The English Republic (4)
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CHAPTER VII.

RELIGION, GENIUS, AND REPUBLICANISM.



Religion, Genius and Republicanism.  A Church and a Republic.  Religious Worship.


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RELIGION is the bringing man toward God. The priest is the minister of religion. And the highest priest—say some—is the Pope.

    Saint Peter, from whom those Popes pretend to derive their special title to sanctity, was truly a minister of religion, a confronter of iniquity, an earnest endeavourer to bring man toward God.  At least, so says the legend.  He was no fawner upon Cæsar, no accomplice of imperial villains; neither a Vitellius nor a Caligula would have got his benediction.  Iscariot himself had been ashamed of such a task as that which is imposed in our day upon the "Successor of St. Peter."

    Vicar of Christ—a Ruffian's Valet!—High Priest of the true God—Worshipper of the Baboon Idol whose filthiness is set up in the shambles by the pious atheists of France.  These are the titles which the Head of the Catholic Church would unite for the good of Christendom.

    The "Catholic" may be as honest as the Protestant.  The peculiarities of his creed may be as creditable as those of Protestantism.  There are doubtless many honest Catholics, even in Ireland, who loathe the scandal of an alliance between the infallible Pontiff and the blood-stained, perjured "Napoleon."  But the Papal Church consented to that alliance with Rascality; consented to lend him the altar as a footstool, to lend him the white garments of the priesthood that he may wipe with them the accumulated filth from his bloody hands.  Every Frenchman may see that the scarlet of the priest's vestments is the blood shed on the 2nd of December.  All Europe will know it, and when Justice overtakes the Imperial Miscreant, the Accomplice of his abominations will fall with him.  That word Papacy is written on the gallows.  Since Pope Pius mistook the "Saviour of Society" for the "Son of God" the Papacy is no more.

    Priests of God!  We are not without them even in Protestant England.  But which of them, law-ordained or dissenting, has denounced from his pulpit the hideous Blasphemy which, standing with one foot in Paris and one in St. Petersburg, throws its shadow over even this "moral land"?  Go into our churches and our chapels; the minister of religion points his finger at some little breaker of a petty ordinance, but he will not lift up his parable against the Royalty of Crime.  The "Times" speaks out; but never a bishop or archbishop.  For our priests are atheists; and their flocks do credit to their care.  They "do not meddle with politics."  No! they would bring men near to God only in the after life, when, let us hope, there will be neither Popes nor Protestant Parasites.  Here they have revenues to care for, and Te, Devil, laudamus! for a weekly service.

    But there is religion outside the steeple-house!  Though the priest forgets his ministry, the Truth is not without its prophets.  At the forsaken altar Genius standeth ministering.  Genius should so stand; for ever Genius is sent by God to be His priest, His preacher, His interpreter.  Shame, shame and woe to Genius when it forgets its consecration and does the Devil's work instead of God's.  Shame when a Rachel prostitutes herself to he something worse than the harlot of the Parisian Felon: worse, for his mistress might plead some blinding wilderment of "love"—such "love" as the veriest hero by strangest chance may possibly inspire.  While the Papal hierarchy, from Rome to Dublin, desecrates God's temples with approval of most disgusting Crime, a Rachel profanes the altar of Genius with an echo of the same approval.

    Leave poor Pius in his livery.  Let him slink back again to his Vatican, and be at peace till the Spirit of old Rome again rise and kick out the Tiara'd Flunky and his Gallic Dogs.  It is long since Popes were anything except accommodating tools of Tyrants.  But should Genius play the parasite?  Is it not the right of Genius to proclaim God's law even when priests are faithless?  Is it not the duty of Genius to keep pure the sacred fire which lights its brow, to hold its head erect, that men, lit by the tongued flame, may see their way to God?  Shall Genius stoop its brow to the kennel whenever an Imperial Murderer heads the sheets?  And when that Genius is a Woman, shall it be less pure, less holy, less decently upright?  A Pope may grasp hands with the Decembrist; but shall a Rachel kiss him and lie trembling at his feet?

    Priests pander to successful Wrong; Genius sells itself for a villainous smile, a bouquet with bloody stalks, or a handful of Vespasian's coin careless of the smell!  Well, if priests and Genius play false, what is that to us?  Shall not the Republican be true?

    Read the following from the lips of one of our best Republicans—Charles Delescluze:—

"Cournet was a great and courageous citizen, and the name which he leaves is one of those which will remain as the symbol of political honesty and of an unlimited devotion to the cause of the people.  On his deathbed one thought alone occupied Cournet—the Republic and the Revolution."

    And Cournot fell in a duel, as Armand Carrel fell.

    Over the new grave of him who stood beside Bandin on the barricades of December, how should we speak censoriously?  How should we forget his life's love for France?  How either should we be bold to blame that French susceptibility which made the duel imperative?  Yet what weight have bravery, undoubted love, or nicest sense of "honour," against the truth?  What is his epitaph?  It is written—not for him but for us, that he fell in a duel.

    Not "the symbol of political honesty," not "an unlimited devotion to the cause."  He turned aside upon his personal errand.  We may not speak falsely even in praise of the best loved.

    A man passes rapidly along the road.  His duty is imperative.  Haste is urgent.  Every minute must be devoted.  He steps aside, gives but a brief while to pick up a flower.  He has missed the road.  He has failed in his duty.  The flower is called pleasure.  And you curse the selfish voluptuary who for that pleasure forgot the world's work he had to do—he had undertaken to do.  Call the flower honour instead of pleasure.  Is it any the more "an unlimited devotion?"

    One is intrusted with a treasure to be carried to a certain distance.  May he set it down while he fights out some chance quarrel?  And when the treasure is a Republican life, to be borne safely to the feet of victory?  And when the Republican has devoted this life?  Is the abandonment "a symbol of political dishonesty?"

    Would Cournet on that December morning in 1851, have deserted the barricade to fight a duel?  And why not then as well as at any time afterwards?

    His life was not his own.  Neither was his honour (by which of course we only mean his reputation).  "Que mon mom soit flétri!—My name be blighted"—said Danton.  I am the Republic's.  I may not step out of the ranks for any personal matter.  This man Danton—this life which is called Danton—is but as a sword in God's hand.  It is aimed by God; it waits in His hand till He shall be pleased to strike with it.  It leaps not from His hand, nor turns aside from the one direct blow for any selfish purpose.

    For what is a Republican?  What his cause?  His cause is that of Humanity—of God.  He is a priest devoted to God.  And his whole life is as a religious service.  Alas!—what religious service, what devotion unto God, what truth to Humanity, what Republicanism is there in tossing up—heads or tails—whether I or you shall be rendered incapable of any service whatsoever?

    The priest may not accept a challenge.  Not even a French priest.  Wherefore?  Because of his sacred calling.  Is our Republican mission and vocation less sacred?  Or are our services of less worth?

    But to be called Coward?  To be called.  Set against the false name the false act.  "Coward" or deserter?  Choose!

    It is a praise of Cournet that on his death-bed one thought alone occupied him—the Republic and the Revolution.  If but that one thought had occupied his life we should not now have to lament that death-bed, should not have to lay these stern upbraidings upon a memory else so noble.  But the sad examples of Carrel and Cournet must not mislead us.

    Sad and every way foolish.  Was it Cournet's duty to slay his opponent?  If so, it was his duty to choose the likeliest means of slaying him.  Was that to turn his own pistol to his own breast and bid his opponent pull the trigger?

    Or was it not his duty to slay him?  How shall we excuse the Republican who attempts what is not his duty?

    His own life belonged to Humanity, was sacred to God.  His whole life; there could be no reservation of particular half-hours for the sake of duelling excursions.  If he did not believe that his whole life was bound to be God's servant, and the servant of Humanity, he was no Republican.  Being a Republican, what defence is there for his act?

    He was a Frenchman.  Nay—we will not accept so insolent an excuse.  Would Lamennais so throw away his life?  We know truly that certain ages, certain races, have their peculiar weaknesses which extenuate offences.  Still the greatest is he who is most above the weaknesses of his time and race.  But truth alters.  Our Republican ideal remains the same.  Though the noblest ghost should deprecate our reproach, we can not do other than up that ideal for true men to copy.  The duellist, however noble else, on that one occasion is an egotist, not a Republican.

    Are such words harsh?  It is so impossible for the best man to be always unerring.  Is that any reason for shutting our eyes to errors?  Do errors ever become virtues?  Is it possible for men to reach perfection; yet who would not hold up perfection as the mark at which to strive?  "There is but one virtue," says George Sand, "the eternal sacrifice of self."  Is not that the condemnation of duelling for personal honour's sake?  What matters that my name be blighted?  My whole life is the Republic's.

    In life, as in death, may the Republic be our one thought!  Nor love, nor hate, nor hope, nor joy, nor fear have power to call us from the side of duty!  Our lives are in God's hands.

    Had Cournet been my brother and an Englishman, I had spoken these words over his grave.  Shall I speak less frankly because he was a Frenchman and my brother in the faith?  Honour to his virtuous life!  Forgiveness for his one fault!  And may both his life and death be useful to Humanity.



A Church and a Republic.


    There is a Democracy and there is a Republic.  The two things are not necessarily the same.  A Republic, truly, can not be other than democratic, being the government of the whole by the whole for the benefit of the whole.  But a Democracy may be no government at all.

    The United States of America present us with a sample of mere Democracy.  There is not government, but only a somewhat inefficient machinery for police purposes and for managing the relations with foreign States.  This, perhaps, is what the illogical advocates of the "voluntary system" would call a perfect government.  It is not Republican government.  It is not the ideal to which we would raise the thoughts of Englishmen.

    A "Republic" which abets slavery, which cannot repress outrageous crime, nor harmonise the general interests of its citizens, which knows no duty to the world, a "Republic" which mainly differs from monarchical England in the titles and salaries of its chief officers, and in the one circumstance of its land being not yet all appropriated, a "Republic" whose institutions are not Republican, whose life has been exactly formed in the mould of monarchical England, whose differences from England's habits are seldom more than accidental, whose course and tendency is through the same social tyrannies and religious falsehoods toward the same phases of anarchy and atheism, such a Republic is not worthy of the name.  We repeat, that is not the ideal to which we would lift the hopes of Englishmen.

    And yet toward America our eyes may turn, looking back to its first colonising, when religious men were careful to found a new England, which should be, not a mere bigger Babel tower of anarchical money-getters, but a lasting temple of the Eternal God.  Not that we would renew the fashion of even the purer Puritanism of Vane; not that we would acknowledge the dead letter of a Jewish law; but we would revive the puritan's spirit, we would uphold the correctness of their perception that man's life is altogether religious, and the business of government nothing less than the organisation of all the powers of life toward one religious aim.  For Church and State are one.

    The Church and State are one; this is different from a State and a State-Church.  That abomination of priestcraft, that division of the people into clergy and laity, that severance of man's life into two parts—religious and secular, was the fatal error of the Papacy.  Though they sought thereby to unite the world, believing that only on such a spiritual ground men could unite, their error was not the less.  Its anti-Christian results are manifest again, infallible monsters and ecstatic monomaniacs in "the Church" whether papal or "reformed," and outside, as compensation in the balance, the weaknesses and conceited follies of a secular atheism.  Humanity is not to be so cut in twain.  The cup is for the whole people, as John Huss would have it.  The whole people is the priesthood, in them alone is the right of electing their high priests.  And as everyone is priest, so the life of everyone should be priestly; altogether so; the office sacred, the calling, the functions, and the conduct, altogether holy and devoted.

    At present, as we have our division of the body politic, the State, into two sets, one set of men to "serve God," and another to "do the work of man," so we have every man likewise divided by two doctrines, one for Sundays and the other for "week days."  Or rather, we have a division of theory and practice, the theory being reserved for appointed times, under the direction of the clergy; and the practice for all but those appointed times, after the "guidance" of a magistracy.  There is no occasion for the Sunday theory and the work day practice to accord; our religion is not represented in the "House," and politics are not proper in the "Church."  So a devilish dualism ruins the whole of life, breaking our integrity, preventing all directness and earnestness of action, making us vacillators, compromising, unstable, and incapable of natural growth or progress.

    Credo: I believe.  The animal exists: the man believes.  The creed is the essential distinction of humanity.  I believe.  A parrot might be taught to utter the word: but there is no manhood in the mere utterance.  I believe is but the beginning of a sentence.  What is it I believe?  That ascertained, as nearly as I can ascertain it, and knowing that belief is life, I may go to work.  I find that,  I believe in God, in the Power of Truth, whose Word and Work is Justice, whose Spirit is the Beauty of Eternity.  I believe that human, life is an emanation from, God, and that it naturally aspires toward God.  I believe therefore that as the origin is one, and the aim also one, so the course and government of life should be one, that everything should be made serviceable to the one end.  So believing in the oneness of life, and duty deduced therefrom, how can I tolerate the division of life into religious and secular, into parson life and parliament life, into work-day mammon worship and Sunday-lip service toward God?

    Whatever our creed is, that we should act out, through every portion of our lives.  What is our English creed?  Not mine, not yours, but the creed of the time!  The creed of the time!  Be sure, if you will take the trouble, you will find an overwhelming majority upon certain important principles of action: that is the creed of the time.  Let the majority act upon it.  If the creed of this time is such Christianity as is taught in our churches and chapels, let it not hide in them, to be shown to us only once or twice a week and then thrust out of sight like a dirty surplice! but let it come out and rule us in Parliament and in the marketplace, and be master in the streets and fields, yea even in our secretest chambers.  How shall this be unless the believers of this creed organise their worship, making of themselves a church, whose doctrines shall be law?  If they believe it to be Gospel, shall it not be also Law?  The law and the gospel should be one.

    And here let us mark the distinction to be made between principles and opinions.  Opinions will be as various as the minds of men.  We want not unity, but the utmost possible diversity of opinion.  But principles, the beginnings of action, the grounds from which actions start, are far more easily agreed to.  Opinions are but parts of ourselves; principles are truths independent of us.

    We do want unity of these last.  Without it we have no coherence in society, no possibility of government, no stability on which to build the future.  Mark well this difference between principle and opinion.

    The creed of the majority becomes law.  That is right.  It is right that they should use their power in endeavouring to realise their theory of life.  Is their theory right?  Though only as a temporary theory, they will be successful in accordance with its rightness.  Is it wrong, it will fail; so at least some of them may be convinced, and a new majority begin a new experiment.  Am I in a minority?  Let me work as earnestly as the majority, not denying the right of the greater number to organise and so best use their powers, but endeavouring to win a majority to my faith.  Give me but "the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience," and all shall be well with me, and with those others also.  For at worst their earnestness will bring them true experience.

    If, indeed, the most of us believe in gold as the only God, in the absoluteness of personal interests, and such solidarity as can be got out of that, rather than in the oneness of human aim and aspiration, then let that belief be explicitly and boldly uttered, organised, and carried through.  If money-getting is the aim of every life, and the Church business of very doubtful utility, except, indeed, for some contingent reversions elsewhere, let us frame our state, our polity, our life accordingly, and supplement our free-trade and economical Acts of Parliament with not only a parliamentary Book of Common Prayer, but with parliamentary provisions for the whole parsonising process, with cheaper division of employments—why not all by machinery, with much saving of cost, and gain of certainty in the making, to say nothing of variety of patterns to suit the tastes of all folk, and accommodate the peculiarities of those in need of "religious influence."  So our Anarchy shall at least avoid the reproach of double-mindedness, and our Incoherencies be as coherent as the "solidarity of interests" may permit.  This would be the perfection of a "Secular" State, which would just provide religious toys, not too expensively, for its babes and fools.

    Or if life should be a religious service; if God, or Truth, exists; if the religious bond, the Godward aspiration which gives birth to duty, is indeed the law of our nature; still let us beware how we sever religion and polity, theory and practice, belief and deed.  They must be one even as life is one.  They must be harmoniously according, or our life will be a discord.  Is it not so even now?

    How Church and State shall become one: the Church not prostituted to the State as now, but married to it to the bringing forth of a righteous national life; this lies beyond our singular dictation.

    Enough to point out the error of a divided and dual life, haply to the convincing some earliest few to the necessity of integrity—which is the wholeness of truth in all things, in a State as well as in an individual.  Nay, of how much more consequence in a State than in an individual.  Some few convinced of this may, by patient striving, win a majority to believe so much, and then the how it shall be accomplished will be brought in question.

    Certainly it will not be accomplished by believers rubbing their hands and saying—Ah, presently: business is very brisk just now.



Religious Worship.


    Life is a progress and an ascension.  The vivifying flame breathed into us by God soars ever upwards towards God.

    We believe in the immortality of the soul.  This earthly life is but one stage of our existence.

    Government is educational.  The object of Government is to assure the progress of all, to discover and to apply the laws of God for the elevation of Humanity.  The State is not merely a policeman or a purveyor of the kitchen.  Neither is the educational function of Government applicable only to the young.  Life from birth to death is but a school time, and the oldest have yet their lessons.

    Are they only to learn of the things which pass not beyond this "grave-rounded" life?  Shall they not also inquire of their relation to eternity?  Life is one, however many may be its stages.  The aspirations of mankind are heavenward.  The religious feeling, the sentiment which makes God the beginning and the end of all, which looks upon past, present, and future, as links of one great change of being—is too universal and important to be left to chance.  For is not this the basis of our whole scheme of duty?  The organisation of religious worship is, therefore, a part of the business of Government.

    In the name of religions freedom the individual claims a right not only to think but to preach and proselytise.

    Shall the minority, even the unit, have this freedom, and the majority, the State, be restrained?  In the name of what?  Of anarchy?

    Shall the prophet or apostle have full liberty to prophesy and proclaim God's truth, and when the general consent of mankind has confirmed his assertion—shall religious freedom forbid the organised publication of the gospel?

    Shall every little sect possess its chapel : and the State, the Nation, have no church, no place wherein to remind men even of truths the most generally acknowledged?  Or shall the State be trusted with the education of our youth, the training of the rising generation in the principles of morality, and yet not be empowered to express its definition of those principles?

    Shall it hold the right to apply a moral law to the young and yet have no means of developing it, of publishing it before the elders of the people?

    The doctrines inculcated in the State school, shall they not be the doctrines expounded in the State Church?

    Truly, a State Church should not descend to the trivialities of creeds.  These, peculiar to individual minds, and if accurately examined, almost as various, must be left altogether to individuals.  Let the sects in their private chapels, or possibly meeting in turn within the national temples (taken out of monopolist hands and restored to the nation's use), adopt what divisional rituals may please them.  The State Church must be the Church of the Nation, the utterer and echo of its faith, the explainer of the general truths of the relation of Humanity toward God.

    One would not now dare even attempt to draw up a form of faith, nor prescribe a form of national worship, nor indicate who should be its ministers or how the service should be arranged.

    Only when they who now usurp the throne and the altar shall give place to the whole people, when the people shall be both king and priest, will it be possible to organise a national worship.

    But will there be occasion for this when every man shall be his own priest, when his daily life will be a prayer, a thanksgiving, or a sermon, a continual service in the temple of Humanity?  Even then the ceremonial association of one with another will not be a mere idle form.

    Now the new-born child (we note not the baptism into sectarianism—speaking here of national matters) is registered by the State, but registered as one might enter in an account book the increase of stock.

    Then the presentation in the temple will be of one more servant to society, one more worker to the world; the public recognition by the State of the nation's duty toward a new member, in virtue of the equal right, all society standing sponsor for it; it will be the admission, not merely formal and of one without will into some narrow congregation, but of one denoted as a priest in one of the national churches of Humanity.

    For "confirmation" there will be the vow of the boy and girl, as of the Greek of old, "to make their country greater and more glorious;" and the public investiture of the young man or woman with the full rights and faculties of citizenship.

    In the temple also will the loving publicly fulfil their troth (no matter what added ceremony peculiar views may enjoin), and, as men learn a purer morality, no lighter or less holy connection will degrade the race.  There, too, the patriot will receive the olive or the oaken garland; old age be crowned with silver honour; and when the course is run—there, too, the very unbeliever will approach and listen, no longer shocked by formal anathemas, to the loving, hopeful words which the true may lay upon the grave of even the most estranged by the variance of speculation.  Nor need religious services be merely ceremonial.

    There shall likewise be the perpetual ministration of the priests of human life: the preaching and aspiring prayer of our poets, our prophets; why not also those "sermons in stones," the accuracies of science no longer sceptical but wisely reverent—tracking from the very vestiges of creation the harmony and wonderful growth of life.  All things above the actual business of the day will find their expression in our ritual, nor even the commonest avocations be divorced from the religious.

    Again, mankind will assemble in their temples to frame their laws to formulise God's law in adaptation to human occasions, to take council together how best to magnify and exalt their country for the service of Humanity, for the glory of the Eternal.

    That Englishmen should be jealous of any State Church is natural enough, not only because our popular struggles hitherto have been solely for individual freedom, not yet generally understood as preparative of the organisation of freemen—and so any concentration of power seems repugnant to the habit of our thought (not always to be so), but also because our State Church, at least since it was reformed, has been nothing but a greedy corporation, an unspiritual stepmother, growing fat upon our unremitted service, starving our minds and exacting from the sweat of our brows—utterly careless of our education, and altogether alien to the nature which has outgrown even the possibility of her directing it.

    But when the Republic shall be established, when every man and woman shall be recognised as God's priest in virtue of human life, then it will be understood that individual freedom may be preserved intact even while men associate in common forms; the faith, the aspirations of the majority will find a voice, a formulised expression, age after age, will change the formula in accordance with the growth of life.

    Even now, notwithstanding all the chances that divide us, and the innumerable difficulties in the way of understanding one another, thoughtful men are seeking for some common worship, anxious to discover some temple yet unmonopolised by sectarian intolerance, wherein they may at least associate in the expression of a general hope, in the exercise of that faculty of adoration which distinguishes man from the beast; where, too, the millions who have no church, nor creed, nor ritual, might assemble, and learn from the higher natured there kneeling beside them, the ennobling lessons of a faith in the future.

    The first stone of that temple may be laid by our Republican organisation.  We associating, no matter in what rude huts, may form the first congregation of believers.

    But the State Church can only be when we have indeed a State, a national power—a Republic.

    Then men without fear of power, for power will be their own, themselves—will acknowledge that it is not enough to organise and rule the secular concerns of life; but that the religious, that which links the generation to Eternity, needs also and even more urgently and primarily, the most careful organisation.  And, thereafter, they may find that, as in the inner spirit, so likewise in even the outward regulations of life there is no duality; that religious and political Government are one and the same "politics" being only the practical application of religion, and "religion" the theory upon which alone true polity can build.

    The time may be far distant; nevertheless, those for whom we hope, the eternity for which we work, shall surely behold and rejoice in its arrival.

 

CHAPTER VIII.


LIBERTY AND EQUALITY.


Liberty and Equality.  Republican Fraternity.  Nationality.


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[See note p.191]


THE spirit of our earth has made but two steps upon the path of life.  History has written but two chapters.  They are the two phases of individual life: liberty and equality.

    Human life is educational. Humanity—the whole of humankind—as is one man, whose law of life is growth, whose teacher is experience.  Only in this they seem to differ: the man dies yet ignorant, immature, and his labour unaccomplished.  Humanity lives to try new problems, problem after problem, experience after experience, till the sum of knowledge shall be complete.  The ages of the earth are but as the days of a single life; the experiences of nations are the world's acts.

    History has been grandly called—one of God's poems.  Be sure it is a poem neither wanting rhythm or purpose, though to many readers the metre seem but uncouthly fashioned, and to some, even of the writers—the purpose is not very clear.  The world, indeed, is but an act of God, His thought informs it, be the historian never so profoundly dull.

    Human life, we repeat, has as yet gone through but two phases of its existence—struggle for individual liberty, the struggle for individual equality.  We date our years from the commencement of the second chapter. The first is the period of barbarism, the second is the era of Christianity.

    The first savage inhabitants of the earth were free.  Their ruling Spirit—their God—the Ideal they worshipped was Freedom.  They knew nought of the Younger God—Equality or Equal Right.  Of the Spirit to proceed from them the wisest of the heathen scarcely dreamed.

    The first problem set for the world's solving was this—How to establish Freedom without regard to equal right.  For there are two sides to every question, two extremes to everything, use and abuse of all power.  Men seek to propitiate the true divinity with offerings not divine.  So Freedom was first sought for the sake of the seeker, not for love of the Truth.  The world must prove all things before it shall hold fast what is good.

    The Freedom of the world's first day was Anarchy: the anarchical assertion of Self.  It vindicated only the will of the stronger.  When the Man would be free, it was for his own sake only: when the Nation asserted the right of Freedom, it was against all others.  Freedom was my God—the genius of the individual, or our God—the tutelary deity of a peculiar people.  The freest kept his slaves.  The Medes and Persians overthrew great Babylon, but to found new Babylonish empires; the Persians overcame the Mede, but to strive for mastery with the Greek; Greece spurned back the monstrous invasion of Persia, but to be free to play the lord at home.  The freest Greek "Republics" were but aristocracies; corporations of freemen with masses of slaves below.  Sparta had its helotry and the crypteia to keep the helots down.  Wisest Athens was no wiser.  Rome's great freemen laboured to enslave the world; and God's favoured race, His peculiar people, worshipped also at that heathen shrine of Self.  God was our God, who made the kings of the lands our captives and bound the noblest in fetters of iron.  Equal liberty was never the God of ancient worship.  How could it be?  Outside of Greece all was "barbarian;" outside of that narrow Judæa all was "heathen;" and the Roman freeman had not his distinguishing renown for nought.

    The religions of the old world were one: however various their dogmas, however different their manifestations.  They were all but endeavours (differing according to the genius or circumstances of the peoples) toward the solving of the first problem of human progression—self-assertion—freedom for myself—the imperfect freedom which is anarchical—the religion of egotism, caste, and nationalism.  Savage against savage first, the stronger claiming freedom even to enslave the weaker; then a warrior class—as in earliest Egypt—ruling all else; then priestcraft, for some time hand in hand with the warrior, and at length climbing upon his shoulders to still higher power, and, as in India, providing for the perpetuation of slavery by the establishment of castes.  In the Holy Land the Jehovah of the Jews insists upon the narrowest worship, and there too is caste, the tribe set apart as holy, the privileged class, the Levitical mandarins.  Phenicia was but an earlier Venice, as tyrannical a slavemaster.  Sparta was no less terrible a despot.  Athens taught her sons to swear upon her altar to make their country greater and more glorious; but only the citizen-class was so privileged; the slave and the alien shared neither the greatness nor the glory.  One scourged the slave, massacring the bondmen when they grew too numerous, one slew the Amalekite, one dragged the nations at her horses' heels.  The first Brutus could but transfer authority from the king to the patrician; Roman history within the walls is but the tale of never-ceasing contentions between the discontented slaves and their imperious lords; and Spartacus and the Grecchi vainly strove to pass the bounds in which great Roman Freedom was so haughtily confined.  O Brutus! thy name stands highest among those who have dared to worship Freedom; O Roman Regulus! thy patriotism shall not be surpassed: yet it was my freedom, and my country for which you dared and did.  Self was written on the altar though it stood in Freedom's temple.  So did the old world solve the question—How to establish Freedom without care for Equality.  It could not be so established.  The question had been wrongly put.  Without Equality Freedom may not last.

    And yet the God was worshipped in the idol: though whom they did so ignorantly and devoutly worship had not been declared unto them.  There is truth in the partial problem.  Freedom even for one's self alone is so divine a thing, needs first that we call down the Divine into our own souls.  There after the Spirit which has become one with us shall go forth to those that are yet in darkness.  Divine indeed, the Spirit of Freedom which, burning fervently in the horn-lanterns of those untaught hearts, lit men's lives from the close darkness of the tomb of Self, to the beholding—not indeed of the horizoned width of earth, but of—the far-surrounding walls of earth's great temple—Country.  It was something to step from the littleness of Me to the grandeur of My Country.  The chamber of Self was enlarged, the prison of Freedom widened out.  It was the Temple instead of the Ark.  There was room for the imprisoned God, though still it was but a room; and the Universal Spirit could not be content.  However, Time was young.  The child walks in leadingstrings before its thews are strung.  So the Free walked in the support of an antagonistic and selfish patriotism before he had gained strength to journey through the world.  The fire was for a while shut in, that it might grow more intense.  By-and-bye it shall embrace the world.  Then men scarce knew there was a world.  What was the world to the Roman?  The Sabine and the Carthaginian enemy might be conquered or absorbed.  Beyond were Scythian forests and the dim realms of the unknown, hidden in the fogs of the surrounding ocean.  What could he discern in that bewilderment and gloom, whose very shape and bound was but an obscure enigma?  But before him burned the sacred fire upon the altar of patriotism, the glory shone around the brows of her who sate upon the seven hills; he bowed him down and worshipped where the Divinity appeared.  Glorious Roman selfishness—scarcely to be called selfish, however based on selfishness—indeed, it was a yearning out of self!—glorious and devout selfishness of a Brutus, a Curtius, and a Regulus!  The highest Spirit of Freedom—whose name is Unbounded Duty—might well smile upon worshippers such as those.  The glorious army of Martyrs for Humanity has no nobler company than those who served Truth even though they knew him not.  Their love of country was indeed selfish.  Even within their country was the fatal division of noble and debased.  Notwithstanding, as the wide-spreading oak is in the acorn, so the sublimity of Duty had its germ in Roman deed.

    And then, as ever, were the men before their time, who without seeing the error of the system in which they lived, made of their lives an unconscious protest against it, and a prophecy of the future to which perhaps their highest thought had never soared.  For the earliest age has in it some forecasting of the maturest.  How many harvests in the one seed-corn!  It is only for the sake of better understanding that we divide into periods.  Even in the narrow hardness of old Rome were instincts of the universal humanity, and sometimes hopes of a brotherly organisation.  Nevertheless, the broad characteristic of antique time was the worship of Unequal Freedom.  Such exceptions as the following alter not the meaning of the whole.  They are of the protests and the prophecies of which we spoke just now.

    The Fabii were of the liberal party of the patricians.  Unable to stem the tide of patrician oppression or to persuade the senate to consent to the long-deferred and mean-to-be-deferred division of the public lands among the plebeians, whose blood and sweat had earned them, Caeso Fabius, in his third consulship, on his return from a victorious campaign, came into the senate-house followed by every member of his family.  If he might not do justice to the people, since the majesty of Roman Law held him back from civil war, he would no longer stay among the unjust.  "Send us out "—he said—"against the Veians, and take ye care afterward of yourselves.  We promise to protect the majesty of the Roman name."  On the following day, the whole family, their households and their clients, passed through the gates of Rome, three hundred and six men, to give their lives away.  Within two years not one remained to drive back new foes or to show the plebeians that there were some among the patricians to count them as fellow-citizens.

    Are not the Zoo of Leonidas of the same devoted stamp?  Freedom for Self and for that larger Self—one's country—could find no grander manifestation.

    Yet that very grandeur, and even in its most exceptional moods, helped to prove the insufficiency of Unequal Liberty.  It is proved nor needs the last poor clinching of an American repetition.  Unequal Freedom was not enough even with the Fabii to aid.  To that chapter of human capability we can add nothing.  On that unequal ground of human greatness none can outgrow the Roman and the Greek.  The story of the Maccabees is of the same stature.  And yet it avails not.  The slaveholder shall not continue free.  The ancient empires with all their nobleness have passed.  Judæa and Greece become mere Roman provinces; Judæa is an unholy sepulchre, and an idiot squats on the yet beautiful corpse of Greece. Rome has been.  The old Roman Freedom is not sufficient to revive her.  All of ancient virtue could not maintain Freedom in one corner of the earth, Freedom could only remain with the whole earth for habitation.  The gods departed from the nations, and in the winter depth when all was darkly still the God of humankind looked down upon the stable in which a poor man's child was born.  And the Son appeared to make the Father known.  Equality, the Slave's Mediator, to lead—not the favoured race, but—the Gentile world into the presence of Liberty.  God is Liberty: Creative Freedom.  Equality is the Christ: the Intercessor—atoning for offences, making all as one.  The first chapter of human life was ended.  The Anarch—Barbarism—Unequal Liberty—had reigned.  Rightly do we date out years from the coining of the Preacher of human equality.

    Not Liberty, but Equality to lead men to Liberty is the one distinguishing dogma of Christianity.  How freemen and slaves, when all are children of God?  That title effaces all distinctions.  All are heirs of the promises.  Who dares enslave the heir?  Here is the one aim and meaning of Christianity; the one aim and meaning, which priests and protesting preachers alike have missed, for all their babbling of prevenient grace.  The distinguishing characteristic of a religion is not to be known in only some poor points of formula or expression.  Brahminism found God born of a pure virgin; Confucius in words as clear as Christ's foretaught the true morality of love.  Not for that or the other dogma was Christianity the new religion; but because it brought down from heaven the new faith of the equality of man, so becoming the one great fact in human progress.  For the first step is not progress; the second is.  The first step was barbaric Freedom, the second is Equality from heaven.  The first was Freedom because I am a man.  The second is Equality because we are all sons of God.

    Let us have done with the trivialities of a corrupt or stupid priesthood.  A new religion is not a new set of pious formulas; is not the change from Solomon's Temple to St. Peter's nor the Conventicle; is not a new Sunday coat in which to occasionally parade ourselves before the Awful Majesty of the Eternal.  A new religion is a new revelation, a new idea whispered by God into our souls for us to incarnate in daily fact.  It is a new link in the chain with which we must be led to God, another round of the golden cord let down from heaven to draw us up.  Our religion is different from that of old time.  Our religion is the equal brotherhood of mankind.  This, this only is Christianity.  We are not else better than the heathen; and without it the nations of Christendom would perish even as the ancient empires perished.  There is absolutely no other difference (except in form) between the Christian and the heathen.  Old Norse creeds taught as grandly the "Consecration of Valour," Mahommedanism as firm reliance upon the will of God; humility (which is self-negation—but too often mistakenly confounded with true self-devotion) was never better learned than by the Buddhist.  Let us not foolishly pride ourselves on any other difference between the Christian and the "Benighted."  For it is not by complacently enthroning ourselves in the judgment seat of the sectarian, thanking God with Hebrew exclusiveness that we are not as those heathens were, nor by exaggeration of evils not peculiar to age or race, nor by any illiberal qualification of noblest deeds as well enough for such a time, nor by denial of the truth and conscience of antique life, that we can in any measure inform ourselves of the true meaning of God's earlier utterance in the world.  In Him men lived and moved and had their being then as now.  Their religious forms were then as now the human manifestations of His Spirit.  Why needlessly degrade the characters of the ancient creeds?  Christianity is strong enough to stand upon its own merits, asks not to have its weakness propped by unwarranted piling up of the opposing errors.  That in its earlier days Egyptian worship was not brutish, but sought, like the Persian, to track the Eternal, through the deep blue sea of heaven, by the shining course of suns and stars, nay, even by the hail of rarer comets, far less easily discerned; that Indian philosophy, however wild its after errors, however deep its modern degradation, was not, at one time, ignorant of man's creation, his existence, or his immortality, but taught in sublimist words the emanation from the deity, the needs of purity and holiness, and the possible return to the bosom of the Father, a return in later times (yet far antecedent to the light that hung over Bethlehem) plainly announced by Buddha; that, albeit Judaism was hopelessly intolerant, and though the offerings—not to be called worship—of Phenician traders were foul and fierce; the faith of Greece could lead men to, at least, the porch of the Diviner Beauty of the world, and train up a Phidias, a Sophocles a Plato, and a Timoleon, to penetrate toward the inner sanctuary; that even the hidden mysteries of Greece and less refined Rome were not mere orgies of an atheistic licentiousness (however so perverted in the worst of days); that in all, ay! even in the poorest forms of religion, were some words of God, more or less faintly enunciated as they might be in the craftily obscured language of a priestly paraphrase, and that the best were radiant with holy characters, which we, even in the purer and more perfect light of this ripening day, may find not altogether dim or cloudy; this much surely may be acknowledged without fear, since the most of truth is but comparative, and the diviner less divine than the divinest, yet unrevealed, slumbering on the deeper heart of God.  Rather than accuse the immaturities of the growing youth of time, it would behove us to inquire wherein our manlier energies have earned renown; rather than upbraid the twilight of the earth, we should expose our own deeds to the searching light of this advancing day.  The virtues that change not with the alterations of the world's seasons, nor with the progression of its years, were not wanting before the morning star kissed reverently the forehead of the poor, the houseless, and the weak.  The Socratic life has not yet been surpassed, even among the sects who can spare their pity for the "unconverted."  Aristides is still pre-eminently the just.  Yet stand as monumental examples to all time the constancy of the elder Brutus, the generous spirit of the Fabii, the noble motherhood of Cornelia, the devotion of our hero sons.  And be such heights uncommon in the little span of Greece or Rome, do we outcount them with the later braveries of the length of 1800 years?  Our own enlightened English life, how transiently it glowed with faith like that which warmed the patriot of old Rome or tempered the steel of Jewish valour to become the sword of the Lord and of Gideon.  Our Drakes, our Sidneys, our Raleighs, are gathered into one forgotten constellation, and in another starry crown the jewelled lustres of Cromwell and his Peers are vainly overhanging the dull downward brow of England.  Look away to the expiring Islam for the zeal which has fled the irreligious camp of Christendom.  At what age, emulating the Athenian youth, or upon what altar do we moderns swear, though only in the silence of the heart, to labour to mike our country greater and more glorious?  Truly the mouldy and scarce-read chapters of old heroic story might seem to offer proof that the world sinks into shameful discrepitude, but that some rays yet reach us from the glorified front of Milton; Danton's noble voice yet thunders through the clouds, and Poland's Martyr Hymn and Rome's Eternal Song are yet upheld by valiant and prophetic lives.  Nor, unable to claim pre-eminence in actual virtue, are the unheathened times entitled to a negative praise for avoidance of crime or virtue.  The Cæsar Borgia, the Szela, and the lesser Napoleon, are all of Christian growth.  And Christian also are the Dark Ages, the Jesuits, and the Inquisition.  Not therefore do we underrate the vantage of Christianity, of the new era beginning with the advent of the Nazarene.

    Whether we regard the caste-systems of Egypt and India, the martial despotism of Persia, the rule of wealth and craft in Phenicia, or the class-divisions of Greece and Rome and Judæa, the one obvious characteristic will be found pervading the ancient nations: everywhere the social fabric was built upon the assumption of the natural inequality of man, the necessary, because divinely appointed, inferiority of certain races.  And this not only within the pale of the nation, but universally without.  Everywhere was the same idea (most strongly exemplified in the Spartan crypteia and the Jewish slaughter of the Amalekites), the religious dogma of a peculiar people, and within that again a peculiar race, each more or less assured of its divine establishment.  Not in the superstitious tenets and observances of heathen theology, nor in the absence of a law of right and wrong, nor in any want of the higher powers of humanity, nor in any difficulties—from which we have now exemption—in the way of a wider benevolence, nor in the lack of such advantages as we are licensed to reap from the discovery of printing, nor in any supposed inefficacy of human toils to assure progress—but in this universal religious dogma of human inequality, we find the sufficing reason of the imperfect freedom and consequent decline of the greatest and the freest empires of antiquity.  But when the antique period closed, Christianity stood forth with one clear dogma—The divine Equality of Man.  Men's rights ignorantly asserted, contended for upon no ground except that common to both right and wrong—the ground of expediency, convenience, fitness or present strength—these, in such manner, had been urged even from the beginning; but now the ground of right was taught as a religious faith—and in the face of a privileged priesthood, in the face of the divine appointment of caste, was proclaimed the sacred and indissoluble brotherhood of man, through one equal Father—God, Henceforth, Freedom had a place whereupon to stand.  Archimedes could plant his lever; the world began to move.

    Centuries before the Christian era Buddha had flung forth the same truth, but it had not fairly grown. Either the concurrent doctrine of poverty and renunciation, better suited to Asiatic indolence, neutralised its effects, or else, perhaps, the doctors of Buddhism were more successful than the doctors of Christianity in persuading their disciples of the utter worthlessness of the present life, and the wisdom for the unclerical, at least, of being content with a mere spiritual equality before God; the enterprising nature of the European possessed a hardier logic. Notwithstanding the passive character of Christ, despite the apostolic avoidance of any interference with political systems or between the classes of society (wherefrom their Christianity has been dragged in as a witness for slavery), notwithstanding the reiterated exhortation to submit to every ordinance of man:—the dogma of equality remained at the base of the new faith, to be pursued through all its hearings to its proper end.  "Render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's," but what are they?

    Does a son of God belong to Cæsar?  When it was perceived that all men—the slave as well as the free—the poor as well as the wealthy—the plebeian as well as the patrician—were of one blood, the children of one common Father, whose regard saw only the human soul, whether under imperial purple or in the filth of trampled rags, then the bond of authority—the idolatry of caste—was broken.  If the outcast was as the Emperor before God, why should not the poor despised be the Emperor's equal upon earth?  Rome, choosing her priests from the plough, asserted the equality of mankind, vindicated the right of genius to devote itself to God; and the base born and the beggar climb above the thrones of princes; a lesson not to be forgotten when the priest himself turned to harlotry, and, faithless to the spirit of his own power, renewed a heathen division into castes—the clerkly and the lay.  Huss came next, bearing the cup to the people; all men are priests and equal.

    Luther demands the right of conscience, at least in spiritual affairs.  Voltaire and the Encyclopedists are but echoers of the same claim, yet not pushing the consequences to their full extent.  The dogma yet advances from thought and word to very deed.

    Men rise and trample upon the necks of kings, proclaiming their political equality.  To the social is the next step, there is no retreat.  Is not equality there also?  Free-trade springs from the same seed, and, the reaction against the hierarchal complete, Proudhonist, Atheism, and Communism are reached.  The world tastes even of the worst, be it never so briefly, to learn in all ways the flavour of equality.

    What matters it that we have but experimented; that yet nowhere the Christian equality is really formulised; that society, as in healthiest days, maintains its old fatal divisions of freemen and governed, or rich and poor—a still less tolerable establishment?  What though in one or other of the decayed nations may be found the types of our improved institutions? the falsehood of all that inequality is no longer believed true.  We have not done, but we have learned.  Who sees not that the days of inequality are numbered?  The world leaps not from change to change, but slowly and cautiously steps through long ages of transition, wherein the many-featured experiment of the new is so tried.

    So the wisdom of the past accumulates, and the world has never to relearn its lesson.  So, letter by letter, the lesson of equality has been spelled till it is well nigh learned.  Many a word may be misunderstood till the whole sentence has been mastered; but at length, tried in every way, equality is recognised as true; not, indeed, as the end, but as the means—the base of the world's building, the ground of universal freedom, the beginning of the world's sure progress; and freedom thenceforward established as the inalienable birthright of all mankind, the political lesson of Christianity is accomplished; the evening and the morning complete another day; and again a new era dawns upon the insatiate hopes, the toils, the progression of Humanity.

    For equality is but for the individual's gain.  It is not for the sake of others but for my own sake that I care to establish the equality of freedom.  Am I weak?—it is my only protection.  Am I strong—can I be sure there are none stronger?  Equality of right is the only assurance of universal freedom.  If freedom is not universal, who knows but I may be among the exceptions?  Once break the rule, who shall be sure?  But now in the universal equality Self embraces the whole world; and the next progress is beyond self.  Duty succeeds to right—Right takes its place at the feet of duty.  It is for humanity's sake that I am free.

    Equality and freedom are but means, not ends; their true significance the unchecked opportunity of growth.

    There is yet work and worth before us.

    Though we establish our freedom upon the enduring basis, we win therefrom no title to immediate rest, as if our triumph had snatched a millennium from eternity or ransomed from traditionary tombs the pleasant garden of content.

    God's Angels—memory and hope—have for ever barred the paradise of unplucked knowledge; and endowing us with the wisdom of our faults, and promises of glorious worth unknown as yet, with flaming swords, lighting the path of time, point to the future as the only goal of man.

    As one lives not for himself alone, but also for his fellows, so generation after generation lives and acts for those that follow—even as a father for his children.  Not for present enjoyment—albeit cheerfulness is present joy, the passage of beauty a delight for ever, and the veriest torture of the martyr's wreath of fire as nothing in comparison with his serenity of soul—yet not for enjoyment, but for works of future worth, man's life springs upward from the earth, like a blade of wheat grass appointed toward the harvest.

    And here we tread upon the threshold of the new era—the era of organisation for the sake of universal progress, that the free growth of individuals may be ordered to a more abundant garnering.

    Christianity has no instruction here; nor indeed any marvel thereat, calling to mind its aim, before considered—not the inculcation of the political system (void of that as on lessons in mechanics or in the economy of wealth), nor the establishment of order, but rather the breaking down of the inequality of caste, and of the absurd and unjust authority of tyrannical and patriarchal ages, for the revenging of right, the right of the individual, redeeming the souls of men with the faith that they are amenable to none but God.

    All that fusion and blind obedience could accomplish for organisation, the unchristian Empires had achieved.  Of a horde of slaves the Christian religion—the faith which places the lowest man in immediate relation with God—the faith which is the cause of duty—has made or yet shall make a race of men; the gospel of equal freedom becomes manifest to all, slavery is thenceforth impossible, and the second age of the world (whose motive power has been this religion of two thousand years) completes the cycle.  The God of the world's first day was freedom; very God, however blindly or unworthily adored; God the Fattier, the Creator, who brooded over the chaos of the world's barbarism and bade the light appear; God, whose angel drove men from the paradise of a bestial content into suffering and sin, that through the knowledge and experience of good and ill they might become God-like, wise unto their own salvation.

    The God of the second day, of our two thousand years, is the word which proclaimed men to be divine, sons of God, and equal brothers upon earth; so rebuking the isolation of the heathen freemen.

    And this word has not been peace, but a sharp sword to pierce through and through till the bond are free.  The first law was growth; our second gospel is righteousness.

    The God of the future, the motive power which shall rule the approaching time, the Comforter who shall surely come, is the spirit of Wisdom, which is more than truth and love, and yet one with them; the spirit which shall bind together the whole human race in their families and nations—like the many sorts of grain into their several sheaves, and all into one harvest.

    This is the spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son; the spirit of harmony, which is peace; which, following the knowledge of true liberty and the triumph of a loving equality, shall touch our brows with holy flame when the day of Pentecost is fully come.

    Then will commence the third day, the third chapter of the book of human life, the chapter of duty, of organisation, the work of



Republican Fraternity.


The knell has rung for American slavery, a garrison's strength has not been used in vain.  The funeral bells of all the most Christian kings are pealing fast.  Bury your dead out of your way.  The Hour of the peoples cometh on.

"Victory, Victory! feel'st thou not, O world,
 The earthquake of his chariot thundering up
 Olympus?"

    The great European war is recommenced, the war between peoples and governments, the strife for nationality, for national organisation, that the free may turn their freedom to its fullest use.

    What matter how the waves recoil? the tide flows surely on.

    No imperial word, from the East or from the West, can stay the flood.  The revolutionary deluge must overspread the earth.  The day of kings and governments is no more.

    The day of the real freedom dawns at last.  Free-men begin to organise themselves in their several nationalities, no more played with or exploited and sadly severed or unequally yoked together for the caprice or interest of tyrants; no more organised only for outward policies or for police at home, but organised to make of their whole lives one strong and righteous progress for the good of all, for the glory of the Eternal.

    The Italian dream of Caius Gracchus is realised; some younger Phidias may now sculpture the new Grecian glory; Poland gathers smilingly the abundant harvest of her worth; Germany has awakened from her dreams; Russia crowns the tombs of Pestel and the Mouravieff's; France atones the infamy of these unhappy days.

    And is not England among the nations?  Have not we too our part in the contention, our duty toward the right—duty to be performed in our own country and toward our fellows even of remotest lands?

    Where is the sword that struck terror into the hearts of tyrants?  Where is the zeal that counted no odds in the battle for the right?  Where the indomitable bravery of our Alfred, the courageous stubbornness that turned at bay on the field of Agincourt, the desperate daring of Florez' fight?  Where are the conquerors of the Armada, the protectors of the Waldenses?  Where is Blake, the champion of the right?  And Nelson, who fought so well even upon a doubtful quarrel?  Where is the heroism which made England great abroad, for all the unchristian slavery at home?

    And where is this goodly tower of a Commonwealth which the English boasted they would build to overshadow kings, and be another Rome in the West?  Who shall begin to build its bricks one upon the other, who shall lay the first stone?

    Or is the Commonwealth here already—the goodly tower well built, needing only some little corner-rounding, waiting only to be admired by all, when the statues of the Iretons and the Blakes, the Hampdens and the Vanes, shall be arranged in their due order?

    Is equality the English rule?  Are all free citizens?

    Are there none of the proved errors of the past still cherished by our patrician and phenician wisdoms?  Are all our people free?

    Is there no division of governors and governed, free and bond, unjustly rich and wretchedly impoverished?

    Have all education, all the means of work-which is worth doing—all the opportunities of worshipful lives?

    Or, have we lingered in the unchristian ways till the curse of antique folly—the curse of decline and death—steals almost unnoticed onus?  Have we, once foremost among the peoples, yet to learn the very beginning of liberty, yet to ground ourselves in the rudiments of humane philosophy, yet to stammer confusedly ere we dare pronounce the Christian equality?  Is it only for the poor and unlearned to continue their many years' struggle for the place of manhood, the right of citizenship, whereupon alone the duty of a citizen can be fulfilled for the nation's and the world's good; and are our leaders and governors yet so blind that they insist on dragging us into the doom of barbarous years?  O ye who call yourselves Christian! and ye who would be patriots! and ye who would be just! and ye who think that righteousness is possible or peace desirable! what are ye that eighteen centuries after Christ you do not require the freedom even of your meanest brethren?

    Where is English valour, where is English hope, where is English sense, that a few fools who call themselves our representatives drive us like a herd of beasts into the depths wherein both slaves and tyrants perish?

    Kings and slaves are passing away.  Nothing is stable but the righteous growth.  Only upon the ground of equal freedom can the future be organised, or peace alight with healing on her wings.  The present dies out, having done its work.  England is not without hope for the future.  Wherefore, let us be up and doing,


    The Social and Democratic Republic.  Hither is our aim.  The absolute sovereignty of the whole people, directly exercised for the social organisation of the whole people, for the better government of society.  Not upon us Republicans rests the charge of desiring anarchy.

    We would not have government a mere nonentity.  It is not we, but the Proudhons, the Gerardins, the Cobdens, and the Humes, who would make their damnable non-intervention theory not only the rule of international conduct, but the rule of our ordering at home.

    Let the strongest bear rule, and the weaker go to the wall!  Let the rich have addition without end, and from the poor take away the little that remains to him!

    We Republicans want not this, but the equal freedom which shall protect the poor man, lessen poverty of all hinds, and give to the poorest the opportunity of honestly acquiring wealth of mind and of estate.  And care not what may be said about the unfitness of the people for freedom, about the blunders they will make, the mischief they will do to themselves!  Let it be so.  Who made the Peels and the Russels, and the Beresfords and the reforming Jacob Bells, and the respectable knaves of St. Albans and elsewhere our tutelar deities, our guardian angels, to keep the most ignorant of us from going astray?  Let the people go astray!

    They will find their way in time toward the truth, and learn wisdom through experience.

    Let them go astray! but let them give up being led astray!  For your kindest and most careful governors have a sad knack of going wrong also.

    Universal freedom, absolute freedom, equal freedom.  Not that each should be independent of the rest, but that the whole should be firmly bound and banded together by their own free wills: that upon the only sure ground of equality of right we may freely build up the scheme of duty, and establish the brotherhood of humanity, an organisation of all the powers and faculties of the whole, for the growth and progression of the whole, from generation to generation, for ever and ever.



Nationality.


    When Curius Dentatus in his second consulship was holding a levy preparatory to meeting Pyrrhus in the field, and a momentary hesitation about enlistment was manifest among the people, he ordered the name of a tribe to be taken by lot, and then the name of one of its members, also drawn by lot, to be called.  The man thus summoned not appearing, Curius directed his property to be seized and publicly sold, and on the delinquent's hastening forward to appeal to the Tribunes against the Consul, the latter commanded him also to be sold, declaring that the commonwealth had no need of a citizen who would not perform his duty of citizenship.

    The Roman understood the meaning of patriotism; the duty of the individual to the nation.

    In our day a man flings off his country as if it were an old shoe, with as little conscience as if in the first instance he had chosen it for a mere whim and now might discard it at his caprice.

    Thomas Francis Meagher renounced his allegiance to the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland of whom he was a subject; Kossta, Hungarian born, was protected by America on account of his supposed right of American citizenship.  Lord Brougham petitioned the French authorities to make a Frenchman of him and not a whit less English.  Messrs. Sturgeon cheated their country as they would not venture to cheat a Yankee private Customer; powder was supplied to Russia, war steamers were built for Russia by English traders: and free trade, "peace," and the individual right of voluntary action are still appealed to for the disregard of patriotic duty.  Is the duty to one's country to be so shirked?

    Is there any such thing as duty? should rather be the question.  If there is duty, how shall it be shown ?

    Did Meagher really owe allegiance to the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland?  We believe not.  But owing none, there was nothing to renounce.

    He did owe allegiance to Great Britain and Ireland.  Say Ireland only.  Upon what ground?  Simply that he was an Irishman born and bred.

    He was the growth of Ireland.  He belonged to Ireland.  My country is not the country belonging to me, but the country to which I belong.

    If Meagher ever owed allegiance to Ireland it was on this ground, not at all a matter of his own choice, but a duty imposed upon him at his birth.

    Born Irish, a man will die Irish, whatever he may call himself.  He may be dutiful or undutiful; an Irish patriot or an Irish rebel (for the only real rebellion is treason against one's country), but he will never be an American.  Even slave-souled John Mitchel could not manage that.

    Kossta did not pretend to deny that he was Hungarian.  He denied only the right of Austria or of an Austrian tyrant over Hungary.  He, the Hungarian, in his duty to Hungary, was at war with the Austrian usurper.

    He pretended not to claim American citizenship as an escape from his Austrian allegiance.  He claimed the help of the stranger who had no rights over him, against an enemy who would usurp a right over him.

    Captain Ingraham's ground of American citizenship was untenable.  Kossta could not be an American citizen, though the whole Union should acclaim him.

    He was Kossta the Hungarian.  Born and to die Hungarian.

    On the ground of humanity, stepping between the tyrant and his victim, America had right of interference.

    No pretence of citizenship was needed to justify that.  No claim of citizenship could justify it.

    If there is such a thing as duty, how shall it be shown?  The highest duty is the duty to humanity.  But how accomplish that duty if you neglect those very organisations of humanity which are the means of usefulness?  If a man neglects his duty to his family, he is neglecting the nation of which that family is a component part.  If he neglects his duty to that larger family his nation,—he neglects the world of which the nation is a part.

    Acknowledge duty, and you can no more throw out of view the country than you can throw off family or humanity.  You may as well neglect one as the other, and all as one.

    True, there are what seem exceptional cases: cases in which the family must be sacrificed to the country, the country forsaken for humanity.

    Wherever the higher right, the more important duty, there, if right and duties "clash," is the man bound.

    My first duty is to my own nature; to perfect that.  For what?  Merely for my own sake?

    Are sun, and moon, and stars, this globe and all that it contains—are all the hosts of heaven, and all powers of past and present, but my servants, to perfect me?

    Am I God then, to be so self-sufficient?  Rather is my nature to be perfected that I may be the abler servant of God, and of God's humanity, through which alone I can render service to Him.  So soon as I am able to serve I am bound to serve.

    My family are there next to me for my first service.  Not because they are mine, my possession, but because I am theirs—in virtue of having power to serve them, the nearest part of God's humanity.  Through them I serve my country—through my country the human family—that country of countries.

    Some day may come in which my duty may no longer be to train up the young citizens for the State, some day in which the happy home life I offer as the best worth with which I can serve and example my country may no longer be best service.  There is war upon our borders, and whoso can bear arms must leave wife and children, to drive back the invader.

    If I stay at home, who will not call me traitor?  The universal conscience answers.

    The voice of the people is the voice of God.  Every tongue brands me as a traitor.  How so, if my country has not a right to my devotion?

    But suppose the country is an aggressor, the war unjust?  The country, blinded with passion, depraved by lust of gain, still claims me as its soldier.

    As my duty to my family is but a part of duty to my country, so duty to my country is but a part of duty toward humanity.

    The unjust war is a wrong to humanity.  Not that I am less dutiful to my country, but that the higher duty is to humanity.  Nay, is not my refusal to take part in that great wrong the best service I can render even to my country?

    Are there not times in which such "rebellion" is a duty?

    When the American Legislature ordered its subjects to kidnap men, to be guilty of the highest of all crimes and treasons, then to rebel against that order became the duty of every honest citizen.  It can never be any man's duty to do wrong.

    It is for the sake of truth and the realisation of truth—which is right—that I owe a duty to my family, duty to my country, duty to my generation, duty unto the human future.

    For such honest and right rebellion my country may cast me out.  What then?  Let me serve my country even against its will.  I may influence it even from without.  My country may hinder me from fulfilling a citizen's duty: it can not absolve me from the duty, it can not hinder continual attempt.  The natural tie between us can not be severed.  As to some tyranny which is not the country, that is altogether beyond the question.  Kossta was not exiled by his country, but by the Austrian.  Meagher never believed that Ireland exiled him.  Why then did he break with Ireland?  It is only poor piratical Paul Jones that quarrels with his country for some private pique.

    Is an adopted home then impossible?  It can never be more than secondary.  Say that Meagher, driven from Ireland, taking refuge in America, seeks as an American citizen to serve humanity, having no opportunity now of acting as an Irish citizen.  The "no opportunity now" is his only justification.  In some few years, perhaps, Ireland would recall him, will demand back her citizen and his service.  Has he the right of renouncing Ireland?  Can he be citizen of two lands at once, like clever Lord Brougham?  And the two lands perhaps at war.

    Sentence of exile, residence, however long in the place of refuge, laws of naturalisation; none of these things can overthrow the natural right or destroy the law of duty.  Men may pass laws, but the law of God remains unaltered.

    The Emigrants who would found a new nation are no exception to the rule.  English colonies are English.  But the colony grows into the nation as the child into the man.  It has thenceforth its own character, its own ideal of life, its own nationality.  It does not renounce the parent nationality: it outgrows it.  But "America renounced it."  True!  So sometimes by ill-conduct the father drives out the boy from home.  That is not the natural course.  Nor is it good.  The boy is not a man, therefore, America suffers for its prematurity.

    But free-traders, peace-men, and voluntaryists, object to our doctrine.  The assertion of the individual right is all-sufficient for them.  Let us see where this supremacy of the individual would lead us.  Trade is, properly speaking, the exchange of the world's material wealth.  That can not be too free.  Clearly enough the freedom is for the world's benefit, not on account of the individual carriers.

    The good of the community is the ground of the freedom.  It is a contradiction to ask any freedom beyond the good of the community.  If one man sells gunpowder to Russia, and another manufactures war steamers for our enemy, this is an abuse of free trade.  They may be so selling, not merely gunpowder and steam ships, but their country's freedom and very existence as a nation.  They are not only selling powder, but selling me and you.  The national right overrules the particular.  The trader has a right to trade and profit only so long as he does not rob society—his immediate customers, his country, humanity.

    If his private right is absolute and the national right of no esteem, to-morrow he may sell his dockyard to the enemy, his quarter of the town, his portion of this English soil: hand over Manchester or Portsmouth to Russia for the red gold.

    It is absurd enough, but it is the logical following out of the absurdity of absolute individual right, which leads naturally to the abolition of all bonds of duty, which throws back life to the savagest state of ignorant dutiless anarchy.

    The Russian newspapers in their lists of voluntary subscriptions publish an offering of 3,000 roubles to the Tzar from an English Company at St. Petersburg; with what theory of duty does that square?  If the action is right, why may not Englishmen at Manchester follow in the same course?  Why stop at 3,000 roubles?  The other day a Scotchman bequeathed a million to the Tzar, to furnish the war against Scotland.  Quite right?  Why not a Russian Loan too, and every possible assistance to the Tzar in his endeavours to enslave the world—including our own little Island-corner?  Will the free-trader justify that length, or where will he draw the line?  If the Government is right in confiscating powder going to the enemy, on what ground is it right?  Will you find any but the ground of nationality; the right which overrules individual right?

    The other day an American sold himself into slavery.  The voluntaryist must justify him.  Might he not do what he liked with his own?

    The believer in duty asserts that the man is not his own: that he belongs to God, to God's humanity, to his country.  That part belongs to the whole.  There is no atom of dust independent of the universe.

    Your free-traders, voluntaryists, and peace-men, overstrain individual right and lose sight of the solidarity of life.

    But is the individual to be merged in the State?  Far from it; but he may never forget that he is a part of the State.  Is my conscience to submit to any human ordinance?  We say not that, only be sure that it is conscience which opposes ordinance.  Conscience seeks how best to perform duty, not how to evade it.  Conscience is God's Angel, the good genius which leads us to the fulfilment of right for the service of humanity.

    Combination is stronger than isolated and incoherent action.  Wherefore God implanted in men the tendency to associate, gathering them into families and nations.

    And the law of nationality remains, whatever mistakes may have, been made by those whose ignorance found only a narrow interpretation, who knew not that the nation itself is but an individual in the great family of Nations, a family in the great Country of mankind.

______________________
 

NOTES.


Page 1.  This chapter on "Republican Principles" is based upon an Address to the Peoples of Europe, which was issued in 1850 by the Central European Democratic Committee in the second number of Le Proscrit, a monthly journal published in Paris and London.  With the third number its name was changed to La Voix du Proscrit, and it became the organ of the Central Committee.  In writing Republican Principles Mr. Linton intended it as a general exposition of the principles of Republicanism which were to be treated in further numbers of The English Republic with more detail.  On the whole, the principles set forth by Mr. Linton resemble very closely those of the "Address," but he has digressed sometimes, so as to make the exposition more easily understood by the English readers to whom he addressed it, by illustrations and applications, which are all, however, in logical agreement with the principles of the "Address."

Page 2.  Mr. Linton does not here enter into the still vexed question of circumstances, save to remark that it cannot be denied that circumstances before birth have weight as well as those which effect the organism after birth.  "No two children are absolutely alike; no two are born with precisely the same aptitude or capacity."  It seems almost absurd to remark on so obvious a truism, but so frequently is it lost sight of, particularly in the matter of education, that attention cannot be drawn to it too often.

Page 6.  Mr. Linton has here seized on the idea which has been formulated by Mr. Herbert Spencer and reduced to a sociologic law in his "Principles of Sociology"—viz., that Society is one organism, and that each individual is a part or a single organ of this vast structure, which must develop or retrogress with the development or retrogression of Society.  Each of these units has its separate function, but it can only live and display its normal activity in connection with the parent organism.

Page 13.  It is here that we see most clearly the gulf which separates so widely and so deeply the Republican and the Socialist.  It is quite a common thing to hear of Republicanism spoken of as a form of Socialism, but the notion is erroneous.  The two systems are in opposition.  The only thing in common between them is that which is common also to Individualism, to Social Democracy, and to all schemes of a kindred nature, the desire of improving the existing social conditions and the knowledge of the inequalities in the social system; inequalities which require to be righted.

Page 20. Education.—The author wishes it to be clearly understood that whenever the word "Government" is used, it is the Government he advocates, and not any existing forms which he considers are but mockeries of the word's meaning.  This distinction should be specially borne in mind when he is treating of Education, as it is here that the different merits of State-Education and Voluntaryism appear most vividly.

Page 40.  It is contended by Mr. Linton that a State Church should embrace men of all denominations.  Unless it does so, its existence is intolerable as a connection of the State.

Page 43.  The centralisation, of which the English Government is a striking instance, is to be done away with in an English Republic, as it is not the business of Government to interfere with local affairs—the Government only to superintend and harmonise the whole.

Page 44.  Waste lands are to be appropriated by the Government, not necessarily to enclose them, but to prevent the encroachments of private persons, who possess no right to encroach thereon.

Page 47.  A uniform rental should be charged on the land, any improvement made by the tenant to benefit himself alone, and not to be used as an excuse for raising his rent.

Page 53.  When the State takes upon itself to punish private vices, it is overstepping its prerogative and interfering with individual liberty.  It can only interfere where such vices affect others.

Page 62.  Mr. Linton appends a note to the effect that "If it were proposed to leave the prosecution of criminals to voluntary effort, the voluntaries themselves would inquire if we were ready to have society crushed beneath the power of crime.  Because the restraint and punishment of criminals is necessary to the security of the State, provision of a certain character is made; and it is only because education is looked upon as a matter of less consequence than the detection and punishment of criminals that it is left, or proposed to be left—for philanthropy to play with."

Page 63.  The religion taught in the schools would not be sectarian.  On Sundays, parents might inculcate the principles of the sect to which they belonged if so they chose.

Page 64.  It is remarked that physical exercise is not advocated for mere health's sake, but also for the perfection of the senses.  For there is a close relation between the habit of mind and body.

Page 106.  Mr. Linton here seems to have anticipated recent legislation.  Even the terms he uses, "Local Government," "County Council," &c., &c., have now become part of current politics.

Page 129.  Various protests by Socialists against the article called "Socialism and Communism" reached the author, to which he replied that although he was a social and a democratic Republican, he was not a Socialist, and that if his correspondents did "not repudiate Property, Individuality, Family, Country, or Religion," they were not the kind of Socialists he had attacked.

Page 191.  The Crypteia: when the Spartans thought their slaves were growing too numerous, they sent out their young freemen to massacre a sufficient number.  This was instituted by Lycurgus.  Plato proposes a similar institution for his Cretan Republic.


THE END

 



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