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Chapter 16: the Tribune and Fourierism.

The editor of the Tribune was a Socialist years before the Tribune came into existence.

The winter of 1838 was unusually severe. The times were hard, [200] fuel and food were dear, many thousands of men and women were out of employment, and there was general distress. As the cold months wore slowly on, the sufferings of the poor became so aggravated, and the number of the unemployed increased to such a degree, that the ordinary means were inadequate to relieve even those who were destitute of every one of the necessaries of life. Some died of starvation. Some were frozen to death. Many, through exposure and privation, contracted fatal diseases. A large number, who had never before known-want, were reduced to beg. Respectable mechanics were known to offer their services as waiters in eating-houses for their food only. There never had been such a time of suffering in New York before, and there has not been since. Extraordinary measures were taken by the comfortable classes to alleviate the sufferings of their unfortunate fellow-citizens. Meetings were held, subscriptions were made, committees were appointed; and upon one of the committees Horace Greeley was named to serve, and did serve, faithfully and laboriously, for many weeks. The district which his committee had in charge was the Sixth Ward, the “bloody” Sixth, the squalid, poverty-stricken Sixth, the pool into which all that is worst in this metropolis has a tendency to reel and slide. It was his task, and that of his colleagues, to see that no one froze or starved in that forlorn and polluted region. More than this they could not do, for the subscriptions, liberal as they were, were not more than sufficient to relieve actual and pressing distress. In the better parts of the Sixth Ward a large number of mechanics lived, whose cry was, not for the bread and the fuel of charity, but for work! Charity their honest souls disdained. Its food choked them, its fire chilled them. Work, give us work! was their eager, passionate demand.

All this Horace Greeley heard and saw. He was a young man—not quite twenty-six-compassionate to weakness, generous to a fault. He had known what it was to beg for work, from shop to shop, from town to town; and, that very winter, he was struggling with debt, at no safe distance from bankruptcy. Why must these things be? Are they inevitable? Will they always be inevitable? Is it in human wisdom to devise a remedy? in human virtue to apply it? Can the beneficent God have designed this, who, with such wonderful profusion, has provided for the wants, tastes, and luxuries [201] of all his creatures, and for a hundred times as many creatures as yet have lived at the same time? Such questions Horace Greeley pondered, in silence, in the depths of his heart, during that winter of misery.

From Paris came soon the calm, emphatic answer, These things need not be! They are due alone to the short-sightedness and injustice of man! Albert Brisbane brought the message. Horace Greeley heard and believed it. He took it to his heart. It became a part of him.

Albert Brisbane was a young gentleman of liberal education, the son of wealthy parents. His European tour included, of course, a residence at Paris, where the fascinating dreams of Fourier were the subject of conversation. He procured the works of that amiable and noble-minded man, read them with eager interest, and became completely convinced that his captivating theories were capable of speedy realization—not, perhaps, in slow and conservative Europe, but in progressive and unshackled America. He returned home a Fourierite, and devoted himself with a zeal and disinterestedness that are rare in the class to which he belonged, and that in any class, cannot be too highly praised, to the dissemination of the doctrines in which he believed. He wrote essays and pamphlets. He expounded Fourierism in conversation. He started a magazine called the Future, devoted to the explanation of Fourier's plans, published by Greeley & Co. He delivered lectures. In short, he did all that a man could do to make known to his fellow men what he believed it became them to know. He made a few converts, but only a few, till the starting of the Tribune gave him access to the public ear.

Horace Greeley made no secret of his conversion to Fourierism. On the contrary, he avowed it constantly in private, and occasionally in public print, though never in his own paper till towards the end of the Tribune's first year. His native sagacity taught him that before Fourierism could be realized, a complete revolution in public sentiment must be effected, a revolution which would require many years of patient effort on the part of its advocates.

The first mention of Mr. Brisbane and Fourierism in the Tribune, appeared October 21st, 1841. It was merely a notice of one of Mr. Brisbane's lectures: [202]

Mr. A. Brisbane delivered a lecture at the Stuyvesant Institute last evening upon the Genius of Christianity considered in its bearing on the Social Institutions and Terrestrial Destiny of the Human Race. He contended that the mission of Christianity upon earth has hitherto been imperfectly understood, and that the doctrines of Christ, carried into practical effect, would free the world of Want, Misery, Temptation and Crime. This, Mr. B. believes, will be effected by a system of Association, or the binding up of individual and family interests in Social and Industrial Communities, wherein all faculties may be developed, all energies usefully employed, all legitimate desires satisfied, and idleness, want, temptation and crime be annihilated. In such Associations, individual property will be maintained, the family be held sacred, and every inducement held out to a proper ambition. Mr. B. will lecture hereafter on the practical details of the system of Fourier, of whom he is a zealous disciple, and we shall then endeavor to give a more clear and full account of his doctrines.

A month later, the Tribune copied a flippant and sneering article from the London Times, on the subject of Fourierism in France. In his introductory remarks the editor said:

We have written something, and shall yet write much more, in illustration and advocacy of the great Social revolution which our age is destined to commence, in rendering all useful Labor at once attractive and honorable, and banishing Want and all consequent degradation from the globe. The germ of this revolution is developed in the writings of Charles Fourier, a philanthropic and observing Frenchman, who died in 1937, after devoting thirty years of a studious and unobtrusive life to inquiries, at once patient and profound, into the causes of the great mass of Social evils which overwhelm Humanity, and the true means of removing them. These means he proves to be a system of Industrial and Household Association, on the principle of Joint Stock Investment, whereby Labor will be ennobled and rendered attractive and universal, Capital be offered a secure and lucrative investment, and Talent and Industry find appropriate, constant employment, and adequate reward, while Plenty, Comfort, and the best means of Intellectual and Moral Improvement is guaranteed to all, regardless of former acquirements or condition. This grand, benignant plan is fully developed in the various works of Mr. Fourier, which are abridged in the single volume on “ The Social Destiny of Man,” by Mr. A. Brisbane, of this State. Some fifteen or sixteen other works in illustration and defense of the system have been given to the world, by Considerant, Chevalier, Paget, and other French writers, and by Hugh Doherty, Dr. H. McCormack, and others in English. A tri-weekly journal ( “La Phalange” ) devoted to the system, is published by M. Victor Considerant in [203] Paris, and another (the “London phalanx” ) by Hugh Doherty, in London, sach ably edited.

Early in 1842, a number of gentlemen associated themselves together for the purpose of bringing the schemes of Fourier fully and prominently before the public; and to this end, they purchased the right to occupy one column daily on the first page of the Tribune with an article, or articles, on the subject, from the pen of Mr. Brisbane. The first of these articles appeared on the first of March, 1842, and continued, with some interruptions, at first daily, afterwards three times a week, till about the middle of 1844; when Mr. Brisbane went again to Europe. The articles were signed with the letter B, and were known to be communicated. They were calm in tone, clear in exposition. At first, they seem to have attracted little attention, and less opposition. They were regarded (as far as my youthful recollection serves) in the light of articles to be skipped, and by most of the city readers of the Tribune, I presume, they were skipped with the utmost regularity, and quite as a matter of course. Occasionally, however, the subject was alluded to editorially, and every such allusion was of a nature to be read. Gradually, Fourierism became one of the topics of the time. Gradually certain editors discovered that Fourierism was unchristian. Gradually, the cry of Mad Dog arose. Meanwhile, the articles of Mr. Brisbane were having their effect upon the People.

In May, 1843, Mr. Greeley wrote, and with perfect truth:

The Doctrine of Association is spreading throughout the country with a rapidity which we did not anticipate, and of which we had but little hope. We receive papers from nearly all parts of the Northern and Western States, and some from the South, containing articles upon Association, in which general views and outlines of the System are given. They speak of the subject as one “which is calling public attention,” or, “about which so much is now said,” or, “which is a good deal spoken of in this part of the country,” &c., showing that our Principles are becoming a topic of public discussion. From the rapid progress of our Doctrines during the past year, we look forward with hope to their rapid continued dissemination. We feel perfectly confident that never, in the history of the world, has a philosophical doctrine, or the plan of a great reform, spread with the rapidity which the Doctrine of Association has spread in the United States for the last year or two. There are now a large number of papers, and quite a number of lecturers in various parts of [204] the country, who are lending their efforts to the cause, so that the onward movement must be greatly accelerated.

Small Associations are springing up rapidly in various parts of the country. The Sylvania Association in Pike country, Pa., is now in operations about seventy persons are on the domain, erecting buildings, &c., and preparing for the reception of other members.

An Association has been organized in Jefferson county. Our friend, A. Mr. Watson, is at the head of it; he has been engaged for the last three years in spreading the principles in that part of the State, and the result is the formation of an Association. Several farmers have put in their farms and taken stock; by this means the Domain has been obtained. About three hundred persons, we are informed, are on the lands. They have a very fine quarry on their Domain, and they intend, among the branches of Industry which they will pursue, to take contracts for erecting buildings out of the Association. They are now erecting a banking-house in Watertown, near which the Association is located.

Efforts are making in various parts of this State, in Vermont, in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois, to establish Associations, which will probably be successful in the course of the present year. We have heard of these movements; there may be others of which we are not informed.

About the same time, he gave a box on the ear to the editors who wrote of Fourierism in a hostile spirit:—

The kindness of our friends of the New York Express, Rochester Evening Post, and sundry other Journals which appear inclined to wage a personal controversy with us respecting Fourierism, (the Express without knowing how to spell the word,) is duly appreciated. Had we time and room for disputation on that subject, we would prefer opponents who would not be compelled to confess frankly or betray clearly their utter ignorance of the matter, whatever might be their manifestations of personal pique or malevolence in unfair representations of the little they do understand. We counsel our too belligerent friends to possess their souls in patience, and not be too eager to rival the fortune of him whose essay proving that steamships could not cross the Atlantic happened to reach us in the first steamship that did cross it. “The proof of the pudding” is not found in wrangling about it.

We also find, occasionally, a paragraph in the Tribune like this: ‘T. W. Whitley and H. Greeley will address such citizens of Newark as choose to hear them on the subject of “Association” at 7 1/2 [205] o'clock this evening at the Relief Hall, rear of J. M. Quimby's Repository.’

Too fast. Too fast. I need not detail the progress of Fourierism—the many attempts made to establish Associations—the failure of all of then but one, which still exists—the ruin that ensued to many worthy men—the ridicule with which the Associationists were assailed—the odium excited in many minds against the Tribune—the final relinquishment of the subject. All this is perfectly well known to the people of this country.

Let us come, at once, to the grand climax of the Tribune's Fourierism, the famous discussion of the subject between Horace Greeley and H. J. Raymond, of the Courier and Enquirer, in the year 1846. That discussion finished Fourierism in the United States.

Mr. Raymond had left the Tribune, and joined the Courier and Enquirer, at the solicitation of Col. Webb, the editor of the latter. It was a pity the Tribune let him go, for he is a born journalist, and could have helped the Tribune to attain the position of the great, only, undisputed Metropolitan Journal, many years sooner than it will. Horace Greeley is not a born journalist. He is too much in earnest to be a perfect editor. He has too many opinions and preferences. He is a born legislator, a Deviser of Remedies, a Suggester of Expedients, a Framer of Measures. The most successful editor is he whose great endeavor it is to tell the public all it wants to know, and whose comments on passing events best express the feeling of the country with regard to them. Mr. Raymond is not a man of first-rate talent—great talent would be in his way—he is most interesting when he attacks; and of the varieties of composition, polished vituperation is not the most difficult. But he has the right notion of editing a daily paper, and when the Tribune lost him, it lost more than it had the slightest idea of—as events have since shown.

However, Horace Greeley and Henry J. Raymond, the one naturally liberal, the other naturally conservative—the one a Universalist, the other a Presbyterian—the one regarding the world as a place to be made better by living in it, the other regarding it as an oyster to be opened, and bent on opening it—would have found it hard to work together on equal terms. They separated amicably, and each went his way. The discussion of Fourierism arose thus: [206]

Mr. Brisbane, on his return from Europe, renewed the agitation of his subject. The Tribune of August 19th, 1846, contained a letter by him, addressed to the editors of the Courier and Enquirer, proposing several questions, to which answers were requested, respecting Social Reform. The Courier replied. The Tribune rejoined editorially, and was answered in turn by the Courier. Mr. Brisbane addressed a second letter to the Courier, and sent it direct to the editor of that paper in manuscript. The Courier agreed to publish it, if the Tribune would give place to its reply. The Tribune declined doing so, but challenged the editor of the Courier to a public discussion of the whole subject.

‘Though we cannot now,’ wrote Mr. Greeley, ‘open our columns to a set discussion by others of social questions (which may or may not refer mainly to points deemed relevant by us), we readily close with the spirit of the Courier's proposition. * * As soon as the State election is fairly over—say Nov. 10th—we will publish an entire article, filling a column of the Tribune, very nearly, in favor of Association as we understand it; and, upon the Courier copying this and replying, we will give place to its reply, and respond; and so on, till each party shall have published twelve articles on its own side, and twelve on the other, which shall fulfil the terms of this agreement. All the twelve articles of each party shall be published without abridgment or variation in the Daily, Weekly, and Semi-weekly editions of both papers. Afterward each party will, of course, be at liberty to comment at pleasure in his own columns. In order that neither paper shall be crowded with this discussion, one article per week, only, on either side, shall be published, unless the Courier shall prefer greater dispatch. Is not this a fair proposition? What says the Courier? It has, of course, the advantage of the defensive position and of the last word.’

The Courier said, after much toying and dallying, and a preliminary skirmish of paragraphs, come on! and, on the 20th of November, the Tribune came on. The debate lasted six months. It was conducted on both sides with spirit and ability, and it attracted much attention. The twenty-four articles, of which it consisted, were afterwards published by the Harpers in a pamphlet of eighty-three closely-printed, double-columned pages, which had a considerable sale, and has long been out of print. On one side [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. [208]

H. J. Raymond. Nov. 23d. Heavens! Here we have one of the leading Whig presses of New York advocating the doctrine that no man can rightfully own land! Fanny Wright was of that opinion. The doctrine is erroneous and dangerous. If a man cannot rightfully own land, he cannot rightfully own anything which the land produces; that is, he cannot rightfully own anything at all. The blessed institution of property, the basis of the social fabric, from which arts, agriculture, commerce, civilization spring, and without which they could not exist, is threatened with destruction, and by a leading Whig paper too. Conservative Powers, preserve us!

Horace Greeley. Nov. 26th. Fudge! What I said was this: Society, having divested the majority of any right to the soil, is bound to compensate them by guaranteeing to each an opportunity of earning a subsistence by Labor. Your vulgar, clap-trap allusion to Fanny Wright does not surprise me. I shall neither desert nor deny a truth because she, or any one else, has proclaimed it. But to proceed. By association I mean a Social Order, which shall take the place of the present Township, to be composed of some hundreds or some thousands of persons, who shall be united together in interest and industry for the purpose of securing to each individual the following things: 1, an elegant and commodious house; 2, an education, complete and thorough; 3, a secure subsistence; 4, opportunity to labor; 5, fair wages; 6, agreeable social relations; 7, progress in knowledge and skill. As society is at present organized, these are the portion of a very small minority. But by association of capital and industry, they might become the lot of all; inasmuch as association tends to Economy in all departments, economy in lands, fences, fuel, household labor, tools, education, medicine, legal advice, and commercial exchanges. My opponent will please observe that his article is three times as long as mine, and devoted in good part to telling the public that the Tribune is an exceedingly mischievous paper; which is an imposition.

H. J. Raymond. Nov. 30th. A home, fair wages, education, etc., are very desirable, we admit; and it is the unceasing aim of all good men in society, as it now exists, to place those blessings within the reach of all. The Tribune's claim that it can be accomplished only by association is only a claim. Substantiate it. Give us proof of [209] its efficacy. Tell us in whom the property is to be vested, how labor is to be remunerated, what share capital is to have in the concern, by what device men are to be induced to labor, how moral offences are to be excluded or punished. Then we may be able to discuss the subject. Nothing was stipulated about the length of the articles; and we do think the Tribune a mischievous paper.

Horace Greeley. Dec. 1st. The property of an association will be vested in those who contributed the capital to establish it, represented by shares of stock, just as the property of a bank, factory, or railroad now is. Labor, skill and talent, will be remunerated by a fixed proportion of their products, or of its proceeds, if sold. Men will be induced to labor by a knowledge that its rewards will be a certain and major proportion of the product, which of course will be less or more according to the skill and industry of each individual. The slave has no motive to diligence except fear; the hireling is tempted to eye-service; the solitary worker for himself is apt to become disheartened; but men working for themselves, in groups, will find labor not less attractive than profitable. Moral offences will be punished by legal enactment, and they will be rendered un frequent by plenty and education.

H. J. Raymond. Dec. 8th. Oh—then the men of capital are to own the land, are they? Let us see. A man with money enough may buy an entire domain of five thousand acres; men without money will cultivate it on condition of receiving a fixed proportion of its products; the major part, says the Tribune; suppose we say three-fourths. Then the contract is simply this:—One rich man (or company) owns five thousand acres of land, which he leases forever to two thousand poor men at the yearly rent of one-fourth of its products. It is an affair of landlord and tenant—the lease perpetual, payment in kind; and the landlord to own the cattle, tools, and furniture of the tenant, as well as the land. Association, then, is merely a plan for extending the relation of landlord and tenant over the whole arable surface of the earth.

Horace Greeley. Dec. 10th. By no means. The capital of a mature association would be, perhaps, half a million of dollars; it [210] an infant association, fifty thousand dollars; and this increase of value would be both created and owned by Labor. In an ordinary township, however, the increase, though all created by Labor, is chiefly owned by Capital. The majority of the inhabitants remain poor; while a few—merchants, land-owners, mill-owners, and manufacturers—are enriched. That this is the fact in recently-settled townships, is undeniable. That it would not be the fact in a township settled and cultivated on the principle of association, seems to me equally so.

H. J. Raymond. Dec. 14th. But not to me. Suppose fifty men furnish fifty thousand dollars for an association upon which a hundred and fifty others are to labor and to live. With that sum they buy the land, build the houses, and procure everything needful for the start. The capitalists, bear in mind, are the absolute owners of the entire property of the association. In twenty years, that property may be worth half a million, and it still remains the property of the capitalists, the laborers having annually drawn their share of the products. They may have saved a portion of their annual share, and thus have accumulated property; but they have no more title to the domain than they had at first. If the concern should not prosper, the laborers could not buy shares; if it should, the capitalists would not sell except at their increased value. What advantage, then, does association offer for the poor man's acquiring property superior to that afforded by the present state of things? None, that we can see. On the contrary, the more rapidly the domain of an association should increase in value, the more difficult it would be for the laboring man to rise to the class of proprietors; and this would simply be an aggravation of the worst features of the social system. And how you associationists would quarrel! The skillful would be ever grumbling at the awkward, and the lazy would shirk their share of the work, but clamor for their share of the product. There would be ten occasions for bickerings where now there is one. The fancies of the associationist, in fact, are as baseless, though not as beautiful, as More's Utopia, or the Happy Valley of Rasselas.

Horace Greeley. Dec. 16th. No, Sir! In association, those who [211] furnish the original capital are the owners merely of so much stock in the concern—not of all the land and other property, as you represent. Suppose that capital to be fifty thousand dollars. At the end of the first year it is found that twenty-five thousand dollars have been added to the value of the property by Labor. For this amount new stock is issued, which is apportioned to Capital, Labor and Skill as impartial justice shall dictate—to the non-resident capitalist a certain proportion; to the working capitalist the same proportion, plus the excess of his earnings over his expenses; to the laborer that excess only. The apportionment is repeated every year; and the proportion of the new stock assigned to Capital is such that when the property of the association is worth half a million, Capital will own about one-fifth of it. With regard to the practical working of association, I point you to the fact that association and civilization are one. They advance and recede together. In this age we have large steamboats, monster hotels, insurance, partnerships, joint stock companies, public schools, libraries, police, Odd Fellowship—all of which are exemplifications of the idea upon which association is based; all of which work well as institutions, and are productive of incalculable benefits to mankind.

H. J. Raymond. Dec. 24th. Of course;—but association assumes to shape and govern the details of social life, which is a very different affair. One “group,” it appears, is to do all the cooking, another the gardening, another the ploughing. But suppose that some who want to be cooks are enrolled in the gardening group. They will naturally sneer at the dishes cooked by their rivals, perhaps form a party for the expulsion of the cooks, and so bring about a kitchen war. Then, who will consent to be a member of the boot-blacking, ditch-digging and sink-cleaning groups? Such labors must be done, and groups must be detailed to do them. Then, who is to settle the wages question? Who is to determine upon the comparative efficiency of each laborer, and settle the comparative value of his work? There is the religious difficulty too, and the educational difficulty, the medical difficulty, and numberless other difficulties, arising from differences of opinion, so radical and so earnestly entertained as to preclude the possibility of a large number of [212] persons living together in the intimate relation contemplated by association.

Horace Greeley. Dec. 28th. Not so fast. After the first steamship had crossed the Atlantic all the demonstrations of the impossibility of that fact fell to the ground. Now, with regard to as sociations, the first steamship has crossed! The communities of Zoar and Rapp have existed from twenty to forty years, and several associations of the kind advocated by me have survived from two to five years, not only without being broken up by the difficulties alluded to, but without their presenting themselves in the light of difficulties at all. No inter-kitchen war has disturbed their peace, no religious differences have marred their harmony, and men have been found willing to perform ungrateful offices, required by the general good. Passing over your objections, therefore, I beg you to consider the enormous difficulties, the wrongs, the waste, the misery, occasioned by and inseparable from society as it is now organized. For example, the coming on of winter contracts business and throws thousands out of employment. They and their families suffer, the dealers who supply them are losers in custom, the almshouse is crowded, private charity is taxed to the extreme, many die of diseases induced by destitution, some are driven by despair to intoxication; and all this, while every ox and horse is well fed and cared for, while there is inaccessible plenty all around, while capital is luxuriating on the products of the very labor which is now palsied and suffering. Under the present system, capital is everything, man nothing, except as a means of accumulating capital. Capital founds a factory, and for the single purpose of increasing capital, taking no thought of the human beings by whom it is increased. The fundamental ideas of association, on the other hand, is to effect a just distribution of products among capital, talent and labor.

H. J. Raymond. Jan. 6th. The idea may be good enough; but the means are impracticable; the details are absurd, if not inhumane and impious. The Tribune's admission, that an association of indolent or covetous persons could not endure without a moral transformation of its members, seems to us fatal to the whole theory of association. It implies that individual reform must precede so- [213] cial reform, which is precisely our position. But how is individual reform to be effected? By association, says the Tribune. That is, the motion of the water-wheel is to produce the water by which alone it can be set in motion—the action of the watch is to produce the main-spring without which it cannot move. Absurd.

Horace Greeley. Jan. 13th. Incorrigible mis-stater of my positions! I am as well aware as you are that the mass of the ignorant and destitute are, at present, incapable of so much as understanding the social order I propose, much less of becoming efficient members of an association. What I say is, let those who are capable of understanding and promoting it, begin the work, found associations, and show the rest of mankind how to live and thrive in harmonious industry. You tell me that the sole efficient agency of Social Reform is Christianity. I answer that association is Christianity; and the dislocation now existing between capital and labor, between the capitalist and the laborer, is as atheistic as it is inhuman.

H. J. Raymond. Jan. 20th. Stop a moment. The test of true benevolence is practice, not preaching; and we have no hesitation in saying that the members of any one of our city churches do more every year for the practical relief of poverty and suffering than any phalanx that ever existed. There are in our midst hundreds of female sewing societies, each of which clothes more nakedness and feeds more hunger, than any “ association” that ever was formed. There is a single individual in this city whom the Tribune has vilified as a selfish, grasping despiser of the poor, who has expended more money in providing the poor with food, clothing, educuation, sound instruction in morals and religion, than all the advocates of association in half a century. While association has been theorizing about starvation, Christianity has been preventing it. Associationists tell us, that giving to the poor deepens the evil which it aims to relieve, and that the bounty of the benevolent, as society is now organized, is very often abused. We assure them, it is not the social system which abuses the bounty of the benevolent; it is simply the dishonesty and indolence of individuals, and they would do the same under any system, and especially in association. [214]

Horace Greeley. Jan. 29th. Private benevolence is good and necessary; the Tribune has ever been its cordial and earnest advocate. But benevolence relieves only the effects of poverty, while association proposes to reach and finally eradicate its causes. The charitable are doing nobly this winter for the relief of the destitute; but will there be in this city next winter fewer objects of charity than there are now? And let me tell you, sir, if you do not know it already, that the advocates of association, in proportion to their number, and their means, are, at least, as active and as ready in feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, as any class in the community. Make the examinations as close as you please, bring it as near home as you like, and you will find the fact to be as I have asserted.

H. J. Raymond. Feb. 10th. You overlook one main objection. Association aims, not merely to re-organize Labor, but to revolutionize Society, to change radically Laws, Government, Manners and Religion. It pretends to be a new Social Science, discovered by Fourier. In our next article we shall show what its principles are, and point out their inevitable tendency.

Horace Greeley. Feb. 17th. Do so. Meanwhile let me remind you, that there is need of a new Social System, when the old one works so villanously and wastefully. There is Ireland, with three hundred thousand able-bodied men, willing to work, yet unemployed. Their labor is worth forty-five millions of dollars a year, which they need, and Ireland needs, but which the present Social System dooms to waste. There is work enough in Ireland to do, and men enough willing to do it; but the spell of a vicious Social System broods over the island, and keeps the workmen and the work apart. Four centuries ago, the English laborer could earn by his labor a good and sufficient subsistence for his family. Since that time Labor and Talent have made England rich “beyond the dreams of avarice;” and, at this day, the Laborer, as a rule, cannot, by unremitting toil, fully supply the necessities of his family. His bread is coarse, his clothing scanty, his home a hovel, his children uninstructed, his life cheerless. He lives from hand to mouth in abject terror of the poor-house, where, he shudders to think, he [215] must end his days. Precisely the same causes are in operation here, and, in due time, will produce precisely the same effects. There is need of a Social Re-formation!

H. J. Raymond. March 3d. You are mistaken. The statement that the laborers of the present day are worse off than those of former ages, has been exploded. They are not. On the contrary, their condition is better in every respect. Evils under the present Social System exist, great evils—evils, for the removal of which the most constant and zealous efforts ought to be made; yet they are very far from being as great or as general as the Associationists assert. The fact is indisputable, that, as a rule throughout the country, no honest man, able and willing to work, need stand idle from lack of opportunity. The exceptions to this rule are comparatively few, and arise from temporary and local causes. But we proceed to examine the fundamental principle of the Social System proposed to be substituted for that now established. In one word, that principle is Self-Indulgence! ‘Reason and Passion,’ writes Parke Godwin, the author of one of the clearest expositions of Socialism yet published, ‘will be in perfect accord: duty and pleasure will have the same meaning; without inconvenience or calculation, man will follow his bent: hearing only of Attraction, he will never act from necessity, and never curb himself by restraints.’ What becomes of the self-denial so expressly, so frequently, so emphatically enjoined by the New Testament? Fourierism and Christianity, Fourierism and Morality, Fourierism and Conjugal Constancy are in palpable hostility! We are told, that if a man has a passion for a dozen kinds of work, he joins a dozen groups; if for a dozen kinds of study, he joins a dozen groups; and, if for a dozen women, the System requires that there must be a dozen different groups for his full gratification! For man will follow his bent, and never curb himself by restraints!

Horace Greeley. March 12th. Not so. I re-assert what I before proved, that the English laborers of to-day are worse off than those of former centuries; and I deny with disgust and indignation that there is in Socialism, as American Socialists understand and teach it, any provision or license for the gratification of criminal passions or [216] unlawful desires. Why not quote Mr. Godwin fully and fairly? Why suppress his remark, that, ‘So long as the Passions may bring forth Disorder—so long as Inclination may be in opposition to Duty—we reprobate as strongly as any class of men all indulgence of the inclinations and feelings; and where Reason is unable to guide them, have no objection to other means’? Socialists know nothing of Groups, organized, or to be organized, for the perpetration of crimes, or the practice of vices.

H. J. Raymond. March 19th. Perhaps not. But I know, from the writings of leading Socialists, that the law of Passional Attraction, i. e. Self-Indulgence, is the essential and fundamental principle of Association; and that, while Christianity pronounces the free and full gratification of the passions a crime, Socialism extols it as a virtue.

Horace Greeley. March 26th. Impertinent. Your articles are all entitled ‘The Socialism of the Tribune examined’; and the Tribune has never contained a line to justify your unfair inferences from garbled quotations from the writings of Godwin and Fourier. What the Tribune advocates is, simply and solely, such an organization of Society as will secure to every man the opportunity of uninterrupted and profitable labor, and to every child nourishment and culture. These things, it is undeniable, the present Social System does not secure; and hence the necessity of a new and better organization. So no more of your “Passional Attraction.”

H. J. Raymond. April 16th. I tell you the scheme of Fourier is essentially and fundamentally irreligious! by which I mean that it does not follow my Catechism, and apparently ignores the Thirty-Nine Articles. Shocking.

Horace Greeley, April 28th. Humph!

H. J. Raymond. May 20th. The Tribune is doing a great deal of harm. The editor does not know it—but it is.

Thus ended Fourierism. Thenceforth, the Tribune alluded to the [217] subject occasionally, but only in reply to those who sought to make political or personal capital by reviving it. By its discussion of the subject it rendered a great service to the country: first, by affording one more proof that, for the ills that flesh is heir to, there is, there can be, no panacea; secondly, by exhibiting the economy of association, and familiarizing the public mind with the idea of association—an idea susceptible of a thousand applications, and capable, in a thousand ways, of alleviating and preventing human woes. We see its perfect triumph in Insurance, whereby a loss which would crush an individual falls upon the whole company of insurers, lightly and unperceived. Future ages will witness its successful application to most of the affairs of life.

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