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circulation?" What is patriotism, with its dulce est pro patria mori, but a "general circulation?" What are the sympathies that more or less sweep every soul of us into the broad current of common thought and feeling, but a "general circulation?" Again: "The ova were produced in an organ distinct from the separate individuals." Does not civil society assert its claim to be a party to every marriage, and thereby to be morally a party to the reproduction of the race? And is not its claim sustained by the spontaneous sentiment of mankind? "Free love" is an attempt to displace this relic of moral communism; and is entirely consistent with that theoretic individualism, which has long been gaining ground in the modern world.

Of course, it cannot be maintained that this moral communism of the primitive world is the end as well as the beginning. But it is the ground-fact in the history even of personal morals, while it is also the commanding fact when we are considering the case of institutions expressly designed to embrace numbers in a collective unity. We have, indeed, but to open the eyes and see what is matter of common experience, to perceive that if communitive responsibility be not a law of Nature, it can hardly be worth while to make further mention of such laws. Who knows not that for all which any man may do others are answerable with him?-parent with child, child with parent, neighbor with neighbor, citizen with citizen, in ever widening circles of connection. The child, as it happens, is not born from its own loins, as our individualism would seem to suppose him! And in the issue of life itself from other lives, what issues of irreversible destiny are implied! On the other hand, the child bears in its breast the tenderest heart of father and mother, to bless or to torture it at will. What anguish does the earth know like that inflicted by an erring son or daughter? The old wail," Absalom, O Absalom, my son!"-how it goes down the ages, never to be antiquated! The same fact appears in wider connections: it is fate and it is felicity for every son of man. See noble young men of the North going down to die in Southern swamps and wildernesses, for whose fault? for their own?

see a hundred thousand American families this very winter (1868-9) paying by poorly supplied tables and dim hearthfires for the licensed cupidity of commercial brigands in the metropolis; see Titian dying of plague and Hegel of cholera, because oriental sloth and filth and fanaticism have generated infection; see whole nations lingering out age after age a hopeless death in life, because the vice of their ancestors has exhausted in them all the springs of national vigor. With such facts all around us, touching us so nearly, affecting us so irresistibly, by what blindness are we to maintain, or by what leniency tolerate, the assumption that individualism is the first law? If it be so, Nature herself is the first offender, and must stand perpetually convicted in her own courts!

Solidarity is the first law, and as such it was enunciated in that prophetic sally toward the supreme truths, which gave to the early ages bibles and epics, grand literatures, not nice, nor ordered after the fashion of landscape gardening, but upheaved like mountain ranges to make the everlasting water-sheds of history. An exceeding emphasis was laid upon it, which, while passing all the bounds to be fixed by critical judgment in later times, remains venerable and significant even in its excess. But a few centuries have gone by since European men, our ancestors and the fathers of our civilization, believed in a common responsibility, not only of contemporary citizens, but even of the living and the dead. For example, Peter of Arragon, offering his kingdom in censum et feudum to the Roman Church, declared that he did so for the healing of his soul and of his progenitors: pro remedio animæ meæ et progenitorum meorum. This was in the year 1204. Eleven years later the like appears in Magna Charta. Sciatis, says the king, Sciatis nos intentu Dei et pro salute animæ nostræ et antecessorum omnium et hæredum meorum . . ... concessisse, etc. To the modern mind, this language is absurd. Earlier opinion held it absurd to represent one as merely individual in his moral being. Is the error or excess with the latter only? Whether or not effects run backward to include the dead, they do undoubtedly run forward to include those who are not yet living. When the fathers have

eaten sour grapes the children's teeth are set on edge: no Ezekiel will be able to rescind this law, however he reclaim against it. The heroical logic of old ages inferred hence a correlative law of return effect. Here it does indeed outrun the fleetest foot of modern belief, nor do I pretend to keep pace with it. But there is a noble credulity, which may be admired even if it neither can nor should be emulated; and that is a noble credulity which is so sympathetic with grand truths that it is swept past the bounds prescribed by lesser and limiting truths.

Conjoined with a kindred doctrine of moral representation, the idea of moral solidarity furnishes the clew to the Augustinian theology, and to much else of a like kind, whose vast rôle in history were a discredit to the human race, and would suffice to establish the intellectual depravity of mankind, had it not some honorable explanation; that is, some ground of truth. Dogmata, such as those of Vicarious Atonement and Original Sin are as remote from me as from most; and yet they are often condemned upon ground less tenable than their own. The time will come, when criticism will cease to asperse history by light-minded contempt of that which has played in it so large a part; and when, instead of a shame to mention in a grave tone that old faith, in which the feeding currents of civilization ran so long, it will be ashamed only of having failed to find a key to it, and throw open its interior meaning, at an earlier date:

We have not sinned in "Adam?" It may be. But "Adam," and under many an alias, is busily sinning in this generation. Who knows not that our opinion and sentiment, our virtues and our vices, are derived to us, nine parts in ten, from the loins of our ancestors? From the four quarters of the world unnumbered centuries troop to the issues of the present day; they vote at the polls, preach from the pulpits, chaffer in the markets, breed feculence in the slums of our cities, qualify the very blood in our veins. Not a toothache but has its pedigree; not a vice or blunder but has its progeny. The long ground-swell of history heaves beneath the ships in which our interests are embarked; under the calm of to-day rises the passion of yesterday; and the storms of other times

and another hemisphere still break in the thunder of inappeasable surges upon our shores. We are born like babes upon a voyage, never to see, scarcely to imagine, the lands from which civilization set sail. We die, and are committed to the deep that cradled us; the world sails on, and other voyagers, born like ourselves into the midst of an enterprise, of which they are as little to see the end as they have known the beginning, must, without choice, enter into the inheritance of our work, wise or foolish, whichever it be.

Of the cry for "independence" of thought and purpose, for "self-reliance" and the like, I would speak respectfully, and indeed cannot honestly speak otherwise. No one can less desire that private judgment should be suppressed, and every one drift with the currents of custom. The modern predilection for independence of mind, though in truth such a quality is much praised and little tolerated, — has its admirable side, and is in that aspect a cheerful prognostic. But all this belongs rather to the finish of life than to its foundation. To assume this as the basis were like the attempt to make an edifice stand upon its cope-stone! No one would recommend self-reliance to infants at the breast; and it is to be remembered that at the breasts of humanity we are all nurslings: hoary years are but a baby-age compared with that life of a civilization which comprehends in one of its days the cradle and the grave of the individual. It is well to make an ample space for those didactics which are concerned with private law; but there are laws of humanity, which, embracing all, and dependent upon the will of none, hold the strong and the weak, like gravitation, under the same sway. As our action is adjusted to these, it will bring us happiness or loss. And the broad truth of Nature is that we have been considering, the radiation and transmission of effect, and the intermediate character of every individual existence.

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This truth is not appreciated, only because it is never for a moment apart from our experience. But if we can accomplish that task which men in all ages have found so difficult, to reflect upon the facts we are most familiar with, it will quickly

appear that our independence is any thing but the first law of our being. Were we invited to consider whether we would be born, to begin with? Our several constitutions and temperaments, with the thousand conditions of time, place, tradition, institution, family, fortune, which color every action, thought, sentiment, emotion, and qualify the very dinner's digestion, were we taken into counsel concerning them, and desired to choose our lot? Is it not manifest that even this individual will, about which we make sufficient ado, is itself to a large degree the result of transmitted conditions, over which we have had no more control than over the making up of the sun and moon? "No man must decide for others," I hear it said, and by excellent persons. But the obvious fact is that every man must decide for others. Who can avoid it, though he were a hundred times willing? More has been determined for every soul of us than we shall ever determine for ourselves; and how many are yet to reap where we have sown, with no choice of harvest!

It is in this view of the case that pity may well be moved, and duty born of pity. Before us lies the helpless future with never a vote at the polls, silently awaiting the word, of good or of evil import, which this age shall pronounce in its behalf. Of every vote cast, of all action performed, and all moral conditions induced, it must reap the fruit. Have we no obligation toward it but that of permitting every man to sow for it what he will? Were it not nobler and more dutiful to insist bravely upon a choice sowing?


In ascending the Alps, a party is sometimes bound together by a rope, that if one fall the others may, with their united strength, sustain him. A means of security for all, if the just order of dependence be observed, - no right of guidance being conceded to those who are incapable of guiding, — it is otherwise a means of destruction for all. So the individuals of a nation are connected in their long climb, and are thus bound without election of company, - the seeing and the blind, the able and the infirm, the careful and the vicious and reckless, all united, with or without their will to be so, by a tie that Nature makes. This is the great natural fact we have to

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