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[207] we see earnestness and sincerity; on the other tact and skill One strove to convince, the other to triumph. The thread of argument is often lost in a maze of irrelevancy. The subject, indeed, was peculiarly ill calculated for a public discussion. When men converse on a scheme which has for its object the good of mankind, let them confer in awful whispers—apart, like conspirators, not distract themselves in dispute in the hearing of a nation; for they who would benefit mankind must do it either by stealth or by violence.

I have tried to condense this tremendous pamphlet into the form and brevity of a conversation, with the following result. Neither of the speakers, however, are to be held responsible for the language employed.

Horace Greeley. Nov. 20th. The earth, the air, the waters, the sunshine, with their natural products, were divinely intended and appointed for the sustenance and enjoyment of the whole human family. But the present fact is, that a very large majority of mankind are landless; and, by law, the landless have no inherent right to stand on a single square foot of their native State, except in the highways. Perishing with cold, they have no legal right to a stick of decaying fuel in the most unfrequented morass. Famishing, they have no legal right to pluck and eat the bitterest acorn in the depths of the remotest forest. But the Past cannot be recalled. What has been done, has been done. The legal rights of individuals must be held sacred. But those whom society has divested of their natural right to a share in the soil, are entitled to Compensation, i. e. to continuous opportunity to earn a subsistence by Labor. To own land is to possess this opportunity. The majority own no land. Therefore the minority, who own legally all the land, which naturally belongs to all men alike, are bound to secure to the landless majority a compensating security of remunerating Labor. But, as society is now organized, this is not, and cannot be, done. ‘Work, work! give us something to do! anything that will secure us honest bread,’ is at this moment the prayer of not less than thirty thousand human beings within the sound of the City-Hall bell. Here is an enormous waste and loss. We must devise a remedy and that remedy, I propose to show, is found in Association.

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