The Unlearned Professions

IN the discussion of the labor question we hear much of what are called the claims of labor. These claims are often presented as if a natural antagonism existed between labor and capital, or between laborers and capitalists. It does not appear that any such antagonism is alleged to exist between laborers and doctors, ministers, or lawyers, members of the learned professions ; but only as to manufacturers, merchants, tradesmen, railway owners, and the like, members of the unlearned professions, who have necessarily grown rich in the conduct of their business, and who are capitalists.

It is often asserted or implied that their wealth has been gained at the cost of the laborers; hence in order to assure a clear understanding of the problem at issue under the name of " the labor question ” it is necessary to present the claims of the capitalists, by whose efforts the great commerce and manufactures of the world are kept in motion, and by whose skill the ample products of the field, the mill, the mine, and the workshop have been brought forth and distributed ; who have caused abundance to rule where want and famine would else have spread misery among nations. It is necessary to assert the standing of those whose work in life has made them rich; whose honest dollars saved and now enjoyed are not only the measure of their own reward, but the evidence of the services they have rendered to their fellow-men.

It may be said that the pursuit of wealth needs no incentive, it will always have its votaries, but yet may often be an utterly ignoble calling. Too true may be this answer, and for that very reason the more should the real function of the capitalist be defined, the public necessity for the accumulation of wealth be mastered, and the profession of manufacturer and merchant be provided for in, our method of education as a profession of equal dignity, equal rank, and equal usefulness with the profession of the minister, the lawyer, the doctor, or the scientist.

Men must work, and some must become manufacturers and merchants; under the incentive of self - interest they must accumulate capital; it is their most useful function. This capital will constitute not only a part of their own wealth, but a part of the national wealth on which the national welfare greatly depends. Can these be in their nature ignoble pursuits ?

It is very true that these pursuits may be ignobly followed, but not more so than many others. The man who spends his life in the pursuit of gain for its own sake, irrespective of the service that he renders, and even ignorant of it, yet saves substance that must be used in order to give it value to him, and in its use others are aided who might else have suffered; but the student who passes his life in the mere pursuit of knowledge for its own sake only, making no effort to spend his work for the good of humanity, leaves naught behind, and has been supported by others, rendering no service in return ; the yet more selfish person whose sole care is to look after his own salvation in a future life may so wholly ignore his right service in this one as to become a less useful member of society, a less righteous force, than another, whose hasty impulses make him often a sinner, but whose great, unselfish heart, good-will to his fellow-men, and kindly words and deeds more than atone for his errors.

The capitalist who applies inventions and saves men from noxious or arduous drudgery is the true labor reformer.

The words spoken about the dignity of labor are not apt to be very sincere. The work of the scavenger or the scrub, of the coal-heaver or the mulespinner, is not dignified, and cannot be made so. Much of the work still requisite to be done is depressing both in a moral and material sense, and it is a proof of the dignity of manhood rather than of labor that men who are forced to toil, as many now are, in noxious, dangerous, and unsavory pursuits are not entirely bad.

Science, invention, and capital combined are gradually but surely removing many of the evils that have beset the common sorts of labor; and one of the inducements that may rightly be considered, in the choice of the profession to be entered upon by educated men, is to be found in the undoubted fact that the more a man has gained in the production or distribution of wholesome goods or wares the more comfort he has assured to his fellow-men, and the more opportunity he has given them to surmount the arduous struggle for existence.

The object aimed at by him who is becoming a capitalist may be only “ to make money,” as the pursuit of gain is called, but in the process the gain is not confined to him who makes it. In almost every branch of industry the surest road to profit consists in the best conditions of life for those who do the actual work, and the largest gains of capital are best assured when wages are highest and laborers fully employed.

In common speech, money, by which wealth is measured, is used as the synonym for wealth itself; and how often do we hear that “ money is the root of all evil ; ” how seldom do we admit, even to ourselves, that it is the source of most of our blessings in this world, and that there is more danger to our moral and spiritual welfare from its want than from its possession ! It has been well said that it gives comfort to our homes, education to our children, opportunity for our friends ; it builds our churches, our school-houses, and our dwellings; it saves us from sordid drudgery ; it enures to health ; it endows the present, which is our only absolute possession, with better means for righteous living, and thus lends hope to the future both here and hereafter. All this it may do. All this it does accomplish in many happy homes. That money may be potent for evil may not be denied ; the more fit is the claim that I shall make in behalf of those who must pursue it, and whose lives it is to make or to mar, — the more need that they should learn its true secret.

Life in this world rests upon a material basis; even the process of intellection itself can only be continued if the waste of the material substance of the brain is constantly resupplied by the assimilation of the food that we eat. In life we must meet life’s conditions, and they demand the best material conditions for humanity, in order that the development of the highest mental and spiritual life may become even possible.

It has been said in common words, “ It is no great use to preach to men with empty stomachs.” Asceticism may have been consistent with a high but onesided development of life in individual cases ; even the urgency of extreme poverty may have been the only means by which some forms of genius could have been brought into light, and made to find their perfect work ; but the average man can be kept in a condition of even decent morality only by being sustained in the enjoyment of, or at least the expectation of, a tolerable condition of material welfare.

The false philosophy that pronounces the world, the flesh, and the devil as of necessity synonymous terms; that stigmatizes the pursuit of wealth as in its essence a merely selfish pursuit; that finds in the work that rich men must do to become rich no gain to any but themselves, and declares that gain to be mere dust, is a shallow system of dogmas that are really but half truths; and half truths are often more mischievous than absolute falsehoods, because they are urged with sincerity by honest men, and cause those who listen to and accept them to look beyond the necessary daily work of their lives for a satisfaction that their present work might give them now and here. For what is wealth? Is it not a little more than enough for present wants? The richest state in the world is always within one year of starvation ; the capital of the richest nation or state, its mills, works, ware-houses, dwellings, its tools and implements, its goods and wares of every kind, are but the measure of one, two, or at most three years’ production. Nothing is so fleeting as what we name fixed capital; only by constant effort can it be maintained. Neglect the farm for two short years, and weeds will take the place of crops. Leave the house a little longer unattended and uncared for, and it will only be a fit dwelling for bats and owls. Let the fire go down in the mill or workshop for a few nights and the dampness enter, and the vast fabric of machinery with its mighty engine can never again spin and weave the cloth that yields comfort to thousands. Neglect the roadbed a single year, or even a single month, and never can the railway train again pass in safety until the way has been reconstructed. Yet more destructive than all the forces of nature is the busy brain of the inventor. In all the arts nothing is constant but change : the machinery that to the boy is a marvel of power and of productive capacity has been broken up for old metal almost before he has become an adult.

Continual effort marks the accumulation ; more constant effort is needed to maintain ; and yet all the capital of the community for which a price can be charged, or for the use of which any payment can be claimed, is but the sum of one, two, or three years’ production.

Is there no intellectual standing required for this vast work ? Is not he a master of arts who masters forces ? Is not he a doctor of laws who masters the complex rules that control the relations of men to each other, and who brings the work of the day laborer on the faroff Western prairie to the subsistence of the weary cotton spinner in yet more distant England ? Is not he the true physician by whom humanity is kept in health, in vigor, and in strength ? Is not he the true minister of spiritual life who feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, and shelters the homeless, without debasing them by alms-giving ?

It is impossible to think of modern society existing without the services of capital; modern life cannot be conceived of without it. If it were not for the service rendered to the present generation by capital that has been saved from the work of the past, cities would be depopulated, famine would stalk throughout broad lands, and pestilence would work a blessing in removing from the earth those who could not be subsisted upon it.

What are the forces that keep thousands from starving in England to-day ? Are they not the forces of capital and commerce ? Who are the men that thus feed the hungry ? Are they only the philanthropists, the reformers, the advocates of this or that panacea for the ills that afflict humanity ? Far from it; they are the Garretts, the Scotts, and the Vanderbilts, the Cunards, the Allans, and the Leylands, and all the less known members of the unlearned professions, who, perhaps aware of, or more or less ignorant of, their true function, are yet the agents by whose work nations are sustained. No benevolence, no alms-giving, could possibly reach the need ; and if it could it would pauperize those who received and ruin those who gave; it would work both moral, mental, and material degradation. It is by the use of capital that the vast crops of the great West are produced; it is by the use of capital that they are moved, and it is the work of commerce, conducted by business men seeking wealth for themselves only, that distributes these vast stores over wider and wider areas, and thus renders the struggle for existence less arduous for each succeeding generation of men. We are more nearly a nation of shop-keepers than any other, and we may well be thankful for the distinction.

Some one has well said that the first question a young man should put to himself when entering upon the chosen business of his life should be, “Whose labor do I propose to share ? ” But to this he must add another question, What service do I propose to render in requital for that labor ? He cannot permanently succeed unless he renders service equal to the share of labor that he receives.

The law of commerce, whether between nations or persons, is product for product, and the principle which controls it is service for service ; the measure of payment in money is but the term in which both the service rendered and the service received are defined and stated. It therefore follows that the man who chooses to enter upon the business of production will be sustained, if he is successful at all, only in virtue of the fact that he can save those who buy his goods a part of the labor that they would otherwise have been compelled to exert. If in the work of production he employs others beside himself, they serve him because the wages he pays them give them better subsistence than they could otherwise obtain. He who becomes a merchant and enters upon the business of distribution is controlled by the same law: those who buy his wares make the purchase only because it benefits themselves, — because they are saved an effort,— not in order to benefit him. He who becomes a railway manager is sustained only because he moves the crops and manufactures of the country over the widest area at the least cost to the consumer. The measure of the fortune of each, the farmer, the manufacturer, the merchant, the railway owner, is but the measure of the labor he has saved men from doing, —not a share of their work that he has compelled them to do for him. He has not profited by their loss, but his own gain has been obtained only because they have gained also.

In a free state, governed by just laws, the more the few increase in wealth the more the many gain in welfare. The two words become truly synonymous, and conflict is impossible. Of course bad men will cheat and ignorant men will be defrauded; immoral men will engage in nefarious traffic, and noxious goods will be bought and sold; but this does not impair the rule, and these aberrations are but exceptions even in the common practice. Some one has said, “The integrity of the many makes the opportunity for the fraud of the few.” Society itself could not exist, unless the natural laws which govern the transactions of men accorded in the long run with morality and justice. I do not say that these laws assert themselves, or that these principles control the work of every individual or even of every generation. Their action may be impaired by special circumstances. The issue of irredeemable paper money will promote a vast increase of crime,— will cause fraud and breach of trust to pervade the land, and make men almost hopeless of integrity ever again appearing to be the rule. If the nation legislates a lie, and forces its promise of a dollar under a legal-tender act into use in place of the coined metal that carries its own value in its own substance, the people will follow the example ; fraud will prevail more and yet more among them, until bankruptcy or anarchy forces a return to right methods of legislation, and to an honest standard of value by which each man may again truly measure the service that he renders by the service that he receives.

The resumption of specie payments by this nation is not only the greatest material triumph, but the greatest moral triumph as well. It has been reserved for a democratic republic to be the first among nations to redeem its notes, that had been issued under the force of an act making them a legal tender, without repudiation of any part of the promise. But continued redemption cannot be assured if these notes are reissued. They are bad in their very essence, and are a continual cause of danger to the welfare of the nation.

If the government limits its functions, or rather is limited, to the enforcement of justice, the promotion of education, and the protection of persons and property; if intelligent men are left free in their action, unaffected by vicious legislation, the work of production, distribution, and consumption will proceed under laws that are more potent than any mere statutes can ever be in assuring abundance in the production and equity in the distribution of wealth, and those laws bring moral and material welfare into truest harmony.

But it is said by some of the sincere but misguided advocates of the various sophistries that have of late been rife, Our quarrel is not with capital, but with capitalists. We oppose the “ money power;” we affirm that certain changes must be made, because capitalists, by the control of the money power, are enabled to obtain an undue share of the wealth produced, and hence they grow richer, while the poor for that very reason grow poorer.

It is not intended to enter upon a discussion of the currency question, but it is cited as an example of what an enormous factor in moral and spiritual questions the mere instrument used in the distribution of wealth, may become. Statutes prescribing the kind and quality of the money that shall be lawful are great forces, upon the right direction of which the very structure of society depends, — that may cause anarchy and confusion, or that may be directed toward peace, order, and prosperity ; that are more potent for good or evil than all the words that can be spoken from the pulpit; more capable of causing disease or health to prevail than all the prescriptions of the physician, and more replete with justice or with wrong than all the decisions of the courts. The most pernicious of all wrong is the decision of a court by which a false statute is sustained.

Pelatiah Webster, a great merchant of Philadelphia, who opposed the issue of continental currency, predicted its malignant effect, and witnessed the disaster and distress that it caused, in 1780 used these words: “ Our finances have for five years past been under the management of fifty men of the best abilities and most spotless integrity that could be elected out of the thirteen States ; yet they are in a ruined condition. We have suffered more from this than from every other cause of calamity; it has killed more men, perverted and corrupted the choicest interests of our country more, and done more injustice than even the arts and artifices of our enemies.”

And when, later, he witnessed the final collapse of this corrupting agency he wrote, —

“ Thus fell, ended, and died the continental currency, aged six years. Its circulation was never more brisk and quick than when its exchange was five hundred to one, yet it expired without one groan or struggle; and I believe, of all things that ever suffered dissolution since life was first given to the creation, this mighty monster died the least lamented. If it saved the state, it also polluted the equity of our laws, and turned them into engines of oppression and wrong; destroyed the fortunes of thousands who had most confidence in it; enervated the trade, husbandry, and manufactures of our country, and went far to destroy the morality of our whole people.”

Who are to control, guide, and direct forces such as these, — forces whose effects are as malignant as their action is subtle and concealed ?

Yet this continental currency, like our legal-tender note, was but an instrument of distribution. If a fault in distribution could work such adverse effects as Webster pictured and such as we ourselves have lately seen, and may yet see again, because our legal tender notes, although redeemed, are still bad money and are still working evil results, does it not prove the need of a right comprehension of the whole subject? When bad money has such power for evil, no wonder that those who have not mastered the subject should speak of the money power, and impute to money itself and to its possession the evils that ensue from its bad quality or from its misuse. Good money can work no wrong; it is but an instrument, by means of which property is exchanged.

What these men blindly aim at, when they prate of the money power, is the power of capital and the power that accompanies the possession of property. The issue is the issue between communism and property, and the men of property must justify their possession, not merely by statute, but by proving that the possession of property gives the highest power of service, prevents waste, and assures the community against the prevalence of want.

May it not be stated as a scientific proposition, easily demonstrated from the experience of the past, that, while communism can never be reached by the destruction of the institution of property, there is yet a communism that will surely come to which no one can take exception ? Not a communism in accumulation and in the possession of capital, buta communism in a substantially equal distribution of the means of subsistence that are the joint product of labor and capital.

Through competition among capitalists, capital itself is every year more effective in production, and tends ever to increasing abundance. Under its working the commodities that have been the luxuries of one generation become the comforts of the next and the necessities of the third; and with each year the amount of labor required to procure an equitable share of this ever-increasing product is diminished. With the growth of the intelligence of the laborers, both the drudgery and the more arduous or noxious conditions of their work are also more and more abated. The plane of what constitutes a comfortable subsistence is constantly rising, and as the years go by greater and greater numbers attain this plane. Even in Great Britain to-day, despite bad harvests and adverse conditions on every side, subsistence is easier to obtain, and pauperism is less, than at the time of the great agitation for the repeal of the corn laws. The distress of to-day is striking higher up in the social scale than it did then, and is likely to cause more far-reaching changes than the mere repeal of an obnoxious statute.

The railroads of the United States have so reduced the cost of moving the great staple products of corn and meat that little or no rent can hereafter be paid in Great Britain for land devoted to them. For the smaller crops which yield the better profit to the laborer the land must be free. The present system of land tenure is tottering to its fall, and changes have been promoted by the application of capital in the United States to the distribution of food that may cause a greater Britain to arise than we have yet seen, and that shall bring the English-speaking people on the two sides of the great ocean into much closer relations than they ever were before.

The ruling class who would have sustained slavery, and who would have divided this nation had they dared, are now meeting their reward ; we have attacked them with the subtle weapons of peace, that could not have been forged had this nation not maintained its life.

We have combined labor and capital with such success that the ship-loads of food that we ourselves cannot consume have affected the very fabric of English society, and will cause it to be relaid on a more stable and righteous foundation.

Our capital is truly the result of labor saved; our possessions are the wilderness redeemed from waste ; our rights to property are based on ability to preserve and capacity to use.

Let us be thankful that no vested wrongs beset us ; that we have no class who claim supremacy because of inherited position ; more than all, that we have no military caste. Far better a Congress composed, even as ours is now for a little while, so largely of Confederate brigadiers than a Parliament, one half of whose upper and one third of whose lower house are made up of men who are or have been officers in an army.

Property must be held by him who can himself use it, if it is to work its most perfect results.

Liberty to earn, liberty to save, liberty to spend, the utmost freedom to engage in any pursuit that does not harm society, must be the rule. Under this rule the true place of capitalists must become manifest to the commonest understanding ; and it is upon the determination of this question of the beneficent function of capital, and of capitalists also, that the welfare of nations for the next century depends.

Are we passing out of the era of war, and entering upon the century of commerce ? It surely seems to be so on this continent. If capitalists abuse their power and do not find in wealth an opportunity for service, the worse not only for them, but for the community. If rights are asserted and duties are not fulfilled, the rights may become wrongs, and cannot be maintained.

There is one law that has had freer scope in this land than in any other. It is a rule formulated by Frederick Bastiat in the following terms : “ In proportion to the increase of capital, the absolute share of the total product falling to the capitalist is augmented, but his relative share is diminished; while, on the contrary, the laborer’s share is increased both absolutely and relatively.” This is a necessary law, that once fully comprehended would cause every laborer to do his utmost, not only to save a portion of his own earnings, and to begin to be a capitalist himself, but to take every possible measure to promote the accumulation of capital by others, even by those who already had the most.

Before capital had taken the form of the modern railroad, the men of Massachusetts worked long and arduously to force a scanty subsistence from her sterile soil. Before capital took the form of the modern textile factory, the women of Massachusetts worked yet more arduously in spinning and weaving the insufficient clothing of the family. Now one day’s labor will pay the cost of moving a year’s supply of meat and flour from the fertile prairies of the West. A thousand miles of distance and a dollar are convertible terms, and a dollar a day is almost the lowest wage of the commonest laborer. Now one woman operating her portion of the machinery in a great factory will clothe many hundreds in comfort.

It has been proved by the admirable census of Massachusetts, taken in 1875 by Carroll D. Wright, that the capital invested in manufactures in the State is equal in value to just one half the value of the annual product of the works in which it is invested. Capital thus applied has of late been able to earn as the share of its owners a proportion not exceeding six per cent. per annum. Assuming this as an average, it follows that where the product is double the capital, three parts of the annual result constitute the share of the capitalist and ninety-seven parts are the share of others. Who are these others ? Are they not the laborers who do the work in the mills and the workshops, or the laborers who produce the commodities that are converted from the crude form of what are called raw materials into the finished forms that are ready for consumption? Trace any art from its inception to the present day, and apply the rule of Bastiat. The cotton manufacture is only a century old; forty years since the product of a cotton-mill was less than one third what it is now, and the value of each spindle and loom was greater; it took three or four times as large a portion of the annual result to compensate capital as it does now. But as capital in cotton-mills has increased, that is, as men have become rich, as the mills have become larger, more numerous, more effective, the annual share of the product of the mills that capital could secure to its own use has diminished year by year. Where forty years since it could secure at least one fifth, it can now take to itself but one fifteenth, or less, of the product; labor receives the rest. Yet the smaller share from the larger product measured in money would come to a vastly greater sum than the larger share of the lesser product used to constitute. The absolute share of capital is greater; its relative share is less.

The laborers, on the other hand, receive from ninety-four to ninety-seven per cent. of the larger product, where they used to receive but eighty per cent. of a much smaller one; their share is far greater both absolutely and relatively. The rule is clearly demonstrated in the history of the cotton factory, and its beneficent working can be traced in every other branch of industry.

This is only the title of one of the chapters that ought to be a part of the instruction of the members of the Unlearned Professions. Would it not help, and not harm, a man to know that the harder and more intelligently he worked in his chosen business, and the more success he achieved in adding to the capital in it, the more drudgery he would save his fellow-men, and the more leisure he would ultimately give them in their struggle for subsistence ? Let it, then, be asked of the college men, professors, instructors, graduates, and members of boards of alumni and of trustees, by whom our institutions of learning are now and are to be hereafter guided and controlled, What have you provided for the instruction of this young man, who is perhaps to be one of the capitalists by whom these great enterprises in manufacturing and in commerce are to be carried on in the next generation ? We do not mean, What technical instruction do you intend to give him? (even that was wanting only a few short years ago; but our Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Sheffield School at Yale, the Scientific School at Dartmouth, and many other schools are more or less adequately meeting this need) but, What are you doing for the instruction of this young man, who is to become rich and to furnish the means and direct the employment of those who have been trained in the technical schools and those who labor under them ?

Let us take hold of one end of the cotton thread and follow the clue to the other end ; perhaps by this method we may indicate what seems to be the need and method of instruction for those who are now or are to become rich. As we untwist the strand it will carry us back to prehistoric times, — to the land in Central Asia, where the woman who first gathered the lint from the boll and learned to spin it upon the distaff laid the foundation of the modern factory. In the records of Assyria upon the stones of Nineveh, and on the walls of the pyramids, one may see the pictures of the loom, of which our finest modern examples are but modifications. Let us follow the strand down through the ages, and before we have untwisted all that is held among its fibres we may have learned a lesson in physical geography and geology, in the chemistry of soils and in mechanics ; have studied how plants grow; have mastered many of the most important chapters in the history of nations; have sounded the depths of moral and political science; and when our own time is reached we shall find the most potent factor in the renewed prosperity upon which we are now congratulating ourselves.

The mechanician who invented the cotton-gin perpetuated slavery for nearly a century, and the despised negro has been the financial power by whom specie payment has now been restored. The last ten free crops of cotton have exceeded the last ten slave crops by six and a half million bales. These last six crops of cotton have been worth nearly or quite three billion dollars in gold coin. With them we have paid our foreign debt and turned the tide of gold this way.

Our success in resuming our place among nations and in taking the lead in paying our debts has been due to our merchants, our men of affairs, to our railway managers and our capitalists, — far more than to our statesmen. While Congress has been vacillating and uncertain in its purpose, and our ministers of finance have been and still are tampering with the currency, great industrial forces have been directed by able men, and most of the obstructions that legislators or administrations could interpose have been surmounted.

It is the work of those who have produced and distributed our great crops of cotton and of corn that has achieved results. It is the instinct of the people rather than the statesmanship of its financial leaders that has kept the nation true; their common sense has been proof against the plausible fraud of the demagogue and the specious sophistries of the sentimentalist and the rhetorician. To them we owe the honorable record of our last few years of financial struggle that will be inscribed in the history of this time.

When the merchant studies history to find the place that men of affairs have held in its course, he soon perceives that even in war itself, which constitutes so much of the narrative of history, it is the man of affairs that has been the chief actor; without the able commissary the greatest general would have failed.

If he seeks to know the real event that occurred at a given time, or in a given age, he will find it only in a supplementary chapter that seems to be of the least interest. When the enthusiasm for the crusades roused the lords of the land to muster their men at arms and proceed upon their hopeless enterprise, the real event was the sale of their lands to the merchants and men of affairs, from whom the possession of land had before been most jealously guarded; and when these knights and seigneurs died in battle and from disease in the far lands of the East their grand crusade seemed all a failure ; but the men at arms, the followers, and the serfs who escaped with life carried back the arts of making steel, of weaving silk, and the seed of maize, and in these and other ways worked a vast change in the industry of Western Europe. When the Moors were driven out of Spain, and there seemed to be a great triumph for Christianity, literature and art and industry went with them ; the pursuits of peace, in many of which the Moors far exceeded any other race in Southern Europe, were put back a century, and the greed of gold, as the only kind of wealth worth possessing, became the ruling principle in the Spanish mind, and has since been the chief cause of the ruin of the great empire of Spain.

How many of those who read history as it is taught in the schools and colleges perceive the true force of gunpowder? Who, except the one who finds in commerce and industry the great forces that move society and sooner or later control events, ever thinks that the invention of gunpowder was one of the greatest events, not only in its effect on the industrial arts, but in the equalization of wealth,— that it destroyed the power of sword and armor, and ultimately changed the entire distribution of wealth, from the ancient mode according to status or condition to the modern method by contract and agreement? What events in the great religious wars were equal in their ultimate effect on the history of the world to the banishment of the Flemish weavers to England and the scattering of the French Huguenots in other lands, to which they carried the industrial arts they had learned at home ?

If we would bring this lesson home to our own times and country, witness the great industrial revolution that has occurred in our own land. I have spoken of our great crop of cotton and its value, — what does it mean more than has yet been indicated ? The enfranchisement of the negro and his endowment with the right of suffrage of necessity brought many evil results. States were misgoverned for the time being, and much disaster has ensued from this misgovernment. Now, a reaction has occurred which has brought again into temporary power the representatives of a dead past, and for a little time galvanized corpses, who in their life-time attempted to harness pestilence to do the evil work of slavery, may even take their places in the governor’s chair of great States, and appear to rule ; but let us have patience and look deeper. The organic laws of these States have been mostly framed in accordance with the best constitutions of the Northern States. Under their action the very fabric of society is being changed : old things have partly passed away ; new men and new measures are forcing their way into action ; the production of wealth is rapidly increasing, and for its opportunity it demands and will have justice and fair treatment for those who do the work. Identity of material interests is riveting the bonds of the union of the States more surely than any constitution or organic law, —more firmly than any force of arms could rivet it. The war for the Union neither saved nor made it; it removed the cause of disunion that for a century had kept the separate members of an aggregate of States in a condition of passive war with one another, and the slave-stricken sections in passive civil war within their own boundaries. The centrifugal force has been destroyed and the centripetal force is as certain in its action as the law of gravitation. The men who stand in its way will be crushed, and the Southern men soon to represent the forces at present in action are those who now have the sagacity to perceive their nature, and who are setting themselves at work to remove the obstacles that still in some degree prevent their perfect work.

Analyze these new forces, and what is their source ? Simply the effort of free men to secure wealth; simply the selfinterest of individuals, each more or less blindly struggling to improve his own condition. The illiterate and uninstructed freedman and the yet more illiterate and badly instructed poor white, with more or less of violence, more rather than less of fraud, and under almost hopeless difficulty are yet laying the foundations of order and stability. To him who can look beneath the surface of the political froth that obscures the deepmoving currents it is the opportunity that liberty has given to achieve widely distributed wealth which is the real power destined soon to control events, and once more give to these great States of the South an influence in the councils of the nation that no one need ever dread again.

Witness once more the great industrial revolution that is moving over England with resistless force, and trace its cause. Again you will find a righteous change worked out by the pursuit of wealth under free conditions. Under the feudal system the possession of land, which constituted the chief element of property, carried with it duties as well as rights ; it had grown out of the conditions of a society in which strength gave the power which science has since developed in mechanism.

The orders of knighthood and of nobility were more or less deserved, and in some degree were recognitions of service rendered to society; but when the titles have come down to spendthrifts and imbeciles, and the possessions can only be maintained by bailiffs and trustees,— when the land is covered with restrictions and settlements in favor of those whose lives are passed in luxury or worse, and who perform no service in return for the share of other men’s labor which they enjoy, — then, the end cannot be far away. Has it not come ? The near future will answer this question. If it has come, what has been the motive ? The hardy immigrants seeking to escape the blood tax of compulsory military service in Germany and other continental countries, or seeking to avoid the almost serf-like conditions of Ireland and Scotland, soon to be followed by an unnumbered multitude from England itself, have sought subsistence on our fertile land. Their aim is to accumulate wealth. The railway magnate seconds their attempt, the great merchant promotes it, and by their success each achieves his own special end. The weary toilers of England are sustained, while the power of the privileged classes is being shattered to its foundation. The low cost of our grain and meat forbid the payment of rent to the English landlords.

It is the merchant, the manufacturer, the railway owner, and the other members of the unlearned professions by whom all this work is concentrated and directed. Shall they work blindly on, moved by forces of which they themselves are ignorant ? Shall they undervalue their own pursuits ? Shall they any longer be held unworthy of the highest rank among men ? Rather let us take a lesson from the Chinese, who have not permitted titles of nobility to pass down from brave and worthy ancestors to a posterity that may have become idle, vicious, and unworthy, but who, in virtue of noble deeds and useful services performed in the present time, grant titles of nobility to the ancestors of him who does the work of to-day.

What kind of instruction would best serve the purpose of him who is to be come a man of affairs ? Perhaps one who has missed it may hardly dare to answer. May not the ancient languages cease to be taught as classics, but instead be made a part of the teaching of the English language in which they still live? May not history become replete with light and interest if we work back from the events of to-day to their source in the distant past ? May not every science become pleasant toil when the motive of its study is the right understanding of the cotton, the wool, the leather, and the other commodities in which the merchant is to deal and the manufacturer is to work ? And may not all this labor of preparation for what are now untaught and unlearned professions be elevated and dignified when the abstract training of the mind which ought to form a part of every system of instruction is sought in what has been named the most metaphysical of all the sciences,— the science of political economy? We need take no exception to the pursuit of the highest scholarship, to the most abstract training in the classics, the most thorough work in scientific study and research ; but how few can spend time and money, — how few have themental capacity that make it worth their while to attempt these courses of instruction !

Would it not be better to accept the necessary conditions of material life, and not deem ignoble that system of instruction which makes " bread and butter ” more abundant? There is a demand for such work, and if the true institutions of learning do not meet it, the community will spend their money on the superficial instruction of what are called “ business colleges.”

When the department of commercial and political instruction is established as a part of the curriculum of our colleges; when our universities offer not merely a miscellaneous list of elective studies, but a carefully prepared system of elective courses of instruction for the merchant and the manufacturer, as fitly planned as those which have been provided for the students of law, medicine, and theology, a need will have been met that has become urgent since steam and the telegraph have brought commerce and manufactures within the domain of science, and more and more eliminated the element of chance in their pursuit. In Austria, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and Scotland, either in the universities or in separate schools, this need has been admirably and adequately met. Shall New England lag behind ? Every man who has been in any manner connected with the use of capital, even though not himself a capitalist, has witnessed a waste of money from misdirection in the last twenty years counted by untold millions. In Massachusetts only, there has been a waste of capital that would not have occurred had even the elementary principles of physical and social science been taught in the schools and universities a generation since, to those who were to become the men of affairs, sufficient to have founded a commercial, technical, and industrial school upon the broadest foundation in every county and city, if not in every town, in the State.

But while the men of affairs may thus present the claims of those who must be fitted for their work in order that all may live, and while their title to rank and dignity proportioned to the importance of their work may rightly be asserted, no one will defer more fully than they to the higher claim of those to whom it is given to add to the immaterial capital, to increase the sum of knowledge, — not sought for its own sake, but that he who has striven to gain it might add to the priceless treasure which moth and rust cannot corrupt, and which no thief can steal, because it is the common wealth of generations.

It may well be considered by those who guide and control our institutions of learning that the same rule will obtain in this matter as in all the other affairs of life, — service for service. The more fitly the colleges provide for the instruction of those who now constitute the unlearned professions and bring them up to the true dignity of their calling, the more will they sustain the colleges and the learned professions, to the end that all may join together in promoting the material welfare of humanity, thus assuring that mental and spiritual progress that alone makes life worth living.

Edward Atkinson.