Joshua King Ingalls in “The Journal of Progress” (1853)

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  • Joshua King Ingalls, “The Power of Right,” The Journal of Progress, I, 2 (May 7, 1853), 20-21.
  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Indestructibility of Right,” The Journal of Progress, I, 3 (May 14 1853), 36-37.
  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Capital and Labor,” The Journal of Progress, I, 6 (June 4, 1853), 85-86.
  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Capital and Labor,” The Journal of Progress, I, 7 (June 11, 1853), 100-101.
  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Man and Property, their Rights and Relations (revised),” The Journal of Progress, I, 9 (June 25, 1853), 132-133.
  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Man and His Rights (revised),” The Journal of Progress, I, 10 (July 2, 1853), 145-147.
  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Property and Its Rights (revised),” The Journal of Progress, I, 11 (July 9, 1853), 1-3.
  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Relations, Existing and Natural, between Man and Property,” The Journal of Progress 1, no. 11 (July 9, 1853): 3.

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There is a worldly aphorism, quoted as often in earnest as in irony, that “Might makes Right;” but so far from adopting this sentiment, as one of right morals, or good policy, I shall hope to show, without much effort, that even the reverse is true; and therefore I shall proceed in the inverse direction to illustrate the genuine text; “Right makes Might.”

However true it may be that arbitrary power often stands in the place of right, it does not—it can not—possess any faculty to change, much less create the properties of Justice. On the other hand, permanent force can reside only with the true and good; and these have the power to generate and control living and vital energies.

It is because the common mind does not perceive the working of hidden principles—does not comprehend forces until they are revealed —that men are made to succumb to the external authority and show of power, and hence do great injustice to themselves, by neglecting to exert those qualities which are essential to success. It is through the operation of this cause alone that any distinction is made to exist between Might and Right. In reality right only has power; and why we are ever led to suppose that wrong is powerful, is because we comprehend only the external bodies with which all forms clothe themselves. Self-deluded, we bow down and worship, not living Power, but the expressed forms of it, which even now are tending to decay. We revere the passive exhibition, not the active agent; and mistaking the effect for the cause, we are constantly following and yielding to a might which is altogether external and evanescent. In our servile adulation we kiss the border of the garment—we adore the pompous robe?—but of the spirit which they clothed, or the power that projected them, we know nothing.

Nor is it strange that undeveloped minds should be arrested by the transitory and phenomenal shows of things; for when we rise into the position of men we only change our play-things—perhaps take possession of larger and more imposing toys; and in assuming the self-control of mature age, we do not ” put away childish things.” The most of mankind reverence the mighty pile that has been reared in the form of palace, tower, or pyramid. They have seen only this. They have not seen, and can not revere—can not even comprehend—the mind of the architect which planned, or the patient industry which reared them. They see and bow before outward forms, and arbitrary arrangements of religion, and of government, but have no understanding of those principles upon which these, however corrupt and decaying they may now be, originally depended for their existence.

The real creator of all things is invisible to the external sense. All that the common mind terms force and power is but the outward revelation and embodiment of the reality—is, indeed, but the effect, and not the cause. This incapacity of the rudimental mind to rise to the sphere of causation, and its tendency to confound cause and effect—to worship the creature more than the Creator—is the foundation of all the more permanent wrongs, external encroachments and monopoly; and. what is worse than all. arbitrary and thought-restricting formula, whether embodying the views of Church or State.

Cause and effect do not follow in alternate sequence, as is assumed by a rudimental and external philosophy; but in an eternal and infinite series, parallel, not serial, to each other. You can never discover a cause by tracing back effects. The cause is internally present with them all—externally nowhere. The attempt to reason of God’s existence in this material manner, justly subjects us to the ridicule of the sceptical mind. After tracing one effect back to another, and finally, when lost in conjecture, we make the bold assertion that the last effect was produced by God, as the cause, we are still open to the legitimate question; of what is he the effect? Who made him? We can not by this material process find out God—nor indeed any thing real.

But may the effects serve no purpose in our search after truth? Certainly as indices, but not as realities, for realities they are not, however much they may be worshiped as such. The most enduring of all earthly things—the fundamental crystalline rocks—are only revelations of force and essences. They are not real. They must change; and the elements which gave them birth will combine to produce other and higher forms of motion, and of life. You need not attempt to find God, nor any cause, nor force, in the series of effects. They are as much in one effect as another. They are in all. It is the unseen reality which gives the outward form. The mighty oak grows with vigor, and strengthens itself in its thousand roots and branches. You see the outward thing we call a tree; you do not see the living force which made it what it is. The outward sense comes not in contact with this.

You see the form of a strong and powerful man; and it is true that the innate force of the man corresponds in a general sense to the external form; but you should not therefore say that that form is the cause of this strength; but rather that the strength was the cause and parent of the form. He is a powerful man, not because he has a powerful form, but because the vital force was great, and developed under favorable circumstances. He, however, who would assume that the form and dimensions of the man are an infallible test of strength, would often become deceived, as size, merely, would give little certainty of indication. The largest body, where the internal forces are wanting, is the weakest of all. So the small and compact form, is often accompanied by superior force and agility. Again, the robust man becomes weak by age, although there is no decrease of material accumulation; aud the infant in a little while becomes the man of strength and power, thus clearly showing that the external revelations of strength are but manifestations of the interior vital power, with whose degree of activity, in all their changes, they precisely correspond.

Thus by external logic we are constantly liable to self-deception, which enlists us under the banner of arbitrary authority—the mere forms, and expressions, of forces already exhausted. Thus Absolutism is powerful. Thus Orthodoxy is powerful—not on account of any virtue of their own, but for the credit they enjoy in a world swayed by externals, of having once been the repositories of power. Thus your corrupt and dogmatical Church is sustained, while your advanced and progressive organization is left to make its way, like the poor man’s child, dependent on its own merits for success. It is thought weak, despised, contemned, because its strength is counted by its comparative numbers, by its outward display of worldly wealth and popularity— not by the order of mind which it attracts, nor by the intrinsic, everliving forces which it seeks to embody. The materialistic mind is led where the external show of power resides, not where its real presence is.

See Galileo, surrounded by the spiritual and civil lights of all Christendom, compelled to falsify the truth of a discovery which he had made in science. And yet, with him dwelt power to overthrow all their absurdities, and superstitions. He was compelled to bow, only because the persons who surrounded him mistook the question of Might. The Pope was strong, only because his myrmidons were ignorant, and mistook the trappings with which he was clothed, for the true authority and power. Could they have seen the question as we see it, they would have perceived that the real might—that which was destined to triumph —not merely for a day but for all future time—dwelt with him, in the great truth, which, by the assertion of brute force, they had overawed, and compelled him to forswear.

See the martyr who has shed his blood for human liberty, for heavenly Right. Why has the world arrayed itself against him? Simply because it could not discern the mighty force of principle which controlled him to a rejection of all expediency—to a defiance of all compromise. The devotees of the Old and Formal, exert all their power, and apparently conquer in the earthly strife. The stoical philosopher looks on, and says : See how truly Might makes Right. The spiritualist waits the rapid changes of time, then points triumphantly to the unseemly wreck, and asks : Where now is the might of the old wrong? What power has it, now, even to exist? The Form is a ruin; the Power has vanished, notwithstanding the support of deluded victims; or rather that support which constituted its only strength, even then, has been removed by the might of Truth, and left the relics to fall into forgetfulness, and final oblivion.

But now are not these things, it may be asked by many, in view of the exterior forms of worldly pomp and power—are not these abiding and substantial things—real forces—which must compel, not ouly our reverence, but our cooperation? Nothing can be known by a superficial, or outside view. The only right way is to study principles. No matter about the forms. Truth alone is mighty, and will prevail. You may have the whole world upon your side—all its wealth, popularity, swords, and magazines of war—a simple Truth—a foothold of Right—is all I ask, to bid defiance to it all; and, in the confidence of a regenerate manhood, to wage the war, and determine on victory.

Only the few have ever understood the might which lies in Truth have apprehended moral forces, and in obedience to the higher law, sought to employ them. And yet these are all. That outward manifestation of force which is so much worshiped—that external world — is unstable and changeful as the representations of a troubled dream. It is but a shadow—a mere phantom—which disappears when the soul has mustered sufficient courage to question it. The creations of Truth—the deeds of Right—shall stand, when the whole time-vesture has worn out, and disappeared.



All Error and all Wrong are phenomenal and transitory. The terrible effects which an Alexander, or a Napoleon, may produce upon the world, are felt only for a day, and then swallowed up in some more mighty convulsion. The effects which Socrates, Fourier, Swedenborg, and all true men, produce, extend through ages of ages. Yet it would be extremely difficult to make the world comprehend this; for it can perceive only the agents of this invisible power—o:ly the passive shows with which it is invested. They apprehend, and believe in, and worship mere phenomena, which can do nothing, good or bad, without some living force to move them. These have no power to waken the mind to life; they can but suppress its action—and even this only for a season. The mind only is immortal—is spiritual—and has force. While it can overcome all things, it can, itself, only be overcome by higher influences—by Truth, Right, and Love. The man who stands upon this may do all things. This is the only true measure of strength and might. The world does not so judge. It pays its deference to mock-power, and dead bodies; but it can not resist the influence which one earnest soul exerts. It may bring its forces to bear upon him—it may sever the relations which he sustains to earthly forms and things; but it can not sever his relation to Truth, or destroy the influence flowing out of the impetus which he gave it by faithful action. It is a most difficult thing to persuade people to see this—even those who are wielding very truthful forces. They get discouraged, because externally the results are not as satisfactory as anticipated. They do not remember that all permanent, or enduring things are slow of growth, and that the result of their labors may never come at all in the manner which they expect.

Suppose, for instance, that the Liberalists of this city do not, as they might, take hold together, and build up the cause in an external sense—that is, have a larger audience, a more commodious house to receive, and a more eloquent speaker to address them, than any of their neighbors. Misapprehending the nature and source of all true greatness, should they stand aloof and abandon it, because they have not made it, or because it is not, externally, what it might be? Will the principles here advocated have no influence with this community? Will the mind go back 1 Will the truth die? I apprehend not. It has power, and will work. If it exists, its own inherent vitality will make scope for itself; and then it will produce corresponding action, and accomplish corresponding results. One man of us who will live our sentiments truly, will do more to promote them, without preaching, than a dozen preachers can do, without living. Truth, life, and force for good, do not reside in sound, in form, or manner, but in thought, and deed. Without the latter, external forms can be of but little value.

The history of Liberalism in this country shows no proportionate increase of numbers, or display of eloquence and learning, compared with the tremendous influence it has exerted, in modifying the forms of thought, and extending the reach of human sympathy, among the dark and benighted minds of the popular religions. Would it have been a greater triumph to liberalism, as an organization, to have attached such men as Bushnell and the younger Beecher, than to have reached them, environed as they were by superstition and bigotry, and beget its own life and action within them? Organizations, as well as individuals, must be self-sacrificing. They must not labor exclusively for their own upbuilding, but for the spread of truth. If your neighbor takes advantage of the light you shed around, seeking to monopolize it solely for the improvement of his own internal condition, do not be vexed with him. If, in his expressions, he even appropriates the castoff garments in which you have clothed your thoughts, do not quarrel with him. He should not be so selfish and exclusive, it is true, especially when appearing in borrowed robes; but even this is better than that he should make no change at all. By every means encourage, rather than embarrass his progress.

If in any particular place it may be observed that liberal sentiments have not exerted any beneficial influence on the sectarian institutions—if us yet they have only had time to excite hostility, remember that the instinct of self-preservation is strong; and the sense of approaching danger, which is has made manifest, should be hailed as one of the most cheering omens of a healthier action. Wait a little while, till the acerbity of irritation shall have subsided, and time have been given for calm reflection. Wait, if need be, for the coming upon the stage of a new generation, and then you can judge, even externally, what force there is in what you now deem weakness.

I can scarcely conceive how a mind can accept, and go with that which it knows can have no reality, merely because the popular mind is turned that way. My very soul has said to Shame and Hypocrisy, Ye shall not rule me. I will no longer speak the lie, as though it were the truth, merely because the world can see no further. I will not utter unmeaning forms of words, without sense, however they may please the ear, as though they possessed thought and life. I may be in the Right, with two or three, or even alone to the world’s view; but I will be in the Right, just as far, and as fast, as it may be given me to know it. Yet in this resolution I by no means feel alone. A still small voice whispers to the soul guided by Conscience, ” Fear not; they that be with us, are more than they that be with them.”

Though to the external eye the battle-field of the world appears entirely covered with hostile and sanguinary forces, yet when the spiritual vision is opened, legions of light will be seen arrayed on the side of Truth; and along with these whatever is truthful and good, even in the bosom of those very foes, themselves, is on your side. Victory is certain. It only depends on you whether you will share in it, or whether, arrayed on the side of temporal and external power, you will share its present glory, and its coming shame. .

There are no real discouragements, ever, to the one who truly looks it things. The great idea of progress once received, there can be no such thing as fear. Only he who yet clings to material forms will ever experience disappointment in the result of truth, or the progress of events. He who identifies power with prescribed modes, will be doomed constantly to see them fail. Popery once swayed the temporal as well as the spiritual destinies of Europe. It can do neither now. Presbyterianism once did very much the same in this country. It can do it no longer : and yet Truth lives; and Humanity advances toward the realization of its destined state of harmony. All mere forms may, and will die; but no truth will die; no vital force will ever be lost. In one sense there is no power but that of God, and the powers that be are ordained of God. But then these powers are spiritual, not carnal; and so far are they from being connected with the outward structure, that they are often mighty engines of destruction nursed in their own bosom, for the pulling down of the strongholds of established Form, and Semblance of Truth and Power.

It is doubtful whether the advanced minds are not destined ever to be in the minority, and to wield, comparatively, small external forces. The mind of great constructive power may choose its own field of operation. If the man be spiritual and true, he will choose the higher; if gross and selfish, he will choose the lower. He can not wait the appointed time for the development of a force. He grasps that one already embodied, perhaps expended, and possesses the fruits of power for a moment, in preference to those which endure for all time. And yet the force one wields is finite; that of the other infinite.

O that this appeal might reach every living soul—thou art a child of Immortality. Do not sell thy heavenly birthright for a mess of pottage. Do not barter thy soul for the enjoyment, or ease, or honor of a day. It may be pleasanter to go with the multitude, and seek honor for a time; but if you could look up and see the cloud of witnesses that are around you, the innumerable spirits of just men ma^o perfect, that stand by, ready to aid you; more than all, if you could rise to the sphere of causes, and feel what Truth and Right can do, and* that these are the only things that possess any enduring power, you would say, I will go with these wherever they may lead me; for all the abiding life, all the abiding strength, must be with them.

If, then, the really spiritual man can not labor for the building up of a sectarian institution, much less can he follow in the wake of one already built up—already verging to decay. The thing is impossible. Power is not evolved by submission, but by struggle. The spirit was made to control the body, not the body the spirit. Only a desecration of the one, and rapid decay of the other, can follow an inversion of this law.

The power of Truth is inherent and invincible. She remains untouched by all the storms and earth-strife of materialism. What is done in her name, is done forever.

The eternal yearn of God are hers.”

The claims of Right shall stand unharmed, amid all the clashing tumult of conflicting interests; and when these have destroyed them selves, and ceased, they shall vindicate the wisdom of that soul which in darkness confided in the true power.


[The following is an abstract of a lecture on the above subject, delivered by J. K. Ingalls. before the Society of Liberals, Sunday, May 15th. 1853.]

The important question which presses for an investigation at the present day, is that of Labor, and its just remuneration. It is a question, the magnitude of which is beginning to be strongly felt by the vast majority of the people; and the time for its solution can not be far distant. The true relations of labor and capital must be understood and adopted ere long, or the most disastrous results will ensue.

There is a true science of the rights of labor, or there is not: if not, one scheme may be as good as another; but if there is, by investigation and analysis, we can attain to the true knowledge of that science.

Every individual has interests connected with this question; and therefore all should examine it that they may be qualified to aid in its elucidation, and to decide as to the manner of its settlement, in the way it may appear to them. The poor and the rich—the unlearned and the learned—will all be affected by the result. Education is rapidly preparing the masses with that degree of knowledge which enables them to dispense with the services of those who exchange their wits for a livelihood. The time has been when the individual who had attained a collegiate education, possessed a diploma which sustained him through life. But now it is better to graduate at the Workshop to be able to procure the means of support, than at the institutions of learning, He who can sustain his family by labor, is superior to him who can not use his hands to obtain the supplies to his wants, but who is compelled to bow to wealth for its favors. And the goddess Fortune is so tickle that the rich of to-day may be poor to-morrow, and vice versa; so that, inasmuch as all men may be compelled to labor, and as each one should do so sufficiently to maintain himself, none can wisely say, ” It is well enough—the relations of labor and capital arc just.”

But the question respecting the right of man to labor, and its just remuneration, is not a difficult one. It is not hard to ascertain the rights which, by the gift of Nature belong to each individual, and which he must in the proper order of things realize.

In the first place, we find man having an existence; and therefore he must have a place in which to exist, and a natural right to occupy that place. He is furnished with lungs, and hence he requires air to breathe; he has eyes, but light is needed to enable him to see; and he possesses various bodily organs, each of which has its office, and is furnished by Nature with the means of performing it. So with the whole man; he has certain requirements, certain inalienable rights, and he must have the means of realizing those rights, or be a slave— be deprived of a portion of the provisions existing in Nature for his proper existence.

Physical possessions constitute the basis of human operations. When these are enjoyed in justice, there is no oppression. But there is a distinction between property and possession. Possession is the inalienable right of man; property is what he produces from this right. Despots have denied that man has any inalienable rights; but do they not exist? Because the plant has not arrived at maturity, is it not a plant? If the elements of the free man are yet undeveloped in the slave, is he therefore without an inalienable right to be free? The rights of all men are equal. And the only true restraint to each individual’s sphere of action aside from the promptings of his own will, commences with his infringement upon the rights of others.

There is a difference between the spontaneous productions of the earth, and that which is the result of man’s skill. But our laws recognize no distinction. They make property of every thing, whether produced by toil or by nature; and even go so far as to make property of man. This is not in accordance with any principle of right—any true science of nature. It is in opposition to the fundamental principle of the rights of man; which is his right to labor—to till the earth, and enjoy the full product of his toil without interference. And this first right—the basis of social liberty—the important prerogative of Individual Sovereignty—let us secure and uphold by all manner of just means.

The present relations of man to his possessions and property, are inverted. What is termed ” capital,” is not confined to property; but it embraces things which never have and never can be produced by labor. The earth, with all its productions, from the rocks upon its surface to the richest ores in its depths—from the simplest plant of the field to the loftiest tree of the forest—have been held as the property of one set of men to the exclusion of others, and have been obtained by purchase or by inheritance. All the natural productions of the earth are claimed as property; and so is man himself. And this unhallowed inversion of man’s natural and legitimate relations, has resulted in the vast accumulation of property by some and the abject poverty and slavery of others.

Is there, in the the nature of things, any power in property to reproduce itself? Is capital entitled to any reward? Yet, in the present social derangement, property is made to accumulate property, and capital to increase from its own value. And while capital is the controlling power—making man the dependent, or the artisan inferior to his productions—it will continue to demand its dividend, and to buy and own man, its creator.

Man is the active agent, and the only one; while the soil and the elements controlled by man are the passive ones. But society has given money the power to buy both—man, the active, and earth, the passive. Money represents man who labors, and the earth that is cultivated; no wonder that it commands interest. It represents bones and sinews, the earth and its elements, the homes and possessions of man, instead of the value of productive industry.

To ascertain, therefore, the solution of this question, whether labor, alone, is entitled to compensation, we must go outside of society; because we can not solve it while the relations of the active and passive, the creator and the created, are inverted.

I assume, then, that if money could not buy man, the earth and its elements, it would lose its power of compensation or of increase. Capital should be the product of labor and that alone. Labor is entitled to the product—man is entitled to that only which he produces. We have no right to exchange the products of labor for man of the earth. Neither have products the right to share products.

All remuneration of capital presupposes the idleness or uselessness of the capitalist. The man of wealth is hungry—the industry of another furnishes him with food, and be himself is not obliged to labor; but he remunerates the laborer by allowing him to toil as much longer for his own support. The present rule is, for the owner of the farm to give one half of its product to the tenant who cultivates it. Thus it is, that the capitalist is naked, and behold he becomes sumptuously clothed by the laborer; he would have luxury—another’s industry furnishes it; his most trivial caprice is made known—the poor man flies to gratify him. He has gold, and he will let you use it for a time, provided you will place him in possession-of its equivalent fur a security, and largely increase the amount’ at the return. All of his life he wants labor; for which he pays the usance of gold and not labor. And if he will be benevolent, the amount of his gift is levied on his tenants and collected from them; or if he supports oppression, his laborers are compelled to supply him with the means to do so.

Capital does not increase labor; nor does it develop the resources of the country. But it is the owner of industry, and with the power which society invests in it, is the foe of mankind.

[The continuation of this subject, will appear in the next number.]


In my previous remarks upon this subject, I endeavored to demonstrate the true relations of man to the earth and its productions; and I concluded that the laws which make property of the earth and its spontaneous productions, and of man who tills the earth, were unjust, and productive of the most serious and lamentable consequences.

I am not, however, discussing the question as to whether these laws have once been beneficial in their operations, or not; and upon the decision of which should be based our present and future action; because the only means which could have been employed an age, or even a short period, since, may be entirely inadequate to our present demands. I am rather endeavoring to ascertain the true principles which relate to the subject under consideration, and what is the best course to pursue for the harmonizing of mankind, so far as the conditions of labor may exert an influence to that end. I am not in favor of retaining laws which have once been satisfactory in their operation, merely because such has been the case, and not questioning their present appropriateness. Because an individual may conceive it proper under some circumstances to let blood from his system, does it follow that he shall continue that practice, henceforth? This course would soon completely exhaust all his vitality, and death would ensue.

There has been a development of the social condition of the race in a manner corresponding to the growth and progress of nature—by means of a series of progressive unfoldings, one above another. Each of the series had its appropriate degree of life; and when called upon to yield up its life, that it might be incorporated into the vitality of the succeeding and higher order, it has refused to do so; and from a desire to preserve its own identity, has adhered to it, with a protracted and rebellious grasp.

The first inhabitants of earth were hunters, and subsisted by their skill in capturing wild-beasts. These were followed by those who practiced the more peaceful and profitable mode of domesticating animals. Subsequently a higher order succeeded—that of the cultivation of the earth. But those who adhered to their old system of life, attempted, in some instances, to plunder the progressive ones; and in order to obtain possession of their wealth, destroyed the lives of those who produced it. But the next season found the plundered district desolate; and hence the robbers adopted the plan of sparing the lives of those they captured, and said to them, ” we will not slay you; we will keep you to toil for us.” They found, however, with the development of arts and methods of convenience and comfort, that this kind of service was not satisfactory; and hence they adopted the feudal system; from which ultimately grew the present relation of labor, wages and capital. But in all of these changes and regulations, during the past, the laws governing them have been enacted and enforced by the physically powerful, and not those controlled by the moral forces.

I am not trying to prove that the world has always been wrong in its social relations. I do not urge that society could have been more rapidly developed by any other means than those which have been employed. But the question is, are we not already sufficiently elevated to operate upon principles of equity? May we not, in our present condition, render justice to whom justice is due? and give industry its full reward, instead of sharing it with idleness?

And here may be presented a few facts, in illustration of what I consider to be the true principle—which we are now capable of practicing with universal benefit—that capital is not entitled to a division, with labor, of the fruits of productive industry. I do not desire, however, to destroy the natural force of capital; but would have those laws repealed which give capital the power over man. I would have

avarice release its grasp upon the soil, and the spontaneous productions of nature. In this city, a man obtains the possession of a house by some means—by the usual operations of business it may be—and he realizes an annual income of perhaps one thousand dollars, for the rent of it; which is the reward given him by society for the merit of owning a house. Another person, without the power of obtaining a home, has been compelled to labor hard, year after year, during the whole course of his life to acquire one-third of the means received by the* first named, and from which he can hardly pay for the use of a house, and support himself and family. And this is the penalty inflicted upon him by society, for being destitute of a certain amount of capital. Is this justice? Is this equality? One labors until death releases him, and yet is in a condition of complete slavery to the one who merely possesses a certain amount of property.

Again the man who receives, yearly, the above named amount for the use of his capital, is enabled to purchase the continual labor of two- or three men for the same length of time. Suppose he was allowed to buy these men and compel them to toil; would the case be anywise different, as far as the conditions of their labor are concerned?

A business man realizes from his profession the amount of seven hundred dollars per annum—the interest of the capital invested. This he receives from the fruits of his employes’ labor, who are compelled to toil unremittingly for their subsistence. If the law granted him the privilege of owning these men, and forcing their services from them, would their position be materially changed? He receives from the fruits of each man’s skill, all that exceeds the means of a scanty livelihood—if he owned the man, he could realize no more.

I might illustrate extensively, the tact that to the extent that the capitalist abstracts from the proceeds of his workmen’s labor, he makes slaves of them. But I deem the above sufficient.

Now, is this state of things as it should be, or not? Do the laborers need emancipation, or have they their just deserts? Is the practice of usury founded upon the principles of justice, or despotism?

When the true solution of these questions is settled in the minds of the masses, the means for securing just relations between labor and capital will be comprehended and enforced. And to effect this, many think that we should not go to the extremes which we contend for, but that we might work out a sufficient reform by merely increasing the rates of wages, lessening the hours of labor, &c. If this is the best way, why agitate the matter? Why not plod along in the old paths which we have ever trod, merely repeating the attempts which we have always been making, and letting capital continue to enact the laws of labor, as has been the custom? Why do we strive to elevate that which is not depressed?

But this course will never effect a just and lasting remedy. What we need is a radical change—one that will completely extirpate the unjust principle which allows capital to own that which is not truly property, and to usurp a portion of the fruits of industry. And no difficult and complicated scheme is necessary to effect this. The simple laws of nature are all sufficient, and may be easily understood and practiced.

I do not, however, expect or wish a great revolution which will make laboring men idle dwellers of palaces. I only insist that we should use our utmost exertions to promote justice; that we should understand and proclaim our rights and grievances. If capital receives that which is not its own, why shall we not say so? Or if labor is rewarded too highly, let us ascertain the amount and declare it, or we may do injustice to capital. Let us discuss the whole question thoroughly, and announce the result to the world. But few may receive it at first; yet if the conclusion is a true one, its friends will multiply more and more, until the desired reform may be worked out.

Let us not be satisfied by the sophistry of those who declare, that when capital is abundant, all are more happy, and labor is better rewarded. Because, the more capital there is hoarded up, the more tremendous and disastrous are the results; for it operates as great weights of oppression, which crush the life and limb. It is unnecessary and injurious that great wealth should exist at all; for the luxuriance, ease and splendor which it produces, causes weakness, effeminacy, and aristocracy in its subject’, while it oppresses more and more the envious and hostile laborer whom it causes to accommodate its caprices.

It is a great mistake that an accumulation of capital is beneficial. The whole amount of wealth created in the past, would not sustain one-tenth of the race for one year, if productive industry should cease. The benefits of wealth are not universal; and capitalists understand full well that it is the isolation of wealth which gives it power. If I could be furnished the control of all the labor of the world, without one cent of capital, except the land and the means which nature furnishes, I would be able, in ten years to produce all of the utility, and much of the luxury, which at present exists on the face of the earth; and I would reward labor as well as it is at present rewarded.

It is an erroneous idea, that laborers are in the most prosperous circumstances when wages are the highest, especially if the remuneration of capital is also increased. It is but a mere appearance. Laboring men have not been benefitted the most during a rise in the price of labor, but rather the reverse. If the wages of all were raised alike, without also an addition to the quantity of products, how would the necessaries and comforts of life be increased to the working man? There would be the same demand for supplies, by the whole world; and increased consumption by one class would cause a corresponding scarcity for another, and, therefore, additional prices for consumptive articles; so that in the end, high wages would secure no more than low ones.

An elevation of the price of labor is not the great end to be sought; but self-employment—the realization of each one’s natural right to the soil and the spontaneous productions of the earth—independence of the power of capital, and a destruction of the unjust relations between it and labor. But there must be means for the accomplishment of this; there must be organized action; combination of labor; freedom from debt, and from the claims of the landlord—and to accomplish the latter let each one save a dollar a week, or whatever amount he may, toward the securing of a house.

Let the masses better their condition now. to the extent which the present relation of labor and capital will admit of. But this is not the ultimate which we desire. We are in a transition state; and these efforts toward emancipation bespeak the corruption and tyranny of the power of capital; they are caused by the agitation which will be succeeded by a revolution and the final establishment of a superior condition.

In conclusion, the question plainly stated is this : Is labor entitled to the full product of its industry—or should it yield a portion to capital? Is it just to compel one man to share a part of the fruits of his industry, with him who remains in idleness—or to receive the full compensation for his labor? And I answer, unequivocally, that the laborer, and him only, is justly entitled to the full fruits of his toil. Capital should receive a full reimbursement and no more; because capital of itself produces nothing; labor avails all that is superadded to the spontaneous productions of nature. Who, then, is entitled to the proceeds, but the producer?



The present hour is one of transition. Old systems of government, philosophy and religion are breaking up and disappearing. The time has come when the earth and heavens of the past must crumble over internal convulsions and revolutions, and give place to such new systems of things, as are able to acquire the ascendency. In the work of these days mighty issues rest. These are Lord’s days, one of which is as a thousand years, giving character and destiny to centuries. They are the ” seed time,” in the great revolution of the social and moral seasons, when on a well prepared surface the germs of immortal Truth may be planted, to spring up and become the hope and harvest of future years. With a sense of this responsibility, attached to whatever he may do, the Reformer of to-day goes forth, amid a host of antagonistic influences, but he does, or should, scatter only “good seed.” It is important too, that he work, for what is not sowed by his hand will be supplied by another’s; if not better then worse. A night must also succeed the day, an end to the season, and then no one can work. This end may represent the period of reorganization, after which little hope can be entertained for the purification of the elements, until another cycle shall have been made, and another upheaval have taken place.

Organization is the general order, and its nature can only be affected by the character of the constituent elements. Its duration and service will be commensurate with the perfectibility of its materials, and the harmony of the combining forces. While mediation is therefore of great importance, it is not of the highest; for with, or without mediation, the combination will be formed. It is not so certain, however, that the exact proportions will be observed, or that all foreign and deleterious substances will be excluded. Any premature movement then, to realize association, before the proportions and mutual affinities of all the elements are ascertained, can not fail to result in disaster. To this investigation there must be the utmost scope and freedom, or sight may be lost of some important principle of the science.

Impressed with this truth, the writer has thought to contribute his mite, toward the promotion of scientific, philosophic, and Christian views of the rights and relations signified above. The learned world has produced enough systems of political economy and moral philosophy, could these have taught mankind to observe the natural rights and social duties. It must be remembered however, that these authors, profound and good as they may have been, explain the economy, morality and general apprehensions of the past, while they ignore the present and deny the future. It is possible, that a difference exists between generalizing the practical morality and social institutions of the ages, and an appeal to natural laws and impartial right. At any rate, the latter, not the former, is the course which the reader of these numbers is requested to pursue. It is useless to think of patching up old worn out garments with new cloth, or of storing away new wine in old skins; we must begin de novo; sit down like children divested of all prejudices of sect or party, or caste, or separate interest, and inquire of nature and of conscience. No approval shall be valued, no condemnation shall be feared, which flows from another condition of mind. In order to secure a full comprehension of the subject, and a just conception of the relation these questions sustain to each other, they are presented in this complex form.

We need not refer to books, to show that relatively, at least, there is no proper apprehension of the rights of man or of property. Our daily experience convinces us, that somewhere exists a gross misunderstanding of the essential qualities of justice, in reference to men’s relations and dealings with each other. The universal conscience of the world bears witness that it will not do to be Christian more than one day in seven, and even then only in a formal way; also that business is not to be confounded at all with friendly and social intercourse, as the maxims of each are essentially different. Everywhere, the right of property is good against the right of man. Throughout the country it is acknowledged that the slave has the right of a man to freedom, and yet our civil polity is such, that the right of property, vested in the master, retains him in bondage, or brings him back to it, whenever he presumes to use his natural powers to assert his natural rights. The master has property invested in him, and in the eye of practical law as expounded in this land, the right in that transcends all other rights.

When so glaring an instance as this meets us at the very threshold, the reader will not be surprised to find similar indications at every step as we proceed in the investigation. Though we may not find slavery in the precise form here presented, yet the same unjust subjection of the man to the wealth, which forms the basis of all slavery in civilized nations, will be seen to pervade the civil and business affairs of all Christendom. Nor are the results essentially different. Whether the inverted relation of these rights enables the man of property to own my person, or the products of my labor, the injustice is potentially as great; because it is for the products of my labor alone, that possession of my person is sought. It may also be remarked in this connection, that the most arbitrary master is not able to compel, under the chattel system, more menial and debasing service, than the capitalist is able to secure, under the higher system of wages. The contrast, ultimately, between a smarting back and a famishing stomach, may not appear so very great. The same power of property and disregard of man, which enables the master to realize a hundred or two of dollars from the labor of the slave, above his own support, enables the man of equal nominal wealth to realize an equal or greater income. Now as all income is the result of labor, his property has worked for him the same or a better result, than the property of the slaveholder, and robbed the laborer of an equal proportion of the results of his toil.

But it was not intended to canvass the claims, or order of the reforms, indicated by these evils. It should be remembered; however, that all radical evils rest upon a common foundation, a disregard of the great principles of human brotherhood and reciprocal justice. To bring man up to an enlightened conception and love of these, is to secure the object sought by the projection of all fragmentary reforms. It must here be assumed that the intellect of the race is now capable of something more than partial views and purblind experiments. Empiricism needs longer trial in the social system, no more than in our systems of medical science. It is more competent to form a new order on scientific principles, than to remodel the old, by everlasting patchwork and attempts at approximation. Our object should be, to inquire into the essential right and truth of things, for a natural system of civil and social organization; not to speculate as to what may be, to-day, or to-morrow, in accordance with the ever-changing standard of the world’s indurated conscience. Without any attempt to decide what is right, or what is wrong, under the reign of Mammon, without intending to censure or to praise individuals or classes, who find themselves surrounded by circumstances, which compel submission to some extent, where all serve, it may be inquired, what is wrong, and what would be right beneath the rule of God and fraternity. Let us make this our aim; and elevated to a position of judgment, forget the lower questions of self-interest, or the success of an isolated sect, party or class. In this light alone should the “question of property” be discussed, as it regards the natural right of man, and just association of interests and distribution of the products of labor. This question covers the whole ground, where material difficulties are likely to arise; and once defined and fully comprehended and recognized, the process of organization would flow spontaneously from the new relations and conditions; because order, and not anarchy, is the divine method always. Anarchy itself may be regarded, indeed, as an order, though of transition. This question practically underlies all the disputed points in polities, socialism, and industrial reforms. The organization of labor has no essential obstacle, but what exists in an ignorance or disregard of the generally received maxims of right, in their application to modes of distribution. Partnership can do nothing effectual for the laborer, or even the man of skill, while capital is allowed to share in that distribution; since the labor and talent, requisite to carry on a business, is very generally possessed, while the capital is confined to a few hands. Antagonism must exist, as long as a false principle is involved, whether it be in the world or in the phalanx. Indeed the world itself would be a combination of infinite harmonies, were it not for the falses of its organizations, which are working out their results in giant wrong, in wars, monopolies, systems of slavery and of wages.

Not to anticipate what is to be the second topic of discussion, it may be remarked here, that the claim of capital to divide with labor, rests ultimately on the same foundation, with every species of oppression, which the world has heretofore shaken off, and which we feel so fortunate in having escaped. It is also very natural, for capital as well as labor, to seek modifications of the system; since its continuance, in the present form, must bring ultimate universal bankruptcy to the business community, as well as want, deprivation and death to the producer. It is not the first time that wrong has sought compromise with its victim. The ancient robber, who lived by plunder of the defenseless peasantry, soon discovered that his cruelty was fatal to himself as well as to his victims. He therefore sought a mediation, sparing their lives to enslave their bodies. This was chattel slavery. Still further enlightened, he compromises again, and agreed, not only to spare the toiling from death and servitude, but to protect them from more barbarous foes than himself, simply in consideration of rent and military service. This was Feudalism, the second form of slavery, giving birth to the system of wages, under which we live. This last was also a mediation, where he becomes not only a protector and patron, but apparent benefactor, giving employment and rewarding industry! But uncertainty attaches now to all investments. The inhuman lie, working its way through cheats, and deception, begetting disappointment and poverty, where it promised plenty, has come up from the lowest even to the highest, and is now staring its authors in the face. In this emergency, what more available than another compromise, by which the old barbarous plunderer, divested of its outward name and form, but of none of its essential properties or aims, may be sent away on another world-tour, and thus the day of judgment be again postponed, till the accomplishment of another cycle! Upon the promulgation of proper sentiments on this subject now depends the social and political character of the coming ages; and even their morals and religions; for a healthy morality, or exalted religion can not abide a habitual disregard of social and civil justice.

To incite attention to the subject canvassed in the succeeding numbers, the following general propositions are here offered. 1. To reward capital, is a direct inversion of natural right, as the right of man must be acknowledged paramount to that of property, and property can not appropriate a portion of the products of labor, without asserting a better or superior right to it. 2. Any system, securing a premium to capital, however small, must result in the want, degradation and servitude of one class, and in bestowing unearned wealth and power upon another, the ultimation of which shall be general bankruptcy and ruin. This is capable of being proved, not only by the general principles of reasoning, but by mathematical demonstration. A thorough acquaintance with the subject of capital and labor as now existing, can not lead to another conclusion. A few of the features it presents to the writer’s thought, will be here submitted. They may suggest a train of reflection, which will be serviceable in giving force to the conclusions we shall arrive at, by a process of argumentation. The mere possession of a few thousand dollars, is rewarded now, the same as a life of industry. If a man have three or four thousands, to his idleness there is distributed the same amount as to the hard, life-long toil of a laboring man. Some ten or twenty thousands are equal to the best talent in the country; and the owners are rewarded for the merit of possessing it, as much as society gives its best teachers, engineers, builders, &c. If this were a matter merely of favor toward them, it would not appear so objectionable; but in order to be able to pay them so much for idleness, society has grasped the productions of labor; and, having no other resource, perpetuates the wrong, by whatever deceptive force she is able to wield.

Suppose a man of ordinary business talents to realize seven hundred dollars a year, and pay seven per cent, on ten thousand dollars, to do business with. Then the reward of the capital is equal to that of the skill and labor of the man. Nor in partnership, where dividends were made to capital, could the result be different. Suppose, that in place of that ten thousand dollars, the capitalist owned that man, how could he obtain from his exertions any greater advantage, than now accrues from the working of this principle? We shall see, ere we have done, that to reward capital at all, is to confound all distinctions between men and things, and reduce the human being, not only to a chattel, but a machine. Suppose the yearly income of a banker, from his money, to be a hundred thousand dollars. As this is the result of labor or skill not his own, and is equal to the earning of about five hundred laborers, in what sense is his virtual relation to labor different from that of the owner of five hundred slaves?

Again; suppose a man’s property to consist of horses or oxen. In ordinary exchange of labor or of products, their labor is canceled by the labor of men. In the joint-stock association, the laboring ox and the laboring man would be dealt with on the same principle, nor would the actual result be essentially different, if the capitalist owned the men instead of the brutes, except the increased responsibility it would throw upon him.

An ordinary house in the City of New York will rent for as much as the wages of a man, and consequently will command that labor in the market. If the laws which create the necessity of the tenants, and enforce the collection of rents, gave the landlord power to buy a man with his money, in the place of the house, his relation to labor would, in no respect, be different from what it now is. If the premises are employed for legitimate purposes, to the amount of the rent, deducting repairs, &c., the labor of the tenants suffer what the French call exploitation. If used for purposes most destructive to public health and morals, the relation of the landlord is the same, and would not be different in result, if he was allowed by law to own men and women, and for personal gain sell them to the infamy. In the name of brotherhood, it is asked, what meaning can there be in “cooperation,” “mutual guarantee,” and other cheering watchwords of socialism, when the mere chance of birth, or precarious fortune, in a most antagonistic state, determines the position of numbers, as entitled to live in luxury, without toil, or to labor on a plane with cattle and machines! If the reader will patiently follow the discussion, in the numbers which are to follow, he will be able to decide for himself on the correctness and importance of the general propositions.



Man is the rightful lord of this lower world. He is not arbitrarily placed at the head of creation, but by a law of nature, which causes all bodies to gravitate to their true positions, and take rank and order, according to their essential elements. He embraces, in himself, the perfection of all forms and kingdoms; and whatever may be believed in reference to superior agency and influence, it is through his intellectual and moral power, chiefly, that all change of rule, all amelioration of condition, all improvement in the relations of men and things, is to be effected. It is not necessary at present to consider the comparative claims of the different races or castes of men to superiority. It may be that some are, and must be, greater than the rest; but this does not prove that one has all the rights and the other none; that one may become property to another. It may be contended that some, we deem of human race, are not men at all. This will invalidate no position we assume, for we are talking of men, not brutes. Neither will it affect materially the practical result; because Capacities, Rights, And Duties, Are Coextensive. There is no necessity for pleading the right of the beast to be taught reading and writing—he has no capacity, and hence no right and no duty in this respect.

And since this broad ground is taken, it is unnecessary to go into further detail with regard to what man is, or who are men. No person, in asserting his freedom, will claim the right to exercise powers that he does not possess; nor should any right be guaranteed him by society, without exacting the discharge of correspondent duties. And let not this proposition be misconceived. Society is no compact, where rights and duties are compromised and cancelled. The true order is organized of God, is natural, and as a consequence, asks no yielding up of natural rights, as both monarchists and democrats oft contend. When considered collectively, and it is only in this way he can be considered truly, man must be seen to possess rights commensurate with his powers, bound, in duty, only to act in proportion as these are enjoyed. Hence they must never be defined so as to come in collision, or cause one man to suffer oppression from another. The natural rights of men are indicated by their capacities and their needs, they are morally confirmed by requirements. Existence itself presupposes time and space for its enjoyment. But no extension of this right can destroy itself; that is, no right of life in you, can destroy this right of life in me. No right of life in society can destroy the right of life in the individual. The only ground for justification, in the deprivation of human life, is the extreme necessity for self-preservation from some one violating this right. The moral duty, even in this case is not discussed; but, on the lowest ground of natural justice, there is no conflict or compromise required of this primary right of man, from which all others Bow. If this is kept in mind it will save from much confusion, when we come to consider more complicated rights, rendered obscure and contradictory by the present antagonistic system. For upon this common ground all will agree; and no scientific person, with judgment unbiased, would receive a system that involved a conflict of interest, rights, or duties.

From the right of life flows naturally the right of action, involving the right of possession to that which must be acted on. The distinction now made may be deemed unimportant; but let it be employed, if for nothing but convenience. These possessions shall be termed natural, in contradistinction from those which are acquired. It will be seen that they have a prior existence, since all possessions we have acquired, must have proceeded from the exercise of our natural rights and powers upon possessions previously accorded to our control. The right under consideration indicates a right of possession in our person, in so much of the earth’s surface, the air, the sunshine and the water, as are necessary to the sustenance and development of our beings. To make natural rights to signify less than this, is to throw open all again to chance and conjecture. To talk of general rights, and yet in our manifesto refuse to descend and particularize these, and indeed many more, is but to attempt a repetition ol those tyrannies which, in the name of order, have perpetrated every injustice, and, with great pretensions of regard for freedom, have sanctioned slavery, monopoly, and the worst species of gambling. This right of possession in the passive agent, without which the right of action is nugatory, is first in order, and can not, of course, justly be made to yield to those more collateral. However circumstances may affect the expediency of asserting these rights, they are inherent in man, inalienable and indefeasible. As there is no conflict in the great right of life, when understood in a catholic sense, so there is none in this right of possession, when duly defined. There has been created a great abundance of soil, of wood, stone, metals, minerals, and all materials suited to man’s needs and the employment of his energies; enough, thrice told, for all the race, were their highest wants, satisfied, and their powers carried to the highest degree of activity. This right, like the other, is self-limiting; it can bestow no power on one to possess, while it takes from another a corresponding power, it must then be set down as an inflexible law : that right of possession in the passive agent, which we term a natural possession, is second only to the right of life, and can neither sanction the deprivation, of a single human being, of place and means to live and labor, nor in any case be made secondary, to the right over acquired possessions. The principle in our civil systems, which subjects the natural to the acquired right, is an inversion of the order of nature and of God, and has wrought out such results as we see. Another scheme for upholding the inverted pyramid is scarcely worth the trying.

The action, in accordance with these principles, results in products. The right of the man to these can surely not be questioned. And yet many of the confused notions entertained on the subject of remuneration to capital, arise here. It is regarded as an open question among Associationists, whether the passive agent is entitled to compensation, and upon the decision of this, is supposed to rest the other question, whether capital shall be paid a premium. They are regarded, indeed, one and the same thing. The one, however, has no more connection with the other, than it has with how many wives a man may have, nor so much. For the appropriation of a part to the passive agent, would be giving back to the soil, and to the elements, what we have drawn from them in some form or other. This is evidently a law of Nature which is seen every where to indicate itself, when the products of labor arc exchanged for gold, to pay rent and interest; the passive agent being denied its due, fails to yield, as readily, its reproductive qualities responsive to the labor of man. To set up a man as representative of the passive agent, is to confound all classification. An absentee landlord of Ireland, is allowed by this ignorance or violation of the first elements of right, to represent the passive agent, upon which some hundreds and thousands of the active agents are employed. A few roots and herbs go the active agent, and all the grain and more valuable productions go to the passive agent, i. e., the landlord! An irresponsible parasite of the active species here receives all that is claimed as belonging to the passive elements. What a ridiculous aspect does this assumption and action present, toward the principle of nature, on which it professes to be based! But the subject is too serious for ridicule. What horrible results have attended the working of the falsehood? Both the active and passive agents have been reduced to poverty, by its operation, to maintain an excrescence unnecessary to either. The fruitful properties of the soil, the vital energies of the man, have been exhausted by this unnatural scheme; and barrenness of the one, and destitution of the other, must follow every attempt at such violation of the prime laws of nature. It needs not that the right of society, to regulate the award between the active and the passive agents, be denied. We must protest, however, once for all, against any right of society, to allow these agents to represent each other, so as to make property of man, or enable one man, in the name of property, to share the products of another man’s labor. The first right established, and there would arise none of this confusion; for even if it was proposed to reward the owner of the passive agent, it would amount to nothing, as it would be the producer himself; since the thing requisite to be acted on is, by natural right, the possession of the actor. Were the rights of man properly understood and guarded, nature would vindicate her own, and secure the proper award to the earth and its spontaneous productions.

Thus far then we have come, and arrived at Fourier’s conception of the right of property, which is simply this: that to each one belongs of right, whatever is the fruit of his activity. This is styled property, by which is signified acquired possessions. And if the reader please, the terms property and possessions, will be employed hereafter to distinguish between acquisitions, and what belongs to Ur by natural right. This right of property, then, is second to that of possessions, as that is to the right of life. It is more conditional; because, if necessity demand, it must be waived to secure the enjoyment of either of the others. As we do not believe in the conflict of rights, however, we will only designate its proper place in the natural order. In another number we shall further define property, and determine the nature and order of its rights. It is only referred to now, for the purpose of clearly exhibiting what is appropriate to man. Although of a lower order, this is one of the rights of man, and depends not on having a place in our “bill of rights,” or in Fourier’s or Proudhon’s system of socialism. The mark of the man is stamped on that which his activity has created; though the law says it belongs to another, though the communist says it belongs to society, this fact, neither can change. If he is compelled, or moved from choice, to yield it to the master, the miser, or the general fund, or bestow it on a suffering brother, it makes no difference, and the credit, honor, or gratitude accruing from” it justly are his due. The very law of society which forces it from him, the very demand of the community, would be a tacit admission of this right, which they seek to destroy. Unquestionably the time will come, when a perfect regard of human rights and the holy dictates of brotherhood, will leave no cause for distinctive individual property, as now held; but this will result from the operation of just and equitable sentiments, pervading the whole body, which will enable every one to be estimated at his just importance, without attending to long columns of figures, or length of purse.

General plenty of all needed things, and an industry, rendered attractive to all, will also banish in a measure, that selfish avarice and disposition to shrink from equitable toil, which is at once cause and effect of our social inequalities. But it will be, because the essential principles of justice are observed, and no one is disposed to appropriate that to himself which another has produced, that indifference of the individual will be induced to a constant personal care and control of his productions. Whenever society or individuals attempt to make that appropriation of them, which belongs to him alone, his assertion of the prerogative must follow.

Freedom of exchange for the products of his labor is another right of man, considered in reference to his fraternal relations and rests upon this ground. If he has not an equal, in the measure of natural justice, he can not claim the right of free trade. But between those equals, no power under heaven, may justly prevent fraternal exchanges. The whole system of revenue, derived from exchange of products, for whatever pretense; all prohibition of trade between man and man; and all legal impediments to an equitable system of commerce, of whatever nature, are clear and undisguised infringements of human rights, plain violations of every dictate of fraternal sentiment. This is not the highest of man’s rights to be sure. It is secondary, even to the right of property; but still it is a right, and need be brought into conflict, with no other, in a well regulated society. With regard to the expediency of asserting this right under existing institutions, nothing requires to be said. We are not discussing political policy, which is the lowest form of subserviency of the man to the thing; but natural right in a society organized on scientific and christian principles; with the first we have nothing to do; with the last, every thing.

What is necessary to our subject, then, is the acknowledgment of this trinity of Rights—of possessions, of property, and of exchange. Any scheme of organization which shall bring them into antagonism is unworthy of man’s attention. It is not necessary to mystify our meaning to the common mind, by the employment of empty technicalities. What is right can be easily comprehended, where the interested feelings, engendered by existing injustice, are brought into subjection to the voice of conscience. Were the disposition, to abide by the decision of inflexible justice, generally felt, there would be little difficulty in convincing men that nature’s order is far better than all the experiments of the empiric.

We are called to contemplate an entire subversion of all the elements of human rights, in the present civil and social institutions; made subservient as they all are to a thing which, to man bears the relation of creature to the creator, effect to the cause. This thing is property, capital, a monopoly of the products of labor, wrested from the producer by force or craft, a monopoly of the common bounties of nature; in other words, the passive agent, and even of the active agent, man himself. We need no scheme of half-way compromise, between these wrongs and indubitable right. Any system that does not boldly propose for its aim the entire abolition of the one, and the establishment of the other on indestructible foundations, is unworthy a moment’s thought, from an intelligent workingman, or a lover of his race. Because the time, the wisdom, the men, the means, are here to form an organization, which shall not only exclude these evils in its own form, but gradually and surely, effect their peaceful overturn in all human society.



We have seen that Property exists as the product of man’s activity on a possession, which is his by birthright. The right to property thus produced, can nut be questioned; it is to us a self-evident truth, which would involve the utmost folly to deny, or attempt to establish by rides of logic. . Nor can any of the evils complained of, as attaching to the present relations of capital and labor, be justly attributed to this source. It will be seen on the contrary that they generally arise from direct violation of this right, and that to establish it on natural and scientific foundations, would be to abrogate all unequal and unjust operations of business, which now enable the indolent rich to plunder the toiling poor.

But it must still be remembered, that this right is second to the other of possessions, from which alone it flows; so that in fact the consistent recognition of one must result in the recognition of the other. But it is necessary that the terms be explicitly defined. That property is the product of man’s activity is well enough; but then by trade, it has been made to mean other things as well; indeed any thing else, but this. It seems another self-evident proposition that the product of human labor can only be exchanged for the product of human labor. If this be true, then nothing can be property, but what has been produced by toil, human toil; and whoever claims protection under its rights, for that which has not thus been produced, is practising an imposition. It is not necessary to distinguish between actual creations, and that which has merely been ” taken out of a state of nature;” for after all. we only change the relations, forms and combinations of things in our most elaborate productions. When this shall apply, however, to the primitive elements, as the earth, the air, and the water, something more must be understood than a mere fencing in, or still more questionable appropriation on paper. A legitimate use of these can only entitle one to assume properly in them, and even then the property is not in them, for they are natural possessions, but simply in the products realized. If a man chooses to infallibility is kept alive and before the people. But now is the time to investigate these positions, because never before was the world so full of scientific discovery.

In the light of the nineteenth century, the Mosaic account is notoriously unsound and fallible. We have a vast number of cogent reasons for rejecting the divine authority of Genesis. Let me ask your attention to a few of them.

First. “In the beginning God created heaven and earth.” There arc several philosophical objections to the truth of this statement. It is found that matter, though changeable, is indestructible—not a particle can be put out of existence. Chemists have tried the experiment in vain. Hence Nature declares that matter is an eternal substance, and could not have sprung from nothing. The creation of Matter implies the bringing of something into existence from nothing, which proposition no healthy mind can for a moment entertain. Here is one reason why we object to the Mosaic account.

Second. “And God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day and the darkness he called Night.” Aside from the supernatural operation here implied, there are very strong scientific objections to this statement. But first let us notice the internal contradiction. You will observe that there were three days and three nights before God put” lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night.” Before the creation of a “greater light to rule the night,” how—let me ask—could there have been “evening and mornings.” But this objection is trivial in comparison to the following :

It is asserted that “Darkness was upon the face of the deep”—that God said let there be light, and there was light”—implying the absence at first of all light from the universe. This is in direct antagonism to all the positive discoveries of the age. “The celebrated speculation of La Place, now very generally received as probable by astronomers, concerning the origin of the earth and planets, participates essentially in the strictly inductive character of modern theory. The speculation is, that the atmosphere of the sun originally extended to the present limits of the solar system; from which, by the process of cooling, it has contracted to its present dimensions. There is in La Place’s theory,” says Mill, in his system of Logic, “nothing hypothetical; it is an example of legitimate reasoning from a present effect to a past cause, according to the known laws of that cause.” Science demonstrates that first, heat, light, and electricity were in existence before the earth was formed; but Genesis makes the earth to exist previous to light! Nature and the Old Testament are here at war with each other. Which shall we believe?

Third. The Mosiac account is unsound, because it teaches that the heavens and earth and all that in them is, were made all perfect at once. ” The Almighty voice is addressed to chaos. Confusion hears it, and wild uproar stands ruled. The waters subside; the verdant landscape is seen; songs burst from every grove; and stars, bright rolling, and silent-beaming, are hurled forth from the Almighty hand.”

And Genesis also affirms that man was more pure, perfect, and wise more in unity with heaven and his Author—than the race is to day!

In absolute refutation of all this, how explicit are the positive declarations of universal nature! The first types of vegetation, the first indications of animal life, the first things performed or invested by mankind, were rough, crude, incomplete and in every respect inferior to after developments. All things—trees, fish, birds, animals —grow from incompleteness to perfection, from rudeness to refinement, from the imperfect to the beautiful. And must all the declarations of Nature be overruled by the authority of a book whose origin is eastern and mythical!

Fourth. We object to Genesis because of another internal contradiction. The book asserts that ” God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” If God saw every thing and pronounced every thing good—let me ask: who made the wicked serpent that tempted Eve? If this animal was more subtile than any beast of the field—having the devil in him— who created them? Who was it that made and pronounced every thing good?

Fifth. Genesis can not be a true report of creation, because instead of

coinciding with the revelations of universal nature which prove the gradual formation of the globe by a cooling-ofF process, the progressive introduction or development of plants and animals on its surface by a natural method of growth, the account teaches the particular, the sudden, the miraculous, the incomprehensible creation of everything in six literal days.

Sixth. Genesis can not be a true report, because it contradicts the positive declarations of Astronomy. According to our system of chronological calculation. Moses makes the heavens and the earth about 6,000 years old. But astronomy declares that light requires three hundred thousand years to travel from one of the fixed stars! to our earth! This one fact alone proves that our globe has been in existence three hundred thousand years! But you answer that all things are possible with God,” Paul denies this (Heb. vi ch., 18 v.) and affirms by two immutable things it is impossible for God to lie.” In this I believe with the apostle; for I can not think that the Spirit of this beautiful universe is capable of an inconsistency!

Seventh. Genesis can not be a true report, because it belittles our ideas of God. The extent and grandeur of the universe, the resplendent objects and countless assemblages which people the empire of being, cleanse and purify the mind of all contracted notions of the Deity and his governments. But Moses destroys all consistent ideas of an omnipresent energizing Spirit, by describing him as a man making the universe in six days, and, being fatigued, as resting on the seventh; and not only so, but as” walking in the garden in the cool of the day “—as any common Egyptian god would be supposed to do —with hands and feet, and a limited power of vision. ” Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of an omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient Spirit! And an omniscient being, unable to find the guilty pair amongst the trees of the garden, began to call unto Adam: “Where art thou?” And after the creation was getting along altogether too fast and wickedly for the Creator, then again, like an Egyptian god (Gen. vi ch., 6 v,) ” it repeated the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Now all this is vastly too human and insignificant to be applied to the omniscient Spirit of this Universe. Every man, “christian or pagan, when in his right mind, totally rejects the narrow and cramping idea of God advocated in the book of Genesis, and elsewhere, ” A universe,” says Rev. Thomas Dick, ” vast, boundless, and incomprehensible, is just such as we ought naturally to expect from a Being who is infinite, eternal, and omnipresent; whose power is uncontrollable, whose wisdom is unsearchable, and whose goodness is boundless and diffusive. All his plans and operations must be, like himself, vast, boundless, and inconceivable by mortals.” Now I submit that this idea is not applicable to the Mosiac God of creation?

Eighth. The most advanced thinkers among the supporters of the Mosaic theory, have, as I am fully aware, made a virtue of necessity, by abandoning the idea of six literal days of creation, and accepting, instead, the geological interpretation of epochs’ or “ages.” The most learned of modern christian writers say, that the term “evening and the morning” must be accepted figuratively to mean the “ending and beginning ” of indefinite stages of creative development. Very well: there can be no objection to putting a little new wine in an old bottle —if therefore the wine will but be more acceptable to creatures of habit. But here comes a trouble of inconsistency. If we are now to receive the six days as figurative, how shall we regard the seventh day on which the Lord rested? If the six days signify “ages,” what does the seventh day mean? Why are we inconsistently and hypocritically keeping one day in each common week as the day hallowed by the repose of Deity, while, in our theory, we are compelled to accept the six days as uncertain, immeasurable, indefinite strides of creative development? Here, again, the positive principles, and deductions of a philosophical theology stand in direct antagonism to the accounts of Moses.

There are before my mind eighteen other reasons, all equally cogent, going to invalidate the divine authority and intrinsic correctness of the very first chapters in King James’s Bible. But we will let them pass, and ask attention to the origin of those chapters.

It is a singular and significant fact, that there is not a line in Egyptian history alluding to the existence or prodigies of Moses. The Egyptians were a cultivated people. Like a chain of mountains, their wonderful pyramids extend far behind the period set to Noah’s flood, without so much as mentioning such a marvellous catastrophe or event. Recent ethnological discoveries carry us into the remote past, or eight thousand years from the present time, making the Egyptian nation, with signs of the existence of a still riper civilization previously, two thousand years older that Moses seta to the creation of man. The hierologist is sustained by Chinese records, and the latter of geologic sciences.

And what is still more remarkable, the thrilling, mythic, and simple Orphic sayings and verses of Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, and Greece, are, in conception and mostly in phraseology, identical with the first part of the book of Genesis. ” And when the hieroglyphic characters of Egypt, Tartary, and Africa shall have been perfectly deciphered, it will be found, I think, that the cosmologic and demonologic relations of Moses were in existence nearly two thousand years before such a people as Jews had begun to be. These discoveries, however, will be tardily introduced, because every traveller and antiquarian knows that he is writing books to be read by protestant and sectarian readers.

Richard, in his work on Egyptian mythology, repudiates the idea that Moses was inspired to write the Pentateuch. He says, the five books of Moses carry with them internal evidence, not of one sole, connected, original composition, but they bear evidence of being a compilation from earlier annals. The genealogical tables and family records of various tribes, that are found embodied in the Pentateuch, bear the appearance of documents copied from written archives. They display no trait which might lead us to ascribe their production to the dictates of immediate revelation.” The first ten chapters of Genesis, which contain an account of Creation, are nearly two thousand years older than the Jewish nation. The pyramids and obelisks of Egypt, and the hieroglyphic records on the land of Tartary, will when fairly brought to the light, reveal the oriental parentage of the books of Moses.

Perhaps you think me too far in advance of discovery. The celebrated Mr. Gliddon, in his carefully written work on “Ancient Egypt,” says “There is no reason for supposing that other contemporary nations [*] did not possess, in those earlier times, similiar records; nor is there any reason why other contemporary nations should not have chronicled all great events, and handed down, as far as ourselves, some of the annals of those events on which the Bible, during an interval of four hundred years, is strictly silent.” Two books, one entitled the “wars of Jehovah” and the other “Sepher-Hajasher” have been found which our Bible does not contain. How came these omissions?

Intelligent christians acknowledge that the present antiquated mode of biblical interpretation can not withstand the positive deductions of all the sciences and discoveries of the age. Regarded as a record of physical events, the Mosaic history can not be sustained. Hence many minds are driven into spiritual or symbolic interpretation. The creation of the world, the garden of Eden, the temptation and fall, the deluge and tower of Babel, are received by many as symbolic relations—as types of spiritual experiences and events—refering equally to nations and individuals. Swedenborg, distinguished for his historic and scientific knowledge, declares in his commentary on the Jewish Testament that these events and accounts can be understood and supported only in a figurative or spiritual sense—implying that a literal view of them, as entertained by New England Clergy and laity, is at once absurd, untenable, and unsupportable by Nature, Reason, Intuition, and history. It would consume our time to present Swedenborg’s science of correspondences —but enough is adduced to show what reasonable men* and scholars think of the Mosaic account. Swedenborg affirms that the early scriptures were written in correspondential language, of which the hieroglyphic scriptures of earth are vestiges. Every figure symbolized some particular idea. Thus, as some writer remarks, a beetle did not stand for a beetle only, but also for the world; an asp, corresponded to royalty; au eagle, to courage; the lion, to strength; a ram’s head, to intellect; a duck, to a doctor of medicine; and a goose to a doctor of divinity.

The idea that the Bible is a connected whole—without contradiction or inconsistency—is a superstition of the protestant priesthood. The intelligent and accomplished Jesuit entertains no such untenable opinion. He depends upon the external despotisms of organization, and upon the attractions of a well-regulated and venerable ecclesiasticism, for the success of his design upon the religious liberties of humanity. Protestantism and Catholicism deserve the same condemnation. They differ, not in the character of their notions respecting infallibility, but in degree only.

The Catholic idea of Pope and Church infallibility is simply an elongation or extension of the protestant idea of Old and New Testament infallibility.

The two parties are, in theory and theology, equally foes to the interests and liberties of the world. And I have shown, I think, that one should not be allowed to impose any more restrictions on the soul of man than the other—that is to say, neither is good enough to merit the support of intelligent, benevolent, free, and conscientious minds.

Have I said any thing against true religion? Because I reject the infallibility of Paul and the Pope—the infallibility of a book and a church;—am I therefore irreligious? The Old Testament is a statement of the ideas and events of the Patriarchial Age—the era of Force; the New Testament is a statement of the ideas and events of the transitional Age—the era of Love; the two, combined, form King James’s Bible. But let me ask—why should the statement of one age remain the statement of all ages?

Can Religion be based on a book? This idea has obtained among christians; hence they imagine the heathen to be benighted, and without religion! Is God a respecter of persons or nations? Far from it. True Religion, like true anatomy and physiology, is older than books! There must be a Religion older than the Bible; a God better than it declares.

Did Newton learn astronomy in books? Did Jesus learn intuition and love of all humankind, from the prophets? Is there no inexhaustible fountain from whose flowing rivulets each soul may freely drink? Does the same God not always inspire and nourish? What would ye think of a man who does all his farming, ploughing, and planting, by reading books on Egyptian and Roman agriculture? The land before his eyes would meanwhile grow thorns and unwholesome vegetation. What, then, do ye think of christians who bid their followers to read and believe King James’s version of the testaments to the end that they may be religious and acceptable unto God? He who would not ” be wise above what is written ” (in any book,)—is a miserable pagan, engaged in blindly loving his ideals, and needs philosophic culture. For is there not a law, a science, a principle of justice and equity in man’s mental economy, superior to all writing? Let every son and daughter of Nature be developed to the fullness of the structure of the perfect man—let society develop the kingdom of Justice and Freedom within each soul and family—then you will see a manifestation Of TRUE RELIGION.

[*] That is, nations existing at the time of the Israelites.



Capital now stands in the relation of oppressor and foe to labor. Labor may not move its limbs, but at the beck of capital. Not a tithe, but a moiety of its productions must be paid as tax for the use of capital. It would cultivate the soil, but capital will not permit it, except on these conditions. A prohibition, ranging from a ” dollar and a quarter,” to hundreds and even thousands of dollars is placed on the cultivation of each acre of land on the globe. Industry would delve for the metals, which are deposited in every mountain, and make of them articles of use and labor-saving machines; but capital barricades the way. These have become property. It would build ships for commerce, and bring up the treasures of the vast deep, but capital has engrossed the means, and will allow nothing to be done in any department, except she be allowed to realize, out of it, her “cent per cent.” It is the greatest folly to think of emancipating labor by more rapid production. This will only decrease the necessity of capital to employ labor at all, and facilitate the accumulation, which is already crushing the sons of toil into the very dust. Any attempt at compromise is equally futile. Capital does not furnish employment, does not in any way award industry, does not facilitate exchange; but places her ban on all, and only allows them scope when full tribute has been awarded to her. And yet it is not seldom we hear the subject treated as though the accumulations of past labor, or rather of past robbery and slavery, was society’s main dependence, and without it the most deplorable condition would be experienced by labor. This is a great mistake. If all such ideas of property were abolished at once, should we not still have the soil, productive as ever? Should we not have all the metals and minerals, all the treasures of earth and ocean? Should we not still have the same constructive skill? Industry left free, could soon build itself a temporary residence, and the one half of its products, which it now pays to capital, would, in half a dozen years, reproduce all the essential forms of wealth, which now exist. It would not be found necessary to rebuild the pyramids, nor the penitentiaries, court-houses, kingly or ducal palaces, superceded works of internal improvement, the myriads of sectarian establishments, nor heaven-high walls of partition, in a religious, social or practical sense, to separate man from man, and prevent the poor from contemplating the beauties of nature and the possessions of the wealthy. The navy of the world might be left, till “a more convenient season.” The munitions of war, could also be dispensed with, until men got time to fight. A princely palace with squalid huts “to match,” might be superceded by a comfortable and airy mansion. The royal stables, (as the active happy life, would be unfavorable to the establishment of hospitals,) might be replaced by cheerful workshops; and after all this was done, materials would still be left. The prince and peasant, now co-laborers, would soon find out what employment was best suited to their talent. The useless and parasital professions and employments, especially the army, navy, the bar, the pulpit, and different kinds of trade and speculation, would greatly reinforce the ranks of labor and hasten the attainment of a condition, in which work would become attractive, because united with study, devotion, recreation, and amusement.

But suppose on the other hand, that labor should become defunct? The simple result must be that your army and navy, your useless professions must yield up the ghost at once. In a year nine tenths of the race would have died of starvation. The next year the other tenth would become extinct also. Can any one surmise how high ” rents ” would be in Broadway at the end of that time! Is it known, precisely, how much the wild beasts pay for the privilege of making dens of the palaces of Babylon’s ancient kings, or what may be the price for cultivating one of the hanging gardens? or how high the price for house lots at Palmyra? It might be serviceable to inquire, how much cannon and bayonets will be worth in a time of peace? Would the crowns and all the paraphernalia of kingcraft and priestcraft, indeed bring more than they cost of actual labor.

To me it is very plain that this idol, capital, is a very phantom and bugbear, an incubus, which has no moving, life giving power, only the power to oppress and keep from moving the half waking, half unconscious form of labor. Wait till the recumbent man shall once open his eyes, or thoroughly stir himself, and the spell is gone, once and for ever. But mark, what horrid contortions, what strangling of the very Breath and life circulation, a specter is able to effect! See, oh blinded brothers, what is the real cause of your oppression! not property, not monarchies, not hierarchies, not priestcraft nor kingscraft, but your own disorganization and disregard of each other’s rights and possessions. The foes you would fight are but ghosts of the past, and of your own imagination. It is your supineness that has enslaved you, and you have bound upon each other the chains, which only the hand of brotherhood can unloose. Think not by compromise to effect anything, only manly, loving action will answer now. Sec ye not how the wealth ye have heaped up in this land and in Europe, is constantly used as an engine of oppression to yourselves and brethren over the water, straggling for political freedom! Know ye not, that the gold ye think to relieve business with, will be sent to Austria and to Russia, as long as they can extort the interest from oppressed millions, by the cannon and bayonets it will furnish them! Know ye not that it will be employed to facilitate a monopoly of the soil, upon which all depend for subsistence, and the title to which is as perfect in you, in every son of toil, as in the “Lord of the manor,” even more perfect if you labor upon it and he does not! It will be employed to monopolize the bread you consume, the knowledge you would acquire; to perpetuate the superstitions and sectarian establishments, which have made you foes to each other, and caused you to wade through seas of blood. It will tax in proportion to its increase every moment’s labor, every hour’s repose. Every thing that you shall cat, drink, see or hear, will be measured, and in addition to the cost of production, there will be added, an impost as capital’s dividend. If you employ a teacher of righteousness to break to you the bread of life, you must pay not only for the service, but for the capital that was used, in procuring his education. If you meet to worship your God, you must pay your contribution to greed in the form of rent or interest. If in the defence of a righteous claim you would employ an advocate to secure justice from the laws, you must not only pay him, but a tax as interest on the capital and time employed in preparing him for his vocation. Thus you find the labor of the past, so far from being an aid, it is the main obstacle to your success, and all attempts at progress with this before you will only increase its potency, as the school-boy’s ball of snow grows larger at every turn until it becomes immovable; and blocks up his own pathway.

What then, says the timid reformer, shall be done? Capital and labor have become strangely inverted by position, but you would not advocate a destruction of one or the other? Certainly not. I would say to the boy, tugging and sweating to move the mountain of his own creation, you can never succeed in that way. If the ball will not allow you to proceed, just step out, though it be into deep drift and go round it. The exertions, which here are impotent for good, will soon bring you to a beaten path again. Leave it to the action of the sun and rain, since it will not accompany you. To labor I would say, let capital alone. You can get on without that; that can not go on, can not preserve its existence for a day without you. To capital I would say, accompany labor in the accomplishment of its destiny, that thereby thy existence may be preserved, is will be better for both, but infinitely better for thee. Do not attempt to ride on his shoulders any longer, however, lest the luxuries his hand is compelled to furnish, ultimately intoxicate thee, and in a moment of fancied security, the desperate Sinbad release himself from thy grasp, and with the first weapon he can find, crush thy dominative head, even though there were no use in it.

The only peace then that should be sought, is a return to natural relations, where the labor of to-day is paid as well as the labor of yesterday, and each man may have what is his own by natural possession of actual creation. Freedom of labor and conservation of wealth, is the only union at all desirable. This is alike just and beneficial to both. It is as idle to preach cooperation to capital, as it would be to preach peace to the Czar of Russia. Capital knows, if you do not, my brothers, that in isolation, monopoly, engrossment of the passive agent and possession of the human being, lies all its power to accumulate, or even to preserve itself in existence.

Republicanism, the assertion and recognition of human rights, must precede any realization of the true social idea. An organization, built up on any other foundation, will be liable to be swept away at any moment, by the mighty tides which shall purify the political and social waters, the revolutions and the bankruptcies, which shall continue ” unto the end ” But shall the socialist, then, become a politician? No, and yes. Not in any party sense, not by attempts to place one set of men or another, in offices of power; but by a calm and dignified assertion of principles; and what is more, by the arrangement of their own affairs, after the ultimate ideal truth, as far and as fast, as it can possibly be done. One organization, where labor was freed from all tax to wealth, where the capital was strictly preserved, would do more towards abolishing the unequal laws, under which we live, than any political system. Because the common mind can not decide on the working of principles, as well before as after an experiment has been tried. It is the mystification of the close relation between cause and effect, that gives the demagogue his influence over the masses, who have all power in this country, and indeed in all countries.

The chief obstacle in the way of human progress, is the ignorance of the majority, in regard to natural rights and the operation of the varied schemes of government, finance and trade. He shall hasten most the New Era, who shall devise a plan of transition, which will present to the sensuous perceptions of mankind, a demonstration of the divine ideal. Still we have society, government, trade, and all things as they are; is there any place which may serve our Archimides’ lever as a fulcrum? If there is not we have done little towards remodeling the world, and our lever itself is well nigh useless. If there is, the whole form of society may be changed, without one drop of human blood. Earth’s tyrants of the scepter, of the chain, and of the purse, may be left “alone in their glory,” or welcomed to the ranks of labor and of Brotherhood.


About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.