BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
THE TESTIMONY OF THE WORLDLY-WISE
General Intelligence a New Factor in all Reckonings--Senator
Ingall's Views--Views of Rev. Lyman Abbott--Views of Bishop
Newman (M.E.)--Views of a Noted Jurist--Views of Col. Robert
Ingersoll-- Hon. J. L. Thomas on Labor Legislation--Wendell
Phillips' View--Historian Macaulay's Prediction--Hon. Chauncey
Depew's Hopes--Bishop Worthington (P.E.) Interviewed--W. J.
Bryan's Reply--An English View--Edward Bellamy's Statement of
the situation--Rev. J. T. McGlynn's Opinion--Prof. Graham's
Outlook--Views of a Justice of the Supreme Court--A French View,
a "Social Melee."
hearts failing them for fear, and for looking forward to those
things coming upon the earth [society]: because the powers of
heaven [government--ecclesiastical and civil] shall be shaken."
`Luke 21:26` WISE men of the world, everywhere, recognize
that a great social conflict is approaching, and that it is irrepressible--
that nothing can be done to avert it. They have sought remedies,
but have found none adequate to the malady, and, giving up hope,
they have concluded that the suggestion of Evolution must be correct;
namely, that "All nature operates under a law for the survival
of the stronger as the fittest, and the destruction of the weaker
as unfit to live." They are told by philosophers that "that
which is hath been before," that our civilization is but
a repetition of the civilizations of Greece and Rome, and that
similarly it will fall to pieces so far as the masses are concerned,
and that wealth
<PAGE 414> and government will gravitate again
into the hands of a few, while the masses, as in the earlier civilizations
of the East, will merely exist.
very generally fail to note the new element in the conflict never
before encountered; viz., the more general spread of intelligence
throughout the world, especially throughout Christendom. This,
which many men forget, is brought to the attention of those wise
enough to seek true wisdom at the fountain--God's Word. These
are informed that "In the time of the end many shall run
to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased,...and there shall
be a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation."
(`Dan. 12:1-4`) They see the predicted
running to and fro of mankind astoundingly fulfilled; they see
also the general increase of knowledge; and to these the time
of trouble predicted in the same connection means, not a repetition
of history, not a submission of the masses to a favored few, but
a stupendous reversal of history brought about by the new conditions
noted. And the statement by the same prophet, in the same connection,
that "at that time Michael [Christ] shall stand forth"
and take his glorious power and reign, is in harmony with the
thought that the coming trouble will end the rule of selfishness
under the "prince of this world" [Satan], and introduce
Immanuel's Kingdom of blessing. But let us hear some of the world's
wise men tell us of what they see!
wide view and a broad and very dispassionate statement of the
struggle for wealth and the consequent crush of the lower classes
has been furnished to the press by Hon. J. J. Ingalls, a man of
broad sentiments, of moderate wealth and an ex-Senator of the
United States. We make liberal extracts from it, because it is
a moderate statement of the case, and because it shows that even
wide-awake statesmen who see the difficulty know of no remedy
that can be applied to heal the malady and save the victims.
is something more than a name. He who depends upon the will of
another for shelter, clothing and food cannot be a free man in
the broad, full meaning of that word. The man whose daily bread
for himself and family depends upon wages that an employer may
give or withhold at pleasure is not free. The alternative between
starvation and submission to a schedule is slavery.
does not consist in definitions. The declaration that life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness are the inalienable rights of every
human being makes no man independent. The right to liberty is
an empty mockery and delusion unless the power to be free exists
also. Freedom is not merely the removal of legal restraints, the
permission to come or go. Added to these must be the capacity
and the opportunity, which only exemption from the necessity of
incessant daily labor can bring. To paraphrase Shakespeare, Poverty
and Liberty are an ill-matched pair. Freedom and dependence are
incompatible. The abolition of poverty has been the dream of visionaries
and the hope of philanthropists from the dawn of time.
inequality of fortunes and the obvious injustice of the unequal
distribution of wealth among men have been the perplexity of philosophers.
It is the unsolved enigma of political economy! Civilization
has no paradox so mysterious as the existence of hunger when there
is an excess of food--of want in the midst of superfluity. That
one man should have possessions beyond the capacity of extravagance
to squander, and another, able and willing to work, should perish
for want of embers, rags and a crust, renders society unintelligible.
It makes the charter of human rights a logogriph. So long as such
conditions continue the key to the cipher in which destiny is
written is not revealed--the brotherhood of man is a phrase,
justice is a formula, and the divine code is illegible.
exasperation of the poor at the insolent ostentation of the rich
has overthrown empires. The relief of the needy has been the object
of statutes human and divine. The complaints of the wretched are
the burden of history. Job was a millionaire. Whether that incomparable
<PAGE 416> his name is a parable or a biography,
it is of profound interest, because it shows that the patriarch
was occupied with the same questions that disturb us now. He describes
like a Populist those who take the ass of the orphan and the ox
of the widow, remove the landmarks, reap the field and gather
the vintage of the poor, whom they deprive of their garments and
leave naked to the showers of the mountains and the shelter of
Hebrew prophets reserved their choicest maledictions for the extortions
and luxury of the rich, and Moses prescribed regulations for the
remission of debts, the redistribution of lands and the restriction
of private fortunes. In Rome, for centuries, the ownership of
real estate was limited to 300 acres to each citizen, and the
number of cattle and slaves was restricted to the area cultivated.
But the laws given by the Almighty, through Moses, to the Jews,
were as inoperative as the codes of Lycurgus and Licinius against
the indomitable energies of man and the organic conditions of
the time of Caesar 2,000 plutocrats practically owned the Roman
Empire, and more than 100,000 heads of families were mendicants,
supported by donations from the public treasury. The same struggle
has continued through the Middle Ages into the nineteenth century.
There is no remedy prescribed today that has not been ineffectually
administered to innumerable patients before: no experiment in
finance and political economy proposed that has not been repeatedly
tried, with no result but individual disaster and national ruin.
last, after much random groping and many bloody and desperate
combats with kings and dynasties, privilege, caste and prerogative,
old abuses, formidably intrenched orders, titles and classes,
the ultimate ideal of Government has here been realized, and the
people are supreme. The poor, the toilers, the laborers are the
rulers. They make the laws, they form the institutions. Louis
xiv said, 'I am the State.' Here the wage-workers, the farmers,
the blacksmiths, the fishermen, the artisans say, 'We are the
State.' Confiscation and pillage and the enrichment of royal favorites
are unknown. Every man, whatever may be his nativity, his faculty,
education or morality, has an equal chance
<PAGE 417> with every other in the race of
life. Legislation, whether good or bad, is enacted by the majority.
than a century ago the social condition in the United States was
one of practical equality. In our first census period there was
neither a millionaire, a pauper nor a tramp in the country. The
first American citizen to pass the million-dollar goal was the
original Astor, about 1806, who had migrated from Germany not
many years before, the son of a butcher, with a pack of pelts
as the foundation of his fortune. The largest estate before this
time belonged to George Washington, which at his death, in 1799,
was appraised at about $650,000.
mass of the people were farmers and fishermen, living contentedly
upon the products of their toil. The development of the continent
by the introduction of railroads, agricultural machinery and the
scientific applications of modern life has made us the richest
nation on earth. The aggregate possessions of the country probably
exceed $100,000,000,000, one-half of which is said to be under
the direct control of less than 30,000 persons and corporations.
The largest private fortunes in the world have been accumulated
in the last half century in the United States.
our material resources are yet hardly touched. Less than a fourth
part of our arable area has been ploughed. Our mines hide treasures
richer than those of Ophir and Potosi. Our manufactures and commerce
are adolescent, but they already have established an aristocracy
of wealth that wears neither garter nor coronet, and is proclaimed
by no herald, but often is welcomed in the courts of princes and
the palaces of kings.
the unequal distribution of the burdens and benefits of society
depends upon legislation, institution and government, then under
a system like ours the equilibrium should be restored. If wealth
results from unjust laws, and poverty from legislative oppression,
the remedy is in the hands of the victims. If they suffer it is
from self-inflicted wounds. We have no feudal tenures, nor primogeniture,
nor entail; no opportunities that are not open to all. Justice,
equality, liberty and fraternity are the foundations of the State.
In every man's hand is the ballot. The school offers education
to all. The press is free. Speech, thought and conscience are
universal suffrage has not proved a panacea for the evils of society.
Poverty is not abolished. Though wealth has accumulated beyond
the dreams of avarice, the inequality of distribution is as great
as in the time of Job and Solomon and Agis. Not only is the old
problem unsolved, but its conditions are complicated and intensified.
Vaster political power is consolidated in the hands of the few,
and more stupendous fortunes acquired by individuals under a republic
than under a monarchy.
great gulf between the rich and the poor yawns wider and wider
day by day. The forces of labor and capital, which should be allies,
auxiliaries and friends are arrayed against each other like hostile
armies in fortified camps, preparing for siege or battle. Millions
of money are annually lost in wages, the destruction of perishable
property, the deterioration of plants and the decrease of profits
by the strikes and lockouts which have become the normal condition
of the war between employers and employees.
is yet an undiscovered country. Ideal perfection in society, like
the mirage of the desert, recedes as it is approached. Human nature
remains unchanged in every environment.
condition of the masses is immeasurably bettered with the advance
of civilization. The poorest artisan today has free enjoyment
of comforts and conveniences that monarchs with their treasures
could not purchase five centuries ago. But De Toqueville observed
the singular anomaly that as the state of the masses improves,
they find it more intolerable, and discontent increases. Wants
and desires are multiplied more rapidly than the means of gratification.
Education, daily newspapers, travel, libraries, parks, galleries
and shop windows have widened the horizon of workingmen and women,
increased their capacity for enjoyment, familiarized them with
luxuries and the advantages of wealth. Political instruction has
taught them the equality of man and made them acquainted with
the power of the ballot. False teachers have convinced them that
all wealth is created by labor, and that every man who has more
than he can earn with his hands by daily wages is a thief, that
the capitalist is a foe, and the millionaire a public
<PAGE 419> enemy who should be outlawed and
shot at sight.
private fortunes are inseparable from high civilization. The richest
community in the world, per capita, at this time is the tribe
of Osage Indians. Its aggregate wealth is ten times greater, proportionally,
than that of the United States. It is held in common. Community
of property may not be the cause of barbarism, but in every State,
as social and economic equality is approached, and wealth 'created
by labor' without the intervention of capital, as in China and
India, wages are low, the laborer is degraded and progress impossible.
Were the wealth of the United States equally distributed among
its inhabitants at this time the sum that each would possess,
according to the census, would be about $1,000.
this equation to continue, progress obviously would cease. Had
this been the prevalent condition from the beginning, we should
have remained stationary. Only as wealth becomes concentrated
can nature be subjugated and its forces made subservient to civilization.
Until capital, through machinery, harnesses steam, electricity
and gravitation, and exempts man from the necessity of constant
toil to procure subsistence, humanity stands still or retrogrades.
Railroads, telegraphs, fleets, cities, libraries, museums, universities,
cathedrals, hospitals--all the great enterprises that exalt and
embellish existence and ameliorate the conditions of human life--come
from the concentration of money in the hands of the few.
if it were desirable to limit accumulations, society possesses
no agency by which it can be done. The mind is indomitable. The
differences between men are organic and fundamental. They are
established by ordinances of the Supreme Power and cannot be repealed
by act of Congress. In the contest between brains and numbers,
brains have always won, and always will.
social malady is grave and menacing, but the disease is not so
dangerous as the doctors and the drugs. The political quacks,
with their sarsaparilla and plasters and pills, are treating the
symptoms instead of the complaint. The free coinage of silver,
the increase of the per capita, the restriction of immigration,
the Australian ballot and qualified
<PAGE 420> suffrage are important questions,
but they might all be accomplished without effecting the slightest
amelioration of the condition of the great masses of the wage-workers
of the United States. Instead of disfranchising the poor ignorant,
it would be well to increase their wealth and their intelligence,
and make them fit to vote. A proscribed class inevitably become
conspirators, and free institutions can only be made secure by
the education, prosperity and contentment of those upon whom their
is a statement of facts; but where is the statement of the remedy?
There is none. Yet the writer is not in sympathy with the facts
to which he calls attention: he would prefer, if he could, to
call attention to a way of escape from what he sees to be inevitable.
So would all men who are worthy of the human form and nature.
So far as Mr. Ingalls is concerned, this is evidenced by the following
extract from one of his speeches in the United States' Senate.*
cannot disguise the truth that we are on the verge of an impending
revolution. Old issues are dead. The people are arraying themselves
on one side or the other of a portentous contest. On one side
is capital, formidably intrenched in privilege, arrogant from
continued triumph, conservative, tenacious of old theories, demanding
new concessions, enriched by domestic levy and foreign commerce,
and struggling to adjust all values to its own gold standard.
On the other side is labor asking for employment, striving to
develop domestic industries, battling with the forces of nature
and subduing the wilderness. Labor, starving and sullen in the
cities, resolutely determined to overthrow a system under which
the rich are growing richer and the poor are growing poorer--a
system which gives to a Vanderbilt and a Gould wealth beyond the
dreams of avarice, and condemns the poor to poverty from which
there is no escape or refuge but the grave. Demands for justice
have been met with indifference and disdain. The laborers of the
country, asking for employment, are treated like impudent mendicants
begging for bread." ---------- *Congressional Record, Vol.
7, pp. 1054-5.
he distinctly declares that he can see no hope. He knows of no
remedy for the awful disease--selfishness.
Rev. Dr. Lyman Abbott on the Situation
an old issue of the Literary Digest we find the following
synopsis of the view of Dr. Abbott, the celebrated preacher, editor
and co-worker with Theodore Roosevelt, on The Relationship between
Capital and Labor:
Abbott asserts that the question whether the wage system is better
than feudalism or slavery has been settled; but against the present
industrial system as either final or true he makes these counts:
(1) That it is not giving steady and permanent employment to all
willing laborers. (2) That it also fails to give all those who
are employed under it wages adequate for true livelihood. (3)
That it is insufficiently educative in itself and fails to allow
adequate leisure for educative processes. (4) That pure, good
homes are in many instances impossible under present conditions.
Dr. Abbott believes that the precepts of Jesus Christ and the
principles of a sound political economy coincide; he insists that
it is ruinous to grind up men, women and children in order to
make cheap goods. Labor is not a 'commodity,' he declares. To
believe that the system which divides society into two classes,
capitalists and laborers, is but a temporary one, and that the
industrial unrest of our time is the result of a blind struggle
toward a democracy of wealth, in which the tool-users will
also be the tool-owners, in which labor will hire capital, not
capital labor; in which men, not money, will control in industry,
as they now control in government. But the doctrine that labor
is a commodity, and that capital is to buy in the cheapest market,
is not even temporarily sound; it is economically false as it
is ethically unjust.
is no such commodity as labor; it does not exist. When a workingman
comes to the factory on a Monday morning he has nothing to sell,
he is empty-handed; he has come in order to produce something
by his exertion, and that something, when it is produced, is to
be sold, and part of the proceeds of that sale will of right belong
to him, because
<PAGE 422> he has helped to produce it. And
as there is no labor commodity to be sold, so there is no labor
market in which to sell it. A free market assumes a variety of
sellers with different commodities and a variety of buyers with
different needs, the seller at perfect liberty to sell or not
to sell, the buyer at perfect liberty to buy or not to buy. There
is no such market for labor. The laborers are in a great majority
of cases as firmly attached to their town by prejudice, by ignorance
of the outside world and its needs, by home considerations, by
their little possessions--their house and lot-- and by religious
ties, as if they were rooted to the soil. They have no variety
of skill to offer; as a rule the laborer knows how to do well
only one thing, uses well only one tool, and must find an owner
for that tool who wishes a laborer to use it, or must be idle.
'A merchant,' says Frederic Harrison, 'sits in his counting-house,
and by a few letters or forms, transports and distributes the
contents of a whole city from continent to continent. In other
cases, as the shopkeeper, ebb and flow of passing multitudes supplies
the want of locomotion in his wares. His customers supply the
locomotion for him. This is a true market. Here competition acts
rapidly, fully, simply, fairly. It is totally otherwise with a
day-laborer, who has no commodity to sell. He must himself be
present at every market, which means costly, personal locomotion.
He cannot correspond with his employer; he cannot send a sample
of his strength; nor do employers knock at his cottage door.'
There is neither a labor commodity to sell nor a labor market
in which to sell it. Both are fictions of political economy. The
actual facts are as follows:
commodities in our time--even agricultural commodities are gradually
coming under these conditions--are produced by an organized body
of workingmen, carrying on their work under the superintendence
of a 'captain of industry,' and by the use of costly tools. This
requires the cooperation of three classes--the tool-owner or capitalist,
the superintendent or manager, and the tool-user or laborer. The
result is the joint product of their industry--for the tool itself
is only a reservoired product of industry--and therefore
<PAGE 423> belongs to them jointly. It is
the business of political economy to ascertain how values can
be equitably divided between these partners in a common enterprise.
This is the labor question in a sentence. It is not true that
the laborer is entitled to the whole, nor does he demand it, whatever
some of the wild advocates of his cause may have claimed for him.
The superintendent is entitled to his share, and a large share.
To direct such an industry, to know what products are needed in
the world, to find a purchaser for them at a price that will give
a fair return for the labor of producing them, requires itself
labor of a high quality, and one which deserves a generous compensation.
The tool-owner is entitled to a remuneration. Presumptively he,
or some one from whom he has received his tool, has saved the
money which his companions spent either in present comfort or
in doubtful pleasure, and he is entitled to a reward for his economy
and thrift, though it may be a question whether our modern industrial
system does not sometimes give a reward too great for the virtue
of acquisition, and so transform virtue into a vice. The laborer
is entitled to a compensation. Since the abolition of slavery
no one denies this right. The determination how the division of
the product of this joint industry shall be made is a difficult
one. But it is certain that it is not to be made by a system which
bids the capitalist pay as little wages as possible for the services
rendered, and the laborer render as little service as possible
for the wages received. Whatever may be the right way, this is
the wrong way.'"
Abbott seems to have a warm, sympathetic heart for the masses
and to have grasped their situation clearly. He diagnoses the
politico-social-financial disease, but fails to find a remedy.
He does indeed hint at what would be a remedy if it could be gotten
at, but suggests no way of securing it--that is, he thinks he
sees in progress,
blind struggle toward a democracy of wealth in which the tool-users
will be the tool-owners; in which labor will hire capital."
sentence reads as though its writer had recently read the story
of Aladdin's Lamp in the Arabian Nights, and
<PAGE 424> hoped to find and use a "magic
wand." It shows that the gentleman either has but a limited
knowledge of finances, or else that he is expecting a revolution
in which the tool-users will take the tools by force from capital,
and in violation of all the laws of society at present recognized.
And if such a transfer of tools from the control of present owners
to the ownership of tool-users were effected in any manner, cannot
all see that the new tool-owners would promptly, by reason of
that ownership, become capitalists? Have we any reason to suppose
that the new tool-owners would be more generous or less selfish
than present tool-owners? Have we any reason to suppose that the
natural heart has changed more in tool-owners than in tool-users,
or that all labor would be invited by the new tool-users to share
alike the benefits of machinery? All experience with human nature
says, No! The malady is seen, the necessity for a prompt cure
is seen, but no remedy can cure the "groaning creation."
Its groaning and travailing must continue and increase, as the
Apostle indicates, until the manifestation of the sons of God--the
Kingdom of God. `Rom. 8:22,19`
denial of any trouble does not cure it. The affirmation that "there
is no such commodity as labor" will not correct or alter
the sad fact that labor is a commodity, and can be nothing else
under our present social laws and conditions. Slavery, at one
time and respecting certain peoples, may have been a beneficial
institution under kind and considerate masters. Serfdom under
the feudal system of semi-civilization may have had good features
adapted to its time and conditions; and likewise the wage system.
Labor as a commodity, subject to purchase and sale, has
some excellent features, and has done much to develop mental and
physical skill, and has, indeed, been a very precious boon to
Labor in the past. Nor would it be wise to destroy this commodity
feature even now, for those laborers who possess
<PAGE 425> and exercise brain and skill and
energy deserve to be in better demand and to be able to dispose
of their labor at better prices than the unskilled and stupid:
this is needful also for the spurring of the stupid and indolent.
The need is--a just, wise, paternal government, which will continue
wholesome restraints and incentives and add thereto, while at
the same time protecting each class of labor from the arrogance
of the class next above it, and shielding all from the herculean
power of present-day Capital with its vast and increasing army
of machine slaves; and, ultimately, after full and general practical
instructions in righteousness, under the law of love, would destroy
all in sympathy with selfishness and sin. Such a government is
suggested nowhere except in the Bible, and there it is accurately
described and positively promised and waits only for the selection
of God's Church--to be its kings and priests as joint-heirs with
Immanuel. `Rev. 5:10; 20:6`
The Late Bishop J. P. Newman's Outlook
irrepressible conflict between Capital and Labor was seen by Bishop
Newman, of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He saw rights and wrongs
on both sides of the question. In an article once published in
the journals of his denomination, he sets forth the following
propositions and suggestions:
it impiety to be rich? Is poverty essential to godliness? Are
beggars the only saints? Is heaven a poorhouse? What then shall
we do with Abraham, who was very rich in cattle, in silver and
in gold? What then shall we do with Job, who had 7,000 sheep,
3,000 camels, 4,000 oxen, 500 asses; who had 30,000 acres and
3,000 household servants?...
acquisition of wealth is a divine gift. Industry and frugality
are the laws of thrift. To amass great fortunes is a special endowment.
As poets, philosophers and orators are born such, so the financier
has a genius for wealth. By intuition
<PAGE 426> he is familiar with the laws of
supply and demand; he seems gifted with the vision of a seer of
the coming changes in the market; he knows when to buy and when
to sell, and when to hold fast. He anticipates the flow of population
and its effect upon real estate. As the poet must sing because
the muse is in him, so the financier must make money. He cannot
help it. The endowment of this gift is announced in Scripture:
'The Lord thy God giveth thee the power to get wealth.' (`Deut.
8:18`) And all these promises are illustrated in the present
financial condition of Christian nations, who control the finances
of the world.
these natural and lawful rights to the possession of property
is the clamor for the distribution of property among those who
have not acquired it either by inheritance or skill or industry.
It is a communism that has no foundation either in the constitution
of nature or in the social order of mankind. It is the wild, irrational
cry of Labor against Capital, between which, in the economy of
nature and in political economy, there should be no common antagonism."
Bishop affirms that "the employer and the employed have inviolable
rights; the former to employ whom he can for what
he can, and the latter to respond when he can." The
bishop asserts that the envy and jealousy of laboring classes
are not excited against those who possess vast fortunes, but against
the supreme ease and the supreme indifference of the rich. He
has the noblest of missions. It is not given to hoard, nor to
gratify, nor for the show of pomp and power. The rich are the
almoners of the Almighty. They are his disbursing agents. They
are the guardians of the poor. They are to inaugurate those great
enterprises which will bring thrift to the masses; not the
largest dividends, but the largest prosperity. Capital makes
it possible for the laborer to enjoy a happiness that waits upon
honest industry. It is for the rich to improve the homes of the
poor, but many a rich man's
<PAGE 427> stable is a palace compared to
the abode of the honest and intelligent mechanic.
the wealthy are the patrons of those social reforms that elevate
society, then they will receive the benediction of the poor. It
is for them to give direction to the legislator essential for
the protection of all the rights and interests of a community.
When they build libraries of learning, museums of art and temples
of piety they will be esteemed the benefactors of their kind.
When the wealth of Capital joins hands with the wealth of intellect,
the wealth of muscle, and the wealth of goodness for the common
good, then Labor and Capital will be esteemed the equal factors
in giving every man life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Bishop evidently endeavored to take a fair view of both sides
of the present controversy and approaching struggle, but association
with and dependence upon wealth evidently gave bias, no doubt
unconsciously, to his judgment. It is a fact that many of the
ancients were very rich; Abraham, for instance. Yet the story
of the sojourn of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the land of Canaan
shows that although land was owned in those days, it was
nevertheless not fenced but free to the users. These three
patriarchs with their servants and herds and flocks roamed at
will through the land of the Canaanites for nearly two centuries,
and yet did not claim to own a foot of it. (`Acts
7:5`) And in God's typical kingdom, Israel, the code of
laws provided for the poor, home-born and foreigner. None need
starve: the fields must not be gleaned closely, but the corners
must be left for the poor to glean. The hungry might enter an
orchard, a vineyard or a field and eat on the spot to satisfaction.
And when the land of Palestine was divided amongst the tribes
and families of Israel, the special provision for the cancellation
of mortgages on all lands, and all debts, every fiftieth year,
prevented the impoverishment and practical enslavement of the
people as a whole to a wealthy few.
Bishop seemed to forget that the laws and arrangements of Christendom
are not a divinely arranged code; that like all the devices of
imperfect heads and hearts these laws are not infallible; that
although at one time no better could be devised, the changes of
social and financial conditions made changes necessary in the
past; that other changes are now recognized as proper, though
opposed by selfishness and ultraconservatism in their day. If,
then, our laws are conceded to be merely human and fallible, and
if they have already been changed and amended to suit changed
conditions, is it not inconsistent for the Bishop to threat them
now as sacred, unquestionable, unalterable; and to claim
that rights once conceded are therefore "inviolable,"
"natural" and indisputable "either in the order
of nature or in the constitution of mankind"; and that the
very suggestion of a modification of the laws and social regulations
to better adapt them to present conditions is "wild"
Bishop, it will be noted, took opposite ground from that taken
by Dr. Abbott on the question of labor as a commodity,
subject to the conditions of supply and demand. He saw in this
the law of our present social system, and said that it must continue.
He was correct in seeing that Labor must continue a commodity
(to be bought as cheap as Capital can purchase it, and to be sold
at as high a price as Labor can obtain for it) so long as the
present social system continues. This, however, will not be
for many years, as indicated by prophecy and as discerned by other
able minds in closer touch with the people and their unrest.
the Bishop's standpoint the only hope of a peaceful solution of
the differences between Capital and Labor is, (1) a conversion
of all the wealthy to the loving and benevolent conditions particularized
in the last two paragraphs above quoted; and (2) a conversion
of all the poor and middle classes
<PAGE 429> to that godliness and contentment
where they can accept with thanks whatever the wealthy are pleased
to let them have of the earth and the fulness thereof, and shout
"Blessed are we poor!" This, we admit, would solve the
Labor Question, quickly and thoroughly; but no sane people are
looking for such a solution in the near future; nor do the Scriptures
so portray. We cannot suppose that this intelligent Bishop really
offers his suggestions as a remedy; rather we assume him to mean,
that he sees no other than this impossible solution, and that
hence civilization will shortly be smitten with the curse of Anarchy.
Would that the gentleman might see God's remedy for which our
Lord taught us to hope and pray--"Thy Kingdom come"--and
the way in which that Kingdom is to be set up in power and dominion.
`Dan. 2:44,45; 7:22,27`; `Rev. 2:27`.
A Learned Jurist's Views
jurist of world-wide fame, addressing a graduating law class of
a prominent College in the United States, expressed himself as
follows, as reported by the Kansas City Journal:
history of the arrogant and rapacious race to which we belong
has been the record of incessant and bloody struggles for personal
liberty. Wars have been waged, dynasties overthrown and monarchs
beheaded, not for conquest, for ambition, for glory, but that
man might be free. Privilege and prerogative have stubbornly and
reluctantly yielded through many sanguinary centuries to the indomitable
passion for individual liberty. From the Magna Charta to Appomattox
is a far cry; but there was no moment of that 652 years in which
the race ceased or hesitated in its resolute and unflinching battle
for the equality of all men before the law. It was for this that
the barons bullied King John; that Latimer burned; that Hampden
fell; that the compact in the cabin of the Mayflower was drawn;
that the Declaration of Independence was promulgated; that John
Brown, of Osawatomie, died; that the legions
<PAGE 430> of Grant and Sheridan marched and
conquered, willing to relinquish life and all its possessions
rather than surrender the franchises of liberty.
'Of what avail are plow and sail
Or life or land, if freedom fail?'
dream of the centuries has at last been realized. From the brutal
and bloody tumult of history, man has at last emerged lord of
himself; but the perplexing enigmas of faith remain. Men are equal,
but there is no equality. Suffrage is universal but political
power is exerted by a few; poverty has not been abolished. The
burdens and privileges of society are unequally borne. Some have
wealth beyond the capacity of extravagance to squander, and others
pray in vain for daily bread. Baffled and thwarted by these incongruities,
exasperated it may be by suffering and want, disappointed in the
effects of political liberty upon individual happiness and prosperity,
many have yielded to a disquietude so searching and profound as
to indicate the necessity for the active coalition of the conservative
forces in our society.
the evolutionary movement, upon which society of the United States
has entered, there are no precedents in history, because the conditions
are anomalous, and a scientific solution is therefore impossible.
While the conditions of the masses of the people have been enormously
improved by social progress, the application of science to industry,
and the invention of machinery, it cannot be doubted that poverty
is more hostile to society, more dangerous to the institutions
of self-government and to the personal liberty that has been gained
after so many centuries of conflict than ever before. The reasons
are obvious. The laborer is free; he is a voter; his self-respect
is increased; his sensibility has become acute; his wants have
been multiplied more rapidly than the means of gratification;
education has elevated him above the condition of menial toil.
The daily newspaper has familiarized him with the advantages that
wealth gives its possessors. He has been taught that all men have
been created equal, and he believes that while rights are equaled,
opportunities are not. Modern science has
<PAGE 431> armed him with formidable weapons,
and when hunger comes nothing is so sacred as the necessities
of wife and children.
social crisis in all civilized countries, and especially in ours,
is becoming more formidable. The muttered thunder of sullen discontent
grows nearer hour by hour. While I believe that the serene and
resolute genius of the Anglo-Saxon race will prove equal to this,
as it has to every other emergency, and that it will not relinquish
the possessions it has acquired by incredible sacrifices, yet
it is apparent that the battle is not ended; that man is no longer
content with equality of rights and with equality of
opportunity, but that he will demand equality of conditions
as the law of the ideal state.
is obvious also that social degradation is inconsistent with self-government,
and that hopeless and helpless poverty is incompatible with personal
freedom. The man who is absolutely dependent upon another for
means of subsistence for himself and family, which may be taken
away altogether by the employer at pleasure, is not in any just
sense free. In one hundred years we have become the wealthiest
of all the nations. Our resources are gigantic. The statistics
of our earnings and accumulations astonish even credulity. Money
is abundant, food is plentiful; fabrics and labor are in ample
supply; but notwithstanding this fecundity the paradox of civilization
remains: the majority of the people struggle for existence, and
a fraction subsists in abject and wretched penury.
such conditions should exist seems to impeach Supreme Wisdom.
To admit that want, misery or ignorance are an inevitable inheritance
makes the brotherhood of man sardonic irony and the code of the
moral universe unintelligible. The disappointment engendered by
these conditions is deepening into distrust of the principles
upon which society is founded and a disposition to change the
basis upon which it rests. This distrust it is your most important
mission to allay, and this revolution it is your most important
duty to resist.
popular remedies proposed for the reformation of the evils and
defects and infirmities of modern society may
<PAGE 432> be roughly classed in two groups,
the first of which proposes to redress grievance by changing political
institutions. This method is erroneous and must be ineffectual,
because it rests upon the fallacy that material prosperity is
a result of freedom, the truth being that political liberty is
the consequence and not the cause of material progress. Much has
been written by poets and dreamers in praise of poverty, and the
love of money has been denounced as the root of all evil, but
the fact remains that, honestly acquired and wisely employed,
there is no form of power so substantial, positive and palpable
as that which accompanies the possession of money.
is no condition so deplorable, so depressing, so destructive of
all that is noblest in man, all that is most elevating in domestic
life, all that is most inspiring in destiny, as hopeless, squalid,
helpless poverty, want, hunger, the wages of the sweatshop, embers,
rags and a crust. As your trained intelligence is directed to
the investigation of the problems of the times, you will not fail
to observe that this element of our society is constantly increasing."
we have a clear and able statement of facts, as all, rich or poor,
must acknowledge. But it contains no remedy: not even the suggestion
that the new batch of lawyers and politicians should seek a remedy.
They are merely counseled to allay distrust in others,
however much they feel it themselves, and to resist every
change of the present system while they seek to keep above its
this advice? Is it because this able man despises his humbler
brother? By no means; but because he sees the inevitable operation
of liberty--"individualism"--selfishness-- with its
implied liberty to compete, and for each to do the best he can
for himself. Looking into the past he says, "What hath been
shall be." He does not see that we are in the end of the
present age, in the dawn of the Millennium, that only the power
of the Lord's Anointed King of all the earth can bring order out
of all this confusion; and that, in
<PAGE 433> God's wise providence, men are
now brought face to face with these perplexing problems which
no human wisdom can solve, and with calamitous conditions which
no human foresight or policy can avert or dispel, so that in due
time, in their extremity and peril, they will be glad to recognize
and submit to the divine intervention and to cease from their
own works and be taught of God. He whose right the kingdom is
is about to "take unto himself his great power and reign,"
to bring order out of chaos, to glorify his Church, as his "bride,"
and with and through her to end the woes of the sin-burdened,
groaning creation and bless all the families of the earth. Only
those who have the "true light" can see the glorious
outcome of this present dark time, which is puzzling the wise.
Mr. Robert G. Ingersoll, Like Others, Saw the Condition
of Things and Deplored it, but Suggested No Remedy
Ingersoll was known as a wise man according to the course of this
world. Although a noted infidel, he was a man of marked ability
and of more than usual sound judgment, except in religious matters,
where no man's judgment is sound except as informed and guided
by the Word and spirit of the Lord. As a lawyer, Mr. Ingersoll's
advice was so highly esteemed that he has been known to receive
$250 for thirty minutes counsel. This active brain has also been
employed in grappling with the great problems of this perplexing
time; yet neither had he any remedy to suggest. He expressed his
views of the situation in a lengthy article in the Twentieth
Century, from which we give a brief extract. He said:
has filled the world with competitors, not only of laborers, but
of mechanics--mechanics of the highest skill. Today the ordinary
laborer is, for the most part, a
<PAGE 434> cog in the wheel. He works with
the tireless, he feeds the insatiable. When the monster stops
the man is out of employment --out of bread. He has not saved
anything. The machine that he fed was not feeding him--the invention
was not for his benefit. The other day I heard a man say that
for thousands of good mechanics it was almost impossible to get
employment, and that in his judgment the government ought to furnish
employment to the people. A few minutes after I heard another
say that he was selling a patent for cutting out clothes; that
one of the machines could do the work of twenty tailors, and that
only the week before he had sold two to a great house in New York,
and that over forty cutters had been discharged. The capitalist
comes forward with his specific. He tells the workingman that
he must be economical--and yet, under the present system, economy
would only lessen wages. Under the great law of supply and demand
every saving, frugal, self-denying workingman is unconsciously
doing what little he can to reduce the compensation of himself
and his fellows. The saving mechanic is a certificate that wages
are high enough.
has always claimed, and still claims, the right to combine. Manufacturers
meet and determine prices, even in spite of the great law of supply
and demand. Have the laborers the same right to consult and combine?
The rich meet in the bank, clubhouse or parlor. Workingmen, when
they combine, gather in the street. All the organized forces of
society are against them. Capital has the army and the navy, the
legislature, the judicial and executive departments. When the
rich combine, it is for the purpose of 'exchanging ideas.' When
the poor combine, it is a 'conspiracy.' If they act in concert,
if they really do something, it is a 'mob.' If they defend themselves,
it is 'treason.' How is it that the rich control the departments
of government? There are times when mendicants become revolutionists--
when a rag becomes a banner, under which the noblest and the bravest
battle for the right.
are we to settle the unequal contest between man and machine?
Will the machines finally go into partnership with the laborer?
Can these forces of nature be controlled
<PAGE 435> for the benefit of nature's suffering
children? Will extravagance keep pace with ingenuity? Will the
workmen become intelligent enough and strong enough to become
the owners of machines? Can man become intelligent enough to be
generous, to be just; or does the same law or fact control him
that controls the animal or vegetable world? In the days of cannibalism
the strong devoured the weak--actually ate their flesh. In spite
of all the laws that man has made, in spite of all advances in
science, the strong, the heartless, still live on the weak, the
unfortunate, and the foolish. When I take into consideration the
agony of civilized life--the failures, the anxieties, the tears,
the withered hopes, the bitter realities, the hunger, the crime,
the humiliation, the shame--I am almost forced to say that cannibalism,
after all, is the most merciful form in which man has ever lived
upon his fellowman.
is impossible for a man with a good heart to be satisfied with
the world as it now is. No man can truly enjoy even what he earns--what
he knows to be his own--knowing that millions of his fellowmen
are in misery and want. When we think of the famished, we feel
that it is almost heartless to eat. To meet the ragged and shivering
makes one almost ashamed to be well dressed and warm--one feels
as though his heart were as cold as their bodies.
there to be no change? Are the 'laws of supply and demand,' invention
and science, monopoly and competition, capital and legislation,
always to be the enemies of those who toil? Will the workers always
be ignorant enough and stupid enough to give their earnings for
the useless? Will they support millions of soldiers to kill the
sons of other workingmen? Will they always build temples and live
in dens and huts themselves? Will they forever allow parasites
and vampires to live upon their blood? Will they remain the slaves
of the beggars they support? Will honest men stop taking off their
hats to successful fraud? Will industry, in the presence of crowned
idleness, forever fall upon its knees? Will they understand that
beggars cannot be generous, and that every healthy man must earn
the right to live? Will they finally say that the man who has
had equal privileges
<PAGE 436> with all others has no right to
complain, or will they follow the example set by their oppressors?
Will they learn that force, to succeed, must have thought behind
it, and that anything done in order that it may endure must rest
upon the cornerstone of justice?"
argument here set forth is poor, weak, hopeless and suggestionless;
and coming from a wise man and a fine logician merely shows that
the wise men of this world see the malady but can see no remedy.
The learned gentleman points out the causes of the difficulty
clearly enough, and their inevitableness, and then says, to workmen,
practically --"Don't you let them (invention, science, competition,
etc.) crowd you down and hurt you!" But he suggests no means
of deliverance, except it be in the query, "Will the workmen
become intelligent enough and strong enough to become the owners
suppose they had machines and quite sufficient capital to operate
them! Could such factories and machines be operated more
successfully than others? Could they long be successfully operated
as benevolent concerns and not for profit? Would they not do their
share to increase "overproduction" and cause "shutdowns,"
making their own and other workmen idle? Do we not know that if
the mill or shop were run on the principle of equal pay for all
employed, it would speedily either become bankrupt because it
paid too much for wages, or else the more skillful would be drawn
by better pay to other situations, or to private operations on
their individual account? In a word, self-interest, selfishness,
is so ingrained in fallen human nature and so much a part of the
present social structure that whoever does not count on it will
quickly learn his mistake.
closing sentence quoted is very smooth, but very barren of help
for the emergency. It is like a glass nest egg. It serves instead
of a solution, until you break it open and attempt to eat it.
"Will they [the workmen] learn that force,
<PAGE 437> to succeed, must have thought behind
it?" Yes; all know that; and that thought must have brains;
and that the brains must be of good quality and arrangement. All
can see that if all had brains of equal caliber and force the
battle between man and man would be so equal that a truce would
be speedily arranged, and each other's rights and interests provided
for; or, more probably, the fight would have come sooner
and been severer. But no one knows better than did Mr. Ingersoll
that no earthly power could produce such a condition of mental
fourth paragraph quoted is most creditable to the great man. It
finds an echo in every noble soul, of which we trust there are
many. But others, in moderate circumstances, or even wealthy like
Mr. Ingersoll, decide as he no doubt did decide, that they are
as powerless to obstruct or to alter the social trend which sweeps
along the channel of the fallen human nature, by casting into
it their money and influence, as they would be to stop Niagara
Falls by casting their bodies thereinto. A momentary splash and
commotion is all that there would be in either case.
Hon. J. L. Thomas on Labor Legislation
claim is frequently made that Labor has been discriminated against
by legislation favoring the rich and injurious to the interests
of the poor; and that a reversal of this would be a cure-all remedy.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and we are glad to have
a summary of United States Labor legislation by so well qualified
a gentleman as former U. S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas,
in the New York Tribune, Oct. 17, 1896, as follows:
write the history of the legislation for the last fifty years
for the amelioration of the conditions of the poorer and laboring
classes would require volumes, but it may be summarized as follows:
for debt has been abolished.
have been passed exempting homesteads and a large amount of personal
property from execution against debtors who are heads of families,
their widows and orphans.
have been given by law to mechanics and laborers on the land or
thing on which they bestow labor for their wages.
persons are allowed to sue in the courts, State and National,
without the payment of costs or the giving of security for costs.
courts, State and National, appoint attorneys to defend, without
compensation, poor persons in the criminal courts and in some
instances in the civil courts.
courts in many instances are directed to enter judgment in favor
of a laborer who has to bring suit to recover his wages or enforce
his rights against a corporation for a stated sum to cover his
hours, in some cases, and eight or nine in others, have been declared
by law a day's labor for public service or on public works.
the administration of insolvent estates the wages of labor are
preferred claims, and in some cases wages are made preferred claims
have been passed regulating passenger and freight charges on railroads
and other transportation lines, and also of public warehouses
and elevators, and National and State commissions have been created
to supervise railway traffic, by which charges have been reduced
two-thirds or more.
reducing the rate of interest have been passed in nearly all of
the States, and extending the time for redemption after the foreclosure
of mortgages or deeds of trust.
are required to fence their roads or pay double damages resulting
from a failure to fence; they are also required to furnish safe
places and appliances for their workmen.
and mine operators are required to provide places and machinery
for the safety and comfort of their employees.
incorporation of labor organizations has been authorized by law.
Day has been made a national holiday.
of Labor, State and National, are appointed to gather statistics
and, so far as possible, ameliorate the condition of the working
Department of Agriculture has been established, and the head thereof
made a Cabinet officer
costing $150,000 annually are distributed free to the people.
is made a misdemeanor in many of the States to blacklist a poor
man who has been discharged from service or has failed to pay
his debts, and it is made a misdemeanor to threaten by postal
card through the mails to sue a debtor, or by the use of any device
to reflect on him.
order to protect the imprudent and unwary, the use of the mails
is denied to those who would operate fraudulent or lottery schemes
through this medium.
have been reduced, entailing a loss to the government of $8,000,000
annually in carrying the mails, under the operation of which the
people get the country newspapers free of postage, and the best
magazines and periodicals have been made so cheap as to put them
within the reach of the poor.
of life insurance and shares in building and loan associations
are made non-forfeitable for non-payment of premiums or dues after
a limited time.
whether State or National, are subject to public supervision,
and their accounts to public inspection.
employees in the public service are allowed leave of absence with
pay for thirty days in some instances, and fifteen days in others,
and an additional thirty days for sickness of themselves or families.
coolie trade, the importation of laborers under contract, the
labor of convicts of the United States, the further immigration
of Chinese, the importation of convict-labor-made-goods, and the
peonage system have been forbidden by law.
of Arbitration, State and National, for the settlement of labor
disputes have been created.
employed in the public service are allowed pay for the National
holidays--the first day of January, the 22nd of February, Decoration
Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and the 25th
have been given to those who would go and settle on them, and
other lands have been given to those who would plant and grow
Australian ballot and other laws for the protection of the people
in their right to vote unmolested and unawed, have been passed.
millions of slaves have been freed, by which hundreds of thousands
of property-owners were impoverished.
libraries have been established at public expense.
hospitals have been multiplied for the care of the sick and poor.
hundred and forty million dollars are annually paid out of the
public Treasury to the soldiers of our wars, their widows and
though not least, public schools have been established, so that
now the annual expenditure for tuition alone in them is more than
$160,000,000, and for buildings, interest on loans and other expenses,
probably the further sum of $40,000,000 or more.
other laws of less importance, looking in the same direction as
the above, and extending into the minutest details of the relations
between employers of labor, whether corporations, partnerships
or individuals, and employees, have been passed by Congress and
by the Legislatures of the various States.
these laws were passed and these benefactions granted by the rich
as well as the poor. Indeed, the history of this country for the
last quarter of a century shows that men and women of all classes
alike have taxed their ingenuity to the utmost limit to devise
laws for the benefit, education and elevation of the masses of
the people, and this has been carried so far that many thoughtful
men fear that it will, if the present course continues, land in
State Socialism. There is no question that the trend of public
opinion among the people has been for many years in that direction."
then, if all has been done by legislation that can be done, and
still the unrest increases, it is evidently hopeless
<PAGE 441> to look in that direction for a
remedy. Mr. Thomas evidently had also reached the conclusion that
the conflict is irrepressible.
the words in which that able and noble man,
Wendell Phillips, Expressed His Opinion.
reform, moral or intellectual, ever came from the upper class
of society. Each and all came from the protest of the martyr and
victim. The emancipation of the working people must be achieved
by the working people themselves."
true; very wise; but neither did Mr. Phillips offer any practical
suggestion as to how the working-people are to emancipate themselves
from the sure outcome on selfish principles of the Law of Supply
and Demand (backed by mental and physical inequalities), inexorable
as the law of gravitation. He knew not what to recommend. Revolution,
as all know, might work local and temporary changes, beneficial
or otherwise, but what would revolution avail against universal
conditions and competition? As well might we revolt against the
rising of the ocean tide, and attempt to sweep it back with brooms,
or to gather the surplus in barrels.
Paris Figaro quotes the following extracts of a letter
written in 1857 by Mr. Macaulay, the great English historian,
to a friend in the United States:
is clear as the daylight that your government will never be able
to hold under control a suffering and angry majority, because
in your country the government is in the hands of the masses,
and the rich, who are in the minority, are absolutely at their
mercy. A day will come in the state of New York when the multitude,
between half a breakfast and the hope of half a dinner, will elect
your legislators. Is it
<PAGE 442> possible to have any doubt as to
the kind of legislators that will be elected?
will be obliged to do those things which render prosperity impossible.
Then some Caesar or Napoleon will take the reins of government
in hand. Your Republic will be pillaged and ravaged in the twentieth
century, just as the Roman empire was by the barbarians of the
fifth century, with this difference, that the devastators of the
Roman empire, the Huns and Vandals, came from abroad, while your
barbarians will be the natives of your own country, and the product
of your own institutions."
did not occur to this man of large acquaintance with human nature,
in both rich and poor, to suggest as a probability that the rich
might unselfishly espouse the cause of the majority and acquiesce
in the enactment of such large and benevolent laws as would lift
the masses gradually to competency and render it impossible for
anyone to amass more than half a million dollars worth of wealth.
No; Mr. Macaulay knew that such a proposition was unworthy of
consideration, and hence his prediction, which is in line with
God's testimony as to the results of selfishness, a great time
since he thus wrote, the ballot has been demanded by Mr. Macaulay's
own countrymen, the British public, and they got their demand.
It has been demanded by the Belgians and the Germans, and has
been granted. It was demanded and taken by force by the French.
It is being demanded in Austro-Hungary, and will be exercised
ere long by the Italians. So that the very catastrophe so confidently
predicted for the United States impends also over "Christendom"
entire. Macaulay saw no hope, and had no suggestions to offer,
except what others also offered; namely, that the rich and influential
forcibly take control and sit on the safety valve as long as possible--until
the explosion occurs.
Mr. Chauncey M. Depew's Hopes
the able and broad thinkers of the world today is also the Hon.
Chauncey M. Depew, LL. D. A wise man, he frequently gives good
advice; and we are glad to have his views of the present situation.
Speaking to the graduating class of the Chicago University, and
others, as orator of its Tenth Convocation, he said, among other
has not only made possible the marvelous growth of our country,
and the wonderful opportunity it affords for employment and fortunes,
but it has lifted our people out of the methods and habits of
the past, and we can no longer live as our fathers did.
common school and the high school, with their superior advantages,
have cultivated us so that the refinements of life make broader
and more intelligent men, and brighter, more beautiful and more
large-souled women. It lifts them above the plane of the European
peasant. While education and liberty have made the Americans a
phenomenal people, they have also, in a measure, raised the standards
of living and its demands in the older countries of Europe. The
Indian laborer can live under a thatch in a single room with breech
clout for clothes and a pan of rice for food. But the American
mechanic wants his home with its several rooms. He has learned,
and his children have learned, the value of works of art. They
have all become familiar with the better food and the better clothing
and the better life which constitute not luxury but comfort, and
which make up and ought to make up the citizens of our Republic.
men of great foresight and courage have seized upon the American
opportunity to accumulate vast fortunes. The masses, who have
not been equally fortunate, look upon them and say: 'We have not
an equal share in these opportunities.' This is not the place
nor have I time to even hint at the solution of these difficulties,
or the solving of these problems. That the genius exists among
us to meet them if need be by legislation, if need be by other
processes, no man in his senses can doubt. We require for our
<PAGE 444> more education, more college students
and more college opportunities. Every young man who goes out from
these foundations into the world goes out as a missionary of light
and knowledge. He will stand in the community where he will settle,
for an intelligent, broad and patriotic appreciation of the situation
in the country and in the neighborhood. The graduates of the four
hundred universities of the country are the lieutenants and the
captains, the colonels, the brigadier-generals and the major-generals
of that army of American progress to which we all belong.
world which our young man enters today is a very different one
from that which his father or grandfather or ancestors of one
hundred years ago knew anything about. Fifty years ago he would
have graduated at a denominational college and fallen into the
church of his fathers and of his faculty. Fifty years ago he would
have dropped into the party to which his father belonged. He would
have accepted his religious creed from the village pastor and
his political principles from the National platform of his father's
party. But today he graduates at a college where the denominational
line is loosely drawn, and finds that the members of his family
have drifted into all churches and are professing all creeds,
and he must select for himself the church in which he shall find
his home, and the doctrines upon which he shall base his faith.
He discovers that the ties of party have been loosened by false
leaders or incompetent ones, and by the failure of party organizations
to meet the exigencies of the country and the demands of the tremendous
development of the times. Those who should be his advisers say
to him, 'Son, judge for thyself and for thy country.' Thus, at
the very threshold, he requires an equipment which his father
did not need for his duties as a citizen or for the foundations
of his faith and principles. He starts out at the close of this
marvelous nineteenth century to be told from the pulpit and the
platform and by the press, and to see from his own observations,
that there are revolutionary conditions in the political, the
financial and the industrial world which threaten the stability
of the State, the position of the church, the foundations of society
and the safety of property. But while precept and prophecy are
<PAGE 445> disaster, he should not despair.
Every young man should be an optimist. Every young man should
believe that tomorrow will be better than today, and look forward
with unfaltering hope for the morrow, while doing his full duty
the problems are difficult and the situation acute, we all admit.
But it is the province of education to solve problems and remove
acute conditions. Our period is the paradox of civilization. Heretofore
our course has been a matter of easy interpretation and plain
sailing by the navigation books of the past. But we stand five
years from the twentieth century, facing conditions which are
almost as novel as if a vast convulsion had hurled us through
space and we found ourselves sitting beside one of the canals
and electricity have made the centuries of the Christian era down
to ours count for nothing. They have brought about a unity of
production and markets which upsets all the calculations and all
the principles of action of the past. They have united the world
in an instantaneous communication which has overthrown the limitations
which formerly were controlled by time and distance, or could
be fixed by legislation. The prices of cotton on the Ganges or
the Amazon, of wheat on the plateaus of the Himalayas or in the
delta of the Nile, or in the Argentines, of this morning, with
all the factors of currency, of climate and wages, which control
the cost of their production, are instantly reflected at noon
at Liverpool, at New Orleans, at Savannah, at Mobile, at Chicago
and at New York. They send a thrill or a chill through the plantations
of the South and the farmhouses of the West. The farmers of Europe
and America are justly complaining of their condition. The rural
populations are rushing to the cities and infinitely increasing
the difficulties of municipal government. Capitalists are striving
to form combinations which shall float with the tide or stem it,
and labor organizations, with limited success, are endeavoring
to create a situation which they believe will be best for themselves.
The tremendous progress of the last fifty years, the revolutions
which have been worked by steam, electricity and invention, the
<PAGE 446> of forces working on one side of
the globe and producing instantaneous effects on the other, have
so changed the relations of peoples and industries that the world
has not yet adjusted itself to them. The reliance of the present
and future must be upon education, so that supreme intelligence
may bring order out of the chaos produced by this nineteenth century
earthquake of opportunities and powers.
have always been crises in the world. They have been the efforts
and aspirations of mankind for something better and higher, and
have ultimately culminated in some tremendous movement for liberty.
These revolutions have been attended by infinite suffering, the
slaughter of millions and the devastation of provinces and kingdoms.
The Crusades lifted Europe out of the slavery of feudalism, the
French revolution broke the bonds of caste. Napoleon was the leader
and wonder worker, though selfishly so, of modern universal suffrage
and parliamentary government. The aspiration of all the centuries
has been for liberty, and more liberty. The expectation has been
that when liberty was gained there would be universal happiness
and peace. The English speaking peoples have secured liberty in
its largest and fullest sense; that liberty where the people are
their own governors, legislators and masters. The paradox of it
all is that with the liberty which we all hold as our greatest
blessing has come a discontent greater than the world has ever
known. The socialist movement in Germany grows from one hundred
thousand votes ten years ago to some millions in 1894. The Republican
elements in France become more radical and threatening month by
month. The agrarian and labor troubles of Great Britain are beyond
any ability of her statesmen to overcome except by makeshifts
from day to day. There was an Anarchist riot in Chicago, when
only the disciplined valor of a small corps of policemen saved
the great city from the horrors of pillage and the sack. A single
man created an organization of railway employees in a few months,
so strong that under his order twenty millions of people were
paralyzed in their industries and their movements, and all the
elements which constitute the support of communities temporarily
suspended. So potential was the uprising that two Governors
<PAGE 447> surrendered, and the Mayor of our
Western metropolis took his orders from the leader of the revolt.
Industrial and commercial losses of incalculable extent were averted
only by the strong arm of the Federal Government.
of the paradoxes of our quarter of a century is that every artisan
and mechanic and the laborer in every department today, with shorter
hours of labor, receives twenty-five per cent, and in many cases
fifty per cent, more than he did thirty years ago. While he receives
thus one-third more than he did thirty years ago, his dollar will
buy in clothes and food twice as much as it did thirty years ago.
One would think that the laborer ought to be supremely happy when
he compares the past with the present, and that beyond his living
he ought to be laying up in savings bank the fund which would
speedily make him a capitalist. And yet he feels a discontent
which his father, thirty years ago, with one-third the wages and
his dollar buying one-half as much, never knew. This all comes
Depew takes no notice of the fact that thirty years ago there
was an abundance of work. The supply of human skill and muscle
being far less than the demand, men were urged to work "double
turn" on railroads as well as in mills and factories; while
immigrants also came by the million and promptly found employment.
But now the labor supply greatly exceeds the demand in every direction,
being superseded by machinery. Now, although wages are not bad,
the people, the masses, cannot secure steady demand and
employment for their services; and, inevitably, wages are falling.]
are fighting the battles not only of today, but for all time;
we are developing this country not only for ourselves but for
posterity. We have overcome slavery, we have extirpated polygamy,
and our only remaining enemy is ignorance.
if the partial destruction of ignorance by education has brought
all the discontent and ills above recounted, how much anarchy
and what awful trouble would a thorough
<PAGE 448> education cost! Mr. Depew declares
that he is not here discussing the remedy for all these
ills and discontent, but doubtless he would have been glad to
do so if he knew a remedy; and here he declares that it will be
remedied "in some way or other" which is a tacit
admission that he knows no specific remedy to suggest.]
people who are discontented are the governors and rulers, and
must solve their own problems. They can elect their own Congresses
and presidents. They cannot revolt against themselves nor cut
their own throats. Sooner or later, and in some way or other,
they will solve their problems, but it will be by and through
the law. It will be by destructive or constructive
inquiry is natural, 'With all the prosperity and progress of the
world, why this discontent?' The rapidity of invention and the
opportunities afforded by electricity and steam have destroyed
in the last twenty-five years sixty per cent of the capital of
the world and thrown forty per cent of its labor out of employment.
The triple expansion engine, the invention of a new motor, the
reduplication of forces by a new application of machinery makes
useless all the old ones. It does more, it compels the skilled
artisan, in the loss of the tool by which he earned his living,
and which is no longer of any use, to fall back into the vast
mass of common laborers. At the same time these very forces, which
have thus destroyed the majority of values and thrown out of employment
so many people, have created new conditions which have added beyond
the power of calculation to the wealth of the world and the opportunities
of its people for living, comfort and happiness. But to enjoy
its opportunities, its comforts and its happiness a better education
is very evident that Mr. Depew is well posted in labor matters
and that he has made a study of the conditions which have led
up to the status which now confronts the world. But what remedy
does he offer? It was perhaps only courtesy and a sense of propriety
that led the gentleman, in addressing a college class, to suggest
that ignorance is the "enemy" causing present
ills and threatening the future.
<PAGE 449> But that education cannot prove
a remedy no one should know better than Mr. Depew. Very few of
the millionaires of today ever received a college education. Cornelius
Vanderbilt was uneducated, a ferryman, whose keen business instincts
guided him to wealth. He foresaw the increase of travel, and invested
in steamboats and railroads. The original John Jacob Astor was
uneducated, a trader in furs and skins. Foreseeing the growth
of New York City he invested in its real estate and thus laid
the basis of the fortunes of the present generation of Astors.
following list of American millionaires who have given a million
dollars or more to colleges has gone the rounds of the press,
together with the statement that not one of these wealthy and
intelligent men ever enjoyed a college education:
Girard, to Girard College, $8,000,000; John D. Rockefeller, to
Chicago University, $7,000,000; George Peabody, to various foundations,
$6,000,000; Leland Stanford, to Stanford University, $5,000,000;
Asa Parker, to Lehigh University, $3,500,000; Paul Tulane, to
Tulane University, New Orleans, $2,500,000; Isaac Rich, to Boston
University, $2,000,000; Jonas G. Clark, to Clark University, Worcester,
Mass., $2,000,000; the Vanderbilts, to Vanderbilt University,
at least $1,775,000; James Lick, to the University of California,
$1,600,000; John C. Green, to Princeton, $1,500,000; William C.
DePauw, to Asbury, now DePauw University, $1,500,000; A. J. Drexel,
to the Drexel Industrial School, $1,500,000; Leonard Case, to
the Cleveland School of Applied Sciences, $1,500,000; Peter Cooper,
to Cooper Union, $1,200,000; Ezra Cornell and Henry W. Sage, to
Cornell University, each $1,000,000; Charles Pratt, to the Pratt
Institute of Brooklyn, $2,700,000."
though to prove the exception to this rule, Mr. Seth Low, a college
graduate and President, at one time donated a million dollars
to Columbia College for a library.
a college education is valuable, it is by no means a remedy
for present conditions. Indeed, if every man
<PAGE 450> in Europe and America were a college
graduate today, the conditions would be worse, instead of better,
than they now are. Mr. Depew admits this in the above quotations,
when he says that the mechanic "feels a discontent which
his father, thirty years ago, with one-third the wages, and his
dollar buying one-half as much, never knew. All this comes
of education." Yes, indeed, and the more general the
education the more general the discontent. Education is excellent,
and greatly to be desired; but it is not the remedy. While it
is true that some righteous, noble men have been rich, it is also
true that some of the most wicked men have been educated men and
some of the most holy men have been "unlearned," like
the apostles. The more education a wicked man has the greater
his discontent and the greater his power for evil. The
world needs new hearts--"Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me!" (`Psa.
51:10`) The world's need is thus prophetically declared,
and the demonstrations that much more than education and intelligence
is necessary to happiness and peace, are coming, and will ultimately
be generally recognized. "Godliness with contentment is great
gain"; and only if this foundation be first laid can education
be guaranteed to be a great blessing. The selfish hearts and the
spirit of the world are at variance with the spirit of love, and
no compromise will avail. Education, "knowledge increased,"
among the masses is bringing the social crisis and its ultimate
Bishop Worthington Interviewed
attending a convocation of the Protestant Episcopal Church in
New York City, Bishop Worthington's views respecting the social
commotion were gleaned by a newspaper man and published broadcast
on Oct. 25, 1896. He is reported to have said:
trouble with the farmer, in my judgment, is that we have carried
our free educational system entirely too far. Of course, I know
that this view will be considered as a bit of heresy, but still
I believe it. The farmer's sons--a great many of them--who have
absolutely no ability to rise, get a taste of education and follow
it up. They will never amount to anything--that is, many of them--and
they become dissatisfied to follow in the walk of life that God
intended they should, and drift into the cities. It is the overeducation
of those who are not qualified to receive it that fills our cities
while the farms lie idle."
Bishop takes an opposite view from that advocated by Mr. Depew.
He agrees better with the Director General of Education in Russia,
to whose declaration against educating the poorer classes we have
already referred. We agree with both as to the fact that
education generally enlarges the ambitions and restless discontent.
But surely the Bishop will concede that matters have already gone
too far, in this land of liberty and education, to hope to stifle
the rising discontent by extinguishing the lamp of knowledge.
Good or bad, the education and the discontent are here and cannot
and will not be ignored.
Hon. W. J. Bryan's Reply
to the justice of the Bishop's suggestion, we leave it for Mr.
W. J. Bryan to answer, quoting from his press-reported reply as
talk about the overeducation of the farmer's sons and to attribute
the difficulties which surround us today to overeducation, is,
to my mind, one of the most cruel things a man ever uttered. The
idea of saying that farmers' sons, who are not able to rise in
life, get a taste of education, and enjoy the taste so much that
they follow it up and become dissatisfied with the farm and drift
into the cities! The idea of saying that there is overeducation
among our farmers' sons! My friends, do you know what that language
<PAGE 452> It means a reversal of the progress
of civilization and a march toward the Dark Ages again.
can you tell which one of the farmers' sons is going to prove
a great man until you have educated them all? Are we to select
a commission to go around and pick out the ones that are to be
my friends, there is another reason why people have gone into
the cities and left the farms. It is because your legislation
has been causing the foreclosure of mortgages on the farmers and
the farms. It is because your legislation has been making the
farmer's life harder for the farmer; it is because the non-producing
classes have been producing the laws and making it more profitable
to gamble in farm products than to produce them.
idea of laying the blame of the present condition at the farmer's
door! The idea of suggesting as a remedy the closing of schools
in order that the people may not become dissatisfied! Why, my
friends, there will be dissatisfaction so long as the cause for
dissatisfaction exists. Instead of attempting to prevent people
realizing their condition, why don't these critics try to improve
the condition of the farmers of this country?"
English journal, The Rock, inquired for light but obtained
none. We quote:
the world seething unrest, conflicting interests, and cross currents
keep civilized mankind in a perpetual state of excitement. The
tension of nerve and mind becomes more intense week by week almost;
at short intervals some startling event shakes the political and
commercial world with seismic force, and men realize what accumulated
elements of disaster lurk beneath the surface of society. Politicians,
while they strive to modify the course of these forces, frankly
admit they cannot thoroughly control them or foretell their results.
the confusion of endless theories, proposals, experiments and
prophecies, on two points the greatest thinkers are agreed. On
the one hand they see impending a great catastrophe which shall
convulse the whole world and shatter the present structure of
political and social life, the forces of
<PAGE 453> destruction having to exhaust themselves
before the formative ones can reconstruct the social fabric on
a surer foundation. On the other hand they agree that never did
nations more long for peace, or more clearly see the duty and
advantages of cultivating unity and fraternal concord, than at
the present moment."
is the same throughout the whole civilized world. All intelligent
people see the dilemma more or less clearly, but few have anything
to suggest as a remedy. Not all however: some well-meaning people
think that they can solve the problem, but only because they fail
to get the situation clearly outlined before their mental optics.
These will be examined in a subsequent chapter.
Mr. Bellamy's Statement of the Situation
following, culled from an address by Mr. Edward Bellamy, at Boston,
will be read with interest. He said:
you would form a vivid conception of the economical absurdity
of the competitive system in industry, consider merely the fact
that its only method of improving the quality or reducing the
price of goods is by overdoing their production. Cheapness, in
other words, can only result under competition from duplication
and waste of effort. But things which are produced with waste
of effort are really dear, whatever they may be called. Therefore
goods produced under competition are being made cheap only by
being made dear. Such is the reductio ad absurdum of the
system. It is a fact often true that the goods which we pay the
least for, are in the end the most expensive to the nation owing
to the wasteful competition which keeps down the price. All waste
must in the end mean loss, and therefore about once in seven years
the country has to go into insolvency as the result of a system
which sets three men to fighting for work which one man could
speak of the moral iniquities of competition would be to enter
on too large a theme for this time, and I only advert in passing
to one feature of our present industrial system, in which it would
be hard to say whether inhumanity
<PAGE 454> or economic folly predominated,
and refer to the grotesque manner in which the burden of work
is distributed. The industrial press-gang robs the cradle and
the grave, takes the wife and mother from the fireside, and old
age from the chimney-corner, while at the same time hundreds of
thousands of strong men fill the land with clamors for an opportunity
to work. The women and children are delivered to the taskmasters,
while the men can find nothing to do. There is no work for the
fathers, but there is plenty for the babies.
then, is the secret of this alarm over the approaching doom of
a system under which nothing can be done properly without doing
it twice, which can do no business without overdoing it, which
can produce nothing without overproduction, which in a land full
of want cannot find employment for strong and eager hands, and
finally which gets along at all only at the cost of a total collapse
every few years, followed by a lingering convalescence?
a bad king is mourned by his people, the conclusion must be that
the heir to the throne is a still worse case. That appears to
be, in fact, the explanation of the present distress over the
decay of the competitive system. It is because there is fear of
going from bad to worse, and that the little finger of combination
will be thicker than the loins of competition; that while the
latter system has chastised the people with whips, the Trusts
will scourge them with scorpions. Like the children of Israel
in the desert, this new and strange peril causes the timid to
sigh even for the iron rule of Pharaoh. Let us see if there be
not also in this case a promised land, by the prospect of which
faint hearts may be encouraged.
us first inquire whether a return to the old order of things,
the free competitive system, is possible. A brief consideration
of the causes which have led to the present world-wide movement
for the substitution of combination in business for competition
will surely convince any one that, of all revolutions, this is
the least likely to go backward. It is a result of the increase
in the efficiency of capital in great masses, consequent upon
the invention of the last and present generations. In former epochs
the size and
<PAGE 455> scope of business enterprises were
subject to natural restrictions. There were limits to the amount
of capital that could be used to advantage by one management.
Today there are no limits, save the earth's confines, to the scope
of any business undertaking; and not only no limit to the amount
of capital that can be used by one concern, but an increase in
the efficiency and security of the business proportionate to the
amount of capital in it. The economics in management resulting
from consolidation, as well as the control over the market resulting
from the monopoly of a staple, are also solid business reasons
for the advent of the Trust. It must not be supposed, however,
that the principle of combination has been extended to those businesses
only which call themselves Trusts. That would be greatly to underestimate
the movement. There are many forms of combination less close than
the Trust, and comparatively few businesses are now conducted
without some understanding approaching to a combination with its
former competitors --a combination tending constantly to become
the time that these new conditions began to prevail, the small
businesses have been disappearing before the larger; the process
has not been so rapid as people fancy whose attention has but
lately been called to it. For twenty years past the great corporations
have been carrying on a war of extermination against the swarm
of small industrial enterprises which are the red blood corpuscles
of a free competitive system, and with the decay of which it dies.
While the economists have been wisely debating whether we could
dispense with the principle of individual initiative in business,
that principle has passed away, and now belongs to history. Except
in a few obscure corners of the business world there is at present
no opportunity for individual initiative in business unless backed
by a large capital; and the size of the capital needed is rapidly
increasing. Meanwhile the same increase in the efficiency of capital
in masses, which has destroyed the small businesses, has reduced
the giants which have destroyed them to the necessity of making
terms with one another. As in Bulwer Lytton's fancy of the coming
race, the people of the Vril-ya had to give up
<PAGE 456> war because their arms became so
destructive as to threaten mutual annihilation, so the modern
business world finds that the increase in the size and powers
of the organizations of capital, demands the suppression of competition
between them for the sake of self-preservation.
first great group of business enterprises which adopted the principle
of combining instead of competing, made it necessary for every
other group sooner or later to do the same or perish. For as the
corporation is more powerful than the individual, so the syndicate
overtops the corporation. The action of governments to check this
logical necessity of economical evolution can produce nothing
more than eddies in a current which nothing can check. Every week
sees some new tract of what was once the great open sea of competition,
wherein merchant adventurers used to fare forth with little capital
beside their courage and come home loaded--every week now sees
some new tract of this once open sea inclosed, dammed up, and
turned into the private fish-pond of a syndicate. To say that
from the present look of things the substantial consolidation
of the various groups of industries in the country, under a few
score great syndicates, is likely to be complete within fifteen
years (1889-1905) is certainly not to venture a wholly rash statement.
great an economic change as is involved in taking the conduct
of the country's industries out of the hands of the people and
concentrating them in the management of a few great Trusts, could
not of course be without important social reaction; and this is
a reaction which is going to effect peculiarly what is called
the middle class. It is no longer a question merely for the poor
and uneducated, what they are to do with their work; but for the
educated and well-to-do, also, where they are to find business
to do and business investments to make. This difficulty cannot
fail constantly to increase, as one tract after another of the
formerly free field of competition is inclosed by a new syndicate.
The middle class, the business class, is being turned into a proletarian
is not difficult to forecast the ultimate issue of the concentration
of industry if carried out on the lines at present
<PAGE 457> indicated. Eventually, and at no
very remote period, society must be divided into a few hundred
families of prodigious wealth on the one hand, a professional
class dependent upon their favor but excluded from equality with
them and reduced to the state of lackeys, and, underneath, a vast
population of working men and women, absolutely without a hope
of bettering a condition which would year by year sink more and
more hopelessly into serfdom. This is not a pleasant picture,
but I am sure it is not an exaggerated statement of the social
consequences of the syndicate system."
Bellamy suggests Nationalism as the cure for all these evils.
We will examine it later.
Rev. Dr. Edward McGlynn's View
will be remembered that some years ago Dr. McGlynn came in conflict
with his ecclesiastical superiors in the Roman Catholic Church,
because of his advocacy of Labor Reform, and specially of Single
Tax theories. Although reconciled to the Church of Rome, he remained
a Single Taxer. The following extracts are from an article from
his pen in Donahoe's Magazine (Boston, July, 1895). Introducing
his subject, "The Prevention of Large Fortunes, and Raising
the Standard of the Laboring People," he said:
is possible for men to make honestly, as the world holds business
honesty at present, fortunes such as the Vanderbilts possess,
or the Astors, which run into the hundreds of millions. It is
not because these people are dishonest that their fortunes grow,
but that the leaders of the people are either ignorant or indifferent
in watching the channels through which wealth flows from the individual
laborer into the common treasury. It is the machinery of distribution
which is at fault. When, therefore, labor has made its daily contribution
to the world's support, if the processes of that contribution
are carefully studied, from the moment the laborer touches the
raw material which he is to convert into wealth until the finished
product is placed in the hands
<PAGE 458> of its user, it will be seen that
the makers of colossal fortunes have, under cover of law and custom,
taken possession of every important point of the process, and
are turning the wealth, which should fall into the treasuries
of the millions, into their own."
McGlynn urges that in seeking to account for large fortunes and
low wages three principal matters should be carefully studied:
(1) land and other natural bounties upon which man exercises his
faculties; (2) the means of transportation; and (3) money, the
medium which facilitates the exchanges of products. It will be
found, he says, that the people have been indifferent to these
points to which money-makers have been exceedingly attentive.
take possession of these natural bounties, to monopolize them
under cover of law and custom, and to make all men who would use
them pay beforehand for the privilege, have been the aim of the
money-makers since time began. It is an easy matter to run up
a fortune of one hundred millions when you can tax for two or
three decades the millions who must buy bread and meat, timber
and coal, cotton and wool, which all come from the land. This
is what has been done directly in European countries, where, as
in the British nation and in Ireland, millions of acres have been
seized by the few under cover of the law, and the people have
been compelled to pay first for permission to get at the land,
then for permission to continue their labor on it.
same thing happened indirectly in this country when millions of
acres were given to the great railroads, and capitalists were
permitted to get hold of millions more by various subterfuges,
all to be held with a tight grip until the tide of immigration
had swelled these properties to untold values, when they were
sold off at rates that made millionaires as common in this country
and in Europe as knights in England. The readers of newspapers
are well acquainted with the career and the methods of the coal-barons
of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, who got hold of the great coal-producing
districts under cover of law, and for forty years have levied
tribute on consumers and miners alike by every device
<PAGE 459> that human ingenuity could invent
without regard to justice...
as the few get control, almost absolute control, of the natural
bounties, so they also get control of the means of transportation
in a country. What this means is best comprehended by the statement
that society makes no advance without a proper exchange of commodities;
for civilization to improve on every side, men must have the greatest
facilities for exchanging the work of their hands...Ease of transportation
is, therefore, as vitally necessary to the laborer as ease in
getting at the natural bounties; and as all men are laborers in
the true sense of the word, the few who have placed themselves
in charge of the transportation facilities of a nation get incredibly
rich in the briefest time, because they tax more thoroughly and
absolutely every human being in their jurisdiction than does the
Vanderbilts are worth perhaps a third of a billion today. How
did they get it? By hard labor? No. By using the privileges foolishly
granted them by the foolish people: the right of way over the
state of New York; the right to fix what rates of freight and
passage the citizens of the community must pay to use their own
roads; the right to hold immense domains of the State as the creation
of their own hands...No individual or corporation should be allowed
to amass billions out of these public properties...
same may be said of the medium of exchange-- money. Here again
the world seems to be all at sea as to the elementary principles
of this problem; the money-lenders alone have fixed and profitable
principles, which enable them to tax every human being who uses
money, for the use and for the continuance of the favor to use
it. They have placed themselves between men and the medium of
exchange, just as others have placed themselves between men and
the natural bounties, between men and the facilities of transporting
goods to market. How can they help getting millions together as
the Rothschilds have done; millions, again, that should be in
greater part passing into the treasury of the community."
McGlynn summarizes his conclusions thus:
is good to keep up the price of labor, to secure sound legislation,
to force employers to house their workers well, landlords to provide
good tenements, and so on; but the root of all our difficulties,
the explanation of our unequal social conditions, and the cause
of our large fortunes and low wages, is to be found in the common
indifference to the three necessities of social and civilized
life. Before we can raise wages permanently, and make the Vanderbilt
and the Carnegie fortunes as impossible as they are unnecessary,
we must learn how to keep the natural bounties, the means of exchange,
and the medium of exchange free from the speculator's tax, his
interference, his tyranny."
McGlynn's remedy is a "Single Tax," which we will examine
in the chapter following. It is but proper here, however, to call
attention to the fact that the Astors and Vanderbilts have gained
their wealth under the same laws that controlled their fellow
citizens, and which heretofore have been esteemed the most just
and equitable laws that the world has ever known. It is to be
noted, also, that the Vanderbilt millions were won in connection
with great public service and great public benefit;
although self-interest and not interest in the public welfare
was the inspiring motive. The important point to be noted is,
that science and invention have wrought a complete revolution
in the social equilibrium, by which both brain and muscle are
discounted by the possession of land, machinery, wealth. A properly
adjusted new code of laws, suited to the new conditions, is needed.
But here lies the difficulty: a satisfactory adjustment cannot
be made because the parties interested-- Capital and Labor--will
neither of them take a moderate, reasonable view of the situation.
It may indeed be said that neither can view the matter
righteously because both are governed by selfishness which
is generally quite blind to equity until compelled to see it.
The new conditions call for a readjustment of affairs on
a basis of love; and because this
<PAGE 461> quality is possessed by but a small
minority in either party to the controversy, therefore the trouble
will come, which will not only wreck the present social order
based on selfishness, but will prepare all classes by experience
to appreciate the new social order, the "new heavens and
new earth" to be established under the dominion of Messiah.
Professor W. Graham's Outlook
writer, Prof. W. Graham, in The Nineteenth Century (Feb.
1895), discussed the social question from the standpoint known
in England as "Collectivism"--the doctrine that the
people as a whole should own or control the material and means
of production: opposed to individualism. Prof. Graham's conclusion
is that, since a transformation of the hearts of men is not supposable,
the method could only be introduced to a limited degree and after
a long time. He said:
is impracticable, at least, unless human nature in its fundamental
essence and desires, either eternally innate or deeply rooted
as the result of thousands of years of slow social evolution tending
to intensify them, be simultaneously changed in the majority of
men by a sort of general miracle. I believe, further, that if
anything resembling Collectivism in its fulness were ever attempted
to be established in this country, even by a supposed majority
in some new 'Mad' Parliament representing even a majority of voters,
that it would be forcibly resisted by the minority, which, on
the boldest supposition, can never be a small one; and it would
be resisted because it would necessarily involve confiscation
as well as revolution, political, economical and social. If, finally,
it were ever, by any extraordinary combination of chances, momentarily
established, as it might conceivably be in a country like France,
which has a great leaning toward it, as well as some Collectivist
memories, it could not possibly last. It could not even be reduced
to practice save nominally, owing to its inherent impracticability;
while, so long as it did exist, even partially or nominally, it
<PAGE 462> bring, after the first grand general
division, the shares of which would soon be dissipated, in addition
to general social chaos, evils including poverty to all classes,
and greater poverty than now prevails."
Professor proceeded to offer proof of the correctness of these
views, and then inquired, Would Collectivism operate satisfactorily
even if it were somehow installed and set in motion? He answers
in the negative. He says:
would be slackness of effort all throughout, in inventors, organizers,
foremen, even in the better class of workers, if they were not
stimulated by extra remuneration to put forth their utmost and
their best efforts; in short, if the present enormous and far-extending
stimulus of private interest be removed or ever seriously lessened,
the inevitable result would be a production greatly reduced in
quantity and inferior in kind. There would have to be given at
least 'bounties on production,' and so long as men are as they
are, and are long likely to be, they would have to be on a liberal
scale--that is to say, equality of remuneration would have to
be departed from as respects these higher laborers. Otherwise
there would be poverty in which all would equally share, and ordinary
laborers would have to set against their poverty only the poor
satisfaction that the former rich classes had all been dragged
down to share it with them."
prevent the decline of civilization and a return to barbarism,
the Professor continued, it would soon be necessary to reintroduce
inequality of wages and private enterprise. Gradually competition,
private loans, exchange, interest, would have to be allowed, and
in the end the new system would be found to differ but little
from the present order. He concluded:
would be modified more and more and more in the old direction,
till, finally, there would be the inevitable counter-revolution,
probably without any fresh civil war, for which the governing
class would no longer have heart in face of the falling-off of
their supporters and their own failing
<PAGE 463> fanaticism. There would be a grand
restoration, not of a dynasty, but of a Social System; the old
system based on private property and contracts, which has emerged,
as a slow evolution under every civilization, as the system most
suited to human nature in a state of aggregation, and which is
still more suitable and more necessary under the circumstances,
physical and social, of our complex modern civilization."
believe that considerable has already been done for the masses
by Collectivism, as for instance in the Public School system of
the United States, the postal systems of the civilized world,
municipal ownership of waterworks, etc., and that much more could
yet be accomplished along the same lines. Yet all reasonable people
must consent to the argument that if the sinews of selfishness,
which now move the world, be cut, by putting all men on the same
level, a new motive power (Love) would need to take their place,
or the world's business would suddenly come to a standstill: sloth
would take the place of industry, and poverty and want would supplant
comfort and affluence.
we present these difficulties not because we have a "patent"
theory of our own to advocate, but that those looking for the
wisdom which cometh from above, through the Bible, may the more
clearly see the helplessness of mankind in the present crisis,
and that they may the more confidently and more firmly lay hold
by faith upon the Lord and the remedy which he will apply in due
The Views of a Member of the Supreme Court
Henry B. Brown, addressing the Alumni of the Law Department of
Yale College, took as his theme, "The Twentieth Century."
He pointed out that the changes of the twentieth century promise
to be social rather than political or legal, and then named the
three most prominent perils which threaten the immediate future
of the United States--
<PAGE 464> (1) Municipal Corruption, (2) Corporate
Greed, and (3) The Tyranny of Labor. Among other things he said:
in no country in the world is the influence of wealth more potent
than in this, and in no period of our history has it been more
powerful than now. Mobs are never logical, and are prone to seize
upon pretexts rather than upon reasons to wreak their vengeance
upon whole classes of society. There was probably never a flimsier
excuse for a great riot than the sympathetic strike of last summer
, but back of it were substantial grievances. If wealth
will not respect the rules of common honesty in the use of its
power, it will have no reason to expect moderation or discretion
on the part of those who resist its encroachments.
have spoken of corporate greed as another source of peril to the
state. The ease with which charters are procured has produced
great abuses. Corporations are formed under the laws of one state
for the sole purpose of doing business in another, and railways
are built in California under charters granted by the states east
of the Mississippi for the purpose of removing their litigation
to federal courts. The greatest frauds are perpetrated in the
construction of such roads by the directors themselves, under
guise of a construction company, another corporation, to which
is turned over all the bonds, mortgages and other securities,
regardless of the actual cost of the road. The road is equipped
in the same way by another corporation, formed of the directors,
which buys the rolling stock and leases it to the road, so that
when the inevitable foreclosure comes the stockholders are found
to have been defrauded for the benefit of the mortgagees, and
the mortgagees defrauded for the benefit of the directors. Property
thus acquired in defiance of honesty and morality does not stand
in a favorable position to invoke the aid of the law for its protection.
than this, however, is the combination of corporations in so-called
trusts, to limit production, stifle competition and monopolize
the necessaries of life. The extent to which this has already
been carried is alarming; the extent to which it may hereafter
be carried is revolutionary.
<PAGE 465> The truth is that the entire corporate
legislation is sadly in need of overhauling, but the difficulty
of procuring concurrent action on the part of the forty-four states
is apparently insuperable.
a wholly different quarter proceeds the third and most immediate
peril to which I have called your attention --the tyranny of labor.
It arises from the apparent inability of the laboring man to perceive
that the rights he exacts he must also concede. Laboring men may
defy the laws of the land and pull down their own houses and those
of their employers about their heads, but they are powerless to
control the laws of nature--that great law of supply and demand,
in obedience to which industries arise, flourish for a season,
and decay, and both capital and labor receive their appropriate
Brown sees no hope of a reconciliation between Capital and Labor,
being of too logical a mind to suppose that bodies moving in opposite
directions would ever come together. He says further:
conflict between them has been going on and increasing in bitterness
for thousands of years, and a settlement seems further off than
ever. Compulsory arbitration is a misnomer--a contradiction in
terms. One might as well speak of an amicable murder or a friendly
war. It is possible that a compromise may finally be effected
upon the basis of cooperation or profit-sharing, under which every
laborer shall become, to a certain extent, a capitalist. Perhaps,
with superior education, wider experience and larger intelligence,
the laboring man of the twentieth century may attain the summit
of his ambition in his ability to command the entire profits of
referring to the social disquietude arising from the corporate
evils mentioned he proposes as a palliative, but not as a remedy,
the public ownership of what are called "natural monopolies."
He thinks these privileges should be exercised by the state or
the municipality directly, rather than that corporations should
compete and quarrel for franchises with bribes. He says:
would seem to be no sound reason why such franchises, which are
for the supposed benefit of the public, should not be exercised
directly by the public. Such is, at least, the tendency in modern
legislation in nearly every highly civilized state but our own.
Here great corporate interests, by parading the dangers of paternalism
and socialism, have succeeded in securing franchises which properly
belong to the public."
gentleman evidently speaks forth his honest convictions, untrammeled--membership
in the United States Supreme Court being of life tenure. He therefore
could, and probably did, suggest everything he has knowledge of
in the nature of a remedy for the conditions he deplores. But
what is the suggested temporary relief? Only an item of Socialism
(the public ownership of "national monopolies") which
all men except bankers and corporation stockholders admit would
be a temporary benefit--nothing more; and even this he seems to
concede is doubtful of accomplishment, so powerfully entrenched
Clemenceau's "Social Melee"
editor of La Justice, Paris, some time ago published a
book, Le Melee Sociale, which received much attention because
of the prominence of its author as a legislator and editor. It
deals with the social question vigorously, maintaining that cruel,
remorseless struggling for existence is as characteristic of human
society as in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, and that civilization,
so-called, is but a thin veneer which disguises man's essential
brutality. He sees the whole history of society symbolized in
Cain, the first murderer, and claims that while the modern Cain
does not murder his brother directly, he systematically endeavors
to crush his brother over whom, by force or fraud, he has gained
an advantage of power. We give a few striking extracts from this
book, as follows:
seems to me remarkable that humanity should have needed the meditation
of centuries and the investigation of the greatest minds to discover
the simple and apparent fact that man has ever been at war with
man, and that this war has lasted ever since the human race began.
Indeed, the imagination fails to completely conjure up a vision
of the tremendous, the bloody and universal slaughter which has
been going on upon this earth ever since it first emerged from
forced labor of the chained slave and the free toil of the paid
workman both rest on the common basis of the defeat of the weakest
and his exploitation by the strongest. Evolution has changed the
conditions of the battle, but under a more pacific appearance
the mortal strife is still going on. To seize the life and body
of others to turn them to one's own purposes--that is what has
been the aim and fixed purpose of the majority of men from the
savage cannibal, the feudal baron, the slave proprietor, down
to the employer of our own day."
chief problem of civilization is thus stated by M. Clemenceau:
is the enemy of the human race. As long as man shall not have
conquered this cruel and degrading enemy the discoveries of science
will appear only as irony on his sad lot. It is like giving a
man luxuries when he is not even provided with the necessaries
of life. It is the law of nature, and the cruelest of all her
laws. She forces mankind to contrive, to torture itself and destroy
itself, to preserve at any cost that supreme good or evil called
lives dispute man's right to life. He defends himself by organizing
into communities. To his physical weakness, the first cause of
his defeat, is now added his social weakness. And now the question
can be asked, Have we arrived at such a degree of civilization
that we can conceive of and establish a social organization in
which the possibility of death by poverty or hunger may be eliminated?
The economists do not hesitate. They reply boldly in the negative."
is the duty of the State and of the rich members of the community,
in M. Clemenceau's view, to abolish hunger and recognize the "right
to live." Not only as a matter of right, but of expediency
as well, should the community take care of the unfortunate and
incapable. We quote again:
it not the duty of the rich to succor the unfortunate? The day
will come when the spectacle of one man dying [of hunger], while
another man has more millions than he knows what to do with, will
be intolerable to all civilized communities--as intolerable, in
fact, as the institution of slavery would be in this community
today. The troubles of the proletariat are by no means restricted
to Europe. They seem to be just as bad in 'free' America, the
paradise of every poor wretch on this side of the Atlantic."
foregoing is a French view. It may or may not imply that matters
are worse in France than in the United States. Of one thing, at
least, we are thankful--that here, by liberal taxation as well
as by generous contributions, death by starvation is not necessary.
What is desired is something more than bare existence. Happiness
is necessary to make existence desirable.
Clemenceau sees and denounces the faults of the present social
system, but he offers no reasonable solution of them; hence his
book is but a firebrand and disquieter. It is easy enough to make
ourselves and others more dissatisfied and uncomfortable; and
every book or article that offers no healing balm, no theory or
hope of escape from the troubles would far better be unwritten,
unpublished. The Scriptures, thank God, supply not only
a comforting balm, but the only and infallible cure for
the world's disease, sin, selfish-depravity and death, at the
hands of the great Mediator, the Good Physician and Life-Giver.
And this very volume endeavors to call attention to these heavenly
specifics. But incidentally we are presenting the desperate character
of the disease and the hopelessness of the world's available remedies.
BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON