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sell it for twelve.
Now, you know how in all markets, the prices fall when there are many more sellers than buyers; especially is it so, if the sellers are compelled to sell. Now, that is precisely your case. You all rush into the labour market, -you must sell, and thus the price of your labour comes tumbling down, and it is a considerable time before it again rises. But if at such times, large numbers of you could say."Well, we are not compelled to sell our labour at present; we won't take a price like that for it. We have been industrious and economical, and have a little laid by against such contingencies;" then in a short time you might be able to resume labour at the price you had previous.
There is another aspect of this subject to which I wish to call your attention. Many of the more intelligent of the working-men have a growing conviction-and some great thinkers share that conviction—that the co-operative system will ulti. mately be adopted in many departments of trade, and that working men will yet have factories of their own, in which the profits will be mutually divided. For myself, I have not much faith in this theory. It is beautiful to look at, but in the present state of human nature, I fear it is not practicable. However, it must be admitted that some very successful experiments, both at Leeds and Rochdale, have been made, and I shall be heartily glad to hear of others of the same kind. Probably I have before me many working-men who entertain these views. Then I ask you, how are you to get the capital necessary to make the experiment? I confess that I know of no means but giving up your beer and tobacco, and being economical. Let us suppose again, that half the money spent by the working-classes in the unnecessary-if not injurious-articles, was saved for future use; this hoarded capital, with its interest, in ten short years would amount to the enormous sum of three hundred and fifty millions of pounds!!
Now, a capital like that, would enable you as a class. to purchase mills and warehouses, and manufacture and sell on your own account, if you deem that a desirable thing.
But now let me take higher ground. Man does not live by bread alone. Eating and drinking is not the great end of life. Man has a mind to be fed, as well as a body. And I have not much faith in any reforms that do not spring from within. One of our best poets, when debating with a mian who thought to elevate the working-classes simply by changing their circumstances, has said,
"A starved man
That life developes from within." Now, I most firmly believe in the trutn of that remark. I believe the cultivation of your intellect has much to do with your material improvement. Knowledge is power; the greater your knowledge, the greater your power; the greater your power, the higher your wages. Why does the joiner receive higher wages than the scavenger? He knows more. Why does the surgeon get better paid than the joiner? Because he knows more ;--and knowledge is power. Go into that printing office, and ask why the compositor receives a higher wage than the man who only cleans the machinery, and sweeps out the room? He knows more. Why does the corrector of the press receive more than the compositor? He knows more. Why does the man who writes leading articles for the newspaper receive more than the
corrector of the press? He knows more. the workings of this principle in every factory and mill--and indeed, in nearly all branches of industry, And be you assured of this, that a well-informed mind has a good deal to do in improving your temporal position.
But it is on higher grounds, that I would urge you, working men, to read, and think, and cultivate your intellect
. I have no sympathy with that utilitarian spirit, that measures everything by a mere money standard. And when hearing persons ask"Of what use is it?" I am often reminded of a quaint saying of Emerson—"Is it for use! Nature is debased, as if one looking at the ocean can remember only the price of fish!" Now, doubtless the ocean is very useful in supplying us with fish, but that is not its highest use.
And just so I would say of increased knowledge, it will advance your wages, but it will do something more important than that; -it will make the mechanic a better man, which is far more important than making the man a better
Let us take two working men,-hard handed mechanics, working in the same factory, receiving equal wages and surrounded by similar circumstances. One of them, by diligently embracing the advantages of a Mechanics' Institution, bas acquired a taste for books; and a love of the beautiful has been developed in his soul. The other has neglected his mind, and possesses no such taste. Now look at the difference. The uncultivated man never reads, seldom thinks, and spends his leisure time at the public-house.
He knows nothing about science, cares nothing about it. His soul is never stirred with poetry-never fascinated with a healthy work of fiction. He is unacquainted with the doings of the past, and is never inspired with hopes for the future. The world of beauty is a blank to him; 10 matter tbat the stars come out night after night,
shewing the power and wisdom of God. No matter how the firmament, in full diapason, may roll out His praise. He has no vision to decipher the handwriting of the stars ; no fine ear to catch the music of the spheres. No matter how the sweet flowers may beautify the earth, or how the tinkling brook may unite with the warbling songsters in praising God. He neither sees, nor hears, nor feels anything at all about it:
“A primrose by a river's brim,
And it (is) nothing more." Let us now look at the other man. After his aaily toil is done, instead of resorting to the publicnouse to drown his reason with beer, he retires home, and takes down from the shelf a book. And while communing with the mighty dead of the olden times, he is elevated above the cares and trials of his daily life. He takes up the page of history, and reads of the doings of a Wallace or a Bruce, of a Tell or a Washington, of a Luther or a Cromwell; men who stood strong in the cause of truth and liberty. Or he takes up the creations of our great poets, and under the witchery of their enchantment he forgets all his toils and troubles. Or he takes up a work on science-say, on astronomy or chemistry—and he feels his mind enlarged. And through the knowledge thus gained, he walks the earth with a more thoughtful brow and loving heart. Look at him at holiday times-or see him as he spends his Saturday afternoons. He leaves the din and dust of the crowded city, and takes a long walk into the country, He looks with an intelligent eye upon the various objects around. The fields and woods are a mighty lesson book. “All things talk thoughts to him." See him after one of his rambles returning home on an autumn evening, by the banks of that stream which wells its way through weeds and flowers in sounds most musical. Behind himn is the wood; tho
west is open to the sky. The birds are chanting their vesper hymn; and tiniest insects buzz through the air, dancing with enjoyment. At length, the sun has run his race; and sinking behind the hills, tinges with gold the fleecy clouds. The busy hum of day is hushed. The flowers have closed their petals, and are fast asleep. The birds are gone to roost
, with no anxious thoughts of to-morrow's food. The moon is gently rising in all her queen-like beauty. No sounds are heard save the echo of the distant reapers, merrily shouting "Harvest Home." The stars, one by one, come blushing forth; and family by family they are gathering with still and holy air into the house of God," and seem to be breathing benedictions upon sin-stained man. Oh! “the music of that stillness!"—night's tingling silence, which speaks more eloquently than any words of the goodness of that God who giveth us all things richly to enjoy.
Now, this man I am speaking of, has an eye to see, and a heart to feel all this beauty. He can find spiritual meanings in everything around. In the language of our great dramatic bard, he “Finds tongues in trees, -books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, -and good in everything.” Therefore I would urge you, working-men, not to neglect the cultivation of your intellect. There never was a day in the world's history when workingthen had such facilities for acquiring knowledge as the present. There are Mechanics’ Institutions, People's Colleges, Working-men's Colleges, and Free Libraries, on every hand. Don't tell me that you are too poor-that you cannot buy books, and have not the means for acquiring knowledge. I know better. You may get all Cowper's poems for 9d., Bacon's Essays for 10d. All Milton's Poems for 154. ; indeed you may purchase most of the great bouks England has produced, for less money than