Joshua King Ingalls in “The Spirit of the Age” (1849–1850)

Creed

“We believe and therefore speak.”—Paul.

How is it that faith has come to signify a lack of faith?—a creed itself, to mean no creed; but simply a long transmitted heir loom, or rather the woof of words, which are lifeless and empty? The original credo was indicative of what I believe; but strangely enough, it only means, in the Church’s vocabulary, a formula, which all mortals must repeat with uplifted eyes, on pain of being shut out from the company of the faithful. How much belief if there in repetition; can be easily seen by all who have courage to look at it. So far from its being faith, it is a formula for strangling faith. Conservatism would put an end to all true belief, and prevent the individual from exercising any religious element of his nature. Insisting on passive obedience, in his refraining to look with confidence up to God, and out upon the boundless, truth teaching, trust-inspiring beauties of his universe, and in gazing, ever doleful, at her inverted picture of the past. And yet the worshippers at her gloomy altar imagine that they believe and have a creed. But what do they believe? Well! The creed of Rome or Geneva, or Westminster, or of some man or church. They have then no belief of their own; have never exercised faith in any true sense. Paul did not submit to have his thinking and believing done for him by David, Moses or Isaiah, by Jewish rabbin or pagan poet, however he might approve and make his own the noble sentiments recorded by each. His creed was the creed of Paul. The creed of every true man has been his own, not another’s.

“But is not Christianity true, the whole truth? Is there any thing to be believed after that?” The answer to your question depends on what you mean by the term. If by Christianity you mean any form of it decreed by a corrupt church or all that has yet become spoken or written, then it is not the whole truth, and much more has to be believed. But if that system of truth is meant, which was believed, spoken, what is more, lived by Jesus, which involves the true religion of all time, as believed and spoken, according to light and opportunity by all earnest and confiding spirits, as it approximates the absolute religion of nature, then, there is nothing after it, but an eternity of progress, ever growing insight and holy trust in the arrangements and purposes of the divine.

“What means, then, this talk in the world, about faith and belief, and of creeds many?” It means nothing. Its object is to throttle the beliefs of men, by a mummery, which is at best but the dead body of what might have been some man’s creed, in days gone by. You may place it in different attitudes, swear it is a veritable living thing; yet will it not speak by any conjuration, much less work. In the days of a real Gospel, men spake as they were moved with inward consciousness. Now the church has one ready prepared for minds of all growths, which is only to be rehearsed till familiar; and then rested in for ever more. It will work mechanical results, being itself mechanical. Whether it will work by love and purify the heart; whether it will cleanse the fountains of life, and keep the well-springs of goodness flowing free from the soul’s depths, is questionable; no! not questionable. It can do nothing; only prevent doing and being done. Gog-like it would palsy the tongues of all true believers. Can you imagine why? The counterfeit likes not comparison with the real. So the real must not see light, or if it will be out spoken it must be branded as imposition, infidelity, humbug, whereat cowards and sycophants join in the chorus, and at least, will not hear the true faith spoken, lest they be convicted of their idol worship of a name.

Little consoling for any length of time, are the results of each creed-binding, such persecution of the free, truth speaking faithful. Against a band of true men, you array an army of sycophantic, time-serving mortals. Go on, then, suppressing speech, believing it wherever free! Make unpopular heresy and unbelief, which have strangely enough come to signify the same which faith once did! You will make the hated thing obnoxious, you will frighten from its devotion those who lack devotion; you will attract to yourself kindred elements of hypocrisy and nothing ness, and so save a tattering fabric for a time. You may even christen it the temple of life, and assume such terms as, to vulgar minds, express the thing to be counterfeited; but the coming light shall reveal its deformity; not shall power be given you to injure any real thing, or quell one truthful voice.

J. K. I.

  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Creed,” The Spirit of the Age 1, no. 1 (July 15, 1849): 11-12.

THE GRAVE OF THE LANDLESS

On a lovely “green isle,” where the billows of ocean
Roll on in their might, where the loud tempests rave,
The victim lies still, for not toll or devotion
Could in life rear a home or in death buy a grave.
The flowers may bloom, and the harvests mature,
He heeds them no more as they taunt the oppressed;
He has suffered the last which the wronged may endure;
He sleeps, and no landlord disturbs his last rest.

Oh England, say where are the sons of the nation,
Thou falsely dist promise to rule and befriend!
Alas, how they perish! they die of starvation,
And thou to this treason, thy great power dost lend.
The flowers may bloom, and the harvests mature,
No bounty of heaven can reach the oppressed:
They are suffering the last which the wronged may endure,
Ere they sleep, where no tyrant can break their last rest.

Yet know that the souls, thou hast wantonly given
To be trampled in dust, shall still plead from the sky,
Rouse the race to assert its proud birthright from heaven,
While oppression and want, with thy memory shall die.
Then the flowers shall bloom, and the harvests mature,
For others than tyrants, who bind the oppressed:
They have suffered the last, which the wronged may endure;
They ask, now, that Man in his toil shall be blest.

Oh, Spirit of Freedom, by justice be guided;
Let Brotherhood be, on they banner, portrayed;
Wake the millions to battle for the Right undivided,
And Humanity’s father they triumph shall aid.
Then for all shall be harvests, the fruits and the flowers,
And man pine no longer by hunger oppressed,
But the Earth, with her smiles and her sunshine and showers,
Be a home for the toiling, where All shall find rest.

SOUTHINGTON, CT.

J. K. I.

  • J. K. I., “Grave of the Landless,” Spirit of the Age, I, 8 (August 25, 1849), 113.

Man and Property, their Rights and Relations.

The present age 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 f things, as are able to acquire the ascendancy. 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 gravest 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 influence, 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, and end to the season, and then no one can work. This end may represent the period of re-organization, after which little hope can be entertained for the purification of the elements, until another cycles 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, cannot 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, towards the promotion of scientific, philosophic, and Christian views of the rights and relations signified above. The learned world has had enough of systems of political economy, more philosophy, &c., could they have taught it natural rights and social duty. It must be remembered, however, that these men, learned and good as most of them were, explain the economy, morality, and apprehensions of the past, not of the present. 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 case, or separate in these, 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 question sustain to each other, they are represented 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 acknowledge 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 hum, 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 be remarked in this connection, that the most arbitrary master is not able to compel, under the chattel system more menial and debasing service, that he 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 some 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. Out object should be, to inquire in to 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 praise individuals or classes, who find themselves surrounded by circumstances, which compel submission to some extent, where all serve, it may be inquire, what is wrong, and what would be right beneath the rule of God and fraternity. This latter be our aim; and elevated to a position of judgment, forget the lower questions of self-interest, or the success of an insolated 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 politics, 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 so 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 organization, which are working our 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, but it may be remarked here, that the claim of capital to divide with labor, rests ultimately on the same foundations, 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 it 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 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 o none of its essential properties or aims, may be sent away on another world-tour, and this the day of judgment be again postponed, till the accomplishment of another cycle! Upon the promulgation of proper sentiment on this subject now depends the social and political character of the coming ages; and even their moral and religions; for a healthy morality, or exalted religion, cannot 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 acknowledge paramount to that of property, and property cannot 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, cannot 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 thousand, 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 towards 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 he 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 capital is equal to that of the skill and labor of the man. Nor in partnership, where dividend were made to capital, could the result be different. Suppose, that in place of that ten thousand dollars, the capitalists owned the man, how could be 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 all 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 cancelled 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 to 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 to 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 fortunes, 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 with are to follow he will be able to decide for himself on the correctness and importance of the general propositions.

  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Man and Property, their Rights and Relations,” The Spirit of the Age, I, 8 (August 25, 1849), 114-116.

Man and His Rights.

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 more power, chiefly, that all change of rule, all amelioration of conditions, 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 of another. It may be contended that some, we deem of the 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 co-extensive. 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 farther 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; how 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 inn 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 the 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 flow. 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 as 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 right to signify less than this than this, is to throw open all again to chance and conjecture. To talk of general rights, and yet in or manifesto, refuse to descend and particularize these, and indeed many more, is but to attempt a repetition of 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 cannot, of course, justly be made to yield to those more collateral. However circumstances my 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 the 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 connexion with the other, than it has with how many wives a man may have, nor so much. For the appreciation 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 another. This is evidently a law of nature which is seen everywhere to indicate itself, when the products of labor are 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 he labor or 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 to 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 the 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 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 or 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 rights, 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 production.

Thus far 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 us by natural rights. 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 farther 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 pretence; 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 everything.

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 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, fro an intelligent workingman, or a love or 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. When the subject of property, its rights, and the relation t sustains naturally to man, have been discussed, there may be an outline given of a translatory association, the aim of which shall be to unite the efforts of all friends of the race, who look with hope to the future, all friends of industrial reform, all oppressed producers, who feel the injustice of their position, into a general system of co-operation, to be carried out in practical association as fast as wisdom shall direct.

  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Man and His Rights,” The Spirit of the Age, I, 9 (September 1, 1849), 130-131.

Property and Its Rights.

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, cannot be questions; it is to us a self evident truth, which would involve the utmost folly to deny, or attempt to establish by rules 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 right not plunder the toiling poor.

But it must still be remembered, that this right is second to the other of possessions, for which alone it flows; so that in fact the consistent recognition of one must result in 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 anything 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 practicing an imposition. It is not necessary to distinguish between actual creations, and that which has merely been “taken our 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 property 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 employ his labor in such a manner as to render the soil more productive, to build a labor saving machine, or in any other way improve the power of production, he thus changes the property to a passive agent; but his rights over it as property only extend to the expenditure of skill and toil, and not to the original element, or even materials. These are his by right of position, to the full extent of his needs and power to employ. No false claim, based upon unnatural law, can justify another in the ownership of that soil or material, upon which he exerts his mental or physical energies; or, on the ground of such ownership, in exacting one half or two thirds of the results. Were the rights of possession fully guaranteed, the value of everything, and each improvement, would just equal the industry requisite to replace them. And in this remark would be embraced the remuneration to the labor of the financier and agent of exchange, as well as the actual producer, inventor or teacher.

Moreover, it may not be entirely certain, what things are, and what are not in a state of nature. An emigrant may cut a tree in a mighty forest; does the forest therefore belong exclusively to him? Does the tree even? If he leaves it there to rot, and another traveler take the dried branches to kindle himself a fire, could the utmost stretch of justice demand more than the cutting down of another, of similar dimensions and quality. Then it will be remembered that property is the result of industry, and that alone, never by any construction, extending to the passive elements, or the spontaneous productions of nature. These are the heritage and benefactions, a bountiful Creator has bestowed upon a family of brothers and sisters, equal in natural rights and possessions, however varied may be their capacities and attractions. With this understanding we will proceed to speak of the Rights of Property.

In our civil and social codes, these rights are numerous; as we have seen, they are superior to all rights of men; and human life and liberty are not to be regarded, where a protection of them is involved. Yet upon the plane we have treated our subject, thee appears very little to say about rights of property except what is vested in the producer. If we are not able to expatiate upon the positive side of this question, there is certain abundant room on the negative. We may show how it has been misconceived, and what disorganizing and unjust relations have transpire, principally, from having confounded the rights of man, the rights of possession, and the rights of property, all in one, and made the less, not only to supersede the greater, but to embrace the whole. This much may be affirmed, nevertheless, that he who has produced twice as much as he has consumed in one day, may, if he choose, consume, another day, without production, and so for any given length of time. But this is the farthest extent to which he can lay any claim. It is impossible to conceive the least particle of justice in the claim of A., to have for life, one half of the products of B.’s labor, because A. produced, for a while, double what B. could, or worked some years previous to the period when the latter began, or because some of his ancestors worked, or cheated, or robbed more successfully than the other’s. And yet this is the only ground upon which remuneration to capital is based. Its present practice is principally owing to the necessity to which the wronged are reduced, in consequence of having their natural rights to the soil, and the passive agent generally, infringed by irresponsible monopoly. Man must have access to the soil or die, he must have materials to act upon, or he cannot labor; and the present monopoly of thee, and not the legitimate operation of any law defending the rights of property, cause all the derangement of rights and duties complained of, and alone enable the capitalist to cancel the labor of man, by the use of money, or of things, justly or unjustly, termed property. Few capitalists, certainly few Reformers, would urge as a reason why money should be paid interest, that with it you could by slaves, and appropriate the proceeds of their industry. And yet this is one of the powers which are accorded to property by our civil polity in this nation; and the license no doubt exerts a large influence on the rate of usance which money at present commands. It were not difficult either, to show that the power which enables wealth to buy possession of the passive agent, is only exceeded in injustice, by that which gives it a like power over the active, human being; is not exceeded in its horrible, terrible results.

The right of property as well as all other rights must be self limiting. It must not interfere with itself. It is based on the claim that individual production has exceeded actual consumption. How then can this right enable the capitalist, landlord or slaveholder, to take from the operative, tenant or chattel, the surplus of their production? By not means, justly. An inversion of this, with the other rights are alike destructive to all, bestow a power on the representative of property to own the active and the passive agent. No wonder that property may be productive! But property justly conceived, possesses no power of reproduction. A hundred dollars locked up in the miser’s coffers, will, by no magic, come out a hundred and six at the end of the year. A new house, left tenantless, would in no way produce another of equal value in eight or ten years, and these two, another pair in another period, and so on in duplicate ration. On the contrary, it would continue yearly to decay, until all value was annihilated. The greatest mass of human productions, decay in a few years. Most of the agricultural productions are valueless at the end of one year. The most exquisite works of art or mechanism are subject to change, gradual though it be; and are liable to be superceded, at any time, by higher attainments. No production can now be thought of, which should entitle its owner to a compensation for its use. He may use it to his advantage, so might another; but the man who uses it is entitle to the results; the owner, only, a return for value of value. Under any just and equitable arrangement of the advantage of having the surplus productions of labor preserved to us, by allowing them to be employed to facilitate the productiveness of other’s labor, would overbalance any advantage derived from their use. A young man, with health and strength, can produce with moderate labor, several times the amount of value he need consume. But this activity will not always remain. Besides he contemplates the rearing of a family, the members of which will be non-producing consumers. What an advantage to him, that society uses his grain, vegetables, or any other perishable productions, and in his future need returns the same, undiminished in quantity or value! This is the true basis of reconciliation between Capital and Labor; and this would be sought by both, were the rights and possession of all in the first place guaranteed. It might be asked, if it would not be better, could this man at the end of a few years receive as interest enough to double the principle? By no means; a condition of things which would secure such a result, would have extracted from the products of his labor, in the first place, more that would be made up to him afterwards. For if he should pay for the privilege of laboring, and to this all remuneration of capital comes, if he should pay the same as he subsequently received for allowing others to labor, what were the object to be gained, except to stimulate greed, and discourage patient toil? If he receives more than he gives, then he who is evidently better able to do without it, extorts from some more needy than himself, what they pay and never receive back again.

In a joint stock association, dividends could not safely be made to capital, unless the amounts of capital each member should contribute were equal; in which case it would amount to nothing. This would be impracticable, and on the other ground, entirely unnecessary; since the organization would guarantee to each capitalist great or small, the consideration merely of his property. The man who is dissatisfied with such arrangement, would enter no association, because parosital commerce, stock-jobbing, organization to monopolize the soil, and establish a universal system of peonage; companies for the concentration of wealth and subjection of the operatives under the wages system. Where men are brought into direct competition with brutes and machines; and last though not least, chattel slavery, its traffic and speculations; these offer at present, and will for some time to come, much greater inducements for investment, than any association could offer short of suicidal expedients. Carried into the phalanx, this wrong would work out the same results as in the world. Not the most industrious, the most useful or worthy, would be best rewarded, but the crafty, the scheming and unprincipled, at the expense of those.

One family, transmitting for a few generations their talents of acquisition and accumulated fortune, would at the lowest rate of usance, absorb, not the wealth of the association alone, but the wealth of states and nations. It would seem that society applies its arithmetic least in financial matters, where its employment is most required. Mr. Kellogg in his book on “Labor and Capital,” gives a table which shows the terms, in which the principle doubles itself at fixed rates of interest or of rent. Even at one per cent, it will become double in seventy years, quadruple in one hundred and forty, eight fold in two hundred and eighty years, &c. The higher the rate, the more destructive the operation. At a low rate there is little inducement for the poor man to invest a few dollars or a few hundreds, as he would realize for the year, but a few cents or dollars; but with hundreds of thousands, even at one per cent, his income would be thousands of dollars. So that here would be repeated the same system of favoritism, partiality and unbrotherly assumption, that now disgraces our professed christianity. The object would be, to obtain, in some way, possession of capital enough to enable the individual to live idle on the income. The interest of the larger capitalists would dictate a high rate of remuneration to wealth, the laboring portion would be interested in curtailing it, and this the old antagonism, so far from being reconciled, would be renewed in closer quarters.

The question about rewarding the passive agent has already been canvassed. It is not with us a question. It is a clear principle of nature, a chemical fact, that “soil can only retain its thriftiness and capacity of vegetable production, by having restored to it as much elementary matter as it taken from it.” But society must see that this award goes to the real and not to the assumed passive agent; for this both man and the soil might be robbed. Now, when any kind of property, for purpose of preservation, or with a generous regard for the social prosperity shall be employed productively, it becomes a passive agent, and should be regarded as such; that is, its value like the productiveness in the soil should be preserved. When the owner of the property thus converted, requires it, in a form to be consumed, his right over it as property, enables him to claim it without deterioration of value. But it must be remembered, that nothing but what justly represents the products of human industry, can thus be reclaimed.

In speaking of the united relations of capital and labor, the various bearings of this question will be more fully dwelt upon. It is now requisite to notice but one remaining ground which has much weight with the associationists generally, because, supposed to be furnished by Fourier. He found the human faculties divisible into twelve elements, of three groups, with five productive, four mental, and three affective powers, in each group respectively; and he based the ratio of distribution on this order. Three twelfths to the affections, four twelfths to mental endowment, and five twelfths to physical activity. Now it is nowise clear that he intended what is claimed; or if so, it is inconsistent with some of his other propositions. By why was five twelfths awarded to labor? Plainly because labor was performed, not because its power was possessed, or because it had been exercised in years past; this alone would make it consistent with the principle of paying capital a premium. So with the mental faculties; they are to be employed as well as possessed, or they are clearly not entitled to any reward. And the affections are to be exercised, or no share belongs to them. So after all it is only labor or one kind or other, which Fourier proposes to reward, and not capital, a passive possession; which perfectly coincides with his conception of property, that it s the product of man’s activity, not of his passivity. What then is the exercise to which the affections are called? Surely the affections embrace something higher than avarice? To provide for and educate the young, to beautify the common or individual home, to care for the sick and aged, these had been supposed to be the common duties of the affections, and for which they require that a portion of the common products should be set apart. But will your capitalist or monopolist do these things? or will he appropriate these means to his own purposes and suffer the objects of regard to die with hunger? He is entitled to no dividend until he has performed the duty, and then it would be accorded him cheerfully by all. The miserly grasp with which he clutches gold, and obtains it by any and every means, could never have been thought worthy of three twelfths of the award of all human industry, by Charles Fourier. It is somewhat singular that although Fourier and Davis both deny the right of capital to any compensation, but only seem to yield to the method, as a matter of present expediency, the prominent admirers of their works have each attempted to prove the principle consistent with nature and right; whether with a view to conciliate capital cannot be said. As however we reverence no name or book as much as truth, the authority of nature, not of men, is sought.

Within the present century rights were accorded to property and measures for obtaining it were legalized, which now would incur the crime of piracy and the punishment of death. By such practices, capital, invested in whatever business, commanded a high premium. The mass of capital, that is now in the hands of the few, was obtained by means scarce less questionable. In the place of being a preservation of the products of labor, which all accumulations should be, it is an isolation and monopoly; the main detriment to useful enterprise, the juggernaut that crushes the limbs, and forms, and souls of human beings. Whoso shall live another half century, shall see the system of Rent and Interest and Dividends to capital, looked upon by the lover of human freedom, the moralist, the Christian, with as little favor, as he now looks upon the slave trade, privateering, or slave holding; or else they shall see chaos come again; and Cossack Europe and Spartan America, laying anew the basis of an obsolete civilization. The resource of no country, however bountifully endowed, can long satisfy the rapacity of the greedy monster. Bankruptcy, the peculiar attendant, follows in close proximity to this wrong; strangling first, with the hand of want and death the poor laborer, then higher and higher victims, until there shall be only two classes left, and all distribution of the results of business be determined by the relative amount of capital and labor employed. Let us hope and labor for the first.

  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Property and Its Rights,” The Spirit of the Age 1, no. 10 (September 8, 1849): 146-148.

Relations, Existing and Natural, Between Man and Property.

The reader, who has followed us this far in our investigations will be prepared for the reflections which ensue of the question of “labor and capital.” Because he will see that capital is by no means confined to what is legitimately property; but embraces, as its chief portions, things that have no relation to human labor, never were, and never can be produced or reproduced by it. The earth, with its vast resources of mineral wealth, its spontaneous productions and its fertile soil, the free gift of God and the common patrimony of mankind, has for long centuries been held in the grasp of one set of oppressors, by right of conquest or right of discovery; and is now held by another, through the right of purchase or inheritance from them. All of man’s natural possessions, everything external and passive, has been claimed as property; nor has man himself escaped the insatiate jaws of greed. He too has been, is held as a thing to be bought and sold. This invasion of his rights and possessions has resulted, through many methods of operations, in clothing property with a power to accumulate an income. The moralists and religious teachers of all ages and nations have denounced the principle of “increase,” though in vain, because they understood not its basis. The Jewish scriptures are filled with prohibitions and denunciations against this evil; and though less pointed, it cannot be for a moment supposed that the philanthropic system of Jesus was less consistent with natural justice. When the selling all, was enjoined, that the poor might be given means of life and instruction, and when self-sacrifice and benevolent actions was adopted as a test of discipleship, it cannot be thought that any authority was furnished for the monopoly of heaven’s bounties, that thereby usance might be exacted, from the unselfish and unfortunate.

“What do I think of interest,” said Cato, to a friend who inquired his opinion. “What do I think of murder?”

While the power of wealth is continued by social arrangements, so as to control the man, sever him from his just relations to the soil and the passive agent, make his very existence dependent on the monopolist of the fair earth and all its productions as well as all products of industry, capital will demand a division with labor in all its earnings. It were reasonable to expect any other result. Man cannot serve God and Mammon if he try. It is folly to expect him to allow his brother to cultivate the soil, or in any way help himself, unless he pay him for the privilege. This, of course, is meant, as a general rule. Men, who will give thousands to this or that professedly benevolent object, will exact the last, even to the pound of flesh, where rent or usury is concerned.

Property is restricted to the productions of industry, when by that term, we mean what is properly a subject of traffic, between man and man. One man by labor can never produce any thing which he may justly for another man. This proposition all will admit, except the special advocates of “Patriarchalism.” Any social organization recognizing the legality of such transactions, is fundamentally wrong, and must involved itself in derangement and ruin, unless the principle be abandoned. But if the principle be wrong, so must be its results; for it is this way generally that the justice or injustice of any principle is known. By the fruits shall the tree be truly judged. In a word, then, what is the effect of chattel slavery on business, generally? In the first place, it brings the slave in competition with all who labor. This must tend to make labor disreputable, and reduce its award; for why should I pay you a just compensation for your labor, when I can buy a man with my property, who will be compelled to work without remuneration! But then it must be perceived, that in consequence of this power of property, there would be a great demand for its use. Suppose I pay sixty dollars a year interest on the purchase money of my slave? He will earn me two hundred, and I shall be the gainer, in any reasonable contingency, by a hundred dollars at least. Now this must react on what is called free labor, in the same way as the competition is subjected to by the slave labor. Capital is needed to carry on the mechanical, manufacturing or agricultural business, will command higher rates, as the demand for it to purchase slaves shall increase, and as the transaction shall be found to pay. Thus this wrong affects more than the poor victim of oppression; it forces him into competition with other laborers, and while it reduces the products of their labor in value, it also increases the tax they have to pay for the privilege of toiling. Abolish slavery and you would abolish one of the main props of the system, which compensates capital out of the products of labor.

But the feature of our social system, which allows property in man, is only one of the wrongs, by which the existing claims of capital are sustained. The power of property over natural possessions is a still more general cause of its exactions, since its prevalence is almost universal; for while it gives control of one productive agent, also compels the labor of the other, as that cannot be exercised without a place and means, cannot exist indeed, without access to the other. Restore to man the right of person and possession; in other words the right to love and labor, and there would be no more thought of asking usance for land or money, than there would for a “cup of cold water,” or for the privilege of looking at the sun. It might be indeed that disorganized trade, would enable the capitalist to make a shift for awhile to exact some trifle in that way; but competition, which they have made work so well in their favor, would destroy their craft, and a better system of commerce would soon sweep away the last vestige of usury. It is hoped that this reflection will be borne constantly in mind. Compensation to capital depends wholly or chiefly on its power to represent the active or the passive agent, the Man or the Soil. If it could not buy the one, nor monopolize the other in such quantities as to bring the rightful inheritor into actual dependence and want, then it must lose its power to increase of itself, or to compel compensations from the labor of society. This suggestion seems called for, since it is so inwrought with all our customs and hereditary modes of thought, that dividends should be made according to capital employed. Was not a large portion of or early arithmetic devoted to the elucidation and examples of rules for calculating interest, simple and compound, Discount, Stock dividends and Brokerage!

It may be inquired, “why battle against the effect, when the eradication of the cause can alone avail anything?” We are not fighting the effects, but only exhibiting the tendencies, that the true nature of the causes themselves may be known. The true cause, is the cupidity, which stimulates the few to invade the natural rights and possessions of others, and the ignorance and disunion of the many, which permits, authorizes, and enforces such wrongs. But it may be asked in return, where is the propriety of opposing slavery, land, monopoly, isolation of capital, and engrossment of commerce, when it is proposed to engraft on the new condition their chief results, the prerogative of capital to divide with labor the products of industry?

But space does not allow the farther pursuit of this train of thought. Some illustrations must be given showing how falsely capital and labor are at present conditioned. Capital should be the product of labor and that alone. How then can products share products? On no ground, but that the elder brother is entitle to more pay than the younger, for the same amount of labor. He must be paid in the first place for his work, and, in the next place, asks to be paid, out of what is due to the younger brother, for having been paid when he did work. It cannot be made nothing more nor less of than this. For if he has performed service in any way, for that he is to be paid. But remuneration to capital presupposes, to that extent, the idleness or uselessness of the capitalist. He is hungry. Industry steps forward to furnish him with bread. Will he repay, with his own labor, the labor necessary to produce this? Will he even give you any of his capital which he claims is the result of labor and skill? Not a whit of either. But then he will pay you, liberally. He will permit you to labor on this free God’s earth, and sow and reap as much for yourself as you have given him. Could radicalism ask for anything more? He is naked, and industry steps forward and clothes him. Perhaps, now his purse strings will relax, and he will encroach for once on his principal! How futile the thought! He has a machine or “patent right” for one, bought by his property, or rather use of it, from the poor mechanic or inventor. These you may have? ah no—you may use, until you have made yourself as much as you have furnished him: no longer. He is destitute of the luxuries of other climes. Industry and adventure bring these to his very doors, nay put them up in their places, serve them on his table. Will he not do something for you now? You are again mistaken. He has gold hid away, clutched from its just place, as a measure and representative of value. That, however, he will not part with. He will let you use it for a few days or months, providing you secure him for the return of every farthing, by more than its value in other property. In a thousand ways he needs constantly your assistance. But he will pay you in no other. Labor as you may, with whatever fraternal affection, you shall never find the brother in him; that is, as a capitalist. It is not meant that many can wholly bury up their humane nature beneath this glittering, yet to the soul, corroding metal. Day after day, unless your excessive toil unfit you for thought, you will discover, that in place of being an aid, a creature of labor, as seemed, capital has become your tyrant and enslaver, and you have become a transformed creature and slave or your own productions.

But does not capital, as at present employed, increase the productions of labor, and facilitate exchange? How deluded! Its monopoly is the main obstacle to the success of any legitimate enterprise. You complain that there is not money enough in circulation to do business with. But how is this difficulty to be obviated. Ten thousand dollars, that is deeply needed, are in the possession of the miser. If you will pay him six or seven per cent, he may let you have the use of it. At the end, say of ten years, he has received it all back and ten thousand more, so that in the place of ten, there is twenty thousand withdrawn from circulation. In ten years more there will be forty thousand, and in the fourth period, eighty thousand dollars. A strange remedy truly; for while the isolation of the circulating medium has been going on in a duplicate geometrical ratio, in every period of ten or twelve years, the actual increase has been hardly perceptible. Paper may have been issued, indeed, but there is no addition of value, and in the place of facilitating business, facilitates the isolation of capital some two or three fold.

The same remark holds true with regard to the soil. The monopoly of this follows in the same ration, from the same cause. One farm let out for half its products, will enable the owner in ten years to monopolize another farm of equal value. These two, in ten years, two others. These four in another period four others; these eight, other eight, &c. Thus is forty years, the one farm, by legal and customary rates, has become sixteen, and in sixty year has multiplied to sixty four. But has there been any “increase” of the earth’s surface, during these sixty years? not at all, but a relative decrease, inasmuch as, while this has remained stationary, thee has been, in all probability, an increase of the inhabitants of the globe. Can a rational being see any other result than bankruptcy in business, which must return, once in about each period, and utmost depression even to the starvation by millions of the tillers of the soil! While in the interior of the State of New York, a case came to my knowledge, of the actual verification of this proposition. A man when he came of age had inherited two farms, from his father, well furnished. He went to work on one, himself, and let the other to a landless person. In a few years he bought another and another, and last fall, had realized the sixteenth, being now between fifty and sixty years of age. The arrangement, which by the way is common through all the grazing portion of the State, was on of labor and capital, exactly; and the distribution is based on the principle that the results of such association are to be divided according to the amount of labor performed and the capital employed. As one man furnished all the capital for the use of these sixteen families, and they did all the labor, it is very easy to ascertain their virtual relations. The proprietor received as capital’s share, three-fifths, the families, as labor’s share, two-fifths. As one-fifth would cover all repairs and waste of property, which it is just should have been contributed by labor, the mere fact of possession, is here rewarded, in one individual, and amount equal to what is given to the labor of sixteen families. This perhaps may be regarded as a transition stage from serfdom or slavery towards fraternity and harmony; but one that should not be tarried at long, unless we would bring back the elder tyranny.

Capital now stands in the relation of oppressor and for 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 quarter,” to hundreds and even thousands of dollars is place 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 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, our 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 experience 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 same constructive skill? Industry left free, could soon build itself a temporary residence, and the one half of its products, which it now pas 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 establishment, 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, nary, 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 ninth 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 in 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 the real cause of your oppression! Not property, no monarchies, no hierarchies, not priestcraft nor kingcraft, 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. See 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, struggling for political freedom! Know ye not, that the gold ye thing 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 cannons 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 eat, drink, wear, 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 attempt at progress with this before you will only increase its potency, as the school boy’s ball of snow grows larger at every roll, until it becomes immovable; and blocks up his own pathway.

What then, says the timid reformer, shall be done? Capital and labor have becomes 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 our, though it be into a deep drift and go round it. The exertions, which here are important 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, cannot 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, it 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 or 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 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 brother, 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 ideal. 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 office 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 possible 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 life, than any political system. Because the common mind cannot 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 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 Archimedes’ 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. If no better offer, the present writer will give his own suggestions, in due time, with regard to a method of transition, which shall be simple and just and natural.

  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Relations, Existing and Natural, between Man and Property,” The Spirit of the Age 1 no. 16 (October 20, 1849): 243-246.

Books—Their Sphere and Influence.

In the history of human development, books maintain an important position. We are indebted to them, in a material sense, for all our acquaintance with the past, and for that wide diffusion of knowledge which distinguishes our age. And yet, in a higher sense, there is no single thing which has stood so much in the way of man’s advancement as his idol worship of them; for books, as well as other things, which God has created or man has made, may stand for idols, to a nature perverted from its legitimate sphere of exercise.

To be able to comprehend our subject, it is necessary to bring our minds up to a sphere of thought measurably above it. We must take our stand independent of the books, ere we can judge truly of their quality, design or influence. This preliminary cannot be too strongly insisted on; for there are books which are deemed above criticism—the very idolatry suggested having clothed them with an odor of sanctity it is treason and impiety to invade. Let us stop here, then, on the very threshold of our investigation, and determine one thing—whether we are able to judge the qualities of any book which challenges our reverence and submission. If it is admitted that we do possess such ability, then we may proceed. If any contend that we are not competent to decide on so momentous a question, then it is insisted that they shall be consistent with their decision. Of course, they must never say that the book they reverence is true; for that presupposes their capability of knowing truth from error, and that they would have known, had this book contained error. They must no say that it is a good book; for how can they know that it is good, if they would not have known if it had been evil? They must not pretend that the book is from God; this presupposes that they are competent to judge what is worthy of Him, and that, too, by sources independent of the book itself. The very claim set up for the sacredness of any book is self-contradictory, assuming that the same qualities of mind have been exercised, in making up the estimation which we are forbidden no to employ. The fear of being accused of presumptuously sitting in judgment on ‘God’s Word’ has silenced many a sincere, though timorous inquirer after truth. Ye you will find none so reckless as to insist that every book is the word of God which puts forth such a claim. A standard of judgment must be supposed, by which all books are tried; and this is all that the rationalist asks—the same liberty which they assume to decide what is the Word of God. The fact that those who condemn this position as impious, occupy precisely the same themselves, should be sufficient defense against their charge of impiety, on however low a plane. In a truer light, those will be clearly proved guilty of idolatry who allow a book to dwarf their intellect, check their soul’s aspiration for light and freedom, or in any way abstract the communion between the human spirit and the great Father.

But it is necessary to comprehend what is below books, as well as to rise above them, in order to realize fully their influence on human advancement. Perhaps a figure will enable us to comprehend what the world was without them. Let them be represented as mental storehouses, of capacity proportioned to the treasures they preserve. The condition of man in the savage state, without shelter, dependent on the spontansous productions of nature for a precarious supply of his want, is easily imagined. In this state, he could make little advancement in the useful arts, or in his social arrangements; and yet it might be comparatively favorable to the development of the muscular system, and to general strength and physical beauty. In the next step, we shall discover that he has reared a cabin, and preserves the more valuable meats and vegetables which his arm has captured, or his industry procured. From this point, he gradually accumulates wealth, and invents structures of a higher and higher perfection, to preserve his goods, and gratify his domestic and artistic affections. A fact here must no be forgotten—that no accumulation of past wealth can compensate for present neglect of the duty of labor. The daily employment of the race, if not of the individual, has been constantly required. It is the great law of God, that he that will not work, neither shall he eat. And if society so perverts this rule, as to allow one class to live idle, they it must condemn another to starve. It is the most grievous sin of this mammon-worshipping age, that the storehouse is reverenced as the only source of life and happiness, before which ministers the merchant miser as great high priest. Yet, despite all this blindness, the great fact of nature stands out in bold relief, that all sustenance, comfort and luxury, not the common bounty of Heaven, must be constantly elaborated from the elements of human toil.

These transitions in civilization are to be regarded as regular steps in the march of humanity to its destined perfection. Nothing can be predicated on the existence or non-existence of their particular monuments, except as they reveal the point of progress attained. They have no power in themselves to civilize or refine mankind. These accumulations, edifices and civil and religious institutions, have been made, by man, what they are, have not made man what he is. The application is readily seen. Books, no more than these possessions, have made the civilization, the enlightenment, or the degree of christianization which the world has attained. If these do not obtain where there are no books, so there are no books where these have not first appeared. It is not uncommon for mankind to confound cause and effect, and put one for the other. As there were not edifices in which social and mental refinement could be cultivated, until sufficient had been attained to their need and use, and qualify men to design, construct and appropriate them; so books did not serve to instruct mankind, until the human mind had fist conceived and embodied in them its own apprehensions of wisdom and refinement.

The idea of sanctity and efficiency which most nations attach to their sacred books, is wholly inconsistent with the reception of the first principles of all knowledge. These are nowhere derived from books. Books are made up on the attainments of their authors; cannot be any thing more, nor even a full expression of that, since the best thought and the highest truth of each mind is inexpressible. We could not well do without these convenient conservators; but thee is not one among the innumerable volumes which exist, that was not written by human hands, and dictated directly by human minds. We would not have the truth they contain revered the less, but the more, and with all the reverence now attached to the letter would we have men look upon the divinely communicative spirit, which through these mediums breathed its purifying transmission, and effected its divine creations. And be it remembered, that if the race could not survive a cessation of labor, to live on past accumulations, neither could it long thrive in spirituality on the mental and spiritual food bound up in books. The mind, as well as the body, is only sustained by the fruits of its own activity. It may scan the elder revelation inscribed in every rock and rill and flowering shrub; it may delve for the buried treasures of antiquity; it may strike out new trains of thought or follow the old; but, in some way, it must work. It would be madness to scorn the materials furnished by past experience; but it would be more than madness to fall down and worship them, because they had proved serviceable to our fathers for food or shelter. So that which is valuable in books cannot be thrown away without injury to the race: but neither can they be clothed with an air of sanctity, which forbids all approach of thought, or worshipped as divine, without manifest detriment to moral and mental development.

It is easy to conceive that a greater diversity of talent and wider degrees of development once existed in human society, than are now seen in similar circles; but not so that peculiar sensation of mind which must have been created in the breast of the ignorant and superstitious, when they saw the evidence that thought could be communicated by signs. The Indian has been known to regard the man as supernaturally endowed, who could converse with a book. In early times, the mind itself was a subject of conjecture, and all its diseases, as well as inordinary attainments, were referred to superhuman influences. Until the invention of printing, and the consequent multiplication of books, this feeling must have been quite general. This undue reverence for what was written has been handed down, pandered to, and in a measure induced, by the initiated or interested. As books on more common-place subjects became diffused and subjected to the scrutiny of common sense, the claims of the supernaturalist were transferred from general literature to medicine, law and divinity. This trinity of imposition has held on together, and bid fair to yield altogether. How a man of worth and sense, even now, is often seen to stand abashed, and humbly inquire why he should assume the authority to teach, merely because the professional man can quote some old book, or phrase, as destitute of life and thought as implied by its preservation in a dead language.

Individuals who are affected by books are of two classes, those who use them and those who worship them. As the idolater appropriates his object of devotion to no practical purpose, but to incite his blind fanaticism, so he who regards a book with superstitious reverence, seldom employs it for an legitimate use. In its very presence, the man is debased. He reads not with natural eyes. Its lessons of good or evil are measurably unheeded, in his fervor to show it becoming homage. The most sublime and mist ridiculous things are drawled out in the same sanctimonious monotony. Interested promulgators, whose position and influences depend on their skill in interpretation, labor to perpetuate these erroneous impressions, and to have them inculcated on the tender minds of youth; so that the real truths contained are prevented any useful and practical application by the lack of all discrimination in the reception of the mere letter.

The other class read books for the thought or moral they may contain; and the right of individual judgment is indispensable to any salutary result from their reception. The very attempt to put in practice their simplest teachings, is only consistent with the assumption of the right and ability to judge what is fit to be done. If a principle is involved in action, it will produce results, and those results must determine the legitimate character of the principle; for all principles must be judged by their fruits. Here is the difference: The practical man brings to practical tests every important precept or declaration he finds in books. Those given to idolatry mere hoard up, coo over, and worship, do not use them. Swayed by superstitious fear, they elevate a number to a sacred position, and decide that they contain all that ever has been, is, or can be known. And this is well nigh the truth in regard to them. Indeed, to minds thus enthralled, what is contained cannot be known, in any practical sense. They should be measured, valued and reverenced, according to the degree of mental and moral nutriment derived, and which must be elaborated into growth and life by our own mental forces.

It is only in a low degree that we are benefited by books, greatly as we are indebted to them in that degree. After all, they can put in possession of nothing, which was not first communicated to the human mind without them. Our great dependence on them for a system of history, science, or religion, is strictly material. They can only tell us the accidents of history, cannot show us that inner life of the race, which has flown down through the ages. It is only by our own reflections, prompted by the thinkers of these last days, that we are enabled to see through the circumstantial array of uninstructive facts which compose the literal histories, and discover the living reality. The true history of the race might be compiled to-day, without reference to books, by taking note of human society as it exists in its different stages of progress; for all tribes may furnish, from the highest to the lowest, a near approximation to the whole series of advancement from stage to stage. In religion, books can only acquaint us with the outward manifestation of the spirit, the religious incidents and experience of the past,—cannot show us that law of life within, which has quickened innumerable souls through long centuries, has been working beneath this whole outward, formal, incoherent mass of things which we term Ecclesiastical History.

It has long been a disputed question, whether books had not an interior signification, especially the books of the Bible. As received by a small, though very learned and spiritual set withal, the proposition is an entire fallacy. At most, a book is but a written picture. Do pictures possess the life of the thing which they represent, or merely copy the external form? Whether pictures may not convey an idea of life is another question, dependent of the degree of refinement in the beholder, and the truthfulness of the copy. As in nature, the spirit of all things becomes more and more revealed, as the mind expands and grows in spiritual powers, so the signs employed to express our ideas will be more or less significant to one who sees much, than to one who sees little in things. A book that has truly ‘held the mirror up to nature,’ becomes suggestive of the great facts of being and the interior life every where shadowed forth. But we must never forget that in nature, not in the book, the reality resides. Here the doctrine of correspondences, so clearly unfolded by Swedenborg, exists, and only here. The mind, elevated to a high place of thought, comprehends this, and is enabled to explain many difficult sayings and figures which occur in our accredited Revelation. But it will be found equally beneficial in explaining any book which presents important truth under natural figures. The most sublime and elevating passages in Isaiah, or David, or even in the teachings of Jesus and his apostles, are their truthful appeals to the testimonies of nature, not to men or books. The great men, in every age, have been book-makers, not book-worshippers, or even readers, as the best artists have sculptured and painted statues and pictures, and have not been image or picture worshippers.

All empirical systems of science or religious have had their books. The True has none—or, rather, has all, embracing the truth and good in all, yet worshipping none. Much is said about the Christian scriptures; but there are none, in the sense in which there are Mohammedan, or Jewish, or Hindoo scriptures. Unlike Moses and Mohammed, Jesus left no books. The system he labored to unfold has not, nor ever can be, embodied in material form. It leave book-worship, as well as other forms of idolatry, and elevates the soul to a higher position, where it can read, in the cheering light and heat, and in the genial moisture which comes from heaven, a lesson of deeper and holier trust than can be gathered from numberless tomes. It takes the eye of man from the copy to the original, from a vain attempt to comprehend the skill displayed in the picture, to an intimate communion with the reality of all things, the actual, living scene.

  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Books—Their Sphere and Influence,” The Spirit of the Age 1, no. 24 (December 15, 1849): 369-371.
  • Joshua King Ingalls and John Cushing, “Books—Their Sphere and Influence,” The Liberator 22, no. 16 (April 16, 1852): 64.

Method of Transition for the Consideration of the True Friends of Human Rights and Human Progress.

The ground is now generally conceded by those who seek a change in our social order, that the monopoly of the soil and currency, resulting in rent and usance, are the main, if not the only obstacles of an external nature to a scientific and harmonious reorganization of society. Attempts to realize association, subject to these exactions, have resulted in failure. To succeed with them would only serve to prolong and intensify the reign of Mammon. But the question still arises, What must be done? Shall we wait till legislation or revolution ha removed these obstacles? Legislation moves slow in curtailing the prerogatives of wealth, and prefers the other course. Revolution may be long delayed, or come like the tornado, sweeping away much good as well as evil. Besides, revolution may be prevented and legislation hastened, by our own example in commencing the work ourselves practically. And there is no way to do this, but to begin at the beginning. To do this there is needed but a little self-sacrifice on the part of a score or two of individuals. And when I think how much is suffered and expended for nominal philanthropic objects, I cannot believe that the individuals will be wanting.

The land, sufficient to commence with, can be had gratuitously. Then all that is wanted is a few families who are willing to migrate, and, in company, subject themselves to hardships which thousands of families do every year, alone. As there will be no capital to build a mansion at first, the working of the plan will be early developed, in the alacrity with which they will co-operate in the construction of log cabins. By beginning at the commencement but little capital will be needed. And what was not possessed by the individuals could be obtained without interest. Some two or three hundred dollars to each family would be enough. Not that we would refuse the advantages of capital if capital could be satisfied with a return of value for value, a simple conservation of its worth. But it cannot be ever admitted as tyrant and extortioner, for this is the thing which makes existing society intolerable, and which we seek to remedy.

By proper exertions and economy the products of our industry will enable us to employ labor-saving machinery in a short time, provide for the thorough education of all our children, and, when outward and internal arrangements are completed, rear ourselves a unitary and commodious building. Association will then be allowed to develop itself under the most favorable circumstance for its purity and simplicity. For in this organization labor will be free, and soon will be made in respect to the riches or poverty of any one. “Every man will be rewarded according to his work.” A mutual guaranty will be provided for the attendance of the sick, the support of the aged and the infirm, and the support and education of the young. By co-operating with organized commerce, we should be able almost entirely to separate ourselves from the system of imposture and extortion, which now goes under the name of business. Embracing mechanics and manufactures in our numbers, we could commence operations in different branches of industry, as wisdom suggested and the successful elaboration of capital allowed. As capital would be permitted only a conservation, it would become invested in the most useful business, and of course in the most safe, whereas if per centage were allowed, it would be invested as now, where it could extort the most, without reference to the justice or utility of the operation.

Thus will a demonstration be given to the world, that labor is adequate to its own employment, and that none need longer submit to the tyranny and exactions of the swindler and speculator in the products of others toil. The example would be speedily followed by others who would break away from the slavery of wages, and assert their independence of capital. Men of wealth who wish well to mankind, would bestow land for similar objects, and invest capital with a simple security for its due return. And thus a foundation would be laid for a quiet and peaceful transition from a state of industrial feudalism to one of fraternal and equitable co-operation. The power of wealth to oppress would gradually diminish, and the foes of Reform left without weapons either to oppose it or longer oppress man.

Bu the organization would be enabled to prosecute the change by active co-operation with the movements out of the body. It might hold the donation of land as a debt to humanity, and so by extending its own domain, or freeing another of corresponding worth, facilitate the emancipation of as many more, transmitting thus the obligation, till the laws of the land made the earth as free as the air or sunshine. Through the medium of Protective Unions, Land Reform, and Mechanics’ Organizations, there might be established in almost every place a fund for freeing the earth from monopoly, and enabling persons elected by such organization to “go out and possess the land.” As in their improved condition, they would soon be enabled to return the money, the land would increase, and this enable increasing numbers to avail themselves of its assistance, This would react favorably on the condition of such as remained. The competition for wages and tenements would decrease, while the demand for labor would not be lessened. Thus better wages and lower rents would be the immediate benefit.

If in a manufacturing village, there are a dozen workmen in one branch, while there is only a permanent demand for ten of them, the two superfluous hands must underbid in order to get employment at all. Then they must overbid in order to secure a dwelling. But suppose the twelve would contribute to a fund to aid the settlement of such upon the land as might be mutually agreed upon, to join the practical Association, or settle in townships on the individual principle, subject to Land Reform restrictions, then, in the course of a year or so, they might aid the two to migrate, who in a few years more would be able to return the loan to be added to the accumulating fund, and thus the process go on, until labor could be organized under the very walls of monopoly. The working-classes, seeing the practical operation of emancipation, its equal justice and entire success, would no longer ask what measures were best for them, or doubt as to whom were to be trusted. But abandoning their blind servility to party and sect, would leave the base impostures under which they now suffer without a foundation to rest upon.

The association of capital for the purposes of industry and humanity once commence on just and mutual principles, and demonstrated as practical, there would follow a movement unparalleled in the history of Man. Again Crusades and a Holy War would be preached, and the glory and chivalry of the nations rush to the fields of industry, where service to humanity would determine the degree of honor and authority conferred on each. The bitterest foes of progress and most selfish worldlings would then beg the guaranty to preserve from decay and diminution of value the very wealth they now glory in as a means to extort profit, rent and usury from the plunder of the toiling.

But, to return to the organization, it would be enable by commencing without capital to keep free fro arbitary conditions and influences. The voice of Labor, of Man only would be heeded. Thus some difficulties in the science might be determined by practical tests, to which, at least, indeed, all science must be brought. The members would not be compelled to associate any farther or faster than they discovered an internal attraction, and external fitness. An Association growing up thus free and gradual, would undoubtedly present a true model, and the only question is as to its success. This is the great point, and to it let us direct our attention.

Success depends mainly on two things: on the practicability of the thing to be done, and the fitness and capacity of the agent employed. Is the plan capable of being realized? Let us consider all the difficulties that are likely to arise: To go out, construct suitable dwelling, and provide ourselves with food and clothing. Is this so difficult a matter as to preclude a rational consideration? Do not thousands and tens of thousands migrate to the West, to California, &c., under circumstance far more adverse? Do not many individual go alone with their families, and almost destitute of means, settle in the wilderness, pay for their land, and in a few years become comparatively wealthy? Would not a number be able to succeed as well with perseverance? Much of the loneliness and suffering connected with the isolation certainly would be obviated. Production could be greatly facilitated by combined operations, and many of the comforts and enjoyments of society could be realized from the first. Our school, reading-room, and some other arrangements could be mad unitary at once, and the rest as fast as we became prepared. Interest and rent being unknown, who would question the ability of any man of ordinary industry and prudence to meet his obligations? The inducing cause of all failure and bankruptcy avoided, what should prevent success? But it may be replied, that people cannot be found to unite on such a basis; that unless advantage is given to present wealth, or what may be accumulated in the association hereafter, neither the rich nor poor will be induced to join. From this remark, however, must be excepted those individuals who are informed with regard to the rights of man and property, and who are willing to be governed by equal and just principles. The very thing, then, that will retard our initiatory movement, will prove its permanent salvation. As none will come into it who are seeking selfish ends, no danger will be encountered from the scheming or disruptive, from the ambitious and refractory. As the general good—in harmony with strict justice to all—will be the moving principle, confusion of aims and tendencies need not be feared. As self-sacrifice and persevering toil will be exacted of all, none disposed to shrink from useful industry or to share the avails of labor they will not share, will be attracted or remain, to create jealousies or discontent. And when it is remembered how much self-devotion is now practiced to accomplish objects of questionable philanthropy, to promulgate superficial systems and build up narrow an exclusive institutions, it can hardly be questioned, that in due time a sufficient number with means will be obtained, to give the first impulse to a movement which will regenerate the world, turn aside the dark clouds of impending revolution, and speed the realization of truly democratic social institutions, n the place of that system of partisan corruption and plunder which now revels in our political organizations.

The beauty of this movement consists in the fact, that not number or wealth are necessay to its success. Only true hears and persevering hands are requisite. In the Shaker communities the thing has already been demonstrated. Had they left out a strange religious infatuation, they would ere now have the whole aspect of business and society. It is not necessary to wait till political parties take up our measures, or capitalists subscribe “two hundred thousand dollars to our stock.” If Association is not able to move without these, the working-man has little interest in it. With political favor, with capital in hand, persons can get along well enough without Association. If it be not able to do something for man without these and in spite of them, let us follow it no longer as the thought of the age; let us turn to something better, that will enable the industrious poor to take care of themselves, as well as teach the wealthy how to live to the best advantage.

The peculiar form of organization cannot now be given in detail. Much must be left to the combined wisdom of the body after it is organized, and which will undoubtedly be developed with the progress of life and elaboration of means. The individual who shall be agreed on the great principles of Man’s freedom, equality, and brotherhood, who acknowledge the indubitable right of labor to its whole product of property, to a comprehensive guaranty of conservation, and the general truths promulgated by the social school, have only to come together, fully understand each other, and the thing is done. First agriculture, then mechanics and manufactures, and then trade, finance, and commerce must feel the force of a combined mutualism, which will only pay the expense of replenishing the soil and keeping good the improvement, the wear and tear of machinery, the actual cost of transportation and delivery, and of keeping the account of loan and deposite. In some such way the movement must be made, if the blessings of a social reorganization are to be realized in our day. If left alone the world will ultimately arrange itself after the divine plan, but then what immeasurable suffering might be saved to the race, by demonstrating practically what we know to be the right principles, in the place of leaving the world to learn by such horrible experience as poor Ireland and other nations are passing through at the present time.

Whoever are inclined to aid or join a movement of the description above, are invited to correspond with the writer. A meeting will be called in New-York some time during the winter and preliminaries agreed upon, and perhaps the location determined. Any information respecting location, or suggestions with regard to the movement will be cheerfully received, and such explanation as are desired will be readily communicated.

J. K. Ingalls

Southington, Conn.

  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Method of Transition for the Consideration of the True Friends of Human Rights and Human Progress,” The Spirit of the Age, I, 25 (December 22, 1849), 385-387.

For the Spirit of the Age.

MOTIVES TO DUTY.

BY J. K. INGALLS.

Modern philosophy has attempted to exhibit a balanced account between benevolence and cupidity, and to show how the promotion of the public good will result to individual advantage. And this is true enough in a general sense, but does not admit of that specific application which could alone make it effective as a motive. However logical it may be to refer all action to self-love, the individual soul can never realize its truth; especially if swayed by the spirit of the Master, who calmly contemplated the sacrifice of all, even of earthly existence, so that he might serve Man and perform his duty to God. The past is radiant with heroic examples, which a material philosophy has no power to explain. Doubtless there are many grades of self-love, exhibited in agreement with wisdom as well as folly; but it is the greatest absurdity to suppose that the truly benevolent mind, the conscientious spirit is guided by a cool calculation as to the results of any course, and before moving is first assured that the reaction will be personally beneficial. Might is right, whether the world will approve or condemn it: whether it will elevate you to a throne or a cross for being governed by its dictates. Kindness is kindness, whether the person you relieve will return your favors with friendship or studied treachery. The consideration of results do not constitute springs of action. Not until our noble nature has prompted to action, by its intuitive perceptions of what will accord with love and conscience, does worldly prudence come in with its estimate of consequences. To allow these to take a place among motives is to descend to their level in all our conduct, and reduce the whole question of morals to a mere system of expedients.

It is true that the internal results of action are always correspondent to the quantity and quality of the actuating motives; but it is not true that the individual can determine with certainty what will be the external result to him from the discharge of a certain duty. Philosophy has confounded the internal with the external consequences of action, whereas they only correspond to each other in the generals—not in particulars. He who saves his outward life by expedients, loses his true life; and he only knows spiritual life who would brave the loss of physical existence to maintain the law of life in the mind.

That selfishness which is directed entirely to the pursuit of individual good, by more open and adroit methods, seems on the point of culmination:—heaven speed its decline! It pervades all the secular and business departments of life, and has attained a conspicuous position in our religion and even in our systems of social and moral reform. Men must be honest—must not violate the current business maxims, if they hope to succeed in their schemes for realizing fortunes out of the toil of others. They must be religious to secure personal gain. The sensual and illegitimate temporal pleasures are placed in one scale, and heaven with its future pleasures in the other. Then with hell for a make-weight it is shown that the latter preponderates on the logical beam. It is even attempted to prove that men will be benefitted pecuniarily by a conscientious observance of the Sabbath and the varied formalities of the Sects. Men are called upon to be temperate because it is more profitable than intemperance. The most sacred rights and duties of mankind are measured by a mercenary scale. Slavery should be abolished because free labor is cheaper, and would increase the wealth of the employer more rapidly. Go where you may this selfism meets you. You must advance or retrograde—advocate war or peace, as they will make good a particular business and give opportunity to speculation.

This irreligious and ungodly parley with Mammon has wrought out results not few but questionable. A total recklessness of the general good; the corruptions of trade; the adulteration of almost every article of commerce; an irresponsible monopoly of all the bounties of heaven, and all the products of labor; the multiplication of the learned, scheming and useful classes, that swarm the land, like the locusts of Egypt, ” devouring every green thing ;” the desecration of morals and religion, to justify existing wrongs; a system of politics, where no questions of right, but only of expediency are entertained; a system of law and public justice, which counts the chances of personal advancement; and a religious profession for securing individual emolument, are some of the beauties of this temporizing philosophy, this counting-house morality. So false is it to all principle, that under its rule, not the culprit, but the victim is punished; not the coward, but the hero falls; not the lover, but the violator of justice is honored, while upon the head devoted to truth, to man, falls all the vengeance of the World God. Not lovers of self, but of man, have been the true teachers, leaders, heroes and martyrs—yet the world has ever honored the others. Nations will stand by and see each other reduced to despotism, calculating the chances of obtaining their own freedom by negotiation. They are willing to purchase immunities at the expense of a neighbor’s thralldom. And individuals who are boisterous for their own freedom, will treacherously abandon, or help enslave others.

Too much importance should not be attached to the influence of principles, of morals and philosophy. It is probably true that the times exert as great an influence over the philosophy as the philosophy over the times. They rest upon each other. Both at present are most cowardly and selfish, and their influence upon each other is most deleterious. Nothing great or good will be accomplished in or for this age, until there arise self-sacrificing spirits; those who will not make as a first inquiry concerning any measure whether it is likely to bring them honor, ease or increased premiums, but simply whether it is just and fitting to be done, though they might not be able to get a living out of it. The men whose highest principle consists of worldly prudence, are entirely unfitted to the coming era. The destinies of our future shall be shaped, as the destinies of all times have been, by men whose rule of policy and estimate of forces shall not be based on a skilfully balanced account book. They will rather upturn the whole calculations of Mammon, and demonstrate once more to the world, what has so long remained a problem in Christendom, that Love of God and of Man can make one true, although, in the place of filling his purse, it should require the sacrifice of every earthly hope and comfort. And this lesson has to be taught the world, and learned by it, ere it can make any advance except towards perdition. Parker Pillsbury’s Deacon, who thought to make a good speculation by damming up ” the river of water of life” to drive cotton machinery in the New Jerusalem, had a better conception of heaven than those politicians and religionists have of a truly Christian and democratic Socialism who imagine that the present prerogative of wealth, monopoly, individual aggrandizement and sectarian animosity can work anything but ruin to society and the race. We need to have done, once and for ever, with this material philosophy. It may have accomplished good, but its day is over; and if we would not go with it we must lay it aside. Many things must be done from a sense of right, independent of personal interest. The rising generation must be educated, and you must be taxed to do it, whether with or without a benefit to yourself. The teacher must abandon awhile his own pursuits, and, without direct intellectual benefit, labor to bring up the youthful mind to a comprehension of truths and principles old and familiar to him. The Poet and Prophet must give forth thoughts, diffuse hopes, and shed abroad a light that will never be reflected upon them. They have freely received, they must freely give. The Philosopher will make discoveries and inventions of incalculable benefit to the world, and be denied even the honor that belongs to him. Not by a motive of quid pro quo were Franklin and Newton incited to unfold the laws of electricity and the mighty powers of steam. The truth is that life and action are attractive to many, as well as the spoils of office to the politician, the beef and plum-pudding to the glutton, or even the cent per cent to the miser.

The aims and estimations of the world need elevating. To do any act of kindness, to visit the sick, to relieve distress, to proffer friendly advice, is above all sordid considerations; and he who attempts to account for his interest in such things on the ground that some time he may be in a condition to need such kind offices himself does injustice to the nobleness of his own nature, through a strange deference to a corrupt but current sentiment. The sun claims no return, but gives forth its light and heat, all for the blessedness of shining. The earth yields its stores of wealth only for the blessedness of giving. And is Man, the image of God, less godlike than these external forms. They have a poor understanding of the human mind who attempt to influence it to good or duty by appeals to its selfishness. This is all too strong now, and needs discouragement. Man is not merely an empty receptacle; his soul, for he has a soul, is permeated with the divine qualities of action—providence and dispensation. The Law of Love is the great Law of his being.

  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Motives to Duty,” Spirit of the Age 2 no. 3 (January 19, 1850), 42-43.

THE CO-OPERATIVE BROTHERHOOD.

THE above title is appropriated, until a better is determined on, to signify a movement in accordance with the principles set forth in my late article, Method of Transition. Since the appearance of that article, I have received communications from a number of individuals, from as many as six different States, signifying their approval of the plan, and willingness to cooperate. All, or nearly all, have signified their ability and readiness to join and contribute their proportion, and a little more. For the benefit of those whom I have not written to personally, I will now say, that there is a Tract of 3 or 4,000 acres in Texas, about forty miles from Austin, the Capital of the State. It is very healthy, but somewhat wild. There is immense water power, and considerable wood; the little is more suitable to grazing purposes than agriculture. The climate there is so mild that neither food nor shelter would be required for sheep or cattle, other than what is spontaneous. This Tract will be given.

There is another Tract on a branch of the little Kenhawa, in western Virginia, containing 8,000 acres, or more, where there is water-power, timber that can he rafted down to the Ohio, and other facilities. Some of it is already cultivated. It is in the hands of friends to the movement, who are understood to be willing to put it into the organization at a dollar an acre, to be paid as fast as the Association are able, without interest, they holding, as guarantee, such land as is not paid for and improved. Another Tract in Indiana will be given, but about the particulars, I cannot now speak, but shall be fully prepared at the coming meeting. Another in Wisconsin, of 2,000 acres, will be partly given, and the rest put in at the Government price.

Thus far the proposition has been met with a response quite unanticipated, and what was but faintly suggested to my mind a few months ago as possible, seems now to promise a speedy realization. But it is not best to act precipitately, in so stupendous a movement as this will become, even from the smallest beginnings, if it is carried out in the spirit in which it has been conceived. Location, means, and position, are of secondary consequence, compared with the character of the elements, and their harmonious action with each other. As we shall proceed on principles which all who join will acknowledge to be just, if there is at first a perfect understanding between us, no essential discord can possibly arise. To promote this understanding, a meeting, of al] who can make it convenient to attend, is called in New York, Tuesday, February 26th. Notice of the place and hour of meeting will be given in the Tribune of that morning.

As but a part, however, will be able to attend that meeting, the business will be confined chiefly to an arrangement of the general plan, matters of detail being left, as far as possible, for the actual Association to dispose of, as the collective wisdom and practical experience shall suggest. The question of location will properly come up for action, and perhaps an agent be appointed to visit some of the localities. Any persons having suggestions or propositions to make, will please address the writer before the time specified.

When the plan is fully matured, it will be published, so that all can have an opportunity to see how well it accords with their views. A year, or at least till next Fall will probably be needed to perfect the arrangements.

A word to those who correspond. If they propose to join, let them state their ages, occupations, families, and means. If the location is in the more northern States, it will be at least a year after emigrating before much can be realized; and with the economies which the Organization will furnish, it will be necessary that each head of a family have enough to provide the necessaries of life, during the first season, for as many as it is proposed to bring in. If any are not able to do this, they must make arrangements with such as are, that the action of the body be not embarrassed. There are also some friends of the movement who do not propose to join at present, but who will furnish means to some worthy persons who do. If any propositions are made of land, let them be distinctly stated. It must be understood that the Organization will pay no interest, nor give any security which shall cover land that is paid for, or any improvements. Of course, no speculator, and no person who has not an interest in the movement, and in human progress generally, will have any proposition to make.

It is probably due to the public to make another statement. It is known that the Religious Views of the writer are radically Liberal. It is also true that most, if not all, who have proposed joining, sympathize, more or less, with the spiritual philosophy which he receives. It is not proposed to have any test, nor is it desirable to have any persons join who do not feel and exercise the true spirit of toleration. Contention and wrangling on matters of mere theoretical speculation would e anything but favorable to general harmony and cooperation.

Southington, Conn.

J. K. INGALLS.

  • Joshua King Ingalls, “The Co-operative Brotherhood,” The Spirit of the Age 2 no. 4 (January 26, 1850), 56-7.

For the Spirit of the Age.

A PRACTICAL MOVEMENT FOR TRANSITION.

A meeting was called in New York, by the writer, on the 26th of February, to arrange preliminaries for a practical effort to change existing conditions. But a small number of those who have communicated their desire to unite, were present, the rest having signified their entire satisfaction in the principles already set forth. Those who were present, but did not propose to join personally, declined taking any formal action, although we had the benefit of their advice, and the expression (in some instances in quite a substantial form,) of their sympathies. The result has been the adoption of the accompanying Constitution, presented with a good deal of diffidence, and rather to invite criticism with a view to its improvement than as a perfected instrument. But this seemed the only way to proceed, as the persons to be practically associated with the movement are scattered over some ten states, and can never be brought together until they meet upon their common inheritance. An unassuming name has been adopted A more imposing title can be adopted when it is earned in regard to location, Western Virginia seems to present the most favorable inducements. Health, a sufficiently fertile soil, good water-power, proximity to immense, universal wealth, and steam navigation, a ready market, mild climate, &c., are secured here. Considering how important health must be to an infant Colony, this location has been thought preferable to one farther west or south, where the increased fertility of the soil is compensated by great distance from market, long winters, or liability to sickness. Several tracts, on the waters of the llenhawas, may be purchased very cheap: and if answering at all the descriptions given, will be very suitable for our enterprise. It is not proposed to purchase, however, without personal inspection. And to enable me to do this, it is necessary that I be furnished the means. About one-half the computed expense of the tour was secured in New York. A few dollars from each individual who has communicated with the writer will furnish enough to meet that expense and some others, which must be met by somebody ere we can proceed. I would request each individual so communicating to state for what sum they can be depended upon towards the purchase of the lands, between this and the coming Autumn. It is desirable that I should be enabled to go as soon as May or June. In this way, and in this way alone, can it be told who are to be depended upon, and who are not; since we are so widely separated.

With regard to qualifications of associates, it is hoped that each one will consider himself a specially-appointed committee for self-examination. Let the question be put and seriously pondered—” Am I prepared for co-operation and self-sacrifice—to be governed by a deep regard for the good of all, and not by personal interest or caprice?” Every individual is better qualified to answer this question for himself than another is for him. Let the answer in every case be frankly given, and the future action made to correspond.

There has been one difficulty of some moment in the details of our plan: the manner in which our real estate is to be held. The joint-stock principle has already been proved defective by trial. Individual property in land is open to a still greater objection, as all experience has proved, by the monopoly in the hands of wealth of man’s natural inheritance. The plan proposed in the following form seems to be the only just one, securing to all an equal right of access to the soil. With regard to its validity, legal counsel will be obtained. The measure of productiveness, from the cultivation of the soil, has been made the measure by which all other labor done for the Association shall be remunerated. This at first, perhaps, may not appear favorable to persons with trades and professions, but it seems right to us; and when it is remembered that agriculture is to be the basis of our movement, and that all, of whatever calling, must look to that ultimately for compensation, and will have to take more or less active interest in it; all objections, we think, will vanish. Every individual can be a cultivator of the soil who chooses; and if he prefers some other employment, it should be in consequence of a natural attraction for it, and not for love of gain.

The expression of interest from friends, and from persons entirely unknown to the writer, except by a spontaneous correspondence, is highly encouraging. An opportunity is now given which may test, in some respect, the foundation on which my hopes are built. Every token of encouragement will be duly acknowledged.

J. K. I.

Southington, Conn., March 6.

We, whose names are hereunto annexed, in order to establish a better system of society, ensure to labor its full award, promote the recognition of man’s rights, and the principles of reciprocal and distributive justice, and to secure the blessings of independence to ourselves and posterity, do associate and severally agree and pledge ourselves to conform to the provisions of the following:

CONSTITUTION.

ARTICLE 1. This Association shall be known as the MUTUAL TOWNSHIP (state and county hereafter to be inserted).

ART. 2. The object of the organization shall be the elevation of labor to a condition of independence, by the redemption, reception and improvement of lands, and the of establishment of the various branches of industry upon a basis which shall give to labor its entire products a system of practical education, and a fraternal cooperation with all movements calculated to elevate the social and if civil conditions of the industrious classes.

ART. 3. Any individual may become a member of this aft Association by signing the Constitution and contributing the SUM of FIVE DOLLARS. But to become a Resident in Member it shall be necessary to pay in the sum of TWENTY DOLLARS, towards the redemption of land, for every member of a family brought in by such member. But at the option of the Association single females and minors may be admitted without such payment.

ART. 4. All lands and property owned by the township, shall be held by a Trustee or Trustees, for the resident members as tenants in common. But individual members, as r with the general consent, may appropriate a portion of the and land not exceeding ten acres for each member of the family, and at his or her option buildings may be erected thereon and the land cultivated, for personal benefit, without rent; provided that no such premises shall be loaned be loaned or rented by such person for an income, nor be cultivated then by others for wages differing from an equitable share of the products.

ART. 5. The amount of capital which any individual (whether a resident member or not) shall invest to be controlled by the voice of the Township, shall be guaranteed or be to him or her without diminution of value, to be repaid in each stipulated installments, not to exceed the proportion of one-tenth of the whole in any one year. But no premium or such interest, or dividend to capital, shall ever, in any shape or for any pretext, be allowed; and no guarantee to capital shall be binding for a longer period than twenty years.

ART. 6. Every child belonging to the Township shall be entitled to equal opportunities of education; and if destitute, shall be supported and clothed at the public expense, without being subject to any other labor than what is required of all. And every individual who has been a resident member for one year shall be entitled to support in case of sickness and destitution. Attendance and care in sickness shall be provided for all, by a reciprocal exchange of services, without charge. But individuals cultivating the land, or engaging in any other business on individual interest, shall only be entitled to these guarantees by an equitable contribution to the funds set apart full for such object. And persons entering the Township when sickly or superannuated shall only be entitled to them by a special agreement with the association.

ART. 7. To secure these guarantees and an ultimate equalization of the capital employed by the organization, and likewise to provide for incidental expenses, authorized by the majority of resident members, a proportion of the yearly products, not exceeding one quarter of the whole, the shall be set apart from year to year to meet, as nearly as possible, the expense of these several guarantees.

ART. 8. That individuals may be secure in the event of a closing up of the business of the Association, a strict the and regular account shall be kept of all funds paid in, and the of all labor performed under the general direction, for purposes of improvement, creation of machinery, &c. An account shall be also kept of all labor, productive and remunerative, within each year. And annually, or oftener if convenient, the distribution of the annual products shall be made in a ratio determined by this latter kind of labor, his after the yearly provision is made for guarantees. The individuals performing the first kind of labor shall be paid in the same proportion, out of the division set apart for guarantees, or let their dues remain to their credit as capital to be subsequently equalized, as provided for in Article Fifth. No office or employment shall have attached to it a higher compensation than another.

ART. 9. There shall be kept a storehouse, supplied with the necessaries of life, and each resident member shall be entitled to trade at an advance, on the cost of purchase, as nearly as possible covering the expense of transportation and delivery. And to obviate the necessity for credits, and to prevent over-trading by any, the authorized agent shall award to all labor performed under the general direction weekly or monthly certificates of the amount. These shall d be received at the store, and an amount advanced upon them safely within their probable value. At the periodical settlement, the amount advanced on such certificates shall be deducted, but no charge shall be made for interest or exchange.

ART. 10. In case of disputes arising between members, or between a member and the agents of the Association, each party shall chose a person, and these two a third. These three shall decide the matter of difference; but if such arbitration is appealed from, then it shall be determined in a meeting of the members, whose decision shall be final. For grave misdemeanor members may be suspended or excluded the benefits and privileges of the Association; and any person refusing to abide the decision of the majority shall be regarded as resigning their membership. But no such action of the association shall invalidate any claim for labor or capital, which any individual may equitably possess, nor require a precipitate evacuation of premises to the inconvenience or pecuniary injury of the person.

ART. 11. After ten families shall have moved upon any tract held by the Association, and regularly associated themselves together, it shall be competent for them to elect their own Trustees, establish their offices and groups, manage their own affairs, and enact bye-laws for their own government; also to determine who shall thereafter be admitted into their organization. But in the reception of new members, preference shall be given to such as have contributed to its funds, and those who shall be recommended by organizations which sympathize with our views and objects, and cooperate in their realization. Nor shall such persons be debarred the privilege, at least, of coming upon the lands as individuals (except there are moral objections) while the domain shall exceed the proportion of forty acres to each male resident. Such organization shall be made to represent, as nearly as possible, the town, district, or other corporation in the state where located.

ART. 12. Until such actual settlement has been made and such organization formed, J. K. Ingalls shall be Trustee of this Association, and authorized to receive moneys, purchase lands, for the objects and within the limits specified, and make such arrangements as are necessary to carry the designs of this instrument into practical operation. All investments and contributions shall be receipted by him, with the express understanding and condition that he shall surrender to the first Trustees or Agents duly appointed by the resident members, all property, deeds and titles held by him in trust.

ART 13. All persons born in the Township, or who may have come in with a parent or parents, and continuing therein, shall, on attaining the age of twenty-one years, have equal right and inheritance with the rest, and all rights, privileges, guarantees and obligations, expressed or implied, shall be understood to apply equally to persons of both sexes.

ART. 14. Amendments may be made to this Constitution by a vote of two-thirds of the resident members, present at any regular meeting of the Association, such amendment having been duly notified at a previous meeting, and provided that no such amendment shall propose to give a premium or vote to capital, or infringe on the rights and guarantees secured herein.  

  • Joshua King Ingalls, “A Practical Movement for Transition,” The Spirit of the Age 2 no. 13 (March 30, 1850): 202-204.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2233 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.