☞ An interesting article, entitled “A Religion of Progress,” from J. K. Ingalls, (one of the editors of this paper) is in type, but is unavoidably, with several other articles, crowded out. It will be given in our next number.
Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 1 no. 1 (December 4, 1847): 16.
A RELIGION OF PROGRESS.
“Reform, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”—Jesus.
Like all earthly forms, establishments of religion are subject to constant change; and their number and variances should be accounted for, upon the ground of a gradual development of the same Spirit of Truth, rather than by referring some to a good, and others to an evil source. Thus Judaism is undeveloped Christianity; Calvinism and Arminianism, rudiments from which ultra Universalism is formed. No system, hence, while moved by a living soul, is to be regarded evil; until that is absorbed by a more suitable form, the old body is a veritable reality. The error consists in the endeavor to preserve the beds embalmed in the affections, after the spirit has fed; for despite our partiality we shall be compelled to entomb it: to exclude heaven’s light and heat, for they possess wondrous powers of decomposition. ‘This is shown, by the fear of investigation manifested by the elder forms toward the more recent, as well as by the invention of opprobrious epithets, and frightful anathemas, to deter the truth-loving from drawing aside the veil and exposing the deformity.
When Jesus absorbs into his own system, the principles on which “hang all the Law and the Prophets,” Judaism becomes a “dead letter;” and those who had been true to its light, followed where it led; while those who were attached merely to its outward semblance, only became more zealous and intolerant, as they became sensible that its life had departed. This illustration must suffice to give the reader an index to our ideas. We do not mean that this spirit fails to enlarge and expand the bodies while dwelling in them. On the contrary, they owe their existence to its presence; and in accordance as they are moved by its life-giving force, they have an enthusiastic youth, a strong and prudent manhood and a garrulous and enfeebled old age. The Theology of all time has conformed to these analogies; not excepting Christianity itself, which was not, in the intention of its Founder, a formal, but a spiritual system. The race, however, were not sufficiently advanced to retain its spirituality, and hence arose its forms. Nor should we war against these with too fiery a zeal; they are but stages of the Spirit’s progress; and rather than quarrel with those who worship where she has been, let us give thanks that she is with us in the present, and prefer following where she leads, to amusing ourselves with her cast-off garments, or clasping her outward and shadowy semblance.
Religion is two-fold; the outward appearance, and the inward reality. Many aim to enjoy the latter yet most reach only an appreciation of the former. The one is everliving and progressive; keeping pace with, and leading the way for, mental development and spiritual growth. The first, like all external forms us subject to continued mutations, and yet upon this the worldly religious place their hopes; when all experience should have taught them, that no reliance could be placed in a form constantly varying. For it is admitted in the abstract that true Religion is a religion of Reform; that it embraces the doctrines of immutable truth, undying love, and universal harmony and peace; and that its object is to secure good-will among men, to unite and reconcile the jarring and conflicting interests of the race, and to make all pure and happy. The narrowest sectarian admits its much, and thus condemns his own adherence to a system, whose influences, at this present, are calculated to sever the bonds of brotherhood, draw lines of distinction, erect walls of partition, and produce directly opposite results to those acknowledged to be just. Enough has been experienced to teach us that sectarism can do nothing to promote those objects. It cannot even harmonize and purify its own members; much less society. Indeed, there is no vice, oppression, corruption or wickedness complained of in the world, but what is duly represented in every sectarian establishment. The outward Church not only manifests all the indications of inherent animosity, strife and envy, but as a whole stands in the way of Reform, and is even arrayed against it; for while she talks loudly of the necessity of “doing penance,” and the “new birth,” she decides that a pledge, to reform from bestial drunkenness, is of no religious obligation; and through a New England Bishop commands her children to abstain from “voluntary associations;” as it would cast obloquy upon her for her members thus to imply that all needed reform was not embraced within her pale; and by no means to sanction the gross assumption of the world which had attempted to reform itself, without coming to her for permission and direction.
These also stand up the unblushing advocates for Slavery, War, and giant Monopoly, and for every political and social wrong that afflicts and divides our race. They exact an outward morality and piety, as requisites to admission, but from that point, are most strictly conservative, while, for a disagreement from their formulas, they would excommunicate one as pure as the Nazarene himself. And this is true of all, however the standard may vary with different sects, and with the different localities of the same sect. They are also powerless for any general work. How often has the true reformer found that their pride and jealousy of each other was the only important obstacle to his success! How often felt his words fall ineffectually, when he finds that instead of considering the important question which engrosses his whole soul, he finds that worshipers of names are debating what sectarian or party object will be subserved! Missionaries are sent to convert the heathen, while they do not embrace in all their ranks a moiety of the inhabitants of a country claiming to have been christianized for centuries. Even here, they cannot agree, for one wishes the word “baptize” translated in the ethnic versions of the Gospels, while others wish it to stand untranslated as in ours. Many of their aims are discord ant in themselves, as well as hostile to those humanizing influences that are breathed into all recent movements for uniting and elevating humanity.
Has nominal Catholicism or dismembered Protestantism, in its most advanced forms, any where realized the sublime and humane ideal of Jesus? or even fulfilled those prophecies, which foreshadow the unify of the Spirit, the end of transgression, the destruction of sin, and the introduction of everlasting righteousness? If to these alone we are to look for indications of promise, the hope of man is gloomy indeed: nothing but disunity, persecution, superstition and vicious Ignorance are ever to be anticipated. But, oh! there is something better than all this. While here we see nothing of the philanthropic, catholic spirit of the great Reformer; none of his devotion to, and confidence in truth, or of his comprehensive interest in all that concerns the well-being and unity of the race. We may discover, among those of every name, individuals who manifest the true principles of the Gospel, and wield those influences which redeem, purify and save men. While every establishment is using its force, in a greater or less degree, to prevent the enfranchisement of the bodies and souls of men, from error and oppression, Reforms are springing up, independent of them, and realizing in a measure their professed objects, but which they have nearly overlooked in our discussions about means and formulas.
Whatever then may be the creed; be it narrow or most liberal; if your form be Christianity, Christianity is defective, and covers not the whole ground; and is not this conceded when you say that a man may have your formal faith, and yet not be interested and engaged in the benevolent movements of the age; or that one may be a “good man” and “true reformer? and not Christian? It is most certainly spurious; for a religion, emanating from a universal and unchanging Father, must embrace all spiritual and moral teachings, examples and influences, and shed light on all human conditions. You admit the defects of your system, by the very arguments adopted to prove its exclusive claims. Christianity must be thus catholic to you, to me, to all, or it is nothing. Take from it its spiritual essence, its all-embracing charity, its adaptation to all times and people, and you have nothing but its dead body left. But most cheering are the testimonies that it still lives. I mean not in creeds, or its mutations had long since proved fatal. I mean not in the visible Church, or it had died of dismemberment. I mean in the heart of humanity, on the sacred scroll where free thoughts and humane deeds inscribe immortal characters and undying memories. The true man can no longer stand up to do battle for a creed and name. He sees that the spirit, which in their turn gave life to those old forms, has gone out to pervade the more suitable organizations of the age; to promote human interests and the general weal. He finds not the religion of Jesus in one; for however they profess to worship him as God, or honor him as super-angelic, they have forgotten to imitate his Life. He finds the “universal brotherhood” nowhere recognized in any; nor a life in the service of mankind any where required ; or God worshiped as “the Father of all.” For however he may find if, professedly, he finds it nowhere practically. Among the most liberal sects, as among the most bigoted, he discovers the same barbarian distinctions of master and slave, rich and poor, oppressors and oppressed, employer and employed; lords who live in luxury and dissipation on the products of others toil, and laborers who have plowed and sowed and reaped down harvests for naught. And this is the ultimate of Christianity, of God’s paternal relation to his children, and of their duties to each other as brethren of one common family!
Thank Heaven, a purer and spiritual religion is breathing around us creations of diviner forms, and that we can perceive in the movements for man’s amelioration, instruction and spiritual elevation, more of His spirit, who “went about doing good;” alleviating human suffering, imparting heavenly consolation, and directing man to his Father, and to the ever-living testimonies of Nature, as fraught with lessons of highest confidence and hope. Even amid those dead forms the devotion of the Master to truth and freedom, is exemplified. There is the Pope, (the very Anti-Christ, if we have been taught aright) lifting up a standard against oppression, and pursuing a course of toleration and forbearance, which should put to blush the Protestant bigot, who permits himself to be outdone by one he has depicted as the very personification of all unrighteousness. From every name and tribe and tongue, from liberal and orthodox, believer and unbeliever, from Mohammedan and Pagan, from Jew and Christian, Catholic and Protestant, from every land under heaven’s wide canopy, there comes a voice of the Spirit, which asks a purer light that shall define all our positions, and harmonize our discordant action; so that we may put forth our united energies to secure a catholic result, the cessation of War, Oppression, Intemperance, Intolerance, party strife and the pursuit of hostile interests.
Whether you are willing to call this spirit Christianity, is a matter of perfect indifference. It is the Religion of Progress; it has been the religion of all true men, whether wedded to sect, or, like the great Reformer, joined only to the common family of which God is the common parent. It is also the religion of Nature and the Universe, whose very constitution requires, in all things, an elevating tendency toward parity and harmony.
The number of minds which are losing confidence in sect and party to work any truthful and comprehensive reform, are constantly increasing; and though they do not leave the “communion,” as, indeed they should not, yet they hesitate not to join “voluntary associations,” where all meet on common ground, to promote the principles of temperance, liberty and distributive justice; to feed the hungry, visit the sick, comfort the widow and educate the orphan; and to aid and encourage each other in all works of love, and in the vindication of their mutual rights. Nor will it be long ere they will discover more of the spirit of the Nazarene, in all this, than in their partial and sectional efforts, to effect as partial and diverse objects, and the upbuilding of separate and discordant interests.
If a creed be needed, then it will exact unbounded confidence in the power of truth and right; so as to secure to all that liberty of thought and speech, which each claims for himself, that the injunction may be universally obeyed: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” If a form be required, it will then be comprehensive as the race, and the “church of the first-born” will become the “church of humanity.”
Look up, then, humble heart, yearning for a higher life, and know that light, the object of thy devotion, is bursting forth from every corner of the earth, from the fathomless depths of the Universe and of thy own being. Labor to understand your relation to the creation- around you and live no longer isolated in hostile, envious mood. A spiritual birth will then be yours, from which you shall continue to “ grow in grace and knowledge of the truth.” The earth, from her deep foundations, from her varied scenery, her form, of life and beauty; old ocean, from her ever heaving bosom; the heavens, from their vaulted dome and thousand-voiced stars; and man, in his majesty and strength, presenting oft a life of truth and love; these, all confirm the yearnings of thy soul for progressive existence and social harmony. Press onward and upward, then, and as the dawning of a better day rejoices thine eyes, let thy own light, shine, and join thy voice in that anthem of associated melody which peals through distant spheres; and put forth thy hand to aid the work of Reform, and to extend the Religion of Progress.
J. K. I.
J. K. I., “A Religion of Progress,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 1 no. 2 (December 11, 1847), 21-23.
Acknowledgement.—The subscribers take this method of rendering their acknowledgements to the Ladies’ Universalist Sewing Society of this place, for the reception of a most splendid Album Quilt, beautifully and tastefully decorated; as we as for other favors from the same individuals, and from friends generally composing the congregation here. Wherever our lot may hereafter be cast, or whatever our earthly fate, remembrances of this character will be cherished for their donors’ sake, and oft shall we be reminded of the pleasures once enjoyed among warm and confiding friends.
Southold, Dec. 1, 1847.
J. K. Ingalls. Amanda Ingalls.
Joshua King Ingalls & Amanda Ingalls, “Acknowledgement,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 1 no. 2 (December 11, 1847), 32.
WRITTEN FOR THE UNIVERCOELUM,
BY J. K. INGALLS.
We are not to understand by contentment, any thing like a tame submission to the decrees of fortune, as some may be pleased to call the events of life; a reckless carelessness of the results of action, and personal indolence and inactivity. That is not contentment, it is laziness. The term admits of no definition of inactivity and negligence. So far from this, it is the highest, most permanent action; the most attentive interest,
Certainty of success secures action; and he who sees in the events that transpire around him, the fulfillment of a living faith, the consummation of a Father’s plans, of a brother’s emancipation, is no idle spectator of what is occurring daily; and what is promising to occur in the affairs of earth. In proportion, as this is the condition of any individual, he will be in a measure free from worldly, selfish anxiety, and learn to give to earthly distinctions and stations an estimate in accordance with their real importance.
None we suppose will deny that content is a virtue, and one which it is the duty of all to exercise. We do not, however, regard this or any other virtue as an arbitrary affair. We do not suppose that thistles and thorns will ever produce figs or grape; in other words, a partial faith, a selfish heart, or ignorant head will not be found connected with a contented mind. We do not expect that a man’s saying “Lord, Lord,” will reform him. Neither do I expect that my enjoining it upon any one, to be content, will make him so, except he be prepared for it, any more than we should expect that, commanding the earth to produce corn, would make it bring forth spontaneously. Speculate as we may in regard to the freedom of the will, moral re formers have presumed too much on man’s free agency. They have not attended sufficiently to the cultivation of that soil of the soul, whose product depends upon the culture and the seed sown; and not upon any arbitrary decision of the will. Every system of moral and religious instruction which is wanting it its motives, and in a permanent influence on the capacities of thought and feeling, will be found sadly deficient in its practical results.
This is mournfully true in respect to popular religious teaching. Duties, for which they know no reason, are enjoined upon mankind, and the command to comply, without any proper preparation being made, and without thinking that then is any thing necessary but to will. And they do will, but their religion lasts no longer than the will is exercised; and the saint to-day may have fallen from grace to-morrow.
Another method of teaching, is to enforce the moral and religious precepts, and. so far as it goes, to lay, by proper care, the foundation for their growth; but the deficiency in this is, that the principles and doctrines which form the basis of all moral goodness are overlooked, and though people may be moral and religious, it is only outwardly so: they are mechanically pious and good ; there is no life or spirit in it at all
But in order that enjoyment be secured, duties must be performed as necessary to our being, and must not be the forced arbitration of the will, but flow from the imperative impulse of noble, generous feeling as the necessary fruit of former cultivation. Indeed, we are apt to look on all virtues too much like first causes; when in fact, they are only the effects resulting from a long train of causes, in many of which, the individual had little or no agency.
And so it is with vices. The chain of cause and effect must hold as firmly, it seems to us, in the moral as in the natural world. And our efforts should be more directed to cultivate and prepare man for goodness, than to insist on an arbitral compliance with formal precept. Now, man cannot be contented simply because he acknowledges the justness of the precept. He must have a knowledge of himself, of the relation of his being to what is elevated, pure, and holy; and a faith in their power and divinity.
It is ignorance of the nature and bearing and result of principles and things, which causes discontent. A restless, unquiet man, is always deceived in regard to the operation of events, and the value of those things to which he aspires in vain. He has not learned, like Paul, that he does not depend on state and circumstance for happiness. He thinks rather that all happiness is to he obtained from outward, sensual objects. He is restless for the present moment to pass, and cannot endure the present place; but the time in which he lives, will be his only future, and the only state he can ever occupy is the present, and he will ever be dissatisfied and unhappy, until he learns to derive happiness from himself; when all places will be alike, and he be contented in whatever state or time he may be placed;
The man who has not learned that “out of the heart are the issues of life.” who depends for enjoyment on things foreign to himself: and thinks happiness inseparable from rank and fortune, and condition, in relation to outward, shadowy and false regulations of society, will be the last to find contentment It is not until he knows himself, the height of human wisdom; and has become acquainted with the depths and riches of his own spirit, that it smiles upon him. He must first know the blessing of thought, the beauty of virtue, and the power of truth; and knowing these, his happiness has little to ask of rank or fortune.
Have you seen the dignitary in his coach, attracting the gaze of a sycophantic crowd, and envied him his riches? Go and behold some action of a virtuous, good man, and if you have the capacity, judge which has most of happiness. The fortune of the one your envy will never aid you to secure; the virtues of the other you may imitate without envy, and share his enjoyment without taking from that of others. Have you envied the votary of fashion? who knows no definition of pleasure, that is not associated with the Ball Room, the Parade, the Dress, the gayety and dissipation of fashionable life? Go and learn of lover of books, the enjoyment he derives, away from noise and mirth! learn of the lover of Nature the bliss he drinks in. when in solitude, he communes with the spirit of the mountain and the flood, and gazes upon the beauties which Providence has spread on every side, open to the companionship of all who love their truth and are prepared to appreciate its bounties.
But how muchsoever we may extend knowledge, there are limits which human learning cannot, in this life, transcend; or rather there are depths of wisdom which in our worldly career we can never fathom. There are many things which must be felt, not seen. For this reason and for this purpose, was faith and hope bestowed on man. And much of contentment depends on the proper direction of these.
Man must be satisfied that the affairs of the Universe are in safe hands, or he will be likely to experience great anxiety of mind. He must believe in a God of unchanging love and truth; and then, though storms lower and the way looks dark over the ocean of life, he trusts in that Being and braves the elements with composure and resignation. Is it said that people of different faiths seem contented? We reply, that all systems contain some truth, and it is the truth, only, that secures contentment.
But to enjoy contentment, a man must have, not only knowledge and faith, but he must have a Christian heart, disposed “to do good and communicate.” There is, after all, nothing like generous, philanthropic employment. It is this that calls forth the merry whistle from the laborer, as he returns from his daily toil; satisfied that it has furnished the means of giving food and comfort to his expecting family. It is this that makes the heart of the philanthropist bound lightly, joyously, as he leaves the abode of wretchedness he has alleviated. It is this that in spite of our ignorance, our unbelief, gives peace and satisfaction to mortals, and makes the present time and place, at least endurable to the good man. And knowledge and faith should be prized, and systems adopted, according to the beneficial results they embrace, and the moralizing, harmonizing influence they exert, and the amount of joy and peace and contentment they secure to man.
Let it be our object to grow in grace, and in a knowledge of the truth ; to trust in God with an implicit faith : and labor to understand first principles, and lay their foundation deep in the Soul; cherish an acquaintance with God, and with our own hearts; and endeavor to draw thence our enjoyment, and our peace; believing that within we have sources of contentment which earth can neither confer nor destroy.
J. K. I., “Contentment,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 1 no. 3 (December 18, 1847), 36-37.
J. K. I., “The Wants of the Age,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 1 no. 4 (December 25, 1847), 49-51.
J. K. I., “The Stratification of Universalism,” Univercoelum, 1 no. 5 (January 1, 1848), 75.
J. K. I., “The Idea of Immortality: Its Development and Progress,” Univercoelum, 1 no. 8 (January 22, 1848), 90-91.
J. K. I., “Childish Things,” Univercoelum, 1 no. 12 (February 19, 1848): 186. [WHC in issue]
J. K. I., “Social Guaranty, Univercoelum, 1 no. 13 (February 26, 1848).
J. K. I., “The Divine Gift, Impartial and Immutible,” Univercoelum, 1 no. 14 (March 4, 1848), 75.
J. K. I., “Man and the Soil: Their Mutual Relations,” Univercoelum, 1 no. 19 (April 8, 1848): 289-292.
J. K. I., “The Conservative Press,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 1 no. 20 (April 15, 1848): 312.
J. K. I., “Fragmentary Reforms,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 2 no 3 (June 17 1848) 41–42..
J. K. I., “The Moral Argument for Land Reform,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 2 no. 10 (August 5, 1848) 153.
J. K. I., “A Significant Picture,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 2 no. 11 (August 12, 1848) 169–170.
It Is singular with what ease most men are imposed upon. Though constantly complaining of the hypocrisy and insincerity of professed friends, and possessing a disposition to doubt of all human goodness; yet they are repeatedly imposed upon, by the merest pretences. But where is the fault ? You say they should be what they seem. Nay, my friend, not when you pay a price for deception, take their professions for current -coin, and neglect that quiet, unassuming friend of yours, who is constantly doing, without ostentation, what your fashionable friend is only professing to do. Is not the fault very much with yourself, in having looked for practical friendship where words constitute the currency. Your friend has deceived you, but only because you held out an inducement to him, and hence should only come in for a share of the blame. Besides, society is so organised that the advantages of deception are momentarily greater than those of truth.
These remarks will hold good in all religious and social affairs. To profess to serve God, and to cherish the interests of the “dear people,” is the way to secure distinction and emolument from the world ; but to be true to the instructions of tho Divine Being, and faithfully labor to benefit the human condition, is but courting tho scorn and anathemas of a mammon-serving Church, and the neglect and insult of the very oppressed classes we are striving to emancipate.
Until men can decide on regarding words for their true value, and place a due estimate on deeds, we shall have any quantity of “Rules for Profession,” both in Church and State; and while these arc given the preference over practical precepts, and the discharge of every-day duties, no complaint of deception should be made, inasmuch as those making these complaints are themselves parties in the transaction against which they murmur.
J. K. I.
J. K. I., “Profession,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 2 no. 12 (August 19, 1848): 186.
This is the term used to signify that inhuman struggle for the mastery, which characterizes all grades of business, under existing social conditions. The moderate and honest man finds everywhere his place forestalled by those more cunning or expert than himself. And unless he forgets his sickly sentimentality, as the world would call a scrupulous regard for right, he stands no chance of success, but must pass through life in obscurity, if not in actual want.
It is often said, in justification of the opportunities for monopoly, which our present business arrangements afford, that it is an encouragement to enterprise; and, that without such encouragement, all men would become drones and idlers. This, however, is an exceedingly superficial view of the question. The unbounded license which is given to Avarice, encourages, it may be granted, the spirit for accumulation which is naturally all too strong for the happiness of the individual or society. But in proportion as it stimulates the strong it disheartens the weak, and begets in them feelings of dependence and servility, entirely incompatible with a condition of freedom; for although a man may rise from the lowest to the highest position in life, yet every step of the upward progress is made over the forms of his fellows. His elevation is only attained by trampling on the hopes and liberties of those who are his equals in every quality except the avaricious and ambitious spirit which craves distinction at whatever sacrifice.
If he commences his career as a mechanic, and is expert, or remarkably economical, he is prompted on by his own success to greater exertions and greater economy. So far as he is concerned, it may be admitted that industry and frugality are encouraged; but then what is the effect on those with whom he has so successfully competed? His indefatigable industry, by which he has accumulated more than they, or his superior expertness has diminished, at the same time, the rate of wages, which was already small, and the chances of employment, which were already precarious, so that in the very struggle to rise, he who needed no stimulus has rendered their condition more hopeless who only needed encouragement And in every transition through which this millionaire of the people has passed, from the mechanic’s bench, through the counting house, to the great landlord manorship or money lord’s independence, he has only succeeded by sinking those immediately on the same level with himself, and immersing still deeper all below his plane of wealth.
There is no such thing as drawing a distinction between the rich and the poor, the oppressors and oppressed. Perhaps the wealthiest person in the world and the poorest, if we knew who they were, might be pointed at as the one who oppressed others but was not himself oppressed, and the one who only bore oppression from others but was himself guilty of oppressing none. But this is not supposeable. Through every grade of existence this inhuman competition is infused, so that none are too high or too low to be free from Us influence or its exercise. However rich or poor, noble or ignoble the employment, we shall find a competitor in the field; and in the place of encouragement, unless we are able to excel in any case, we shall find discouragement. The miser, even, finds competition, and the poor beggar sees every prospect of charity monopolized.
The tendency of all this is to weaken the incitements to industry and frugality, in all who lack their due development, while it gives unnatural excitement and impetus to those morbidly active or selfish natures, which discover in life no higher aim than to hoard together, from the grasp of others, the blessings of a bounteous Providence. Let it be distinctly understood what class are stimulated by this system. If you are more expert than your companion, why do you ask a conventional advantage? If you find on experiment that you can carry sixty pounds to his forty, for this advantage which you naturally possess, why should he be required to carry his share, and in addition a portion, or all of your own. according as your diminishing, and his increasing load shall give you the advantage over him! Yet this, the liberty of monopolizing the opportunities for labor and life, bestows unlimited sway on the shrewd and powerful, over the weak and unsuspecting. How long shall so unrighteous and unchristian a privilege remain a disgrace to a people professing regard for freedom, or reverence for the teachings of morality?
Let us ask ourselves, who it is that need encouragement, the grasping and ambitions, or the honest and unassuming, and whether it is better to grant facilities to honesty or to fraud, to the benevolent and peaceful, or to the selfish and encroaching, to the lover of gold and arbitrary power, or to the lover of man of righteousness and of truth.
J. K. I.
J. K. I., “Competition,” Univercoelum and Spiritual Philosopher 2, no. 16 (August 16, 1848): 249-250.
Salisbury, N. Y., Oct. 10th, 1848.
Having a few moments’ leisure, I have thought to employ them in a brief correspondence. Some of the readers of the Univercoelum already know that I am absent from the city on a lecturing tour. Although the object was to advocate an important political Reform, I have nevertheless had opportunity to observe the Spiritual tendencies in the region visited. Independence of all sectarian bias, has prepared me for the better consideration and arrangement of what elements, in the religious world, I have discovered in process of change and development.
On the first Sabbath after my arrival in the interior of the State, I was invited to speak in Rev. Mr. Scofield’s church at Hamilton. It was not inquired to what sect I belonged, for I was known to be a reformer; and the attention which was accorded me by these unsectarian people, who are nevertheless esteemed Orthodox, was flattering to one who has been marked as unsound, by a professed liberal and proscribed sect. The truth is, that there is a feeling among the noble hearted of all names, that this unbrotherly strife of sects is anything but christian; and that after all, he who has the spirit and does the work of a Christian, is most Christ-like. In this vicinity there are a number of free Churches, where reformers of all sects, and of no sect, assemble to worship, and hear the Gospel of Reform. Of course it does not essentially interest us to inquire, to what particular division they may have belonged, it is enough to know, that they are zealously laboring in unison for the great cause of human advancement.
It was found not inconsistent with our object to be present at the Christian Convention, at Canastota, Here were assembled some most earnest and advanced minds, to take into consideration the possibility of establishing a Christian union. The opinion seemed to prevail that in order to have union, it was necessary to have entire toleration. Resolutions were passed to this effect; also, that ministers might be ordained or chosen by the members, while any member had the right to administer the Bacrament, or any other ordinance in which it is proper for an Elder to officiate.
It was gratifying to listen to the spirited debates which were excited by these and other resolutions. There were two or three who brought with them a portion of their love of Sect and forms: but they appeared like dwarfed minds, compared with those who unfettered, stood up manfully for liberty and truth. Here was Wm. Goodell, whose acquaintance would be interesting to any reformer. Linden King had come up from the depths of sectarism, to breathe an atmosphere of love and freedem; as well as his Son, who is early making the most rapid strides in spiritual advancement. Here was also the enthusiastic Pryne, whose whole soul seems to war with clerical assumption and domination. Here were other earnest men, from different parts of the State, and the blows which they dealt, against the hydra-headed monster, were neither powerless nor misdirected. The eloquence with which they plead the cause of oppressed and down-trodden humanity, bleeding under the severance of all brotherly ties, through mere sectarian prejudice, is seldom exceeded. For myself, there was much to rejoice at in the signs of progress here evinced, and in the manner with which every reference to the great ideas of the common brotherhood were received. Thus while those preferring exclusive claim to these ideas, are treading the backward road of forms and creeds, and sundering ties on earth they believe will be reunited in heaven, true men are coming from the precincts of every denomination, whose love of Christ is greater than of a Church, whose devotion to humanity is greater than their reverence for a creed. That their professions of liberality were not simply formal, may be inferred from the fact that Mr. Van Amridge and myself, were invited to take part in their deliberations, and that what we had to say, was listened to with earnest attention.
That they are yet prepared for a general movement toward a better organization, and a more spiritual union, may be questioned ; but the indifference of sectarian establishments to every form of oppression, and to all needful reforms ; (especially, the subject of human bondage,) has opened the eyes of those who respect the rights of man, to the enormous evils which have their origin and end in this devotion to party and strife for denominational supremacy. I ought to remark, also, that among the more advanced there are some differences of opinion with regard to what constitutes a Church; some regarding the church as a human, and others as a divine organization. Of the latter class, is Gerrit Smith, and there is a Church at Peterboro’, conducted in conformity to these views, and there are several others in the state, somewhat different from what are calledJree churches. In order that you may the better understand the character of these bodies, I will give you a synopsis of the basis of the Church at Peterboro’, the form which I happen to have before me. It is prefaced with a beautiful motto from D’Aubigne. “ In the beginning of the Gospel, whosoever had received the Spirit of Christ, was esteemed a member of the Church.”
You may be surprised to learn that after all, they have a Creed; but it is, as Br. Grosh would say, a very small one; nay, it is a very large one; so comprehensive that all can be encircled in its embrace. I will not give it entire ; yet this is the Spirit of the whole. We believe that the Church of Christ on earth, is composed of all the Christians on earth, and that the Church of any location is composed of all the Christians in that location; and that members can neither be voted into Christ’s Church, nor out of it.”
Such is the Catholic Spirit under which they meet; and it is unnecessary to say that freedom and comparative harmony are the result. Being released from the duty of inquisitors, they cheerfully perform the duties of members, and so far from squaring their opinions with an abstract formula, they feel free to express their peculiar views on all points. The following sentiments, in the form of resolutions, will further illustrate their conceptions of what a church ought to be.
“A Church of Christ is a company of moral reformers, and, any organization which refuses to engage in the prosecution of such reforms, especially those that are nearest at hand and most urgent, however excellent may be the character of individuals in it, is not a Church of Christ.
“Sectarism, guilty as it so clearly is of rending the seamless garment of the Savior—of dividing the Church of Christ into mutually warring parties—tearing asunder those who should esteem themselves to “ be One,” even as the Father and Son are One—guilty also, as it manifestly is, of making the strongest and most successful appeals to the pride, bigotry and intolerance of the heart, is, therefore, the mightiest foe on earth to truth and reform, to God and Man.”
1: The members of a Gospel Church are not only free to entertain their respective views, both of doctrine and practice, but are bound to inculcate them.”
An interesting feature of their “ discipline” is to deal with schismatics, or in other words, those who circumscribe their christian sympathies within the limits of the Sects. If they find that any good man or woman has joined a sect or remains in it, they summon the person to answer to the charge of schism; and in several instances have succeeded in convincing them they had no right to give their affection to what they would admit was only a part of the true Church.
What I have seen in this region, has convinced me that the great change indicated by these things, is mighty and near at hand. The bloated body of a corrupt Church establishment can not long endure. The hill tops every where, are tinged with the early radiance, that bespeaks a better day. May Reformers be true to all the light they enjoy, that on them, at least, its beams may multiply.
I have found the Univercoelum and Spiritual Philosopher greatly admired, by those who have seen it. Br. Davis’ Book, is also looked upon with deep interest; not so much for its marvellous character, however, as for the elevated system of Spirituality it unfolds, and the deep interest it evinces in whatever is humane and reformatory. I have not witnessed any disposition, however, on the part of his warmest admirers, to forbear the rigid scrutiny of reason, in respect to the great principles of which he treats; although there evidently is danger, m our contemplation of developments so truly wonderful, of relaxing the vigilance of judgment, and becoming satisfied with the mere words from a source so reliable.
I have preached every Sabbath, I have been absent; at Hamilton, Madison, Oriskany Falls, and lastly at Little Falls. Men and women of all names have listened to me, and I find more inquiry with regard to the manner of pulling down the partition walls, than how they may be built up. Heaven speed the day when all shall see eye to eye.
J. K. I.
J. K. Ingalls, “Editorial Correspondence,” The Univercoelum, 2, 22 (October 28, 1848) 345-346.
CAPITAL AND ASSOCIATION.
A System of associated and co-operative labor must be the result of growth and harmonious combination, not of arbitrary arrangement after any given formula. And in considering the question of the relation of wealth to labor it may be well to remark, that where the principle of awarding to capital, a portion of the products of labor, is recognised, it will ever be impossible to place the laborer above the power which money exerts over him, ostensibly one of the objects for which they combine. For it can make no particular difference, whether society is organized after the system of some master, or whether it perpetuates the same chaotic misrule which now exists, if the wealth of the country is allowed to tax the labor of the country, some two or three times its amount each generation, increasing in its exactions as itself increases, the laborer must continue to be oppressed and crushed morn and more.
Now the fact that in an association, wealth could not be produced with greater facility, would only prove that in it labor must be more degraded; for what is a vast manufacturing establishment, but an association for this object, to produce wealth? The objection is that the capitalist, and not the laborer owns the products of the toil. But how then is the association to remedy this? Certainly not by perpetuating the very evil complained of, not by increasing the facilities for producing wealth, for that would only subject labor to greater contributions; and besides, labor is already organized physically, the great difficulty being in the unjust method by which its products are distributed.
None but a most sordid reason can be given why capital should be allowed to divide, with the active agent, the products of toil or skill. We know of no grounds of justice on which past labor should be paid more than present. To assume it, is to lay all future generations of laborers under an onerous tax, which shall increase yearly and daily to the end of time. It is urged that to remunerate the owner of capital is necessary for the present, but that it will not be allowed in the perfected association. But upon what basis does this assertion rest? Will it not greatly increase the possessions of the rich, and as they will be allowed a monopoly of the passive agent, may they not make their, own terms with the active? As the possession of the soil, especially, is controlled by the few, the association will not be able to carry out its plans for the protection of labor, however great the desire. It will have to give capital its market value of compensation, and it can give labor no more. Embracing, therefore, the great evil which oppresses labor out of the association, it cannot save it from like oppression within. Because the monopolist without, will be able to produce wealth as fast as the association possibly can, and the capitalist will invest his money where it will bring the greatest premium, or in other words, where it will be allowed to extort the greatest amount from the laborer.
Suppose an association, where a number of persons represent the capital, owning the soil and most of the improvements. At present rates, this capital will increase in a duplicate ratio in each period of ten years. Either such, then, must be the increase of the property in market value, or else the class, which will constantly diminish in numbers, will be enabled to extend their possessions, and thus lay a greater amount of labor under contribution, in thus rendering it impossible that the laborers as a class, should ever become owners of the soil and, a consequence, of their own labor. It may be admitted that as property accumulates, the rates will diminish; but this will not benefit the laborer, because, although the per-centage is less, the aggregate amount will become greater and greater, as the principal will increase much faster than the rates diminish. If the association pay six per cent on the amount of stock, the first term of years, and only five the second, the labor will be more severely taxed the second term than the first, because the amount of stock, upon which usury must be paid, will be doubled. No one will deny that the condition of labor is more dc pressed in England, where the rate is three per cent, than in our western states where it is four or five times as much; the reason being, that the capital is so enormous that ut so low a rate, it absorbs almost the whole product of labor. Indeed there is no other way in which labor can be oppressed, than this system of paying dead capital a portion of its products. You may propose to pay it wages, which shall give it at least, a minimum supply of its own productions; but this does not depend upon your bye-laws, but upon the condition you will be able to make with capital; so that after all, the boasted systems of organization, amounts to nothing more nor less, than a machine for facilitating the transfer of the rewards of industry from the hands of the toiling, to the pocket of the Landlord and Usurer.
A civil reform must precede, then, any general system of association, unless men of wealth can be induced to put in their capital and labor on the same footing with others. If monopoly of the soil were not allowed, such a thing as usance would be unknown. The land and labor being freed, there would be no lack of the necessary means to carry on the business of the organization, and a system of association, would grow up spontaneously, from the new relations and conditions. That it would immediately realize the prophetic conceptions of Fourier or Davis may well be questioned: that it would be organized on equitable and harmonious principles cannot be doubted. But we have no faith in the success of any experiment, which shall involve the wrong and injustice growing out of the divorcement of the race from the bosom of the earth, their common mother. This relation is ordained of Nature, and cannot be violated without disastrous results. To think of securing harmony, while sanctioning this horrible discord, is the grossest impiety. To suppose that we may rescue labor from oppression, by involving in our system the only evil under which it suffers, is equally absurd. There is no other way by which man can be protected in the enjoyment of the products of his toil, than by establishing his right to labor for himself. Think not then to benefit the worker by conciliating the oppressions of capital. “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.”
J. K. I.
J. K. I., “Capital and Association,” Univercoelum and Spiritual Philosopher 2, no. 23 (November 4, 1848): 362.
MOTIVES FOR REFORM.
The real motives which actuate those we call Reformers, are as varied as the shades of human character. People, under the dominion of avaricious propensities, see no injustice in the present system of things, however poor they may be; not being far enough advanced in the principles of moral and social science to appreciate the arguments, or the motives which prompt the philanthropist to labor to labor for the establishment of just and equitable relations between man and man. Thus it is found more difficult to awaken the oppressed and degraded victim of monopoly to a sense of his rights than even the oppressor. In many instances Anti-Renters have been known strenuously to oppose Land Reform; showing, thereby, that their only hostility to “rent” consisted in the fact that they were the tenants and not the landlords.
Persons look upon human rights, in accordance with their own moral development. Where the selfish feelings alone predominate, and have not yet yielded the control to higher and holier sentiments, the question of rights will be decided upon a corresponding plane. The right of “property” and possession will be deemed sacred above all human rights, or even human life. Under this phase of the progress of the race, property obtained by whatever wrong, will be protected at whatever sacrifice of human happiness. Men and women will be sold into slavery to pay a contracted debt: they will be incarcerated in gloomy dungeons to compel payment. Once stolen, and sold into slavery, they and their posterity will be held forever in bondage by the “sacred right of property.” For stealing a horse a man’s life will be taken, although the stolen property is recovered. Even “two pounds” was at one time regarded of sufficient importance to be secured in possession by a penalty of death. Yet under these conditions, it is not those most likely to suffer who have cried out against the barbarity of those laws. There was in those laws the very elements of which corresponded to their low plan of thought and sense of justice. Only the philanthropic and benevolent have advocated humanitary reforms. So to the selfish misinstructed poor, as well as to the grasping, scheming man of money or of business, all things that tend to give protection to property is just, and no barbarity is too great to be reverenced by them, if it shall give security to possessions. And, misled by this pretence, it is astonishing what gross violations, even of the right of property itself, will be sanctioned: for this right is not in reality inconsistent with the right of person.
Property is the product of labor, and that alone. Any system which justly protects property, must protect the laborer. Existing laws are but another name for a systematic spoliation of the laborer, by wresting from him the products of his hands. They consequently do not protect but oppress labor, and are therefore illegitimate and unconstitutional, if not in reference to the Constitutions of State, they certainly are in reference to the “Constitution of Man,” which is of prior institution and infinitely more sacred, inasmuch as the one is of human organization and the other divine. Besides, an enlightened wilderness is not inconsistent with the highest ideas of right and brotherhood. The system of equality and justice, secured for all by the efforts of the Reformer, will be the portion of himself and his posterity; the happiness he labors to confer upon the race will be his own portion, and with them, and for them he shall enjoy, even in prospective, the blessedness of the “good time coming.” To every legitimate motive which governs human action, our Reform appeals. The protection of every right will be permitted by it. Even the rich will enjoy much greater security, with a tithe of the anxiety and trouble they experience now.
The motive, however, with the great mass of minds interested in establishing the right of man to the earth, is pre-eminently one of enlarged charities, and innate sense and love of justice, fraternal and universal. It has been adopted because it is regarded as the most direct mode to harmonize the conflicting elements which now distract human society, and bring to earth the reign of everlasting peace; to break the bonds of oppression, which shackle the limbs of labor in all lands, and crush the spirit of the toiling, until they submit to be treated as animals, and to be sold in the shambles with cattle, or enter into competition for life, with senseless machines of wood and iron, to be used with them, at the pleasure of the employer, and with them be cast aside, when he has no longer use for them. All the generous impulses, which ever prompted man to labor for his brother, are brought into requisition here, all the love of justice, of religion, of God or man, may be given scope here, as well as those subordinate inducements which can only be appreciated by some minds, and which are addressed by the injunction to “vote yourself a farm.” This injunction is however equivalent to vote yourself protection and security from oppression. This country voted itself independent of Great Britain, and by some, it was thought to be a noble deed. To vote homes for ourselves and the oppressed of every nation, seems to us to be nothing very selfish, at least in every reprehensible sense. We are brought into existence under such circumstances that we need food and clothing and a home to shelter us. These can only be obtained and enjoyed upon the land. We find society organized on such principles, that the few own all this earth, and the many are doomed to want or bondage. It is found that even the oppressors themselves are unhappy and insecure. Now the design to reconcile these in human differences, and carry out the great doctrines of the common brotherhood, cannot be esteemed otherwise than philanthropic, however it may be scouted at by worldlings, or by fashionable pietists and philanthroposts.
We will not deny that some may engage in our movement from motives of low selfishness, and as it becomes more and more popular, this number will increase; but even they will find something ennobling in the labor, and as they come to canvass its merits may be awakened to higher conceptions of what is good and true. The real Reformer, however, has motives which the world is all unable to appreciate. With him it is a life-labor, whose rewards are in its joy-giving results upon the heart. Poverty may stare him in the face; had he labored for wealth we would have employed his powers in a different channel. He may render himself unpopular; he had sought popularity and office or political power, he would have parroted the thread-bare hypocritic cant of the partisan, and the exalted political privileges which we enjoy; he would have flattered those whom he cajoled. But he has preferred to tell the simple truth, and thereby render himself obnoxious to the powers that be, and expose himself to the contumely of those he is seeking more particularly to benefit. Yet despite all these discouraging circumstances, he is unmoved and unshaken in his devotion to a holy cause. His aims are no farther beyond the perception of the world, than is the calm yet full satisfaction that is enjoyed day by day, and, the feeling that he is recognized as a servant of mankind by the truly great of earth, and that he is in sympathy with all the elements of progress, seen and unseen. What though his motives are misunderstood and impugned? This is not able to change his purposes, nor will he cease to labor for those who are ungrateful, because he acts from a higher initiative than a love of popular applause.
J. K. I.
J. K. I., “Motives for Reform,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 2 no. 25 (November 18, 1848): 392.
The Principles of Nature.
UPRIGHTNESS THE ONLY PATH TO SAFETY.
Delivered in the Unitarian Church, Southington, Ct., January 7, 1849,
BY J. K. INGALLS, Pastor.
[By request published in the Univercoelum.]
“He that walketh uprightly walketh surely.”
Proverbs x. 9.
There are certain great laws or first principles which pervade universal Nature, and act with exceptionless uniformity. To these all worlds and beings are subject. The minutest particle of dust and the loftiest intelligence exist and act in conformity to their sway. The law of gravitation, if that be the proper term to signify the mutual attraction of all things, pervades the lowest and the highest orders of creation. The stone, removed from its resting place on the brink of the precipice, will assuredly tumble to the depths below. The tree, or fruit, or even animal is subject to the same law. Nor is this law varied for man, the lord of creation. Let him rashly tread the giddy hight, and lose the power of self-balance, and he too, as well as all other material objects, will be hurled headlong down the steep declivity. To accommodate none does Nature suspend her laws, or ever excuse an actual violation.
Nor do these laws govern Man’s physical nature alone. There is a unity in all, which secures a perfect system of correspondence that is discovered running through all the works of the divine Creator; so that similar principles, or the same in a higher form, may be traced in his social, moral, and intellectual being. It is for this reason that the most sublime truths in ethics may be illustrated and enforced by the most simple figures drawn from known operations in external Nature. It is indeed presumptive proof, at least, in favor of any hypothesis, if we can find a strict analogy for its support, under any one of the established laws. The whole method of figure and parable, which the received scriptures abound, is based on such correspondence.
In giving moral precepts, “the wise man” has drawn here a figure, forcible as it is simple, because appropriate to the subject of instruction. It conies under the law of gravitation. It is he who walks uprightly that walks safely. This is the posture in which he is least liable to lose self command, and in which he may exercise the powers of his frame to the best advantage. The application is readily seen. True to nature must be our moral walk, if we would securely tread the rugged pathway Of human life. Indeed, this seems so plain, and the figure so pertinent, that the mere rehearsal should constitute a sufficient discourse, It would be so, would we rationally follow out and apply the truths involved; but it is so convenient and fashionable withal to have another do our thinking, that as great necessity exists for prolixity as though the subject was of the most complicated description.
What astonishment should we feel to observe a man passing in the streets, who seeks out props from among all objects, not for the purpose of keeping his position upright, but to enable him to walk in an inclined one! It is no compliment to our judgment that we do not experience a like astonishment in view of the inconsistencies, both in theory and practice, of the popular systems of religion in respect to morals. For they seem to have been organized for the especial purpose of enabling men to set at nought all the laws of their nature, and yet escape the consequences. The object appears to be to devise a patent method, by which the favored mortal may walk, setting all laws of gravitation at defiance, and be saved from falling prostrate to the earth; and through which he may evade, not obey, those regulations of the infinite Ruler, on which depends not only his happiness, but his earthly existence. A case is fresh in my memory of an individual who was in the constant habit of purchasing magnesia to obviate the effect of his favorite food; yet discovered the greatest contempt for the poor Catholic who thought to buy indulgence of his priest. To my mind, however, one was just as gross in his conception of the relation of things as the other.
The man who uses the staff, not for the purpose of walking erect, but to aid him in keeping a horizontal position; the man who prepares medicine, and employs a physician, to enable him to violate the laws of his organization with impunity; he who fees a lawyer to devise how he may outrage the regulations of society and escape the penalties; and he, who is superstitious enough to pay his priest to save him from the consequences of heaven’s violated moral requirements,—should be regarded as occupying corresponding planes of thought and action. The person who seeks aid from the staff, may find it in a certain sense; but not in respect to security and ease in the real action of walking. He who seeks relief from the nostrums and impositions of the healing art, may be relieved of his money, and, perhaps, from momentary pain; but his health will not be improved, or his constitution amended ; and the effects of his intemperance, though checked or delayed for a moment, by such methods, will be as certain and as fearful. He who looks to the adept in the law-art for aid, may escape the penalties of man-made law; but he can not escape the consequences which in Nature follow the violation of the social principle. And the less guilty sinner, who pays his priest for pardoning his real or imaginary defections, may still his conscience by his course—may relieve his superstitious fear; but he can not evade the righteous retribution of heaven; the degradation of his moral nature, and all its susceptibilities of enjoyment, and capabilities of use, will as surely follow, as that a column will fall to the earth when it has lost its perpendicular.
It certainly seems as if the conceptions of men inverted the order of Nature, and every where arrayed man against his own health and happiness. No question is asked, how we may “walk uprightly;” but how we may outrage the fundamental principles of right, and be secure. The physician is not consulted to know how disease may be prevented, but how we may be safe in the violation and disregard of every law of health, and relieved from the pains Nature inflicts to restore a healthy action. He teaches not man how to live so as to be in harmony with Nature, but prescribes specifics to lull pain and palliate the consequences of her violated laws. The Law Professor is consulted not to inform us how to give obedience to social law, and “live in peace with all men,” bat how we may be saved from the consequences of a violation. He instructs not men in the principles of eternal reciprocal justice, but lives by his ingenuity to wrest judgment from its legitimate course. The Preacher is not an instructor of the people in principles of right, their guide in the pathway of truth and holiness; but a trafficker in the souls of men, a scape-goat, who promises to bear, not the sins, but their consequences. The unsuspecting Catholic who pays his mite to his priest that the God of heaven may not visit upon him the fruit of his doings, and the victim of excitement, who kneels obedient to the nod of the more fashionable revivalist, expecting to escape from the just judgments of the divine government, are acting from equally erroneous and destructive views. The result in each case is the same, however the form may vary. I look upon this whole system of religion, as entirely opposed to the doctrines of natural and revealed morality, calculated to set at nought all moral principle, and to destroy all moral distinctions. For the surety is not promised to those who walk uprightly, nor the danger incurred by those who proceed heedlessly, as every one must see; but in obtaining or failing to obtain a subterfuge to prevent falling when every law of uprightness has been wantonly trespassed.
If the effects of sin can be obliterated by penance or confession, then it would be as safe to proceed unmindful of all principle, the safety depending less on the observance of law than of specified extraneous forms. How heedless are men of the dictates of reason! Unpracticed in tracing the relation of cause and effect, they do not discover the inseparable connection which naturally exists between all actions and their consequences. Hence they seek to change effects, without any effort to produce a change in the sphere of causes.
Any attempt to investigate the origin of such erroneous conceptions may be deemed unimportant; but to eradicate any evil, it is necessary to discover the fountain whence it proceeds, and address ourselves to the exhibition of the connection between evil and the cause, which only needs changing. From man’s cupidity and misinformed selfishness has arisen this misapprehension. He is not satisfied in receiving his just deserts. The powers of invention being active, he strives to find some short-hand method of security. Uprightness will give safety at any time; he would discover some patent system, so as to enjoy it without being at any trouble to comply with the common requisitions upon which, alone, it depends. And inflated with the idea that he has found it, ho goes on reckless of his course, only anxious to submit to the most approved formula. In this regard, however, there is an infinite variety, so that each one may suit his taste. And so each has his favorite scheme. The individual who distends his stomach almost to bursting, has his pill-box or panacea. He who violates civil regulations, fees a lawyer, while the superstitiously inclined purchase pardon of their priest; although in Protestant lands, we take the indulgence and hope for the pardon, without the expense or humiliation of confession. From selfishness and ignorance combined, proceed these wrong modes of action and reflection; a selfishness which would monopolize every advantage, an ignorance which sees not the prime relation between cause and effect.
True safety only consists with right action. This must be as true and reliable as the immutable laws of Nature. Whatever may be our speculations in respect to present or future condition, we must admit these fundamental propositions, or abandon all claim to moral science. If our present state is one of discipline for a higher sphere, whither we shall carry the treasures of a moral and spiritual nature realized here; and if there is an economy in Nature which makes even suffering subservient to the advancement of the individual and the race, there can be no evading the penalty of violated law, and no security against physical, social and moral ills, except by substituting a more harmonious action.
It is sometimes objected to the idea of universal progression, that it represents all alike safe, in obedience or disobedience to the divine laws. But this objection can only justly lie against the blank idea of an arbitrary salvation, which severs all relation between the present and the future, and suspends, at death, all connection between cause and effect. Progression is not inconsistent with the just punishment of transgression, and can promise no escape in time or eternity from the necessary consequence of evil-doing. The parental government involves the idea of advancement and disciplinary justice, which will keep the members in subjection, although every advance step may be connected with certain deviations. But will the prodigal son hence say, that inasmuch as he shall certainly return in humiliation and sorrow, that he is therefore safe in his wanderings, and that he will brave famine and all the terrible sufferings attendant on his devious way! And impressed with the principles I have endeavored to portray, will it be said by the suffering earth-wanderer, that since pain and sorrow have been instituted to correct his errors, and reform his habits, that hence he will taste of every bitter cup which transgression can mix, or reckless negligence and thoughtless indulgence force him to quaff? To my mind no religious conception awakens such powerful motives for the exercise of a proper caution, or so clearly teaches the danger of inharmonious conditions; in this respect it accords with the immutable laws of Nature, and the express declarations of accredited revelation.
But suppose the popular idea correct, that judgment is put off to the future; still, these first principles of justice being established, that judgment can give no security to the advocates of one or another creed. He alone will be safe who walks uprightly. So let us believe what we may, with regard to the time and place of the retribution of heaven, this fundamental particular must not be overlooked. We can not therefore regard ourselves safe in adopting all the creeds in Christendom, or in conforming to all the requisitions of the high priest of ceremonies, unless we keep our erect and straight-forward course in life, discharge with faithfulness the duties of our stations, and walk uprightly before God and man.
There is more sound philosophy, more consistent theology contained in our text, than may be found in all the religious creeds which have distracted the world. They have been instituted in ignorance^ and are based on principles of ill-disguised selfishness; hence have all a scape-goat by which they intend to make up for a lack of adherence to principle, and deficiency in moral conduct. It should be remembered, that whatever our ideas may be in matters of theory and speculation, there can be no departure from the laws of Nature without concomitant suffering ; that cause and effect are as certainly connected in morals as in physics, and that no invention can materially aid us in remedying the effects while the causes are unremoved.
The man who does a wrong action outrages a law of the Universe and of his own being, and though he may evade the penalties of human enactments, find momentary relief from pain, or still his darkened conscience, yet the legitimate effects of his sin will follow, in a manner and degree exactly proportioned to the extent of the violation. But how often do we see these plain principles left entirely out of the question, while every effort appears directed to the removal of effects! Had man walked uprightly there had been no broken bones to cure. Had he lived in accordance with the first principles of his nature, there had been no broken constitutions to prop up. Had he acted ever from dictates of truth and justice, there had been no place for the imposition of priests with their sale of indulgences, and absolution for sins that are past Oh, blind infatuation, that has arrayed man against his own peace! When will he learn to do right and practice virtue as the only path of safety, When will society learn that equal and reciprocal justice to all her members can alone secure general prosperity and social harmony? When will mortals learn, what has been so long inscribed in the volume they profess to reverence, and from eternity in the very constitution of all things, that all wisdom’s ways are pleasantness, and all her paths are peace?
Let those who would be safe, deal justly. Let those who are fearful in spirit, practice goodness. Let those who are hopeful know that this way alone is secure. “God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” “He that soweth the wind shall reap the whirlwind;” his labor shall be repaid with increase.
Pursuing the even tenor of our way, confident of safety while we act in accordance with the known laws of God, may we have practical demonstration of the assurance, that “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.”
Joshua King Ingalls, “Uprightness the only Path to Safety, A Sermon Delivered in the Unitarian Church, Southington, Conn., Jan. 7, 1849,” Univercoelum and Spiritual Philosopher 3, no. 13 (February 24, 1849): 193-195.
THE PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL STRUCTURE.
A contemplation of the economy of the human frame is more instructing than that of all external nature besides: for the man comprehends in himself all forms and kingdoms, the perfection of all force and beauty; and when the body is harmonized with, and developed to the extent of, its nature, it becomes a fitting temple for the indwelling of the spirit of the living God.
The body, though organized by Divine Wisdom, is nevertheless subject to incidental derangement. It is only while it lives and acts in harmony with the laws of its nature and of the universe, that it realizes fully the object of its existence. It is not man’s duty to organize himself, but to see that he obeys the laws of his God-given organization. The inference from this is, that Human Society, which is properly represented by the human form, has in it the elements for a just arrangement, were the unfavorable circumstances and arbitrary contrivances of man removed, so as to allow an equitable distribution of the vital fluid to all its parts. The race is a Brotherhood; its interests and enjoyments are so inseparably connected, that whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with if Sectarisms of church or state, of clinic or color, may deny this, but their want of harmony; their disorganizing results; their wars, national, civil, religious and commercial; the diseases in the outward church, of spiritual pride, bigotry and intolerance, which seal up the very fountains of life to those churning to be God’s elect; the miserable and inhuman results flowing from an exclusive legislation which starves and makes naked one portion, to surfeit another with luxuries and all the appliances of effeminacy; the terrible catastrophes in the spiritual or social state, whether of the triumph of arbitrary authority or lawless anarchy.—are but the natural retribution which God visits on society for its lack of confidence in Him, its unholy tampering with his economy, which has made of one blood all nations of men, to dwell on all the face of the earth, and instituted a brotherhood on such principles that the good of one only consists with the good of all.
It would be interesting to follow the analogy in its details, but it will serve our present object to speak of society under the three general distinctions of “the head,” “the hand,” “the heart,” corresponding to the wisdom, affections, and executive power, by which the affairs of society are devised and directed, effected and proportioned. In one of these divisions every member of the body politic may be arranged. It is not meant by this, that any considerable portion of the human race, or indeed any portion, are entirely constituted with brains, or bones and muscles, or with mouths and stomachs,—only that in most individuals one of these characteristics predominates, and may therefore direct to which class they belong. It is the order of God that the head should rule, plan and direct; that the hand should execute, while the nutritive organs should assimilate and digest proper nutriment which should servo the general want. Two things, then, seem necessary to the general health.
1. That each department should discharge its appropriate functions, and,
2. That there should be an equitable distribution of the assimilated particles, which shall give to each part what is suitable and necessary.
Either of these principles being disregarded, disease is certain to ensue, and as we have already seen, the suffering of one member involves the whole. To the proper fulfilment of these conditions, it requires that the organization be understood, as well as the duties and deserts of each member. Because if there should be any mistake in regard to the just position of a member, or what were its proper office or reward, the most direful consequences must ensue. Attention is solicited to some reflections on these points of consideration.
The head—its duties and its rights.
The head of Society consists of the concentrated wisdom of the whole body. The weakest intellect in the state is necessary to the completion of this department. Nor are the brightest minds to be separated, as individuals from the other spheres of exertion or affection. As it requires the united wisdom to give counsel and direction, so it n quires the united hands to execute, and the united affections to appropriate and secrete the wealth, which joint wisdom and labor has secured, to give life, strength and happiness, to the whole system.
In other periods of advancement, when it was necessary to associate in clans, or under feudal lords, the business of legislation was necessarily confined to a few. These, however, assumed their place, by whatever force was given them by the religion of the age. When the race followed war, their ruler was the most successful warrior; when it took a more superstitious and mystery-loving turn, the ruler was the Priest and magician. And the only objection that can now be brought against these, is, that they have outlived their time, and they should have no place in a christian democracy. Society at present is not organized at all. The apologies we have for it, are but the relics of barbarism and feudalism, which, embalmed in the mere affections of men, are retained despite the wisdom of the head, or the oppressed labor of the hand. It is wisdom’s right to rule. This is the prerogative of the head. But wisdom no longer dwells in abstract formulas or single individuals, but in the heads of the whole people. Only remove for once, the barriers to a free exercise of the native powers, take away the false rulers and teachers which ancient wrongs and darkened systems have transmitted, and the race would immediately recognize who were capable of ruling and teaching. From the present mammon-organized state, we would become God-organized, and his heavenly kingdom of wisdom, peace and love, would be realized here below.
The head has not now its rights It is in subjection to the affections, to avarice and every grade of sensuality. It is misplaced indeed, and made to do the work of the hands, or minister to the encroachments of worldly power and wrong; thus perverting its noble powers and bringing disease and woe upon the whole Body. It is under the control of Mammon. The heart has seized on all worldly possessions, and is determined to rule when this is not its function, and, by withholding the elements of life, makes the head and hands do its bidding, turning both and deranging the whole divine order of duties and compensations: surfeiting Borne portions with an overplus, and contracting others with cold and want. Thus the heart has assumed a control which the Creator never designed, and exercises a corrupted domination which enslaves and enfeebles the head and hands, while it renders itself sluggish and diseased. By this obstruction of the | currents of life, which carry energy and happiness to every part, the whole social economy is deranged. The head no longer plans the general good—nor do the hands labor for the common weal. They only devise and labor so as to obtain, what they must have or perish, the nutriment they crave. Thus the whole body is disorganized, and the parts from having a harmonious operation, have become antagonistic, as though they were not members, but independent and conflicting individualities. From this tendency has arisen most sects in religion and politics so that
“The natural bond of brotherhood is severed
As the flax, which falls asunder at the touch of fire.”
Existing social conditions, with all their inequalities and injustices, are but the results of this antagonism. All employments of the head arc bought or hired by gold, not to promote the general interest, but to minister to insatiate Greed. The dollar covers all questions of right or policy. It decides what laws you shall have, whether free trade or protection, though it is sure to decide what is worst for the race. So blind is the affection which rules society now, that not the best, but the worst possible of all things is produced. The Lawyer uses his knowledge to get money. It is his interest to get inexplicable laws enacted, that he may find employment in giving an exposition; to foment divisions and quarrels, of a party or personal character, that thereby his talents may be had in requisition. The Physician is in a similar position. Society has made it his interest to desire sickness and disease, that his knowledge may I find a quick purchase in the market; to protract your diseases, and propagate deception, with regard to the nature of disease and the application of remedies. And the professed minister of Jesus “is bought with a price” in a sense not altogether evangelical; sold to Mammon, to do his work, not God’s; to build up an earthly power and control, which shall keep the people bigoted and ignorant; to lie in wait like a prowling wolf, for the tender and innocent lambs, ere they grow up so as to discover the transparency of the sheep’s-clothing, or arc borne away to some other sectarian den. by others still more shrewd and successful. Because, if the people should ever grow to a just conception of their spiritual relations, they would discover the unprofitableness of all these distinctions, and altogether flow unto the mountain of the Lord.” where the God-appointed teachers, he who. at the same time, was superior to, and servant of all would instruct them into the “right way.” And as a consequence, the panderers to a narrow superstition would be minus a calling: but where could they turn? all employments of the head are filled to overflowing, and if they were not ashamed to be seen laboring with their hands or begging, they would even find the departments of manual labor and begging occupied; and if they should crowd in, it would only be like changes in office,—for as one would step in, another must step out.
But the pulpit of our land, is much more under the sway of the affections at present represented by Avarice, than is dreamed of by most persons. The vices of the time and place must not be preached against. The habits, the practice, the great business relations, must not be canvassed. The ruling power has a religion merely affected, which sanctifies time-honored impressions, and elevates them, in its popular temple, above all that is called God. Those old dogmas must be taught and illustrated, because the religious nature will have some exercise, and they do not interfere with the sins of to-day. All that is called sin by the Church endowed by Mammon, is chimerical; in the sight of eternal justice, it bears not a feather’s weight in the balance with that wrong of our social system, which is crying every where to God for redress. What is the original sin, provided you could give it a local habitation as easy as a name, in connection with the hereditary wrongs which afflict and divide our race? What is the “Sin against the Holy Spirit,” if it be not the shutting out the rays of heaven’s light, which would expose our own sins and call for reform? “But do we not preach against robbery, and murder, and theft?” Yes, in their unpopular forms, indeed; but not in those from which society has most to four. Theft, in its common and legal sense, is not always the worst. He who detracts from his neighbors reputation, or in a fair business transaction, takes what he has given no equivalent for, is no less a thief, because the law does not so decide. Nor is that robbery alone which relieves a man of a few ounces of corrupting gold; greater in the sight of heaven is that robbery which plunders the oppressed laborer day by day, of almost the entire productions of his toil. That is not the only murder which in a fit of excited passion takes the life of a single human being; for worse a crime against God and man, is that deliberate, that calculating inhumanity which “murders human souls with bondage.”
The head has not its rights: it is unfortunately situated with respect to its duties, as already shown. It labors not, to relieve the hands, but to oppress them. It contrives schemes of financiering for Avarice, which shall hoard the wealth of society in the hands of the few avaricious and sordid mortals, who have no code of morals but legal enactments, formed for their benefit, and no God other than a Golden Calf. It does not its duty in the methods of instruction; but emits a partial light which’ only bewilders and betrays. It must be emancipated from the thraldom of Avarice, or it can never fulfil its duties or its destiny.
It should not however, be thought, that our remarks apply to all individuals who live by their mental powers. The application is only general, not entire. There are minds which will labor under all the discouragements which the popular devotion can contrive, and to the sacrifice of worldly prospects of wealth and power, that they may promote the interests of man. There are followers of Jesus even in pulpits consecrated to his name. There are true teachers among all sects and parties. There are noble men in the profession of the law, and among financiers, and politicians, who blessed by nature or fortune, have not bowed the knee to Baa!. There arc physicians like one of Galilee, who really heal, and teach with a benevolent desire for the health and happiness of their kind. But this does not disprove the tendency of the system. It only proves that despite all your efforts to give dominion to lust, there are minds that can not be seduced from the right, or have their confidence destroyed in the awards of virtue ; that so far from human nature being totally depraved, it has god-like emotions and aspirations, which will find expression however you may labor to suppress them; and that what is truthful and holy in man, cannot be made subservient to error and sin, nor this God s-world be wholly transformed into a pandemonium of selfishness and pride.
J. K. I.
THE PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL STRUCTURE.
[CONTINUED FROM OUR LAST.]
THE HEART, ITS RIGHTS AND DUTlES.
The affections have dominion over the wealth of society. Could we conceive a portion, the great majority, to be without loves or wants, we might say that the rights of the heart and stomach were better protected than all others ; hut as men with brains and hands have also wants, this could only apply in truth to the class who more especially represent the affections. In this restricted sense it may be said that there is no social guaranty for any rights. The head is restricted in its rights of accumulation and dispensation. It may not speak, and may scarcely think, on the most momentous questions that ever occupied the attention of our race. It is proper to speak of the just sphere of the heart, that its rights and duties may be more readily conceived. Representing the order of receptacles, the heart has the right to control the whole wealth of society, whether it be of mere animal comforts or whether it be of ideas. The treasuries physical and mental are its own. But it has not merely the duty of receiving, but also of dispensing. Should the stomach glory only in its capabilities of mere reception and retention, neither the head nor hand could work to supply it with food ; and it would itself wither of want if it did not congest with surfeit. So if the heart should retain the blood, and refuse to propel it to every part of the system, the very source of its supply would ultimately fail, even though it burst not in the sordid attempt. Supposing such a thing possible, and the affective organs only yielding back a portion of what is furnished by the skill and labor of the head and hand, as a condition of more and more inordinate contributions, until the head is drooping and the limbs falling with weariness and want, and the nutritive organs swelled to bursting, all fevered with disease; and you have a feeble representation of the present antagonism of society. The healthy body, as organized by nature, presents no such enormities. What the organs received is carefully prepared, and equitably distributed throughout then-hole frame. Each part has all that is necessary to enable it to discharge its functions for the general good. Monopoly is unknown in nature’s organizations. Only perverted affections, and disastrous antagonisms, have wrought these things in human society.
These have periled human rights and happiness. There is no wrong, which they hare not sanctioned by law; no crime or injustice for which they have not furnished an excuse, or justification. The sources of sustenance of human life have been monopolized; the products of labor—the legalized currency—every right to labor, to think, to exist—the earth, the air, the water,—nay, the right to self is made a subject of traffic and speculation. Heaven itself is put up for sale, and seats and passports meted out by a certain few, who are supposed to have a monopoly in the business transactions of that higher sphere This usurpation of rights is the great source of the antagonism which all deplore. Remove this, and all disorders would in time be rectified ; but continue this; recognize the principle which enables the worshipers of the past—whether it be of accumulated wealth or mental attainments—to hoard the common elements upon which existence or the mental growth of mankind depend; and no wisdom can organize a harmonious system. This is the only reason of a political character, why men do not coalesce, so as to form a harmonious Brotherhood now. Society is not naturally disorganized, but would arrange itself into harmonious conditions, were freedom and justice first established among the members. Were the body emancipated from the wrongs which uninstructed, misplaced and diseased affection has perpetrated against the head and hands, a plan of society would naturally flow out of the more just relations, which would make possible the practice of Christianity, and realize the predictions of the prophets bringing the race into a state of reciprocal and equitable co-operation and enjoyment, which should reflect the harmony of the stellar universe, or rather, of the healthy human frame, in which every member performs its allotted duties, and receives, as a compensation, the necessary elements which enable it to repair the waste of toil and decay, to grow in strength and vigor.
Not only then, must the head be freed and enlightened, but the great heart of humanity must be cleansed of its greedy selfishness, and taught to beat with catholic impulse, and to acknowledge its duties in distribution, as well as assert its rights in accumulation. Upon the heart depends, in the greatest degree, the regeneration of society. Could that be made right in the sight of God; could all-grasping avarice be made to relax its hold upon the means of labor and education,—upon the human mind and human body, the heart would soon devise, and the hands execute, a social fabric after a model handed down from the skies.
THE HAND; ITS RIGHTS AND DUTIES.
We are not contending for the right of the hand to slay, to torture, or forge chains, in, a social sense. The only one we would imperatively demand for it here, is the right to do what all will acknowledge is its duty—to labor. It may at first be regarded as a novel position to say that this right is infringed. If is however, not only infringed, but absolutely subverted. Out of the millions of hands which are elaborating this nation’s wealth, not one in twenty enjoys any such right. A third, more or less, are owned, and bought and sold. And among the other class, who are hind, there is not a small portion which might covet the condition of the slave. In Europe, indeed, the general condition of the hands is scarcely better, if as good, as the chattel bondage of the south. No government, of ancient or modern time, has guaranteed to its members the right of toil. It is therefore useless to speak of the rights, in this respect, except as they exist in Nature, for the existing laws of society know nothing of the rights of labor, denying the fundamental principle upon which the duty itself is based. Only when labor becomes capital, is it deemed worthy the protection of a system organized by Mammon.
Yet under all these embarrassments, labor does its duty and more. It has executed whatever has been realized, although the very construction should decrease the opportunities of employment. Untold wealth is all its own production; although it may be seldom a matter of reflection to the brainless fop or the purse-proud aristocrat, that all which inflates his self-esteem has been produced by the despised laborer. The dress which makes the former feel that he is a being of some consequence, has passed through the hands of the spinner and weaver, and been fashioned into its present tasteful form by the tailor. The labor of these, and many more, has been requisite to clothe this apology for a man, who, without their assistance, would be unable to cover his nakedness. The quizzing glass which he sports, with a supercilious air, the gold watch and chain, and every article of elegance, has been produced by the arduous labor of muscle and of brain.
The palace, which is the pride of the millionaire, has been designed and executed by unceasing application. Every stone and brick has been carried to its place by human toil. In short, every possession of the rich or poor has been the product of labor. Whatever of worth you can place your eye upon; whatever is coveted by the high or low; whatever is regarded as giving character to men, in a worldly point of view, is the production of physical or mental toil. Strange it should appear, that while the creature is sought and gloried in, the author, the laborer, should be despised and outlawed, oppressed and degraded. For if the laborer is despicable on account of his work, the products should carry with them the stigma, by whomsoever possessed. Bat it must be remarked that while labor has been so universally beneficial, and heaped such honors and riches on its oppressors, it has not yet done itself justice, nor required a recognition of its rights. It has not done too little, in a productive point of view, but too much. Under the present relation it sustains to its own productions, (capital) it is not blameable for not having been industrious; for it is refused longer employment only because every branch of business has been overdone, and even Avarice itself is unable longer to store away the surplus products of labor and skill.
But what is worse than all, it pays all rents and usury, besides sustaining all waste and decay of different descriptions of wealth. Not a penny does the merchant pay for the use of his place of business or residence, or for the capital he employs, but what its value must be, in some way or other, wrested from the hand of toil. Not a Wall street broker shaves a note, but what labor must foot the bill. We have no positive data from which to judge; but from observation, somewhat limited, indeed, we are satisfied that in this city five-eights or two-thirds of all the products of every man’s labor is wrested from him by the employer, sharper, capitalist and landlord. And can any one tell why labor should be required to produce so much and realize so little? Why, its only guilt consists in having labored to produce, and in having submitted to be robbed of the means by which it is at present oppressed!
Oh, if Labor could only become emancipated from this unnatural thraldom, what a paradise it would soon make of this sin-stricken earth! The desert places would be made to blossom as the rose; and peace, plenty, and unspeakable beauty would take the place of the horrid warfare which man now carries on every where with his brother—of the degradation, wretchedness, famine, pestilence, and fell despair which now pervade all classes of the toiling, and turn to ashes every home joy of the poor. Will not Labor sometime wake to a sense of its rights and godlike dignity? Having performed so much for its oppressors, will it not ask soon, what it can do for its self and for the race? First of all it must be freed. Though it should pile up gold mountain high for its oppressors, it will only be the more degraded and despised. You can do little to exalt labor and make it respectable, until you strike off the shackles with which it is bound.
Although the hand has never been raised to a just membership in the body politic, yet it has consented in a sort to its own enslavement. It has, for gold, forged its own chains, and being its self unorganized, has warred with itself, and its parts have toiled for the subjection of each other. Only when the head shall rule, the affections possess and distribute, in accordance with principles of eternal right, and tho hands become united in all good works, will a truly Godlike creation of the social structure be unfolded. And this soon must be, or the most deplorable results will follow.
We can not long pursue this antagonistic course. If the crimes of society are great, the result will be correspondingly terrible. And if We may sever the bonds of brotherhood, so as to pursue isolated and antagonistic interests, we can not sever the chain which distributes the penalty. When a Scottish City decides that a poor Irish woman is not a sister, and permits her to perish of want and disease in the streets, the falsehood and inhumanity is disproved and punished at the same time, by the infection which spreads from the dying one, and communicates its virus even to Scotsmen and women. When we consent to the enslavement of an other race, denying their claims to the sympathies of brethren, we, at the same time, doom the labor of our own families and friends to a destructive competition with the manacled hand and limb.
It is the greatest folly to suppose that we can violate the very first laws of social economy and yet prosper. What God hath joined together, man can not put asunder or derange without corresponding fatalities. And the world is beginning to see this, and to appreciate the true relation of men. “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity,” has become the watchword of all true friends of man. The Hand has had its day of rule, of slaughter, warfare and violence. The Heart has also reigned its time and more; and by some mutual understanding, or terrible revulsion, the Head must assume the reins of government. Under its auspices, the love-principle in man’s nature shall expand to fraternal and universal Love; and the hands organized and freed, shall move with one impulse in the labor made divine by the spirit and intelligence which prompts to toil.
J. K. I.
J. K. I., “The Physical and Social Structure,” Univercoelum 3 no. 14, (March 3, 1849) 216-217; 3 no. 15 (March 10, 1849) 232-?.
WRITTEN FOR THE UNIVERCOELUM
BY J. K. INGALLS
“Labor And Other Capital,—The rights of each secured, and the wrongs of both eradicated. Or an exposition of the cause why few are wealthy and many poor, and the delineation of a system, which, without infringing the rights of property, will give to labor its just reward. By Edward Kellogg.”
This volume was looked for with deep interest, as an exposition of existing evils, by a practical business man, as an indication that in the various professions and callings, the choicest minds are becoming aware of the social injustice that is being inflicted on the laborer, and possess the sympathy and courage to arouse the public thought to a sense of the wrong, and the measures necessary for a remedy. It fully answers our expectation as an Essay, though it by no means makes good the claim set up on the title page; a fault, by the way. in no wise peculiar to this book.
All truth is, in some respects relative. The immediate cause of evil may justly be regarded as the real source, until a farther reaching philosophy discovers it to be but secondary, and perhaps only one of the family of forces, which produce the result, and rest on some prior and more comprehensive error. This is illustrated in the work before us. No person can gainsay the truthfulness of the authors representations, or question that the evils are referable directly to the cause assigned. Had he pressed his inquiries a little farther, he could not have failed to see. that the cause he assigns as the origin of social evils, is itself but an effect, which it is impossible to remove, except by removing the injustice from whence it springs. Considered from this high stand point, which commands a view of the innumerable influences which govern social and individual action, and produce harmonious and antagonistic conditions, the book may be regarded us an important accession to the Reform literature, and at the same time, as a signal failure; for, while with distinguished talent it exposes the wrongs of labor, and clearly traces them to their direct cause, it betrays on every page the “fragmentary Reformer,” who has one cause for all derangements, and one remedy for all diseases. The value of the Author’s contribution, however, should not be judged by the manner in which he realizes his specified object. A Columbus, in attempting to discover a western passage to the Indies, may discover a New World instead. So the theorist. especially if he be a practical man, will make us acquainted with things most important to be known though he will in all probability, be farther and farther from realizing his abstraction, if he proceed scientifically in his investigations. While therefore we feel no disposition to endorse the theory of the book, or admit that the pretensions are logically established, it may be said, that the work is one of great value, and particularly needed at this time.
The limits of this paper will not permit an extensive review of the Author’s manner of treating his subject. With the general arrangement little fault can be found. At first the title appears objectionable, and unfortunate. “Labor and other Capital,” has an unpleasant sound to the ear, like “Slaves and other Chattels;” yet it is true in our present social condition that labor is capital, and subject to sale and purchase, and loan and hire. Naturally, however, it is a strange enough relation of terms. To talk of “causes and other effects,” of “mind and other bodies,” of “God and other creatures.” would sound rather singular; and yet these are the natural relations of labor and capital; the one is the creator, the other the created; the one is the cause, the other the effect.
But we are not disposed to quarrel with tastes. Neither is it possible to note many things to be approved or dissented from. This notice must be chiefly confined to the illustrations given of the influence of ”interest and rent,” on all useful classes, but more particularly upon the producers; and to an investigation of the plan offered for the removal of all existing inequalities. For the former no better method can be adopted than to give extracts from the book, to which particular attention is solicited.
“In all ages and nations, philanthropic men have endeavored to devise some means of securing to labor a better compensation. Labor saving machines have been invented; associations have been formed for the purpose of producing with less labor, the earnings to be equitably distributed according to the work performed. But these benevolent efforts have failed of any^general success. The reason is this: they can not withdraw their labor or their products from the influence of the national laws which govern distribution. Every few years, there is a season of great distress, and more than usual poverty among producers. This distress is seldom occasioned by a scarcity of products. More frequently the manufacturer has goods which he can not sell the farmer has grain for which there is no market. While this superabundance continues. the laborer can find no employment. Himself and family are destitute of food. clothing and shelter, and hive no means of paying for them. If all this suffering and want be caused by over-production, public measures should be taken to avert the calamity, by preventing an excess of labor. When the amount of surplus products is a subject of national lamentation, the producers are often destitute while capitalists, who do little or nothing toward production or distribution, are supplied with all the comforts and luxuries of life, at half, or less than half, the usual price.” * * * *
“Our government professes to found its laws on republican principles, which should secure to every individual a fair equivalent for his labor; yet probably one half of the wealth of the nation is accumulated in the possession of but about two and a half per cent. of the population, who to say the most, have not done more labor toward the production of the wealth than the average of the ninety-seven and a half per cent., among whom is distributed the other half of the wealth.—[Intro. p. 17, 19.
In the place of so much talk about giving labor an equivalent, it may be suggested, whether it be not more natural and republican, to give every man the right to labor, and consequently to own the products, than to attempt to remedy the wrong involved in the denial of this right, by arbitrary laws to secure an equivalent for what we allow the laborer to be plundered of? But here is an illustration which will show the result of the legal rate of interest, or rather the natural result of the disfranchisement of labor.
“A. B. and C. are young men, who have just come of age. C. is heir to $10.000, while A. and B. are mechanics without capital. C. contracts with A. and B. to build a house, which shall cost 85,000, on a lot worth $5,000. C. leases this property to A. and B., and charges them seven per cent. upon its cost, clear of insurance. taxes and repairs. payable once a quarter. This will accumulate a sum equal to the principal in ten years. In this period, then, A. and B. are compelled to buy another lot, build upon it another as good a house, and pay the lot and house to C. for the use of the one they occupy. In twenty years they must pay C. three houses and lots; in thirty years they must pay him seven; in forty fifteen; in fifty thirty-one; in sixty sixty-three; in seventy years, one hundred and twenty-seven houses. The one hundred and twenty-seven lots will cost $635.000, and the buildings an equal amount, making together $1,270,000, which is paid for seventy years, rent of one house and lot, worth only $10,000. At the expiration of the lease, the original house must be returned to the owner, as well as the rest. [So that A. and B., the producers of the one hundred and twenty-seven houses. and the value of the lots, will own, in old age, neither house, nor lot.] If, instead of being invested in the house and lot, the $10,000 were loaned at seven per cent., and the interest collected and re-loaned quarterly, the money would accumulate precisely as the property.”
“Take another example. At the age of twenty-one, D. leases E. a well improved farm, at seven per cent. interest, payable in land, as interest on money is payable in money. At the close of the year, E. pays D. seven acres, as good as that rented, and with a pro rata, proportion of buildings. He makes payments half yearly in land, and pays interest on the land so paid. In ten years, E. must pay one farm; in twenty years three farms; in thirty years seven farms, and in seventy years, one hundred and twenty-seven farms as good as the original one-leased. These farms E. must earn by the labor of seventy years, and pay to D. for the use of one farm.”
Justice requires it to be remarked, that these suppositions are hardly admissable. No one man could retain the use of the house or the farm and their “ accruing rents,” without reducing other laborers to similar terms; and therefore it can not be said that one man earns one hundred and twenty-seven farms. He could earn really no more the last ten years than tie first. and does not in fact pay more. The order would stand thus:
1 man, for one farm, 70 years, would pay 7 farms. 1 man, for one farm, 60 years, would pay 6 farms. 2 men, each one farm, 50 years, would pay 10 farms 4 men, each one farm, 40 years, would pay 16 farms 8 men, each one farm, 30 years, would pay 24 farms 16 men, each one farm, 20 years, would pay 32 farms 32 men, each one farm, 10 years, would pay 32 farms
Altogether 64 men would earn the 127 farms.
The result to the lender, however, is the same; and the effect on labor is equally depressing as the author intended to represent it; he only misstated the power of the laborer. A man might earn the one farm the first ten years; but no man could earn the sixty-three required the last term.
“The following statement shows the effect upon producers of a rate of six per cent, interest on capital. The yearly income of our most wealthy citizen, from dividends on State, Bank. and other stocks, money loaned on bonds and mortgages, and rents of property, is said to amount to $2,000,000. Supposing the gain of a farmer to be one hundred dollars, after paying all necessary expenses, and it would require the use of twenty thousand farms, and the surplus earnings of twenty thousand farmers and their families to clear S2.000.000 a year. However difficult it might be to trace the ways and means by which this income if gathered, it takes just $2,000,000, worth of the surplus products of labor to pay the legal accumulation. Allowing able-bodied men to earn one dollar per day, for an average of two hundred and seventy-five days in the year. it would annually hire seven thousand two hundred and seventy-six men. Allow the receiver of this income to expend yearly, for his own support, the earnings of seventy-three men, and he will still receive a clear gain of 31,980,000 yearly, the entire earnings of seven thousand two hundred and three men. At six per cent. the interest on this gain, would make an addition, the next year of $118,800, which would pay for the labor of four hundred and thirty-two men, in addition.”
“Suppose Mr. A. instead to be worth thirty-three and a third million bushels of wheat. Let him lend the wheat instead of the money at six per cent., and the interest will be precisely two millions of bushels. The borrowers must sow, reap, and thrash out this amount, transport it to New York, and put it into Mr. A’s store-houses, to pay the interest for one year. What a pile of wheat is this for one man’s use, gained too, without his sowing or harvesting a bushel!”
Of the effect of our present monetary system to accumulate the wealth of a nation in the hands of a few individuals, and by the cities, and business locations. our author has many apt illustrations. It is certainly worthy the attention of our farmers and mechanics to inquire why the property, real and personal, in city and country, has been covered with bonds and mortgages, and is yearly taxed, a tithe of its value to minister to the lust of avarice. We quote farther.
“One dollar, loaned at six per cent. interest, for a period of three hundred and sixty years, would accumulate more than double the assessed value of the whole State of New-fork. At seven per cent. for the same time, the dollar would accumulate a greater sum than the valuation of the whole United States. In this time $100,000 borrowed of a foreign nation, would require in payment, the sum of $6,971,947,673,600.000; a much larger sum than the valuation of the property of the whole world. These calculations make it evident that six and seven per cent. can not, and ought not, to be paid by any nation.”
“The Southern and the Western States depend upon the yearly products of their labor for their wealth; they are greatly impoverished by the amount of interest that they are compelled to pay to our Northern and Eastern cities for the use of money. A very large amount of the capital stocks of Western and Southern banks and State bonds are owned by capitalists in Northern cities, or by foreigners. The interest on these is constantly transferring the earnings of the people of these States to a few capitalists in the large cities or in foreign nations.”
The following is a good illustration of the operations of trap present system upon the manufacturer; and as a consequence upon the labor which he employs.
“A manufacturer makes a package of a hundred pieces of cloth, and sends them to market. Six months pass before the goods can be sold, and he loses three pieces as the interest on. the ninety-seven which remains. At the end of the six months, the commission merchant sells them on a credit of eight months, and the manufacturer must lose four pieces more. But he is now in great need of money, and must have the note cashed. But interest having risen (by a well understood contrivance of the banks and monied men) he must sell the note in market at two per cent. a month discount, thus losing sixteen pieces instead of four. Add these to the first three, and it will make nineteen pieces paid to others out of the hundred, to enable him i to keep eighty-one pieces for fourteen months. These are a total loss to the manufacturer. Besides, he has to pay cartage, storage, commission, and transportation. The proceeds of the nineteen pieces of goods go into the hands of the money lender.”
Only a few more extracts can be given showing the general bearing of this evil:
“In new and thinly settled countries, where fertile lands are at low prices, the people do not starve, even when they are charged ten, twenty, or even thirty per cent. per annum, on borrowed money, but these rates of interest concentrate the property rapidly in the hands of the few, and break up and keep hundreds of thousands of families poor. They can, however, generally find employment, by which they can obtain their food. But as countries grow older, the population more dense, lands higher in fest wrong to O. ; because. although he work diligently all his price, and concentrated into fewer hands, manufactories are established in which hundreds of workmen labor for their daily support. They are carried on by individuals, firms, or incorporated companies. If money become scarce, and interest increase, the prices of goods must inevitably fall, the wages of the workmen are reduced, and numbers are thrown out of employment. If the scarcity of money and high rate of interest continue, the manufacturers too must break.”
“Let twelve different nations, however, fix twelve different rates of interest, maintaining the rates uniform, the first at one per cent., the second at two per cent., and so on to twelve per cent., and the concentration of wealth in few hands, in the different nations, would increase in nearly the same ratio with the rates of interest. The ratio would be exact, except for the profligacy and extravagance of many of the rich, and the benevolence of others. This general principle will hold good, whether the country be new, rich and fertile, or old and poor, because the accumulation is according to the rate per cent.”
“All the per centage collected for the rent on property, or as an interest on money, must be paid by sales of the yearly productions of labor, which remain, over and above the support of the producers. If a few very rich men, in any civilized nation, should live frugally, and their children should do the same, in the course of a few generations, they would reduce to poverty nearly every other individual in the nation. Consequently, under present monetary laws, extravagance in the rich, and the frequent imbecility of their children, are great advantages to producers. The second evil is therefore necessary to modify the overwhelming power of the first.”
After what has been shown, the reader will be astonished, no doubt, to learn, that our author still contends for the right of capital to divide with labor the product of toil. Another extract evincing this opinion and our general comments shall follow.
“The following illustration shows how tenants of land are affected by high rates of interest on money. N. owns a farm and cultivates it, he is therefore the rightful owner of the products If, however, N. lets the farm to O., and O. cultivates it, then N and O., are joint owners of the products. This principle, that labor and capital are together entitled to the products is in accordance with the laws of nations, and must continue to be so as long as the rights of property are recognized by civil authority.”
Here we have the whole argument, these hundreds of pages contain, to make good one of his principal positions, that money has justly the power to accumulate interest for an income. The last declaration is mere assertion. Nations have flourished, and protected the rights of property, whose laws forbade the taking of usury among themselves.. But if interest laws are necessary as claimed. then the law which fixes six per cent. as the rate, gives six times the security to property, as that which reduces it to one per cent.! Besides the author does not show all the reverence for the examples of the past as would seem to be implied in this paragraph I for he says, in another place, “ that all nations and political parties, while professing to legislate for the protection of industry; have always supported and increased capital and depressed labor.” He must quote us authority which he at least respects. He proceeds:
“The question which arises for settlement is, what proportion rightfully belongs to the capital, and what to the laborer— (strange enough, he makes no effort to solve this problem, after stating it with so much distinctness) what proportion of products N. should receive for the use of the farm, and what proportion O. should receive for his labor in cultivating it. It will be said at once that the proportion is a matter of agreement between them; and whatever N. agrees to take and O. to pay, is the right proportion. * * * But if the rate of interest be such that O. is obliged to pay nearly the whole surplus products of the farm to N. as rent, the contract is a manifest wrong to O.; because, although he work diligently all his life, the legal standard keeps him forever poor, while N. by the action of the same standard, without labor, will constantly increase in wealth.”
“We declare that all men are born free and equal; but N. may be born heir to a dozen farms, while O. may be born without property; and under present laws, by labor alone, can never acquire it. Therefore N. is actually born to live in luxury without labor, and O. is born to be his servant. Even O.’s children are born servants to N. and his posterity. * * * This method works rapidly, and securely, because it extorts consent as it operates.”
[concluded Next Week.]
“Labor And Other Capital,—The rights of each secured, and the wrongs of both eradicated. Or an exposition of the cause I why few are wealthy and many poor, and the delineation of a system, which, without infringing the rights of property. will give to labor its just reward. By Edward Kellogg.”
To Exhibit the inconsistency of the position that Capital is entitled to divide with Labor, which is so glaringly manifest throughout this volume, it is not necessary to travel out of the author’s range of thought. Had he not started with the erroneous proposition as a basis, that “Monetary Laws are the most important subjects for legislation;” had he taken a moment’s reflection to consider the importance of recognizing and guaranteeing man’s natural rights, he would have arrived at results very different, and much more consistent with the very useful array of facts which he has presented to illustrate the evil working of the present system. For instance. in the case above, where is the origin of the difficulty? Certainly not in leaving N. and O. to make such bargain as they choose. If there is any wrong, it consists in the system of legislation which makes one man dependent on another for a place to labor, and not in the rate of usance which such dependence creates. It is readily conceived that the government may refuse to guarantee N. in the inheritance of a dozen farms to the exclusion from God’s earth of a dozen men. But while it makes good this unnatural claim, it is not easily shown how it may interfere in the terms he shall make with the disinherited, who must have access to the soil or die. The error lies in the acknowledgment that capital may justly earn an income, and in establishing such unjust relations as compel a portion to labor and support others in luxury and idleness.
It is not true, moreover. that the rate of interest affects the rent of lands and houses: but the reverse. The amount of interest paid on capital will be found to correspond very nearly to the restriction laid on the laborer in the price at which real estate is held ; for it needs no argument to prove that land is falsely assumed to be property or capital, and that every dollar charged for its occupation or cultivation, is just so much restriction on man’s natural right and duty. If it is objected, that money bears a higher rate in new countries than in old, the reply is, that the aggregate amount will sustain the proportion, as much less is loaned in one case than the other. Eight or ten, or even a higher rate may be paid on a few hundreds, by the labor of one man, while he will find it more difficult to pay even three or four per cent on as many thousands. The idea of an income from property, without labor, depends chiefly now on a monopoly of the land; and without this, even the author’s “one and one-tenth per cent” could not be sustained a day.
For there is no power in wealth to increase; on the contrary, it tends constantly to decay. All the accumulated surplus wealth of the past ages could not save any considerable portion of the race from starvation for one year, was the labor of the present withheld for that length of time. Besides, if man had free access to the earth. and the common advantages which the past has transmitted, there would be no need of hiring money, even under existing monetary regulations, which are admitted to be wrong. So that with all his gold, the miser would have to labor or starve: with all his bank paper and state bonds, the broker would have to yield society some equivalent for what he consumed. By keeping his property from the general use, he could not increase its amount or value, but must see it constantly diminish in both; in amount, by natural decay; in value, by the improvements and discoveries constantly going on.
To illustrate: A man has a finely constructed machine, which may be rendered very serviceable to the community, but he is not satisfied with a simple return of value for value, but proposes that society shall pay him “an income,” equal, in ten or a dozen years, to the original cost, and in the succeeding periods to double, quadruple, &c. If, however, he was given no arbitrary advantage over the rest of his fellow men, they would not accede to his proposition. The same avenues being open to them, they would contrive to do without his machine, until a better could be constructed. In the meanwhile his property would be growing old, and when it was superseded by a superior invention would become almost valueless. This is true of all things, legitimately property. The precious metals are not exceptions, as would be soon proved, were it not for those arbitrary regulations, which authorize and encourage most unjust monopolies. As it is, nothing is subject to such changes as money. The uses to which gold and silver can be put and retain their present comparative value, are trifling, and any considerable increase to the general stock would depreciate their value and power. In all their forms, moreover, they are subject to actual wear and decay, email though it be.
The proposition of our author to reduce the rate from seven to one per cent, is good in itself; the same as we would regard a resolution to restrain robbery, six days out of seven, commendable in a government authorizing such barbarous transactions. If it should be contended that robbery, seven days of the week, was naturally wrong, but restricted to one was perfectly just, there would naturally arise a question of consistency. At present rates, a man, with an economical family, will be enabled to live without labor, on the income of some ten or twelve thousand dollars. This, according to our author’s logic, is a great injustice to the laboring classes ; but for a man who has some eighty or ninety thousand. it would not only be no injustice for him to live without labor, but the income so accruing would be his by natural right, and should be secured by law. The truth seems however to have flashed upon his mind, in his summing up the benefits of his proposed scheme, for he”says, that then, man shall be restored to nearly his natural rights. His favorite argument, and a very forcible one it is, against tho present rates of interest, is the fact that no increase of property can equal their accumulation. A section is devoted to show that in Massachusetts and. New York the increase of property for a term of years has been no more than “one and four tenths per cent.” Why even all this should be given to the owner of the products of past labor, and nothing to present labor, is not readily seen. Besides it must be remembered that much capital has been brought from other places into both these states, and also that the increased value of many things is merely fictitious, as the whole value placed upon land, which has greatly increased. Rut allowing it to increase at one per cent per annum, any given length of time, and admitting that capital is entitled to the whole increase, even then, one per cent interest would be unjust, because it must be hired on short terms, when the interest becomes compounded, and thus increases in a duplicate geometrical ratio. The following quotation shows his conviction that two per cent would be too high.
“A rate of interest of even two per cent per annum, would put it out of the power of a people to fulfil their contracts. It would be equivalent to compelling the laboring classes to double the capital of a nation in favor of capitalists once in thirty four and a half years.” His own estimation of the time money will double at different rates, fixes seventy years as the period it will double at one per cent. Substitute then seventy years, in the place of thirty four and a half, and the objection is only diminished, not obviated. In the example of Mr. A., whose income, at six per cent, equals the labor of seven thousand men and more, there would at one per cent be an income equal to the labor of twelve hundred men. No reason can be urged why the labor of twelve hundred men should be given to one, by a social arrangement, any more than why he should be allowed to appropriate the labor of seven thousand. The one is wrong by the same principle that the other is. The simple fact that no increase can be equal to the series in a duplicate geometrical ratio, proves the injustice of interest altogether. The property of the world can not be doubled in seventy years; much less could it be multiplied in one hundred and forty years, fourfold; or eight-fold in two hundred and ten. Let a calculation of the amount of one cent, for a term of six thousand years be made, at one per cent per annum, and it would exceed $12,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, a sum many millions of times larger than the estimated wealth of the whole world. What a pity father Adam had not let out a few coppers, for the benefit of the present generation of his posterity! But then, who would have paid the interest!
When Dr. Franklin’s bequest of certain sums to the cities of Boston, Philadelphia, &c, as a fund to be loaned at low rates of interest to industrious young men, was refused : the councils acted wisely, for within a given time it would have absorbed the whole capital of the places, of the nation, and of the world j but it is strange that men who had foresight enough to discover this, could not see the injustice they were doing to the mass of the people in sanctioning a system which involved the same results, in a still more objectionable form. But they found the system in existence, and had not the courage to expose its deformities. It is one of the principal errors of this book, however, which supposes the rate of interest to depend on legal enactments, regulating the charges. Money can be obtained often at a much lower than the legal rate; and it is not uncommon for treble the legal rate to be paid at times of commercial distress The rate will depend on two things,—the necessity of having, and the ability to pay. Thus the rent of land will generally bear a close relation to the rent for money, and vise versa, although at times of great depression, interest will increase, and rent of houses and land diminish; because there is no longer the ability to meet the extortion, and the revulsions of business render certain locations no longer desirable.
No confidence is to be placed in any scheme, which does not rest on the immutable principles of natural justice, and first removes the arbitrary wrongs from which unequal relations have flown. It would be well to reduce the pernicious results, if possible; but then it is one of the peculiarities of the system, that it “ extorts consent as it operates.” Could the bell once be placed upon the cat, it would give the mice much greater security; will puss be likely to submit, however, to any such arrangement. Mr. Kellogg’s plan is for government to make a currency which shall always equal the wants of business. The money is to be exchanged at any time for the safety fund notes, bearing one or more per cent interest, and secured by mortgage on real estate to twice the amount. Now were the land in the possession of the people, this might work, to say the least; but when it is reflected that about forty men own more than one half of many of the states; and when, according to our author s own showing, less than one in forty own more than the other thirty nine, and as we suppose, that two, out of the remaining thirty nine, own more than the other thirty seven, it will be seen that one out of more than thirteen own three quarters sf all the wealth, and probably more than this proportion of all the land, while at least a dozen own no more than one quarter, a large majority of whom own nothing at all.
As the new currency therefore could not reduce the nominal value of rents, but rather increase them, inasmuch as it would give the land monopolist a monopoly of the money as well as the soil, the same unequal relations would remain, even if they did not increase. Tho price of real estate would increase at least six-fold, so that the man, with a hundred acres of extra land, would be able to live in luxury and idleness, while the owner of ten thousand dollars would starve, unless he labored ‘with his own hands. This increased value of real estate would operate to just such an extent as an obstruction to the cultivation of the soil, and forever put it out of the power of the masses to become owners of what they need for homes and the purposes of husbandry. Only land monopolists could obtain the new money in considerable quantities, and though they would be required to pay but one per cent, per annum, they would be enabled to extort from the landless any rate they could agree upon among themselves, and the government could not relieve the oppressed, because it could not lend its money only on landed security. Besides it is not the landed proprietors who wish to engage in business, and as it would require five or six times the capital to do business then, that it does now, the soil, the money, and all business facilities, would be confined to land owners and those they favored, and those who found it possible to submit to their extortions. It would be vain to think of regulating this thing by law. Our usury laws are evaded now, and they would be then; and if they were not suspended, as in the case of the banks being released from their obligation to redeem their paper, their violation would be winked at, as now. The prime unjust relation which severs man from the earth, would not be changed, but strengthened; and as our author justly remarks, “the circumstances under which contracts are made, render them very unjust towards laborers. Suppose one of the contracting parties to be on laud, and the other in water, where he must drown, unless he receive assistance from the first: although he might be well aware that his friend on shore was practising a grievous extortion, yet under the circumstances, he would be glad to make any possible agreement to be rescued.” Now this is precisely the condition in which the landless poor stand to those who have a monopoly of the earth, from which must be evolved by human toil all the elements of life. This condition he does not propose to change, but to give those who have a monopoly of the land, a monopoly of money also.
The land, if proportioned among men according to their needs, would cease to be regarded as property, which it is not; as it can not be created or consumed by human labor, or extravagance. The price of land depends wholly upon the necessity man has for it, occasioned by monopoly. If I have as much as I can properly cultivate, no more is of the least value to me, except by possession I am unable to extort unfavorable conditions from some one who has need of it. There is in Nature no need, but treble the amount the race can occupy; consequently there is no value to the soil; and if Mr. Kellogg’s plan could ever succeed in establishing equitable relations, the money would become valueless, inasmuch as the security would be of no value.
Another favorite proposition of our Author will show that the evil of usury flows from unequal conditions, primarily, and not the unequal conditions from usury. The value of Bank notes, he claims are in the value of the bonds and mortgages. and other security which the Bank obtains of the public. But who would pay interest on property that was unproductive? Now nothing is productive except the soil and human labor; so that if labor had its rights, and the soil was justly apportioned, though one man had all the money in the world, it would not avail him any thing for purposes of oppression; because it is only a convenience, not a necessity. We might as well say that Chattel Slavery had been caused by usury, because it is to be found inseparably connected with it, as to say that wages slavery is effused, primarily, by usury. since they exist together, and react upon each other. The fact is, that the oppression of the many by the few has existed where usance for money was unknown. This is exemplified in the history of the Jewish nation, where a monopoly of “houses and lands,” and other unequal social conditions, ultimately established usury in defiance of their most sacred laws. For fifteen hundred years, usury was discountenanced in the Christian Church, and the man, who would take interest for money loaned, was stigmatized as a Jew Within the last Century, the nobility of Europe would have considered it an indelible stain upon their escutcheons. And yet in all these periods, Sent was regarded honorable and just to both Lord and tenant. Usury, therefore, is only the application to a business and commercial age, of the business which established rents for a feudal and barbarous age.
It is to be objected to the plan proposed, that the only security it adopts is prohibited by the very necessities of man’s nature. No more has he the right to put his house into the hazard of a transaction, than he has the right to pledge the lives and liberties of himself, his wife and children. For by our Author’s own admission, the man, born to the possession of a dozen farms, is born to live in luxury without labor, while those who are born without land, are born servants to him, and their posterity to his posterity. Now by what logic can it be shown that any man may thus tamper with the future condition of his family? And what but a Vandal Law would sanction such inhuman transactions? This is repeatedly done under our present system of land traffic, land monopoly, and bond and mortgage securities, which the new plan does not propose to obviate, but to make still more common.
The Race must be brought into equal, just and harmonious relations, ere any great advancement can be made. The first social effort must be to break down those arbitrary regulations which debar Man from his rights and duties, and place a tax upon their exercise by building up unprincipled and irresponsible monopolies. Until this ground work is done, and the foundation of the future social structure laid secure in the immutable principles of reciprocal and universal justice, neither political, financial or social experiments, will have any other effect than to convince man that no superstructure can stand that is not based upon the rock of eternal Truth, the prime laws of Equity, Justice, and Fraternity.
With regard to the question of a “legal tender,” we do not feel inclined to speak. It is discussed ably in this book. We are not sure, however, that the wrong does not rest in the assumption of government to make any one thing a legal tender to the exclusion of all others. thereby making it liable to monopoly and corruption. But when farther impressed more may be written on this point.
That there are great evils attending our “Currency,” none can doubt. That this book ably exposes these evils is cheerfully conceded. That there are many suggestions in the plan worthy of consideration, is also true. But it must not be admitted that he has always referred the evils to their ultimate cause, or presented either a desirable or feasible scheme, as a whole for their removal. The world has experienced enough of the operation of “plans,” schemes,” and “systems,” whereby the shrewd and strong have managed to realize the “lion’s share,” of the products of an industry in which they have not shared. It is, we trust, about ready to come back to first principles, and hereafter follow what natural right and the “ common weal” dictate, rather than the plans which have emanated from man’s fertile imagination. and which the unprincipled and selfish are sure to turn to account. It is now day. Society, by putting aside these arbitrary rules, will open the way for a natural arrangement Experiments and systems are no longer needed. Empiricism can never cure. Only return to natural principles, and incontrovertible Right, and it may forever after dispense with Quacks and Schemers. Any book that has a tendency to throw light on the nature of relations and things should be prized. Any one which attempts to cover up and palliate evil, should be disregarded.
Joshua King Ingalls, “A Review: Labor and Other Capital,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 3 no. 21 (April 21, 1849): 321-323; 3, no. 22 (April 28, 1849): 337-339.
THE INDUSTRIAL CONGRESS.
This Body will hold its next Session in Cincinnati, on the first Wednesday in June, and continue its sitting at least one week. Its prime object is to take into consideration the causes which subject labor, every where, to obloquy and wrong, and the best method of securing to it those rights, which by nature belong to it, and that respect which society justly owes to the only source ordained by Providence, of individual or national sustenance or wealth.
This is the most comprehensive, organized movement of the age. It is composed of men of all political and religious creeds; and opens wide its doors to all Reformers, and all reform questions. No sex or color is debarred its equal privileges, and precedence is given to mental and moral worth alone. Only one issue is raised, and one requirement made; “the Brotherhood of the Race,” involving the equal rights of all to labor, to a home, to education, and to parental protection from society, must be acknowledged by all who are admitted as members, and by all whom they represent. None will, therefore, be prevented from joining in its action, who do not seek the advancement of some partial scheme to the exclusion of other equally important measures.
It is constituted of delegates chosen from Industrial Associations, formed on the simplest plan, in any place where some half dozen or more of men or women, signify their acknowledgment of the above principles, and authorize one of their number to represent them. Protective Unions, where their organization is comprehensive, Mechanics’ Associations, Associationists proper, Land Reform Associations, and Societies of the Liberty League, as well as every other form of Union, based on principles of universal justice, are entitled to a voice in its deliberations, and a vote in its enactments, which depend alone on their moral force, for what sanction they may have.
There have already been held three Annual Sessions, since the organization: one at Boston, one at New York, and the last at Philadelphia. Every section of the Union has been represented in them, and nearly every trade and profession. They have increased in interest and in character, each year; and the coming meeting, at the Queen City of the West, is looked forward to with deep interest. We would recommend all friends of progress, where it can be done conveniently, to be represented there. It can do no harm, and may be the means of doing much good, by giving concert of action to the innumerable efforts that are being put forth without system, for the realization of a better state of things. It is undoubtedly the best thing, of a general character, that can be attempted now; and its influence may be wielded for most noble use, if those capable of directing its forces to good, do not suffer it to die, or become subservient to a narrow policy and purpose.
Its proceedings have, heretofore, been dignified with the utmost order and general harmony, and pervaded with the most catholic spirit, which patiently entertained the canvassing of every question, and disposed in a dispassionate manner, of tho most exciting subjects. If its infancy be a precursor of what its manhood shall be, its moral recommendations shall yet have a wider obedience than the physical force governments, which belie men into “chattels and “machines;” and its censures be more feared than the gibbet and jail, or even the bayonet and cannon, which now enforce hoary-headed wrongs.
J. K. I.
J. K. I., “The Industrial Congress,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 3 no. 24 (May 12, 1849) 377.
Lightning is subject to the same laws as electricity, for which it is but another name. No shock of it ever takes place, except to restore an equilibrium which has by some means been disturbed. Consequently no object or individual is in danger from it, unless in a line with the points where the opposite electricities meet. The chain must be connected, or there will be no shock. The most exposed points serve with the moistened atmosphere, as conductors to the fluid. The atmosphere is relinquished for the vegetable, as for instance, a tree, unless the distance to the moist earth, or to another cloud in the opposite state, is much less in a direct line. The vegetable is relinquished for the animal, and the animal for the metal. It is only through ignorance or inattention, that persons are ever struck by lightning, except when overtaken in very exposed situations. While the feet are on the damp ground, trees should not be approached very nearly, though they are a protection at a little distance. In the house there is almost perfect safety, unless in immediate contact with some conductor. It is to be regretted that in reports of deaths from this cause, it is so seldom stated in what position and relation to surrounding objects, the person stood ; for was this done, many who know nothing of the laws which govern electricity, might avoid danger, and be saved from depressing fear.
J. K. I.
J. K. I., “Lightning,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 3 no. 24 (May 12, 1849) 377.
A Number of communications having been addressed to us, i requiring information on the subject of these organizations, no better method of reply was suggested than to prepare an article for the columns of the Univerccelum, and thus give more general circulation, to the thoughts that have, for a length of time, been impressed upon our mind in respect to this question. There seems to be a wide-spread feeling in the community, that this is one of the steps of progress, which may be taken with safety ; as it requires little sacrifice, and results in immediate pecuniary good. There is, then, no uncertainty in the enterprise, and it may be distinctly understood by all friends of reform, that the working and success of the thing is sure, when there is a real harmony among the members, and the transactions are confided to capable and trustworthy hands. No system, of course, can secure success under fraudulent or imbecile management.
With regard to the details of the organization, there is no particular form to be recommended, which will apply to all times and places, nor have we ever seen one which had not, to us, some objectionable feature. The simplest form is best. Where there is no beneficial provision, there should be no voting in or out; but every person who chose to comply with the conditions, (which should be as simple as possible) should be entitled to all the advantages which are enjoyed by any. No fear need be entertained of assimilating discordant materials, for if there is perfect freedom to come and go, only congenial elements will ultimately remain. The only bar should be the retention of the admission fee; and even that, it would be well in certain cases to refund, as no pains should be spared to mete exact justice to the individual, whether in or out of the body ; the tendency in all organizations being to promote the corporative interest, without due regard to personal rights. Provision should also be made to permit indigent persons to trade at the society’s price ; at least until they may have saved enough to purchase admission. By purchasing so much cheaper for cash, they would be encouraged and stimulated to the practice of economy, while a system of dearly bought credit, is calculated to produce the opposite results. But in order to give greater distinctness to the points we wish to present, they shall be arranged under specific heads.
1. The design should be simple and distinct. Of course it should be humanitary and not mercenary. To secure with others self-justice, which shall give to the laborer a just equivalent for the compensation he has received for his labor, is not inconsistent with the noblest aim. The advantage is to be ascribed to the results of an organization of the consumers, and not to any power of increase in the little capital, (which should be raised on as equitable principles as possible) to be regarded as a bond of union, rather than as possessing any specific force of its own, to increase or preserve the rewards of industry. No proposition should ever be entertained, however flattering in appearance, which should put the Union under obligation to men, whether members or not, who wish to accommodate it with the use of funds, “for a consideration.” This is the fountain of all the evil you are seeking to avert. Be careful of the first step; and let such as are governed by no other principle than a consideration of the “dividends” that may accrue, be taught by your example, that men nay combine for objects of self-justice, without being miserly. The object also should be one, especially if a trading union. There is no objection to sick benefits, or labor organizations ; but the question is, do they properly belong in a mere commercial association? The commercial is a distinct group in the scientific association, and should not embrace in itself, other equally important, or more important groups. Undoubtedly they should be kept distinct, however intimate they may become, by embracing the same members, and promoting the same objects. Persons may desire to be guarantied in their trade, who do not wish to be in their health or labor. To have the same fund for trade and benefits, is to put both in jeopardy.
2. The Union must be confined to its legitimate object. It must guarantee exact distribution. It may never assume to itself any powers, or possessions ; and consequently can give no credit nor be allowed to contract any debts. It can justly have no dividends to declare, or favors of any kind to bestow. It is to be objected to any system of union which proposes to employ its own members at labor, that it proposes a wrong, or a perpetuation of wrong; inasmuch as to the laborer belongs the whole product of his industry, a portion of which, the unions have no right to divide among the members, however they may be comparatively benefitted by the arrangement: another supposition would justify any wrong or oppression under heaven, except the very worst. As to secure justice in exchange, it is necessary to organize the consumers, so to secure justice to labor, it is necessary to organize the laborers. Where the trading union has been established on a firm basis, let an Industrial Union be attempted. As many as can, of one trade or employment, should unite their means on a similar plan. Being members of the trading union, they will be enabled to purchase stock at the lowest market prices, and paying cash, and selling for cash, in which they will also be assisted by the other organization, they will require but a small capital. As soon as practicable, other organizations should be formed, especially of farmers, and the more necessary trades. Between these, the commercial association, which will indeed embrace them all, will act as an equitable agent to facilitate the necessary exchanges. Thus in time the true form of organization may be developed ; and while some schemer is dreaming of rearing a “model association,” the natural one will have rearer itself. The utmost care must be taken in these industrial associations when reared, to distribute with the most exact justice. Upon this chiefly depends the success of the enterprise. None should be taken into it, or regarded as its friends, who are not willing to award to each the full product of his labor. No more than in the trading union, must any dividend be made, or any premium paid to capital, except what is compelled by actual necessity, in the form of rent, &c, for nothing may justly wrest from Man, the awards of his industry.
3. These organizations are not to be regarded as final. They have in themselves no power to bestow privileges, or to secure us for any length of time against the effects of violated civil and natural right. While the unequal laws continue in force which now exist, and which deny men’s rights to labor and to homes; such unions will only serve to put a little farther off the terrible results. The amount saved in trade, will serve as a justification on-the part of the employer to cut down the wages. This system has already been tried in England, not by the operatives, but by the manufacturers, who purchased goods in large quantities, and on certain days and hours, dealt them out to the operatives at cost. The consequence was that thousands of lawless persons flocked to these establishments, which could hire labor twenty-five per cent cheaper than any other establishments, while the operatives were actually better paid than they were any where else.
Men may be associated in labor unions, yet if those having control of the soil and currency are not disposed to give them any thing to do or any place to labor in. except by paying tribute to wealth, the relation of master and slave—employer and employed—of the rich who live on the labor of others, and of the poor who toil for others’ gain, will still continue, and grow worse and worse, by the principle that every violation of natural law tends to more and more serious consequences until abandoned.
But as a means of organizing the laboring classes, and of bringing them to a proper conception of the wrongs under which they suffer, in consequence of their own ignorance and estrangement from each other, and the rights which are theirs by nature, these unions are to be regarded with the utmost favor ; nor is there a great probability that, they will be rested in, when they shall have revealed to the masses, what union may do, and what mighty powers they themselves possess. More probably they will be the readier to unite, where they see higher objects to attain, and ask with a bolder front for the restoration of those rights, which society has robbed them of so long. Altogether, Protective Unions are a feature of this latter time, which is most promising to human progress and social reform. Let none fear to engage in them where they are indicated Only submit their direction to able and honest hands, and there is no place where they can fail to succeed. We have never known or heard of any difficulty that was not attributable to culpable neglect or downright dishonesty, and even but a very few cases of that kind. No individual can engage in any business with a tithe of the certainty which appertains to the operations of these unions. Your market is guarantied before you commence, and no greater risk is run than would be by an agent who is merely employed to purchase for another. At the same time, let it be borne in mind, especially by the more advanced, that these are but introductory steps to the great temple of social reform, wherein dwelleth “all righteousness” and Universal harmony.
J. K. I.
J. K. I., “Protective Unions,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 4 no. 2 (June 9, 1849): 24–25.
These organizations are becoming quite common, as may be judged from the reports found in various papers, throughout the country. And, while they supply a want, they teach men the importance of united efforts. We are fret to confess, however, that to us, some things about them are a little inexplicable; others, certainly, objectionable. We are not acquainted with any rule of arithmetic which will enable us to multiply $250 by any given number, and dividing by the same, realize $600. The greater share of this quotient must have resulted from some source not laid down in the proposition. There is but one alchemy by which such transmutation can take place; that of the broker and the banker, who, by a legalized process, coin sweat said tears and blood into gold. If these associations are conducted on just principles, they will give back ultimately to each what has been contributed. Justice does not recognize the taking from one and bestowing on another. It is difficult to see the right of building even a Home, from the products of another man’s labor, whether it result as forfeiture, or premium, extorted by existing inequalities, monopoly of the soil and the currency.
Besides, let not poor mechanics think, that a machinery which will give such results, will be left in their hands by “Wall street.” These unions will become a staff in the hands of capital to extort from labor this hundred and forty per cent in some half dozen years; for who can prevent men, who add “house to house and field to field,” from putting their capital into these institutions? Were there not most unjust relations between capital and labor already, they would be uncalled for. How shall we remedy these conditions by extending them! If we have realized this great per centage, it must have been from some persons more unfortunate than ourselves. Ye who complain of oppression, and organize to escape it, beware how you tamper with the “thirty pieces of silver” for which your brother is sold; lest, in emancipating yourself, you have enslaved him. It may be said that the increase is saved in rent; and that the premium will correspond to the rate of rents and usance Now if this were absolutely the case, and none who joined the organization used their increase as new outlay to realize again and again their one hundred and forty per cent, but only to build dwellings for themselves, the objection would have less weight; but even then, it might be inquired, why not use the true and equal method, in preference to the unjust one with the pretence that it will produce the same results!
There are two distinct objects to be attended to by the Association-—providing the members with dwellings, and the equalizing of the burden of rent, under which at present they unjustly suffer. To secure these desirable ends, let any given number of homeless individuals associate themselves, and agree to raise so much, yearly, monthly, or weekly, towards building houses for all. When enough is raised to build a home, let it be given by seniority, lot, or some other method previously agreed upon, to one of the members, he paying no premium, but a rent equitably adjusted as may be. This will accelerate the increase, or lessen the amount of contribution, as the body may decide. Thus one after another will be supplied with homes, and feel no heart-yearnings against each other in consequence of advantage gained through management, or the possession of ready money. But suppose some are unable to go on with their contributions, should they therefore forfeit their means, which have been actually paid in? Certainly, no! This is no guarantee association, and all contributions, whether small or great, should be refunded ultimately, with utmost strictness, though not with increase. The reason why the first one occupying should be required to pay no premium, but only rent, is that by the time others shall be provided, his house will need repair, and if he share equally with them the burden under which they suffer, till the time of their deliverance, it is all justice can require of him.
Suppose, for instance, a dozen mechanics associate. Their average rent is a hundred dollars a year. The average cost of their houses is one thousand dollars. They pay, in weekly or monthly dues, an average of one hundred dollars a year, each paying in proportion to the value of the house he wishes to secure. In a year they may have a house reared, and some two hundred dollars in the treasury. A. moves into this house, and pays a hundred dollars a year, no longer to a landlord, but to the general fund. At the end of the second year, they will have two houses, and five hundred dollars. In six months more, the contributions and rents will raise it to twelve hundred, giving three houses. In a little more than three years the fourth ho be finished, and A. B. C. and D. provided 1 In four years and three months, six houses may be reared. In five years, seven. In six years, nine. And in seven years and four months, the whole number may be emancipated from the thraldom they have so long suffered under. This is a mere mental approximation, computed as the pen has been flying, bat will be found nearly correct; enough so to illustrate the working of the thing. But suppose, they should not feel able to keep up so large a contribution for that length of time, but might make it for one or two years. Then, let the rent on the houses go to diminish the contribution. The second year it would be but ninety dollars, &c. On the sixth year, only fifty dollars. On the tenth year, it would only be some ten dollars, at the end of which each one would be furnished with a house, as by the other plan, with less actual outlay, though in longer time, in which, of course, the balance is paid to landlords for rent.
The benefit of the organization consists chiefly in this, that it enables us to use the weapons of an unjust system to emancipate ourselves from it. Not being able, alone, to provide ourselves with shelter, at once, and ground down by a system which, by its onerous exactions, forever keeps us unable, we may at the same time by combination of means, elevate one from the condition, and make him assist us out of it; the power growing stronger to raise us, and that weaker which would keep us down, with the elevation of every member, until the whole body is redeemed. So praiseworthy an object is heaven-wide from that grovelling spirit which only asks, of every movement, “how much can be made out of it?” So for forth, it is most just; carried one step farther, to be used as an investment for income or speculation, and it stands upon the same basis with all other schemes which put in one man’s pocket the product of another man’s toil, without equivalent. To use arms for the purpose of self-emancipation, is one thing; to use the same arms, when freed, to subject others to wrong and slavery, is quite a different thing. The advantage is to be regarded entirely of organization, and nothing referred to any supposed power of increase in the capital employed; for mark! how much greater the advantage, was capital once denied this murderous power I In that case, each man would have in ten years or less a house of his own, simply for the amount which he now pays in rent; so that he is actually compelled by existing conditions to build, every ten years of his life, a house as good as the one he occupies, and give it to the landlord, who uses that again as a new investment, for extracting from the products of labor, other and other houses, in duplicate ratio.
If we would flee from any evil, let the nature and basis of it be well investigated, and the natural remedy applied. Let wrong be overcome by right, not a more cunningly devised wrong. It is easy to conceive how an association might work to better advantage for some, on the basis, we suppose, generally adopted; but not how it may work without wrong to any. Let this be remembered, that just forms are always most simple, and that it is only fraud which seeks to mystify, by formulas and arbitrary involutions, the real operation of a plan. Human right and brotherhood dwell not in labored schemes, in political or social or financial jugglery. He that runs may read. The veriest dolt can feel the wrong; how few can trace the process, mystified and legalized to the popular eye, by which it is inflicted. O, could we infuse more faith into the souls of men, more trust in the right, equal, true, and natural, the regeneration of the world were complete. They new prefer to trust in institutions they do not understand, and set those up for wise men and rulers, who have cunning enough to turn them to account, and throw around them the garb of false learning, and influence of renowned “talent for expedients.” But “figures will not lie,” after all; and those who believe, and allow themselves to be governed, according to these fallacies, must even “foot the bill.” Hard indeed, does it come on the laborer and the suffering poor; but will they, otherwise, ever come to leave their faith in Mammon and Imposture, and believe in God and Nature!
J. K. I.
J. K. I., “Building Associations,” Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher 4 no. 4 (June 23, 1849): 72–73.
I have finally been able to consult all the issues of The Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher, and complete my listing of Joshua King Ingalls’ contributions. I expect to be able to finish transcribing the remaining articles over the next couple of weeks. These were some of Ingalls’ first published writings on social reform, as he was in the process of leaving the Universalist ministry and embarking on his long career, which crossed many of the reform movements of the 19th century.