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Full text of "The Christian commonwealth .."

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[TJ1TI7EESITY] 



THE 



CHRISTIAI COMMOmEALTH. 



" AND IF IT BEEM EVIL UNTO YOU TO SEllVE TRE LORD, CHOOSE 
TOU THIS DAT WHOM YE WILL SERVE ; TVHETHER THE GODS 
WHICH YOUR FATHERS SERVED THAT WERE ON THE OTHER 
BIDE OF THE FLOOD, OR THE GODS OF THE ASIORITES, IN 

WHOSE LAND YE T " ' TIFr 'i W' '^^ -^ND MY HOUSK 

WE WILL SERVE ! 




TO WHICH IS ADDED, 

Alt INQUIRY RESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY, 

A?fB THE AUTHORITY AND PERPETUITY OF THE APOSTOLIC 
INSTITUTION OF A COMMUNITY OF GOODS. 

From a Periodical of 1827. 
LONDON: 

LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS. 



I 



MDCCCXLIX. 






iLonUoti : ^tintcD 6j? ^ttUt. ©uff. and Co. 
Otrane Qtonti, SFlnt ^txtti. 



THE IHGHT nO>'OrRA.BLE 

LORD ASHLEY, 

THE COySTAKT A>'D PERSEVERING FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE, 

-iND THE UNWEARIED PROTECTOR OF THEIR CHILDREN, 

THIS ADVOCACY OF MEABUKE8 IN FURTHERxVNCE OF 

HIS GREAT AND NOBLE OBJECTS, AND OP PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY, 

IS, "WITH HIS lordship's PERMISSION, 

RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED, 

BY Ills MOST OBEDIENT SERVANT, 

TIIE AUTHOR. 



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PREFACE. 



In tlie manifold phases of society, whether in its 
nidest stages and in its progTess, or as it may now be 
seen in different parts of the world, there may be recog- 
nised, among minor variations and resemblances, five 
distinctive featm^es — the Hunting State, the Pastoral, 
Agricultural, Commercial, and Manufacturing. 

When it was perceived that nations the most 
advanced in civilisation were not the most moral ; that 
their vices, if less gross, were more numerous; that they 
had corrupted or exterminated the Aborigines of newly- 
discovered countries — it is not surprising that some 
error should have been suspected to exist in the very 
foimdations of society, nor is it unworthy of remai^k, 
that those authors who, from time to time, have specu- 
lated upon better systems of pohty, were the most 
distinguished in the age in which they lived, for trans- 
cendent talent and profound wisdom. The views of 
Milton himself may be inferred from his opinion on the 
respective works of Plato, Lord Bacon, and Sir Thomas 
More : — 



Vlll PREEACE. 

"That grave and noble invention, whicK the greatest 
and sublimest wits in sundry ag-es, Plato in ^ Critias/ and our 
two famous countrymen, the one in his ^ Utopia/ the other 
in his ^ New Atlantis,^ chose, I may not say as a field, but 
as a mighty continent, wherein to display the largeness of 
their spirits by teaching* this our world better and exacter 
thing's than were yet known or used." — Milton's Apology for 
Jiis Early Life and Writings, 

To these may be added the " Oceana" of Harring- 
ton, and the " Gaudentia di Lu(^ca" ascribed to Bishop 
Berkeley. That Bishop Burnet belonged to tlie same 
school may be concluded from his translating More's 
'' Utopia." 

That these distinguished authors, so devoted to the 
good of mankind, should have written imaginative 
works upon this subject, and upon no other, shows how 
much importance was attached to the widest spread of 
their opinions, and to the necessity of securing general 
consent before their hopes and lofty aspirations could be 
realised. The idea of commencing de novo with a 
detached portion of the community, and illustrating 
their principles by an epitome of society, had not then 
occm^ed : bi^t in modern times the principle of Associa- 
tion has been often resorted to for the accomplishment 
of many important objects; it remains only to be 
adopted for the attainment of the most important, to 
prevention as well as remedy, to training in the right 
path as well as correcting in the wrong, and numerous 
weaknesses and disorders, physical and moral, will dis- 
appear from society. 



PREFACE. IX 

A modern writer has observed: "The idea of forming- 7 
a superior race of men has entered httle into schemes of 
pohcj. Invention and effort have been expended on 
matter much more than on mind. Lofty piles have 
been reared 5 the earth has g-roaned under pyramids 
and palaces. The thoug'ht of building* up a nobler 
order of intellect and character has hardly crossed the ! 
most adventurous statesman." And the late Poet 
Laureate, Dr. Southey, observes : " The ancient le^s- 
lators understood the power of legislation, but no modern 
Government seems to have perceived that men are as 
clay in the potter's hands." The modern legislator may, 
however, be equally conscious of this truth, but he 
labours under considerable disadvantages — he cannot 
abolish old institutions and remodel the Commonwealth 
— he has to contend with difficulties arising* out of a 
complicated and artificial structure of society, the 
foundations of which were laid in a far less enhghtened I 
age, and which has been built up at different periods, / 
according to the exigencies of the times, and upon no j 
preconcerted plan. But in locating three or four 
hundred famihes on the land, and forming them into a 
distinct community, an opportunity, in selecting their 
institutions, is afforded of freely profiting by the past 
history of the world, and of superadding, to whatever 
can be derived from the genius of ancient Greece, the 
discoveries and experience of the intervening period; 
when with these advantages are combined the Light of 
Christianity, alone sufficient for our guide, it must be 



X PREPACE. 

some eg'reg'ious mismanagement that would prevent the 
general character of the assembled body being gradually 
recast in a new and less imperfect mould.* 

Manifestations of Design are apparent even in the 
progress of society, for thera is a coincidence in the 
events of the world : the art of printing was invented 
soon after the dawn of the Reformation, and at the 
period when improvements in machinery have enabled 
man to supply his bodily wants with greater facility, 
leaving him ample time to improve the higher faculties 
of his nature, great advances have also been made in 
the discovery of superior methods of imparting know- 
ledge, and in a more enlarged acquaintance with his 
mental powers. 

The Author gratefully acknowledges the kind 
encouragement received from the Clergy in different 
parts of the country, who have done him the honour 
to inspect the preliminary plan described in the follow- 
ing pages, and especially the judicious and important 
suggestions of the Clergy and Laity in the Metropolis, 
who assisted in completing the Prospectus. 



* The idea of the Self-supporting Institution is no novelty : a 
similar suggestion will be found in a Pamphlet entitled "A 
College of Industry for 300 Poor Fellows," published by John 
Bellers in the year 1696, and referred to in Sir Morton Eden's 
large Work on the Poor Laws. 



>*^ OP THE 

[UNIVBESITY) 

THE 

CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 



Qu'en revanche il eclate quelque part un grand develop- 
pement d'inteUigence, et qu'aucun progres social n'y paraisse 
attache, on s'etonne, on s'inquiete. II semble qu'on voie un 
bel arbre qui ne porte pas de fruits, un soleil qui n^echauffe 
pas, qui ne feconde -psiS.—Guizot. 

Tempore crevit amor, qui nunc est summus habendi ; 
Vix ultra, quo jam progrediatur, habet. 

That in the richest, most powerful, and extensive 
empire in the world — the most advanced in the 
pursuits of literature and philosophy, and in the 
culture of the arts and sciences — pre-eminently 
distinguished for the piety and benevolence of its 
ministers of religion, and for the zeal and number 
of its holy band of missionaries — spreading Bibles 
and Tracts innumerable in all countries, and pro- 
claiming the glad tidings of the Gospel even in the 
remotest comers of the globe, — that in such a 
country, and in the nineteenth century, an attempt 
should be made to describe the principles and 



^ THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

practices of a Christian Commoiiwealtli, iniglit 
seem to demand no ordinary apology. 

That apology will be found in the extreme 
poverty, severe sufferings, demoralisation, and ap- 
palling misery extensively prevailing, and too well 
authenticated in the voluminous Eeports of Parlia- 
ment. To some deeply-seated and widely-extended 
errors alone can such an extraordinary anomaly be 
traced. 

To combat error, when it could be dissipated 
simply by the promulgation of its opposite truth, 
is often a needless, protracted, and painful war- 
fare ; but there may be occasions when no alter- 
native is left — when, for instance, endeavours are 
made, not to announce recently-discovered truths, 
but to awaken attention to those which are 
admitted ^^ to be so true that they lie dormant in 
the understanding along with the most despised 
and exploded errors :" — ^when such truths are 
repeated by rote in our youthful lessons — formally 
uttered in our Church Service and in the perfomi- 
ance of sacred rites, unheeded in the prayers 
preceding the deliberations of the Senate, and 
when offered up on the most solemn occasions — 
their reiteration, under ordinary circumstances, 
would be considered so common-place and puerile 
as to excite a smile of surprise, or pass unnoticed. 

When, however, endeavours are made to 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 8 

expose the fallacy of incongruous systems, formed 
in utter disregard of these important but neglected 
truths ; the authors and votaries of such systems, 
jealous of their own reputation and judgment, 
may be eager to defend them, and the public 
attention be at length aroused to inquiries of 
vital interest to the general welfare. 

Of all the prejudices that obstruct the percep- 
tion of moral truth and the laws of justice, by far 
the most influential and most widely extended are 
those which originate in the modern school of 
political economy — perplexing our codes of morals, 
occasioning false views of religion, and para- 
lysing the efforts of statesmen at a period when 
there is the greatest need of energy and wisdom 
in the councils of a nation saturated with wealth, 
yet contending with all the evils of poverty. 
While errors, fatal to all real improvement, are 
promulgated as incontrovertible truths from the 
Professors' Chairs of Oxford and Cambridge, and 
of all the Universities, and advocated by a 
numerous Club, of which the most active men 
of the two great political parties are members ; 
who shall presume to question the validity of their 
dicta ? and accordingly Christianity has only to 
mourn over the fate of little children, when the 
Legislature gravely decides, that unless — immured 
in unhealthy manufactories — their wearisome toil 



4 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

should extend to less than twelve hours in the 
day, the greatness and the glory of the country 
must depart.* 

From such a decision the common sense of 
mankind revolts, and it is time that the preten- 
sions of a system, for which its authors and 
expounders claim the dignity of science, should 
be brought to the test of a stricter scrutiny. • 
Notwithstanding it ranks among its supporters 
distinguished living authorities, names for their 
refutation — if truth needed extraneous aid — could 
be referred to, among the illustrious dead, of 
those who have contended for higher principles, 
whose character for ej'udition and genius have 
passed the ordeal of ages, and for whom, probably, 
neither among the ancients nor the moderns, 
could any compeers be found. 

Adam Smith is the acknowledged founder of 

* " My noble friend^s proposition would be ruinous to the 
interests of the working* classes, and fatal to our commercial 
prosperity." " The ruin of the country may be the speedy 
result of a wrong" decision." — Sir James Graham, March 15 
and 18, 1844, on Lord Ashley's motion for limiting the hours 
of working" in manufactories to ten hours for children. 

Lord Brougham, in his speech on the same question, 
March 25, 1844, remarked : " He could now clearly state, 
and predict to their lordships what the question in future 
would be, namely, whether ten hours' work was to be paid 
for by twelve hours' wages ? If such a principle were adopted, 
away at once would go the profits of the manufacturers." 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. O 

the modern school, and the following eulogium 
is pronounced by the most voluminous and able, 
as well as the most eloquent writer on political 
economy of the present day, and one whose 
authority on the subject is more frequently quoted 
than that of any other author : — 

" At length, in 1776, our illustrious countryman, 
Adam Smith, published the ^Wealth of Nations,' a 
work which has done for political economy what the 
Essay of Locke did for the philosophy of the mind. In 
this work the science was, for the first time, treated in 
its fullest extent; and the fundamental principles, on 
which the production of wealth depend, placed beyond 
the reach of cavil and dispute. In opposition to the 
French economists, Dr. Smith has shown that labour 
is the only source of wealth, and that the wish to aug- 
ment our fortune, and to rise in the world — a wish that 
comes to us fi^om the womb, and never leaves us till we 
go into the grave — is the cause of wealth being saved 
and accumulated. He has shown that labour is pro- 
ductive of wealth when employed in manufactures and 
commerce, as well as when it is employed in the culti- 
vation of the land. He has traced the various means 
by which labour may be rendered most effective ; and 
has given a most admirable analysis and exposition of 
the prodigious addition made to its power by its divi- 
sion among difierent individuals, and by the employ- 
ment of accumulated wealth or capital in industrious 
undertakings. He has shown that wealth does not 
consist in the abundance of gold and silver, but in 
the abundance of the various necessaries, conveniences, 
and enjoyments of human hfe. He has shown that it 
B 2 



6 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

is in every case sound policy to leave individuals to 
pursue their own interests in their own way 5 that, in 
prosecuting branches of industry advantageous to them 
selves, necessarily they prosecute such as are, at the 
same time, advantageous to the puhHc." — McCullocKs 
Principles of Political Economy, p. 52. 

The truths enunciated in the foregoing passage 
were familiarly known to reflecting men long 
before the days of Adam Smith ; the errors may 
be obviously traced to that confined view of human 
nature, excluding its susceptibility of great im- 
provement from early and consistent training : 
even without that superior training which could 
now be adopted, there are not wanting numerous 
instances of tribes and nations diligent in their 
pursuits, where the desire of accumulation or of 
individual distinction was unknovni. 

That labour was the source of wealth, as well 
when applied to manufactures as to land, and that 
division of labour facilitated and increased pro- 
duction, were surely no new discoveries. By 
divorcing political economy from higher objects, 
an undue and exclusive importance has been given 
to the principle of the division of labour, virtually 
sanctioning its unrelenting application to the 
creation of wealth, regardless of the sufieringa of 
the producers, and actually diminishing the 
amount of wealth produced. The following was 
extracted from a periodical a few years back. 



THE CHBISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 7 

and the facts may still be the same, if we except 
the limitation of the hours : — 

" In Warrington there is a pin manufactory, in 
which there are fifteen frames for heading". At each 
frame four persons, chiefly childi^en, are employed, in a 
sitting" posture ; the right hand is used in placing the 
pin under the hammer, and the left in taking it away, 
while the foot works the treddle which lifts the weight, 
about fourteen pounds. In this occupation the poor 
creatures are kept from six in the morning till half-past 
eight or nine at night ; and they are not allowed to 
speak to each other, or to withdraw their eyes from 
their work. Some of these young slaves are under 
eight, and others under seven years of age." 

Although the pin manufacturer can cast off 
the poor cripple, the sickly child, and the work- 
man worn out or overtaken by premature old age, 
and employ, in succession, the very ilite of the 
muscle and sinew of human nature, for which, 
paying miserable wages, he is enabled to sell his 
pins cheaper, yet his gain is a loss to the com- 
munity: the public is compelled to support the 
rejected, who, having ceased to be producers, are 
doubly a loss in estimating the national wealth. 

Of the great and unqualified advantages to be 
derived from a division of labour under judicious 
and benevolent guidance, no one can doubt ; but 
without due regulation its evils are not confined 
to the bodily sufferings of the people, but extend 



O THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

to the intellectual faculties of the educated classes ; 
the reasoning powers become contracted by an 
undivided attention to one subject only, and 
unable to grasp more comprehensive questions. 

The exclusive attention which the oculist, the 
dentist, and the aurist, give to their respective 
objects, leads to more accurate information than 
could be obtained formerly when several pro- 
fessions were followed by the same individual — 
when the duties of the cupper and the dentist 
were blended with those of the village hair- 
dresser ; when ecclesiastics headed armies, or sat 
upon the wool-sack; but with the division and 
sub-division of mental pursuits, we have failed in 
our systems of education to strengthen and enlarge 
the mind, by laying a broad and solid foundation 
in the rudiments of general knowledge ere pro- 
fessional studies commenced.* 

* Wliile these modern minor divisions have increased, 
there is fortunately an ancient grand division rapidly fading* 
away, for the distinction id much less marked between the 
few who were supposed to be born to think only, and the 
many who were born to labour only ; and it is no long-er 
doubted that the poor little shivering" child, half starved and 
in rags, standing* at the corner of a court soliciting* alms, 
may possess faculties equal to those of the learned professor, 
whose fallacious theories tend to perpetuate its destitution 
and misery. 

" Tis nature's law 
That none, the meanest of created things. 
Of forms created the most vile and brute. 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 9 

The following remarks on universal Science 
are applicable to the method of study, and accord 
with the process of nature ; the child opens its 
eyes upon all within its horizon, is jSrst interested 
in individual objects, but fatigued with close 
attention to details, until peculiar branches of 
science, for which it has most aptitude, excite a 
more earnest curiosity, and then analytical inves- 
tigation is prosecuted with delight : — 

^^ But as the divisions of the sciences are not like 
different lines that meet in one angle, but rather like 
the brandies of trees that join in one trunk, it is first 
necessary that we institute a universal science as a 
parent to the rest, and making a part of the common 
road to the sciences before the ways separate. And 
this knowledge we call philosophia prima, it has no 
other for its opposite, and differs from other sciences 
rather in the hmits whereby it is confined than in the 
subject, as treating only the summits of things." — Lord 
Bacoti, 



The duUest or most noxious, should exist 
Divorced from good — a spirit and pulse of good, 
A life and soul, to every mode of being 
Inseparably linked. — Then be assured 
That least of all can aught that ever owned 
The heaven-regarding eye and front sublime 
Which man is born to — sink, howe'er depressed. 
So low as to be scorned without a sin ; 
Without offence to God cast out of view ; 
Like the dry remnant of a garden-flower 
Whose seeds are shed, or as an implement 
Worn out and worthless." — Wordsworth. 



10 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

Those engaged in sedentary employments 
would not be less skilful in their respective 
avocations by being daily employed a few hours 
in the open air in agriculture or any other active 
pursuit. Nor would the mind of the student be 
less acute and penetrating in his favourite or 
professional subject, by that occasional attention 
to other branches of science, which would enable 
him to perceive their mutual relations and depen- 
dencies, and the light they shed upon each other. 

To those isolated and exclusive ^dews may in 
some measure be attributed the separation of 
reformers into three parties — the spiritual, intel- 
lectual, and physical ; for when not only manual 
but mental employment has been reduced to those 
minute sub-divisions, each is studying a small 
part, to him the all-important, in the complicated 
structure of society; unmindful of other parts 
equally essential to perfect organization, and 
minds, originally the most powerful, become 
incapacitated for general views, or for a wider 
range of thought. While plans of reform, by 
means of churches and schools, have been carried 
into effect by the respective advocates of religious 
knowledge and secular instruction, both parties 
have been too regardless of the physical condition 
of the people ; this has been left to the tender 
mercies of political economy, and accordingly, 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 11 

along with the most extraordinary efforts to extend 
religious and general knowledge for the last 
twenty years, there has been a moral deteriora- 
tion and a great increase of crime. 

When man shall be recognised as a compound 
being, consisting of body as well as soul — when 
the old maxim of ^^ mens sana in cor pore sano " is 
fully acted upon, — the necessity of a due consider- 
tion of all that is essential to religious culture and 
training, will be better understood. We cannot 
serve God, in discharging our duties to others, 
in any other way than by preparing the soil for 
the seed of his Word : this the Saviour, who could 
do more, never neglected; while we, who can 
scarcely do anything besides, hold it in light 
estimation. When Providence has rewarded 
scientific researches by the discovery of means to 
mitigate the severity, and abridge the hours, of 
human toil, not only is the labour of the artisan, 
when employment is to be obtained, more 
unremitting and worse requited, but children of a 
tender age must be incarcerated from morning to 
night, to the great injury of their health and 
morals : and, as if this outrage of nature in the 
dawn of existence, when the fields should invite 
them to joyous and beneficial exercise, were not 
sufficient, it has become necessary that the arm of 
the law should be outstretched, to rescue the 



12 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

innocent victims from still greater rapacity, and 
the grinding tyranny of competition.* 

Mr. Travis Twiss, the present professor of 
political economy at Oxford, appears to move in 
the same circle as his predecessors, — the two 
lectures on machinery, delivered during the Lent 
term, 1844, and since published, so far from 
suggesting a more humane and enlightened direc- 
tion of scientific power, are devoted to the contro- 
versial question of its comparative advantages 
and disadvantages under the present system of 
competition. Now the very fact of the value of 
this power being questionable at all, is a sufficient 
proof of its misdirection. — Mr. Twiss observes : — 

" It cannot be doubted, from the various facts which 
the Factory Commission and other Parliamentary 

* Nothing' can be more unjust than the practice of party 
writers, in charging upon the manufacturers themselves the 
evils inherent in the present mode by which the wants of 
society are supplied. While competition is the principle 
adopted, the manufacturer is compelled to employ the 
cheapest labour ; for if he attempted to pay more than others 
he would he undersold, and must then either suspend his 
works or be ruined : besides, among the manufacturers are 
to be found some of the most enlightened and generous 
friends of the working* classes, anxiously promoting their 
comforts and the education of their children. This con- 
demnation of individuals is as inconsistent as it would be to 
visit upon military commanders the miseries inflicted by 
war ; to accuse them of inhumanity, because, in the honour- 
able discharge of their duties, they lead on men to battle. 






w:^M 



■:€ 



THE CHRISTIAN C0MM0NWEALTU^< /j ^^^ "^ . 

Reports have made g-enerallj accessible, that 
dency of the employment of machinery is not to diminish 
wag-es, hut on the contrary to augment them, by 
enabling the operative to produce a greater quantity 
of work in the same time, and by reducing* the cost of 
the commodities which he himself consumes." 

If the inquiry of the Factory Commission was 
confined to the rate of wages in the factories, their 
conclusions have no reference to the efifect produced 
by machinery on the general value of labour in 
the market. A patentee, and those whom he 
employs, may be benefited by a monopoly which 
throws thousands out of employment, and the 
large capitalist, with improved machinery, is 
enabled to give good wages, notwithstanding he 
sells his commodity at a rate so low as to destroy 
the smaller manufacturer, and deprive immense 
numbers of their usual occupation ; hence, those 
only can benefit by a reduction in price who 
have regular employment. 

It has been estimated that the additional use 
of machinery within the last fifty years has been 
equal to an augmentation in the labour market of 
several hundred millions of men. Every re- 
duction in the price of a commodity is pre- 
ceded by a reduction in the aggregate value of 
labour, or in the cost of production, which is so 
much loss to the working men in general, who 



14 THE CHEISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

are inadequately compensated by the cheapness 
of the article. 

Mr. Porter, in the ^' Progress of the Nation/' 
calculates that, during twenty-four years of peace, 
eight hundred millions had been added to the wealth 
of the country, and yet, during that period, wages, 
notwithstanding occasional fluctuations, had con- 
tinued to decline. 

In contending for the advantages of machinery, 
without adverting to its concomitant evils, as 
employed in the service of commerce only, Mr. 
Travis refers to a passage in the Factory Report, 
announcing an important discovery by Mr. 
Senior : — 

"The general impression on us all as to the effects 
of factory labour has been unexpectedly favourable. 
The factory work-people in the country districts are 
the plumpest, best clothed, and healthiest looking^ 
persons of the labouring class that I have ever seen. 
The girls, especially, are far more good-looking (and 
good looks are fair evidence of health and spirits) than 
the daughters of agricultural labourers." 

Mr. Senior is here writing in discharge of a 
special duty as one of the Commissioners, but 
the introduction of this passage into a lecture 
delivered before those who may be the future 
Legislators of the Empire, is not calculated to 
awaken sympathy for the sufferings of factory 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 15 

children, doomed to perpetual imprisonment and 
wearisome labour. 

No one can attentively peruse the writings of 
the Political Economists, without a strong im- 
pression of their benevolent intentions, but it is 
the unfortunate tendency of their speculations to 
confirm the worst errors of society. 

How much more conducive to the best interests 
of mankind, if sentiments like the following were 
fostered and encouraged in the rising generation : — 

" Telle est d'ailleurs la noble nature de rhumanite, 
qu'elle ne saurait voir un grand developpement de 
force materiel! e sans aspirer h la force morale qui doit 
s'j joindre et la dominer ; quelque chose de subalterne 
demeure empreint dans le bien-^tre social, tant qu'il 
n'a pas porte d'autres fruits que le bien-^tre meme, tant 
qu'il n'a pas eleve Tesprit de Thomme au niveau de sa 
condition." — GuizoU 

We have yet to advert to another principle, for 
the discovery of which Dr. Adam Smith was eulo- 
gised, and which is not the least favoured by the 
economists of the present day — the celebrated 
^^ Laissez faire' system. 

In all the great thoroughfares of the metro- 
polis, in the principal streets, as well as in some 
of the most obscure, are two or three costly 
eBtablishments vying in the splendour of their 
decorations with the temples raised to the worship 



16 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

of God ; these magnificent buildings, well warmed 
and brilliantly lighted up, are singularly attrac- 
tive to the shivering, half-naked, and starving 
multitudes, issuing from cold, dark, and wretched 
apartments in courts and alleys — for to those 
edifices they crowd, in the hope of finding a short 
oblivion of their cares in a delusive excitement 
which only adds to their despair and misery* It 
is somewhat difficult to understand how the 
distillers, who ^^ pursue their o^^ti interests in 
their own way," are '' prosecuting branches of 
industry advantageous to the public." The same 
observations will apply to the keepers of gaming- 
houses and brothels, to the vendors of licentious 
publications, to all the panders to the vices and 
follies of mankind. It is said that at Hamburgh 
the manufacture of cigars is carried on so ex- 
tensively as to occupy more than 10,000 persons, 
chiefly women and children. The total number 



* We are told that, in the Island of Tahiti, the inhabitants 
became so convinced, from the exhortations of the mission- 
aries, of the beneficial effects of temperance, that, when the 
Parliament met, and before the members proceeded to busi- 
ness, they sent a message to the Queen to know upon what 
principles they were to act. She returned a copy of the 
New Testament, saying* : — " Let the principles contained in 
that book be the foundation of all your proceedings ;" and 
immediately they enacted a law to prohibit trading with any 
vessel which brought ardent spirits for sale I 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 17 

of cigars manufactured annually is 150,000,000, 
the value of which is 6,000,000 of marks current, 
about £350,000 sterling. If the opinion of some 
of the medical profession is correct, all this labour, 
as well as the large traffic in opium, so far from 
being ^' advantageous to the public," is a positive 
injury. 

Sir James Graham, in his speech on the Factory 
Question, March 15th, 1844, bears testimony to 
the evils of non-interference : — '^ I have been 
informed that 35,000 children are employed in 
calico printing; that they are worked without 
limitation of time ; they begin to labour at six 
years of age, and they work fifteen hours a-day ; 
even night labour is not prohibited. So far there- 
fore from the tendency of legislation being such 
as has been stated by my noble friend, it has been 
directly opposite. There has been a congestion 
of labour where there has been no legislation ; 
there is a depletion of labour where there has 
been interference.'' Thirty-five thousand children 
worked for fifteen hours in the day ! It is im- 
possible that such an abomination can be ^^ advan- 
tageous to the public." Competition is a kind 
of civil war, in which women and children are the 
first victims, and it is one of the chief causes of 
national antipathies. Among the losses occasioned 
by war, there is not one more to be lamented by 
c 2 



18 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

nations than the sacrifice of their most courageous 
and enterprising men, those who would probably 
have been the most valuable members of society, 
and highly distinguished in any other profession 
in which they had embarked. It was an ordinance 
of Napoleon, which forbade the surrender of any 
fortress without having stood at least one assault, 
and the reason he assigns was as follows : — '^To 
inflict loss upon an enemy is the very essence of 
war, and as the bravest men and oflicers will 
always be foremost in an assault, the loss thus 
occasioned may be of the utmost importance." 
Colonel Napier, who, in his ^' History of the Penin- 
sular War," makes this statement, gives the 
following description of a melancholy spectacle at 
the siege of St. Sebastian: — '^The forlorn hope had 
already passed beyond the play of the mine, and 
now speeded along the strand amidst a shower of 
grape and shells ; the leader. Lieutenant Macguire, 
of the Fourth Eegiment, conspicuous from his 
long white plume, his fine figure, and his swiftness, 
bounded far ahead of his men in all the pride of 
youthful strength and courage, but at the foot of 
the great breach he fell dead, and the stormers 
went sweeping like a dark surge over his body." 
Such are the barbarous conflicts of Christian 
Europe ! The time cannot be very far distant 
when man of all ranks will be too enlightened to 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 19 

revive the horrors of war, and incur the risk of 
leaving destitute widows and orphans, in com- 
pliance with false and irreligious notions of 
honour; happy would it be for mankind if the 
influential in all civilised countries were to antici- 
pate that period by commencing themselves a 
career of true glory — and, guided by the manifest 
conservative designs of Providence, instead of 
applying the principles of science in maldng their 
engines of destruction more effective and terrible, 
direct them to the construction of durable works 
of beneficence for the general good. 

" Science then 
Shall be a precious visitant ; and then, 
And only then, be worthy of her name." 

Political economists may contend that Adam 
Smith confined his remarks to commerce and 
manufactures ; but we reply, that the principle of 
competition, once publicly sanctioned in any 
sphere of exertion, must necessarily, in a greater 
or less degree, influence the whole character of 
individuals and of nations. The author of the 
'' Wealth of Nations," as if conscious of the incom- 
patibility of his economic principles with Christian 
morality, composed himself a theory of morals 
more comformable to his political theory, and he 
thus speaks of war, of which competition is the 
soul : — 



20 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

" To compare the futile mortifications of a monastery 
to the ennobhng hardships and hazards of war 5 to suppose 
that one day, or one hour, employed in the former, 
should, in the eye of the g-reat Judge of the world, have 
more merit than a whole life spent honourably in the 
latter, is surely contrary to all our moral sentiments ; 
to all the principles by which nature has taught us to 
regulate our contempt or admiration." — A. SmitKs 
Theory of 3Ioral Sentiments : Sense of Duty. 

" Another lesson with my manhood came j 
I have unlearn 'd contempt : it is the sin 
That is engender 'd earliest in the soul, 
And doth beset it like a poison worm, 
Feeding on all its beauty." 

While the ministers of religion are inculcating 
the highest motives, the political economists are 
advocating, or virtually encouraging, the lowest. 
Hence arises confusion ; in the mind virtue and 
vice, good and bad, are mingled, and new terms 
must be invented to express the heterogeneous 
idea: accordingly, we hear of a ^^ laudable ambi- 
tion," a ^^ becoming pride," as substitutes for those 
pure and exalted motives which all the institutions 
of society should tend to foster and strengthen, 
if we are really to live under a '' Church and State." 

If a professor, after propounding a correct and 
beautiful theory of chemistry, were to proceed to 
manipulate in direct contravention of the principle 
he had laid down, great discredit would attach 
either to himself or his theory. Nor has it been 



TBE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALS^. 21 

sufficiently considered to what extent tlie discre- 
pancy of sanctioning institutions, opposed to the 
spirit of religion, generates in the minds of youth 
either dissent or scepticism ; that it impedes the 
progress of Christianity in distant lands is evident ; 
the solitary missionary goes forth to proclaim the 
glad tidings of the Gospel, and the path is paved 
with fire and sword, by armed multitudes, for the 
messenger of peace. 

The condition of the people is considered 
sufficiently improved by an extension of manufac- 
tures, unaccompanied by any evils not susceptible 
of all the amelioration that can be desired ; hence 
the factory system, through which tens of 
thousands of the rising generation are inamured 
from morning till night in the unhealthy cotton- 
mill, and doomed, amidst noise and dust, to one 
unvarying harassing employment, is the acme of 
their schemes, and free-trade, as a means of ex- 
tending this system more widely, becomes an 
increasing object of solicitude. That free-trade 
would produce a collateral benefit, by amalga- 
mating the interests of different coimtries, and 
rendering it as difficult for their rulers to induce 
or force the people of one nation to slaughter the 
people of another, as now to excite hostility 
between neighbouring counties, is highly probable; 
but the immediate consequences would be to 



22 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

consign to the heated, demoralising factory, 
additional thousands of young persons and little 
children from the agricultural districts. A purer 
philosophy has taught that '' the leading feature 
of a sound state, both of body and mind, is, to 
desire little and to be satisfied with even less," but 
the '^leading feature" of the material philosophy 
is to multiply factitious wants, and in the wild 
career of society vain and pernicious desires are 
perpetually encouraged, but never satisfied. 

Political Economy, to be taught as a science, 
should instruct in those rules which ought to 
govern the creation of wealth, or, if we may 
venture a definition, it is — The science which 
determines the best mode of production and distri- 
bution of that species of wealth most conducive to 
the physical, moral, intellectual, and spiritual 
improvement, and consequently to the greatest 
happiness of the whole population. Pursuing our 
inquiries with this standard for our guide, we 
should scarcely admit that twelve, or even ten, 
hours of tedious employment of children in an 
impure atmosphere was the ^^ best mode of pro- 
duction," or that many articles of fashion manu- 
factured were a '^species of wealth," conducive to 
any improvement whatever. 

If we are informed that the system taught in 
Great Britain is the same, in its leading principles, 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 23 

as the Catechism of Political Economy, by the 
late Jean Baptiste Say, Professor in the Athenee 
Royal of Paris ; as the systems of Krause and 
Storch, political economists of Germany ; and, 
before its members were dispersed by the Russian 
Government, of Count Starbeck, of the University 
of Warsaw, — in fact, of all the professors in 
Europe; we have only to mark the immorality, 
selfishness, and increase of pauperism in every 
state, to be satisfied of the utter inutility or 
wretched consequences of such systems. Political 
Economy is unknown as a science throughout the 
civilised world : when rightly understood and 
reduced to practice, the present turmoil and con- 
fusion will give place to ord^r and rapid improve- 
ment. The possibility of forming a superior 
public opinion, through the spread of vital 
Christianity and improved institutions, is entirely 
overlooked: competition and rivalry must still 
impel to action, for the idea appears to run 
through all the reasoning of the economists, that 
capricious wants and frivolous pursuits are never 
to be superseded by the rational desires, the 
benevolence, and enterprise, of more enlightened 
generations. The rules of production and distri- 
bution that have long prevailed, belong to a 
particular period in the progress of the species ; 
and those which exist at present are characterised 



24 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

by greater imbecility of mind, and by a more 
degrading barbarity, than the rules of public 
economy in the rudest stages of society.* 

Before Political Economy can be taught as a 
science, it must be in harmony with all. It has 
been somewhere remarked, that there is but one 
science, and that all the sciences, commonly so 
called, are only so many divisions and sub-divi- 
sions of one great whole, thus separated for the 
more convenient purpose of close and accurate 
investigation — no truth can therefore be opposed 
'to any other truth — ^no theory regarding the 
colour of plants would be admitted as true, * if at 
variance with the ascertained laws of chemistry — 
the science of agriculture not only regards the 
diversity of soils, but the nature and properties of 
the plants or seeds for which the earth is to be 
prepared. No theory of pathology, of anatomy, 
of any subject connected with the human frame, 
would be admitted as correct, or denominated a 
science, that contradicted the established truths in 
physiology, or was not consistent with the various 
branches of study relating to the structure of 
man. So with regard to man in his external re- 
latioiTs, legislation, moral philosophy, political 
economy, must alike be governed by congenial 



* A-ddress to the London University, by the Author. 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 25 

and liarmonious laws ; nor can his external rela- 
tions be considered apart from the internal 
economy of his frame^ or without regard to his 
health, his personal morality, his intellectual and 
religious improvement — in short, there cannot be 
a greater fallacy than to suppose that any system 
of political economy ranks with the sciences, 
unless it be conversant with the nature and the 
attributes of the Being for whom it is designed, 
unless it indicates what things ought to be pro- 
duced and how distributed by those whose animal 
nature should be subservient to higher faculties 
and aspirations. Mr. Senior, when Professor of 
Political Economy at the University of Oxford, 
appeared to be conscious of this, but got rid of 
the difficulty by boldly declaring : ^' It is not 
with happiness, but with wealth, that I am con- ' 
cerned as a politidal economist; and I am not 
only justified in omitting, but perhaps am bound 
to omit, all considerations which have no influence 
on wealth." Here is a complete surrender of the 
claims of his subject to the denomination of a 
science; and what is the consequence of this 
severance of all higher considerations from the 
creation of wealth? — not merely that they are 
kept subordinate, but are lost sight of altogether, 
and to whatever sufferings of physical destitution, 
of moral degradation, and of mental darkness, the 



2b THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

producers are exposed, so long as the largest 
amount of wealth is created, it is not the business 
of the political economist to investigate. Those 
accidental and fluctuating causes, be they the 
caprices of fashion, or the ravages of war, hitherto 
influencing supply and demand, are regarded as 
the immutable laws of nature, and upon these 
ever-varying data erroneous theories have been 
built up and demolished in rapid succession. 
Unmindful of the sacred admonition to '^ train up 
a child in the way he should go," systems are 
upheld under which even instruction can with 
difficulty be imparted, while all moral training is 
wholly impracticable.* 

* " It is instructive to observe, how we compel, as it 
, were, vice and misery with cne hand, and endeavour to 
suppress them on the other ; but the whole course of our 
manufacturing' system tends to these results : you eng"age 
children from their earliest and tenderest ag*e in these long, 
painful, and destructive occupations ; when they have ap- 
proached to manhood, they have outgrown their employ- 
ments, and they are turned upon the world without moral, 
without professional education ; the business they have 
learned avails them nothing ; to what can they turn their 
hands for a maintenance ? — the children, for instance, who 
have been taught to make pins, having reached fourteen or 
fifteen years of age, are unfit to make pins any longer ; to 
procure an honest livelihood then becomes to them almost 
impossible ; the governors of prisons will tell you, the re- 
lieving officers will tell you, that the vicious resort to plun- 
der and prostitution ; the rest sink down." — Lord Ashley, 
on the Employment of Children in Mines, 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 27 

The true theory of society combines the 
sciences of Political Economy and of Moral 
Philosophy, and may be illustrated as follows : — 

We will suppose fifty families of children 
taken to a remote part of the world, or away 
from general society, by parents anxious to train 
them in the spirit and practice of Christianity ; 
some are afflicted with partial blindness, with 
deformity, or weakness — others are distinguished 
by superior talents ; trained in the love of God 
and man, one directs his attention to the study of 
optics, another to anatomy, in the hope of assist- 
ing their afilicted brothers ; they are more or less 
successful, but even their endeavours have given 
strength, by exercise, to the higher motives, and 
endeared them more to the afflicted — those born^ 
with any infirmity of temper would be watched 
with like solicitude — the brothers and sisters 
actuated by the same spirit, the strong assisting 
the weak in body and mind, all become more 
closely united in the bonds of Christian love — 
thus far the rudiments of Moral Philosophy. 

Now it is evident that mth this promptitude 
of mutual assistance, the blind restored to sight, 
the crooked made straight, the weak strengthened, 
and moral evil checked in the bud, those who 
before were consumers only would become more 
efficient, bodily and mentally, and there would be 



28 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

a larger produce — those of the greatest ability, 
relieved more or less from the care and attention 
before required by the weak, would have more 
time for the pursuits of science, and for pro- 
moting the general good. Here the rudiments of 
Political Economy are in harmony with those of 
Moral Philosophy. 

The Political Economist* would dissent from 
the foregoing regulations as failing to generate 
motives to constant exertion ; he would maintain 
that the parents, in order to sustain a persevering 
activity, must offer to those of great talent other 
and more powerful inducements, they must give 
a larger share of the produce of the families to 
those who make the most rapid progress in the ac- 
quisition of knowledge or display the greatest 
ability. This would be virtually telling them they 
were not to love the Lord their God with all their 
heart. Such an appeal to their selfishness would 



* " You must not suppose that our political economists 
seek in the Bible for instruction I — They discover the cause 
of all our difficulties and evils, not in the constitution of 
society, but of human nature ; and there, also, they look for 
it, not where it is to be found, in its sinfulness and fallen 
state, but in its essence, and the primal law which was its 
primal benediction !" — "How they (the people) should be set 
to work — how the beginning" should be made— is what we 
must not expect to learn from any professor of political 
Qconomj, ''^—Southey, 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 20 

excite in all, covetousness and ambition, in the 
successful, yanity and pride, in the unsuccessful, a 
spirit of rivalry, envy, and jealousy — the afflicted 
would be regarded with less sympathy, and the 
weak in body or in mind, and in moral feelings, 
be neglected — in consequence, these would not only 
cease to produce, but, from the disorders arising 
from want and neglected training, many of the able 
producers would be required to restrain the turbu- 
lent, and thus production would in every way be 
restricted ; for, as their numbers increased, there 
would be required judges and gaols, soldiers and bar- 
racks, police and station-houses, lunatic asylums, 
poor-law guardians and union houses, poor-law 
commissioners, assistant poor-law commissioners, 
factory inspectors, and numerous commissions. 

Let any man call to mind those acts of his life 
that were performed solely from a sense of duty, 
and with the least regard to his own happiness, 
and it will be found, that, just in proportion to 
their disinterestedness, were they accompanied with 
pleasurable emotions, and are always recurred to 
with the most grateful recollections. How unphilo- 
sophical, as well as irreligious, to appeal to per- 
nicious and sordid motives, which it should be the 
whole business of education to supplant with nobler 
aspirations, and which were discouraged even by 
those unaided by the light of Christianity. 
D 2 



30 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

" Inveniuntur qui colant honesta in mercedem, et 
quibus gratuita virtus placeat non. At ilia habet nihil 
magnificum in se, si habeat quidquam venale." — Seneca, 

A modern Divine observes : — 

" God has so constituted the mind of man, that it 
must seek the happiness of others as its end, or it can- 
not be happy. Here is the true reason why all the 
world, seeking their own happiness, and not the hap- 
piness of others, fail of their end. It is always just so 
far before them. If they would leave off seeking their 
own happiness, and lay themselves out to do good, they 
would be happy." 

And should the colony adopt the suggestions 
of political economy, then would be sacrificed a 
principle, the want of which has abridged, if not 
destroyed, the real prosperity and happiness of all 
nations professing Christianity — the principle may 
be comprised in one word— -Consistency. It 
is that which enables the rude inhabitants of North 
America to train successfully their children in that 
course which they deem the path of duty ; which 
constituted the leading attribute in the celebrated 
system of the Spartan legislator, and produced 
the general character predetermined by Lycurgus ; 
and when it shall be duly appreciated by the 
civilised nations of Europe, is destined, in an 
unprecedented degree, to diffuse more widely the 
blessings of Christianity, and to enlarge the 
boundaries of science. 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 31 

All travellers who have yisited the North 
American Indians have borne testimony to tlie 
astonishing acuteness of their faculties — distin- 
guishing the footsteps of diflferent animals and 
those of any hostile tribe with such surprising 
accuracy, as to determine the numbers that have 
passed in any given direction, and where not the 
slightest impression can be discerned by an 
European. Sounds are discriminated and objects 
perceived at distances almost incredible. In their 
warlike enterprises they sometimes lie concealed 
in profound silence for days and nights ; and so 
cautiously will they steal upon their enemies, that 
not the rustling of a leaf can be heard. But not 
only do they excel in those athletic exercises, in 
which, as children, they may be supposed to have 
taken peculiar delight — a faithful discharge of the 
higher moral duties is equally conspicuous. 
Respect for the aged, who, as well as the mothers, 
are the instructors of children, is always shown. 
Taught to endure torture with resignation, they 
raise the song of death in the midst of excruciating 
torments, and exhibit a self-devotion and a fortitude 
not surpassed in the proudest days of ancient 
Greece and Rome. 

Hunter, who when a child was taken captive 
by the Indians and dwelt among them for many 
years, describing a long and dangerous expedition 



32 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

of a party of Indians across the American conti- 
nent to the Pacific Ocean, remarks: ^'At the 
breaking up of the winter, having supplied 
ourselves with such things as were necessary, and 
the situation afforded, all our party visited the 
spring from which we had procured our supplies 
of water, and there offered up our orisons to the 
Great Spirit for having preserved us in health and 
safety, and for having supplied all our wants. 
This is the constant practice of the Osages, 
Kanzas, and many other Indian nations on 
brealdng up their winter encampments, and is by 
no means an unimportant ceremony. On the 
contrary, the occasion calls forth all the devotional 
feelings of the soul ; and you there witness the 
silent but deeply impressive communion which 
the unsophisticated native of the forest holds with 
his Creator." 

Through what mysterious process are these 
qualities of dexterity, fortitude, self-sacrifice, and 
devotion acquired ? From Consistency in training. 
That which is taught by the elders and parents to 
the children is the subject of daily conversation ; 
that which is inculcated as a duty is daily exem- 
plified in practice; so well is the association of 
ideas understood, that even the games of the 
children have reference to their duties in after life : 
dwelling continually in that society in which they 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 33 

will one day be called upon to sustain their part, 
the laws, customs, and manners are in accordance 
with the principles of education, and the general 
character is moulded by combined and harmonious 
influences ; their education commences with their 
birth, and ends only with death. 

Let us suppose, that, in lieu of this mode of 
education, the children were removed, the boys 
to one place and the girls to another, away from a 
general intercourse with society, and there con- 
fined to learn with irksomeness certain hierogly- 
phics, which, when painfully deciphered, would 
explain their duties ; these they would in time 
repeat by rote without any clear comprehension 
of the meaning, and consequently with little 
interest. Let us further suppose, that in the 
short intervals they returned to^ their parents, 
they found them not only negligent of these duties, 
but pursuing, unrestricted, conduct the very re- 
verse : here the teaching and the training would 
have two opposite tendencies; and when it is con- 
sidered what imitative beings children are, and 
how powerful is the influence of example, it is not 
difficult to determine which would preponderate. 

Notwithstanding our great superiority in in- 
telligence over the wild Indians of America, and 
although to the knowledge possessed by the 
Greeks we superadd the result of the accumulated 



34 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

researches and experience of more than two 
thousand years, aided also by the supernal light 
of the Gospel, with its explicit declarations re- 
garding the training of children, that we should 
be surpassed, according to the measure of their 
knowledge, in this important duty, both by In- 
dians and Greeks, is a consideration that may 
well lead to the conclusion, that in practice we 
must have been labouring under some egregious 
error. 

For nearly a century. Emulation had been 
suspected as a faulty instrument in education ; but 
the late Mr. Wilberforce, in his work on ^^ Prac- 
tical Christianity," has an eloquent chapter on the 
'' Desire of Human Estimation and Applause " ; 
and, after tracing with a master-hand its perni- 
cious effects, observes : ^^ This is the principle 
which parents recognise with joy in their infant 
offspring, which is diligently instilled and nur- 
tured in advancing years, which, under the names 
of honourable ambition and of laudable emulation, 
it is the professed aim of schools and colleges to 
excite and cherish." How can it be expected that 
the disorders of society should diminish while a 
principle of education is retained, condemned 
alike by experience and religion ? 

" Interdum puniunt immania scelera^ cum alioquin 
scelerum irritamenta prsebeant siiis." 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 35 

It is remarked by the commentators on the 
passage in the New Testament where the Saviour 
is represented as driving out the mercenary traders 
from the temple, that the disciples, witnessing his 
courage and holy indignation, so different from 
the usual gentleness of his character, were so 
much excited by surprise as to be forcibly re- 
minded of the cause ; — if there is one prevailing 
evil more hostile, by its all-pervading influence, to 
the spread of Christian benevolence than any 
other, it is that spirit of trade and selfishness 
engendered by competition. 

We are often reminded of the inventions and 
discoveries originating in competition, as if civilised 
society would fall back into barbarism, or sink 
into indolence, without the spirit of rivalry ; but 
we owe neither '^ Paradise Lost" nor the *' Prin- 
cipia " of Newton to the selfish stimulant — and 
Adam Smith himself observes : — 

^^ A great part of the machines made use of in 
those manufactures in which labour is most subdivided, 
were originally the inventions of common workmen, 
who, being each of them employed in some very 
simple operation, naturally turned their thoughts 
towards finding out easier and readier methods of 
performing it. In the first steam-engines a boy was 
constantly employed to open and shut alternately the 
communication between the boiler and the cylinder, 
according as the piston either ascended or descended. 



36 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

One of these boys, who loved to play with his com- 
panions, observed, that, by tyin^ a string from the 
handle of the valve which opened the communication 
to another part of the machine, the valve would open 
and shut without his assistance, and leave him at liberty 
to divert himself with his play-fellows. One of the 
g-reatest improvements that has been made upon this 
machine, since it was first invented, was in this manner 
the discovery of a boy who wanted to save his own 
labour.' ' 

In the best-conducted schools, where moral 
culture is more particularly attended to, emulation 
is now exploded ; and if it were to be dispensed 
with in those of the Colony, it should also be 
rigidly excluded from all the rules and regulations. 
Children and adults must alike be governed by 
the same principles, or there would be no Con- 
sistency, and consequently no successful moral 
training. 

At the very commencement of Milton's Tract 
on Education, he asserts this great principle : ^' I 
am long since persuaded. Master Hartlib, that 
to say or do aught worth memory and imitation, 
no purpose or respect should sooner move us than 
simply the love of God and of mankind." 

When the youthful mind dwells with admira- 
tion upon the high and generous purpose, the firm 
resolve, and the virtuous enterprise, recorded in 
the annals of history, prompting to great and 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 37 

noble exertion, while the pure and powerful 
motives of religion, under the fostering care of 
parental affection, are correcting the waywardness 
and encouraging the perseverance of youth, how 
worse than useless to offer the inferior induce- 
ment ! But if the artificial stimulant and the 
glittering prize are superfluous in the weakness 
of childhood, how much less necessary when the 
reason has been strengthened by exercise, and the 
judgment matured ; when the truth of the higher 
principle carries conviction to the understanding ; 
when its gratifying effects in practice have enlisted 
the best feelings on its side, and its habitual 
exercise has rendered it almost a second nature ! 

It would be some mitigation of the pernicious 
consequences of factitious allurements or compe- 
tition, if it failed only as an auxiliary, without 
cherishing the bad qualities of covetousness, envy, 
pride, and ambition, seducing from the path of 
duty and happiness, silencing the voice of con- 
science, and leading to a train of evils, which at 
length terminates in revenge, violence, and in that 
most dreadful of all the scourges of mankind, War. 

" War, Famine, Pest, Volcano, Storm, and Fire, 
Intestine Broils, Oppression, with her heart 
Wrapt up in triple brass, besiege mankind. 
God's image, disinherited of day. 
Here, plung'd in Mines, forgets a sun was made ; 
There, beings, deathless as their haughty lord, 

E 



38 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

Are hammer'd to the galling Oar for life, 

And plough the winter ^s wave and reap despair. 

Some for hard masters, broken under ai'ms, 

In battle lopp'd away, with half their limbs 

Beg bitter bread through realms their valour sav'd. 

If so the tyrant or his minion doom,* 

Want and incurable Disease (fell jmir ♦) 

On hopeless multitudes remorseless seize 

At once, and make a refuge of the grave. 

How groaning Hospitals eject their dead I 

What numbers groan for sad admission there ! 

What numbers once, in Fortune's lap high fed, 

Solicit the cold hand of Charity — 

To shock us more, solicit it in vain!" 



* No tyrant, the most heartless and cruel, ever inflicted 
such an extent of suffering* and appalling* misery on the 
human race as the present unchristian system, which, like 
an overwhelming' incubus, weighs down in sorrow 
a despairing and broken-hearted people. A despot might 
be dethroned with some chance of an enlightened and 
humane successor; but what hope exists when rulers 
and theorists assure the working classes, surrounded by a 
profusion of wealth produced by their own industry, that 
their privations are inseparable from a commercial system, 
and the professors of religion pronounce their hard lot the 
dispensation of an over-ruling Providence, to be borne 
without a murmur ? We too exhort the industrious classes 
to "do their duty in that state of life in which it has 
pleased God to call them ;'^ and the most imperative of all 
their duties is that of pntitioning Parliament to abolish the 
premature and unhallowed employment of children of a 
tender age,, often of feeble constitutions, and to devise 
measures more conducive to the welfare and happiness of 
the people, and more in accordance with the spirit of Christ- 
ianity. The cheap postage was a great boon, and, like 
many other legislative acts, extorted by numerous petitions ; 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 39 

Again, Consistency would be sacrificed should 
the rules prescribed and the practices sanctioned 
be at variance with the precepts and doctrines 
of Keligion. To the question — ^^ What is thy 
duty towards God?" the child replies, '' My duty 
towards God is to believe in Him, to fear Him, 
and to love Him with all my heart, with all my 
mind, with all my soul, and with all my strength." 
Here is expressed, in forcible language, the deep- 
est feelings of reverence and love — ^motives to 
exertion the most pure and exalted, calculated 
to raise the fallen nature of man, to emancipate 
him from his present degradation and misery, 
to curb his passions, to call into exercise his 
higher faculties, and to enlist them in the service 
of his Maker* 

In conformity with the grateful duties of 



but what are all their benefits put together, compared to 
measures that will diminish the severity of toil, remove 
distress, and dispense the bounties of Providence upon 
principles of equity and justice ? Here, then, is a peaceful 
but powerful and irresistible mode of achieving a benign 
and glorious reform, one which the ministers of religion 
will benevolently and zealously advance. Can there be an 
object more worthy the simultaneous efforts of a great 
empire ? Can there be a more sacred duty for Christians 
of every denomination than that' of raising a degraded 
people, and rescuing those innocent victims, young children, 
sacrificed to Mammon and to a barbarous policy, the disgrace 
of an enlightened age 1 



40 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

religion, the following would be fully understood 
and undeviatingly adhered to as a sacred obli- 
gation : — 

THE CHILD BORN IN THIS COLONY MOST WEAK 
OR DEFICIENT, BODILY OR MENTALLY, SHALL BE- 
COME AN OBJECT OF THE GREATEST SOLICITUDE 
AND ATTENTION.* 

The same principle would be acted upon 
through all the gradations of weakness and of 
power, the more vigorous in body and mind 
assisting and advancing the weak and imbecile. 
Those of first-rate ability would soon be re- 
cognised, and their superiority tacitly acknow- 
ledged. Their conduct, regulated by the principle 
of love to God and man, would be responded to 
by the sympathies of the Colony, whose welfare 
was the chief object of all their exertions. Their 
own wishes would be anticipated, and more would 
be yielded spontaneously than they would be in- 
clined to accept, and more than they would have 
gained had they stipulated for any other rewards 
than those which the Deity has annexed to well- 
doing, and which cannot be exceeded in solid 
advantages and permanent pleasure ; those nearer 
to them in ability would also be more useful than 
others, but only so far as their moral feelings 

* " Hoc maxime officii est, ut quisque maxime opis indigeat, 
ita ei potissimum opitulari." — Cicero. 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 41 

were commensurate with their intellectual powers 
or their superior skill. Descending in the scale, 
let us consider the condition of the more imbecile ; 
being treated with uniform kindness and judg- 
ment, they would be more docile and more su^ 
ceptible of improvement ; looldng up with grati- 
tude to their protectors, the duties assigned to 
them would be cheerfully . performed ; what 
little talent they possessed would be improved 
and turned to the best account, while the more 
highly-gifted would themselves make greater 
progress by the habit of imparting knowledge. 

As man, in the Divine Exemplar of Christianity, 
iSnds an unerring rule of life for his personal 
conduct, so has the great Apostle, in the descrip- 
tion of a true church, furnished an unerring 
standard for the societies of men : — 

" That there should be no schism in the body ; but 
that the members should have the same care one for 
another. And whether one member suffer, all the 
members suffer with it ; or one member be honoured, 
all the members rejoice with it." 

However diJEcult it may be for men, either 
individually or collectively, to attain a high de- 
gree of excellence, it would be altogether im- 
possible without a corresponding elevation in end 
and aim. Hitherto we have travelled in a wrong 
direction, seeking and contending for wealth as 
E 2 



42 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

the means of securing ephemeral objects ; we are 
therefore unprepared, without previous discipline, 
to enter upon a nobler enterprise. 

To attempt to amalgamate the different classes 
of society with their uncongenial feelings and 
habits, their conflicting interests and varied 
pursuits, would be altogether chimerical ; we 
must therefore adopt some modified arrangements 
for one class only — the unemployed of the work- 
ing class — and, avoiding those obstructions that 
have hitherto impeded the progress of moral 
improvement, endeavour to build up by degrees a 
more Christian community. 

^ As none can be responsible for evils which 
have been the growth of ages, it may be ex- 
pected that all of every sect and party will, by 
their intelligence or their wealth, assist the clergy 
and the ministers of different religious denomina- 
tions, in providing a permanent relief for the 
destitute of their respective congregations, by 
promoting establishments similar to the Self- 
supporting Institution described in the following 
Prospectus, wliich was drawn up at Exeter-Hall 
by a Committee on which were some distinguished 
Clergymen, and is here presented without any 
alteration; but when the Committee has been 
enlarged and strengthened, by the accession of 
those accustomed to employ and direct large 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 43 

bodies of men, it is proposed to revise the Pro- 
spectus. One important alteration, among others, 
has been suggested, and very generally approved, 
viz. : — That after a permanent provision has been 
made for the Church and for the Schools, the 
surplus should thenceforward be devoted to the 
repayment of the capital, and the inmates thereby 
raised into joint proprietors, since, by the time 
that object was effected, they would have acquired 
sufficient information and experience, with moral 
and religious discipline, for the Institution to be 
Self-governed, as well as Self-supporting. 

It is of course competent to other Eeligious 
denominations to adopt the same economical 
arrangements, and it is hoped that none will be 
deterred from giving earnest attention to the 
general principle of Association for mutual aid, in 
consequence of any defect, real or supposed, in the 
Prospectus, but that in every district, meetings 
will be held by those who are struck with the 
numerous evils and unchristian tendency of com- 
petition, for the purpose of forming some modified 
plan more congenial with their own views of the 
exigencies of the times, more effectual as a 
remedy for the destitute and demoralised condition 
of the people, and better calculated to restore 
peace and order to their distracted country. 



44 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 



PROSPECTUS. 

SELF-SUPPORimG INSTITUTION FOR THREE 
HUNDRED FAMILIES. 

Since the attention of the Legislature was more 
particularly called to the condition of the people 
by the Bishop of London in Parliament, in the 
year 1839, the various accounts and reports of 
their distresses, especially in the manufacturing 
districts, have continued to be at least equally 
afflicting. 

The frequent recurrence, and sometimes long 
continuance, of privation and suffering, and that 
too in periods of abundance, and when scientific 
power has contributed to increase rapidly and in 
superfluity the comforts and conveniences of life, 
is an evil for which a remedy should be sought, 
and which demands the persevering inquiry and 
exertion of Christians until that remedy be found 
and applied. 

As one mode of improving the condition of the 
people, it is proposed to form, in the centre of an 
adequate extent of land (not less than one thousand 
a<jres), arrangements, in connexion with the 
Church of England, in which, under efficient 
direction, three hundred families may be enabled, 
by the produce of their own labour, not only to 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 45 

support themselves, but to defray the expenses of 
the Establishment. In these expenses would be 
included the interest of Capital advanced. 

The chief employment of the congregated 
body w^ould be agriculture, combined, at the discre- 
tion of the Committee of Management, with handi- 
craft and mechanical pursuits. 

It is in contemplation to take the land required 
on a long lease, for 30, 40, or 50 years, the more 
considerable portion of it uncultivated, reserving 
the power of purchasing within 20 years, upon the 
rental agreed on, at a sum not exceeding 25 years' 
purchase.* 

The cost of the Institution may be estimated 
as follows : — 

300 Cottages, each containing 4 rooms, at £75 £22,500 

Furnishing Apartments for 300 Families . 3,600 

Church 3,000 

Houses for Clergyman and Director . . 3,000 

Lecture-room, Dining-hall, and Kitchen . 2,000 



Carried forward . . . £34,100 

* In a thousand acres of land there is a capability, by 
excess of labour beyond the averag-e of that generally 
employed by the farmer, of yielding- a gross produce of from 
£18,000 to £40,000 a-year. The evidence of this may be 
found in the " Labourers' Friend Magazine" for November, 
1841, p. 165 ; Colonel Crighton's " Memoirs," &c. ; indeed, the 
amount in one instance quoted by him would be £44,888 
per annum. See also Burn's " Letter on Emigration," p. 
188— where it appears that upwards of £42 per acre were 
produced on down land at Brighton by spade cultivation. 



46 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

Brought forward . . . £34,100 
Schools, Store-houses, Infirmary, with Dwellings for 

Schoolmasters and Mistresses, Surgeon, &c. 4,000 

Fitting up School-rooms and Lecture-room . 200 

Secretary's Residence, Committee-room, and Lodging 

for Strangers and Visiting Committee . . 2,000 

Fitting up Secretary's and Committee-room . 100 

Farming Establishment, including Bailiflf's House, 

Stabling, &c 3,000 

Workshops, Tools, Apparatus, &c. . . . 2,000 

Fitting up Infirmary ..... 200 

„ Kitchen 200 

Total . . . . . . £45,800 



To the said outlay of £45,800, add for food 
and clothing for the first year £14,200, thus 
making the total capital required £60,000, which 
amount it is proposed to raise in Shares of £20 
each, and by Loans and Donations. 

It appears from Mr. Eickman's Population 
Tables, that in 1,200 persons, co-existing in the 
county of Surrey, there is an average of — 

318 individuals, male and female, under 10 years of age. 
127 „ „ from 10 to 15 „ 

680 „ „ „ 15 to 60 „ 

75 „ „ „ 60 and upwards. 

1,200 

In the following estimate of the value of the 
labour of 1,200 persons, that of the children under 
10 years is not taken into account; the labour of 
8 of the second class, 19 of the third, and 5 of the 
fourth, engaged in domestic purposes, being 32 ; 
and also 5 of the second, 20 of the third, and 10 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 47 

of the fourtli, being 35, are supposed to be inef- 
fective, tbrougb indisposition and other causes. 

114 persons from 10 to 15, at 4s. per week £1,185 12 

641 „ 15 to 60, 10s. „ 16,666 

60 „ 60 & upwards 5s. „ 780 



815 £18,631 12 

From which must be deducted — 

Stipend for Clergyman . . . £300 

Salaries 750 

Interest on £60,000, at 5 per cent . 3,000 

Rent of Land 750 

Food and Clothing for 300 families, 

or 1,200 persons* . . . 9,360 

Taxes and Contingencies . . . 300 14,460 



Leaving a balance of . . £4,171 12 

Each person, besides being engaged more or 
less in agriculture, the main pursuit, shall also be 
employed in that kind of work for which he is 
best qualified. 

As these arrangements will afford, by means 
of classification, the best opportunity of directing 
each species of talent or labour to its most con- 
genial occupation, a larger amount of productions 
would be realised than under a system where pe- 
culiar talent or skill can rarely find its appropriate 
sphere of action, and where, in the absence of a 



* The economical advantages of a plan of combined pro- 
duction and consumption upon a large scale, it is well known, 
are most extrordinary, in consequence of the great saving in 
the various profits and carriages. 



48 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

wise economy of time and labour, the industry of 
many is so ill-directed as to produce no real 
wealth, while thousands are totally unemployed. 

It being the object of this plan to raise the 
moral and religious character of the people, the 
production of wealth must not only be subordinate, 
but subservient, to that important end. Hence, 
in these arrangements, the reasonable comforts 
of all parties are considered; involving thereby 
a larger outlay than would be required if the 
object were merely commercial. 

The advantages to be enjoyed by the inmates 
would be the following : the best of food (in their 
own cottages, if preferred), comfortable clothing 
and habitations, good education for their children, 
with leisure for rational recreation and improve- 
ment, either in the Institution or elsewhere. 
Should it be thought desirable, each family might 
be allowed, at the end of the year, some additional 
recompense according to circumstances, and at the 
discretion of the Committee. Any individual will 
be at liberty to withdraw upon giving three 
months' notice. 

The surplus might be applied for the first few 
years to an Endowment for the Church, to a per- 1 
manent provision for the schools, and subsequently 
to the promotion of Christian and philanthropic 
objects, as may be hereafter determined. 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 49 

In tliis Institution labour will be aided, rather 
than superseded or depreciated : all employment 
will become subservient to moral and religious 
improvement ; and the Clergyman, Directors, and 
Committee of Management will act as the Christ- 
ian advisers and friends of the families in all that 
regards their eternal and temporal interests. 

The Clergyman to be nominated by the Direc- 
tors for the approval of the Bishop of the Diocese 
in which the Institution shall be established. 

No advances will be required until the whole 
of the shares are taken, or such portion of them 
as appears sufficient to warrant a commencement 
of the undertaking, when a general meeting of the 
Shareholders will be convened for the purpose of 
electing a Committee. 



The note in the Prospectus regarding the pro- 
ductive power of land under Spade or improved 
cultivation, has been sometimes questioned ; it 
refers, however, to undoubted authorities, and we 
now add a paragraph from a respectable journal 
of November, 1843, describing a much larger 
profit : — 

" Extraordinary Produce. — On three and one 
quarter acres, on Ghat Moss, near Manchester, and only 
reclaimed some three or four years ago, there have been 



50 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

dug up this season 595 loads of potatoes of 252 pounds 
each load, equal to 67 ^ tons, and worth fully £2 14s. 
per ton. The weight of the crop appears to have been 
within a few pounds of 68 tons, and, at the price stated, 
would yield upwards of £183, or more than £56 per 
acre." 



By following the course dictated by Religion, 
not only will the more truly valuable and enduring 
advantages of society be realised, but more of 
wealth, commonly so called, will be created (in- 
cluding the productions of genius, of philosophy, 
and the fine arts), as a consequence, than under a 
system in which it is made an exclusive object. 

To illustrate the foregoing position, we will 
contrast the present with the proposed mode of 
employing about three hundred families, and their 
general condition. 

At present the 1,200 persons flock to a newly- 
erected cotton mill, in the neighbourhood of which 
no convenient dwellings may be found; compelled 
to pay exorbitant rent for damp cellars and dreary 
garrets, unhealthy and dilapidated, they are 
scattered about without either schools for their 
children or places of worship. Among their num- 
ber would be found the average proportion of 
superior native skill and talent, which, if properly 
developed, would enable each possessor to earn 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 51 

several guineas per week ; but all are reduced to 
nearly one common and miserable rate of wages, not 
exceeding that which would be paid to an idiot, who 
could attend to some mechanical operation. Occa- 
sionally work, through badness of trade, is long 
suspended, or the establishment may altogether 
fail ; all parties are disappointed and again dis- 
persed; the employer is defeated in his only object, 
that of pecuniary gain, and the employed not only 
continue destitute of intellectual, moral, and reli- 
gious culture, but are deprived of the small pit- 
tance which barely sustained life. If their 
superior talents lie for ever buried, their ordinary 
powers as workmen are deteriorated or wasted 
through excessive toil or improvident habits, and 
society incurs a still further loss in the necessity 
for constabulary force and prisons, induced by the 
neglect of one of the most imperative of its 
Christian duties, a regard for the condition of the 
people. 

In the Self-supporting Institution, having for 
its end and primary object the moral and religious 
training of the people, Christianity will be always in 
the ascendant, directing, and incorporated with, all 
the proceedings. The people will not be permitted 
to wander about the country in search of the 
bread that perisheth, willing to work but unable 
to find employment. Constant occupation will be 



52 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

regarded as indispensably necessary to their well- 
being and improvement. Great or peculiar talents, 
recognised as a gift of Providence for the good of 
society at large, will be aided and exercised 
accordingly. 

The general principles, and their results in prac- 
tice, were illustrated on the following occasion : — 

The Author, having been requested by a mem- 
ber of the Government at Rome to explain the 
difference between the principle of the Self-sup- 
porting Villages, or Christian Colonies, and that 
of the Institutions of society in general through- 
out Europe, presented, on the 16th of April, 1847, 
the subjoined paper, which was laid before the 
Pope, and also before the Agricultural Commision, 
presided over by Cardinal Massimo. It is now 
reprinted, in the hope that other Religious Deno- 
minations may be induced to issue Proposals for 
establishing, for such families of their respective 
Congregations as may require them. Institutions 
similar to the ^^ Church of England Self-support- 
ing Village," in which it is intended that all secular 
affairs should be subordinated to, and in harmony 
with, those important duties of individuals and of 
Societies enjoined by Religion, and so eminently 
conducive to general improvement and happiness. 

" That which peculiarly distinguishes the proposed 
Christian colony from the constitution of society in 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 53 

general; is the power which it affords of maintaining 
the supremacy of Religion, not only in theory and in 
precept, and in framing the laws and regulations, but 
in spirit and in truth, by suppressing or prohibiting all 
institutions, practices, and influences calculated to im- 
pair the love of God and man, as the ruling principle 
of action -, thereby strengthening the motives to good 
conduct, and discouraging every temptation to evil, and 
more especially by rigidly excluding Competition and 
a spirit of rivalry. 

^' It is this pernicious principle of Competition that 
has been the great impediment, both in Catholic and 
Protestant countries, to the existence and diffusion of 
vital Christianity. It has perpetuated war, and left 
Christian Europe little to rejoice in from any diminur. 
tion of its barbarous conflicts since the ambitious con- 
quests of Pagan Rome. It has perverted the blessings 
of peace, and inflicted misery upon the people, no less 
fatal to their general improvement and happiness than 
the scourges of war, and it is the chief cause of the 
present famine. 

^^ If Europe has the power, as no one can doubt, 
of producing food in superabundance, and of laying up a 
store t)f three or four years' supply for all its popula- 
tion, to guard against the consequences of bad harvests, 
why has it not been done ? Because competition limits 
production to the market demand, and the market 
demand is limited, not by the actual wants of the 
people, but by their inability to purchase. 

^'If the wants of a neighbourhood require 1,000 
quarters of corn, and 1,200 quarters are brought to 
market, there is a competition among the sellers, in 
order that they may not be the holders of the 200 



54 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

quarters unsold, and the prices fall ; if, on the contrary^ 
800 quarters only are hroug'ht to the market, there is a 
competition among* the buyers, that they may not be 
among-st those who are left destitute, and the prices 
rise. 

" It is this uncertainty, under a system of compe- 
tition, of obtaining a remunerating price, that limits 
the growth of corn and the quantity of all useful 
productions. 

^^ When the destitute people are organised in 
communities, or Christian colonies, upon the principle 
of the celebrated Reductions in Parag-uay, but with 
such modifications as an European population might 
require for the further advance of mankind in religion 
and 'virtue, and for the greater and more beneficial 
progress of science, the uncertainty of markets will 
cease, as the communities in different localities will 
adopt a system of exchange, and their mutual wants 
will be for several years anticipated." 

As all wealth is created by the labour of the 
people, it follows that a vast amount is produced 
beyond that which is returned to them in the shape 
of wages, or what they themselves consume ; and 
the store-houses being amply supplied for some 
years in advance, they will no longer be exposed 
to the contingencies of markets or the vicissitudes 
of seasons.* 

* " Hosiery and Lace Trade. — A sort of electric shock 
has taken place in the warp lace trade, by the cessation of 
work at the factory of Messrs. Herbert and Sneath, for one 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 55 

Before we describe the great advantages, sepa- 
rate and combined, to be derived from these insti- 
tutions, the grounds on which a considerable sur- 
plus may be calculated upon shall be stated. In 
the first place, there is a material saving in the 
food. At present the price of bread is increased 
by six or seven different profits and carriages, from 
the growth of the corn till it reaches the consumer; 
similar expenses, though in a less degree, enhance 
the price of meat also, as well as vegetables : here 
the corn is grown and converted into bread, and 
the cattle, sheep, and pigs are reared upon the 
spot. The hides and skins would undergo the 



month. This suspension of labour has arisen entirely from 
a want of demand for warp lace tatting:, and not from being- 
superseded by bobbin net tattings, which are extremely dull 
sale. Indeed, the era for slop nets seems passing away. The 
public following French fashions, the rage is for French 
cushion nets ; and sooner or later the ministry will be com- 
pelled to go back to the ' Pitt' trade s^^stem, by protecting 
British industry. The cotton-hose trade, particularly full- 
fashioned work, is in a very depressed state. The only bran- 
ches that may be said now to be in a flourishing* state are 
India rubber welted gloves, and steam bobbin nets. The 
bobbin net trade in Calais is extremely flat, though wages 
are higher than in Nottingham ; indeed, machine fancy 
nets in every country except Germany are on the wane* 
The application of the Jacquard may yet retrieve this im- 
portant branch of manufacture." This paragraph appeared 
in the Nottingham Journal of July, 1840, and is one of the 
ordinary Trade Reports, showing to what precarious con- 



56 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

usual processes at the Institution, in preparing 
the leather for shoes, bookbinding, and harness- 
making. There would be the same economy in 
almost every article manufactured ; for instance, 
if books were printed, the paper and ink could be 
made, the type cast, and the books bound at the 
Institution : those articles, now sent from one 
establishment to another in the course of manu- 
facture, would be completed from the raw materials 
at the Institution. 

Another source of economy would be found 
amid the great variety of work, in giving suitable 
employment even to the weak and to the aged, 
who require it as an amusement, so that no power 



tingencies the well-being" of the working classes is exposed, in 
despite of their own prudence and industry. Excellent ar- 
rangements may be made for the education of their children, 
but are neutralised by the caprice of a Parisian lady, who 
all at once prefers "cushion nets," which may compel hundreds 
of famihes to break up and depart. Thousands must remain 
idle and penniless because there was no demand for " warp 
lace tatting,'' and " the era for slop nettings seems to be passing 
away." The people in the " cotton-hose trade" may want 
bread, but as the public do not want " full-fashioned work," 
they must go without ! The glimmering of light imparted 
through a limited education enables them to perceive that 
they belong to the beings referred to when repeating the 
words of the Psalmist : " Thou hast made him a little lower 
than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and 
honour ;" and yet they find themselves less cared for by 
their fellow-creatures than even dogs and horses. 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 57 

would be lost; but this belongs ratber to tbe 
advanced state of a Cbristian Commonwealth. 

At present three hundred families have as 
many persons preparing their dinner ; eight or 
ten would be sufficient. At hay-making and' in 
harvest it is often difficult to procure hands; 
nearly the whole establishment could assist, so 
that not only a division, but a concentration, of 
labour would be available.* 

It will be observed in the Prospectus, that the 
value of the labour of an able-bodied man is put 
at the minimum, and yet a surplus appears of 
more than £4,000. The following document has 
been signed by eight young men in one village, 
who now earn per week — two, 21s. ; one, 14s. ; 
one, 17s. ; two, 27s. ; one, 40s. ; one, 42s. ; and 
we are informed that hundreds, earning an equal 



* Scarcely a year passes but multitudes of the poorer 
Irish cross the Channel, and spread themselves over the 
island in search of employment. Some years since, when 
the hay-making" in the neighbourhood of London was de- 
layed by the weather, numbers were in great destitution ; 
near Acton two were found dead in a ditch, two more were 
found in the parish of Wilsden in the same situation, and a 
fifth was found dead near Hampstead ; no sustenance what- 
ever was found in their stomachs, excepting some sorrel. 
If Self-supporting Institutions were formed in Ireland, the 
peasantry would remain at home to get in their own harvest, 
and agitation would speedily terminate. 



58 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

average of wages, would willingly join an Institu- 
tion apon the same conditions : — 

'' We, the undersigned, having heen informed that 
the three hundred families composing the Self-support- 
ing Institution in connexion with the Church of 
England, will consist of respectable moral characters, 
possessing the average of strength and industry, should 
be wilHng to join such an Institution, and to conform 
to the Christian Regulations of taking care of those 
members who may hereafter become weak or inefficient 
through the infirmities of age, or from any other 
cause ; and we further consent to receive equal advan- 
tages only with those of inferior skill or activity, 
provided they manifest a disposition to contribute as 
much as they are able to the welfare and prosperity 
of the estabHshment." 

The horticultural and botanic gardens will yield 
much profit, and be interesting to strangers. At 
the Anniversary, with an horticultural exhibition, 
many plants, flowers, as well as works of art 
made during the year, would be sold, especially 
at the first establishments : but all these would be 
on constant sale to visitors, at a depot abundantly 
supplied. At the Anniversary a Report might be 
read, giving a summary of the progress of the 
Institution, and another of the state of the Schools, 
accompanied with an examination ; vocal and 
instrumental music, and various gymnastic exer- 
cises and recreations, chiefly for the children, 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 59 

might render the scene highly attractive, and draw 
a large assemblage. 

The Shareholders, or those who had lent 
money, would open an account at the Institution, 
and their purchases would probably much exceed 
the interest of their advances. When several 
Institutions are formed, they will exchange their 
surplus produce with each other, according to their 
mutual wants and their respective localities, so 
that money, as a medium of exchange, will neither 
be required within the establishment, nor to any 
great extent in external transactions.* 

The economical advantages of such a combina- 
tion are so ob\aous and so well illustrated by the 
numerous Associations for escaping evils to which 
all are liable under the present system, that it can 
scarcely be necessary to dwell upon them. The 
objects of Benefit Societies — for burial, for allow- 



* Some have objected, that as the Institution would be 
oblig-ed to contend with the competition of the g-eneral 
market, our principle of non-competition could not be main- 
tained ; but this difficulty, thoug-h for a short time unavoid- 
able, would be surmounted as the Institutions became more 
numerous. This reminds us of another charg-e of incon- 
sistency. It is said, that as the officers of the Self-support- 
ing Institution receive salaries, there cannot be an equal 
participation in the benefits of the estabHshment ; but the 
officers form no part of the Institution, and are not entitled 
to share in the ulterior advantages and proprietary. 



60 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

ance in illness, support in old age, proprietary- 
schools, and Insurance companies — are all better 
secured, and accompanied with great moral ad- 
vantages, without any expensive machinery, by 
the Self-supporting Institution. Whatever Ee- 
formers are seeking to promote, from the Church 
Building and Bible Societies down to the advo- 
cates of Universal Suffrage, would be more 
speedily, effectually, and safely advanced by these 
Institutions. 

MANAGEMENT. 

Difficult, as it may at first appear, to conduct 
these establishments to a successful issue, a more 
complete acquaintance with -the subject will de- 
monstrate, that when the various qualifications 
abounding in society are enlisted in the several 
departments of the Institution, it will be easily 
accomplished. So great also is the difference in 
managing reluctant or willing workmen; those 
who think only of their own wages, or those who 
will derive not only present but future benefits 
from the work done, that, surrounded by congenial 
influences, it is more probable labour would 
require rather to be restricted than stimulated. 
As General Directors, having the same relation 
to the Institutions as the Directors of Eailroad 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 61 

Companies to the Officers, the most competent 
would be found among the merchants and manu- 
facturers, especially those connected with several 
large establishments, and accustomed to compre- 
hensive arrangements ; they would soon be able 
to select managers and assistant managers from 
among the inmates. 

The Committee should have the power of ex- 
pelling any incorrigible member : the necessity for 
this extreme measure, however, might be decided 
by a jury chosen from the general body of the 
inmates, who would have the chief interest in the 
preservation of order. 

When the people are treated with justice and 
humanity, and trained to what is right, there will 
be little need of correction ; but a Governor would 
be necessary in adjusting any little differences 
that might arise, and in promoting harmony ; but 
he would act more as guardian and friend to the 
inmates, and would prove a suitable coadjutor to 
the Clergyman. 

The precision — the drilling — the cleanliness, 
and personal carriage enforced in the army, are 
not without a moral effect hitherto counteracted 
and perverted ; and there are many reasons why 
Governors should be sought in the army. The 
British Officer, to the advantages of a superior 
practical education, unites a high sense of honour 
a 



62 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

and of justice, and from his professional experience 
has derived other important qualifications : exact 
in discipline, but courteous in demeanour, accus- 
tomed to forethought and to form extensive com- 
binations, he has acquired from an intercourse 
with foreign nations a knowledge of mankind and 
of the institutions of other countries. Among the 
military are many men of extraordinary talent and 
great energy, but at present without any sphere 
of active exertion ; a stern necessity has hitherto 
compelled them to share in the devastation of the 
fairest provinces, and in the conflagration of towns 
and ^dllages : their ardour and enthusiasm would 
be no less conspicuous in a field of enterprise more 
congenial to their elevated character. 

Much of the details must be left to the Com- 
mittees of the different Institutions ; we attempt 
rather to offer suggestions than to propose any per- 
manent regulations, which experience will best 
decide; but with regard to those principles that 
in general insure success in commercial under- 
takings, let us consider how far they are likely to 
be brought into operation. Discipline, punctuality, 
and order, good habits, and, above all, a sense of 
duty ; the vigilant superintendence of a master or 
subordinates, having authority, and who are paid 
according to the pecuniary result. Now, all hav- 
ing the same interest as a master, all are losers 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 63 

by the idleness or negligence of any individual 
member, who would thus have the eyes of so many 
masters upon him ; and with regard to the forma- 
tion of good habits and the exercise of the consci- 
entious motives, we shall, under the head of 
'^ Moral and Religious Improvement," show that 
notliing will be neglected, as far as human means 
can foster right principles of conduct. But until 
the members are actuated by higher motives, and 
a better spirit engendered, there is the same se- 
curity for good conduct as obtains in other large 
establishments — the railroad stations, offices under 
Government, and all public institutions, where the 
duties are performed with the greatest regularity. 
The officers are liable to expulsion for any negli- 
gence, and as the advantages of a situation, which 
so many are seeking, induce punctuality and at- 
tention, much more influential will be the fear of 
losing the benefits of a position of infinitely greater 
value. 

MEMBERS. 

There will be more difficulty in the management 
of the Incipient Institutions than after experience 
has been gained, and it may therefore be necessary 
to select the families, who will be chosen by the 
Committee according to their capabilities, and the 



64 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

local and other circumstances connected with the 
establishment. It might be desirable to avoid 
any manufacture that would absorb a large num- 
ber of hands, and confine the employment to every 
variety of handicraft work ; besides their Agricul- 
tural occupation, to that of Wheelwrights, Coach 
and Cart Building, Tanning, Printing, Bookbind- 
ing, &c., &c. It will be seen by the Prospectus 
that the members are under no more restraint 
than other working men inhabiting isolated dwell- 
ings and lodgings, since the privacy of their cot- 
tages will be equally respected : the hours devoted 
to the establishment need not be oppressive, and 
when terminated, the members will be at liberty 
to go where they please ; at the same time, there 
will be Lectures, Eeading-rooms, and Music, and 
in the summer Cricket, Botanic Gardens, and 
other recreations. There are no separate dormi- 
tories for children, who would be under the care 
of their parents, and even orphans should be 
placed with the widows, or couples having no 
children of their own, in order that they might 
have the benefit of a domestic, with that of a 
general education. Whether families, wishing 
to withdraw after due notice, should be allowed 
any share of the surplus before the original outlay 
had been paid ofi*, and the inmates raised into 
shareholders, is a question chiefly interesting to 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 65 

the inmates themselves, as the proprietors would 
only receive the interest of their capital until it 
was repaid. Arrangements might be made for the 
inmates in rotation to visit their friends at a 
distance. 

MORAL AND EELIGIOUS IMPROVEMENT. 

Moral and religious improvement being the 
paramount object of the Institution, the ordinances 
of religion should of course be attended by all ; 
when a christening took place, the minister would 
probably explain the nature and importance of the 
rite; if two or three occurred on the same day, 
some rural festival might commemorate the event. 
The funeral would be attended by the congrega- 
tion, as at the Moravian settlements, when the 
Pastor delivers a suitable address, and music, 
vocal and instrumental, of an appropriate charac- 
ter, adds to the solemnity of the scene. Such a 
ceremony would produce an impressive and salu- 
tary eflfect upon the children as well as upon their 
parents. Some Clergymen have proposed a 
shorter service for children ; at present they go to 
the Sunday-school at nine, remain till eleven, and 
then attend the Church till one o'clock : in all, 
four successive hours. There would be a numerous 
band of Sunday-school Teachers, and it has been 
G 2 



66 THE CHKISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

suggested that if ten or twelve young men in 
training for the Missionary cause, were to reside 
in the Establishment, their presence would be 
useful as examples of good conduct, and they 
would themselves acquire much practical know- 
ledge ; the Normal Schools might also be formed 
in the jSrst establishments, especially if a model 
Institution were commenced in each diocese. The 
parents having regular employment, and in the 
absence of beer-shops and other pernicious excite- 
ments, would co-operate with, rather than counter- 
act, the efforts of the Clergyman, and the Schools 
would not be neglected upon trivial pretences. 
It is in the facilities afforded for training the 
rising generation, that the unspeakable advantages 
and blessings of the Christian Commonwealth 
will be most conspicuous ; when parents, no longer 
compelled entirely to resign to the hands of a 
stranger the most sacred and delightful of their 
duties, will rejoice in participating in the import- 
ant work of instruction. The wealth-creating 
division of labour has hitherto robbed the mother 
of a task for which by nature she is pre-eminently 
qualified, since the first agent in the work of educa- 
tion is the affection of the mother. How many of 
the greatest characters have traced their success 
in life, to the virtuous emotions first aroused by 
a mother! while too many, alas, of those who 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 67 

have gone astray, have bitterly lamented the early 
negligence of their parents. A writer beautifully 
remarks, that *^ A man's mother is the represen- 
tative of his Maker. Misfortune and even crime 
set up no barriers between her and her son. Whilst 
his mother lives, he will have one friend on earth 
who will not listen when he. is slandered, who will 
not desert him when he suffers, who will solace 
him when in sorrow, and speak to him of hope 
when he is ready to despair. Her affection knows 
no ebbing tide ; it flows on, from a pure fountain, 
spreading happiness through all this vale of tears, 
and ceases only at the ocean of eternity.'' Surely 
for no common object could such a principle have 
been implanted in the human breast, but rather 
for some high and holy purpose : that this solici- 
tude will one day become an unfailing and power- 
ful instrument in moral training and intellectual 
advancement, it is delightful to contemplate. 
Archbishop Tillotson observes — 

" It requires great wisdom and industry to advance 
a considerable estate ; much art, and contrivance, and 
pains to raise a great and regular building: but the 
greatest and noblest Work in the World, and an effect of 
the greatest prudence and care, is to rear and build up 
a Man, and to form and fashion him to piety, and justice, 
and temperance, and all kind of worthy and honest 
actions. Now the foundations of this great Work are 
to be carefully laid in the tender years of children, 



68' THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

that it may rise and grow up with them according to 
the advice of the Wise Man, ' Train up a child in the 
way he should go, and when he is old he will not 
depart from it.' " 

The large portion of life the human being 
requires to reach maturity, compared with animals 
attaining equal longevity, indicates that his higher 
destiny demands a lengthened preparation to fit 
him for the faithful discharge of his duties ; irre- 
parable is the loss, if any portion of that important 
period is wasted or misapplied. 



MENTAL IMPEOVEMENT. 

Besides the moral influences elevating and 
strengthening the mind, the children would have 
the advantage of daily witnessing, in the various 
workshops, the application of the sciences to the 
arts ; in learning the mechanical laws ; the steam- 
engine and other machines would be resorted to ; and 
in agriculture, each revolving month demanding its 
peculiar operations, would naturally afford interest- 
ing subjects of conversation with the parents, and 
yield a succession of varied and improving attrac- 
tions. Practice would always be at hand to correct 
or illustrate theory ; while knowledge and indus- 
try, so far from being found incompatible, would 
each acquire additional power by a union, condu- 



THE CHRIBTIAN COMMONWEALTH. G9 

ciye to higher qualifications and enjoyment. The 
Sunday-school Teacher, having gained the sym- 
pathy of the children, would be welcomed by their 
parents for an hour three days in the week, to 
converse on the subjects of instruction, in which 
all might join, and thus the parents themselves 
would improve. Popular Lectures by the Clergy- 
man, the Surgeon, Schoolmaster, and others, on 
infant training, and upon the conduct to be ob- 
served towards their children, would advance the 
adults, who would perceive how much, even in the 
improvement of their neighbour's children, they 
were interested, as being the companions of their 
own. 

This growing conviction of parental responsi- 
bility in all that concerns the progress of their 
children, would render the members more guarded 
in their conduct, strengthen conjugal affection, and 
raise the general character of the Institution. A 
new and superior public opinion would be rapidly 
formed, and the best means of improving the rising 
generation would become the most interesting and 
popular subject of inquiry. 

Of all the wonderful phenomena in the wide 
range of creation, none have more forcibly ar- 
rested attention than the beautiful adaptation of 
means to ends. Such has been the ardour with 
which discoveries have been successfully prose- 



70 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

cuted, as well from the desire of gain as in the 
more dignified pursuits of science, and so endless 
the manifestations of design, that the conclusion is 
now formed, that there is no object, however 
worthless in appearance, but has its appropriate 
use and value ; traced in every form of existence, 
these manifestations are most conspicuous in the 
endowments of all sentient beings, for the peculiar 
functions of their nature, but, most especially, in 
that attribute which raises man so pre-eminently 
in the scale of the creation, loudly proclaiming his 
higher destinies, and constituting the image in 
which he was made in the likeness of God. But 
instead of that image being deepened and more 
defined with advancing years, it is to be feared 
that it is less discernible than in the dawn of ex- 
istence. We shall, however, greatly mistake, if 
in consequence of the multitudes who abandon the 
pursuits of Science, when released from the disci- 
pline of the schools, we infer that the desire of 
knowledge, and for higher ends, can never become 
general. The few who escape without an uncon- 
querable aversion to study, are referred to as 
proofs of the excellence of the present system of 
Education, whereas their success is the result of a 
native energy of character, triumphing over need- 
less obstacles that have robbed so many of their 
brightest inheritance. We have the highest au- 



'4 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 71 

thority for confidence in the glorious results of 
right training, and which it requires no penetra- 
tion to perceive has been hitherto imperfectly 
understood, or entirely neglected. Fortunately 
for the youth of these Institutions, the most valu- 
able period of their lives will not be wasted in the 
premature study of ancient or foreign languages :* 
accustomed to useful occupation and manly exer- 
cises, animated by living examples, as well as 
those recorded in history most worthy of imita- 
tion; dwelling amidst the wonders and beauties of 
nature, with kind religious instructors to guide 
their observation, the external world, instead of 
impeding would facilitate the growth of the inner 
man : the sublime and figurative language of the 

* If twenty boys in one of these establishments were 
educated in natural philosophy and the sciences, including* 
mathematics, and all that is interesting" to children, judi- 
ciously and religiously trained, without being" permitted to 
open a Latin grammar until they had attained their 
thirteenth year, and then formed into one class for the study 
of Greek and Latin — ^in four or five years they would be 
found far more accomplished in classical attainments than 
those of the same age who had commenced earlier at any of 
our public schools. Milton's opinions on this subject are 
well known, and that great author, whose elegant Latin 
compositions are so much admired, is not likely to have 
undervalued the ancient classics; nor is the translator of 
Plutarch. ^^ Another principal advantage," says Langhorne 
in the " Life of Plutarch/' " which the ancient mode of the 
Greek education gave its pupils, was their early access to 



72 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

Scriptures would be better understood, more 
highly appreciated, and the divine harmony be- 
tween the Word and the Works of God more 
strikingly displayed. 

Among the variety of talents that would be 
elicited, should there be a youth devoted to Astro- 
nomy, and anxious for an Observatory in the 
benefits of which all would participate; to such an 
object we may suppose nearly the whole of the 
members would lend their assistance, and speedily 
raise one in their leisure hours. Conservatories, 
Local Museums, Schools of Art, as well as philo- 
phical instruments and other aids to science^ would 
soon follow. 

" For man loves knowledge, and the beams of truth 
More welcome touch his understanding's eye, 
Than all the blandishments of sound, his ear, 
Than all of taste, his tongue." 



every branch of philosophical learning". They did not, like 
us, employ their youth in the acquisition of words, they 
were engaged in pursuits of a loftier nature — in acquiring* the 
knowledge of things. They did not, like us, spend seven or 
ten years of scholastic labour in making a general acquaint- 
ance with two dead languages. These years were employed 
in the study of nature, and in gaining the elements of philo- 
sophical knowledge from her original economy and laws." 
The elder D'Israeli observes, " Cato, at eighty, thought proper 
to learn Greek ; and Plutarch, almost as late in his life, Latin. 
Koornbert began at forty to learn the Latin and Greek lan- 
guages, of which he became a master. Ogilby, the translator 
of Homer and Virgil, knew little of Latin and Greek till he 
was past forty." 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 73 



SOME OBJECTIONS TO THE SELF-SUPPOllTING 
INSTITUTION ANSWERED. 

INCREASE OF POPULATION. 

However remiss we may have been in a due 
attention to the wants and the sufferings of the 
present generation, we cannot be accused of indif- 
ference to the fate of future ages ; and the fears of 
a redundancy of population, that have prevailed 
for the last fifty years, have too often stayed the 
hand of benevolence, and reconciled many to the 
existence of misery which was considered irreme- 
diable. The first, I believe, who started this idea 
was "Wallace, in his work on the *' Prospect and 
Numbers of Mankind;" who, after describing the 
wonders that man would achieve, and the happi- 
ness he would enjoy, when correct principles of 
Christian Association were adopted, all at once 
discovered the evils that might ensue from over- 
whelming numbers, and immediately abandoned 
the beautiful fabric he had reared. Mr. Malthus, 
although a man of benevolence, but having little 
sympathy or confidence in the brighter prospects 
of Mr. Wallace, took up the principle of popu- 
lation, and endeavoured, by statistical inquiries 
regarding the progress of different countries, to 

H 



74 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

prove, that if unimpeded by crime, misery, famine, 
or war, the population would double every twenty- 
five years. Aware that the causes of retardation 
which he had pointed out, might by some be consider- 
ed as necesary to ward off a still greater evil, Mr. 
Malthus was earnest in urging attention to what 
he called the Moral Check, and to the necessity 
of instructing all classes as to the inevitable 
consequences of marriages too early contracted. 
Whatever arguments may have been adduced in 
opposition to the various systems which the work 
of Mr. Malthus was intended to refute, and they 
were obnoxious to many, that founded on the 
principle of population was altogether irrelevant, 
unless, instead of admitting the superiority of 
those systems in moral culture, he had found them 
more deficient than the present; for whatever 
tended to improve the moral feelings, to enlarge 
the mind, to make men more observant, not only 
of the immediate, but the more remote, conse- 
quences of their conduct, would render less pro- 
bable any improvident marriages. 

Besides, the proposition that population has a 
tendency to increase beyond the means of existence 
can be applicable to a limited spot only, as those 
employed on agriculture, where there is an adequate 
extent of territory, not only raise food suiEcient 
for themselves, but for all who are not so employed. 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 75 

as well as for exportation : it follows, therefore, 
tliat increase of population is attended with a 
greater proportionable increase in the means of 
production; and this must obtain until all the 
habitable parts of the globe are brought under 
cultivation. 

If, however, the apprehensions of Mr. Malthus 
and his disciples were not altogether groundless — if 
tlie position they had assumed was at all tenable, 
it must then be conceded that their numerical cal- 
culations, according to a paper read by Mr. Hallam, 
at the Statistical Society in 1836, were by no 
means exaggerated. Sir Francis Palgrave having 
found, in his researches amongst some ancient 
documents in the Record Office, an account of the 
population of England at a very early date, and 
which about the year 1080 was taken at one million, 
communicated the information to Mr. Hallam, 
who remarks : — 

" If we suppose the population, at the compilation 
of ^Domesday Book,' about the year 1086, to have been 
one million, and divide the intervening period of 750 
years into thirty portions of twenty-five years each, we 
shall have a geometrical series in which the common 
ratio two, raised to the thirtieth power, and multiplied 
by one million, will give us the population which Eng- 
land would have attained in 1836, on the hypothesis 
that nothing had intervened to obstruct its progress 
more than now obstructs the progress of the United 



76 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

States of America. It is a very easy process^ and I 
found that we should have formed part of a people 
numbering 1,068;852,224,000,000 (one thousand and 
sixty-eight billions, eight hundred and fifty-two thou- 
sand, two hundred and twenty-four millions). Whether 
the proverb, ^ the more the merrier/ would have applied, 
I know not ; but, independently of some other disad- 
vantages, I think we should have been a good deal 
crowded , for, on dividing the above number by that of 
the square yards in England, I found that 5,953 persons 
would have been the complement of each square yard.'' 

Since, therefore, there is so much obscurity 
surrounding this question, we may securely leave 
its solution, and any consequent regulations, to a 
more enlightened generation, when the adoption 
of the right principles of religious training and 
education shall have qualified mankind to legislate 
on the subject with greater wisdom. 



VISIONARY OBJECT. 

Those who are prompt to decide upon subjects 
of philosophy and science, without adequate inves- 
tigation, or upon which their previous pursuits and 
studies render them incompetent to pronounce a 
sound judgment, may be reminded of an article in 
the ^^ British Critic," October, 1808, upon ''An 
Heroic Epistle to Mr. Winsor, the Patentee of the 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 77 

Hydro-carbonic Gas Lights," commencing thus : 
— '^ We hail this effusion as one of the happiest, 
most pointed, and most witty pieces of satire on a 
temporarij delusion^ which has appeared since the 
days of Swift. The individual to whom it is 
addressed, the subject which has engaged his atten- 
tion, the curiosity of the public towards him, and 
their repeated disappointments, are all matters of 
sufficient notoriety/' And even in the ^' Athe- 
naeum," a periodical conducted at that time by 
Dr. Aiken and Mrs. Barbauld, a notice of Winsor's 
Gas Lights concludes as follows: — ^^A friend of 
ours jestingly observed of this project, that it 
would end, as it originated, in smoke ; and we are 
much inclined to be of the same opinion." Let 
us not despise the day of small things, for now, 
after the expiration of forty years, this temporary 
delusion ! this smoke ! is turning night into day 
in all the large towns and cities of Europe and 
America. A short time previous to Winsor's dis- 
covery, this phenomenon was recognised only as 
a flickering flame, designated by the poet as his 
'^ Parlour twilight ;" and what mighty changes 
has not another power accomplished, which the 
same poet described as '^the steaming column 
sent up by the bubbling and loud-hissing urn." 
That power, the energy of which was observed 
only as it raised the lid of a kettle, is now speeding 
H % 



78 THE CHEISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

with amazing rapidity the intercourse of nations, 
and increasing their wealth a hundred-fold; and 
may there not exist a moral power, in its plenitude 
at least, found only in descriptive poetry, but 
competent to produce results far more magnificent? 
There is such a " power, but where shall it be 
sought? Among those who have studied the 
institutions of other countries, who are deeply 
versed in history, and have been most successful 
in antiquarian researches? Have those, whose 
position has enabled them to visit Italy and Greece, 
returned more emulous of ancient wisdom ? Is 
our Senate overflowing with public virtue ? If the 
sight of objects associated with the captivating 
charms of unrivalled Greece were alone sufficient 
to inspire a kindred spirit, our own Museum is 
enriched with the spoils of Athens ; if, when we 
gaze upon those wonderful productions of human 
genius, those breathing marbles, those forms, 
though mutilated, almost instinct with life and 
motion, we were reminded that in the age when 
Phidias wrought, and in the same country, there 
dwelt legislators who knew to mould the human 
mind, we should indeed find ^' sermons in stones, 
and good in everything ;" and the greatest good 
would be that of dispelling the delusion that 
virtue, devotion to the general welfare, and exalted 
sentiment, were the offspring of much knowledge. 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. ^^^^^^^T^^^lHl 

There is not an intelligent well-educated school- 
boy, whose information does not immeasurably 
exceed that of the most celebrated sages of anti- 
quity. Only within two centuries the telescope 
has opened for us overpowering views of the 
vastness of the creation, leaving the whole of the 
solar system a mere speck in the universe, while 
the microscope has revealed myriads of insect 
tribes, invisible without the most powerful instru- 
ments, but possessing organisations so diminutive 
and perfect as to leave the mind in doubt whether 
nature is more wonderful in her minutest or most 
stupendous operations. The four elements of the 
Greeks have been so analysed and subdivided, 
that chemists have discovered fifty-four simple 
bodies or elements, and the more recent pursuits 
of geology have destroyed our former computa- 
tions of the age of the world, and proved an 
antiquity so remote as to confound the old distinc- 
tions of ancient and modern. 

But if science has failed to develop the moral 
power, is it to be found in society at large ? Not 
in the support given to the national schools 
throughout the country ; for — although they may 
be regarded as almost the only hope of rescuing 
some of the rising generation from the dangers 
and profligacy surrounding them, and, notwith- 
standing the masters in some districts are so inad- 



80 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

equately paid that their duties, second only in im- 
portance and responsibility to those of the ministers 
of religion, are discharged amid the distracting 
cares of domestic difficulty — the contributions of 
the rich are little more than the crumbs that fall 
from their luxurious tables. It is not in the 
trifling annual subscription that the moral power 
in question can be found ; neither is it in the 
thousands bequeathed to some charity on the bed 
of death, when wealth can no longer be enjoyed. 
This high moral power may yet be discerned, and 
the poor cottager, in an obscure and lonely village, 
who, guided by religious principle, imparts to a 
still poorer and more afflicted neighbour some 
portion of the scanty pittance, barely sufficient for 
her own subsistence, manifests the power destined 
to accomplish more than all the armies of the 
earth could achieve, more than the most con- 
summate skill in diplomatic art can compass; 
transcending all the learning of the schools, which 
no rhetoric, however brilliant, no elo'quence, 
however persuasive, could reach ; and a power to 
which the statesman a'hd the legislator, after all 
their temporary expedients, nay, after their more 
profound schemes of human policy are exhausted, 
must at length resort : this is no new power, but, 
like that which has performed such wonders in the 
material world, as old as the creation, and like 



I 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 81 

that also, its mighty agency has remained undis- 
covered ; or, lost in the fall of man, its partial 
revival has been permitted from time to time, 
when holy men have arisen, and in their lives 
borne testimony to its truth ; but it was reserved 
for the promulgation of Christianity itself to be 
divinely exemplified by ^' Him who spake as 
never man spake." Why it has since been 
obscured, and, at intervals only, shone forth in 
peculiar characters ; why it has not been permitted 
its due ascendancy in public councils, consecrating 
every institution, and condemning that in nations 
which was denounced in individuals ; why, on the 
one hand, war should be sanctioned, and, on the 
other, forgiveness of injuries enjoined ; why it has 
presided in words and form, and not in spirit and 
in truth, over states and empires, can be known 
only to Him whose ways are past finding out. 



A LEVELLING SYSTEM. 

This is a singular objection — since the inmates 
are to be those only who are destitute, or may 
voluntarily associate ; they are already upon a 
level, the former at the lowest level, and can expe- 
rience no other change than that of rising ; it might, 
with far more propriety, be called an Elevating 



82 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

System, But wliicli is in reality the levelling 
system — that which calls forth latent, appreciates 
and encourages rising, talents, or that which 
made an exciseman of one of our greatest poets? 
— That which clothes the man of distinguished and 
original talent in suitable attire, or that which 
compelled the great moralist to dine behind a 
screen at Cave's, because his dress was too mean 
to sit with theother guests ? — That which calms 
the fears and tranquillises the sensitive youth of 
genius, or that which, by cold neglect and abject 
poverty, drove the unhappy Chatteron to despair 
and suicide ? — That in which the muse of the im- 
mortal Milton will be listened to with delight, and 
the productions of his genius deemed inestimable 
in value, or that which accorded the miserable 
pittance of five pounds for the most sublime of 
Epic Poems, notwithstanding the aged bard was 
blind and in poverty ? — Or, to come to more 
recent times, — that which, by its early and careful 
training, renders the moral worth of the poet as 
unquestionable as the transcendency of his genius, 
or that system which, by the corrupting influence 
of profuse wealth and idle honours, so impaired 
or misdirected the eflbrts of stupendous powers of 
mind as to be compelled to refuse a monument to 
the greatest poet of his day ? — But the corroding 
cares and distractions of poverty have committed 



I 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 83 

the greatest devastation among the sons of genius. 
D'Israeli, in his '' Literary Characters/' after 
relating some anecdotes of the means by which 
Smeaton, Ferguson, and La Caille were emanci- 
pated from the thraldom and afflictions of poverty, 
observes — ^' Thousands of youths have found them- 
selves in parallel situations without experiencing 
their energies ;" and we may add, that most men 
of the greatest natural genius, born in obscurity, 
are lost to society; for although they are more 
sensitively alive to the influence of kind encour- 
agement, so are there none who shrink sooner 
from contact with a cold and unfeeling world. When 
genius shall neither be spoiled by riches and 
flattery, nor depressed by the chills of poverty and 
neglect, but sedulously fostered in a beloved com- 
munity, appreciating its rising talents, and striving 
to enlist them in the service of religion, humanity, 
and science, what may not be achieved imder such 
favourable auspices ! 

That which has really proved the levelling 
system, has been sometimes worse, for while it has 
depressed genius far below zero, it has projected 
into those elevated stations, which should be re- 
served for worth and talent alone, the imbecile and 
the profligate, there to enact deeds of oppression, 
rendering more conspicuous and injurious their bad 
examples, and enlarging their powers of mischief. 



84 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

The equality here sought is described by St. 
Paul : '' For I mean not that other men be eased 
and ye burdened. But by an equality, that now 
at this time your abundance may be a supply for 
their want, that their abundance may be a supply 
for your want : that there may be equality ;" and 
as Wordsworth, one of the most Conservative of 
our poets, sets it forth : — 

" He whose soul 
Ponders this true equality, may walk 
The field of earth with gratitude and hope ! 
Yet in that meditation will he find 
Motive to sadder grief, as we have found. — 
Lamenting ancient virtues overthrown. 
And for the justice grieving, that hath made 
So wide a difference between man and man." 



AN ARTIFICIAL SYSTEM. 

By the term '^artificial" we understand that 
which is not natural : some have maintained that 
whatever is done by man is natural, because he is 
himself a part of nature ; but we do not intend, 
nor is it necessary, to take shelter under that 
subterfuge. 

Man makes an artificial flower, and in what 
respect does it differ from the natural flower ? In 
the natural flower there is a mutual dependence 
in all its parts — the nourishment drawn in by the 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 85 

root, and by the leaves, is conveyed to every 
part, promoting health and coherence through- 
out, so that the root, stem, leaves, and blos- 
soms form one united whole, yielding fragrance 
and beauty. 

The artificial flower, on the contrary, is formed 
of heterogeneous materials — the stem is of wire — 
the leaves and blossoms of muslin, with no con- 
nexion between the component parts, which, unless 
held together by a string, would fall away from 
each other and lie scattered — it has the form and 
semblance of the natural flower without any of 
its qualities or virtues. 

Society is natural to man ; without it, he would 
soon have fallen a prey to the beasts of the 
forest; he was therefore compelled to unite with 
others in mutual defence, and for the supply of 
their mutual wants. Sympathy was necessarily 
engendered, and whatever ferocity, in uncivilised 
countries, one tribe exhibits towards another, the 
individuals of the same tribe, however weak, are 
protected and supported ; the names of individuals 
denote their peculiar talents, and those skilled in 
medicine administer relief from kindness, or from 
a sense of duty, and without emolument. The 
public and private interests are consolidated, and 
their mutual necessities have taught them that 
union is strength. 

I 



86 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

Artificial Society is that in which the members 
are not united by a sympathy circulating through 
the whole body, but are held together by extra- 
neous means, such as a standing army and a 
police, which, like the string of the artificial flower, 
prevent a total dismemberment or dissolution; 
it has the name, but little of the form and attributes 
of Society, and is divided into classes of conflicting 
interests, and often without any sympathy between 
the individuals of the same 'class. The private 
and public interests are frequently opposed, and 
the body weakened, by the want of harmony in 
its members ; it retains but little of the vital 
principle, is often torn by intestine divisions, or 
threatened with dangers from without. Its wealth 
is not only inequitably distributed, but the large 
number of the producers are the most destitute, 
while the idle are dissipating th^ir superfluities. 
Individuals are designated by titles originally 
conferred for the possession of virtues and qualities 
of which they are entirely destitute, and forms and 
unmeaning ceremonies are upheld when the spirit 
in which they originated has departed. The poor 
cannot neglect their duties without being punished 
by starvation, while the rich can neglect theirs 
with impunity. Punishment for wrong-doing is 
substituted for training in well-doing, and those 
who have too much sit in judgment upon those 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 87 

who have too little, of whose trials and temptations 
they are unable to form a just estimate. 

Such are a few of the iniquities of an Artificial 
Society, distinguished by neglect and injustice, 
resulting in fraud and robbery, incendiarism, sui- 
cide, and murder. That system most in confor- 
mity both with Natural and Eevealed Religion 
must be the least artificial. Such is the Christian 
Commonwealth, which, while it conserves a spirit 
of enlightened benevolence among its own mem- 
bers, extends its humanising influences to all 
around. 

IMPEACTICABLK 

This is an epithet applied by the prejudiced, 
who will neither take the trouble of bestowing 
more than a superficial glance on a comprehensive 
subject of the greatest importance, nor condescend 
to ofier any reasons for their decision. Before any 
one can be competent to pronounce an opinion as 
to the practicability of a plan, he must first ascer- 
tain whether the means proposed are adequate to 
its accomplishment. We have already shown that 
the working classes, having their present freedom 
of egress and ingress after the hours of general 
employment, with liberty to depart altogether 
upon a short notice, will, in consequence of the 



05 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

unparalleled advantages, immediate and prospect- 
ive, be more eager to seek admission than to secure 
the most advantageous situations, under a sys- 
tem of competition and uncertainty. But as the 
perpetuity of the Institution will be guaranteed 
by the simultaneous influence upon the rising ge- 
neration of various principles and considerations, 
each of which has often proved efficacious when 
brought into exercise alone, so will the adults 
experience much benefit from many of these ad- 
vantages ; we allude to 

Parental care. 

Ministerial solicitude. 

Superior education for adults as well as 
children. 

Keligious exercises. 

Eegular occupation. 

Early association of ideas. 

The force of habit. 

Discipline equal to that of the army. 

Greater inducements to good. 

Less incentives to vice. 

Support and comforts in old age. 

Protection of children on the death of parents. 

Increasing attractions of the Institution. 

Freedom from depressing anxiety. 

Influence of Gardens and of Natural Scenery. 

The pursuits of Science. 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 89 

Libraries and Lectures. 

Ultimate Proprietorship. 

It can scarcely be contended that the training 
of children is not impracticable under existing 
circumstances. Some years since a distinguished 
and much respected Prelate, in his Charge to the 
Clergy, remarked : — '' In the rural districts, the 
lads of the parish are the thorn in the minister's 
side. Freed from the restraint of the school, 
uncontrolled by parents, no longer domiciled as 
formerly in their employer's house, they are, as 
the horse or the mule that have no understanding, 
whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, 
lest they come near to us : " and in a more recent 
Charge by the same Prelate, the extreme poverty 
that compelled the people to send their children 
prematurely to work is feelingly deplored : and 
does not every year witness an increase of these 
evils? 

If by '' impracticable " is meant the difficulties 
of realising these plans in the present state of the 
public mind, in that we readily acquiesce ; but if 
the principles are true, is it not the duty of every 
Christian to assist in disabusing the public of their 
errors, in order to bring speedy relief to suffering 
humanity? Railroads were long considered im- 
practicable ; nor, until one was formed between 
Liverpool and Manchester, would the public deem 
I 2 



90 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

them otherwise. But the Self-supporting Institu- 
tion requires to be widely .discussed as a whole, 
and in its details to be duly appreciated, and be- 
come an object of desire, before those who are 
competent to the management will come forward : 
any premature and crude attempt to form an 
establishment would fail, and only add to the 
existing prejudices. If it were proposed upon 
some fanciful theory to destroy old institutions, 
and attempt to remodel society, there would be 
some ground for hesitation ; but when the Institu- 
tion proposed leaves the old and dilapidated build- 
ing untouched, when it offers to take the rejected 
materials, or those portions that have fallen away 
from the ancient edifice, and with them to build 
up an improved establishment, no danger is 
incurred. 

The Self-supporting Institution neither inter- 
feres with the distinctions of class nor of wealth ; 
not a single institution is disturbed ; but, on the 
contrary, all become more secure, and some are 
even extended; for a church and schools will be 
required for every three hundred families at pre- 
sent a burden" upon society, or existing in dan- 
gerous disaffection. As the subject advances in 
general esteem, an extraordinary impetus will be 
given to the beneficial employment of capital now 
lying dormant, and of labour for which no demand 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 91 

exists ; discontent will be appeased, and an inter- 
esting and useful sphej*e of exertion presented for 
all classes and for every varied talent. The 
families of the aristocracy, and of the shareholders, 
would have an opportunity of visiting and advanc- 
ing the schools, composed of children assembled 
iQ better order, and more susceptible of improve- 
ment; of promoting horticultural and botanic 
gardens ; and of aiding the rural fetes, &c., &c. 



POSTSCEIPT. 

In the speech of the Secretary of State for the 
Home Department, in the present Session of ParHament 
(1845), on his proposed alteration of the law of Settle- 
ment, is the following remark : — 

"It is a melancholy fact, but still a fact, that no less than 
one-tenth of the whole population of England and Wales receive 
relief from the poor-rate in the course of the year. A multitude, 
no less than 1,500,000 persons, in this country, receive relief from 
the poor-rate. (Hear.) The magnitude of the sura also thus 
paid is very great. I could bring that fresh to your recollection 
in various ways. I might state it thus : it would be no exaggera- 
tion, that, since the termination of the war in 1815, notwithstand- 
ing all that has been said of the neglect of the interests of the 
poor — notwithstanding all that has been said of the inhumanity 
of the law (hear, hear), of the culpable negligence with which the 
wants of the poor are regarded by the rich, independently of all 
private charity and of the benefactions of our charitable institu- 
tions, — since the termination of the war no less a sum has been 



92 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

levied from the rate-payers of this country than £200,000,000 
(hear, hear), a sum nearly amounting to one-fourth of the capital 
of the national debt. (Hear, hear.)" 

If there is one-tenth of the population subsisting on 
the poor-rates, it is no exag-geration to affirm that 
another tenth at least require similar aid, but would 
rather starve, beg, or be tempted to obtain assistance 
by unfair means, than enter a Union ; and perhaps there 
is another third, struggling on the verge of destitution. 
To adduce the sum of £200,000,000 paid in poor- 
rates as an evidence of the charity of the rich, v^hen 
those rates are compulsory, and a very large portion 
paid with reluctance, by numbers who are almost as 
much in need of support as the poor themselves, is 
inconsistent even with our worldly notions of cha- 
rity, and has no affinity whatever with that Christian 
Charity described by St. Paul. The rich are much 
alike in all ages, and Sir James Graham cannot be 
ignorant of the injurious tendencies of an excess of 
wealth on the one hand and of extreme poverty on the 
other. Justice, and not Charity, in the ordinary ac- 
ceptation of the term, is required from the possessors, 
by the producers, of wealth 5 by that class through 
whose industry alone the £200,000,000 came into ex- 
istence, through whose valour the war was terminated, 
and the wealth and prosperity of the country were se- 
cured. 

On the same evening Lord Ebrington made the fol- 
lowing observations : — 

" As one who was connected with an union workhouse, where 
bones were ground and crushed by machinery, he wished to make 
a few remarks on the present occasion. Now, if those bones were 
to be crushed at all, he wished to ask by whom was it to be done ? 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 93 

Was it by free and independent labourers, and not by paupers ? 
(Hear, hear.) Certainly it was a new and most extraordinary 
doctrine for him to hear, that work which was too offensive for 
paupers to do, should be performed by free labourers. (Hear, hear.) 
He could not but declare that he was rejoiced to hear that there 
was no legal power to prevent the continuance of those practices, 
if it should seem fit to the House that they should interfere, and 
endeavour to do so ; and he thought it right also to state, that he 
himself had been a party to ordering the paupers to be employed 
in that labour, which he contended was neither imfair nor unjust ; 
and no did hope that the Union of South Molton would continue 
to persevere in that practice. (Hear, hear, from Sir C. Lemon.)" 

This is in perfect harmony with the maxims of 
political economy, and consequently opposed to the 
Christian precept of " doing unto others as we would 
they should do unto us." The poor old man, compelled 
by the infirmities of age, by ill-health, or by misfortune, 
through no fault of his own, to submit to incarceration 
in the Union, is not to have his sorrows alleviated by 
some ordinary or more healthful employment, but is 
forced to endure still further degradation and annoy- 
ance by the most disgusting occupation. In another 
speech, on the same evening, his Lordship thus ex- 
pressed himself: — 

'^ He wished also to give some credit to a much maligned class 
of persons, the political economists. (A laugh.) He hoped the 
same charity would be extended to the Poor Law Commissioners 
and to their Secretary, Mr. Chadwick, who was doing all in his 
power to advance the sanatory and moral condition of the poor." 

For the unjustifiable epithets applied to the Poor 
Law Commissioners, some compensation may be found 
in the mutual plaudits of their friends. While the volu- 
minous Reports of Political Economists, in the cha- 
racter of Commissioners, proclaim the evils of their 



94 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

own system, they themselves profit by the palHatives 
recommended by themselves, but which yield no per- 
manent or substantial relief. If, instead of improving 
the sanatory condition of overgrown towns, they were 
to remove the people to salubrious locahties, where 
regular employment could be supplied, their benevo- 
lence would be less equivocal, and more generally ac- 
knowledged. 

When the wretched culprit is condemned to a series 
of floggings, no one doubts the benevolence of the 
surgeon appointed to watch the effect of the barbarous 
punishment, and decide what intensity of suffering can 
be endured without danger to the life of the unhappy 
victim of neglected training : but if the surgeon and a 
few of his friends were well acquainted with that 
system of training which would prevent the recurrence 
of a breach of discipline, and were assured that their 
public advocacy of the system would insure its 
adoption, and yet by their silence prolonged the term 
of human suffering, certainly their motives would be 
very questionable. 

There are some of the Commissioners, who, not 
content with their own lucrative appointment, withdraw 
the few disposed to assist in the struggle against sel- 
fishness and prejudice, alleging that they also know 
that the principle of the Self-supporting Institution 
must be finally adopted, and affect to ridicule those 
who, while they denounce competition, appeal to it 
for its own refutation. As if Plato and other writers 
who portrayed societies of common possessions were 
inconsistent in holding private property in a community 
differently constituted. When men of genius and 
talent can derive subsistence through the medium of 



THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 95 

competition alone^ how can their attention and talents 
be secured generally in the attainment of any object 
but by the prospect of pecuniary remuneration ? 

We subjoin the sketch of a few Resolutions which 
were privately circulated, for sugg-estions, among those 
who would probably be inclined to assist in promoting 
the objects at a Public Meeting; and until some 
Society of the kind proposed is established, as a rally- 
ing point for all who are opposed to mercenary calcu- 
lations, the suggestions of Mammon will be listened to 
rather than the Laws of God, and the Political Econo- 
mists continue to sway the Councils of the Nation : — 

I. That the frequent recurrence of numerous and afflicting 
cases of destitution, and the unsatisfactory condition of the 
people, both in the agricultural and manufacturing districts, 
as well as in large towns and cities, arising from precarious 
and ill-requited employment, in a country abounding and 
increasing in wealth,* and professing Christianity, is a 
national reproach. 
II. That these evils, in a great measure, result from competi- 
tion, which, in appealing to selfish motives only, is a false, 
pernicious, and unchristian principle, engendering a spirit 
of envy and rivalry, obstructing moral improvement, and 
wholly incompatible with the new commandment. 
III. That the struggles of competition have been of late years 
intensely aggravated by the rapid progress of scientific 
power, the consequent decline in the general or market 
value of labour, and by the improved economy of produc- 
tion and distribution in large establishments, thereby still 
further enriching the few, while impoverishing the many. 



* We have recently seen a well -authenticated statement of the 
increase of the aggregate wealth of the nation within fifty years, or 
from 1791, when Mr. Pitt considered it equivalent to one thou- 
sand three hundred million, to 1841, when it was estimated at 
more than six thousand million, being five times more. 



96 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

IV. That an attempt to effect any sudden change in the consti- 
tution of society would, in consequence of the influence of 
settled habits and the complicated and conflicting interests 
of different classes, be attended with the greatest difficulty 
and danger ; it is therefore proposed to organise associations 
for the combined industry and mutual benefit of the unem- 
ployed among the working class. 
V. That the moral and prosperous state of the Moravian Set- 
tlements, and the rapid increase of wealth in some other 
religious societies in America, from which competition is 
excluded, afford a well-grounded hope that establish- 
ments constituted upon a similar principle, with the greater 
facilities and scientific appliances of our own country, and 
directed by enlightened benevolence, would exhibit results 
still more interesting and beneficial. 

VI. That a society be formed, to be denominated " The 

Society," for collecting and diffusing information 
on the efficiency of self-supporting institutions, as the best 
means of promoting the regular and healthy employment of 
the people, and securing to them a due share of the advan- 
tages and comforts resulting from the produce of their own 
labour, with a religious education and training for their 
children. 



APPENDIX. 



PETITION TO BOTH HOUSES OP PAELIAKENT.-'JIILY, 1842. 

Humbly Sheweth; 

That the destitution of the Working Classes, now pre- 
vailing* with unprecedented extent and severity, being* 
frequently ^eatest at periods of superabundance, de- 
monstrates that this is an evil which could and ought 
to be removed. 

That the proportion which the people obtain of 
those things which they themselves produce, depends 
not upon the quantity produced, but upon the market 
value of theu* labour. 

That the market value of labour has been mate- 
rially reduced, and often superseded, by that very 
power through which wealth has been immensely in- 
creased. 

That scientific power is at present almost ex- 
clusively devoted to the creation of wealth, and not 
only without a due regard to the welfare and the im- 
provement of the people, but to theii- positive injury 
and demoralisation. 

That a remedy for tliis evil can be alone found in 
arrangements which will no longer expose the working- 
classes to the contingencies of a market demand for 



98 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

their labour, but wbich will, with regular employment, 
secure to them food, clothing-, convenient dwelHngs, 
moral and rehgious training-, and education for their 
children. 

That machinery, under such direction, would 
prove invariably beneficial, and far more wealth would 
be created than when it is made an exclusive object. 

That your Petitioner has submitted a plan for the 
employment and support of 300 poor Families to many 
influential parties, and especially to the Clerg-y, who 
have honoured him with great encouragement and 
assistance. 

That a Prospectus for one Experimental Esta- 
bhshment, to be denominated " The Church of Eng- 
land Agricultural Self-supporting Institution," has 
been drawn up at Exeter Hall, by a Committee of 
which some distinguished Clergymen were members, 
and which Prospectus your Petitioner begs to present. 

That this design involves no change in the exist- 
ing order of Society, being intended solely for the un- 
employed and destitute poor, who will maintain their 
present relative position. 

That if the Model Estabhshment realises the 
benefits expected, it would of course be speedily 
imitated, and all the valuable Institutions of Society 
thereby materially strengthened and extended, since a 
Church and Schools are required for every 300 
Famihes located upon the principle proposed. 

That as the Design embraces general views and 
combines various objects, it is less suited to the con- 
sideration of the difibrent sections of the public, pro- 
fessional and commercial, than to the deliberation of a 
Legislative Assembly : your Petitioner therefore prays 



APPENDIX. 99 

that the subject may be investigated bj your Honour- 
able House. 

And your Petitioner^ as in duty bound, will ever 

pray, 

John Minter Morgan. 



A LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE CLERGY OF THE METROPOLIS 
AND ITS YICIXITY, CONTAINING THE FOREGOING PETITION. 

May 18th, 1843. 
Reverend Sir, 

Convinced that, with the blessing of God, it is in 
the power of the Clergy to terminate in a compara- 
tively short time much of the present destitution, de- 
moralisation, and misery prevalent among* the working 
classes, I venture to request a perusal of the Petition 
in the paper enclosed, and I beg briefly, but respect- 
fully, to explain the reasons for concluding that such 
important aid to suffering humanity, as I have to sug- 
gest, could be afforded with facility by the Ministers of 
Rehgion. 

Under the persuasion that there was no class so 
well acquainted with the distresses of the people, or so 
anxious to relieve them, as the Clergy, the Design of 
the Self-supporting Institution, illustrated by a trans- 
parent painting, was, in the first instance, submitted to 
their inspection at the University of Oxford, the Vice- 
Chancellor allowing the painting to be exhibited in any 
of the colleges of the University. 

At Cheltenham, by permission of the Rev. Francis 
Close, a public meeting was held in the large Infant 



100 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

School-room, which was crowded to excess. The Rev. 
John Sharwood presided upon the occasion, and several 
Clergymen attended. 

At Leeds, where great distress prevails, the subject 
was explained in the presence of the Vicar and twenty- 
five of the Clergy of that town and its neigbourhood. 

At Sheffield, the Vicar and the Clergy devoted 
much time to an explanation. 

A considerable number of the Clergy at these 
places expressed the greatest interest in the plan, and 
a desire that a Model Institution should be formed ; 
while all concurred in thinking the Inquiry highly 
useful. 

It was not to be expected that a comprehensive 
Design, embracing the various interests and relations 
of man, opposed to competition (a principle identified 
with the prevailing opinions and feelings, and which, 
though encouraged by Conventional authority, is never- 
theless condemned by Religion), should be fully under- 
stood even by minds the most enlarged, without a 
greater degi'ee of attention than pressing avocations 
will in general permit — but whenever time has been 
allowed for that anxious and grave investigation which 
the magnitude and urgent importance of the subject 
demand, especially amid the present degrading conten- 
tions of party, and the deplorable condition of the peo- 
ple, the truth of the theory, and its probable success in 
practice, have been unequivocally admitted. 

The following instances, besides those already ad- 
verted to, may be adduced : — 

The plan having, on its first publication, attracted 
the notice of some distinguished Clergymen, a meeting 
was held to consider the best means of bringing it 



APPENDIX. 101 

before the public. It was there suggested that, if in- 
formation were obtained regarding the economy of the 
Moravian Settlements, as bearing some affinity to the 
proposed measure, its practical operation would, in 
some respects, be exemplified. Accordingly, those of 
Herrnhut and Klenwilkie, in Saxony; Neuweid, on the 
Rhine -, and Zu Zeyst, in Holland, were visited, and 
thus an opportunity was afforded of submitting the 
plan itself to those of a religious denomination long 
respected for zeal and piety, and also for practical expe- 
rience. After the most careful deliberation, a separate 
document was signed at each of the four Settlements, 
by the Bishops and managers, approving the principle 
of the plan, and recommending the speeedy establish- 
ment of a Model Institution. 

At Dresden the Design underwent a lengthened 
investigation by Baron Lindenau, Prime Minister to 
the King of Saxony, who, after expressing his warmest 
approbation of the plan, proposed laying it before the 
Minister of the Interior. 

At Dussenthal, near Dusseldorf, the benevolent 
Baron Von de Recke devoted several hours to an exa- 
mination, and declared that if he had not his own 
establishment in hand, where 160 orphans of both sexes 
form a rehgious association, and are employed in agri- 
culture and in various handicraft works on the lands, 
and in the buildings of an old monastery, nothing 
would be so gratifying to him as to assist in carrying 
the plan into execution. 

If those are right, who, after bestowing adequate 
attention on the subject, and are m other respects 
peculiarly qualified to decide, have pronounced a fa- 
vourable opinion, then is there nothing more required 
j2 



102 THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH. 

than the same degree of attention from the intelligent 
in general; to secure for the people a remedy for their 
severe distress. 

I beg, therefore, with great deference, to submit, 
that this object might be effected by the numerous 
attendance of the Clergy at a public meeting convened 
for Inquiry only, and at which one of the prelates, or 
an influential Nobleman, should preside ; a resolution, 
recommending" further investigation by society at larg'e, 
passed at a meeting- so highly respectable, would 
necessarily arouse attention throughout the empire. 

Should this proposal be honoured with your appro- 
bation, I shall be much obliged by your informing me 
if you would sanction such a meeting with your presence. 

I have the honour to be, Eeverend Sir, 

Your most obedient Servant, 

John Minter Morgan. 



As the result of the inspection of these documents^ 
many of the Clergy, and other influential characters, to 
whose consideration they were submitted in the Spring 
of 1848, signed a paper to the following effect : — 

" Having been requested to give an opinion as to the expediency 
of a renewed circulation of these documents, we desire to express 
our conviction, that, at the present time of difficulty and danger 
and wide-spread distress, we think it of the highest importance 
that the subject-matter of thera should engage the serious and 
deep attention of the public at large ; and we would particularly 
invite the Clergy generally, and all men of influence and talent, 
to unite either in promoting a wide and careful examination of the 
Design, or in taking some decisive steps towards the realisation of 
a Model Institution, especially as, in the commencement, there 
will be more difficulties to encounter than after a successful experi- 



APPENDIX. 103 

ment has once been made ; but, in order to achieve that pre- 
liminary object, it is absolutely necessary that the most adequate 
means for its accomplishment should be secured. We speak not 
merely of pecuniary means, because we are convinced that, when 
once a desire for such Institutions shall be created in the public 
mind, with every prospect of success in the Establishment, assured 
by a confidence in the competency and character of those com- 
posing the Board of Directors, the funds required for the under- 
taking will soon be forthcoming. However incompatible the pre- 
vailing Institutions may be with the principles and spirit of religion, 
the uncongenial feelings and habits of dififerent classes render any 
sudden change altogether impracticable, but, in the proposals 
now submitted, we recognise solely an initiative and transition 
state, and even that in the first instance for a detached portion of 
one class only, thereby affording, without prematurely disturbing 
existing Institutions, greater facilities for a superior discipline and 
training, and more especially for the rising generation, who will 
thus become better qualified as constituent Members of a Christian 
Community of a higher order, advancing continually in the great 
career of general improvement and diffusive happiness. 

" It must be obvious that, in the first, or Model, Institution, 
too much care could not be taken, that each Manager should be 
eminently qualified to superintend the specific employment of his 
department, or to discharge the duties of his particular office, and 
that Directors should be chosen capable of uniting all the parts in 
the most effective order and harmonious combination. It is also 
essential that the institution should be governed with special re- 
gard to a moral, intellectual, and spiritual elevation in the charac- 
ter of the Inhabitants. 

'* It is therefore indispensable that an efficient, active, and compre- 
hensive committee, be formed, for the purpose of bringing together 
all the means, of whatever kind, necessary to ensure success. 

*' These are the considerations that induce us to make an earnest 
appeal to all who feel interested in the subject, as well as to those 
who would be most competent, from their influence, their position, 
their talents, and their zeal, to come forward at once to assist in 
an arduous undertaking, of infinite importance to the interests of 
humanity." 



AN INQUIRY 
EESPECTING PRIVATE PEOPERTY, 

AHD THE 

AUTHORITY AND PERPETUITY OF THE APOSTOLIC 
INSTITUTION OF A COMMUNITY OF GOODS. 



FROM A PEKIODICAL OP 1827. 



AN INaUIRY 

RESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY, &c. 



" As it must be extremely difficult to establish such wise regu- 
lations where private property takes place, it may justly be doubted 
whether property must not be excluded out of the most perfect 
government." — Wallace, Various Prospects of Mankind, 8^c. 

" A scheme of government may be imagined that shall, by 
annihilating property and reducing mankind to then* natural 
equality, remove most of the causes of contention and wicked- 
ness," — Dr. Price's Four Dissertations on Providence, 1777, 
p, 138 {Note), 



However opposed to the opinions now generally- 
prevalent, it is, I confess, no wonder to me, that 
from the first promulgation of Christianity there 
have, at various times, been found many amongst 
its most sincere disciples, who considered its spirit 
and tendency to be directly opposed to the acqui- 
sition of personal riches, or the system of private 
property. The example of Jesus Christ, in con- 
junction with a multitude of precepts and maxims, 
repeated from time to time during the whole 
course of his ministry, pointing out the evils 



108 AN INQUIRY 

which result from the pursuit of riches, and the 
vices and failings of the rich, — the humble rank 
of the persons whom he chose as his first disciples,* 
— and the numerous precepts which they have 
left us, agreeing with those of their Master, — may- 
well account for the prevalence of the opinion 
among the first Christians, that the system of 
private property was incompatible with the preva- 
lence of the Gospel. And when we find how 
continually the Christian Scriptures inveigh against 
the pursuit of wealth, and the temper and conduct 
of its votaries, and how constantly and repeatedly 
the first teachers of Christianity dwell upon this 
subject, w;e might rather wonder at the little 
attention it excites among professors of Christianity 
in the present day, than that their predecessors 
should neither have overlooked nor explained 
away a doctrine so prominent in the Christian 
code. 

Christ came to preach the gospel to the poor. 
^- Blessed be ye poor," said he, *' for yours is the 
kingdom of God. But woe unto you that are 
rich ; for ye have received your consolation,"! 
The benediction, as recorded by another Evan- 

* Judas, the only one who proved unworthy, was cor- 
rupted through the love of money. 

t Luke vi. 20, 24. By " rich^^ he undoubtedly meant 
those who possessed and coveted individual riches. 



BESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY. 109 

gelist, is upon the poor in spirit ; probably mean- 
ing those who are not given to the pursuit of 
riches. In the parable of the sower, ^' He that 
receiveth seed among thorns, is he that heareth 
the word; and the care of this world, and the 
deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he 
becometh unfruitful/' After the rich young man, 
who had kept the commandments (and whose 
wealth, therefore, had neither been ill acquired 
nor ill employed), had gone away sorrowful when 
directed, if he would be perfect, to give up his 
great possessions, ^^ Jesus looked round, and saith 
to his disciples, How hardly shall they that have 
riches enter into the kingdom of God ! — It is 
easier for a camel to go through the eye of a 
needle, than for a rich man to enter into the 
kingdom of God." The question, ''Have any of the 
rulers of the Pharisees believed on him?" shows that 
liis doctrine was not at all acceptable among those 
who are called the higher orders, Nicodemus, 
indeed, went to converse with him, but it was by 
night. When Christ said, '' Ye x^annot serve God 
and Mammon," the Pharisees, who had the 
common notions of the importance and preroga- 
tives * of property, derided him, which may be 



-^^ Omnis enim res, 



Virtus, fama, decus, divina humanaque, pulchris 
Divitiis parent ; quas qui construxerit, ille 
Clarus erit, fortis, Justus : — Sapiensne ? — Etiam, et rex, 
Et quidquid volet*' Hor. Sat,, lib. ii. 3. 

K 



110 AN INQUIRY 

thought much, more natural for them, than for 
Christians to talk so much as they do of standing 
up for Religion and Property, which seem indeed 
to be but other words for God and Mammon. 
The parable of Dives* and Lazarus then followed, 
the tendency of which is sufficiently manifest. 
When one wanted to refer a dispute about an 
inheritance to Christ, he refused to have anything 
to do with the matter ; — desires the man to take 
heed and beware of covetousness ; as a man's life 
consisted not in the abundance of the things which 
he possessed : and then relates the parable of the 
rich man who would have pulled down his barns 
and built greater, and whose golden dreams of 
^^much goods laid up for many years,"t were 
awfully interrupted by the approach of death. 
He also bore his testimony against the pursuits of 
traffic in a remarkable manner when ^^ he cast out 
all them that sold and bought in the temple, and 
overthrew the tables of the money-changers, "J 
as having made the house of prayer into a den of 
thieves. And by the story of the widow's mite, 
he teaches that the possession of wealth is not 
necessary for the exercise of charity. 



* Dives is exactly what is called, in the phrase of the 
mammonarchical faction, " a respectable person,^^ 

t Luke xii. 19. t Matt. xxi. 12. 



EESPECTINa PRIVATE PROPERTY. Ill 

The concomitants of wealth — pride,* domina- 
tion, and the claims of rank, were equally the 
subjects of our Lord's reprobation. When there 
was a strife for pre-eminence among his disciples, 
he says : " Ye know that they which are accounted 
to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over 
them, and their great ones exercise authority 
upon them; but ye shall not be so: he that is 
greatest among you, let him be as the younger, 
and he that is chief as he that doth serve. "f — 
*^ He that is least among you all, the same shall 
be great."J — ^' Be ye not called rabbi ; for one is 
your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren."|| 
To which may be added the sentiment conveyed 
by his washing the feet of his disciples, and many 
precepts of similar tendency. 

The reprobation of the pursuit of riches, and 
the frequent animadversions on the evil conse- 
quences of ineqaality of rank and condition, which 
are such prominent features in the teaching of our 
Saviour, might well be expected to produce a 
strong effect upon the minds of his disciples. 
Accordingly, we find that after his ascension, as 
soon as a considerable number were converted, 
they at once commenced the plan of a Community 

* " Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination 
unto the Lord." — Prov. xvi. 5. 

t Mark x. 42-44. I Matt, xxiii. 8. 1| Luke ix. 48. 



112 AN INQUIRY 

of Goods. This shows what was the first impres- 
sion on their minds ; and the miracnlous punish- 
ment of Ananias and Sapphira may lead ns to 
conclude that it was sanctioned by Heaven. If it 
should be objected that this plan of life, not 
having continued in the church, must have been 
found on trial to be impracticable, it may be 
replied, that this departure afibrds no better 
argument against the primitive practice, than is 
presented by any other corruption of Christianity 
against its genuine doctrines ; and we shall find^ 
on further inquiry, that in fact it has uninter- 
ruptedly continued to the present time as an 
apostolic institution in the Christian Church, and, 
though much disfigured and corrupted, yet 
perhaps not more so than the ordinances of 
Baptism and the Lord's Supper. 

The general tenor of the apostolic writings is 
quite as remarkable upon this subject as that of 
the gospels. There are several passages which 
seem to relate to the community of property in 
the church. Paul writes to the Corinthians ; ^' For 
I mean not that other men be eased, and ye bur- 
dened : but by an equality, that your abundance 
may be a supply for their want, that their abund- 
ance also may be a supply for your want : that 
there may be an equality : as it is written, He that 
had gathered much had nothing over \ and he that 



RESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY. 113 

had gatliered little had no lack."* With respect 
to the acquiring property,t he thus writes to 
Timothy : ^' They that will be rich fall into 
temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and 
hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and 
perdition. For the lorn of money is the root of 
ALL evil; which, while some coveted after, they 
have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves 
through with many sorrows. "J And the Epistle 
of James, the brother of our Lord, contains some 
strong declarations of his sentiments respecting 
wealth and rank : '* Let the brother of low degree 
rejoice in that he is exalted ; but the rich in that 
he is made low.'ll Again : *^ My brethren, have 
not the faith of our Lord with respect of persons ; 
for if there come into your assembly a man with 

* 2 Cor. viii. 13-16. 

t Richard Baxter says : " There are few texts of Scrip- 
ture more abused than that of the apostle, ' He that frovideth 
not for Ms own, and specially those of his family, hath 
denied the faith, and is worse than an irifidelJ This is made 
a pretence for gatheriag" up portions, and providing* a full 
estate for posterity, when the apostle speaketh only against 
them that did cast their poor kindred and family on the 
church, to be maintained out of the common stock, when they 

were able to do it themselves." " His following words 

show that it is present provision, and not future portions, 
that the apostle speaketh of," &c. " You are bound to do 
the best you can to educate your children, &c., but not to 
leave them rich." — Gildas Salvianus, page 238. 

X 1 Tim. vi. 9-10. 11 James i. 9-10. 

k2 



114 AN IKQUIRY 

a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in 
also a poor man in vile raiment, and ye have 
respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and 
say nnto him, Sit thou here in a good place, and 
say to the poor. Stand thou there, or sit here under 
my footstool, are ye not then partial in yourselves, 
and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hath 
not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, 
and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised ? 
— But ye have despised the poor. — Do not rich men 
oppress you, and draw you before the judgment- 
seats ? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name 
by the which ye are called ? If ye fulfil the royal 
law according to the scripture. Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself, ye do well ; but if ye have 
respect to persons ye commit sin."* And in another 
chapter he utters these severe denunciations 
against the rich : ^^ Go to, now, ye rich men, 
weep and howl for your miseries that shall come 
upon you. Your richest are corrupted, and your 
garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver 



James ii. 1-9. 



' root of all disquietnesse ^ 



First got with guile, and then preserv'd with dread, 
And after spent with pride and lavishnesse, 
Leaving behind them griefe and heavinesse ; 
Infinite mischiefes of them do arize ; 
Strife and debate, bloodshed and bitternesse ; 
Outrageous wrong and hellish covetize." 

Faerie Queene, B. ii. ch. 7. 



RESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY. 115 

is cankered; and the mst of them shall be a witness 
against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were 
fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last 
days. Behold the hire of the labourers who have 
reaped down your fields, which is of you kept 
back by fraud, crieth. Ye have lived in pleasure 
on the earth, and been wanton ; ye have nourished 
your hearts as in a day of slaughter. Ye have 
condemned and killed the just ; and he doth not 
resist you.''* 

Such were the notions with respect to the 
Christian Church at its first commencement. The 
acquisition and possession of property, which it is 
now the practice to speak of as alone entitling a 
man to consideration or to the enjoyment of 
political rights, was then considered as almost f a 
disqualification for the kingdom of righteousness 
and peace. 

The apostolic institution of a Community of 
Goods appears to be related in a manner so dis- 
tinct and marked, that it seems almost impossible 
to avoid the conclusion, that it was either itself a 
Divine suggestion, or at least considered by the 
apostles and the first converts as a necessary con- 
sequence of the doctrines that had been revealed 
to them. Immediately after the account of the 

* James v. 1-6. f Not almost, but altogether.— Ed. (1827.) 



116 AN INQUIRY 

descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, and 
the conversion of the 3,000 on the day of Pente- 
cost, we read that ''they continued steadfastly in 
the apostles' doctrine and fellowship : — and many 
wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 
And all that believed were together, and had all 
things common, and sold their possessions and 
goods, and parted them to all men as every man 
had need/'* Again, in the fourth chapter, an 
allusion to this rejection of the system of private 
property in the infant church, forms a part of one 
of the most important passages of its history : ''And 
when they had prayed, the place was shaken where 
they were assembled together ; and they were all 
filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the 
Word of God with boldness. And the multitude 
of them that believed were of one heart and of one 
soul, neither said any of them that aught of the 
things which he possessed was his own, hut they 
had all things common. And with great power 
gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of 
the Lord Jesus ; and great grace was upon them 
all. Neither was there any among them that 
lacked ; for as many as were possessors of lands 
or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the 
things that were sold, and laid them down at the 

* Acts ii. 43-45. 



BESPECTIXG PRIVATE PROPERTY. 117 

apostles' feet; and distribution was made unto 
every man according as he had need."* Though, 
therefore, it be now the practice altogether to pass 
over in silence this part of the Christian institute, 
without condescending even to comment upon it, 
or to attempt explaining it away, or only to make 
it the subject of a jest, the authority for it seems 
to be as clear as that of any of those institutions, 
or supposed institutions, of Christianity which are 
the subject of so much discussion. 

The account given in the sixth chapter of the 
Acts of the first appointment of Deacons, plainly 
shows us that the plan of a Community of Goods 
had been continued in the Church of Jerusalem 
for seven years (according to the chronology of 
some interpreters), and was then matured and 
confirmed by the election of Stephen and six 
others, by the general body, at the instance of the 
twelve apostles, for the express purpose of having 
the care of the common stock. This was recom- 
mended because some complained (ver 1) that 
they '^ were overlooked in the daily ministration;" 
*' of alms,'' adds the Improved Version,t but surely 
without any sanction of the original or of the 
context. The ministration was not of alms, but 

* Acts iv. 31-35. 

t The New Testament in an Improved Version, upon 
the basis of Archbishop Newcomers Translation. 



118 AN INQUIRY 

of the common goods, as Tyndall justly remarks 
in his note on the passage : '* that is, not indiffer- 
ently loked upon in the dayly distrybutyng of 
the commune goodes." ^' Then the twelve called 
the multitude of the disciples together and said, It 
is not meet that we should leave the word of God 
and serve at the tables : wherefore, brethren, look 
ye out among you seven men which we may 
appoint to this needful business." Archbishop 
Newcome renders the passage, ^' minister to the 
tables of the poor f'' but the words in italic are also 
interpolated without authority, and, like the others, 
are inconsistent with the narrative, and calculated 
to mislead, by preventing the reader from per- 
ceiving in this passage an important incident in 
the history of the Apostolic Community of Goods, 
of which the office of deacon,* however it is now 
changed from its original design,t stands as 
a memorial. 

* St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans (xii. 7), pro- 
bably refers to the duties of deacons in the management of 
the common property of churches ; eIte haKoviav, kv ry 
diuKovig,- — also ver 8, 6 fieradL^ovg Iv cnrXoTrjTL. — See Taylor 
and Schleusner. 

t The office, according* to its primitive design, arose out 
of the Apostolic Community of Goods, but as that institution 
was overborne by Pag'an and worldly influence, the office of 
deacon was mystified and transformed to something that 
bears no trace of its origin, — a rank in the hierarchy. 

The Council of TruUo expressly asserts " that the seven 



RESPECTINa PRIVATE PROPERTY. 119 

In contending that the subsequent relapse of 
the professors of Christianity into the system of 
Private Property ought not to afford any pre- 
sumption of mistake with regard to this subject 
on the part of its first teachers, I do not at all 
mean to admit that this apostolic institution of a 
Community of Goods and the renunciation of 
riches was early or suddenly lost sight of in the 
church; the history of its continuance and 
gradual perversion and decay, is probably to be 

deacons spoken of in the Acts are not to be understood of 
such as ministered in Divine service or the sacred mysteries" 
(as they were called), " but only of such as served tables or 
attended the poor." Attempts have been made, with great 
earnestness, to confute this assertion of the council, and to 
show, from some of the Fathers, that deacons were the third 
Sacred Order, and had subUmer duties in the ministry and 
mysteries of the altar : but the contempt into which the 
duties for which they had really been appointed had fallen, 
only shows how much the apostolic institution of a Com- 
munity had been lost sight of. Jerome styles them some- 
what contemptuously " ministers of widows and tables." 
The original functions of deacons being despised or forgotten, 
many new and fanciful duties were assigned to them as the 
church became corrupt : but it could make nothing of the 
office of deaconess ; this was therefore abolished in the 
Latin Church about the sixth century, though in the Greek 
Church it lasted till the twelfth : it was, however, unques- 
tionably an office of the primitive church, mentioned by the 
earliest Christian writers, as well as by PHny, who speaks 
of them (ministrce) in his celebrated Letter about the 
Christians. St. Paul gives this appellation to Phoebe, 
Rom. xvi. 1.— See Bingham, Orig, Eccles, 



120 AN INQUIRY 

traced in tlie history of those religious orders and 
communities whose members alone were con- 
sidered as living in complete conformity with 
Christian principles, and which were estab- 
lished upon the plan of having all things in 
common.* 

One error into which some of the early Chris- 
tians fell, was the supposing that, in order to 
comply with the renunciation of riches, which 
their religion required, it was necessary to re- 
nounce the enjoyments and conveniences of social 
life, which it was no doubt the design of the apos- 
tolic ordinance not to withhold, but to diffuse 
among all. Instead of '* being together and 
having all things common," these ascetics lived 

* In the middle of the fourth century, St. Anthony per- 
mitted a numerous body of men to Hve in a community with 
him, and lead under his direction a life of piety and manual 
labour. — Butler's " Memoirs respecting* the English Catho- 
lics." Anthony had given up a larg-e estate on his conversion 
in obedience to the precept of Christ, " Go, sell all that thou 
hast, and give to the poor." 

St. Jerome (" On the Christian Ecclesiastical Writers," 
verb. Philo) says of Philo : " He hath praised the Christians, 
reporting them to be not only there (in Alexandria) but in 
many countries, and calling their dwelling-places monas- 
teries. Whereby it is apparent that the church of believers 
in Christ at the first was such as monks endeavour to be 
now, that nothing in property is any manh own^ none is 
rich among them, none poor, their patrimony is distributed 
to the needy," &c. 



RESPECTINa PRIVATE PROPERTY. 121 

alone and had nothing ^ The prevalence of per- 
secution may, however, have concurred with this 
misapprehension in causing the adoption of the 
eremitical life. But it is in the history of conventual 
or coenohitic life that we must seek for the relics 
of the Christian system with regard to possessions. 
The author of the '^ Histoires des Ordres Mo7iasti- 
ques " informs us, that many of the councils and a 
great number of writers have agreed in referring 
monastic institutionsf to the apostles, and to the 
above-mentioned primitive practice of the Church 
of Jerusalem. 

The history of the Essenes may throw con- 
aiderable light upon our subject. In the learned 
work just mentioned, we find some account of an 
interesting controversy which took place at the 
beginning of the last century relative to this sect, 
in which the illustrious Benedictine Dom Bernard 
de Montfaucon, in some observations appended to 
his translation of Philo '* De Vita ContemplativdJ' 
maintained, in accordance with Eusebius and 
Jerome and the greater number of Catholic 

* Jesus Christ was no ascetic, and was reproached on | 
that account by the Pharisees. -^ 

t " Cassien aiant pretendu que les Coenobites sont plus 
ancien que les Anachoretes, qu'ils ont commence avant St. 
Paul Ermite et St, Antoine; et mesme €j[u^ils ont toujours 
este dans VEglise dcjjuis les Apostres, M. de Tillemont veut 
qu'il justiiie cette pretention.'^ — Tom. L, Diss. Prelim., p. 19. 
L 



122 AN INQUIRY 

writers, that the Essenes were Christians, but 
dissented from the opinion that to them the origin 
of monastic institutions was to be attributed, as 
they had wives, and did not observe the rules of 
any order. His anonymous opponent denied that 
they were Christians, as being highly commended 
by Philo, whom he considers as a Jew, and as all 
that could be learnt respecting them savoured of 
Judaism, and was opposed to Christianity (mean- 
ing, no doubt, Catholic or orthodox Christianity) ; 
but at the same time maintained, that if they were 
Christians, they must be' allowed to have been 
monks, living according to a rule of their own, 
much more ancient than any now known. The 
truth, however, probably escaped both these 
disputants, who, in the unadulterated doctrine and 
practice of these early believers, could not recog- 
nise either primitive Coenobitism or genuine 
Christianity. 

A question much connected with this inquiry, 
viz., whether Philo was not himself a Christian, 
has lately, upon other grounds, occupied the 
learned pen of Dr. John Jones, who quotes from 
the works of that writer the following accounts of 
the Essenes : — 

" These are called Esseans, a name (though not in 
my opinion formed by strict analogy) corresponding in 
Greek to the term holy.. Eor they have attained the 



EESPECTINO PRIVATE PROPERTY. 123 

highest Jioliness in the worship of God ; and that not 
by sacrificing animals, but by cultivating' purity of 
heart : they live principally in villages, and avoid the 
towns ; being sensible that, as disease is generated by 
corruption, so an indelible impression is produced in the 
soul by the contagion of society. Some of these men 
cultivate the ground ; others pursue the arts of peace, 
and such employments as are beneficial to themselves 
without injury to their neighbours ; they seek neither 
to hoai'd silver nor gold, nor to inherit ample estates 
in order to gratify prodigality and avarice, but are 
content with the mere necessaries of life : they are the 
only people who, though destitute of money, and pos- 
sessions, — and that more from choice than the un- 
towardness of fortune, — fehcitate themselves as rich; 
deeming riches to consist not in amplitude of possession, 
but, as is really the case, in frugality and contentment. 
Among them no one can be found who manufactures 
darts, arrows, swords, corselets, shields, or any other 
weapon used in war ; nor even such instniments as are 
easily perverted to evil purposes in times of peace. 
They decline trade, commerce, and navigation alto- 
gether, as incentives to covetousness and usury; nor 
have they any slaves among them, but all are free, and 
all in their turn administer to others. They condemn 
the owners of slaves as tyrants, who violate the princi- 
ples of justice and equality, and impiously transgress 
the dictates of nature, which, like a common parent, 
has begotten and educated all men alike, and made 
them brethren not in name only but in sincerity and 
truth ; but avarice, conspiring against nature, burst her 
bonds, having produced alienation for affinity, and 
hatred in the room of friendship. 



124 AN INQUIRY 

" Thej evince their attachment to virtue, by their 
freedom from avarice, from ambition, from sensual 
pleasure; by their temperance and patience, by their 
frugality, simpHcity, and contentment; by their 
humility, their regard to the laws, and other similar 
virtues. Their love to man is evinced by their benignity, 
their equity, and their liberality ; of which it is not 
improper to give a short account, though no language 
can adequately describe it. 

"In the first place, there exists among' them no 
house, however priv^ate, which is not open to the recep- 
tion of all the rest ; and not only the members of the 
same society assemble under the same domestic roof!,, 
but even strangers of the same persuasion have free 
admission to join them. OH^iere is hit one treasure ^ 
whence' all derive subsistence ; and not only their pro- 
vision but their clothes are common property. Such 
mode of living under the same roof, and of dieting at 
the same table, cannot, in fact, be proved to have been 
adopted by any other description of men. And no 
wonder; since even the daily labourer keeps not for 
his own use the produce of his toil, but imparts it to 
the common stock, and thus furnishes each member 
with a right to use for himself the profits earned by 
others. 

"The sick are not despised or neglected because 
they are no longer capable of useful labour ; but they 
live in ease and affluence, receiving from the treasury 
whatever their disorder or their exigencies require. 
The aged, too, among them are loved, revered, and 
attended as parents by afi*ectionate children; and a 
thousand heads and hearts prop their tottering ^^ears 
with comforts of every kind. Such are the champions 



RESPECTINa PRIVATE PROPERTY. 125 

of virtue which philosophy, without the parade of 
Grecian oratory, produces, proposing-, as the end of 
their institutions, the performance of those laudable 
actions which destroy slavery and render freedom 
invincible."* 

Does not this account lead us to suppose that 
the Essenes preserved in its purity the mode of 
life instituted by the apostles? Many learned 
Protestant writers, with the illustrious exception, 
however, of Vossius and some others, have denied 
the Essenes to be Christians, being loth to ascribe 
so high an antiquity to monastic institutions. 
Perhaps the truth is, that these institutions are 
but relics of the Coenobitic institute, which was 
indeed founded by the apostles, but grossly per- 
verted, as many consider, by the prevalence of 
asceticism, celibacy,t and superstition, but es- 
pecially by its restriction to a privileged order, 
instead of being adopted by all Christians, and by 
the ample endowments which the religious orders 
received after the church began its adulterous 
connexion with the state, in consequence of which 
they became^ the greatest monopolisers of landed 



* "A Series of Important Facts demonstrating* the Truth of 
the Christian Eehgion, by J. Jones, LL.D." 1820, pp. 40-43. 

t Forbidding" marriage, some think, is one of the corrup- 
tions of the apostate church expressly predicted by Paul. 

t Eidley, Civil Law, 261. 

L 2 



126 AN INQUIEY 

property, living an indolent life upon the fruits of 
other men's labour.* 

That this, however, was never contemplated 
by the founders of what are called the religious 
orders, but that it was intended the monks should 
live upon a plan of joint labour and common 
property, we may learn from many of their rules. f 



* This deviation from the original design of their foun- 
dation, drew upon them the severe reprehension of the friars, 
who, however, in the mode which they adopted of comply- 
ing with the requirement of voluntary poverty, fell into an 
error of a different kind, by confounding it with a mendicant 
life. Parker, Holden, &c., Carmelite and Black Friars, and 
Milverton, provincial of the Carmelites, were imprisoned in 
the fifteenth century for preaching against the pride of 
prelates and the riches of the clergy. To the last, the friars 
had no other real estates in England than the sites of their 
convents. 

t Passages extracted from the Eule of St. Benedict. 

Respecting Community of Goods : 

" Neque aliquid habere proprium. — Omniaque omni- 
bus sint communi, ut scriptum est, nee quisquam suum esse 
.aliquid dicat, aut praesumat. Quod si quisquam hoc nequis- 
simo vitio deprehensus fuerit," &c. — Regula Sancti Bene- 
dicti. Cap. xxiii., " Si quid debeant Monachi proprium 
habere^ 

" Sicut scriptum est : Dividebatur singulis, prout cuique 
opus erat, ubi non dicimus, ut personarum, quod absit, 
acceptio sit, sed infirmitatum consideratio. Ubi qui minus 
indiget agat Deo gratias, et non contristetur. Qui vero plus 
indiget humilietur pro infirmitate et non extoUatur pro 
misericordia : et ita omnia membra erunt in pace." — Ibid. 
Cap. xxiv., ^^ Si omnes cequaliter debeant necessaria accipere" 



RESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY. 127 

The Rule of St. Benedict, cap. xlviii., concerning 
daily manual labour, prescribes the proportions 
of time to be employed in labour, in study, and 
in devotion ; and adds : " But if poverty or local 
causes require them to labour by themselves in 
harvest-work, &c., let them not think it a grievance, 
for then are they truly monks, if they live by the 
labour of their own hands, as did also our fathers and 

Respecting Labour : 

" Quod si labor forte f actus fuerit major, in ar- 

bitrio Abbatis erit aliquid augere, remota prae omnibus 
crapula : ut nunquam subrepat Monacho indigenes : quia 
nihil sic contrarium est omni Christiano, quomodo crapula, 
sicut ait Dominus noster : ' Videte ne graventur corda 
vestra in crapula et ebrietate.'" — Ibid., Cap. xxxix.," De 
Mensurd Ciborumy 

" Quod si aut loci necessitas, vel labor, aut ardor sestatis 
amplius poposcerit," &c.— Ibid. Cap. xl., ^^ De Mensurd 
PotusJ' 

— " Si labores agrorum non habent Monacbi si opera 

in agris habuerint ." — Ibid., Cap. xli. ; see also xlvi. 

" Certis temporibus occupari debent fratres in labore 
manuum ; certis horis in lectione divina. [Then follows a 
division of their time.] Si autem necessitas loci, aut pau- 
pertas exegerit ut ad fruges colligendas per se occupentur, 
non contristentur : quia tunc vere monachi sunt, si labore 
manuum suarum vivunt : sicut et Patres nostri et Apostoli. 
Omnia tamen mensurate fiant, propter pusillanimes." — Ibid., 
Cap. xlviii., " De Opere Manuum quotidianoJ^ 

" Fratres qui omnino longe sunt in labore, et non possunt 
occurrere hora competenti ad Oratorium, — agant ibidem 
opus Dei ubi operantur, cum tremore divino flectentes 
genua."— Ibid., Cap. 1., "i>^ Fratribus qui longe al) Ora- 
torio laborantJ^ 



128 AN INQUIRY 

the apostles :" and, greatly as they departed from 
the design of their institution, the monastic orders 
may nevertheless furnish valuable proofs of the 
success with which the affairs of communities may 
be managed,* and how literature, science, and the 
arts may thrive without any stimulus of private 
emolument. Let it also be remembered, that 
while in the middle ages the care of the poor, and 
of education, and the duties of hospitality, devolved 
principally upon them, they were eminently suc- 
cessful in agriculture, drainage, and embankment, 
architecture, and various works of public utility. f 
Disgust at the corruption of the monks might 
well create, in the minds of the first favourers of 
the Eeformation, an aversion to Coenobitism, or 
conventual life, which scarcely retained any traces 
of its first design; although, having continued in 
the church from the institute of the apostles in a 
constant succession, its perversions were no better 
reason for rejecting it as a Christian ordinance, 
than those of the Mass for rejecting the Lord's 
Supper. The religious revolution in this country, 
indeed, was mainly assisted by the division of the 

* The great accumulation of their wealth is to be attri- 
buted to the advantageous plan of a community, more than 
to any other cause. 

f " In the monastic institutions, in my opinion, was 
found a great power for the mechanism of politic benevo- 
lence." — Burke's Beflections on the Bevolution in France, 



"4';- 






RESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY, 

spoils of the church among its partisans, which 
seems to have given rise to a system of public 
robbery and embezzlement of endowments that, 
has continued to the present time. And under 
this head may also be ranked the conversion of 
the common lands into private property, by 
inclosure bills, to which may be justly applied the 
words of holy writ : ^' Woe unto them that 
decree unrighteous decrees, and that write griev- 
ousness which they have prescribed ; to turn aside 
the needy from judgment, and to take away the 
right from the poor of my people. — Hear this, 
ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the 
poor of the land to fail. Woe unto them that join 
house to house, that lay field to field, till there is 
no place ; that they may be placed alone in the 
midst of the earth ! What mean ye that beat my 
people to pieces, and grind the faces of the 
poor?"* 



* ^' The country gentleman from his neighbour's hand 
Forceth th' inheritance, joynes land to land, 
And (most insatiate) seekes under his rent 
To bring the world's most spacious continent; 
The fawning citizen (whose love's bought dearest) 
Deceives his brother when the sun shines clearest, 
Gets, borrowes, breakes, lets in, and stops out light. 
And lives a knave to leave his son a knight." 

Browne's Pastorals, 

See also Goldsmith's "Deserted Village," and the passage 
in Sir Thomas Morels " Utopia," lib. i.,' from which the fol- 



130 AN INQUIRY 

Some, however, of the more disinterested 
forerunners of the Reformation, seem to have held 



lowing* description is taken ; " Ergo lit unus helluo inexplebilis 
ac dira pestis patrise, continuatis agris, aliquot millia 
jugerum uno circundet septo, ejiciuntur coloni quidam, suis 
etiam, aut circumscripti fraude^ aut vi oppressi exuuntur, 
aut fatigati injuriis, adiguntur ad venditionem. Itaque 
quoquo pacto emigrant miseri, viri, mulieres, mariti, uxores, 
orbi, viduee, parentes cum parvis liberis, et numerosa magis 
quam divite familia, ut multis opus habet manibus res 
rustica : emigrant inquam e notis atque assuetis laribus, nee 
inveniunt quo se recipiant, supellectilem omnem baud magno 
vendibilem, etiam si manere possit emptorem, quam extrudi 
necesse est, minimo venundant ; id quum brevi errando 
insumpserint, quid restat aliud denique quam uti furentur, 
et -pendesLiit juste scilicet, aut vagentur atque mendicent: 
quamquam tum quoque velut errones conjiciuntur in car- 
cerem,^' &c. This tragedy has recently been revived in the 
counties of Sutherland and Dumfries, where " Lord Stafford, 
finding it more advantageous to grow sheep than men on 
his wife's estates in the Highlands, served notices to quit in 
the first instance; and the Highlanders not quitting, his 
agents actually caused some of the villages to be burnt over 
their heads. This being done, and lives being lost (and among 
the rest that of a woman labouring in childbirth),the noble 
Marquis succeeded ; and those places which swarmed with 
a hardy population, are now some of the best sheep walks in 
the Highlands of Scotland." — When, on the trial for libel 
of the editor of a Northern newspaper, for commenting on 
this transaction, some passages in the "Deserted Village" were 
referred to, Chief Justice Best is reported to have character- 
ised the cited passages as foolish trash. Certainly the Poet's 
sentiments are not calculated to please the despoilers of the 
people ; and, in order to second their views or conceal their 
enormities, the introductory chapter of a once popular 



RESPECTINa PRIVATE PROPERTY. 131 

the opinion that private property was inconsistent 
with Christianity,* especially the venerable Wic- 

child's book, Goody Two Shoes (said also to be Goldsmith's, 
and remarkable for containing* the first hint of the Lancas- 
terian mode of teaching), has been suppressed in the later 
editions, and its place supplied by nauseous cant. 

The above cited passages may remind us of the stories of 
Ahab and Naboth, or of Justice Kenric and poor Franks. — The 
ruined village of Ivinghoe, in Buckinghamshire, at present 
affords a recent instance of devastation from a similar 
cause : — 

'' Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, 
And desolation saddens all thy green : 
One only master grasps the whole domain." 

Deserted Village, 



*' usque proximos 

Revellis agri teiTninos, et ultra 

Limites clientium 
Sails avarus. Pellitur pateraos 

In sinu ferens Decs 
Et uxor, et vir, sordidosque natos." — Hor. Carm., ii. 18. 

* Among these is the author of " Piers Plouhman," who 
says {Passus vii.) : — " Forthi cristene men scholde been in 
commun riche, no covetise to hym selve." 

See also '^ The Praier and Complaynte of the Ploweman 
unto Christe," written not long after the year 1300. Harl. 
Misc., vi. 92 :— 

" Who that beth in charite, possesseth thy goodes in 
comune and nat in propre, at his negboures nede. 

" Gif a man be a pore man, men holden hym a man 
without grace; and gif a man desyreth porenesse, men 
holden hym a fole. And gif a man be a rich man, men 
clepen hym a gracyous man ; and thilke that ben bysie in 
getinge of rychesse, ben y-holde wise men and redye. But, 
Lorde, these rych men sayen, that it ys both lefuU and 



132 AN INQUIRY 

liiFe and Ball, but some of their adherents fell into 
the error (not to be wondered at in that age) of 
attempting to establish their opinions by force.* 
Whether there may have been any others among 
the Reformed that have not lost sight of the 

medefull to hem to g-adre rychesse to-g-eder ; for they ne 
gadreth it not for her selfe, but for other men that ben nedy. 

" Lord ! these rych men seggen that they done moch 
for thy love. For many pore laborers ben y-founde by hem, 
that schulden fare febelich, ne were not they and her 
redinesse ; for soth, me thinketh, that pore laborers geveth 
to these rych men more then they g-even hem agenwarde. 
For the pore man mote gone to hys laboure in colde and in 
hete, and in wete and drye, and spende hys flesh and hys 
bloude in the rych mennes workes apon God's ground, to 
fynde the rych man in ese, and in lykynge, and in good 
fare of mete and of drinke, and of clothinge. Here ys a 
gret gifte of the pore man ; for he geveth his own body. 
But what geveth the rych man hym ageynwarde ? Certes, 
febele mete, and febele drinke, and febele clothinge. What- 
ever they seggen, soch be her workes; and here ys litell 
love. And who soever loketh wel a boute, all the worlde 
fareth thus as we seggen : and all men stodyeth on every 
syde, how they maye wexe rjch ; and everych man almest 
ys a schamed to ben holden a pore man. 

'' A, Lorde ! gif a pore man axe gode for thy love, men 
geveth hym a litle of the worst. For these rych men 
ordeynen breed and ale, for Goddes men, of the worst that 
they have. Lorde I syth all they good that men have 
Cometh of the, how dare any geve the of the worste, and 
kepe to hym selfe the best ?" 

* This highly culpable disposition is also imputed to the 
Spenceans, whose object appears to be the re-establishment 
of the feudal tenures upon a modified system. 



RESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY. 133 

apostolic institute, I have scarcely been able to 
inquire.* The constitutions,! indeed, of the Mora- 



* Bock mentions, among* the early Unitarians, Gregorius 
Pauli, and Daniel Z wicker, as advocates for a Community 
of Goods. There is an interesting", though rathe.* tart, 
correspondence on the subject between Zwicker and Huarus, 
in which it does not appear to have occurred to the former, 
when his antagonist urged the want of permanence of the 
institute of the Jerusalem Church, that it had been con- 
tinued to his own time in the monasteries. 

t The picture of a Loan Farm, occupied by a Vee-boor 
(a Cape of Good Hope land-holder or country gentleman), 
and the same portion of land supporting a Movarian com- 
munity of Hottentots at Gnadenthal, affords an interesting 
and striking contrast. It is taken from Mr. Latrobe's 
account of Gnadenthal : — " Little do I wonder at the rajiture 
with which this place is spoken of by travellers, who, after 
traversing a dreary uncultivated countr}^, find themselves 
transported into a situation, by nature the most barren and 
wild, but now rendered fruitful and inviting by the perse- 
vering diligence and energy of a few plain, pious, sensible, 
and judicious men, who came hither, not seeking their own 
profit, but that of the most despised of nations ; and while 
they directed their hearers' hearts to the dwellings of bliss 
and glory above, taught them those things which have 
made even their earthly dwelling a kind of paradise, and 
changed filth and misery into comfort and peace. 

**' Nearly 1,300 Hottentots now inhabit this village, which 
•was once a perfect wilderness, or, which amounts pretty 
much to the same thing, a loan farm, held by a single 
Dutch boor. It consists of 256 cottages and huts, containing 
1,276 inhabitants. Every cottage has a garden, from the 
state of which the disposition of the owner is pretty well 
known. The loan farms are tracts of about 5,000 acres 
granted in perpetual leasehold, on payment of £5 per 

M 



134 AN INQUIRY 

vians, the Shakers, and the Society of Harmony 
in America^ are more or less founded on this prin- 
ciple, and Bellers recommended it in 1696: 
but though all the ancient Churches paid 
homage to the Christian proscription of private 
property, it is to be feared that in the Ee- 
formed Churches a worldly, money-getting spirit 
is very much the characteristic of those who 
consider themselves as the godly; — 

*^ in tlie silent growth of ten per cent, 

In dirt and darkness thousands stink content." 

Pope's Satires. 



annnm, or a farthing an acre, and are occupied by the Yee- 
boors. 

" The whole establishment of a Vee-boor presents a scene 
of filth and discomfort. His house has neither tree, shrub, 
nor a blade of grass near it. The interior is as slovenly as 
its exterior accompaniments." (A most forbidding descrip- 
tion follows.) "Yet this man is probably the owner of 
6,000 head of cattle and 5,000 sheep.— He lords it over the 
kraal of Hottentots with the power of a feudal chief. — He 
neither ploughs nor plants vineyards ; his habits are slovenly, 
and he neglects the decencies of life. — If he carries enough 
butter, soap, ostrich feathers, and skins to purchase in return 
a little coffee, brandy, and gunpowder, the purpose of his 
journey and his life is answered." — Quarterly Review, 
vol. xxii. p. 227. 

The late attempts of emigrants to settle in the deserts of 
America and the Cape appear to fail miserably, from having 
been made on the system of individual property. A Com- 
munity is the only plan for speedily converting the wilder- 
ness into an abode of social happiness. 



RESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY. 135 

Among the causes that have prevented the 
general adoption of the primitive suggestion of a 
Community of Goods, may be reckoned the want 
of any practicable plan to carry it into effect, and 
of a sufficient extension and preponderance of the 
genuine spirit of Christianity to make it lasting. 
This, however, need not excite our surprise, as it 
appears to have been the plan of Providence that 
Christianity should produce its effects gradually, 
and in co-operation with the efforts of human 
reason and the improvement of knowledge; 
leaving room for the exertions of mankind to 
carry into effect its Divine suggestions. And for 
any successful attempt to rid society of the evils 
of the system of private property, we must look, 
not as some have done to a return to a state of 
nature, but to a progressive refinement and 
civilisation. The necessary arrangements can 
only take rise from increased knowledge of 
human nature and of the art of governing. The 
system of private property belongs rather to the 
savage* than the civilised state; oris, at least, but 
the first step towards civilisation. To appropriate 

* *^ JVec commune bonum poterant spectare, neque ullis 
Moribus inter se scibant nee legibus uti. 
Quod cuique obtulerat praedse fortuna, ferebat, 
Sponte sua, sibi quisque valere et vivere doctus." 

Lucret., lib. v. 



136 AN INQUIRY 

to himself all that he can, is the instinct of the 
savage : to prevent the contentions to which this 
propensity would give rise was the origin of laws ; 
so that it may perhaps be more truly said that 
law is the creature of property, than that property 
is the creature of law. No doubt the institution 
of Private Property has been a great stimulus to 
improvements in the progress of man from a 
barbarous to a civilised state ; but it by no means 
follows, that when a certain degree of civilisation 
has been attained, he may not gradually lay aside 
this system — the existing stock of knowledge now 
enabling him to adopt a more perfect one. 

I see no reason to admit the opinion of those 
who think that if Christianity were universal, and 
had its due influence on the minds of all men, it 
would wholly supersede the necessity of civil 
government, and produce such a state of things 
that there would be no need either for laws or 
magistrates. As long as men, as social beings, 
are dependent on each other, and capable of 
deriving good or ill from mutual intercourse and 
assistance ; so long it would seem necessary that 
some system should exist by which this intercourse 
may be regulated, and by its improvement made 
to produce the greatest sum of happiness within 
their reach. For, supposing that all the members 
of a society were influenced by the most kind and 



RESPECTINa PRIVATE PROPERTr. 137 

Christian spirit, yet would they, for want of 
wisdom and experience,* and a skilful system of 
polity, not only fail of effecting all that might be 
done for the common weal, but perhaps fall into 
such mistakes and inconveniences as would pro- 
duce a state of things destructive of those very 
principles and dispositions which it has been 
imagined might render civil government alto- 
gether unnecessary. Besides which, it seems 
probable, that even for this complete dominion of 
Christian motives, we may have to be indebted to 
progressive improvements in education and govern- 
ment, conjointly with the intrinsic power an 
excellence of Christianity. 

Those who assert the impracticability of any 
plans of this kind, forget how much institutions 
respecting property have varied, and that society 
has actually existed under various modifications of 
them. The accumulation of landed property was 
guarded against imder the Jewish Theocracy f by 

* The system of Christianity would imply the exist- 
ence of wisdom and experience, especially at an advanced 
period of the world.— [Ed. 1849.] 

t " In the most striking* feature in the whole system of 
civil regulations, the plan adopted by the Hebrew lawgiver 
stands in direct opposition to the polity of the Egyptians. 
The founders of the latter had made it their chief endeavour 
to depress the mass of the community, in order to pamper 
the luxury and pride of the distinguished orders. Hence 
M 2 



138 AN INQUIRY 

the Divine institution of the Jubilee every 50th 
year, when all the lands which had been sold or 
alienated were re-divided among the people. Levit. 
XXV. 23 : ^^ The land shall not be sold for ever, 
for the land* is Mine," &c. And in the Sabbatical 
year the produce of the land was to be common to 
all, and debts were to be remitted. fSee Bel- 
sham's Sermon on the Jubilee, J Those who are 
disposed to consider the Mosaic as typical of the 
Christian dispensation, may easily discover, in the 
Sabbatical and Jubilee years, a type of the aboli- 
tion of private property under the Gospel. In 
some parts even of this country the laws are much 
less conductive to the accumulation of landed 
property than in others ; and many changes, 



the complicated system of subordinate ranks which con- 
signed the lower castes, with their posterity, to a state of 
perpetual servility and abject degradation. 

" The system established by Moses was, on the contrary, 
one of perfect equality ; not the casual result of circum- 
stances, but the object which the founder purposely con? 
trived a great part of his civil institutions to uphold. Hence 
the regulations for maintaining equal possessions, as far as 
this was possible, by apportioning to each family a certain 
extent of land, and precluding by express laws the per- 
manent alienation of estates." — Aiialysis of Egyptian 
Mythology, ly /. C, Prichard, 31.1)., 1819, page 408. 

* " ^quatellus 

Pauperi recluditur, 
Regumque pueris." — Hor. Carm., 11. 18. 



BESPECTINa PRIVATE PROPERTY. 139 

though mostly for the worse, have been made with 
respect to the tenure and descent of property : we 
hear much of the danger of innovations on private 
property, but little is said against the scandalous 
conversion of public into private property.* A 
great part, perhaps all, of our lands were formerly 
shack lands, of which the occupant had the use 
only whilst his crop was on, the land then revert- 
ing to the community for pasturage. Even now 



* " Sone after this, the king-es Maiestie by the aduice 
of the Lorde Protector, and the rest of his counsayle, that is 
to saye, about the beginnin<^ of June, set forth a proclamation 
against Enclosures, for that a great number of poore men had 
complayned of g-entlemen and other, that they had taken 
from them. Common of Pasture and Common Fieldes, and 
had enclosed them into parkes and pasture, and other such 
hke for their owne commoditie and pleasure, to the utter 
undoyng" of the poore men. This proclamation tending to 
the helpe and reliefe of the poore, commaunded that 
such as had so enclosed the commons, should upon a peine 
by a day assigned lay them out againe : But I thinke there 
were but few that obayed the proclamation, which thing 
the poore men perceyuing, and seyng none amendement 
follow upon the proclamation, rashly without order tooke 
upon themselues to redresse, and so gathering themselues 
together made them Capitaines and brake downe those 
inclosurs, and cast downe ditches, and in the ende plaide the 
very part of rebelles and tray tors." — Grafton^ s Chronicle, 
^rdofEd. VI. 

Such has been the origin of the sacred rights of the 
landed interest ! In later times each appropriation has been 
consecrated by an inclosure bill. 



140 AN INQUIRY 

the meer-bauks that separate the lands belong to 
the community, and the occupier of two adjoining 
fields has no right to plough up the meer-bauk 
between them. ^^ All the lands in a district called 
the Theel-land, lying in the bailiwic of Norden 
and Bertum," says a writer in the Edinhiirgh 
Review, '' are held by a very extraordinary 
tenure — we speak in the present tense, for the 
customs of the Theel-land were subsisting in 1805, 
and we do not suppose that they have since 
become obsolete. The Agrarian law, elsewhere a 
phantom either lovely or terrific, according to the 
imagination of the spectator, is here fully realised. 
The land is considered as being divided into 
portions or Theels, each containing a stated 
quantity: the owners are called Theel-men, or 
Theel-boors ; but no Theel-boor can hold more 
than one Theel in severalty. The undivided or 
common land, comprising the Theels not held by 
individuals, belongs to all the inhabitants of the 
Theel-land, and is cultivated or farmed out on 
their joint account. The Theel-boor cannot sell his 
hereditary Theel, or alienate it in any way, even 
to his nearest relations. On his death it descends 
to his youngest son. If there are no sons, it de- 
scends to the youngest daughter, under the restric- 
tions after mentioned ; and in default of issue, it 
reverts to the commonalty. But elder sons are 



RESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY. 141 

not left destitute : when they are old enough to 
keep house, a Theel is assig*ned to each of them 
(be they ever so many) out of the common lands, 
to be held to them and their issue, according to the 
customary tenure. If a woman who has inherited 
a Theel becomes the wife of a Theel-boor, who is 
already in possession of a Theel, then her land 
reverts to the commonalty."* 

In the degree of civilisation hitherto attained, 
law has interfered only to prevent the perpetration 
of violence and the grosser kinds of fraudf in the 
acquisition of property, and to regulate in various 
ways its possession and conveyance. To equalise 
as much as possible the gifts of Providence 
amongst all, however consonant to reason, benevo- 
lence, and Christianity, has been scarcely at aU 
its object. The progress of improvement, and a 
sense of mutual advantage have, however, induced 
societies of men to unite for purposes which have 



* Ediriburgh JReview, JN^o. Ixiii., for July, 1819, p. 10, 
on the Laws of Friesland. For a most interesting* account 
of this district, and of the happiness and prosperity prevail- 
ing" in it in consequence of this system, see also " Travels in 
the North of Germany," by Mr. Hodg-kins. 

See also Tacitus " De Moribus Germanorum,'^ cap. xxxvi. 

t Chiefly, however, frauds which aifect the rich. Those 
which are committed by them upon the poorer classes do 
not even incur reproach. 



142 AN INQUIRY 

this tendency : sucli are insurances, benefit socie- 
ties, and all those institutions whose object it is to 
obviate the inequalities of fortune, and to lessen 
the weight of calamity by sharing it among a 
numerous association. The progress of know- 
ledge and true civilisation will tend to unite men 
in contriving the general security and welfare by 
mutual co-operation, and in discovering such laws 
and regulations as will enable all the members of 
any society to partake as much as possible of 
its wealth. 

We are all ready to allow that the superfluities 
of the rich, ^^ for which men swinckand sweat inces- 
santly," give them no increase of enjoyment, while 
they in their waste consume the comforts of the 
majority; and yet we are blindly attached to a 
system necessarily productive of a state of things, 
which the Jewish revelation has censured, which 
poets and philosophers have always deplored, and 
which Christianity has fully condemned. If the 
prayer be a proper one, — '^ Give me neither 
poverty nor riches,* lest I be full and deny thee. 



* " Aurea mediocritas." — Hor. Carm., ii. 10. 

" Molestissimus et occupatissimus, et si profundius 
inspicias, vere miserimus est divitum status : contra autem 
dura quidem sed tutissiraa et expeditissima est paupertas. 
Mediocritas optima, et inter rarissima Dei dona hanc nobis 
contigisse gratulor."— P^^r^rcA^ Epist., lib. iii. 14. 



KESPECTING PEIYATE PROPERTY. 143 

and say, Who is the Lord ? or lest I be poor and 
steal,* and take the name of my God in vain," — 
then is that constitution of things the best which 
does not expose men to these hurtful extremes, to 
the evils occasioned by the lubricity of fortune, 
and to the pernicious influence of avarice and 
selfish ambition, of which the poet has given us 
too true a picture : — 

" Some thought to raise themselves to high degree 
By Riches and unrighteous reward ; 
Some by close should'ring ; some by flatteree ; 
Otliers through friends; others for base regard ; 
And all by wrong waies for themselves prepard ; 
Those that were up themselves kept others low ; 
Those that were low themselves held others hard, 
Ne suffred them to ryse or gi-eater grow ; 
But every one did strive his fellow downe to throw." 
Faerie Queene, b. ii. c. 7. 

"Asa cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit : 
Therefore are they become great and waxen rich : 
They are waxen fat, they shine." — Jerem. v. 27. 

It may be unnecessary for me to add, that I 



* " Experience justifies me in asserting* that wag-es are 
the barometer by which we may ascertain with considerable 
accuracy the state of crime in a county. Wherever wages 
have been high, I have found the amount of crime com- 
paratively small ; wherever they have been low, I have 
observed with pain that the labourer has resorted to the laiv 
of nature, and supported himself by plunder." — Sir W. D. 
Best's Charge to Somersetshire Grand Jury, August, 1827. 



144 AN INQUIRY 

consider both Wallace and Malthus* as admittino* 
the advantages of a Community of Goods, were it 
not for the danger of such an increase of mankind 
und^r.the happy state which it would produce, 
that the world would not hold them, and that they 
must starve or eat one another; to prevent which 
catastrophe (according to the latter) the Creator 
has no better resource than to keep down their 
numbers by perpetuating vice and misery among 
them ; or, as the late Attorney-General of Chester 
expressed it, ^* There could be no doubt that 
poverty was the doom of Heaven for the great 
majority of mankind.'' To such an objection I 
think no regard need be paid. 

It was my intention to have considered the 
manifold ills which are alleged to have their 
source in the system of private property, and to 
take notice of the plans which have been proposed, 
or put in practice, for superseding it: I must, 
however, content myself with referring to the 
publications of that zealous and unwearied philan- 
thropist, Mr. Robert Owen, of Lanark ; wherein, in 
addition to those plans of his own which it were 



* This essay was written before Mr. Godwin's clear and 
satisfactory refutations of the theory of Mr. Malthus had 
appeared ; but its entire incompatibihty with the Divine 
goodness was enoug-h to convince us that it would prove 
false. 



BESPECTINa PRIVATE PROPERTY. 145 

much to be wished should undergo a careful trials 
he details those which have been proposed or carried 
into execution by several individuals and societies.* 
I shall also appeal to the exquisite and admirable 
work, of one of the greatest men that has adorlied 
this or any other country, I mean Sir Thomas More, 
which has been disgracefully neglected and mis- 
understood by his countrymen, who have repre- 
sented him as not having been in earnest in what 
he wrote, and have even converted the word Utojnan 
into a term of contempt and reproach, as implying 
something absurd and impracticable. With a few 
passages from his ^'Utopia," in which there can be 
no doubt he expresses his real sentiments, I shall, 
therefore, conclude {his essay : — 

" To speak plainly my real sentiments, I must 
freely own, that as long as there is any private property, 
and while money is the standard of all other things, I 
cannot think that a nation can be governed either justly 
or happily — not justly, because the best things will fall 
to the share of the worst men • nor happily, because all 
things will be divided amongst a few (and even these 



* See " A New View of Society, by Robert Owen, Esq., 
of New Lanark." See also Muratori's " Account of the 
Government of the Jesuits in Paraguay ;" " Remarks on the 
Practicability of Mr. Owen's Plan to improve the Condition 
of the Lower Classes ;" and " Mr. Owen's proposed Villages 
for the Poor shown to be highly favourable to Christianity." 

N 



146 AN INQUIRY 

are not in all respects happy), tlie rest being left to be 
absolutely miserable. Therefore, when I reflect on the 
wise and g-ood constitution of the Utopians, among 
whom all things are so well governed and with so few 
laws 'y where virtue hath its due reward, and yet there 
is such an equality that every man lives in plenty; 
when I compare with them so many other nations, that 
are still making new laws, and yet can never bring their 
constitution to a right regulation; where, notwith- 
standing, every one has his property, yet all the laws 
that they can invent have not the power either to obtain 
or preserve it, or even to enable men certainly to dis- 
tinguish what is their own from what is another's ; of 
which the many lawsuits that every day break out and 
are eternally depending, give too plain a demonstration : » 
when, I say, I balance all these things in my thoughts, 
I grow more favourable to Plato, and do not wonder 
that he resolved not to make any laws for such as 
would not submit to a community of all things. For 
so wise a man could not but foresee that the setting all 
upon a level was the only way to make a nation happy, 
which cannot be obtained so long as private property 
exists. For when every man draws to himself all that 
he can compass, by one title or another, it must needs 
follow, that how plentiful soever a nation may be, yet a 
few dividing the wealth of it among themselves, the 
rest must fall into indigence ; so that there will be two 
sorts of people among them, who deserve that their 
fortunes should be interchanged — the former useless, 
but wicked and ravenous; and the latter, who by their 
constant industry serve the public more than themselves, 
sincere and modest men : from w^hence I am persuaded, 
that, till property is taken away, there can be no equit- 



RESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY. 147 

able or just distribution of things, nor can the world be 
happily governed; for as long as that is maintained, 
the greatest and the far best part of mankind will be still 
oppressed with a load of cares and anxieties. I confess, 
without taking it quite away, those pressures that lie 
on a great part of mankind may be made lighter, but 
they can never be quite removed : for if laws were 
made to determine at how great an extent in soil, and 
at how much money every man must stop, &c., these 
laws might have such effect as good diet and care 
might have on a sick man whose recovery is desperate — 
they might allay and mitigate the disease, but it could 
never be quite healed, nor the body politic be brought 
again to a good habit, as long as property remains; 
and it will fall out, as in a complicsttion of diseases, that 
by applying a remedy to one sore you will provoke 
another ; and that which removes the one ill symptom 
produces others ; while the strengthening one part of 
the body weakens the rest." — Ifore's Utopia, p. 49, in 
"Phoenix Library." 

And, again, at the conclusion of his delightful 
work : — 

" Thus have I described to you, as particularly as I 
could, the constitution of that commonwealth, which I 
do not only think the best in the world, but indeed the 
only commonwealth that truly deserves that name. In 
all other places it is visible that, while people talk of a 
commonwealth, every man only seeks his own wealth ; 
but there, where no man has any property, aU men 
zealously pursue the good of the public. And, indeed, 
it is no wonder to see men act so differently; for, in 
other commonwealths, every man knows that, unless he 



148 AN INQUIRY 

provides for himself^ how flourisliing soever the com- 
monwealth may be, he must, die of hung-er, so that he 
sees the necessity of preferring* his own concerns to the 
pubhc ; but in Utopia^ where every man has a right to 
everything-, they all know that if care is taken to keep 
the public stores full, no private man can want i 
thing- y for among them there is no unequal distr 
tion, so that no man is poor, none in necessity, luul 
though no man has anything^, yet they are all rich; 
for what can make a man so rich as to lead a serene 
and cheerful life, free from anxieties, neither appre- 
hending want himself, nor vexed with the endless 
complaints of his wife ? He is not afraid of the misery 
of his children, nor is he contriving how to raise a por- 
tion for his daughters, but is secure in this, that both 
he and wife, his children and grandchildren, to as many 
generations as he can fancy, will all live both plentifully 
and happily; since, among them, there is no less care 
taken of those who were once engaged in labour, but 
grow, afterwards, unable to follow it, than there is 
elsewhere of those that continue still employed. I 
would gladly hear any man compare the justice that is 
among them with that of all other nations; among 
whom may I perish if I see anything that looks either 
like justice or equity. For what justice is there in this, 
that a nobleman, a goldsmith, a banker, or any other 
man, that either does nothing at all, or at best is em- 
ployed in things that are of no use to the public, should 
live in great luxury and splendour upon what is so iU 
acquired; and a mean man, a carter, a smith, or a 
ploughman, that works harder even than the beasts 
themselves, and is employed in labours so necessary 
that no commonwealth could hold out a year without 



RESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY. 149 

theni; can only earn so poor a livelihood, and must lead 
so miserable a life, that the condition of the beasts is 
much better than theirs? For as the beasts do not 
work so constantly, so they feed almost as well and 
with more pleasure, and have no anxiety about what is 
to come ; whilst these men are depressed by a barren 
and fruitless employment, and tormented with the 
apprehensions of want in their old ag'e ; since that 
which they g'et by their daily labour does but maintain 
them at present, and is consumed as fast as it comes in, 
there is no overplus left to lay up for old ag-e. 

" Is not that g-overnment both unjust and ungrateful 
that is so prodig'al of its favours to those that are called 
g'entlemen or goldsmiths, or such others that are idle, 
or hve either by flattery, or by contriving the arts of 
vain pleasure ; and, on the other hand, takes no care 
of those of a meaner sort, such as ploug-hmen, colliers, 
and smiths, without whom it could not subsist? But 
after the public has reaped all the advantage of their 
service, and they come to be oppressed with ag'e, sick- 
ness, and want, all their labours and the good they 
have done is forgotten, and all the recompense given 
them is, that they are left to die in great misery. 

" Therefore, I must say, that, as I hope for mercy, 
I can have no other notion of all the other governments 
that I see or know, than that they are a conspiracy of 
the rich, who, on pretence of managing the public, 
only pursue their private ends, and devise all the ways 
and arts they can find outj first, that they may, 
without danger, preserve all that they have so ill 
acquired, and then, that they may engage the poor to 
toil and labour for them at as low rates as possible, and 
oppress them as much as they please ; and if they can 



150 AN INQUIRY 

but prevail to get these contrivances established by the 
show of public authority, which is considered as the 
representative of the whole people, then they are 
accounted laws: yet these wicked* men, after they 
have, by a most insatiable covetousness, divided that 
among- themselves with which all the rest might have 
been well suppHed, are far from that happiness that is 
enjoyed among- the Utopians : for the use as well as 
the desire of money being- exting-uished, much anxiety 
and g-reat occasion of mischief is cut off with it ; and 
who does not see that the frauds, thefts, robberies, 
quarrels, tumults, contentions, seditions, murders, 
treacheries, and witchcrafts, which are^ indeed, rather 
punished than restrained by the severities of the law, 
would all fall off, if money were not any more valued 
by the world ? Men's fears, solicitudes, cares, labours, 
and watching-s, would all perish in the same moment 
with the value of money ; even poverty itself, for the 
relief of which money seems most necessary, would 
fall. 

" I do not doubt but rich men are sensible of this, 
and that they well know how much a g-reater happiness 
it is to want nothing necessary than to abound in many 
superfluities ; and to be rescued out of so much misery, 
than to abound with so much wealth : and I cannot 



* These reproaches should have been spared. The evils 
complained of are the consequences of a defective system ; 
and all anger against those whose conduct is influenced by 
it is misplaced. Till a better plan can be carried into effect, 
no one should be blamed for doing the best he can for him- 
self in the general scramble that exists, as it is only by 
amassing riches that he can protect himself from the 
calamities of poverty. 



RESPECTING^ PRIVATE PROPERTY. 151 

think but the sense of every man's interest, added to 
the authority of Christ's commands — who, as he was 
infinitely wise, knew what was best, and was not less 
good in discovering* it to us — would have drawn all the 
world over to the laws of the Utopians, if pride, that 
plag-ue of human nature, that source of so much misery, 
did not hinder it; for this vice does not measure 
happiness so much by its own conveniences as by the 
miseries of others, and would not be satisfied with being 
thought a goddess, if none were left that were 
miserable, over whom she might insult. Pride thinks 
its own happiness shines the brighter, by comparing it 
with the misfortunes of other persons ; that by display- 
ing its own wealth they may feel their poverty the 
more sensibly." — Move's Utopia, p. 165, in " Phoenix 
Library." 



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