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that whirlpool. Empty casks and hen-coops alone survive. Individuality is as necessary to be developed and raised to its highest pitch as is solidarity. But we have supposed that social perfection is attainable only through obliteration of individuality. Marbles are made by shaking together in a bag a hundred or a thousand unshaped pieces of material. They lose all their edges and come forth perfectly alike, and all excellently adapted to be the toys of children.
Division of labour augments production, but crétinizes the labourer. Perfection in anything requires a speciality of attention, and this despoils man of the integrity of being. “Extreme subdivision of labour," writes Michelet,“ has specialized the workman, and penned him up in this or that narrow sphere, and made him a thing isolated in his action and capacity, as impotent in itself, if separated from the whole, as a wheel apart from a inachine. They are no longer men, but portions of men, who link their action together and work like a single engine. This continuing has gradually created strange classes of men, sickening to the sight, because one perceives in them at the first glance the ugly impress of a narrow speciality of work; that is to say, the complete subjection of personality to some miserable detail of industry. Aristotle, in his politics, says, as a calculating naturalist noting exterior signs, “The slave is an ugly man,' and doubtless the slave of antiquity was ugly, bent, and often made hump-backed by his burden; but yet, with all that, he varied his labours, exercised his different physical faculties, preserved in them a certain equilibrium, and remained a man: he was the slave of a
But what, alas! shall we say of him who, bound down to some minute occupation, the same, and the same for ever, the serf of a miserable product of manufacture, is
the slave of a pin-of a ball of cotton. And then how many slaves, moreover, has this single pin, in its different parts, head, shank, and point, who, doing but one single thing, must confine their activity and their mind to that measure.
I have known a man work twelve hours a day making dolls' eyes, and he might not vary their colour. In twentyfive years he had made millions of dolls' eyes, all cerulean blue; and these were the years in which he might have created himself. He had no time for that, he was chained like a galley slave, not to a cannon ball, but to blue dolls' eyes.
I live in a little country curacy amongst two hundred rustics, “whose talk is of bullocks." Their thoughts, their feelings are raw and contracted, for their minds and hearts are in the clay they dig from infancy to decrepitude. I should disbelieve in man as a progressive being, if the express did not rush past my windows twice a day.
Individuality is that which distinguishes man from the beast, and where individuality is not given scope for development man returns to his animality. “Beast thou art, and unto beast shalt thou return!"
It is not by wearing down into uniformity,” are the golden words of Mr. J. Stuart Mill, "all that is individual in themselves, but by cultivating it, and calling it forth, within the limits imposed by the rights and interests of others, that human beings become a noble and beautiful object of contemplation; and as the works partake the character of those who do them, by the same process human life becomes rich, diversified and animating, furnishing more abundant aliment to high thoughts and elevating feelings, and strengthening the tie which binds every individual to the race, by making the race infinitely
1 Michelet: French Revolution, tr. Bohn, 1864, p. 451.
better worth belonging to. In proportion to the development of his individuality, each person becomes more valuable to himself, and is therefore capable of being more valuable to others."
In order that man's spontaneity may have power to develop itself, liberty is absolutely necessary, liberty of thought, liberty of action, liberty of speech. Interfere with these rights, and you mutilate man in his most vital part. He may become a machine, a bit of a machine, but not a man. To become a man his reason must be given room to stretch upwards and his sympathies to expand. Ignorance is the wrap which stifles the life of his mind, as King John stifled Jews in a leaden sheet; and selfishness, which is a form of ignorance, is the Borgian iron coffin of charity and sympathy.
Before Christianity appeared, the rights of man were ignored, and the development of individuality was impeded. For these rights were not acknowledged, as the sole basis on which they can rest-dogma—was not allowed. Force prevailed, violence held rule; and it was a sauve qui peut for individuality. If great discoveries were made, great characters appeared, it was because there was an excess of spontaneity in the days when mankind was young
The advent of Christ was the inauguration of a social and a moral revolution; it was the introduction of a gospel of deliverance to the captives of the world's bondage as well as to those of the senses.
That coming brought good tidings of joy to a portion of the human race to which the world had hitherto given nothing but contempt and wrong—the slave, the pauper, the woman, and the child. It lifted the poor from the dunghill and set him among princes, it proclaimed the deliverance of the captive, it consecrated woman, it crowned the child. It raised up that great mass of suffering humanity over which the rest of the world had trodden for ages; it raised it up, with all its ignorance and barbarism, its wild passions and helpless weight, its piteous sufferings and traditionary wrongs, to plant it before the eyes of the rich, the powerful, the wise, the free, and declare that it had equal rights, inalienable rights, to be conceded graciously, or to be wrested forcibly, to riches and power and wisdom and liberty.
1 Mill: On Liberty, c. 3.
What was the slave before the Incarnation set him free? He was a piece of property like land and cattle. He could not insist on rights to freedom and to the fruit of his toil, for he did not know that he had rights; he had no basis on which to found them. His master had a right to make him work, to flog him when idle, to brand him when disobedient, to crucify him if he ran away, on the same ground as he claimed a right to make his ox plough and then to eat it.
“Simia quam similis turpissime bestia nobis,"
If I may chain the ape and kill it if I please, why may I not chain the Negro and kill him when I please. Slavery was taken for granted to be a necessity in Greece as truly as was the right of possessing land. Doubt as to the equity and advantage of such an arrangement never entered into a Greek mind; the idea of another state of things was impossible to conceive. There is no perfect household state, according to Aristotle, that does not consist of slaves and freemen, the slave being but an animated instrument, as instrument is a slave without a soul. The Stagyrite has, in fact, left us a complete theory of slavery, as an institution founded on the nature of social
1 Polit. i. 3; Eth. Nic. viii, 11, 6.
order. It is equitable, he argues, as corresponding to a natural law, one large portion of the human race being born slaves, just as some birds are born to be barn-door fowl and dogs to be chained to kennels; that portion, the barbarian, has not the wit of a Greek, he is an inferior animal altogether, made not to command but to obey. There is but a shade of difference between the slave and the domestic animals.
The master stands towards his slave in the relation of a workman to his tools, and therefore cannot love him, for there is nothing in common between them, and no equality between the parties.
According to the old Roman legislation there was a penalty of death for him who should kill a ploughing-ox, but the murderer of a slave was called to no account whatever. Cato the elder, a bright example of Roman virtue, saw nothing immoral in breeding slaves for the market like dogs or horses, and when his slaves grew old and useless he cast them out of his house.
In the old republican times of Rome, there was no recognition of the slave as having rights in any way equal to those of the master, though the censor was empowered to inflict a penalty for excessive cruelty.
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It was almost the same with the poor. possibly let yourself down so low as not to repel a poor man from you with scorn?” was said by a rhetorician of the imperial times to a rich man.” “What is the use too,” says a popular poet, “of giving anything to a beggar? One loses what one gives away, and only prolongs the miserable existence of the receiver." And Virgil, in his beautiful Colum. vi. præf, 7.
Quintil. Decl, 301, iii. 17. 3 Plaut. Trinumm, i. 2, 58, 59.