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He may be wiser when it is "too late.” When France is ripened by her experience, she will find the men who will know her wants and provide for them. Until that time arrives, she must wrestle on; and it will be well if the nations of the earth watch her convulsions narrowly, and gain wisdom by the vigil. Might not some of our English statesmen profit by so costly a lesson P Surely, they are not so 'wise in their generation,' that they should refuse all instruction. Have they all engraved Finality' on the pillárs of St. Stephen's? If they have, society will blot it out.
SAMUEL M. KYDD.
Leeds, October 2nd, 1850. MY DEAR FRIEND,-I have read with great interest the twenty-seventh number of your Journal, -which I am very glad to see resúmed. The “Working-Man's Question" is one every way worthy of you--one you are well fitted to do justice to; and I hope you will work out (or permit) a thorough investigation of it. It is doubtless important to have a true genealogy of Christ, a la Strauss, and to have all the discrepancies of the narrative of the resurrection explained—but still I think that a true understanding of the position of the people, is imperative to our present improvement, and vital to all future progression.
Between what has already appeared in the Leader, and in your Journal, we have three distinct and different opinions entertained on this important subject. 1st. That the people are deteriorated in their condition ; 2ndly, That they have greatly improved ; and 3rdly. That the people have not improved proportionately to the progress of the arts and wealth. The Leader and yourself, generally, advocate the ist; and doubtless you have facts inducing your opinions, and proving their truth. Dr. Smiles, in his letter, which seems to causo you sorrow, takes the 2nd and reverse view; and says that the people have advanced greatly both in wealth and political power ; and that, if they would but use wisely the advantages they now have, their position would be vastly higlier still. I think the Doctor proves his case by credible instances.
Beföre remarking on these opposing views, permit me, in all kindness, to review your štrictures upon the Doctor and his letter ; and to remonstrate with you on the spirit in which you have written of him. I do not feel particularly called upon to defend Dr. Smiles. He needs no help of mine. But, as I am greatly interested in the condition of the people, so I wish to hare 2 fair, free, and full investigation on this important subject; and that, I am satisfied, can nerer be arrived at, if the parties investigating, on either side, aré sneered at, stigmatised, or treated otherwise than as sincere and honest.
You appear first discontented with Dr. Smiles, because you say he bas joined "those who talk harshly and revilingly of working-men, and mistake their conditior:;" and you further charge him with attempting to deceive others on a question so momentous."
Those who know the Doctor well, treat the charge as totally unfounded; while his past and present proceedings prove him utterly incapable of any such intention. My dear Cooper, you have made a great mistake ; and the Doctor ought to have an ample apology from you.
We who know Dr. Smiles, know that his disinterested labour in the cause of the workingman, deserves the highest estimate of all who desire their welfare; nor do we see that his statements need to disturb, or cause sorrow, to any.
If what the Doctor says be true (i.e. if the people have improved); and bowever deplorable the facts he may relate (ie if the people do not use but abuse their advantages); it is not his fault who simply does but state them. On the contrary, it is his duty, and it is to his honour, to do so-if done with a pure motive, and for the good of the parties interested. If Dr. Smiles, or any one else, makes either false statements, or draws filse inferencesthen ought these to be exposed ; but, without this, to insinuate that Dr. Smiles "intends to deceive others, and to blind the working-men respecting the causes or the reality of their own grievances,"-is surely unworthy of the Doctor to receive, or of Thomas Cooper to make.
Again, from the whole of your concluding paragraph, I do most emphatically dissent; generally, as fostering that spirit of class opposition so very detrimental to the interests of truth, and justice, and equality; and particularly, as most inapplicable to the party and the occasion. After assuming that Dr. Smiles intends to scold the working men and bas joined those who talk revilingly and harshly of them, and mistake their condition-you add,
--if all that the Doctor says be true, it would not be likely that he could produce any good impression upon them;"_" for, though they will bear broad truths from one of their own order, they remember that Dr. S., like all merely professional men, is indebted to the brawny arm and the toiling hand for the bread he eats, and the coat he wears.” And you say, “ the poor have ever these things in their minds, when a man who is better off than themselves takes it upon him to lecture them”
I may mistake your meaning (and yet you have a most remarkable power of making yourself understood)—but, to me, all this means, that because the Doctor is a gentlemancan have frequent ease, and some luxuries,"—therefore, “they who toil with wearied frames," "do not,'' and ought not, to listen to what he may say,
, -or attend to what he may advise, however true the one, or valuable the other.
Now, my dear Cooper, ought this to be the case ? Can you really mean to advise this! I have been in the habit of supposing that truth ought to be accepted from whatever source it comes; and that error should be scouted in whatever guise it may appear ; and that, in fact, the position of a party is no criterion of the truth of his statements. But, if we are to reject a messenger because he is well clothed,—then, are we to welcome a Falstaff's regiment, however ragged ? That Mr. Shorter be a working man, is, I submit, no valid reason why his broad truths (by the way, fully bearing out the Dr's. letter), should be accepted in preference to those of one not so deemed. But Dr. Smiles also claims the title of workingman; and I believe he could prove it. I am, moreover, puzzled why, in this case, there should be a distinction drawn between the working men, and those “merely professional;" or why the toiling hand and the brawny arm should be instanced, and not also the thinking head or toiling heart. All men cannot be weavers, nor ploughmen-but it does not follow that all men else are not workers. Either the weaver or the ploughman works no more in reality for the thinker and the director, than they do for him. Nor is it true that Dr. Smiles is indebted to either for the bread he eats, or the coat he wears ;—when he has rendered back to the labourer the price equivalent. The Doctor is as needful to the labourer, as is the labourer to the Doctor. The powers of human nature are not to be perfected by the mere manipulation of the weaver, or the strength of the ploughman. Why, then, give undue importance to their efforts, or uudervalue the labours of the professional and the scientific ? Such distinctions, between true men, should never have been made, and ought not for a moment to be entertained: they savour too much of the folly of the past, which hated and fought the French,- for the notable reasons that they ate frogs and wore wooden shoes.
Touching Dr. Smiles in particular, he has, I am told, to work very hard to maintain him self in bis position, (and to his honour be it said, he practically strives after that progression which he advises to others)—but, after his daily labour is over, and when he, like many of the working men, might enjoy his pot and pipe (or his books and wines), regardless of the future,—instead thereof, he chooses to labour still, and for the benefit of working-mcn—for he de votes his leisure hours to works which are valuable to them, and creditable to his own character.
Further, if working men are not to bear rebuke because it does not come from one of their own order—then “what serves as sauce for the goose, may serve as sauce for the gander.” On that ground, then, the aristocratical and the wealthy are warranted in rejecting wholesome truths, when they come from a working man; and, if so, certain most admirable let. ters we wot of, may bave been written ia vain. Shall, however, working men be advised to reject the prescription of a physician, because he does not dig? or, to test the truth and value of advice or information, by the horny skin on the hand of the party tendering it? Is it not, on the contrary, likely that varied, and even opposite positions, are often favourable to a true perception of one another's duty ? The working man can often see the best line of duty for the wealthy patriot, better than he can himself; and so may the professional and the capitalist often develop the best mode of proceeding to the working man.
Have we not difficulties enough to contend with, in working out the regeneration of our country? and have we not opponents, sufficiently numerous, in the field, striving against our placing the working men in an equal position to the ten-pounders, without the friends to both falling out, and quarrelling on the texture of the coat they wear, or the quality of the bread they eat? Let us wisely banish such distinctions; and let us value the reformer, not in proportion as he seeks to pull the rising down,- but rather as he aims to raise the fallen up. If this be our standard, then will Dr. Smiles' letter need to cause neither sorrow, nor discontent, on his account.
Having, thus, in an imperfect way, attempted to justify my friend Smiles to my friend Cooper; having also attempted to give the true position that reformers should take towards each other, when they see things in a different light (a thing incritable); I would now gladly go on to the more agreeable matter of the original positions of this interesting question ; but I fear, this letter is already too long; and, therefore, with your leave, will resume the subject another time.
Believe me, my dear friend, truly yours, JOIN HOLMES
[The few observations I made, respecting Dr. Smiles and his letter to the Leader, have drawn upon me several letters of rebuke. I publish the longest: it being at the same time, the most to the point and therefore the best. Besides, it is the remonstrance of a true and valued friend, and thus demands a reply, in preference to the correspondence of people who think they know how to write satirically.
I am free to confess that I may have used expressions,--such as 'deceive'—which were unwarrantable. I therefore apologise to Dr. Smiles for having used them. Yet, it is not at all unlikely that I should offend again, if I were to read any essay in which working-men are spoken of, or spoken to, with seeming harshness; and the Doctor's letter seemed harsh to me. His statements, too, of the money working-men spend in drink--though I do not charge the Doctor with inventing them-roused my gall. I deny that such statements are true. I have companied too much with working-men not to know something about their habits; and I affirm that they are not chargeable with the vice of drunkenness, neither with the practice of spending money in drink,--to the extent which some people say they
I have also seen a good deal of the middle-classes in my day,--and I can conscientiously affirm that I believe drunkenness, and spending of money in drink, prevail far more among the middle than among the working class. The poor man's vice is open: if he gets drunk, it is usually at the end of a week's toil, and the occasional excess so far upsets him, that everybody sees it; but thousands of the middle-class are daily quiet tipplers, and at expensive liquor, too. I know that I shall give additional offence to some by saying this; but it is the truth, and therefore I speak it.
Now, it is a conviction that all true Reformers have more need to scold the other classes for their vices rather than the working-men, which ever fills me with indignation, when I see a member of the other classes in the act of scolding working-men. It seems to me, moreover, to be inhuman and unfeeling, as well as a misdirection of the Reformer's aim. I cannot understand how any man, with a spark of real chivalry, with any real generosity in his nature, can find it in his heart to flog those whose wounds are already smarting. The poor suffer: we all know that—or, if we do not, we had better go and inquire into their condition, before we begin to preach to them. With the knowledge that they suffer, should not, then, he who is exempt from that suffering, deal very tenderly towards them ?
I repeat, that “the poor have these thoughts ever present in their minds.
I have heard them,—not once, but a thousand times,-express their indignation (and I contend that it is a natural and justifiable indignation) at the sleek-fed teacher who has lessoned them on self-denial. My friend Holmes asks me if I can really mean to advise this ?'—mean to advise that working-men should not listen to the teacher who dwells in ease and luxury. I reply that I do mean to advise working-men to maintain that natural and justifiable feeling which I have seen them manifest--towards men whose precepts and practice are 'at daggers.' Neither does the old proverb, quoted by my friend, apply here, in my humble opinion. The oppressed working-man has a right to scold the aristocratical and the wealthy,' inasmuch as they grind his bones, and live by oppressing him. I do not think two words need to be spent in establishing that point.
But another word, and I have done. However others may differ from me in their way of going about it, I also wish to see class distinctions abolished. But I cannot understand how that is to be done by keeping silence about these distinctions so long as they exist. And, so long as they exist, I must contend that our teachings of the oppressed class should be couched in the language of tenderness, rather than of severity.
I do not think it necessary to shew, that notwithstanding what I have just said, I have a due sense of the necessity of speaking strong truth ta working-men. I have shewn that on all occasions when I have had to address them. I would have the truth spoken to them, and it needs to be spoken to them; but let every one beware how he speaks it!
THOMAS COOPER.] NOTES OF TRAVEL AND TALK. THĘ Parish Farm,' six miles out of Sheffield, is a piece of moor, 50 acres in extent-but not more than one-third yet in cultivation-leased to the Parish of Sheffield by the Duke of Norfolk. It is a grand experiment towards forming a self-supporting colony of the parish poor. As yet-far it has only been two years in existence—the system has not proved selfsupporting. But none can doubt that it will, who pays a visit to it, and enquires into the whole matter. Crops, garden produce, everything looked even more prosperous than on the farm-lands in the neighbourhood; the paupers themselves were happy in the useful labour they were performing, and in the superior treatment they were receiving; and, when I remembered the immense tracts of waste moor-land I had so recently seen, I could not help wondering that the wise and philanthropic scheme of the Sheffield Guardians had not been imitated by many other boards in England.
From Sheffield, I went (by the kindness of another munificent friend) to pass three weeks at the Hydropathic establishment, Ben Rhydding, near Otley, Yorkshire. The result was—so complete a restoration of health as I have never experienced since imprisonment. I need only add, that I keep up the use of the wet dripping-sheet,' and put on my wet bandage, every morning-taking care to walk briskly before breakfast; and that I hope, by persevering in these salutary customs, to preserve the health I am happy to say I have thus recovered.
From Ben Rhydding I went direct to the Staffordshire Potteries, and spent two days with attached old friends, before returning home. To my unspeakable delight, I was ushered into a spacious chapel, which the Chartist working-men of Hanley and Shelton have recently bought. It had been occupied by the Ranters, or Primitive Methodists; but the proprietor offered it to the Chartist working-men (when the town authorities, at my visit some months before, refused to let me talk in the Town Hall), and they agreed to purchase it. Out of evil bas thus come good. The great people could not forgive my appearance in the Potteries in 1842 though they knew that I had, over and over again, expressed deep regret at what took place then. But the spirit of the Potteries' working.men is insubduable: they only need to be touched to the quick, and they speedily show the great people their mettle. A first-rate place of meeting has arisen out of this petty act of vindictiveness; and there can now be no fear for Progress among the men of the Staffordshire Potteries. I hear that they have had a succession of visits since I saw them (Aug. 25 and 26); and I purpose seeing them again, if all be well, before 1850 be ended.
THINKINGS FROM JOSEPH ADDISON.
Good NATURE.-There is no society or conversation to be kept up in the world without good nature, or something which must bear its appearance, and supply its place. For this reason mankind have been forced to invent a kind of artificial humanity, which is what we express by the word good breeding. For if we examine thoroughly the idea of what we call so, we shall find it to be nothing else but an imitation and mimicry of good naturę, or in other terms, affability, complaisance, and easiness of temper reduced into an art.
EFFECTS OF WINE.— Wine heightens indifference into love, love into jealousy, and jealousy into madness. It often turns the good-natured man into an idiot, and the choleric into an assassin. It gives bitterness to resentment, it makes vanity insupportable, and displays every little spot of the soul in its utmost deformity.
TALKING.-It has been said in praise of some men, that they could talk whole hours together upon any thing ; but it must be owned to the honour of the other sex, that there are many among them who can talk whole hours together upon nothing. I have known a woman branch out into a long extempore dissertation on the edging of a petticoat, and chide her servant for breaking a china cup, in all the fignres of rhetoric.
OF SPEAKING OF ONE'S SELF.—“It is a hard and nice subject for a man to speak of himself,” says Cowley: "it grates his own heart to say anything of disparagement, and the reader's ears to hear anything of praise from him." Let the tenour of his discourse be what it will upon this subject, it generally proceeds from vanity. An ostentatious man will rather relate a blunder or an absurdity he has committed, than to be debarred from talking of his own dear person.
ORIGIN OF TRADES AND PROFESSIONS.—Most of the trades, professions, and ways of living among mankind, take their original either from the love of pleasure, or the fear of want. The former, when it becomes too violent, degenerates into luxury, and the latter into avarice.
AMBITION. –There are few men who are not ambitious of distinguishing themselves in the nation or country where they live, and of growing considerable among those with whom they converse. There is a kind of grandeur and respect which the meanest and most insignificant part of mankind endeavour to procure in the little circle of their friends and acquaintance. The poorest mechanic, nay, the man who lives upon common alms, gets him his set of admirers, and delights in that superiority which he enjoys over those who are in some respects beneath him. This ambition, which is natural to the soul of man, might, methinks, receive a very happy turn; and, if it were rightly directed, contribute as much to a person's advantage, a s it generally does to his uneasiness and disquiet.
TRUE BRAVERY.- A coward has often fought, a coward has often conquered ; but a coward never forgave. The power of doing that flows from a strength of soul conscious of its own force, whence it draws a certain safety which its enemy is not of consideration enough to interrupt.
Revenge.- When the mind is in contemplation of revenge, all its thoughts must surely be tortured with the alternate pangs of rancour, envy, hatred, and indignation; and they who profess a sweet in the enjoyment of it, certainly never felt the consummate bliss of reconciliation: at such an instant the false ideas we received unravel, and the shyness, the distrust, the secret scorns, and all the base satisfactions men had in each other's faults and misfortunes, are dispelled, and their souls appear in their native whiteness, without the least streak of that malice or distaste which sullied them; and perhaps those very actions, which (when we looked at them in the oblique glance with which hatred doth always see things) were horrid and odious, when observed with honest and open eyes, are beauteous and ornamental.