the virtues that adorn the human character for seven dollars a month?’
That anecdote well illustrates one side of Horace Greeley
's view of life.
The problems which, he says, at present puzzle the knotted brain of toil all over the world, which incessantly cry out for solution, and can never more be stifled, but will become even more vehement, till they are solved, are these:
Why should those by whose toil all comforts and luxuries are produced, or made available, enjoy so scanty a share of them?
Why should a man able and eager to work ever stand idle for want of employment in a world where so much needful work impatiently awaits the doing?
Why should a man be required to surrender something of his independence in accepting the employment which will enable him to earn by honest effort the bread of his family?
Why should the man who faithfully labors for another, and receives therefor less than the product of his labor, be currently held the obliged party, rather than he who buys the work and makes a good bargain of it? In short, Why should Speculation and Scheming ride so jauntily in their carriages, splashing honest Work as it trudges humbly and wearily by on foot?
Who is there so estranged from humanity as never to have pondered questions similar to these, whether he ride jauntily in a carriage, or trudge wearily on foot?
They have been proposed in former ages as abstractions.
They are discussed now as though the next generation were to answer them, practically and triumphantly.
First of all, the author of Hints towards Reforms admits frankly, and declares emphatically, that the
obstacle to the workingman's elevation is the workingman's own improvidence, ignorance, and unworthiness.
This side of the case is well presented in a sketch of the career of the “successful” man of business:
‘A keen observer,’ says the lecturer, ‘could have picked him out from among his schoolfellows, and said, “ Here is the lad who will die a bank-president, owning factories and blocks of stores.”
Trace his history closely,’ he continues, ‘and you find that, in his boyhood, he was provident and frugal—that he shunned expense and dissipation—that he feasted and quaffed seldom, ’