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rogant than he who claims to be superior to all men, to be the only man of his race who has perceived what is true and good ?

Discoveries, like the one Fourier professes to have made, are not in the order of human experience. There is nothing to be found in the experience of the race analogous to them. Discoveries, which reverse what the race had hitherto regarded as the settled order, have never yet, so far as history goes, been made in any department of life,--in religion, in morals, in politics, or in social and industrial arrangements. Every man, who has come forward with any such pretended discovery, has failed to gain a verdict in his favor, and in the judgment of mankind has been finally condemned either as deceiving or as deceived, or both at once. M. Charles Fourier, a man, if you will, of an extraordinary intellect, and of philanthropic aims,—although, we confess, we find in his writings only wild extravagance, and a pride, an egotism, which amount very nearly, if not quite, to insanity, -professes, not, indeed, to have invented, but to have discovered, the law of a new social and industrial world. This law he professes to have drawn out and scientifically established in all its ramifications; and he and his followers propose to reorganize society and industry according to its provisions. Similar pretensions have often been made, now in one department of life, now in another; but has one of them ever succeeded ? Is there one of them that has not been finally adjudged, at best, to be only visionary? Is there on record a single instance of a fundamental reorganization of society, industry, or even of government, that has ever been effected ? Have not all who have labored for such reorganization been opposed by their age and nation? And can the associationists name an instance in which posterity has reversed the judgment of contemporaries? They cannot do it. We are aware of the instances they will cite; but not one of them is to the purpose. Why, then, suppose the whole order of human experience is reversed, or departed from, in the case of M. Charles Fourier? The fact is, fundamental changes in the religious, moral, social, political, or industrial order of mankind-changes which throw off the old order, and establish a new order in their place--never have been, and, it requires no great depth of philosophy to be able to say, never can be, effected, unless by the intervention of a supernatural

When attempted, they may go so far as to break up

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the old order, never so far as to introduce and establish a new order. Man can be a destroyer; he can never be a CREATOR.

But these considerations, however conclusive in themselves, will not, we are aware, have much weight with the associationists. The associationists are accustomed to other principles of reasoning; they have, underlying their speculations, a philosophy of man and society which creates in their minds a presumption in favor of Fourierism. With them, it is an argument in favor of a proposition, that it is novel; and an argument against it, that it is ancient. Nothing seerns to them more reasonable beforehand, or more in accordance with what the order of human experience authorizes them to expect, than that such a discovery as Fourier's should be made, and that the changes he proposes should be practicable. It is useless, so far as they are concerned, to controvert them on this point,—and if we would reach them, with the hope of doing them any good, we must enter with them into an examination of their doctrine or scheme, upon its merits. This we willingly attempt; for several of the most distinguished associationists in this country have been our intimate personal friends, and we regard them as sincere, and as honestly desirous of doing all in their power for the benefit of their fellow-men. We believe they are men who have a certain loyalty; and who have no bigoted attachment to this or that method of serving mankind, but are willing to change the method they now insist upon for another, the moment they see a good reason for doing so. We do not believe them unwilling to look upon the question as still an open question, or that they have much of that foolish pride which binds persons to a cause simply for the reason that they stand committed to it before the public. We propose, therefore, in what follows, to enter somewhat into the merits of their doctrine and schemes; and, as what we shall say is said in good faith, we trust they will receive it in good faith, and frankly accept it, or show us good reasons for rejecting it.

We begin by asking, What is the end the associationists, propose, or what is it they seek to effect? The means we understand very well; they are, the organization of labor and association, according to a given plan. But before we can decide on the means, we must understand the end proposed, so as to be able to determine whether the end is desirable, a good end. After that, we may proceed to deternine whether the means are adequate, whether by adopting them we can, in all reasonable probability, secure the end. Unless we know what is the end proposed, and know whether it be good or not good, we walk by conjecture, not by science. But the associationists propose their doctrine, not as a theory, or as a system of belief, but as a science. They must, then, in the outset, show us clearly the end proposed, and establish, not conjecturally, not hypothetically, but scientifically, that the end is good, and therefore, one which it is lawful to seek.

1. What, then, is the specific end they propose ? We do not find in their writings as clear, distinct, and specific an answer to this question as is desirable. They answer generally, not specifically. Their answer, as we collect it, is,“ The end we propose is, to remove the obstacles which now hinder its fulfilment, and to gather round man the circumstances which will enable him to fulfil his destiny on this globe; or, in a word, to enable man to fulfil the purpose of his present existence." Thus stated, we of course have no objection to the end proposed. The good of a being is its destiny, or the end for which it exists; and to seek to enable a being to fulfil its destiny, or gain that end, is to seek its good. So the end for which man exists in this world is his good in relation to his existence here; and to labor to enable him to gain that end is to labor for his good, and his only good here. Thus far, we have, and can have, no quarrel with the associationists.

But a general answer to a specific question is no answer at all ; for the general has formal existence only in the special. We must, therefore, ask again, What is the specific end proposed! To answer, To remove evil, and to secure good, is not enough; for the question remains, What is evil? what is good? Evil, you say, is that which prevents, or in some way hinders or retards, the fulfilment of one's destiny. Very true ; but what is it that does that? This is the question we want answered. We find in the writings of the associationists graphic descriptions of the actual state of society, what they call Civilization,—and brilliant pictures of the life men will live in Harmony, or the new world they propose; and it is from these we must collect what, in their view, is evil, or opposed to man's destiny on this globe, and what they suppose is good, that is, its fulfilment, or favorable to its fulfilment. In regard to the latter, we find the chief place assigned to wealth and luxury, two things which Fourier asserts positively, again and again, are absolutely indispensable to the fulfilment of our destiny; in regard to the former, we find enumerated, among the evils of civilization, the poverty of the great mass of the people, and unattractive labor. It is fair, then, to say, that poverty and unattractive labor are evils, in the judgment of the associationists. Labor itself they cannot regard as evil, because they propose to continue it in their new world. The evil, then, is in its unattractiveness,—that is, in our being bound or forced to labor against our inclinations, or to do that to which we are more or less averse. But this can be evil only on condition that it is an evil to be under the necessity of acting against our inclinations. If this be accepted, good is in being free to follow our inclinations; evil in being compelled or bound to act against them. On what authority does this principle rest?

Moreover, is it certain that poverty, in itself considered, is evil, or opposed to our destiny? Where is the proof ? Wealth and poverty are both relative terms, unless the term poverty be restricted to those who have not even so much as their will which is their own, and then we should be obliged to predicate wealth of all who possess something, however little. But the associationists do not so restrict the sense of the word, for they include, in the number of the poor, people who have something of their own, at least their will and bodily activity. What, then, is the real distinction between wealth and poverty? Where draw the line, so that the rich shall all be on one side, and all the poor on the other? John Jacob Astor is said, when told of a man who had just retired from business with half a million, to have remarked, that he had no doubt but the poor man might be just as happy if he were rich! To John Jacob Astor, the man worth half a million was a poor man; to most men, he would be a rich man. One man counts himself poor, in the possession of thousands; another feels himself rich, if he have a coarse serge robe, a crust of bread, and water from the spring. Which of the two is the rich, which the poor man? If the Italian lazzaroni, the scandal of thrifty Englishmen and Yankees, have what contents them, or are contented with what suffices for the present moment, unsolicitous for the next, wherein are they poorer than our "merchant princes,” who have a multitude of wants they cannot satisfy? and wherein would you enrich them, by in. creasing their possessions, if you increased their wants in the same ratio ?


But pass over this difficulty. Suppose you have some invariable standard by which to determine who are the

poor and who are the rich ; whence does it follow that poverty is in itself an evil ? Many emperors, kings, princes, nobles, and innumerable saints, have voluntarily abandoned wealth, and chosen poverty, even made a solemn vow never to have any thing to call their own. Is it certain that these have acted a foolish part, abandoned good, and inflicted evil on themselves? If not, how can you say poverty is in itself an evil? Do you say, poverty breeds discontent, and leads to vice and crime? Is that true? Does it do so in all men who are poor? Did it do so in St. Anthony, St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of God, St. Thomas of Villanova, St. Philip Neri, and thousands of others we could mention, who observed evangelical poverty to the letter? Are all the poor discontented, vicious, and criminal? No man dares say it. Then

? what you allege is not a necessary result of poverty, and must have its efficient cause elsewhere, in the person, or in some circumstance not dependent on wealth or poverty. In the world's history, poverty, vice, and misery are far from being inseparable companions; and so are wealth, virtue, and happiness. Was wealth a good to the rich man mentioned

a in the Gospel? Was poverty an evil to the poor man that lay at his gate full of sores, begging to be fed with the crumbs that fell from his table ?

We might go through the whole list of physical evils drawn up by the associationists, and ask, in relation to each, so far as it is physical, the same or similar questions. Whence, then, the certainty that what they propose to remove, as evil, is evil? Whence, then, the proof that the end they propose is a good end? Suppose and the case is supposable—that what are called physical evils are dispensed by a merciful Providence, designed to be invaluable blessings, and are such to all who receive and bear them with the proper dispositions; could we then pronounce them evils? Would it not follow that in themselves they may be indifferent, and that the good or the evil results from the disposition with which they are received and borne? Now this may be the fact. If it is, then the good or the evil de. pends on ourselves, and we may make them either blessinge or curses, as we choose. Then to remove evil would not necessarily be to remove them, but to cure that moral state which makes a bad, instead of a good, use of them.

It is easy to declaim, but it is important that we declaim

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