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tem of social regeneration, and to procure the means of bringing it before the public. How the social theories of the author gradually developed themselves into Communism, and how they finally culminated in the conception of the social system to be described in this book, depended entirely upon circumstances over which he had little or no control, as will be seen from the following few sketches from his political and literary career.
For having, at Paris, taken part in the great demonstration of the 12th of June, 1849, when the National Assembly was invaded by the people, and when Louis Blanc and Barbès attempted to form a Provisional Government at the Hotel de Ville, the author was first imprisoned and then exiled from France by ministerial decree, under the presidency of Louis Napoleon; and the police took precautions for his safe embarkation at Boulogne for England, having previously refused him a place of refuge in any other country, although Belgium and Switzerland would have admitted him with the same facility and generosity as England; and although Germany and Italy were at the time open, not only to stray refugees, but to compact legions of armed men who, starting from Paris, crossed the frontiers from France into Germany, Italy, and Poland. The author owes no grudge to France for his imprisonment and expulsion, because both of these repressive measures have been to a great extent the very means of maturing and fortifying his political and communistic ideas, the previous inculcation of which had been effected by frequent visits to the lectures of the socialistic schools then flourishing in Paris, especially to those of the Phalansteriens, which were held in the offices of the Democratie Pacifique, and where Considerant, the intelligent and amiable advocate of Fourierism and acknowledged leader of that peculiar school of socialism, drew large audiences. In La Conciergerie, the author became fellow-prisoner with Proudhon, whose discussions on the social question with other prisoners, nearly all literary men and advocates of various sorts of Socialism and Communism, had the greatest influence on the author's previous knowledge of Socialism; and it was chiefly owing to Proudhon's striking and convincing arguments on the unjust institution of private property, that he began to incline towards the communistic doctrine. The French Government having been unable to procure any proofs of the author's participation in the affair of the 12th of June, the principal actors of which were subsequently tried at Bourges or escaped imprisonment, like Ledru Rollin and Louis Blanc, by timely flight to England, the author was released, after having been detained for nearly two months. His expulsion from France, which immediately followed his release, was decreed for the sole purpose of getting rid of a zealous advocate of socialism; for the French police had found amongst the papers of the suspected conspirator a prospectus of a co-operative working men's association. Quelle horreur! c'est un homme dangereux pour la societé !” Having arrived in free England, the author was at once introduced to the German Working Men's Society, where he was particularly charmed and instructed by Karl Marx's lectures on Communism, and where he became likewise acquainted with the celebrated “ Manifesto of the Communistic Party," written by Marx and
Engels. Frequent visits to the reading-room of the British Museum introduced him to the works of Plato, Sir Thomas More, Robert Owen, Stuart Mill, John Ruskin, Fitzjames Stephen, and others; and the influence of the writings of these great men, coupled with the instruction derived from the daily papers, amongst which the author owes a special debt of gratitude to the Daily News, the highly-esteemed and influential organ of the Liberal party in England, and to the Beehive, the accredited representative of the working classes of Great Britain; as also the information obtained from the Government publications, the so-called Blue Books, could not fail to bring to completion the communistic system to be described in this work. Robert Owen's appearance in Paris shortly after the February revolution of 1848, when permission was granted to him for a public exposition of his doctrine in the National Assembly itself, as also his subsequent meetings and conferences in London, left another indelible impression of the importance and excellency of Communism in the mind of the author. Of him it may, therefore, truly be said that, concerning the growth of his social theories, he was the creature of circumstances; for if he had never come to France, but had preferred staying in his native place (Feldbach, in Styria), his mind would in all likelihood have remained void of, and perhaps even opposed to, every speculation in the social science; and if he had not been obliged to seek refuge in England, his conceptions of socialism would probably have never assumed the communistic character under which they now appear in this work. But however radical his proposals for the demolition and reconstruction
of the social edifice will appear to many a reader, they go in reality no further than those suggested by Plato, Sir Thomas More, Robert Owen, and Stuart Mill; and he hopes that the system of social regeneration propounded in this work will be regarded with due allowance for its origin, as being an almost literal reproduction of the communistic ideas entertained by many great writers on the social problem, and which the author has endeavoured to combine and to arrange into a systematic whole.
The author withholds his name in deference to the wellknow tenet of French Democracy, “Les hommes ne sont rien, les principes sont tout,”—“Men are nothing, principles are everything." No name can sanctify principles. Truth is their only touchstone, advocate, and disseminator.
LONDON, March, 1876.