Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

fortification of Mr. Fitzhugh's position. And let it be remembered, that neither in the Sociology for the South, nor in the quotations which will be shortly introduced here, is the sole or principal obligation due to Chartists, Socialists, Communists, or Agrarians of any sort. From such authors some admissions have been received, but the chief contributions are derived from those who have been the most strenuous supporters of past social arrangements, and who, notwithstanding a great diversity of views, abilities, studies, and opportunities of knowledge, stlil represent the sober conservative sense of their respective communities. We regret that Mr. Fitzhugh should have extended so much countenance to the Socialists, and should have partially identified Socialism and Slavery, but the strongest part of his testimonies to the failure of free societies, is derived from other declarations than theirs, and we shall imitate his example.

We begin, however, with a Socialist, but almost the only one whom we shall summon to the stand:

“The French Revolution was an abortion. The tradiny classes (la bourgeoisie) organized themselves in the name of capital, and, instead of becoming a man, the serf became a prolétaire. What then was his situation ? The most painful of all, the most intolerable which can be conceived. Like all the prolétaires, the trading classes had shouted: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. The result has been that every thing which was prolétaire—that is to say, all those who have no capital, groan under the most cruel usage (exploitation.) They cannot be freemen, nor brothers, nor equals. Not free, because their daily bread depends on a thousand accidents produced and engendered by the competition of capitalists among themselves; not brothers, because, with hearts crushed and lacerated by the evils which overwhelm them, they cannot love those whose creed is so fatal to them; not equals, because capital being the supreme law, it is only through it that any participation or concurrence in social power is possible.” *

An apology is due for not attempting to translate the term prolétaires in the above passage, but every one familiar with the condition of modern free societies, is aware that it is absolutely untranslateable. It is an indispensable word in modern times, and the impossibility of avoiding its use is a stronger proof of the failure of free societies, than the invention of the phrase Sociology, which Mr. Fitzhugh regards in this light. It ought to be unhesitatingly introduced into the English language; it can boast of a very respectable Latin descent; it occurs in the XII Tables, and originally signified a person of the lowest class, too poor to pay taxes, and unable to serve the State otherwise than by raising children and thus increasing the population t-a very doubtful service in modern Europe. We return to Mr. Robert du Var :

“It must be remarked, that what is called pauperism, this

sore, this ulcer, which infests, and more and more consumes the body social, could not exist in the same degree amongst the nations of antiquity. It is a phenom

* Robert (du Var.) Hist. de la Classe Ouvrière. Dédicace aux Travailleurs, tome. I. p. X-XI.

+ Aulus Gellius. Noct. Alt. lib. XVI, c. X.

*

enon which could only arise as the consequence of the transformation of slavery into serfdom, and of serfdom into free labor (prolétariat.) *

In antiquity, every one, whether free or not, citizen or slave, was always connected with some centre which ensured at least his material support.”*

“As a result of the individual liberty, independent of any central power, proclaimed by Christianity, favored and developed by the instincts of the Northern barbarians, legitimated and transformed into a social doctrine by the institution of Communes, was formed and agglomerated throughout Europe an innumerable population, having no material connection with the regular society, and having for itself nothing but the most naked liberty, that is to say, misery, poverty, isolation. Thence issued the poor, the beggars, the thieves—in one word, parias of every description, with whom society was compelled to compound, willingly or reluctantly, by the foundation of establishments intended to palliate the bleeding wound of the pauperism which had been engendered by liberty.” 1

“From whaterer point the modern system is regarded, it seems impossible not to recognize that the Politicoeconomical rule of free competition is the negation, as its name indicates, of all ties and communion of interests between the members of society. Free competition is a free field open to every individual, provided or not with the elements necessary and indispensable to its manifestations; free competition, in a word, is liberty, but liberty without other rule than the material and moral force, of which each one may be able to dispose in the presence of the thousand causes which produce a difference in the position of individuals.” *

* Hist. de la Classe Ouvrière. liv. IX. chap. VII. tome. III. p. 100.

+ Hist. de la Classe Ouv. liv. IX. chap. VII. p. 102, tome. III.

p. 102.

“But, we say that a system which thus arms, morally, the poor against each other, is a barbarous system, and contrary to civilization: it is barbarous, inasmuch as it developes all the bad tendencies of the human heart: it is contrary to civilization, because, instead of facilitating harmonious relations among men, it inclines them to mutual repulsion and hostility.” |

This is a sufficient sample of M. Robert du Var's testimony. The greater part of his work is to the same effect: and there is a singular accordance between his censures of Political Economy, and those uttered by Mr. Fitzhugh. They merit especial attention.

We grill cite another Socialist, M. Vidal:

“The ox, the horse, the hog eat according to their hunger: their desires are even anticipated : they have their subsistence assured. It is the same thing in the case of the slave. For the ox, the horse, the hog, the slave, belong to a master, and their loss is the loss of the owner: res perit domino, says the Digest. But with the hired laborer it is different! He belongs to himself. His death is the loss of his family whom he maintained, and who will no longer find the means of living. What matter to an employer is the death of a bired laborer ? Are there not every where millions of arms always ready to offer themselves at reduced wages ? "*

* Ibid. No. XIV. chap. I. tome. IV. p. 285-6. † Ibid. No. XIII. chap. II. torne. IV. p. 247. | Ibid. No. XII. chap. III. tome. IV. p. 50–105.

Let us turn to evidence of a different character. Here is Sir Robert Peel's testimony to the condition of Ireland before 1844, previous to the potato-rot and the famine :

“It may be assured that the fourth class of houses, (according to the census,) are generally unfit for human habitation; and yet it would appear that in the best circumstanced county, in this respect, the county of Down, 24.7 per cent., or one-fourth of the population, live in houses of this class : while in Kerry, the population is 66.7 per cent., or about two-thirds of the whole; and, taking the average of the whole population of Ireland, as given by the census commissioner, we find that in the rural districts about 43 per cent. of the families, and in the civic districts, about 36 per cent. inhabit houses of the fourth class.

“The lowest, or fourth class, remember, comprises all mud cabins, having but one room." +

Mr. Kay, from whom the foregoing remarks of Sir Robert Peel are quoted, thus comments upon a murder committed in open day in Ireland. The two murderers had escaped :

*

*

* Vidal. Repartition des Richesses. ptie. II. chap. III.

† The Social Condition and Education of the People of England and Europe. By Joseph Kay, Esq., M. A., chap. I, vol. I, p. 314.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »