire c'est la paix."  Diplomacy says "Peace," when the soul of the people sleeps and the conscience of the people is dead; it says "Order," when the right of the nation is drowned in her blood, and the truest of her sons are wandering in exile.

    The sole hope of the nation is now in conspiracy, in the sudden execution of a secret plan.  The nation accepts this means because it alone is left it, and because the supreme law of national right is superior to all rules of diplomacy, all circumstances of oppression, all conditions of the oppressed.  If conspiracy be not the proper instrument to employ, or secrecy the proper method to pursue, the wrong-doer is not the people who conspire, but he who deprives it of every other instrument or method wherewith to act.  The nation has no choice but to conspire or to die.  The responsibility of means here, again, rests with the aggressor.  If the falseness of Charles I. left England no other safety but in his death, was he not himself responsible for all his falseness occasioned?  If the perfidy, the atrocities, the mad despotism of an adventurer leave France no other hope but in his destruction, does he not himself invoke the avenging dagger?  The robber punishes, the murderer executes, himself.  The enormity of the crime, or the position of the criminal, exempts no man from ultimate justice; the purple robe is no safeguard, nor the gory crown a protection; amulets there are none.  The divine law is fulfilled when the human is executed.  Conspiracy, as a means to revolution, and the first step in reconquering freedom, executes justice in restoring right.  Then the oppressor falls with the oppression he has imposed, and Freedom comes with Retribution.

    If the weapons the people use are irregular, unknown in legal warfare; if in default of swords they use knives, in default of muskets daggers, in default of bayonets scythes, it is because they have no choice, and because every other means of defence (for, observe, the people are are always defensive) has been torn from them.  If, likewise, they attack without warning, it is because warning would betray them.  In the revolt of a nation against its tyrant, wherein victory depends upon a surprisal, the first blow cannot but be sometimes the blow of an "assassin."  In France the revolution was begun by the "assassination" of a few unknown soldiers.  At Milan the conspirators suddenly fell upon the sentries guarding the arsenal; the sentries were killed, the arsenal taken, and the people supplied with legal arms: between the people and the soldiery the war then became regular, for Diplomacy sanctions when the people are armed and their enemies aware.  It is often only thus that revolution can be commenced; but because it can be commenced in no way with more method, should it not be commenced at all?  Is justice to be abandoned because its administration is no longer regular?  Are the nations for ever to suffer the tortures of tyranny because no power is left them to issue proclamations of war against it?  Is the fair progress of the earth to be stayed, misery to be substituted for happiness, and eternal law subjected to brutal caprice, because the people are not able openly to combat their enemies?

    When the mouth of the river is embanked, and no outlet to its waters provided, it sooner or later bursts its shores; herein it asserts its law, and the devastation it spreads is its providential vengeance.  The law of the river is to flow—the law of the nation is manifest no less distinctly in growth; that growth denied it, the nation also bursts its bonds, asserts its law, and has vengeance in its wrath—a vengeance, be it observed, which it does not seek, but which restraint occasions.  Law everywhere in nature punishes its infringement: the flood is the river's revenge, revolution is the chastisement the nation inflicts for the violation of its law; revolution and flood are the judicial instruments of God and Nature.  And revolution, as we have seen, may have to begin with an assault, in which secrecy and suddenness—constituents of "assassination"—are necessary conditions of success.

    And forthwith, that necessary first act of revolution, the sole opportunity of righteous assertion, is called cowardice, because it strikes at the only time when striking is not useless, because it conquers in the dark when to assail in the light would be appealing to the forces which have the power to suppress it.  According to the laws of chivalry, your enemy should be equally armed, equally prepared with you; honour is not satisfied without a challenge, an open encounter, an equal chance of danger.  Do you think Bonaparte or Bomba, would meet you on these terms?  Challenge either, and Cayenne or Nisida will be your answer.  Is the satisfaction of the nation's honour, the reparation of the world's injury, through the means of tyrannicide, more cowardly than the consignment of the tyrant's victims to a lingering death amid pestilential swamps or in dank dungeons?  Assassination is cowardice when open combat is possible—not else.

    And these codes of honour you would make obtain in the rebellions of nations.  But let us examine the position.  Every moment of oppression is a state of war; every forcible denial of right is a casus belli.  Has the oppressor made peace with the oppressed?  Has the people ceded its liberty to the conqueror and acknowledged the rectitude of his rule?  There can be no peace, no righteous peace, no possible peace of duration, till the law of God shall be incarnate in the people's freedom.  War, then, prevails wherever a despot reigns or a people is enslaved; hostilities can be commenced at any moment, whenever the people has the strength of fortitude and the hope of success; neither truce nor treaty is broken.  Revolution is the ambuscade of the people.

    Even lawyers like Grotius, or diplomatists like Metternich, or politicians like Palmerston, would probably not deny that a prisoner of war, not on parole, has a perfect right to escape whenever chance favours him or any means whatsoever avails him.  When Gustavus Vasa fled from his gaolers, his defence was, "I had a perfect right to escape from thraldom when opportunity offered;" and the Council of Lubeck protected him on these sufficient grounds.  The prisoner of war seeking the liberty of which the fortune of war has deprived him, strives without challenging, acts without warning: how else would escape be possible?  The nation made prisoner by a victorious invader, seeking that freedom of which the chances of battle have deprived it, does not declare war or hint at rebellion till the ripened blow has fallen: how else would its escape be possible?  In the escape of a prisoner, in the revolution of a nation, secrecy till the moment, surprisal in the moment, of action are essential conditions of success.  As a consequence of this only possible mode of action, gaolers are overcome and soldiers are beaten down.  This "assassination" is the first exercise of power.  Italy is the prisoner of Austria, bound as other prisoners, by chains as odious; all the land is a vast prison-house, from which there is no escape but by overpowering the guards; the workmen of an Italian city rise unexpectedly, assail the military gaolers, and liberate their imprisoned country.  Do you reproach them with a crime?  They only enforce a conceded right—the prisoner's right of escape.


    But in all these instances the torturer is not attacked, only the instruments of torture.  Here is a monster of cruelty, loathsome from the odour of human blood and the excess of inhuman crime—a Tiberius, a Caligula, a Nero—who represents oppression, is himself the cause and occasion thereof, the arch-enemy of the people.  The thrust of a dagger will accomplish freedom by enacting justice.  Is it upon the Legions or upon Cæsar that the vengeance of the law should fall for Cæsar's crimes?  Force must restore the nation's right: Do you hesitate against whom to direct it—against the unconscious soldier or against the conscious tyrant?  Whom does the judge condemn, the slave who executes or the master who plans?  Whom should the patriot strike, the soldier who conquers or the tyrant who organizes, orders, and directs?  Those who accept Ehud, have honoured Corday, and continue to pension Cantillon, from however different motives, cannot evade Brutus.  Let us be just even under the imputation of being vile.  The doom of Roman liberty was sealed in Paris; it is in Paris, then, that Pianori, with strictest justice, and Orsini, with inexorable logic, strike for the liberation of Rome.  Harmodius smote Hipparchus—not his Athenian guard.  Insurrection inevitably causes the shedding of guiltless blood, the flowing of rivers of blood.  Tyrannicide, affixing the dagger where crime has affixed the guilt, executes a surer justice.

    The Tyrannicide supplies the place of law when there is none, anticipates it when there is.  He represents the verdict of his country, and his weapon embodies its retributive virtue.  The trials of Charles by the English Parliament, and of Louis by the French Assembly, made, it is true, the ceremonies more imposing, but in no way the judgments more just.  Tyrannicide is execution without judgment, justice without ceremony, when the formal judgment and the ceremony are prohibited.

    Punishment is the inheritance of crime; "the wages of sin is death."   Who shall be exempt from the application of the universal law? who escape impartial justice?  Let the eyes of the Blind Goddess—that sublime conception of antique virtue—remain bandaged while the trial of Nero goes on.  Has the tyrant not violated the most sacred laws, imposed upon the innocent misery, upon the brave cruelty?  Applied to him, mercy is false, pity unhallowed.  Then shall justice fail because there are no judges in the land, when every man's conscience gives judgment against the tyrant?  Why, again, this remorse beforehand—this hesitation in the hour when conscious justice strikes?"  Ah!" says some superficial thinker, who plasters but who dares not probe, terrified at this spectre which is justice and mercy in one—justice to the oppressor, mercy to the oppressed—"we should not do evil that good may come."  Evil! is it evil to assert right and award the dues of iniquity?  While every day the brave and the good are falling beneath the power of the tyrant, dying in the pestilential atmosphere of his tyranny, pausest thou, O timorous well-doer! to draw down the cleansing thunder, because forsooth in its hurtling power may lurk some tinge of evil.  Hercules, cleansing the Augean stable, is not perplexed with evil doubts in diverting the river's course.

    It is the duty of the people to take whatever means of enfranchisement is presented to it; eternal right takes precedence even of sweetest mercy.  Clemency—not always wise—may at times be the very type of folly.  Let us execute all the severity of justice when mercy to the tyrant is injury to the people.  And though Justice come as Vengeance, it never can come too soon?  What matter the form, the instrument, the hour?


    Little need is there to define the quality of tyranny or the extent of crime for which an outlawed usurper merits the malefactor's fate.  When public justice is enchained by him and law becomes his slave, individual conscience reasserts its right; then the "assassin" is the patriot.  And Posterity, looking fairly through the sophistries that warp the judgment, and the subterfuges that disgrace the intellect, of to-day, will follow the men of old to immortalise a later Roman.





HISTORY repeats itself.  The situation of 1858 is revived.  An imperial army is again encamped on Roman soil.  A new expedition has been undertaken; a new invasion has proved successful.  The world owes to a despotic adventurer the shameful spectacle of a priesthood protected from its own subjects by the bayonets of a foreign power.  France has consented to allow the man who outraged her to commit in her name the blunder and crime of '49.  In defiance of all law, all right, all justice—in the name of a treaty he had himself systematically violated—Louis Bonaparte has levied war upon Italy, upon liberty, upon progress.  Insolent threats have been succeeded by still more insolent deeds.  Before Europe, before the world, an enormous outrage has been perpetrated.  In reckless disregard of the sanctity of nations, of the inviolability of national frontiers, of the will of a people that demands to be united and free, an arrogant pretender has dared to despatch his drilled legions to support a throne which is even more rotten than his own.  If Italy endures the insult, it is to Europe that it is offered.  England, Russia, Germany—all have a right to complain of this gross affront.  Bonaparte has spat in their faces.  Will they resent the indignity which Bonaparte has not merely put, but flourished upon them?  If not, is the wrong to go unavenged?


For eighteen years Bonaparte has contrived to keep Italy divided, disordered, disturbed.  He who in the generous heat of youth had fought to overthrow the Papacy, has since 1849 constituted himself its sole protector.  The office of the Hapsburg devolved upon the Bonaparte.  And Bonaparte would persuade the world that he is acting in the, interests of religion!  This Eldest Son of the Church, steeped to the lips in hypocrisy and crime, had other objects in protecting the Papacy than those of serving even what is called religion.  It was to maintain two things that he prolonged the occupation of Rome—his own power in France, and French influence over Italy.  Both these objects he thought he accomplished by retaining his legions in possession of the Vatican.  But over Italy he lost more influence than he gained.  Even the lacquer of Solferino and Magenta failed to conceal the treacherous character of Bonaparte's friendship.  What he wanted in Italy was not a rival, but a subordinate—not a neighbour, but a satrap—not a nation of free men, but a federation of dependent provinces.

    All the world knows what has been the consequence of the infamous policy of Bonaparte.  Rome has been for Italy, instead of a glory and a pride, an open and gangrened wound.  Absorbed in her sorrowful longing for the only city that is worthy to become her capital, Italy has neglected the arts of improvement.  Internal progress was impossible while all attention was given to Rome.  Burdened at once with a licentious king, an extravagant executive, an enormous armament, Italy was reduced to the very verge of bankruptcy and ruin.  The lapse of years failed to assuage the great grief of the nation.  While Rome was in the possession of the foreigner, while Rome was not a part of the nation, Italy could think only of warlike preparations for the ejectment of the mercenaries, the redemption of her capital, the establishment of her independence.  To add to her misfortunes, she was reduced to endure the jibes of a maundering priest—of that priest who, learning nothing from history, had declared implacable war against modern civilization.

    The time came when the desire for national unity could no longer be resisted.  When the French troops were withdrawn, Europe was scoured in search of hirelings to defend the Papacy.  Bonaparte himself, in violation of the compact he had concluded with the Italian Government, sent a French general to organize the Papal mercenaries.  Rome was still garrisoned by foreigners; the Pope was still protected by France.  The September Convention had effected no change in the situation beyond that of replacing the troops of France by the vagabonds of Antibes.  The ignominy of the position became unbearable.  At the invitation of Garibaldi, volunteers prepared to assist the Romans, as soldiers in the pay of France were already assisting the Pope.  Garibaldi, at the bidding of Bonaparte, was arrested by the servants of Victor Emmanuel.  But the movement the hero was preparing to lead was not arrested.  Whereupon, with an insolence unparalleled in modern history, Bonaparte ordered a new expedition to assemble at Toulon.  Undeterred by these menaces, in spite too of her wretched king, Italy continued her preparations.  When Garibaldi effected his marvellous escape from Caprera, patriots in vast numbers, seizing such weapons as were at hand, hastened to join his standard.  Then the order was given to despatch the Toulon expedition.  But the patriots by that time were before the gates of Rome.  Overpowering the mercenaries, Garibaldi had nearly succeeded in restoring Rome to Italy.  But a French army, making common cause with the Papal cutthroats, defeated for a second time the hopes of the nation.  The massacre of Mentana, committed to try the effect of a new weapon, gave Bonaparte once more the mastery of Rome.

    Thus Bonaparte has again assumed the sole responsibility of maintaining a state of perpetual war.


    By what other right than the right of the stronger—the right of the robber and the brigand—does Bonaparte dare to invade Italy?

    Do you produce the September Convention?  Why, that agreement was itself based on a prior outrage—the outrage of '49!  Neither time nor submission had consecrated the crime of which Oudinot was the instrument.  France herself had protested in the streets of Paris against the fratricidal expedition to Rome.  Was it under the sanction of any treaty whatever that the troops of France laid siege to Rome, made war upon the Republic, forcibly restored the Pope?  And yet it was upon the occupation which followed that successful outrage that the Convention of September was grounded.  If a thief disposes of a stolen article, can he base upon the theft a right to an advantage from the bargain?  If France first seizes Rome, and afterwards agrees to conditions for leaving it, can she base upon the seizure a right to enforce the agreement?  France never had, nor has she now, the smallest right in Rome.  The September Convention was a vitiated compact, because the chief contracting party had no authority to conclude it.  But even if the September Convention was not vitiated by the crime upon which it was founded, it was so immoral and unfair that Italy was absolved from the duty of respecting it.  All that it assured was that the French protectorate should assume another form.  Bonaparte withdrew his troops; but the Pope was empowered to enlist a band of hireling foreigners to hold the Romans in subjection.  French soldiers in the pay of the Pope succeeded French soldiers in the pay of France—that was the only change effected.  But the September Convention, grossly unequal as it was, was itself first violated by Bonaparte.  The Pope was permitted to recruit his army from the army of France.  Those French soldiers who entered the employment of the Papal Government were allowed to deduct from the term of service in the French army the period of their service in the army of the Pope.  The Legion of Antibes was actually equipped by the wife of Bonaparte.  Moreover, a French general was appointed to inspect and organize the hired defenders of the temporal power.  Long before a single volunteer had prepared to assist the Roman people, almost every article of the September Convention had been systematically infringed by the orders of Bonaparte.  And yet it is in virtue of a compact which he had no right to conclude, which he had drawn in his own interest only, which he had himself persistently violated—it is in virtue of this immoral Convention of September that Bonaparte claims the right to re-garrison Rome!

    But it is said that intervention was necessary to save the Empire, because the priests, ill-affected towards its founder, would have otherwise plotted to overthrow it.  Must we admit, then, that all rights, all interests, the welfare of Italy, the peace of Europe, the integrity of nations, everything that men or peoples hold dear—must we admit that all objects of any value whatever to the progress and the happiness of the human race must be subordinated to the necessity of maintaining a brutal Bonaparte despotism?  Is mankind so lost to dignity and honour that it is prepared to submit to the infraction of its rights, the sacrifice of its hopes, the defeat of its aspirations, in order that the Cutthroat of December may preserve his unhallowed power?  What is Europe but the slave of Bonaparte, if intervention on this ground of necessity be held to be justified?  But we have not arrived at that disgraceful pass yet.  Let Bonaparte manage as he may the turbulent priests who have sworn war against ideas, the nations do not relinquish their rights, the patriots do not abandon their duty, because the Empire is exposed to danger.

    Well, then, Bonaparte had no right which mankind can at all recognize to intervene in Italy. The only right he had to intervene—the only right he has to hold Rome—is that which he possesses in common with the burglar. It is the right of the spider over the fly, of the wolf over the lamb, of the robber over his victim, of Maximilian over Mexico—the right of chicanery, of assumption, of violence.


    If a bandit disturbs a community, it is the duty of the community to use all effectual means for the purpose of arresting his depredations. Are nations absolved from this duty when the bandit happens to call himself an emperor? But who is to pat down the imperial marauder to whom nothing is sacred but his own evil power?

    The Roman populace is powerless in the presence of the legions of Bonaparte.  Resistance is useless—worse than useless.  Rome to Bonaparte is as a lamb to a wolf—a slave to his captor.  There is nothing for her but to hold out her hands while the gaoler welds the gyves.  Even Garibaldi, with all his wondrous enthusiasm, cannot struggle against the battalions which the criminal indifference of France enables Bonaparte to pour into Italy.  Valour itself is ineffectual when multitudes of disciplined warriors are arrayed against ill-armed bands of devoted patriots.  But Italy is at least a nation—a nation, however, which the influence of Bonaparte has debased and demoralized.  Yet even Italy is powerless to do more than show how her sons can die for the honour of their country.  Had her resources not been dissipated, had her king not been debauched, had her army not been condemned to inactivity, she could have accomplished but little in the field against the enormous forces of France.  But that little the cowardice of the king—that monster of vileness and depravity—did not enable her to accomplish.  If Italy had stood alone in the conflict, the end could hardly have been other than it is now.  But if Italy was weak, Europe was not.  The Powers had no excuse for not interfering—for not preventing a gross infraction of international law—for not saving Rome from a new period of shame and misery.  Moreover, three out of the four great Powers who remained neutral had no sympathy with the object of the expedition.  Austria alone is Catholic, and even she is at this moment at war with the priests.  Russia, Prussia, and England are not Catholic at all.  Yet not one of these Powers even protested against the outrage.  Thus it happened that those who had the power had not the will, while those who had the will had not the power, to resist the invader.  The consequence we all know: France is re-established in Rome.

    But is the outrage to go unavenged merely because it is impossible to resent it in the ordinary way?  Since Italy is powerless, and Europe is indifferent, is nothing to be done?  If the enemy cannot be assailed in front, is he not to be assailed in the rear?  There remains only the private avenger.  The logic of the situation is inexorable.


    The invasion of Rome is a challenge to the Italians.  It is an invitation to extra-legal action.  Bonaparte has himself re-opened the old question of tyrannicide.  If he has not justified beforehand a secret attach, he has at all events rendered a secret attack probable.

    When a despot exasperates a people by wrong or oppression, he has no right to complain of the consequences.  If by exciting men to madness, if by violating the most sacred rights, if by invading a nation over which he ought to have no control, if by acts which nothing can justify or extenuate, the despot exasperates the world against him, who but himself has he to blame?  Divided, outraged, struck to the earth, Italy is at this moment a prey to the gravest disorders.  And the author of all this misfortune and mischief, who is it but the last and worst of his race, that leprous Bonaparte whom the very priests despise?

    By the mere use of a power he fraudulently and violently obtained, Bonaparte has forcibly prevented the Italians from celebrating in Rome the union and independence of Italy.  For a period of eighteen years he has stood in the way of the country.  Over Rome he has maintained a brutal despotism of the priests; over Italy he has exercised an immoral authority.  It is to Bonaparte, and to Bonaparte alone, that Italy owes her divided condition.  Had he not sustained the Papal dominion, Rome would long since have annexed herself to Italy.  Every promising attempt to liberate Rome has been frustrated by him.  It was in obedience to his orders that Garibaldi was shot down at Aspromonte; it was to please him that Garibaldi was arrested at Sinalunga; it was by his troops that Garibaldi was defeated at Mentana; it is at his instance that Garibaldi is once more a prisoner at Spezzia.  Bonaparte has kept Rome in bondage, Italy in disorder, the people in a state of everlasting despondency.  What wonder that the popular mind should be envenomed against him?

    But what avails the exasperation of a people which is destitute of the power to give vent to it?  Yet it is this very consciousness of impotency that drives men to desperation.  Unable otherwise to assert their rights, the rights of the country, they resort to the use of the dagger.  Is this surprising?  Is it not natural?  It is the result of the hopeless condition to which they have been reduced?  The real authors of the theory of the dagger are those whose crimes and oppressions drive men mad.  As long as slavery is not an endurable condition, the man who imposes it must expect to be assailed.  To resist always, to employ whatever weapons he can command, to oppose force to force—this is the everlasting right of the slave.

    Of course we all deprecate violence on the part of the oppressed. Had we not better deprecate the cause of it? What is the use of howling ourselves
hoarse at the enormity of a slave's revenge when we
complacently hold our peace in the presence of the tyrant's wrong. Let
us go back to the cause of things. If we have the least justice in our hearts, let us denounce that. Violence begets violence; but it is the original violence that alone deserves to be condemned. But whether we deprecate it or not, revenge is almost certain to be sought. It is not in the nature of things that men can meekly endure oppression. They never have, and they never will, weekly endure it. We way preach and maunder till doomsday ; but our stale moralities can have no influence on minds which despotism has distracted. Precepts and advices are well enough for men who are in a frame to receive them; but those who deliberately determine to encounter all peril in a work they know to be necessary are the last people in the world to be deterred from their purpose by the admonitions of men who do not understand them. Do you think they have not beforehand counted the cost of the adventure? Do you conceive that they are in want of compassion? Does it occur to you that they are likely to be scared by the certainty of death? They do not complain—these assassins, murderers, madmen.  Did a single querulous word escape from any one of those who, failing, offered to surrender their lives as the price of failure?  Is it for us, then, to complain either before or after?  Let us reserve our sympathies for the criminals who can appreciate them.

    But there is an appearance of impertinence in our expostulations and our counsels.  By what right do we, whom the tyrant has not scourged, pretend to judge of the acts of men whose very souls he has lacerated?  We have not suffered as they have suffered; we cannot feel as they feel.  How, then, can we understand their motives or their acts—the burning shame that consumes or the fiercer hatred that inspires them?  To judge fairly of their conduct it is necessary that we look at things from their point of view, that we place ourselves in their position.  How many Englishmen are capable of that?  We here, in the undisturbed enjoyment of our liberties, can afford to prate of the folly of the only resistance that remains to the patriot.  When we have experienced what the men we commiserate or condemn have endured, when we have seen our dearest hopes destroyed by a ruthless tyrant, when we have seen our brothers fall beneath the blades of the tyrant's hirelings, when we have shared in unavailing struggles for the right—when we, too, have been subjected to the trials and troubles of the oppressed, then, and then only, can we fitly constitute ourselves the judges of their conduct.  Had England been rent in pieces, prevented by the foreigner from asserting her rights, exposed to invasions whenever she aroused herself, expelled from her capital at the instance of a horde of lazy priests, it may be that Englishmen would feel and act then as Italians are not unlikely to feel and act now.

    The objection to the act of the private avenger is familiar to us all.  The nation has not commissioned him to execute justice, forsooth!  Did the nation commission the tyrant to commit outrage?  But is the form of more value than the virtue it clothes?  The irregularity of an execution has not prevented the world from accepting the advantages which the irregular administrators of justice have given it.  Did the nation commission Ehud when he slew Eglon?  Did the nation commission Tell when he destroyed Gessler?  But these are questions for traders in ethics.  Do you think that men whom the spectacle of successful crime has reft of reason—do you think that they are in a mood to split straws with the casuist, or listen to the platitudes of the apologist of iniquity?  It is enough for them that there is justice in the act, that there is no prospect of terminating the miseries which invaders impose till the wrongs they inflict recoil upon those who inflict them.  Are those who ordain crimes alone to escape the consequences?  It is to the immunity which great criminals have enjoyed that we owe the everlasting exposure of the world to the depredations of chartered brigands.  If justice has no respect for persons, it is upon royal and imperial culprits, rather than upon their wretched agents, that punishment should fall.

    When a new avenger shall follow the example of Orsini, we may expect to hear the usual cry of horror.  What avails it?  Do you think that the execrations of public hypocrites and professional moralists will deter the next in order from sacrificing his life, on the chance of relieving the world of a tyrant?  But what is the cause of this affected horror of justice without legal arraignment?  It is not the irregularity of the punishment inflicted, of the vengeance executed, that astounds society—it is the application of any punishment, any vengeance at all.  While the howls of affright that arose when an Austrian adventurer met with his just doom in Mexico are still ringing in our ears, who can listen with patience to the cant of modern moralists?  The quality of the criminal on whom judgment has fallen still appears to make all the difference in the world.  That worship of royalty in which we have so long been hypocritical enough to take part, has corrupted the morals and distracted the judgment of society.  Men who have been subjected to the pestilent influence of conventional ideas cannot be trusted to think or act impartially when the credit of dynasties is involved.  Princes to them occupy a region apart.  They can do no wrong; they can be exposed to no injury; they are as sacred as the idols of Hindostan.  Men, nations, truth, justice, religion, laws, are the mere puppets of kings and adventurers.  If they persecute men, if they trample nations under foot, if they revile truth, if they banish justice, if they travestie religion, if they set themselves above the laws, they are held excused and justified.  Punishment is not for princes; for them, what crimes soever they may commit, there is nothing but flattery and praise!  The conventional notion of justice as applied to princes may be summed up in this—regal and imperial immunity.  Is it surprising, then, that the execution of a prince—the attempted execution of an emperor—should shock society?  But all minds are not degraded to the conventional type.  There are men in the world to whom traitors are traitors, and criminals are criminals, whatever their position or pretensions.  Unaffected by the cant of courtly panders, undeluded by the claims of imperial culprits, uncorrupted by the ethics of fashionable society, these men dare to arraign the sacred families of the earth—dare even, when occasion warrants the adventure, to attempt to bring them to justice.  It is because they revolt against the loathsome doctrines current that they thus deliberately defy the odium of opinion.  And society expects by heaping scornful epithets upon men of this heroic character to brand their names with infamy.  Yes, they are assassins, murderers, fanatics, brigands. Assassins—the insurgents of Milan were called assassins!  Murderers—Mazzini was condemned as a murderer!  Fanatics—Garrison was esteemed a fanatic!  Brigands—Garibaldi himself was denounced as a brigand!  Names are nothing to men of exalted purpose.  There is no name society can apply to them which has not already been applied to the greatest the earth has produced.

    But the fact remains—Bonaparte is at war with liberty!  Is the conflict to be renounced because the patriots are no longer able to fight in the open!  The war is simply transferred to another field.  Whether we like it or not, the combat at Mentana will be resumed in Paris.


    Let it not be said that in this argument there is the least incitement to assassination.  Incitement is not needed.  It already exists.  The spectacle of triumphant wrong is incitement enough.  Let Bonaparte look to it.  He dare not say to-day that fair warning has not been offered.  It is not in the nature of a surprise that he can hereafter regard the approach of a Pianori.  The Toulon expedition, the Moustier despatch, the occupation of Rome, the Chassepot experiment upon living bodies, the bloody massacre at Mentana—what are these but insults to he repelled, crimes to be avenged, cruelties to be punished?  Bonaparte has thrown down the challenge.  It is not our fault—it is his—if that challenge should presently be accepted.


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FELIX PYAT'S LETTER TO THE QUEEN; to which is added the Declaration of Victor Hugo and others.  Translated by ERNEST JONES, Esq., Barrister-at-Law.

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A PAMPHLET bearing the above title was lately announced for publication by Mr. E. Truelove, of 256, High Holborn, London.  That pamphlet—I am ashamed to say it—is suppressed.  The cause of this suppression it is necessary to explain.

    The English people are perhaps not aware that the Conspiracy Bill is in force, that the liberty of the press in regard to the censure and warning of foreign tyrants no longer exists.  It is a fact, nevertheless.  Cæsarism has infected the legislation of England.  English ministers have condescended to become the obsequious servants of the cutthroat of December.  That which in a period of public activity Palmerston had not the power to accomplish, was subsequently accomplished in a period of public indifference.  At the instance and instigation of a monster whom the whole universe will one day abhor a new law for his peace and s security was cunningly inserted in an Act which merely professed to consolidate and amend the Statute Law of Britain.  The attempt, which when made openly in 1858 was defeated, was attended with success when made secretly in 1861.  The triumph which was denied to Bonaparte at the one period was secured at the other.  It is to this triumph that we owe the suppression of an honest avowal of opinion.

    Unable to defy the law, unwilling to invite prosecution, unprepared to accept the thankless office of suffering for a public that would not, perhaps, appreciate the sacrifice, no writer dare write, no publisher dare publish, a just and deserved condemnation of the invader of Italy.  It is mortifying to think that at a moment when a gross wrong has been committed, when violence is victorious, when an imperial brigand has robbed a nation of its right—it is mortifying to think that at such a moment the liberty to utter forewarning of the consequences is prohibited by law.  That, however, is the condition to which even we in England are reduced.  Englishmen also, then, have some right to quarrel with the adventurer who sits like a ghoul in Paris.

    But if the announcement of a fact is suppressed, the fact itself is not.  That remains to torment and terrify the victor of Mentana.  Words are nothing: only the truths they express and the ideas they expound possess power.  One may not be permitted to felt the world what effects have been produced; but the danger that invests Bonaparte is in no way diminished in consequence.  Who is responsible for that?  Who but the creature to whom an army of African savages acts as a bodyguard ?

    There is same consolation in the thought that Bonaparte is fast losing the power to commit further mischief.  He has added crime to crime, and blunder to blunder, till even his own flunkeys have begun to despise him.  If his crimes do not one day find him out, his blunders will.  The Mexican adventure, the cheek in Germany, the financial failure at home—to these be has added the villainous mistake of Mentana.  It is this last that is likely to result in the termination of his infamous career.  So be it!

    Meanwhile those who love the liberty of honest utterance have the right, to protest against the scandalous influence of Bonapartism over over England.  That right it is a duty to exercise.








You can elevate men only by elevating MAN, by raising the idea of life, which the spectacle of inequality tends to lower.—MAZZINI.

Let us have Complete Suffrage in preference to any compromise.—EDWARD MIALL.







 WHEN the Reform Bill of 1832 was in agitation, a tacit understanding was come to between the advocates of that measure and those whose ideas of justice were not met by it, that the Whig proposal should be considered only as an "instalment."  Nearly thirty years have now elapsed, and no further instalment of popular rights has been conceded, though an almost incessant agitation of the question has been kept up ever since.  And so little thought is there now of the whole debt being paid, that popular Reformers accept with complacency a six-pound qualification, and reputed Friends of the People invent ingenious schemes of educational enfranchisement.  We propose to discuss the principle involved in these schemes and in Manhood Suffrage—not indeed with much new light of our own—but a nevertheless with such old light as has not lost brilliancy by keeping.  And since the testimony of statesmen and the facts of history assure us that a never so incomplete settlement of the question will last for years, would it not be wiser, as it would be certainly more economical, to seek such a basis now as would set the matter at rest for ever?


THE political party which demands property as the title of the voter advocates a sort of joint-stock system of government; it acknowledges no higher fitness for civil freedom than the possession of a certain fixed and arbitrary amount of property or a certain fixed and arbitrary rate of rental. In its eyes, property, like charity, covers a multitude of sins: it is its highest good, of the first consideration in the state and of the first power in politics. But it may well become men to question its right to this place ' and these functions—to inquire whether property does not here usurp u position that belongs rather to feeling and intelligence.

    When men combine for certain specific commercial objects they enter into commercial relations, and their rules have regard to them only.  The rules of joint-stock companies are made with single reference to the wealth they jointly hold: there we do not look for the moral law, for there it has no place.  Very differently constituted is society, however, and very different the object proposed by its laws.  Here the Law, sitting as umpire over men, protects equally and judges impartially the lord and the labourer—at least such is the theory of social order.  Property, whatever its private influence, has plainly no just power here; nor any, till its possessors secure for it a factitious one.  The spirit of law is evidently at variance with the political power of property.

    Now, what is the theory and obvious object of the vote?  Is it not an instrument—however clumsily arranged—to test the wishes of the voter; that is, of him whose interest, and welfare, and happiness are involved in its exercise—and by means of which he may give his sanction to the adoption or record his desire for the repeal of laws which are to govern him?  The governed then has a new and nobler function; he is governor also.  Government is the maintenance of order by consent and according to the will of the governed.  The vote is the instrument through which that consent is given and that will made known.  And the ultimate result of this vote is the law according to which in society the law-maker is—and, when need be, forced—to conduct his life.  Laws are made, then, according to this theory of the vote, to regulate the social actions of the men who make them, to limit their licence and secure their safety.  They have their origin in the will of men; and nothing beyond that has need to be consulted.  Laws relate to property because property relates to men; but laws do not relate to men because men relate to property.  If there was no property, the variable action of men would still require laws; but if there were no men, the invariable action of nature's laws alone would secure the well-ordering of all material things.  Property [1] is a condition of civilized life—an outgrowth of that.  Out of civilization there is no property, as out of civilization social order is not.  Society has fixed its place, and given it its value.  And as the natural concourse of men has given to material objects their accidental accessories a value, these material things in turn re-impart to men certain accidental accessories of position and power.  Thus the owner of property acquires consideration from his possessions; but he acquired consideration from his manhood first.

    Then mark how variable in a commercial country this property is.  The merchant who yesterday was the owner of argosies on every ocean may to day be ruined by a speculative mistake or an adverse wind.  His civil manhood is wrecked with his ships; and he who was yesterday considered safe is to-day considered dangerous, though he has meanwhile committed no crime nor done aught to forfeit the esteem of men.  To such unjust consequences does the property franchise sometimes conduct us.  Observe also its action in a way yet more odious:—"What system is that," it has been asked, "whereby the honest man, despoiled by an unjust oppressor, sinks back into the class of helots, while the criminal rises by his very crime into thee rank of citizen?"

    How absurd and immoral, then, is it to place the wealth of chance v before the wealth of certain origin—the result of the human will before the result of the divine will! Property has acquired its worth from a casual concurrence of varying social needs: but the worth of man is is not acquired—it is intrinsic; not fortuitous—it is certain; not oscillating—it is fixed; not passing it is continued, old as the hills and everlasting as the clouds that crown them.

    But even now the principle of property legislating is not fully recognised, since neither the millions of a Baring nor the acres of a Russell entitle either to more legal power in the state than that enjoyed by the owner of a forty-shilling freehold.  If wealth can justly claim political power, the owners of it can justly claim a proportionate plurality of votes.  Carry out this principle, and mark how odious it becomes.  The "richest commoner in England," with his income of a hundred a-day, becomes the possessor of eighteen thousand forty-shilling freehold votes.  "Why, nothing so monstrous was ever contemplated."  Of course not.  Nevertheless, it is but the fair pushing of your principle to its distant consequence.

    Again, the theory of property as lawgiver is wide of present practice.  Why else allow the voteless the political privilege of petition and public meeting?—not to mention demonstrations in Hyde Park and elsewhere, which in one notable instance reversed the decision of the Commons, though property threatened the corrective rattle of a six-pounder, afterwards, however, humiliatingly retracted.  These unacknowledged prerogatives of the populace are at direct variance with the theory of ruling ' property, and indicate its utter unsoundness.

    To prove that property ought from political reasons to occupy its present position, it is necessary to show that it invests its possessor with special aptitudes or attributes—with greater ability, or honesty, or goodness of heart.  Honesty—is property a criterion of that?  Look at its occasional origin.  One man—a "capitalist"—lends money at cent. per cent. interest, and at every cost exacts the whole bond to the final farthing.  Another—a manufacturer—"grinds the face of the poor," in the beautiful figurative language of the old translators.  A third—a landowner—claims rack-rent, has recourse to evictions, and seizes the last crop of a tenant whose improvements have doubled the value of his holding.  "Merchant tailors" coin the very lives of breadless needlewomen into princely fortunes, and "pave their palace floors with children's faces."  Are the reports of the Lancet's Analytical Commissioners forgotten? or Tennyson's despairing cry in Maud?

"Peace sitting under her olive and slurring the days gone by,
 When the poor are hovel'd and hustled together, each sex like swine,
 When only the ledger lives, and when only not all men lie:
 Peace in her vineyard—yes!—but a Company forges the wine.
 And the vitriol madness flushes up in the ruffian's head,
 Till the filthy by-lane rings to the yell of the trampled wife;
 While chalk, and alum, and plaster are sold to the poor for bread,
 And the Spirit of Murder works in the very means of life."

The grocer mixes fine sand with coarse sugar, and sells to the poor; the baker adds alum to his flour, which induces in the consumer a complication of diseases; the publican sells vitriol for gin, and embitters his beer with cocculus indicus; even the chemist adulterates with poisonous ingredients the medicine he dispenses to restore health: and the reward of each commercial criminal is that abundant hard cash which is set up in high places, honoured as a social virtue, and worshipped as was the Golden Calf of the Israelites.  Such sometimes is property—fraudulent fruit of trade—the result of crime all the more foul because so difficult to detect, and none the less criminal because so easy to commit without punishment.  And it is such property we are called upon to surround with protective laws and invest with high privileges!  Our English greatness is adulterated with trade, and our trade is prostituted to the vilest purposes.  The American Emerson's judgement upon us is undeniable—"In true England all is false and forged."

    Then, in elevating property above manhood, and calling that property which is obtained by no matter what iniquity and at no matter what cost of human suffering, injustice is legalised and a premium is offered to fraud.  So property legislates, and is legislated for.  As long as the lawmaker is chosen, not because he has aptitude for the work and integrity beyond other men, but merely because fortune has favoured his birth, his speculations, or his trade, so long will the forgeries of commerce either pass unpunished or be punished only with civil penalties, however criminal the results thereof; so long will statutes as infamous as the Game Laws encircle the estates of the rich, and cover with sanctity the vermin they conserve; so long will property, obtained in ways however dishonest, false, and unjust, be considered before poor human life, and its rights protected by penalties more stringent.

    There are anomalies, too, in our present jurisprudence which the enlightened policy of a Legislature based on a higher and nobler idea alone can remedy.  Ruling our English life as the test of fitness and the qualification for freedom, property, naturally enough, legislates for itself.  See what it does in civil and criminal law.  A man of property, a stranger want, is hardly likely to steal; but a man of property, proud and insolent, is not unlikely to have feelings of revenge : hence an offence against the parson is punished with civil, and an offence against property with criminal penalties. A hungry, starving man—anxious to obey the divine law which ordains that he should live, before the human law which ordains that he should not steal—he, in no wanton or malicious spirit, satisfies his unfortunate appetite in a field of turnips.  The owner prosecutes; and the starveling is sent to the house of correction as "a rogue and a vagabond," the rural justices, clerical or lay, piously admonishing him upon the iniquity of his sin.  Observe now the different action of the law in another case.  A country squire—mayhap a justice—bloated with port and pride, happening to have a paltry dispute with a poorer neighbour, out of mere cowardly revenge, brutally assaults him, cautiously stopping short, however, of actual murder.  The law of this case is satisfied when the magistrates inflict a fine of five pounds.  "But the law is equal in its action for rich and poor."  What satisfaction is it to me, who have no purse, to know that, if I had one, it would be guarded by the law with more jealousy than my person is?  Well, then, the law is made for all.  Now all men have not purses; but all men have life; and clearly it is the lives of all rather than the purses of the few which should be protected with greatest care.

    It is not the unequal action of property-made law against which we protest so much as the inequality in the law, which is the result of its unequal origin.  The laws of Sparta, made by the Ephors, not only afforded no protection, but gave no quarter, to the helot; the laws of America, made by the slave-holder, afford none to the slave.  Palmerston in power proposes those measures which will specially improve the position of his party.  Does Disraeli do otherwise?  And so also, without questioning the honesty of the man, would John Bright act.  The springs of individual action are visible enough to account for this.  The prejudices of class affect the conduct of us all; and a slave-made law would be as odious as any other with a lower origin than the common humanity of all.  The black Soulouque, the weak original of December II., for all his barbarity, was idolized, we have seen, by his coloured race.  While we acknowledge all the grand results of the French Revolution, it is not to be disputed that the laws made then were devised to favour the party in power.  For our own part, we should contemplate with as much terror, and protest against with as much fervour, the sole rule of even the working class.  The truth, then, is, that class rule provides guarantees for nothing else than class laws.

    It is surely hardly required of us to discuss the question whether or not the lordly Vane Tempest is in any way a safer or better man than the "Rural Postman of Bideford"—whether George Hudson is a honester man as the "Railway King" than as the small shopkeeper of Sunderland.  Yet property is gravely maintained to be a man's "stake" in the country, because his wealth forsooth will act as an extra inducement to his patriotism in peril and his caution in counsel: albeit English capitalists—as a mere matter of speculation of course—lend money to Russia to carry on a war against England; English shipbuilders—of course only as a matter of trade—construct vessels of war to be employed against England; and English contractors supply to an English army, in the midst of a disastrous campaign, the bodies of dead animals as corn.

    The power of property is great enough in its legitimate way—privately: here its influence—presuming it to be the sign and fruit of industry—is neither to be denied nor obstructed.  But in legislation it has no place upon principle; nor—since it provides no guarantee as security, and offers no new attribute as special talent—any place upon policy either.


WHEN classes make laws, to the ignoring of the nation, the unacknowledged assumption is, that the legislating classes only are affected by them; and here, in the newly-proposed aristocracy of culture, we meet with the same fallacy which a involved in the claiming of power by property. As laws are not made for the government exclusively of property, so no more are laws made for tire direction exclusively of education. The business of life is no mere school matter ; it has far wider signification than that. Laws are not instituted to direct learned discussions on the false quantities of a Latin line, the solution of a mathematical problem, or the method of a logical proof. No state edict now seeks to limit the liberty of English thought, whatever state edicts may once have done. Thought supplies its own regulation, is its own censor, and maintains in the conflicts of opinion its own authority. But laws regulate actions: and hereunder the learned and the ignorant are at one. You may travel across the wide desert of doctrine from atheism to the most orthodox superstition, and no law intercepts your progress now ; but the first step you take into the street is encompassed by statutes and regulated by civil needs, The least pupil at a hedge-school is as much under the aegis of the law as the first prizeman at a college.

    When only the scholar legislates, government proceeds upon the false supposition—false even in England at present—that the scholar only is the citizen and the citizen only the scholar.  Education in our day has never been conceded as a right; it has been bestowed as a charity, or bought as an article of merchandise.  The responsibilities of the nation have never been realised by it; and its youth has not been educated because its manhood has not been enfranchised.  Education for all is an inevitable consequence of the enfranchisement of all.  But we have to deal with a palpable injustice as it may stand to-morrow.  When bad laws are made, who suffers?  Is it the scholar solely?  When scholarship sows the wind, it is just that scholarship only should reap the whirlwind: yet no legislative error of judgement stops in its ill consequences at the class which originates it; and I, an unlettered workman, am compelled to bear the pains and penalties the folly of educated imbecility gives rise to.

    Another position assumed is, that educated men are wiser in the suggestion of laws, and safer in the adoption of a national policy, than their fellows; that scholarship will help us out of any great difficulty—lead us, as Cromwell lead our fathers, out of the corruption of centuries.  Here this error is involved: formal knowledge is reckoned as native wisdom, which, were it true, would reduce the human race to a condition more abject than that absurdly and perversely prefigured by old ladies as the object of the doctrine of Equality.  Such a system makes genius impossible, and annihilates all difference in the capacities of men.  The dunce only is the helot; but the fool's cap may adorn the head of Honesty and Worth.  Pisistratus who compiles is greater than Homer who sings and is inspired by the gods.  The mere writer of despatches has a nobler office than the victor in a hundred fights: the Cromwell's glory pales before the glory of his secretary; even when not a Milton, in this new Paradise of Pedants.  Do Educationists foresee and complacently contemplate this condition?  Laws for human government, then, are wonderfully simplified: you may find a model for them in the rules of the Society of Antiquaries.  But how is this theory—to submit it to the test to which supremely "practical" men insist upon submitting all questions of principle and evident justice—how is this theory likely to "work"?  The College of Preceptors is composed of men who have solid knowledge of the processes and properties of education: would our educational theorists be satisfied with its guidance of the nation?  The Universities are the great seats of learning: yet what sane man would transfer the prerogatives of government to either Oxford or Cambridge?  The seats of learning for years were also the seats of intolerance; of superstition, and of tyranny; and not long since an educational institute in Staffordshire burnt for its "immorality" Harriet Martineau's book of Eastern Life!  "The educated," says Theodore Parker of his American countrymen, "is also a selfish class, morally not in advance of the mass of men.  No thoughtful, innocent man, arraigned for treason, would like to be tried by a jury of twelve scholars; it were to trust in the prejudice and technic sophistry of a class, not 'to put himself on the country,' and be judged by the moral instincts of the people."

    Scholarship and high active qualities are of course not incompatible.  It is possible to be at once a brave general and an accomplished scholar.  Gibbon tells us so of Julian.  Sir Philip Sydney uttered beautiful thoughts and performed the most beautifully brave act on record.  The learning of Raleigh did not disqualify him as the foremost of the daring adventurers of the Elizabethan age.  Collingwood could at once command ably and recount his doings gracefully.  Yet Sydney would have been as brave, Raleigh as daring, and Collingwood as bold, had neither known what Greek, or Latin, or graceful English was.  Did not the Times the other day publish the letter of a great sea captain, full of clerkly blunders?  The rebel gladiator, Spartacus, was valiant and capable, though he lacked the learning of his Roman masters.  There were brave and good men before the culture of Greece and Rome refined the ages; and there were brave and good men after much of that culture had been worn away by the assaults of more vigorous races.  The aptitudes of men, in truth, are inherent, by no means acquired as gentlemen-commoners are "crammed" for University examinations.  These aptitudes are developed indeed—not, however, by the schoolmaster, but by the special circumstances of life.  The urgent needs of a nation seldom fail of men to satisfy them.  Had there been no Charles, we had not heard of Cromwell.  Paine and Washington answered with valiant speech and deed the necessities of their time.  Circumstances are the instructors of the great, and historic crises their opportunities.  The future Cincinnatus may yet be labouring at the plough; and the redeeming Tell yet herding his cattle on the mountain.  The greatness of the great is not learned by rote; it is developed by danger and made manifest in adversity.

    But practically, in the disposal of the franchise, what kind of educational test is it proposed to institute?  Is it a classical, a mathematical, or a theological test?  Is it a scientific or a literary test?  Or is it a test of political knowledge?  The profound classical scholar, at home with Homer and Virgil, is not unlikely to be very much abroad with modern politics; the marvellous "calculating boy" is often a marvellous dunce in all things else; and bishops, well versed in the mysteries of future life, are assuredly not always the best of present guides.  But the test of political knowledge—the only one it is even plausible to propose—will certainly not be ventured on by the present governing classes, because it is just the political thinker of the working class who most clearly discerns the preposterous pretensions of those who persuade themselves, and us, that they are born to govern.

    And an educational test of some sort fairly adopted, what guarantee is there that good, and just, and noble laws will be enacted?  Does education make men courageous in the midst of danger, immaculate in the midst of corruption, virtuous in the midst of depravity?

"If parts allure thee, think how Bacon shined,
 The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind."

Look at those most humiliating of all periods in English history—the days of the second Charles and the second James.  The most polished courtiers were the most licentious in the reign of the first—the most venal in the reign of the second; and the literature of those days bore the part of pander to their vices, whereof the Comic Dramatists of the Restoration have only to be cited in proof.  Look, too, at what is called the "Augustan Age of English Literature"—the age of Anne—the age of the "Spectator" and the "Tatler."  If we are to look anywhere for the moral and rational results of a liberal training, it is surely in the Republic of Letters.  Yet Steele was a drunkard—Pope a glutton—and Swift a scoundrel whom no man dares honour.  Later, Johnson—in whom great learning was not incompatible with incorrigible bigotry—could deride Ossian, but believe in the Cock Lane ghost.  "The misdeeds and misfortunes of Savage," said Macaulay, "form one of the darkest portions of literary history."  Sheridan, the great orator and dramatist, was found drunk in a gutter: and the accomplished and reverend William Dodd was hanged for forgery at Tyburn.  In our own days, great criminals have been recruited from the higher ranks of education.  Palmer, and Paul, and Sadleir are household names of infamy.  And among the minor marks of degradation, who support the abominations of the prize-ring, the race-course, and the hunting-field?  Who but men of fashion and refinement, who have cultivated classics at Harrow or at Eton, and graduated in divinity at Oxford or in mathematics at Cambridge?

    Education has not saved great scholars from ruin, and infamy, and ignominious death.  Now observe how little it affects the conduct of a cultured nation.  It is common to boast of English greatness: perhaps we can do so with pride and without vanity.  Even great statesmen, who deny the manhood of the majority, tell us our country is mistress of the main—first among the nations—"great, glorious, and free."  England is a paragon of principalities let us admit so much.  Well, then, the greatness and the parts of the nation lead us to look for proportionate fruits in its policy.  Yet what are the iniquities of English international action?   Ask the perfidious Palmerston.  Ask how dismembered Poland was betrayed by him—how Rome was permitted to fall without a word from him—how the envoys of the de- facto Government of Hungary were treated by him.  Listen to the charges of infamy brought a few months since against English diplomacy by John Bright at Birmingham:—"We have blockaded Athens for a claim which was known to be false.  We have, within a very short time—not three years ago—seized upon a considerable kingdom of India, with whose Government we had but recently entered into most solemn treaties, which I believe every lawyer in England and Europe would hold binding treaties before God and in the sight of the world.  We seized that country, deposed its monarch, grasped its revenues, committed great immorality and great crime."  Education has not saved England from vice and crime and national disgrace.

    So, then, education is, neither in individuals nor in nations, a test of moral character, or political wisdom, or righteous action.  It is not genius, or virtue, or goodness; nay, capacity in one educational direction is not even a proof of capacity in another educational direction—much less a proof of higher qualities.  A very learned Professor in the University of Edinburgh—much honoured in his own country and in ours for his classical attainments—is, notwithstanding, quite unable to work out a single proposition of Euclid.  Education polishes, but does not create, the wisdom and understandings of men.  No great man ever learned his greatness.  Do you think Newton learned to discover the law of gravitation, or Milton was taught to write his "Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing"?  Why, in the circle of every man's acquaintance, we doubt not, there are men who cannot put together a decent English sentence or spell properly a lengthy English word, who yet, on political questions, are deep-thinking, far-seeing men.  Talents are not to be forced, like tropical plants in a cold climate.  They are native wherever they grow, and they grow only where they are native.  Of course it is possible to manufacture in some sort a resemblance to the natural product, as Horace Smith copied Byron.  But the talent here is imitation; and no one will mistake the mimicry of the parrot for the voice of its teacher.

    Well, then, Education—by which all through our argument we trust it has been seen that we mean only book-learning—guarantees nothing but educated electors; does not guarantee ability, or worth, or justice.  Such a qualification, affirming no right, answering no need, and providing no security, is manifestly as unjust and as unwise as the qualification or property.


ON principle there can be only one claim of citizenship—Manhood. And there is nothing exclusive in this—no sexual limitation; for indeed every argument for a complete or a partial suffrage recognises no mean distinction of sex. There is no distinction in seasons of suffering, or in days of delight; nor is there any in the required duty of men and women at all times in the growth and development of the nation. And if none in duty, why in the means of its performance? It is not for us to answer this logic, because it is not we who dispute it.

    Manhood Suffrage—we use these words in no sexual sense—is the only principle of political enfranchisement. And can a nobler claim of right be urged than this one of simple manhood? How contemptible is all learning—how beggarly all property—beside the divine humanity of even the meanest of our race! Eighteen centuries ago, the Founder of Christianity proclaimed the immortal dogma of the equality of men; and from that moment right and wrong were terms no longer synonymous with power and weakness. In naked nature, none are rich and none poor; before God, there is neither a mean man nor a mean woman. No one of sense talks now, as many talked once, of the divine rights of any given family to rule according to its absolute will. Our great ancestors settled that question for ever in the "first year of liberty by God's blessing restored, 1648." But the logic of that settlement we have not yet followed to its final issue. Christ's doctrine of equality, for all our centuries of Christian profession, remains a mere tradition while equal human rights have no special force in law; and some offensively-apparent vestiges of divine despotism yet linger while the supremacy of classes holds good in government. The brotherhood of man no Act of Parliament has yet been framed to acknowledge or enforce. But for all that, there the fact stands, palpable and undeniable. Dives and Lazarus are alike susceptible of pain and pleasure—alike amenable to the laws of God—alike equal in the race of Immortality. So stands the whole human race naturally equal.

    But the human race is now organized.  The disorderly freedom of the savage has given place to the regulated freedom of the citizen.  In the world's infancy, when men were beset with greater dangers than they now are, they made the ablest—that is, the strongest—among them their chief, who took the post of peril in all encounters; this chieftainship was a good and honourable office in the days when valour was the highest virtue, and whatever was was right.  But what was a sure sign of goodness then is by no means a sure sign of goodness now.  The idea of Justice has since then found expression in language, and seeks now personification in fact.  When men combine together, they seek mutual protection and equal advantages: their society is an association of equals.  Every instance of injustice, of social inequality, then, is a violation of the implied social compact; for it could never have been laid down as a basis of union that one part of society should enjoy all the benefits while another should only incur all the dangers of the social state.  Civilization is an organization of justice, more or less perfect.  Men appeal in society to a higher law than force; their conflicts are submitted to the arbitration of reason, their conduct is regulated by regard for conscience, and their institutions are based upon the balanced rights of every citizen.  Men have abandoned their natural right to do each as he pleases, and now rest peaceably under the shadow of law.  In return for the natural rights they have abandoned, there are social rights they assume and social duties they prepare themselves to perform.  Their business now is to assist in perfecting the laws which govern them, that greater security may be enjoyed under them, and greater happiness derived from them.

    Such a system of society is the only permanent one.  That system which does not secure the safety of its citizens, which does not maintain a just balance between them, and which does not give to each his fair proportion of civil power, must sooner or later fall before another and a better organization of human forces.  Greece and Rome—for all their splendid arts and culture—yet bore in their servile institutions the seeds of ultimate decay.  And anarchical America exhibits to-day evident signs of a coming disruption: such of her free citizens as have contact with slavery fast descending to the level of their coloured bondmen.  Where slavery forms part of the domestic polity, the object men seek in combination is utterly ignored.  Social advantages for the slave there are none.  Better for him to revert to the old lawless liberty of the savage than to have his strength sapped, his body mutilated, and his whole nature brutalized, for another's profit.  There, at any rate, his growth would be unchecked, his responsibility certain, and his chances equal.  In the social order he manifestly has no place, other than a horse has.  He is an outlaw, and society is his enemy; and as an enemy it is always his right—sometimes even his duty—to attack it.  This condition is not his from choice—cannot be his from choice, for no man has the right to barter the faculties which God has given him to exercise for the world's weal: it has been forced upon him by society, and society is answerable for all its wickedness or carelessness produces.  The revolt of the slave is, then, at all tines a justifiable and a commendable act; not unfrequently a necessary one.  Nor does the slave in revolting violate the law; for he can recognise no law which does not acknowledge him.  He has as much right to war upon society as society has to enslave him.

    The slave is out of the pale of society: Who is within it?  Is the labourer who produces its wealth, pays its taxes, and obeys its mandates?  It is true, society concedes certain negative rights to the poor workman: he is permitted to choose his own master, to utter his own thought (until it becomes "dangerous" or "libellous"), and occasionally to share in a nomination farce.  In other regards, he also is an outlaw.  Laws are made for him without his sanction, and taxes imposed upon him without his advice: his whole social right and duty are passive obedience.  Plainly, then, society has no claim upon the allegiance of the voteless workman, any more than it has a claim upon the slave—can have no claim while his equal social rights are withheld.  So then he retires into a state of opposition; and it is his right, when it is his pleasure, to retaliate on society.  This of course is an abstract right, and is never likely, we hope, in England, to be assumed.  Yet such is the position English society forces the majority of its members, the most useful of its members, to occupy by its violation of the social compact.

    Of course political economists and "practical" politicians assure us that the social compact is simply an illusion, and that questions of abstract fight are waived always when practical policy demands it.  First, let us ask, What is that which is called the "British Constitution"?—is that any more manifest to sense than the compact of which we speak?  The second objection is a confession of this weakness—Society is not strong enough, or wise enough, or righteous enough to do right for the right's sake.

    Tyranny, as defined in Chatham's famous phrase, spite of its constant iteration in political polemics, is as prevalent now as on the day that phrase was uttered.  Who is untaxed?  Who does not contribute daily to the costly pomp and pageantry of power?  Not an adult man or woman but pays an ample share; yet over the funds they help to accumulate millions of either sex exercise no control.  And specially note here that the great working class not only contributes at least a fair share in taxation to the expenses of government, but produces by its skill and its industry the wealth of every other class.  What is taxation to the landed aristocracy?  Like the benevolences of kings, it is but a restitution to the nation of a portion of the spoils it is permitted, [2] to inherit.  Yet it is this class, which produces nothing, which arrogates to itself almost all power and all profit; and it is the great producing class, which is at once the strength and the safeguard of the nation, which is permitted to enjoy nothing but a second-hand sort of liberty, and such share in the productions of its toil which it would not be safe to withhold from it.  Taxation without representation, then, is tyranny yet.  And it does not avail to argue that the unequal amount of taxation paid by men of the lower as compared with that paid by men of the higher class is the reason of their unequal privileges, since it is obviously those whom society most favours that society has strongest claims upon.  Even if men acquired their positions in every instance by personal merit only, their abilities would produce them nothing without the means of exercise afforded by society.  The engineer, the author, the merchant would not construct railways, or write books, or organize trade in a wilderness.  The railway needs passengers, the book readers, and the trade customers, to give them value.  Society provides these; and in return therefore no just man will refuse fair payment.

    So then the rightfulness of Manhood Suffrage is clear on these three sufficient grounds—naturally, because of the equality of men under God; socially, because of the equality of men under the social law; and politically, because of the equality of men as tax-payers to the state.


WHAT is just should be done at every hazard; and justice, we ought to understand, is not so foreign to human action as ever long to imperil human welfare.  Yet, while maintaining our own on the higher ground of Principle, we are not less sure of sound argument on the lower ground of Policy—that, as it would be to the honour, so it would be to the interest, of the nation to make of every sane and stainless Englishman a citizen to counsel and a soldier to defend her.  Nevertheless, this preliminary protest ought to be entered—that it is less our business to prove that Englishmen are fit and capable, than the Exclusionists' to show that Englishmen are unfit and incapable, of performing the functions of citizen ship wisely and well.  Here, then, our duty will mainly be to reply to some prominent objections, many of which have doubtless been often enough confuted, though, like Antæus, they seem to rise from the earth after every blow, not with doubled strength it is true, but with invigorated insolence.  Yet not a single objection has been urged against Manhood Suffrage which is not of equal force against every other form of suffrage: so true is it that there are but two principles concerned, liberty and despotism—every question of policy being but a huckstering compromise between them.

    No one will dispute the position that bad laws injure more than they benefit—that good laws benefit more than they injure—that, therefore, the great mass of the nation, of all conditions in life, of all degrees of education, has a direct and immediate interest in wise and sound and righteous legislation.  And if one class more than another has a deep and abiding stake in the enactment of good laws, it is the poorest of the people, because they suffer most from vicious legislation; for while the wealthy are injured in estate, the poor in purse are lacerated in body and humiliated in spirit.  As their interest is, so would be their aims always; and here the common interest would indicate the common duty.  The masses, who profit by just laws, as hitherto they have used what influence politicians have vouchsafed to them, would use their power now, on the side of beneficial legislation.  But here this objection is started: that while the masses of the people have the will to act well, they have not the judgement to act wisely.  Is any provision made for lack of discretion in the present political organization?  Further, has any provision been once made for it since the electoral system was first instituted?  Nay, in any of the theories of limitation now propounded by popular statesmen and pseudo friends of the people, is any account taken of this lamentable lack?  Put what test you please, there are thousands inside the garrison who cannot, thousands outside the garrison who can, creditably undergo it.  How many non-electors do, how many electors do not, understand the casuistry of Gladstone or see the drift of Disraeli's irony, presuming (gratuitously enough) that to be necessary to a wise exercise of the voting function?  Arguments of this kind, therefore, have a double edge; they cut those above no less than those below the line of civil freedom.  But we might well leave an old proverb to answer all objections of this character—"Where there's a will there's a way."  Given the wish to do well, it is not in the nature of Englishmen to fail in finding the way to do it.

    Those classes of the nation who needs must plead guilty to the crime of being poor, are moreover insulted by being told that they have "no stake in the country."  One scarcely cares to designate the insolents who use language at once so ungenerous and untrue: it is enough to reply to the accusation in the indignant words of the workman:—"Mean and beggarly as my home is, it is yet a holy spot to me—none holier.  Call it hovel or garret, I am as proud of it as the owner of the lordliest mansion in the land can be of that.  It is here I rest in peace, sleep in security, and live in love; it is here my chafed spirit finds comfort in the cheerful countenance of the Beloved, and the clouds of my anger are dispelled by the sunny smiles of my little ones.  And are these no stake in the country?  What nobleman, what shopkeeper, can point to dearer ties of home or kindred than happily fall to me?  Neither the broad acres of the one nor the stock-in-trade of the other can furnish nobler incentives to anxious care for my country."  For no class solely in the nation has country an exclusive charm: what soul is not inspired with English daring when danger threatens that?  Patriotism assuredly is not a virtue confined to the affluent; for when calamity comes upon us, it is not the affluent alone who suffer nor the affluent alone who fall—often the suffering and the loss are heaviest among the poor.  Who, then, so likely, who always so ready, to defend the liberties of England as those who yet are not accounted fit to share them withal?

    Working men have been further told they are excluded from political power, not only because they have no "stake," but because they now and then attempt to conserve what stands to them in the place of it.  Their labour is their property; and they properly enough use the best means to preserve and enhance its value.  Occasionally they "strike," for higher wages or shorter hours of work.  London workmen so struck not long since; and forthwith we were assured by eminent journalists that the great working class showed at once its unfitness for the franchise and its ignorance of political economy.  Here politico economical theories are laid down as incontrovertible axioms.  Be it so.  But will the most thorough knowledge of political economy enable the possessor of it to act with more justice than his fellows or with more honesty towards them?  Political economy is at best but a species of education; and it may be a false species, for all our civilization is based upon its rules, which, however, is not the question we are now discussing.  We have seen eminent political economists oppose the Ten Hours Bill, and heard them declare from their places in Parliament that the condition of women and children in dye-houses and bleach cries needs no amelioration.  If political economy leads otherwise good men to take such positions as these, may Englishmen never be further instructed in it!  Besides, the nation is not always legislating with one eye.  Political economy would be sorely puzzled to decide with prudence and wisdom a question of international honour.  Common sense here, as elsewhere, would be the safer guide, venturing nothing in favour of a sense which is not common.  Yet we dare say there are those who would order Milton to stand by till he had mastered Adam Smith.

    Nor are false prophets wanting to predict the calamitous effects of Complete Suffrage on the Legislature, though the Times some time since conceded that a House of Commons elected under Manhood Suffrage would be neither better nor worse than that now chosen.  Education and wealth, it is true, will always have their influence in public affairs—legitimately enough, perhaps, if parliamentary privilege be not engrafted on them; and if the constituencies under Manhood Suffrage would be open to coercive influences, a House of Commons in nowise differing from the present would be the result, because coercion could come only from the quarters it comes now.   And it is no argument to object that some bad men would come by their own under Complete Suffrage, because bad men are included under the present, and would of necessity be included under any form of suffrage.  Goodness, indeed, is the attribute of no class exclusively.  The moral delinquencies of the "upper" will be found some day to at least bear a proportion to those of the "lower" classes--only with the aristocracy they are now called "vices," with the poor "crimes."  Bad men, however, have rights till they forfeit them, and complete and incomplete schemes of suffrage alike must meanwhile include them.  No just law can be, or ever has been, enacted without some risk in it.  Steam ruined the old coaching trade, and broke up the old road-side hostelries; but steam on that account has not been less a national benefit.  But the House of Commons itself, not long ago, furnished us an argument.  It abolished the property qualification for its own members; but the character of the House--such as it is--has not, we presume, been much affected since.  Let the House, then, follow the logic of its own constitution, and make itself what it is yet but in name, the Commons' Parliament; and we may as safely trust to the right issue of this as of any other act of justice.  And for the matter of risk in it, the dictum of Sallust is sufficiently pertinent--"Liberty with danger is to be preferred to slavery with security."

    An ill-defined but sufficiently evil classification, ordained by Custom, which is stronger than law, divides and weakens the nation.  The three orders of society commonly judge of principles and policy rather as they affect themselves than as they affect the nation.  Yet the real interest of each class is that of every other.  Suffering is never borne by any class alone; it never fails to spread by slow but sure degrees from the dregs to the scum of society.  Neither the upper ten thousand nor the lower ten million can say--"Let who will sink, I swim."  A doctrine such as this is false as it is atheistic.  Do you imagine that the cholera, if it once begin in Bermondsey, will not soon spread to Belgravia?  And the slow poison of poverty also, once degrading the workman, will it not one day degrade the idler likewise?  The narrow boundaries of class are swept away by national calamities, by national hopes and rejoicings.  Whether we recognise it or no, all partake at the same table, where none are above and none below the salt, of the country's joys, her sorrows and her aspirations.  And inasmuch as we are more classified, so are we less a nation.  When is it that England is most powerful? In that great day assuredly when class predilections are forgotten in the presence of impending danger--when peasant and peer acknowledge by common valour their common brotherhood.  Danger unites and unity strengthens them.  The French wars of the fourteenth century first welded the Norman nobles and Saxon serfs into one great people; the dread of the Spanish Armada silenced the din of Protestant and Papist factions; and on the landing of a few French troops at Teignmouth, Jacobites and Orangemen forgot their personal preferences, and remembered only that they were Englishmen.  But that strength which comes by peaceful union, spontaneous from a principle within, is at least as sound, and far more enduring, than that which comes amid the clamour of war, impelled by a peril without.  That ever-necessary union can become a permanent fact and be acknowledged as an abiding principle only when Manhood Suffrage, equalizing the right and duty of every Briton, is alone the qualification of citizenship.  And what have our centuries of growth and culture done for us if we are not yet fit for self-government--the ultimate triumph of civilization, if England yet needs the expensive tutelage of a few great families, most of whom, moreover, have outlived the fame of their ancestry?  Is the great English people to be for ever treated as a minor, deprived of rights on the assumption that it has not inherited reason?  That the great mass of our countrymen are incompetent to exercise befittingly their electoral rights is a gratuitous and insulting assumption; it is a judgement without evidence, without even the form of a trial.  Eight hundred years after "good Sir Simon" summoned the first Commons' Parliament, flippant and pretentious critics pronounce that less than a million men in all England can be found able enough to share in the Commons' power.  The inevitable day of freedom has not yet broken for the great Anglo Saxon race.  The long minority of a thousand years, with ample means of culture and refinement, is not sufficient training for it.  "Vested rights which are but vested wrongs," must still forsooth stand between it and the goal which God has destined every race of man to reach!  The pitiable folly of requiring schoolboys to swim before they begin to bathe, has its counterpart in the demand for proofs of parts before granting means for their exercise.  If Englishmen--taking no note here of social grades--had not centuries ago shown their aptitude for self-government, our England would long since have drifted a splendid wreck upon the strand of Time.  And schoolmen and men of wealth show their gratitude to the past by misdoubting the present generation.

    The Grecian youth, on assuming his citizenship, swore in the temples of his fatherland to make his country greater and yet more glorious; and in blessing him with freedom, his country blessed herself with a new shield of defence.  Endowed with the rights of citizenship, the young man became accountable thenceforth for the performance of its duties; for without liberty there can be no responsibility.  Sacrifice and service for the nation's sake can be claimed on no lower terms.  So now the franchise is not claimed merely because it is a right, but because it is a means to a nobler duty, because it is thereby service may best be rendered to the common country.  The citizen aids by his abilities the common progress and the common weal, averts by his counsels the common peril, and retrieves by his strength the common disaster.  This he owes to his country in return for the safety he enjoys, and this he performs for his country by means of the freedom he possesses.  And the consciousness of country, or the eager striving for it, is the source of the noblest sacrifices of history.  Could any but a patriot fighting to defend his country, or fighting to conquer one, equal the splendid devotion of Arnold of Winkelreid gathering the spears of the enemy in his arms to make a passage for his brethren?  And the thought which inspires to such heroism on the battle-field would surely inspire to courage and anxious toil in more peaceful contests.

    But more palpable and immediate consequences may be certainly expected from the abandonment of such remains of serfdom as yet linger among us, when the energy and thought now dissipated on agitations for Reform shall be directed to details of government--the improvement of laws and the remedy of abuses; for assuredly the governing classes have not so well governed England as to enamour the English people of their rule.  For the recent cry of "Red Tape" there were substantial grounds--dead yet speaking witnesses to which rot in far-off Russian graves. Nor has the English Government blundered only in carrying on war; it has done worse before now, in impiously invoking it.  Not to be forgotten either, by political economists especially, is the way state patronage is dispensed--forming a "gigantic system of out-door relief for the aristocracy."  But the vigorous intellect of the great Anglo-Saxon race has found a cure for as great ills as these ere this; and the will of the  English nation has not grown weaker in these latter days, thanks rather to the wealth of its nature than to the honesty of its rulers.   So much corruption has just been discovered in the electoral body that men cry aloud now for penal enactments against it.  A far simpler remedy would be to make it impossible.  Crœsus himself could not bribe a whole city even were the best part of the manhood in it not pure enough to be honest, or brave enough to be independent.  Exceptional exposures like those of Gloucester and Wakefield show only that the briber is there checkmated by the law—not that the law meets him everywhere; and indeed constituencies as corrupt as either are to be met with on all side of us; but the briber would checkmate himself with constituencies broad and as virtuous as Manhood Suffrage would make them.

    No one in our day will expect, in an argument for Complete Suffrage, a pretty word-picture of the Arcadia such a suffrage will result in, with all the usual accessories of happy valleys and pleasures in plenty.  Men have grown out of that mode of agitation which induced the ironical cry of "Universal suffrage to-day, and roast goose to-morrow."  The first requirement is to do justice, and that assuredly will have advantages; but the point now is to cultivate right-doing for its own sake.  The laws, however, will be obeyed more intelligently and joyfully by men who share in the making of them than by men who are ignorant of their purport and have no power to remedy their abuse.  So the race of habitual law-breakers will become extinct, haply more speedily, and certainly more satisfactorily, by this means than by all the reformatory machineries of well-intentioned Philanthropy.

    Let us assure ourselves, however, that a never so complete suffrage is neither Paradise nor one of the gates to it; nay, that Paradise, as the Easterns imagined it, all sloth and content, is not even worth hoping for.  The kitchen is a dull place, and England is yet happily far other than nation of scullions.  "Happiness is a poor word"; let us "find a better."  We would move never a finger for the suffrage if it led us only to Icaria; let us be thankful it leads otherwhere—to the halls of Industry, where labour sweetens rest, and is its own salvation.  There are other triumphs to achieve than mere Liberty and Individualism, which Liberty an Individualism are only the all-sufficient instruments to accomplish.  Eternal growth goes on; and Nature and Humanity are ever equal to the normal task.  God, who never started aught in a race that was to fail in reaching the goal, has not blessed man with aspirations he cannot realise, nor placed before him a destiny he has not strength to fulfil. With his free will, man arrives at the highest point of individual completeness; with free and equal action in the city and the state, he will arrive at that of social perfectibility, with such happiness as may come by labour and such content as may come by well-earned rest.  For this end—if indeed that may be called end which is ever progressing—we claim Liberty of Thought, as exhibited in doctrine; Liberty of Speech, as exhibited in unlicensed printing; and Liberty of Action, as exhibited in the equalization of political power.


1.    We will not burden our argument with a digressive definition of "property" beyond saying that that alone is entitled to the name and sanctity of property which is the "result of work"—not the product of fraud, whether violent on the highway or cunning behind the counter.
2.    "Permitted," because it is the right of the nation to withdraw at any moment the salary of kings and restore to itself the land of the aristocracy.




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