Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

s is just at present

have a chance to earn their bread and plenty of was very trying to the constitutions of Tory cheese and butter with their bread.

members. But it has proved much more trying to their reputations. Where do Tory

members pass their nights? is just at present We are glad to note that the Land Nationali- the jest of London

the jest of London. Certainly they do not

C sation Society-under the presidency of Miss pass them at prayer meetings. Helen Taylor-rejects all tinkering with the land question by the House of Lords, which tinkering is like giving a horse thief the charge Russia is not going to join in such an unholy and care of your horses.

thing as the celebration of the French Revolution. Thank goodness. The “Holy Revolution”

would be defiled by the participation of the The coercion night of the House of Commons | man who rules Russia.

er the presidency of Mice the jest of London

WORKMEN'S RIGHTS.

The industry of mankind is now five times, avoiding legislation in future, and leaving as productive as it was fifty years ago, and if matters to take their course. This plan is those who work consumed the produce of their impossible for two reasons ; first, legislation is labour working men and their families would necessary to repeal and abrogate unjust laws, have houses five times as large as at the be- and, secondly, as human society becomes more ginning of Victoria's reign, with a correspond- dense it becomes more complex, the action of ing increase in all the comforts and luxuries of individuals affects others as well as themselves, life. Instead of this being the case millions of and must therefore be controlled in the general honest, hard-working people are destitute of interests. the bare necessaries of life, and all who depend If a couple of working people wanting upon their own labour suffer hardships and pri- shelter and food could go into an adjoining vations which are in strange contrast to the lux- wood, cut down trees, build a house, and plant ury of those who live in idleness on the profits vegetables without let or hindrance, their which accrue from employing and trading in course would be clear. This is the condition the labour of others. Thus the blessings which which prevails in new countries, but as popuProvidence has showered on mankind are in- lation increases regulations become necessary, tercepted, and instead of general comfort we These regulations must be made by Governhaveintensified want, by the side of exaggerated ments, and they should be arranged in the and positively injurious abundance.

interests of the whole community. They will These results are not inevitable, neither are be thus regulated so long as all take a part in they the result of natural causes. They are the the management of public affairs, but when direct consequence of a breach of trust on the from any cause only a portion of the people part of our rulers, who have governed the exercise political power from that moment country for their own benefit instead of regard- legislation ceases to be just and equitable, and ing the welfare of the community. But selfish | legislators regard the interests of themselves ness and injustice, like other forms of ambition, and their friends, and thus establish privileged oft

classes who prey upon the rights and industry

of the masses. “O'erleap themselves and fall on t'other side.”

de. The constant effort of those in power is to There are not wanting signs which indicate obtain the services of their fellow men on the that privilege in favour of the classes has been easiest terms. Labour is the means by which strained almost to the breaking point, and that human desires are gratified, but labour and its unless some relaxation takes place the bonds of results are transferable. One man may labour society will burst it asunder, producing a simul- and another may enjoy the results. Human taneous wave of freedom and destruction. nature prefers living upon the results of other . There are many persons who see that unjust people's labour, and to satisfy this desire has legislation has produced disastrous results, and been the usual object of physical and political think to remedy the evils thus occasioned by i warfare.

All former methods for appropriating the to believe that in paying anything at all his labour of others were clumsy and inefficient employer is conferring upon him a great compared with those which are now in opera- obligation, and those who without working tion. Robbery and slavery were the rough and themselves benefit by industry, and live upon ready means by which the strong oppressed the | it, have the consummate assurance to declare weak, but these have been succeeded by constantly to the working classes that things arrangements which are infinitely more effec- would be much better if they did not come tive.

into the world in such numbers, and that the Robbery was self-destructive, because men country would be greatly benefited by their ceased to produce when the produce of their absence. labour was rudely snatched from their grasp. 1 Having secured the means of subsistence as Slavery was specially ineffective because it completely as Joseph obtained for Pharaoh all afforded no sufficient stimulus to exertion, it the corn in Egypt, the subjugation of the also devolved upon the slave owner much re-working classes was an easy matter. sponsibility and troublesome detail which by Surrounded by a starving crowd who must modern methods are completely avoided. take their wages or perish, the privileged classes

Power and Privilege now extract from the have no trouble in maintaining their position. toiling masses all the surplus produce beyond They employ one portion of the starving people the barest necessaries for the labourer as easily to compel obedience on the part of the reas cream is taken from a milk pan.

mainder. But although the upper class employ Amongst the modern extractors of wealth the working classes as their agents in the for the benefit of privileged classes the first subjugation of their fellow men they do not place must be given to political power. Govern pay them. The 30,000 soldiers and policemen ment is essential to mankind, and men will employed in Ireland to collect unjust rents are sacrifice much in order to have this necessary not paid by the landlords for whose benefit of life. Experience shows that there is no they are acting, but by the hard-worked people prosperity beyond the limits of political power, whose movements they control. Without the and seeing this the oppressed classes have possession or exercise of more capacity than striven for its possession, as the panacea for all that which is necessary to enable them to their sufferings. This view is in the main cor receive rent the privileged classes maintain a rect, but political power must not only be supremacy which is the wonder of the world, possessed, it must also be used. It cannot be and exercise their power in a manner which used without the exercise of a degree of skill | deserves universal execration and judgment which is only obtainable by Infinite pains has been taken to teach the practice, it will, therefore, take many years to people that this condition of affairs is right and realise the advantages which the possession of necessary. Political economists with large political rights is calculated to confer.

brains assure us that it is in accordance with Those who have hitherto exercised the the order of Nature, that whatever the industry powers of government have displayed consum- of man produces from the earth beyond what mate ability in the maintenance of their own is requisite for keeping the labourer alive interests, and the enormous wealth which they should go to an idle person who, with mixed have thus accumulated, and of which they keep impiety and injustice, is called a landlord. possession, enables them to retain their unjust With Government, Land, and Capital at privileges as completely, but, perhaps, not so their command, nothing is wanting to complete securely, as if household suffrage had never the supremacy of the privileged classes ; and been adopted.

thus it is that our aristocracy and our capitaThe souls of the working classes have been lists now obtain from the working people of 80 bowed down by labour in consequence of Great Britain the proceeds of their labour far unjust exactions that it will be long before they more completely, and on much easier terms, possess the requisite knowledge and intelligence than the results of industry were ever obtained to enable them to cope with their oppressors. by robbers and slaveholders in ancient times.

One of the chief objects which the ruling 1. Under these circumstances, the possession by classes have ever kept in view is the necessity the people of political power is purely nominal. of maintaining the delusion that in extracting | Parliament is now controlled as absolutely by the produce of labour for their own benefit aristocrats and capitalists as in the period they are conferring an advantage upon the before the Reform Bill. Law, and the services working classes. The working man who re- of the lawyers, are solely at the disposal of ceives in exchange for his labour perhaps less wealth. Even intellect must live, and its than half of what hc oright to be paid is taught' possession is therefore dependent forits exercise

upon those who control the means of life. thus we arrive at the fact that the enormous Thus our writers, artists, and thinkers pander | accumulations of wealth in the hands of a few, to prevailing powers or perish. The poor and the extreme poverty of the many, is not cannot recompense them, and cannot, therefore, the result, as some imagine, of natural laws, obtain their services.

but unjust legislation. The privileged classes contend, with con

Our rulers have always taken the utmost summate skill and unscrupulous effort, against

pains to influence and control public opinion, the slightest modification of their unjust privi

-a task not difficult now, but one which was leges ; and the claims urged on their behalf in

much easier in former times. the second Parliament elected under an ex

By this means curious and wholly unfounded tended suffrage are as extravagant as any

claims have been built up in the name of previously advanced. Wo doubt whether any

Vestel Interests. (Claims which are absolutely former Prime Minister would have had the

without foundation, but by means of which the effrontery to claim, as Lord Salisbury has

public are robbed of many millions per annum. claimed, on behalf of landlords, that their

Under these false claims, no injustice can be rents must be paid by the proceeds of taxation

corrected without full “compensation” being if the land does not yield sufficient, and the

paid to those who have benefited by the wrong. farmer's capital is exhausted.

The recognition of such a principle has enorEven great national calamities are utilised

mously stimulated fraud, because the wrongby landlords as an excuse for shovelling the

doer knows that if he can commence a wrong people's money into their own pockets. Mr.

it will, under the claim for vested interests, be Disraeli’s Government advanced money to

made permanent; and he will probably derive landlords at one per cent, on the plea of

even more benefit by the abolition of a sinecure enabling them to give employment, but no pre

than from its continuance. These claims are cautions were taken to prevent their exacting from tenants additional rent beyond the cost

allowed only for the benefit of the classes : the of the loan.

masses are carefully excluded therefrom. When Thus landlords, even men of the

the telegraphs were transferred to the Governhighest standing, obtained money from the

ment the Act provided that all persons receivpublic exchequer at one per cent., and charged

ing over £70 per annum should be compenfive per cent. to their tenants for the improve

sated. Those receiving less were left to take ments effected by the advance.

care of themselves. Whig Governments are not one whit behind

This system of “compensation" is carried the Tories in similar plans for the “conciliation

out through all departments of the State, both of powerful interests” at the public expense.

in the Civil Service and in the Army. Of late The introduction of the parcels post was made the occasion of presenting to the railway com

years it has been greatly extended, avowedly

for the purpose of quickening promotion. An panies many thousands of pounds per annum

enormous number of officers have been retired beyond the amount to which they are reason

on pensions, some of them commencing at 40 ably entitled for the services they render, * and

years of age, so as to make room in comfortof imposing upon postmen additional duties

able, snug, and often useless, offices for more with little or no remuneration. Why was a

sons of the privileged classes. The total cost bonus given to railway companies, and a burden

of retiring pensions is carefully concealed by imposed upon working men? The reason is

division amongst various departments, but it obvious. The railway interest was at that

is stated to amount to not less than seven time represented by a hundred and thirty

| millions per annum. members, and working men had two represen

Men thus receiving large payments at the tatives in the House of Commons.

cost of the public enter into competition as If such legislation occurs after the develop

traders and doctors with the rest of the comment of the Borough franchise, what may we

munity. The chairman of the Auxiliary Army expect to find during the centuries which

and Navy Store receives a retired pension of passed without any semblance of power on the

£600 a year from the Admiralty. It is not part of the people? It is no exaggeration to

surprising that shopkeepers find it difficult to say that legislation was then wholly in favour of the classes at the expense of the masses, and

compete with establishments whose managers

they are taxed to support.. • Railway companies are paid for the mere

By these means costliness and inefficiency transmission of parcels from

als from station to station
station to station,

in our public departments are abundantly which is not one-fifth part of the work connected secured. The object is to adapt them to the with parcels, 55 per cent, of the whole receipts. I requirements of the privileged classes, who use them as happy hunting grounds where all the means the largest of the evils which result from game is driven into their bags. Offices of great the adoption of privilege, instead of merit, as dignity and emolument, practically without our standard. When patient and honest induties or responsibilities, must, therefore, bedustry is left with starvation wages, and idleprovided, and these we have in abundance. ness and presumption encouraged by enormous

Under this system, it is not surprising that salaries, the demoralising effect is beyond all the cost of Government in this country is calculation. nearly three times as much per head as in i Let anyone call upon the heads of departcountries where the people govern themselves, ments at their offices, and they will soon dis. neither is it any wonder that the ridiculous cover the truth and force of these observations. inefficiency of our departments becomes too Not long since, it became necessary for a often manifest. With a royal head to our Army Member of the House of Commons to visit we have for 16 years supplied our soldiers with | three departments, and in each case it was tin cutlasses, and with a royal head to our Navy found that the chief knew little or nothing of we send our ships to Cannes to meet the Queen. the business, for the nominal superintendence The only possible duty they could perform of which he received an enormous salary. No would be to fire salutes, and therefore they leave answers, cither on matters of fact or of policy, behind them the cannon intended for this were obtainable except through the assistants. purpose. When the ships are taken into battle In one case the following significant circumthe fighting guns will probably be left behind, stance arose. The object of the visit was to and the saluting cannons will be fired.

discuss claims raised by the working staff, and No commercial firm would give the Duke of the assistant explained that the matter had Cambridge or the Duke of Edinburgh five hun. been considered with the staff, until the clerks dred a year, or even allow them to be em- had assumed the right to discuss the matter on ployed in any responsible position. We cannot equal terms with their superiors. “Of course,"? continue to make birth, instead of merit, the he added, “ this could not be allowed, and the standard of promotion, without bringing upon discussion was discontinued.” the nation early disaster, and ruin at no distant Well! perhaps the insult was deserved. date

Working men will not be worthy to discuss Of how much the working classes are robbed with other Englishmen on "equal” terms if they under the present system of Government ex- allow the continuance of injustice which makes penditure it would be difficult to estimate. their own lives a burden, and inflicts suffering That 25 per cent. is thus worse than wasted and starvation on those who ought to be dearer would be a statement well within the facts. to them than themselves.

But figures do not give any adequate idea of the actual injury. The excessive cost is by no

(To be Continued.)

THE LAST COERCION KICK,

It is almost impossible at this present time and the world's people have only one voice as to speak or write of any other matter than the regards the British policy in Ireland, and that Irish Question. It occupies the minds and fills voice speaks in condemnation and utter detesthe hearts of the British people. Nor is the tation, the Press is unquoted and the opinion interest of it confined to this country. America expressed in public meetings is treated with a is thrilled by the struggle, in France it awakens gibe and a sneer. In such manner is public generous sympathies, while countries more opinion informed and led here in this land remote look on and marvel.

which boasts of its impartiality. Observe how the London Press has changed But all is vain. The tactics of the ostrich its tactics. When Mr. Gladstone was in power are always ridiculous. Britain persists in the continent was swept for every sentence that understanding the Irish Question, notwithcondemned his policy. Obscure newspapers, standing the heroic persistence of the Tory that were as important to the great world as the party and Mr. Chamberlain in throwing dust three tailors of Tooley Street, suddenly found in her eyes. themselves described and quoted as European Upon Friday, the 1st of April, there occurred authorities. But now, when the world's Press a scene in the House of Commons for the parallel of which we must go back far more than have been accustomed to think that any method two centuries. When Charles I. demanded the is good enough to hang an Irishman ; but even five members and when Cromwell dissolved the these are obliged to bear unwilling witness to Long Parliament they did not strike more the fact that never was Ireland so profoundly fatal blows at the august authority of the peaceful. House of Commons than the blow that has been. Thus Lord Justice Fitzgibbon said at Meath, struck by Mr. Speaker and Mr. Smith. When “There is an absence of serious crime throughwe think of the latter rising to propose that out the county.” the Cloture should be applied to Mr. Gladstone Judge Lawson said in King's County, "There and 250 members of the Opposition, we are are but five bills for the whole county, and struck by the thought of how feeble and foolish none of these are of an important character.” may be the actors in a scene of the profoundest' Sir Michael Morris said at Westmeath, historical meaning and interest.

“Gentlemen of the Grand Jury, there is but Yes, we have now and for ever to face this one bill before you,” and that was not found a fact. The will of the majority is henceforth true bill. the law of Parliament. The Speaker is only / Judge Murphy in Roscommon congratulated the tool of the majority, and more and more the jury on the fewness and unimportance of will he lose all independence until at last he the cases. becomes merely a partisan, a man speaking not Judge Lawson in Sligo had only three bills, the mind of the country, but the will of the only one of which was important. party. Mr. Gladstone regards this degrada | Judge Lawson in Galway was presented with tion, this awful fall of the Chair from its im the white gloves of a maiden assize. partial rights, as a national calamity far and Baron Dowse at Waterford had “no imaway more dreadful than any Coercion Act that portant cases." can be passed in Ireland. We share, to some | Judge Andrews in Waterford City had only degree, his gloomy anticipations. Already a two cases for the jury, and these only of an thirst for vengeance has sprung up in those to ordinary character. whom the Cloture has been applied. They Baron Dowse said, in Tipperary, “The think of the day when they, too, will have the | business of the assize is very light." power to apply it. With Mr. Gladstone will Baron Dowse had to congratulate Wicklow disappear from the House of Commons its old on being free from crime. methods and its old traditions. A partisan And so on right through Ireland-except, will follow a partisan in the Chair. Each side perhaps, where “Loyalty” casts its sanguine will, in its turn, oppress the other side, and shadows over Ulster -- there is the same fair debate will become a forgotten tradition. monotonous record of peace and quiet. IreBut, after all, does it so much matter? The land is at present more free from serious crime House of Commons is only one means by which than any other country in the world. the people speak. If that fails them, they! That does not matter. We are not going have other means. A Hyde Park demonstra- into this shameless business, into this brutal tion is worth a dozen debates in Parliament. savagery of coercion, because of any fault in

The debate which the Speaker brought so the Irish people, we are going to spill Irish prematurely to an end was marked by many blood because a landlord class, grown desperate things. Mr. Parnell took up the case against from the falling price of market products, are the Government. It is too weak an expression determined to accomplish in one blow the ruin to say that he answered Mr. Balfour. He of their tenants, and to drain Ireland like a simply made the Chief Secretary's arguments sucked orange before they are finally driven appear in all their native and ridiculous false- / from the land to which, for hundreds of years, hood. But Mr. Balfour does not care. His they have been a burden and a disgrace. attitude in this matter is not unnatural if we The Acts of Parliament which are being represent him as saying “Here is my argument revived, like the Whiteboy's Act, are of a for the Bill. It is false and utterly ridiculous; marvellous barbarity. If they had been passed but custom demands that I must use some in Russia for the benefit of the natives of argument, and one bad argument is worth any Poland they would have stirred the London other bad argument. I am like the wolf in | T'imes to philippics about the rights of humanthe fable-1 depend on my teeth anıl not on ity, and the Daily Telegraph would have risen my logic—and I have got a majority, and there to the occasion to have called revolution to fore I don't need to care for truth.”

come from its hidden seats. But when it is only Mr. Balfour quoted the opinions of the Irish Ireland the case is different. Judges. These men are ex-Crown lawyers who ! Poor Ireland has an enemy worse, more

« НазадПродовжити »