THE RED REPUBLICAN
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21,
SIR,—In my humble opinion it is high time for the countrymen of Milton and Cromwell to ascertain what conquests have been made by or for them, and what they have yet to achieve for themselves or for Humanity. Englishmen have a part, a duty, in the world's work, a place to occupy in the holy alliance of the Peoples; and should prepare themselves for it. To this end a thorough knowledge of Republican principles is indispensable; and to assist in diffusing that vital knowledge, I shall be glad (with your allowance of space) to put before your readers some endeavour at an exposition of such principles. I propose doing this in a few familiar letters; and I will beg those who read them to unhesitatingly point out any insufficiency or want of clearness in my explanation, or any seeming incorrectness or want of keeping in the argument. My object is not dogmatically to expose my own opinions, but, if possible, to establish the basis of a really republican party, by rendering republican principles plain and easy of comprehension. My text-book will be Mazzini's
manifesto—(for, whatever names may be appended to it, there is no mistaking it for any writing but
his),—given in No. 2 of "Le Proscrit" and translated in No. 12 of the "Red Republican."
W. J. LINTON.
Miteside, September 8th, 1850.
"We believe in Liberty, without which all Human responsibility vanishes;
In Equality, without which liberty is only a deception;
In Fraternity (the brotherhood of humanity),
"without which Liberty and Equality would be only means without end."
Equality—Liberty—Humanity (or Fraternity:) these words are the battle-cry of the
Republican, the formula of his faith, without the understanding whereof there is no political salvation.
Equality—Liberty—Humanity,—each and all, indissolubly united. Any attempt to solve the problem of the government or regulation of society, without due regard to each of these three terms, must be a failure.
I will explain presently why I use this form, instead of the usual form of "Liberty—Equality—Fraternity."
Equality refers to the ground upon which we would build, not to the building: that is to say, Equality is a means, not an end.
Liberty may be defined as the unchecked opportunity of growth: a means, also, and not an end.
Humanity is the object: Humanity signifying the whole of human life, for which this equal Freedom is desired; and implying
organized, association, without which equality and freedom can be neither assured nor perfected.
By Equality is not meaned the equal condition of all
men—as dreamed of by some of the Socialists. Equality as a result like that would be unjust and unequal.
To take an easy example:—Two children are born with different faculties. (It matters not here to, go into the much-vexed question of circumstances. Whatever weight may be attached to the force of
circumstances after birth, it cannot be denied that circumstances before
birth have also weight. No two children are absolutely alike; no two are born with precisely the same aptitude or capacity.)
One child is born with a faculty or predisposition for painting. Another has no such faculty; his very organization is against it (he is perhaps too short-sighted to be a painter).
What would be meaned by the word Equality applied to those two children?
Must both be painters, or neither? Would this be equality? Would it be equality to prohibit one from exercising a power of good or enjoyment naturally possessed by him?
To prohibit only one, recollect! Republican equality is not any such prohibitory equality as this.
The true equality would be to give each child the space, the material, the culture most fitted for his growth, and support, and improvement that each might be nurtured and educated to the utmost capability of his nature, even though one should grow to be far greater than the other.
Or again: Two children will not grow to the same height: must therefore the taller-growing be stunted?
Two men have not the same appetite: one needs for health and sustenance twice as much meat as is needed by the other: must one starve while the other fattens to apoplexy; and because their daily rations are of the same weight, shall that be called equality?
The equality we desire is at the starting point, and to keep the course,—not to check the career of the fleetest and make all reach the gaol at once or not at all.
This is the equality which the Suffrage alone can give us.
It is for this that we require the Suffrage as the public recognition and legal guarantee of our equality.
For we cannot believe that we shall be treated equally (which means justly) by any who would hesitate to acknowledge and assure our equality.
And this, spite of all that may be said in denial of rights, is the equality of birthright, the sense in which all men are born equal, and so should live equal.
The tyrant, the aristocrat, the liberal utilitarian, deny that I have any
right—even to my own life, to myself; and so they refuse me the
suffrage—the public recognition and legal means of using that right.
But if I have no right to my own life, who has? Some other man or men?
Surely such a theory is too preposterous. Or is it the State alone in which all rights are vested? But what is the State? Am I a part of it?
If not, what right can a foreign State have in me? If I am a part of it,
only passive, what right have any to kidnap me and make me a passive part, a tool, a slave, of some collection of my fellow men, calling themselves a State?
If I am recognized as an active part of the State—that is conceding me the
suffrage—the claim to stand upon equal, ground before the law, that the law made by all may care for
all—may care that all are treated equally: that is to say, that the nature of each shall have full room for development, the life of none be hindered or cleared away to foster or, make room for the rankness of another.
Without this equality, liberty "is only a deception."
For the Liberty we want is for the growth of all.
Liberty, except upon the ground of equality, would be only the liberty of the
stronger,—the liberty which exists in France and England, and among savage
tribes—the liberty which would satisfy Messrs. Proudhon, Girardin, Cobden, and others of the "Free-trade" and Anti-monopoly
school—the liberty which is not regulated, of the Arab kind, every-man's hand against every man, and the weakest going to the wall.
We want not this liberty, but that diviner liberty which must be regulated by law, guaranteed upon the ground of human
equality—the liberty which is unchecked opportunity of growth even for the least and weakest.
The least, whose growth is stunted by the overshadowing of another, is a victim: there is liberty there
for one, but not equality and liberty for both. The weakest whose growth must take the bent of another's stronger will, is a slave:—there is liberty there too for the stronger, but not equal liberty for both.
And as liberty fails without equality; so also equality fails without liberty.
There may be equality under a despot, or in a well-ordered community, without liberty;
but how then shall there be various growth, free growth, and progress?
We want equal liberty for all: because we want the various growth of all for the collective progress of
Humanity. We do not believe that any man lives only for himself; or that a man's life is bounded by his family or his neighbours, or his parish, or his country.
Family, parish, or city, country, these are but so many spheres in which the human life is perfected, in which it lives, from which it draws its growth, to which it therefore owes the product of its growth.
Humanity, we believe to be one whole, which ought to be harmonized together, continually reciprocating all the advantages which commerce or science (physical or mental science) can
procure,—which ought to be organized so that a physical victory once gained by a part of the race should be a triumph for the
whole—so that a moral gain achieved by an individual should be a possession for the
whole—mutual assurance and co-partnership, by means of which the whole world should upheld the weakest, through which the universal progress should step steadily on from aspiration
to acquirement, higher and ever higher. The organization of Humanity is, therefore, the problem which the Republican proposes to himself.
This is the meaning of his formula—Equality, Liberty, Humanity. The common brotherhood and equality of man as his starting point, freedom and organized association for his means, the progress of Humanity his end.
Equal place whereon to build,
Freest growth for every need,
And that faith to be fulfill'd—
All Humanity to lead,
In one onward life of man,
Equality is placed first in the formula by Lamennais, who objects to the common French form as not
logical: the "equal place" being the first thing necessary, the liberty to build (as alas! only too many trials prove) being "only a deception," till the equal ground is clear. Mazzini, in his Italian programme substitutes
Humanity for Fraternity. Wisely I think. Fraternity implies good feeling and some association of equals, but does not necessarily involve the solidarity, the oneness of organized life.
An American slaveholder might subscribe to the Fraternity, not counting black men among his brothers; but he could not sign the creed of
Humanity. Still Fraternity may be used by some with the same meaning as
Humanity; but Humanity is exacter and more expressive.
W. J. L.
THE RED REPUBLICAN
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5,
"We believe in the progressive development of human faculties, and forces in the direction o/ the moral law which has been imposed upon
WE cannot be said to believe in Humanity unless we believe in its progressive development.
Deny progress and development, and Humanity is but an idle word. It would mean only the men and women of the present generation, to whom any one might dispute his owing any duty, if he choose to live secluded and severed from them, helping and hurting none, refusing to receive or give, to have any
dealings, to make any bargains with them. For cut off the past and the future, and one may well consider all connection with mankind as matter of bargain, and be not in any wise his "brother's keeper," but as careless of his next neighbour as of one at the antipodes.
But Humanity means the whole, the totality of human kind: not only the men and women of this "present generation," but of all ages, past, present, and to come.
You cannot confine yourself to the present generation. What, indeed, is the "present generation," when every day adds and takes away a thousand lives in this little corner of Britain alone?
Every minute many of the "present generation" becoming numbered with the
past—every minute the future generation coming into presence.
Here is the basis of duty toward Humanity—the duty which is imposed upon us as a moral law, a law of
God—the duty which is the relation of a part of the whole. As well might the atoms
of a diamond, or the several parts of a flower, deny their position with relation to the perfect diamond or the flower, as man deny his position as a part of
humanity,—disclaiming the duties which such position entails, refusing the service to which he is so bound, with the poor current excuse, "that it is not his place" to perform such dutiful service.
The common expression intimates the common duty. It is a man's "place" to serve humanity. The place of the part, in subservience to the whole.
What shall he serve except this progressive development? What is the meaning of all history, if it is not this?—that the struggles and sacrifices of one generation are made for another; that the triumphs of the past are inherited by the future; that a gain in any corner of the world spreads, slowly or rapidly, over the whole globe; and that to-day stores all the harvest of the former ages, not for its own consuming, but for transmission to the
Future—borrowing the sustenance and support needful for its own brief journey, and repaying with the interest of whatever its own exertions can accumulate.
To-day is but the steward, who hands the wealth of the Past to the real
heir—the Future. Let us mount never so high over the piled-up treasures of the Past, the summit of our achievement will be only a vantage ground, from which the Future shall start in quest of loftier worth.
How shall one isolate himself from the future or from the past?
How from the future when not a deed he may do, nor a word he may utter, nor a thought that stirs his innermost soul, but is as the first touch upon the electric wire, repeating its consequences to countless ages?
How from the Past? Take any Englishman among us; is not his nature and organization, his very conformation the result of ages?
Is he nothing changed, in no way advanced from the first savage of the world?
Have not Romans, Saxons, Danes, Normans, each and all, contributed to form him such as he is?
Nor only Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans, but also all who had previously helped to form them.
Is not his very physical structure, a growth and combination, fed and collected from nearly every portion of the world?
Is not his mind somewhat richer for the thoughts of all time; his I knowledge the sum of the acquirements of all times?
Be he never so poor, is he not a debtor to the past? Have not the religions of the past done something for him; has not the science of the past done something too?
Which of us taught himself to till the earth? Which of us has discovered, for his own behoof, the whole art and mystery of clothing?
Which of us crosses the ocean without aid from those who have gone before?
Which of us is not indebted for some of those high-soaring and holy thoughts, which light even the darkest hearts, and brighten even the dullest eyes, to the buried poets and prophets of Humanity?
In infancy, youth, sickness, accident, and age, we depend upon the services of others: in vigorous manhood we are no more independent though sometimes we compel the contribution without which we should scarcely exist.
What more argument is needed to prove that man is a part of
humanity—a debtor to humanity; that the part must bear relation to the whole, that the debtor
owes—has duties. Let the honest man pay his debt! This is the moral law imposed upon us; and the fulfilment of this consists in aiding to our uttermost by thought, and word, and act, "the progressive development of human faculties and forces."
"We believe in association as the only regular means which can attain this
How else? If men would navigate a ship they associate.
If they would work a mine or reclaim a waste land they associate. If they would build a town they associate.
If they would make war, for conquest or in self-defence, still they must associate.
The Laissez-faire (the let-alone) system can only suit those who have no recognition of humanity as a whole, nor knowledge of any relation between men except that of buyers and sellers, whose sole business is personal gain.
Yet even in the market there is association, though it be only of some few over-crafty men, to monopolise, to steal an exaggerated price.
If buying and selling be the end of society, the purpose and religion of life, and no matter how many of God's creatures are naked, starved, stunted, or trodden into the dust, then association may be of little consequence.
But the human world has higher destinies than this. Yet the very wolves hunt in packs.
The old fable of the bundle of sticks still retains it significance: woe to the disunited; strength only to the combined.
But the association we require is not a compulsory association.
That was the way they built the pyramids; that has ever been the mode in which tyrants have used the
masses—their slaves. We need the willing association of equals.
Not chance association either. We would not trust to the accidental partnerships of men combining for some special end: an East India Company, or a class-government, associating to rob the world.
We need the regular association of all classes, the organized association of the
people—"the universality of the citizens, free and equal in the several spheres of
family, city, and country; and the association of countries.
And we need this in order to develop, to economise, and to direct all the faculties and forces of
Humanity—to make the whole one strong life, healthily educated, maturely wise, self-sustained, and self-collected,
surely aimed. Association would leave no powers unused, no efforts undirected.
Without association men either bury themselves in miserable egotisms, or, but too often, waste valuable energies in
foolish—albeit generous—endeavours to serve their race. Without association the fraternity of Humanity would be an
"an unrealizable programme," and the progression of Humanity a never-accomplished drama.
W. J. L
THE RED REPUBLICAN
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12,
"We believe in family, city, and country, as so many so many progressive spheres in which man ought to successively grow in the knowledge and practice of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and
THE first sphere of association is the family,—the first step out of self, the first phase in the practical education of the mature human being.
The child lives for itself; is, (or should be) employed, not for Humanity, but for itself.
The natural course of a child's life, is the perception, the search, and the gathering, of good for itself, in order to perfect its own nature, to prepare it for
To this end parents and friends wait upon it, and minister to it, requiring no return.
Hope sings to it his sweetest songs, furling his vast wings, and walking, as if he were an earthly playmate, with the inexperienced young one.
All great and joyous influences are but its playthings, the world its foot-ball, and delights its proper food.
For the child's business is not to do, nor to suffer, (truly, it must both do and suffer, but that is not its business) but to be fostered, and so enabled to grow to its full strength and stature.
Childhood over, the world claims the fresh worker, God calls his martyr.
Self-perfected, the sacrifice of self, (that is to say—service) is next.
The child enjoys—the adult loves. For enjoyment is neither the object nor the end of love.
Ask of any man who has truly loved,—or rather ask of any woman who has loved (not merely accepted a husband) whether the passion meaned
possession—enjoyment; whether it was not utterly independent of possession or enjoyment, an adoration rather than a desire; whether it was not a sublime soaring out of self, the first endeavour to realize a good not necessarily to be shared, and rather strengthened than diminished if bringing suffering instead of joy.
God has given us love to lead us from the narrowness of self to the divine width and grandeur of the unselfish spirit of the true
worker—the worshipper and realizer of beauty. The lovers are united, and the two becoming one, in their very union is danger of stepping back to selfishness; but now children preach the doctrine of sacrifice, of duty and service. In these two relations of life are the types
of the present and future, in which is involved the whole of human duty.
The Beloved,—it is the present life, the beautiful
Humanity of our own age, to be loved and laboured for even as one would
love and labour for a mistress. The Child,—it is the future, for for
which the present toils and accumulates, for which it freely gives its
restless days and sleepless nights, for which, if needful, in harness, on
Liberty's battle field, or on that most holy altar, kings call the
scaffold, it would cheerfully render up its life. In one's own
family are first learned the lessons of true Republicanism: the
equality between the loving,—the equal rights of the young souls which we call our children, but which are God's children, even as ourselves, not property, but unpossessable
human lives as important as our own, by whose cradles we kneel to proffer
homage, foreseeing that they shall be greater than ourselves, that we are
but their ministers;
the freedom of growth which we see to be so needful for them (alas! one cannot forget the poor factory children when one speaks of the free growth which children ought to have), without which the very race deteriorates; and God's promise of the progression of Humanity through them is made a lie and an impossibility: and
the fraternal association which is prophesied in the days of simple
childhood,—the parents themselves but as elder children in a blessed hierarchy, reverently looked up to, loved, and freely and gladly obeyed, not merely because they are called parents, but because they are felt and believed to be the wisest and the best.
Equality, Liberty, and brotherly association, must have their first seeds planted in the Family.
Whoever would destroy this would destroy the very nursery of Republican virtue.
But the family is only the nursery. We may not bound our sympathies within the walls of home.
Though we need not our fellows' help, yet they need us. In the continual battle of life not one soldier can be spared; in the world's work the labourers are ever few (spite of Malthus and the like) compared with the harvest that awaits them.
Is Humanity only to be served by those who have no family? Can Society afford that they who have had the best opportunities of learning the worth of Equality, Liberty, and Association, shall be excused from teaching what they have learned, by the example of an extended practice?
But our special question here is not so much the duty of the individual to Humanity as the spheres in which that duty can most advantageously be fulfilled.
We say that the first sphere, or inner circle, is the family; the next the
city—the village, parish, or: commune; and the country next.
The family is the simplest method, of association, the most natural, the easiest, and the most binding.
We do not believe that it could be loosened without violating the best instincts of our nature, without a loss of influence for good which no other method of association could replace.
The association of locality and common occupation we hold to be also worth preserving.
A fishing community, a shipping community, a manufacturing community, an agricultural
community,—either of these will naturally grow up on the spot where its work may be best done.
The peculiar habits of their lives impress a peculiarity of character.
That and the identity of occupation beget a spirit of companionship, and the brotherly feeling has a wider extension through that growth of natural circumstances than from any arbitrary arrangement for mere economical purposes.
We believe in the worth of such local attachments, of such local schools, in whose narrow
precincts men may first learn something of the fervour, the devotedness, the intense passion of patriotism.
Let the hamlet or the township be a rallying-point, a larger home, and a pride to its inhabitants; let of them toil for the increase of its importance and its renown, jealous of it as a child of the honour of its family.
Let the family be the nursery of republican virtue, the village or the city the first public school for the republican life.
Each is the republic in miniature, complete in itself. Complete, but not incapable of expansion.
As each individual is but a part of the family, so each family is but a member of the township, parish, or commune; and so again each township, parish, or commune, is but a member of the country.
There, on that broad scale, the value of local sympathies, the force of similarity of nature, habit and idea, are more plainly discernible and little need be said to prove their importance.
History and tradition, habits of thought, modes of life, difference of aim—all these stamp the men of one country as better fitted to work together than to work with the men of another country; all these indicate the essential differences in human character, which help to preserve variety, necessary for the improvement of the race.
Language itself, which is but the outward manifestation of character, is not so different as the character beneath.
These are the spheres of human work, not necessarily of disunion. Because the men of one craft labour in one workshop, and those of another craft in another, their different work being so best performed, is that any reason why they should be at variance, or any hindrance to their meeting on any common ground to do together that which requires their combined efforts, or that for which one has no more special aptitude than the other?
Need Italy and England be less close in the brotherhood of nations, because each shall be distinct as a nation, each having its special task to accomplish in the world's work, each having something to do which can be better done by each in its own sphere, than through any cosmopolitan fusion or confusion of the two?
We believe that family, city, and country, have not been arbitrarily-established spheres of human activity; but that they are the natural, the God-appointed modes of human organization, which through republican institutions shall be harmonised together.
And we believe this none the less though, under patriarchal despotism the family has been abused, children treated as property, as if they were for the parents and not the parents for them; though in the hard and foolish competition of an untaught and unorganised individualism, the city has been walled up, town contending against town, even to the destruction of a common nationality; and though kings and diplomatic apes have made the sacred name of a country a mere bye-word of unpatriotic antagonism.
Such is the power of the false principle of monarchy, which perverts the truest means of life.
In the Republic it shall be otherwise. The nation of many families shall be as a brother in the great family of the world, as a loyal township in the human commonwealth.
W. J. L.
THE RED REPUBLICAN
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19,
UNION OF POLITICAL AND SOCIAL REFORMERS.
MR. W. J. LINTON TO G. JULIAN HARNEY.
Mr DEAR SIR,—You ask me to furnish you with any suggestions I may have to offer relative to the proposed "union of the Popular forces."
I do so, though with some diffidence—a diffidence scarcely lessened by my not being able to join my friends, Hunt and Holyoake, in complimenting the working classes (so far as they are represented in the "Democratic and Social Conference,") on any remarkable
growth of "discrimination," or "capacity." That the object of the Conference is good, there can be do doubt; but that the endeavours to carry out the object are wisely directed is to me not quite so certain.
I will, in as few words as possible, and, I trust, without offence to any, explain to you what I mean.
My friend, Thornton Hunt, (and let me congratulate you upon your obtaining in him the aid of one of the most noble-souled and earnest of men) recommends you to unite certain two questions with the question of the
Suffrage; and the Conference, it appears, even more than anticipating his recommendation, proposes to join to the Suffrage, not merely two, but five questions.
I need not stay to enumerate these questions, nor to point out the difference between your programme and Mr. Hunt's.
The object at which I aim is to show that you are both in error; that you ought not to complicate, but to simplify and confine yourselves to one point.
I think, if you will allow me to say so, that both common sense and experience indicate this.
For what is your purpose? Is it to obtain the franchise as
the primary step and only sure means through which, legislating for
themselves, the people may have their own will and way upon all questions,
financial reform, tenure of land, home colonization, &c., &c.?
or do you merely desire to influence the House of Commons as at present
constituted, or even somewhat modified, in order that it may give you
improved laws, on finance, land, &c.—content do defer your political
enfranchisement so long as the present power shall behave tolerably?
If this last is your course, your programme is not wide enough.
It should embrace all the great questions involved in a really national policy, omit no important matter necessary for national government: your business then would be to place before the public a programme of present policy most likely to conciliate the greatest number, (no matter if it involved even the abandonment of the Suffrage,) and, having put forth such a programme, to take counsel with leading men of "progress" of all parties, how best to gain popular support, and force the attention of government to the whole and to, every part of your scheme.
So, doubtless, a powerful party might be formed, which would of course accept from the government item after item, as instalments upon account; and persevering, would at no very distant time,
if they could hold together, obtain almost the dictation of public affairs.
Such would be a new Whig party—a new party of expediency. If you wish to found this, then your course, widened, is plain enough, and Mr. Hunt's argument intelligible.
I know this to be a middleclass policy, and, possibly, it may be Mr. Hunt's.
I know too it is not mine, and I believe it is not yours.
Your policy is not to mend the House of Commons, but to
remake it; not to influence the representatives of a class to do your work, but to get your own representatives to do it for you; not to wring this or that boon or privilege, or benefit from a nest of usurpers, but to dethrone them and so obtain
the power of legislating justly upon all national questions. I believe the poorest Chartist among us would repudiate any benefit from the present parliament, if he saw that his being content with such benefit would defer the attainment of his freedom, and with it the power of benefiting himself.
And he would not be very discriminating if he did not, seeing that nothing
vital is to be gained from the present powers, except by a power strong enough to
unseat them. And then—if you held a wolf by the throat, would you let him go so soon as he dropped the lamb from his teeth?
I have heard a good deal of the Utopians; but the maddest of them all was he who hoped to make silk purses for poor men out of the sow-cars of class representatives.
If, then, your object is simple, and not manifold (since the many will be the natural results of the one) why should you complicate the question, why cumber your hands, and scatter your energies, by mixing up half a dozen questions?
If it is not merely a compromise to gratify the vanity and render coherent the patriotic egotisms of so many popular leaders, (a compromise which does not interest the people) the complication can only be undertaken because you think you shall gain the support of the advocates of each question incorporated with your own.
If so, why stop at three, or thrice three, points, in your new move? Add the
Peace-question to your programme: "You can scarcely have a conception of the extent to which this subject is entertained even among the respectable classes." Add
Teetotalism: "Society is very largely imbued with a conviction
concern in this." Why not even become a Bible and Missionary Association: "Calculated instantly to attract the Saints of all denominations?"
In short, if this compound principle is the true one, you have nothing to do but to bring together into one programme all the various questions that divide the country, and so you may reasonably hope to form an association of the whole country, and without more ado,
every one will have his wish. I am by no means making a jest of the matter; but the extreme view may help to throw light upon the fallaciousness of the principle upon which you seem to be acting.
There is no real strength to be got by this sort of combination. For instance: say you join Financial Reform to
the Charter, as a combined agitation, will it be easier to get the two things than to get only one?
You may say "Yes, because of the combined power." But the Anti-Chartists, who join you only for the finance-matter, will they help you
at a push? I grant they may swell the size of the movement; but will they add to its strength?
It may be said, that you will bargain with them for "mutual help." True again: and in any critical moment, when you seem to near success, the government, which will know, as well as yourselves, of what uncombining dispositions you are composed, can
break up your combination by giving to either section its separate object.
Would it be the Charter to you, or "Finance-Reform" to your middle-class
allies? What becomes then of your "bargain?" And the gratitude of the bargainer
—how much would you expect from
that? This one instance may serve as well as fifty. The fallacy extends to
all such combinations. It is better even to get strength slowly, and so know upon what we can rely, than on the eve of battle to have a Grouchy
on our side.
Has there not been experience enough? Was Corn-Law Repeal won by mixing it with other
questions? or the Reform Bill? True, there was no bargain then; but would those honest Reformers have kept one, think you?
Here are two successes on the side of simplicity, for your consideration; and next notice two failures on the compound side.
First look at the "Parliamentary and Financial Reform Association," with its great names and hundred pound subscriptions.
Where is it now? The real Parliamentary Reformers (the Chartists) would not join it in any number because they could not but doubt the Financial Reformers; and the Financial Reformers are backing out so soon as there is any chance of the Parliamentary Reform having any reality in it.
The truth is, that these compromises do not always attract even a list of names.
Most generally the result is that they deter instead of attracting. How would a man carry a resolution at a public meeting?
Put in two propositions, and you will have for the resolution—not all the admirers of each proposition, but only those who admire
them both; a smaller number than you would have for either proposition upon its own distinct and separate merits.
This, I contend, is the real result in political movements; and whatever show of approval may follow the combined programme, it is only this reduced number upon whose right hand you can rely.
The other failure on the compound side to which I would call your attention is our own Chartist failure.
Setting aside numerous causes well known to all of us (and which need not be mentioned
here—there is no use in ripping up these old sores) one notable cause of this failure was the mixing up of the Charter and the Land Scheme.
Men looked so hard at Snigg's End, that they forgot the Charter. Money poured bravely in for the one; but we need not confess to our enemies, how small was the
regular subscription to the other. I am not one of those who objected to the Land Scheme on its own account.
I believe, too, that Mr. O'Connor was quite in earnest in the affair, and that the scheme might have been worked to the benefit of great numbers of individuals.
But, none the less, I find it very unfortunately mixed up with the national question, interfering with it, and helping to ruin it.
Of the Freehold Land Scheme, I would speak in the same terms. It is an excellent thing for individuals; but it cannot supply the place of a national movement, and there is always danger of the immediate personal benefit drawing a man's energies from their proper political activity.
We cannot consent that English freedom shall be postponed till some distant generation can complete the purchase of the soil.
If my words might have any weight, I would say—Stick to the Charter alone,
or—not caring so much for the name—the suffrage and its securities.
See who will join you for that. But you "want Socialists and others to join" you.
Are their convictions in favour of the suffrage or not? If not, whether Socialists or other, they are worth nothing to you, for they would bring you only an hollow appearance of help, which would merely hide the
pit-falls in your path. If their convictions are in favour of the suffrage, they ought to join you; and I believe most would.
Those who would not because they have a preference for experiments (with their hands tied, to my thinking), or because certain peculiar circumstances (as in the case of the Tenant-League in Ireland) compel an agitation, upon other grounds, must have a special inducement to join you.
That I know. In adding still a few words to this long letter, pointing out the course which, in my humble opinion, ought to be adopted, I will show how I would deal with friends of this stamp, whose active concurrence it is most desirable to enlist.
To be as concise as possible (for I fear my faultfinding has tried at least your patience), though I think your programme too wide, I think your "conference" too limited.
I miss from it the names of men who are of the working classes and trusted by them; names also of men of the middle-classes who hold our principles and have honestly stood by them.
You must have them among you, if possible. If you do not, even though the fault should be theirs, not yours, you are losing their influence
,—and they represent numbers,—at all events till you can convince all men that the fault is theirs.
It matters not, I know, how few originate a preliminary movement.
But the conference which is to move the nation cannot be based upon a section, nor upon the coalition of a few sections.
It must not have even the appearance of a clique. It must have in it every man of our principles entitled either by his services or his position to give
advice. Call them together to decide upon our conduct.
Watson, Cooper, Duncombe, Colonel Thompson,—where are they? I, for one, would be glad to know.
And how many others could be named? Call together all who are in any way likely to assist
us,—such men as Sturge, Walmsley, &c., let them have the refusal.
For such men as Owen, who would rather be experimentalising, —or as
Bright, who might prefer finance reform to universal suffrage, or as Duffy,
who are compelled to seek immediate relief from the pressure of the
villainous system under which we live,—for these the inducement to be
offered, for all the assistance they can spare us, is, not the incorporation
of their several aims in one programme, but this:
that our organization shall lend them its voice and influence, whether in proselytizing or expression of
opinion. This we could do without going out of our own way: for it should be the special business of any new organization (a matter in the Chartist agitation left almost entirely to private endeavours, among whom Mr. O'Brien
stood very prominently) to cause men to think of the suffrage by showing to them their need of
it: the rural population (yet scarcely inoculated with politics) because of the unjust appropriation of land, the manufacturing because of the unequal laws upon labour and the mischievous tyranny of capital, the shopkeeping because of the excess of taxation, the socialist because of the present legislative impediments to association.
So the assistance of all would be obtained for the national movement, without hampering it with the several interests and without
hindrance—rather with great advantage, to them.
The question seems to me to lie simply here.
Complicate the movement, and you
may get numbers,—a vast accession from the ranks of those men whom Mr. Cobden would bribe with some timely concession (so many, or so few at a time, as might be needful ) "to garrison our present institutions."
Every time you seemed near to victory a fresh desertion would throw you back.
Simplify the movement, and though you may not at first get on so fast, yet you will have a strength upon which you may rely, which, in spite of all past failures and discouragements, will grow and which in the end must triumph.
In the one case you have a delusive compact, in the other, you make of every popular movement a valuable ally, helping it in return, and that without turning aside from the direct path of your greater object.
I have made my letter too long to dare to add anything on the form of organization.
This indeed ought to be considered in full conference. I will only say, in conclusion, that I trust it will not be thought that I have made the above remarks in a captious spirit.
So many of you know me that I do not fear any doubts of my truth and friendliness to our common cause.
Let me nevertheless assure you that with whatever programme or organization the Chartist banner shall be again uplifted, I shall be found under it, happy if I think its direction good, but even if not, prepared to make the
best of it.
W. J. LINTON.
Miteside, October. 4th. 1850.
THE RED REPUBLICAN
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26,
"We believe in the holiness of work, in its inviolability, and in the property which proceeds from it as its sign and its
That is to say we do not believe that "the institution"
of private property is inevitably a nuisance. Our complaint is not that there is too much individual property, but that there is too little; not that the few have, but that the many have not. Property, wherever it is the real
result of work—"its sign and its fruit"—we deem inviolable, sacred as individual right.
On a piece of wild land, unclaimed by any, I build a log hut; I clear a portion of the ground; I till it; I plant potatoes or sow wheat; with my own hands labouring unaided.
The wheat or potatoes there grown just sufficient to feed me and my family.
They are my property. They (not the land) are my work, a growth which is the result, the sign and fruit of my toil.
If the title is not absolutely mine, at least none other can show so good a title.
I have created at least the overplus of wheat or potatoes that remains after subtracting an amount of seed equal to that sown (if there is any question how I came by that).
I, only I, have the right to my own creation.
I have a rose-tree,—one I budded on a wild stock. I have cared for it, tended it, nursed it through severe winters.
It is mine. What right have you to it? Will the State intervene and appoint what is
mine and what thine? Giving me perhaps some other rose-tree and you this.
It can only do so ignorantly. The State knows nothing of the value of my
rose,—its peculiar value to me. Its flowers have been gathered for my sick children;
the Beloved has shed her last smile upon its bloom. It is a sacred
thing to me. To all the world else it is only a common rose-bush.
How can the world's title to it equal mine?
I have a dog which I have reared from a puppy. He knows me, loves me.
He might be useful to others: he would be to none what he is to me; none
can be to him what I have been and am. Have not I the best title to
If my superior taste or ingenuity—perhaps working extra
hours—can, without taking from others, adorn the walls of my house,
improve its furniture, and make my home a palace in comparison with my
neighbour's,—is there any reason why he should share with me, take my pictures or my sofas into his
rooms,—take even one of them? Or rather, why I should be deprived of these
enjoyments of my own creation until others, either through their
own labour or mine, could acquire the same enjoyments?
All those things fairly produced by me are mine; they are as it were an atmosphere of my own, with which I have surrounded myself, a radiance from my own light of life, an emanation from myself.
No government, state, or commonwealth has any right here, to trench upon my personal, private, individual right, to rob me for even the world's benefit.
But suppose I produce more than sufficient, while others need?
Has the State no right then? No, it has not. Let it try its right.
I unaided by it produced. It has power, and it will confiscate.
What follows? this,—I will not again be fool enough to produce for
confiscation. I care nothing for your "tyrant's plea" of necessity, for the general good.
I will not produce, if I cannot be secure in my possession. Some one
says—"But you have told us of a duty towards Humanity." That is true too.
But here we have been talking of the right to take, not of the duty to
give. I acknowledge the duty. I esteem the blessedness of being able to give; esteem it too much to bear patiently the being robbed of it.
I would be of my own free-will the dutiful servant of Humanity. I will not be its
slave. Or am I dull, brutish, selfish, caring only to have, to be a "rich man," not anxious to give my substance to those who need?
Then educate me; enlighten me; better me by precept and example; if I mend not, point at me as a monster: but dare not to cross my threshold, to touch, the veriest trifle that I have honestly earned or obtained, to profane my household gods, to violate my individual right, which stands sovereignly, however savagely, defying the world.
Property is that which is a man's own, what he may properly own, that which is justly
his,—his work, or his work's worth or purchase, or a free gift from another
whose it fairly was.
Work is the doing of worth,—something of value made,
created, or produced, or help toward that. Stealing is not work. Swindling is a shabbier sort of stealing.
Overreaching is swindling.
Since property is definable as the sign and the fruit of work, clearly that
which is neither the sign nor the fruit of work is not property.
A pedlar takes eyeless needles to a tribe of ignorant savages , and "sells them," bartering his needles for things of worth.
He produces the worth, but not fairly. The things of worth are not fairly his.
They are not legitimately property. He has stolen them. The profit of a swindling trade is not property.
Is it not swindling when a young child is taken in at a factory, and
receives—in exchange for childhood's beauty, youth's hope, manhood's glorious strength, and the calm sunset of a well-aged
life—some paltry shillings a week? Nay, we will not wrong you, Trader! that "is not all" you give him.
You also give him ignorance, and vice, and suffering, and emaciation, a crippled beggarly life and a miserable death, in exchange for the health and joy of which God had made him capable.
Why, man! selling eyeless needles to savages is Christian honesty compared with that.
And one cannot but repeat that we dare not so abuse language as to call the profit of a swindling trade your property.
It is stolen. A thief is not a proprietor. The words cannot be synonymous.
Where is the title-deed showing work done and value created? WORK DONE?
The paving of your palace floors with children's faces! Moses and
Son,—and some who think themselves honester,—have no right to a penn'orth of their dishonest gains.
If the State should confiscate their fortunes and distribute it among distressed needlewomen and the like, I, for my part, should think no wrong done, but be thankful for so much retributive justice.
When the usurer (we call him capitalist now) takes advantage of his fellow's need to overreach the common ground of human brotherhood upon which they originally stood, and to steal a profit out of that
need,—this is not work, or worth-doing, toil he never so toilsomely.
His profit is not his property. Or when a "landlord" claims possession of. God's
earth,—I do not say of certain produce, but absolute possession of the land
itself,—because his ancestor, some duke (thieves' leader) of bygone times, stole that land, or because he bought it of some degenerate thief (not a leader), well knowing it to be
stolen,—can we allow that to be property, properly his? God's earth and
ocean, God's mountains, plains, seas, and rivers, are not property,—no more than his sky.
They are his work, not man's. Let the fisherman make a property of the fish he catches. "Why?—he does not create them," Yet he does in some sense produce them.
Their worth to man is nothing in the sea. It is their being caught, which is the result of his work, that gives the value.
The possession of them, is the sign of that work. Let the husbandman till the ground, and what he produces shall be his.
That produce is the fruit of his toil. But the earth is not his.
Would I "parcel the land out among all the dwellers on the earth?" No, certainly. For the fisher cares not for his proportion;—neither does the merchant, who brings goods from the far-land, giving holiest toil in their bringing, and justly possessing them as the sign all d fruit
thereof. Let who will occupy the land. But recollect that the fisher's and the merchant's shares
are there also. It is a common property, which cannot be parcelled out: because every minute a
new co-inheritor born, and every birth would necessitate a new division.
But I see no reason, therefore, why any should not hold any amount of land (only limited by the needs of others) in undisturbed and perpetual tenure, paying to the State a rent for the same.
What has the State to do with appointing to each landholder his limits, or assigning to him his locality?
Here again would be an interference with individual right. It might give me my acres in the plain, and my brother his upon the mountain side; and he loves the level ground, while to me flood and fell are dear, and I dislike the monotony of the plain.
Or why should the State refuse land to individuals, and compel it to be held in common?
All these things may best adjust themselves: the business of government not being to intermeddle with individual right, but to have that respected, and to maintain order, caring that none encroach upon the rights of others, and that all are organized harmoniously together.
The one is the prevention of evil, the other the preparation for good; the one involves the questions of
property and credit, the other the question of education.
Of property we have already spoken. The duty of government here may be thus summed up. It has to see that every one holds inviolate
his right to enjoy or to bestow the fruits of his own honest labour; and also that none shall, by endeavouring to appropriate common property, prevent another from producing to the utmost of his capacity.
Its business is to care that common property shall never be appropriated by individuals, nor private property meddled with by any.
The questions of credit and education are the necessary concomitants of this.
They will be our next subjects for consideration.
W. J. L.
THE RED REPUBLICAN
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2,
"We believe in the holiness of work, in its inviolability, in the property which proceeds from it, as its sign and its fruit."
"We believe in the duty of society to furnish, the element of material work by credit."
THE right to one's share or one's share's worth in the common
heritage—the land, and the right to the produce of one's own honest toil:
if the State guarantees these, it is enough. For what do these
The worth of one's share in the land is not an exact numerical proportion of all that is done in or on that land, nor yet a certain sum of money or amount of material wealth apportioned to each in exchange forgiving up the land;—but simply one's share in the rental of the land, which, accruing to the State treasury, is a fund for common assurance and for the use of all the members of the
For the "inviolability" of work, the sacredness of it and of property as its fruits, means something more than that we shall have all we can earn under our present take-who-can system, the system of "free trade" in men and other commodities.
The "inviolability" of work implies that there shall be no artificial hindrances in the way of work.
The right to the produce of one's honest toil is a mere cheat, if that toil by any tyranny, constitutional enactment, or subterfuge, can be hindered from producing to the
utmost of its natural ability added by the interest of the common
heritage—the rental of the land. Such an hindrance is the present tyranny of capital.
Say you give a man free access to the land. What use is that when he has no money for implements, stock, manure, or seed? when he has no means of living even to the first harvest?
To throw the whole land open, giving to each man, for himself and family, their proportion of measured value (some two acres a head), what use would that be to the millions whose existence depends on their having wages next Saturday
night? "They could sell it, perhaps." Yes, for whatever the capitalist might choose to give them for it, when he had kept off the purchase till the sellers should be at starvation point.
Something more is evidently wanted, to make the land available.
Or say that the State guarantees to every man the produce of his honest toil.
Well, it does that now, if that means only such produce as the capitalist, who rules the market, will allow him to have.
No mere enactment of that sort could benefit the wages slave. But, "he shall have his share of all he earns," says such a law.
Shall he not also be free to sell that share? To give the factory slave his share of what he has
earned—so many bales of cotton, what would it avail him? Could he take it into the market?
Or, rather, could he afford to warehouse it when the market is glutted and none will buy?
He must sell it; for Saturday night sees him starving. And so his master will have it at the present
Besides there is good in the division of employments, and only loss of time to accrue from every man being both producer and seller.
The inviolability of work implies free access at all times to the means of work.
For this purpose the State must be the capitalist, the banker, the money-lender.
Look at things as they are. A poor man is out of work.
Illness, perhaps, has come upon him, or his trade is slack. He must needs lie by.
His little savings (if he has any) are exhausted. He sells his clothes, his furniture, all he can
spare,—no not spare, but realize anything upon. At last he sells his tools.
He recovers; trade is brisk again. He could find work readily enough; but he has no tools.
How fares he now? Why, unless private charity helps him to new tools, he may
starve,—he and his. The case is common. So much "Society" does now for its able members.
So many hundred weavers are thrown out of employ by a new invention.
They are unfit for other work. They have no means of living while they might learn another craft.
They may starve. Nay, not that: "Government" gives them a poor house, and grudgingly keeps "life" in their bodies, caring neither for their well-being nor for any interest the State has in them.
They are simply so much refuse of the capitalist, which the State insists shall be carted away with some show of decency.
Every year in this "free Britain" how many thousand men wander about our streets and lanes, wishing for work and finding none, haggardly wasting, starving, because no private speculator cares to employ
them,—starving idly, worthless (not even turned to account as manure), not because they will not work, nor because food is scanty or work not wanting doing, but because under our present system
there is no getting work to do, unless it subserves the pleasure or profit of certain monied
individuals,—because the State does not protect the sacred right of every human being to work and to enjoy the fruit thereof.
The rental of the land is the proper capital of the whole nation. Why should I go to a pawnbroker, or usurer, when my own money lies in the Treasury?
Why should I starve, lacking means while I learn a new trade, my own failing, when my money is in the Treasury?
Why should so many thousands of us, O my brothers, so well-disposed to work, be idle, famished, and unprofitable, while our money lies in the Treasury: with the use of which we would reclaim waste lands (some fifteen millions of acres at this present lying "uncultivated but reclaimable," as the political economist knows), better cultivate lands even now reclaimed, and build homes for the houseless, and improve the hovels where human
creatures now lie waiting for the plague, and weave clothes for the naked, and feed the hungry,
and educate the ignorant. Good God! what work awaits the doing,—and
our capital every day pours into the public Treasury, and there lies idle (unless, indeed, thieves take it thence), and we may not help either ourselves or the helpless, unless we can get our tools from the pawnbroker and leave to be made tools of from some private speculator.
It is one business of Government (not Tory ruffianism or Whig rascality, neither of which is Government) to be the Nation's Banker, to furnish each individual with the material
means—the capital—for work, at all times and under all circumstances.
Else one's right to property as the fruit of one's work is a mere mockery.
As the just appropriation of the land would sweep away all those useless middlemen called landlords (not cultivators of land), so a sound system of national
credit—a mutual assurance of the Nation—would rid us of all those mischievous middle-men called capitalists, who stand now between the work and the worker (no matter whether the worker be a "captain of
industry"—who has not always capital—or only its lowest soldier), not helping but hindering the one, and so ever robbing, and but too often murdering, the other.
Through what special provisions or under what
guarantees Governments should exercise this function of supplying capital, is a matter not to be prescribed by any theorist (though the researches of such may indicate the method), and it can be determined only by the Nation, whensoever it may please the People to constitute themselves a Nation and to appoint their Government.
W. J. LINTON.
THE RED REPUBLICAN
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9,
"We believe in the duty of Society to furnish the element of material work by credit, of intellectual and moral work by
THE land is the common inheritance of man; but he
has yet another heritage—his share in the result of all experience,
research, and achievement, since the beginning of Humanity. And as it is the business of Government to secure to him those means of material improvement which are the interest or rent of his property in the land, so it is the business of government to secure to him those means of intellectual and moral improvement which constitute his share in the common
intellectual and moral stock. Capital, or credit, supplies him with the material element,
education with the moral and intellectual. It would be worse than mockery to give him only the first.
Let it be borne in mind that whenever the word Government is used in these letters, it is the reality which is spoken
of—not the impudent counterfeit which now mocks and curses society.
It is more than usually important to bear in mind this distinction in treating of education, because the confusion here is the rock upon which men commonly split in debating of the different merits of State-education and Voluntaryism.
Education is the business of government, because only
government can be intrusted with it, and because only government can effectually manage it.
And first, what is this Education, to which every human being is equally entitled?
It is the culture of the whole nature, the development of its full powers of
growth—the perfecting of the physical—the due training of the moral and
intellectual—and the fitting both heart and intellect to embrace the highest aspiration and completest knowledge of the time, so far as natural organization will
permit,—the purport of such culture being the raising of strong and excellent human beings
to do the work of Humanity. Education is, indeed, the Present endowing the Future with all its wealth and power, that the Future may start from that vantage ground to reach the further heights of progress.
To whom shall this be intrusted, except to the nation's rulers, to those whom the nation has chosen as its Wisest and Most virtuous?
Upon them the head and heart of the Present Time (we are speaking of the good time which shall be Present, not of our own little day of Whig
expediencies)—upon them it devolves to rule the Present, so as may best provide for the Future.
It is theirs to utter the nation's faith, to teach that faith to the young generation, which shall in its turn become the nation.
Whom would you choose for this work? Whom, instead of these your voices have already declared to be your Best and
Wisest? How shall they lead the nation, if its youth are exempted from their control?
Shall they be your rulers, and yet not rule your children? Your children!
But indeed they are not yours, if that your is to mean property. You have no property in your children.
They are the nation's, in trust for God and the Future.
"But what then becomes—" I hear some one ask,—"what becomes of individual liberty if our children are to be placed in the hands of a
Government, of any, even the best government?"
Whose individual liberty? Yours or your child's? What right have you to possess a human soul?
To make it yours, to twist it to your bent, to cast it to your mould?
The soul of the little child is your
equal,—has its own independent rights, and demands its own growth—not a growth of your dictation.
What right have you to confiscate that soul to your uses, or to sacrifice it upon the private altar of your particular opinions?
"Has not every man, then, the right of teaching what he believes? Is it not his duty to propagandise his own idea of truth?"
among his equals, but not to take an unfair advantage,—which is tyrannizing.
Between you and the weak and easily-impressible child rightly steps the protection of the State, guaranteeing to that child that he shall not be stinted to the narrow paternal pasture; but that he shall be enabled to become not merely a pride and pleasure to his father, but worthy of his nation.
It is that which he has to serve.
Besides, shall the poorest souled individual be free to inculcate his private crotchet, and the nation's best and wisest be prohibited from teaching that which is the generally acknowledged truth of their time, the actual religion of Humanity?
It may happen that the father is in advance of his time: but who shall guarantee this?
Must every child take his chance?
It may also happen that the father's tenets are far behind his time.
Shall we, in virtue of our profession of Equality, Liberty, Humanity, after abolishing the slavery of the body, allow the soul of the child to be enslaved, simply because the enslaver is the parent; or deny the child's liberty of growth because a parent would have the training of him;
and rob the Future of its worker, its soldier, and its priest, because
some one called a parent claims the child as his rather than God's?
If a government—the elect of a nation, the real priesthood of the people, their wiser voice, then indeed the "Voice of God," for the people is the sole interpreter of his
law—if a government have a faith to teach, what individual out of the mass shall step between them and the child to forbid their uttering that faith in the child's ears?
If the "government" is imbecile, or so buried in dirty traffic, that it has no faith, then let all true men combine, or, failing combination, let every brave man for himself do his utmost, to keep his children from being contaminated by the abominable doctrines which alone such a
misgovernment could teach. But if it is your own chosen government, and has a faith?—Where
is the room for this very English jealousy of a compulsory
"And religious education also?" EDUCATION IS RELIGIOUS.
Meaning by religion that which binds Humanity to God; that which links the ages together, making of every generation one strong and perfect link, welded into one by faith in the necessity of harmonising men's
lives—man's life—with the Eternal, and by the organization which such faith would insure to a nation.
This is religion: the teaching of which is the highest duty, function, and object of government.
Sectarian dogmas and ceremonies are not included here. It may be left to voluntary zeal to determine with what verbal forms, with what gestures, or upon what particular occasions, such and such a congregation shall sing or pray together.
It is a matter of individual liberty, with which, so long as public decency remains unoffended, or private right unassailed, the State has no business to meddle.
The ceremonial observances of some few hours a week may be left to the conscience of the sect, or of the individual; but the religion
which is to actuate the daily life of the whole people is the proper affair of government, if government is to be real.
There is no middle course, between this organization of human life and the anarchy of our present system, an anarchy which is called liberty, but which is only the unrestrained tyranny of the stronger.
How this sort of license results, private vice and selfishness, national crime, and weakness, and degradation, and ruin, may only too soon inform us.
After all, it is not for individual liberty—the right of conscience or of
speech—for which men need have fear when intrusting the education of the nation's youth to those whom the nation shall have chosen as its government.
Teach as zealously and as carefully as you will in your
State-schools—the fear will still be, not of the government teacher overlaying the parental doctrine, but of the
parent—if so disposed—by daily opposition or perversion, eradicating the lessons of the public school.
In all cases too (as a necessary consequence of the law of progress) however excellent your arrangements, there will be a minority to complain, and perhaps to suffer.
The minority here will be those very few wiser than their time, who could teach their children even better than the collective wisdom of their nation.
But how much would these have to complain of? Free out of school hours to teach their children, if they had but to add the higher knowledge their task would be easy; neither would time or opportunity be wanting if haply they had somewhat to correct.
They have their voice, too, in the councils of the nation, to make their greater wisdom
heard—with it to convince even the schoolmasters, if its sound may be of sufficient potency.
W. J. LINTON.