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racy only as a means to social democracy; and it cannot fail to attempt to realize equality in men's social condition, when it has once realized equality in their political condition.”—The Boston Quarterly Revier, Jan. uary, 1841, pp. 113, 114.
Political democracy leaves the principal social evils unredressed, and the causes which led the reform thus far remain in all their force to carry it still further. Hence we see in the present century the same party which in the last demanded political democracy attempting throughout nearly the whole civilized world a series of revolutions in favor of social democracy. The leaders in the late French revolution tell you that it was a social revolution they sought, and that it was this fact which distinguished it from the revolution of 1789. In Italy and Germany two revolutions are going on at once, a political revolution and a social revolution. Young Italy is socialistic; so is Young Germany; and it was its socialistic.character that gave to the movement of Ronge and his associates its significance and its moderate success. The race, modern philosophers tell us, is progressive, and in a certain sense we concede it. It tends invariably to reach the end implied in the principles it adopts or the impulse it has received, and that tendency is never self-arrested. Its progress towards that end is irresistible; and when it happens to be downward, as at present, it is fearfully rapid, and becomes more fearfully rapid in proportion to the distance it descends.
The only possible remedy is, not declamation against the horrible results, the pernicious conclusions, at which the popular mind arrives, the resource of weak men-but the correction of the popular premises and recalling the people to sound first principles. Once concede that even political equality is a good, an object worth seeking, you must concede that social equality is also a good; and social equality is necessarily the annihilation of religion, government, property, and family. The same principle which would justify the Moderate Republicans of France in dethroning the king would justify M. Proudhon in making war on property, declaring every rich man a robber, and seeking to exterminate the bourgeoisie, as these have already exterminated the nobility. There is no stopping-place between legitimacy whether monarchical or republican legitimacy—and the most ultra socialism. Once in the career of political reform, we say political, not administrative, reform,—we are pledged io pursue it to its last results. We are miserable cowards,
or worse, if we shrink from the legitimate deductions from our own premises. There is not a meaner sin than the sin of inconsequence,-a sin against our own rational nature which distinguishes us from the mere animal world. If we adopt the socialistic premises, we must go on with the socialists in their career of destruction; nay, we shall be compelled to do so, or strew the battle-field with our dead bodies. If we recoil from the socialistic conclusions, we must reexamine our own premises, and reject distinctly, unreservedly, and heroically every socialistic principle we may have unwittingly adopted, every socialistic tendency we may have unintentionally cherished.
The people, it is well known, do not discriminate, do not perceive, until it is too late, the real nature and tendency of their principles. They mix up truth and falsehood, and can hardly ever be made to distinguish the one from the other. They adopt principles which appear to them sound and wholesome, and which under a certain aspect are so, and, unconscious of aiming at what is destructive, they place no confidence in any who tell them they expose themselves to danger. They see no connection between their principles and the conclusions against which we warn them, and which they at present, as well as we, perhaps view with horror ; they therefore conclude that the connection we assert is purely imaginary, that we ourselves are deceived, or have some sinister purpose in asserting it; that we are wedded to the past, in love with old abuses, because, perhaps, we profit, or hope to profit, by them ; that we do not understand our age, are narrow and contracted in our views, with no love or respect for the poorest and most numerous class. In a word, they set us down as rank conservatives or aristocrats. No age ever comprehends itself, and the people, following its dominant spirit, can never give an account of their own principles. They never trace them out to their last results, and are unable to follow the chain of reasoning by which horrible consequences are linked to premises which appear to them innocent. They never see whither they are going. Democratic philosophers themselves tell us as much, and defend their doctrine on the ground that the people are directed by divine instincts and obey a wisdom which is not their own. To this effect we may quote the writer already cited, and who, on this point, was among the more moderate of his class.
'Philosophy,” he says, “is not needed by the masses; but they who
separate themselves from the masses, and who believe that the masses are entirely dependent on them for truth and virtue, need it, in order to bring them back and bind them again to universal Humanity. And they need it now, and in this country, perhaps, as much as ever. The world is filled with commotions. The masses are heaving and rolling, like a mighty river, swollen with recent rains, and snows dissolving on the mountains, onward to a distant and unknown ocean.
There are those among us, who stand awe-struck, who stand amazed. What means this heaving and onward rolling? Whither tend these mighty masses of human beings? Will they sweep away every fixture, every house and barn, every mark of civilization? Where will they end? In what will they end? Shall we rush before them and attempt to stay their progress? Or shall we fall into their ranks and on with them to their goal? 'Fall into their ranks; be not afraid; be not startled; u dicine instinct guides and moves onward that heaving and rolling mass; and lawless and destructive as it may seem to you, ye onlookers, it is normal and holy, pursuing a straight and harmless direction on to the union of Man with God.' So answers philosophy, and this is its glory. The friends of humanity need philosophy, as the means of legitimating the cause of the people, of proving that it is the right, and the duty, of every man to bind himself to that cause, and to maintain it in good report and in evil report, in life and in death. They need it, that they may prove to these conservatives, who are frightened almost out of their wits at the movements of the masses, and who are denouncing them in no measured terms, that these movements are from God, and that they who war against them are warring against truth, duty, God, and Hu. manity. They need it, that they may no longer be obliged to make apologies for their devotion to the masses, their democratic sympathies and tendencies. They who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, who are loaded with reproach for their fidelity to truth and duty, who are all but cast out of the pale of Humanity, because they see, love and pursue Humanity's true interests,—they need it, that they may comprehend the cause of the opposition they meet, forgive their enemies, silence the gainsayer and give to him that asks it a reason for the hope that is in them. The friends of progress, here and everywhere, need it, that, having vindicated, legitimated progress, as philosophers, they may go into the saloons, the universities, the halls of legislation, the pulpit, and abroad among the people, and preach it, with the dignity and the authority of the prophet.”—The Boston Quarterly Review, January, 1838, pp. 104, 105.
It is necessary to take this ground, or give up democracy, which Mr. Bancroft defines “ Eternal Justice ruling through the people,” as wholly indefensible; for it cannot be denied that popular movements are blind, and that in them the people are borne onward whither they see not, and by
a force they comprehend not. Hence it is easy to understand, that, retaining in their memories traces of former instructions, they may recoil with horror from the last consequences of socialism, and yet be intent only on developing socialistic tendencies, and crushing all opposition to them.
Socialism is, moreover, presented in a form admirably adapted to deceive the people, and to secure their support. It comes in Christian guise, and seeks to express itself in the language of the Gospel. Men whom this age delights to honor have called our blessed Lord “the Father of Democracy," and not few or insignificant are those who tell us that he was the first socialist." In this country, the late Dr. Channing took the lead in reducing the Gospel to socialism; and in France, the now fallen Abbé de La Men
2 nais, condemned by Gregory XVI., of immortal memory, was the first, we believe, who labored to establish the identity of socialism and Christianity. We gave in another place, in 1840, a brief notice of his views on this point, which it may not be uninstructive to reproduce:
“The most remarkable feature in the Abbé de La Mennais's doctrine of liberty is its connection with religion. It is well known, that for some time the friends of freedom in Europe have been opposed to the church, and in general to all religion. The privileged orders have also taken great pains to make it widely believed, that religion requires the support of existing abuses, and that no one can contend for social meliorations without falling into infidelity. This has created a false issue, one which M. de La Mennais rejects. He has endeavored, and with signal success, to show that there is no discrepancy between religion and liberty; nay, more, that Christianity offers a solid foundation for the broadest freedom, and that, in order to be true to its spirit, its friends must labor with all their might to restore to the people their rights, and to correct all social abuses. He proves that all men are equal before God, and therefore equal one to another. All men have one Father, and are therefore brethren, and ought to treat one another as brothers. This is the Christian law. This law is violated, whenever distinction of races is recognized; whenever one man is clothed with authority over his equals; whenever one man, or a number of men, are invested with certain privileges, which are not shared equally by the whole. As this is the case everywhere, everywhere therefore is the Christian law vio. lated. Everywhere therefore is there suffering, lamentation. The people everywhere groan and travail in pain, sighing to be delivered from their bondage into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. To this deliverance the people have a right. For it every Christian should contend; and they wrong their brethren, deny Christianity, and blaspheme God, who oppose it.
“This is a new doctrine in France. It is something new since the days of the philosophes, to undertake to show that Christianity is the religion which favors not kings and privileged orders, but the people, the poor and needy, the wronged and downtrodden. Hitherto the few have made the many submit to the grievous burdens under which they groaned, by representing it as irreligious to attempt to remove them. They have enlisted the clergy on their side, and made religion, the very essence of which is justice and love, contribute to the support of oppression. They have deterred the pious from seeking to better their condition, by denouncing all who seek the melioration of society as infidels, But the abbé has put a stop to this unhallowed proceeding. He has nobly vindicated religion and the people. He has turned the tables upon the people's masters, and denounced their masters, not the people, as infidels. He has enlisted religion on the side of freedom; recalled that long-forgotten Gospel, which was glad tidings to the poor, and dared follow the example of Jesus, whom the common people heard gladly, and whom the people's masters crucified between two thieves. He speaks out for freedom, the broadest freedom, not in the tones of the infidel scoffer, but in the name of God, Christ, and man, and with the authority of a prophet. His Words of a Believer 'has had no parallel since the days of Jeremiah. It is at once a prophecy, a curse, a hymn, fraught with deep, terrible, and joyful meaning. It is the doom of the tyrant, and the jubilee-shout of the oppressed. We know of no work in which the true spirit of Christianity is more faithfully represented. It proclaims, 'Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;' and woe unto the rich oppressor, the royal spoiler, the Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, who bind heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, while they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.'”—The Boston Quarterly Revier, January, 1840, pp. 117-119.
It may not be amiss to place by the side of this bold commendation of the Words of a Believer, the judgment pronounced upon that book and its doctrines by the sovereign pontiff, in his encyclical Letter, dated June, 1834, which we find in the Pièces Justificatives, published by M. de La Mennais at the end of his volume entitled, Affaires de Rome, Bruxelles, 1837:
“Horruimus sane VV. FF., vel ex primo oculorum obtutu, auctorisque cæcitatem miserati intelleximus, quonam scientia prorumpat, quæ non secundum Deum sit, sed secundum mundi elementa. Enimvero contra fidem sua illa declaratione solemniter datam, captiosissimis ipse ut plurimum verborum, fictionumque involucris oppugnandam, evertendamque suscepit catholicam doctrinam, quam memoratis nostris lit