« ZurückWeiter »
and deportment of the children of the rich. Not a smile, not a laugh, escapes their rosy lips, and their beautiful features remain placid and immovable, like dolls' faces or lifeless images; slovenly they walk along, led by the grasping hand of a parent or tutor for fear they might be attracted into the circle of playing children formed from the ranks of the poor. Having been confined in the nurseries and petty schoolrooms of the parental home, they have not learned to participate to the fullest extent in the frolic gambols, to join in the merry juvenile ditties and rhymes, to whirl around in the ring formed by many joyous children, to dress in grotesque mummery; and being deprived of these and similar enjoyments, they betray their reticence, they show looks of amazement and often of envy when they see other children indulging in rapturous joy derived from various juvenile sports and games which the free and unconstrained association amongst children is sure to invent and carry out with one common consent and enjoyment.
Who amongst all those who have attained a mature age does not recollect the great pleasures of companionship, when a child, amongst children, schoolfellows, and playmates, and, when a youth, amongst those of the same age?
All these natural enjoyments are to a great extent subdued and interfered with by the peculiar home; but social reformers can with certainty anticipate an organization of the community, in which each child will have many playmates, each youth many companions, and each grown-up man and woman many associates and friends. The present system of home exclusiveness-which in large towns is even so great that it has given rise to the comical saying, "Number 3 does not know what Number 4 is about"-will be relaxed; children will be liberated from the tyrannical and arbitrary treatment and shameful neglect they often experience on the part of their parents, brothers, sisters, governesses, tutors, servants and relatives; and husbands and wives who now live in unhappiness under the shelter of secluded domesticity, will find inducements held out to them, by which they will be drawn from their unhappy retreats into the joyous circle of public company, and will thus become restored to public enjoyment which will prevent private vice.
"A curse on him who found the ore!
THE WALWORTH MURDERS OF THE 31ST JULY, 1860.-To obtain possession of £100 from an insurance office, William Youngman did not hesitate to involve in one fearful massacre four persons: one parent, two brothers, and a young female.
LTHOUGH it is universally acknowledged that
the root of all evil, still, no attempts have been made for removing this universal cause of wrong, and extirpating this poisonous root. On the contrary, the general public, and even the enlightened political economist, consider the use of money as necessary an element for man's existence as the air they breathe, the food they eat, and the water they drink. But such are not the notions of the advanced social reformer, for he can clearly conceive a social state in which there shall not exist any money, or monetary standard; and seeing this possibility, he has a more lucid perception of the evils arising from its existence.
The total absence of money would, in the first instance, root out the infamous vice of prostitution; it would almost entirely extinguish theft, fraud, and embezzlement; and it would be a sure means of greatly diminishing the number of those murders that are committed for the sake of robbery and plunder; for of all the objects coveted by the robber and murderer, money is always first searched for, because it is easiest to hide and to dispose of, and thus furnishes the thief, robber, and murderer an easy means of escape and concealment.
The possession of money is, moreover, a fertile source of dissipation, drunkenness, and gluttony; and in cases of inheritance, where great riches are transmitted in the shape of money, it is generally found, that a spendthrift son often squanders in the most reckless and vicious manner the coin so laboriously collected by his father; a course of proceeding which the law
of primogeniture checks in those heirs who inherit landed property, by assigning to them solely a life-interest in the estate. But as personal estate, and money inherited, cannot, by the very nature of its insecurity and transmutability, be made an object of interminable transmission from heir to heir under the protection of the law of primogeniture, the disintegration of large fortunes by prodigal and debauched heirs runs its rapid and fatal course, ruining not only the principal actor of debauchery and dissipation, but often his whole family relatives, and many others whom he draws into his mad and vicious career.
Besides these direct evils engendered by the existence of money, the social reformer is anxious to call attention to others of a more indirect and subtle nature, the effect of which he considers to be still more detrimental to the welfare of certain classes of the community than those arising from the direct influence of money.
By the possession of money, large numbers of people are enabled to withdraw themselves from the active pursuits of life, to elude the sting and bane of labour and its hardships; and, in doing so, they cast the burdens of both mental and bodily work upon others who had not the good fortune of being born rich, of inheriting large sums of money, or of rapidly becoming rich through successful speculations, and retiring prematurely, and in the full vigour of life, from the field of activity and useful occupation into the retreats of inutility and idleness. Money thus spent by those who do not work, but live upon their incomes from landed estates, or from the interest of capital invested, becomes often a means
The right of money to increase by interest, is in itself disputed by many authorities. Aristotle declares that "money is properly only a medium of exchange for labour, and that it has no right or claim to increase except by passing directly through some form of labour." It is thrice condemned by the law of Moses, and absolutely forbidden by that legislator between Jew and Jew. It is denounced by Mohammed in the third and thirtieth chapters of the Koran. The ancient Roman Republic forbade it in the 411th year of the city of Rome. When, in the reign of Elizabeth and Henry VIII., edicts were issued legalizing a ten per cent. usury, the Protestant bishops who sat in the House of Peers branded them as "mortal sins."
Martin Luther condemns usury in these words :- 66 By a simple
of disguising a state of serfdom to which certain classes of the population are now subjected, without entertaining the least suspicion that, through the subtle and indirect action of money, they have been made pitiable slaves. These will, on the contrary, think it quite right that the rich should make others work, provided they pay them for it.
The author is, however, of an entirely different opinion, and maintains that the comparative exemption of the rich from labour is putting a heavy and humiliating yoke of slavery on the neck of the working man, and that the so-called free labour of the latter is, in reality, only a disguised form of serfdom, from which he can only extricate himself, with the most strenuous exertions, by work and abstinence.
In subjecting the present relation between labour and capital to a still closer scrutiny, the social reformer finds that rents received for land produce serfdom in disguise, and that the landowner who takes the rent of £2 an acre, has taken the equivalent of £2 worth of the results of labour, to the production of which he has not contributed one single day's work. These two pounds of rent represent a certain number of working days, which in a free country he could not exact from the agricultural labourer, nor from the farmer, were, it not under the disguise of money; for were he to resort to the exaction of labour without money payment, everybody would cry out that it is serfdom in the real meaning of the word.
The same view may be taken in all cases in which profits in money are realized on the results of labour performed for capitalists by other persons.
process of reasoning, the pagans of antiquity have calculated that a usurer is a fourfold thief and murderer. But we Christians hold him in such honour, that we almost worship him for the sake of his money. He who reduces another's livelihood by usury, and robs him of the means of subsistence by exorbitant interest, commits as great a murder as he who kills his fellow man by starvation, or otherwise causes him deadly injury. But so the usurer does, and sits comfortably in his chair whilst he should swing on the gallows. Besides the devil, there is no greater enemy of mankind upon earth than a usurer. And if highwaymen and murderers are put to death upon the wheel and by the sword, how much more shall not all usurers be cursed, hunted down, and decapitated."
THE principle of inheritance is," in the opinion of the author, a sign of the bad organization of society; for if all were properly cared for, if sufficient means for the satisfaction of all wants were provided for all, there would be no necessity for inheriting property or money. But as society is at present constituted, the fatality of being born poor is avoided by the transmission of wealth by inheritance; and means thus acquired will in most cases not only prove abundant for the education of the young heir, but will probably be a powerful assistance to him all his life through, from the cradle to the grave. The poor man, on the contrary, is placed at a dire disadvantage the very day of his birth, and is afterwards very often engaged in a painful struggle for existence all his lifetime, though with no other result than of transmitting his poverty as an inheritance to his children. And should he even succeed in amassing a fortune, the knowledge that he has done so by hard labour, by painful thriftiness, by great risk, and by torturing apprehensions of loss, will be small consolation and bitter irony, if he considers that the wealthy man, who obtained his riches by inheritance, did not experience any of those troubles, or feel any anxiety, or apprehension of risk and loss and ruin; for if rich in land, his wealth would be secured to him and his heirs by the law of entail and primogeniture; and if rich in money, he would invest it in land, and have it protected by the same feudal law of primogeniture and entail.
CHAPTER VIII.-PRIVATE PROPERTY.
"It is owing to the deplorable condition of the working classes, that property has been put into question, whose legitimate title has been critically examined, and for whose equitable distribution there will arise frightful contentions and bloody battles, if reason, politics, and social charity should not be able to solve the problem in a peaceful and satisfactory manner."LAMARTINE.
MAN may possess private property in land, houses, factories, warehouses, ships, mines, funds, shares, wares and goods, machines, patents, copy-rights, etc. All these vari