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ambition of man. The farmer, after sacrificing pleasure, taste, freedom, thought, love, to his work, turns out often a bankrupt, like the merchant. This result might well seem astounding. All this drudgery, from cockcrowing to starlight, for all these years, to end in mortgages and the auctioneer's flag, and removing from bad to worse. It is time to have the thing looked into, and with a sifting criticism ascertained who is the fool. It seemed a great deal worse, because the farmer is living in the same town with men who pretend to know exactly what he wants. On one side, is agricultural chemistry, coolly exposing the nonsense of our spendthrift agriculture and ruinous expense of manures, and offering, by means of a teaspoonful of artificial guano, to turn a sandbank into corn; and, on the other, the farmer, not only eager for the information, but with bad crops and in debt and bankruptcy, for want of it. Here are Etzlers and countless mechanical projectors, who with the Fourierists, undoubtingly affirm that the smallest union would make every man rich;—and, on the other side, is this multitude of poor men and women seeking work, and who cannot find enough to pay their board. The science is confident, and surely the poverty is real. If any means could be found to bring these two together!
This was one design of the projectors of the Associations which are now making their first feeble experiments. They were founded in love, and in labour. They proposed, as you know, that all men should take a part in the manual toil, and proposed to amend the condition of men by substituting harmonious, for hostile industry. It was a noble thought of Fourier, which gives a favourable idea of his system, to distinguish in his Phalanx a class as the Sacred Band, by whom whatever duties were disagreeable, and likely to be omitted, were to be assumed.
At least, an economical success seemed certain for the enterprise, and that agricultural association must, sooner or later, fix the price of bread, and drive single farmers into association, in self-defence; as the great commercial and manufacturing companies had already done. The Community is only the continuation of the same movement which made the joint-stock companies for manufactures, mining, insurance, banking, and so forth. It has turned out cheaper to make calico by companies; and it is proposed to plant corn, and to bake bread by companies, and knowing men affirm it will be tried until it is done.
Undoubtedly, abundant mistakes will be made by these first adventurers, which will draw ridicule on their scheme. I think, for example, that they exaggerate the importance of a favourite project of theirs, that of paying talent and labour at one rate, paying all sorts of service at one rate, say ten cents the hour. They have paid it so; but not an instant would a dime remain a dime. In one hand it became an eagle as it fell, and in another hand a copper cent. For, obviously, the whole value of the dime is in knowing what to do with it. One man buys with it a land-title of an Indian, and makes his posterity princes; or buys corn enough to feed the world; or pen, ink, paper, or a painter's brush, by which he can communicate himself to the human race as if he were fire; and the other buys plums and gooseberries. Money is of no value: it cannot spend itself. All depends on the skill of the spender.
Whether, too, the objection almost universally felt by such women in the community as were mothers, to an associate life, to a common table, and a common nursery, etc., setting a higher value on the private family with poverty, than on an association with wealth, will not prove insuperable, remains to be determined.
But the Communities aimed at a much greater success in securing to all their members an equal, and very thorough education. And the great aims of the movement will not be relinquished, even if these attempts fail, but will be prosecuted by like-minded men in all society, until they succeed.
This is the value of the Communities; not what they have done, but the revolution which they indicate as on
the way. Yes, Government must educate the poor man. Look across the country from any hill-side around us, and the landscape seems to crave Government. The actual differences of men must be acknowledged, and met with love and wisdom. These rising grounds which command the campaign below seem to ask for lords, true lords, land-lords, who understand the land and its uses, and the applicabilities of men, and whose government would be what it should, namely, mediation between want and supply. How gladly would each citizen pay a commission for the support and continuation of such good guidance. Goethe said, “ No man should be rich but those who understand it:" and certainly the poor are prone to think that very few of the rich understand how to use their advantage to any good purpose; they have not originality, nor even grace in their expenditure. But if this is true of wealth, it is much more true of power; none should be a governor who has not a talent for governing. Now, many people have a native skill for carving out business for many hands; a genius for the disposition of affairs; and are never happier than when difficult practical questions, which embarrass other men, are to be solved: all lies in light before them they are in their element. Could any means be contrived to appoint only these! There really seems a progress towards such a state of things, in which this work shall be done by these natural workmen: and this, not certainly through any increased discretion shown by the citizens at elections, but by the gradual contempt into which official government falls, and the increasing disposition of private adventurers to assume its fallen functions. Thus the Post Office is likely to go into disuse before the private transportation shop of Harnden and his competitors. The currency threatens to fall entirely into private hands. Justice is continually administered more and more by private reference, and not by litigation. We have feudal governments in a commercial age. It would be but an easy extension of our commercial system, to pay a private
ORATIONS. emperor a fee for services, as we pay an architect, or engineer, or a lawyer for advice. If any man has a talent for righting wrong, for administering difficult affairs, for counselling poor farmers how to turn their estates to good husbandry, for combining a hundred private enterprises to a general benefit, let him in the county-town, or in Court Street, put up his sign-board, Mr. Smith, Governor, Mr. Johnson, Working king.
How can our young men complain of the poverty of things in New England, and not feel that poverty has a demand on their charity to make New England rich ? Where is he who seeing a thousand men useless and unhappy, and making the whole region look forlorn by their inaction, and conscious himself of possessing the faculty they want, does not hear his call to go and be their king?
We must have kings, and we must have nobles. Nature is always providing such in every society,-only let us have the real instead of the titular. Let us have our leading and our inspiration from the best. The actual differences in personal power are not to be disputed. In every society some men are born to rule, and some to advise. Let the powers be well directed, directed by love, and they would everywhere be greeted with joy and honour. The chief is the chief all the world over, only not his cap and his plume. It is only their dislike of the pretender, which makes men sometimes unjust to the true and finished man. If society were transparent, the noble would every where be gladly received and accredited, and would not be asked for his day's work, but would be felt as benefit, inasmuch as he was noble. That were his duty and stint,—to keep himself pure and purifying, the leaven of his nation. I think I see place and duties for a nobleman in every society; but it is not to drink wine and ride in a fine coach, but to guide and adorn life for the multitude by forethought, by elegant studies, by perseverance, self-devotion, and the remembrance of the humble old friend, by making his life secretly beaụtiful.
I call upon you, young men, to obey your heart, and be the nobility of this land. In every age of the world, there has been a leading nation, one of a more generous sentiment, whose eminent citizens were willing to stand for the interests of general justice and humanity, at the risk of being called, by the men of the moment, chimerical and fantastic. Which should be that nation but these States? Which should lead that movement, if not New England ? Who should lead the leaders but the young American? The people, and the world, is now suffering from the want of religion and honour in its public mind. In America, out of doors all seems a market; in doors, an air-tight stove of conventionalism. Everybody who comes into our houses savours of these precious habits : the men of the market, the women of the custom. I find no expression in our state papers or legislative debate, in our lyceums or churches, specially in our newspapers, of a high national feeling, no lofty counsels that rightfully stir the blood. I speak of those organs which can be presumed to speak a popular sense. They recommend only conventional virtues, whatever will earn and preserve property : always the capitalist; the college, the church, the hospital, the theatre, the hotel, the road, the ship of the capitalist,
—whatever goes to secure, adorn, enlarge these, is good; whatever jeopardizes any of these, is damnable. The “ opposition papers, so called, are on the same side. They attack the great capitalist, but with the aim to make a capitalist of the poor man. The opposition is between the ins and the outs; between those who have money, and those who wish to have money. But who announces to us in journal, or in pulpit, or in the street,
Can perform the impossible.'