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o'clock this evening at the Relief Hall, rear of J. M. Quimby's Repository."
Too fast. Too fast. I need not detail the progress of Fourierism-the many attempts made to establish Associations-the failure of all of them but one, which still exists-the ruin that ensued to many worthy men—the ridicule with which the Associationists were assailed the odium excited in many minds against the Tribune— the final relinquishment of the subject. All this is perfectly well known to the people of this country.
Let us come, at once, to the grand climax of the Tribune's Fourierism, the famous discussion of the subject between Horace Greeley and H. J. Raymond, of the Courier and Enquirer, in the year . 1846. That discussion finished Fourierism in the United States.
Mr. Raymond had left the Tribune, and joined the Courier and Enquirer, at the solicitation of Col. Webb, the editor of the latter. It was a pity the Tribune let him go, for he is a born journalist, and could have helped the Tribune to attain the position of the great, only, undisputed Metropolitan Journal, many years sooner than it will. Horace Greeley is not a born journalist. He is too much in earnest to be a perfect editor. He has too many opinions and preferences. He is a BORN LEGISLAtor, a Deviser of Remedies, a Suggester of Expedients, a Framer of Measures. The most successful editor is he whose great endeavor it is to tell the public all it wants to know, and whose comments on passing events best express the feeling of the country with regard to them. Mr. Raymond is not a man of first-rate talent-great talent would be in his wayhe is most interesting when he attacks; and of the varieties of composition, polished vituperation is not the most difficult. But he has the right notion of editing a daily paper, and when the Tribune lost him, it lost more than it had the slightest idea of—as events have since shown.
However, Horace Greeley and Henry J. Raymond, the one naturally liberal, the other naturally conservative-the one a Universalist, the other a Presbyterian—the one regarding the world as a place to be made better by living in it, the other regarding it as an oyster to be opened, and bent on opening it-would have found it hard to work together on equal terms. They separated amicably, and each went his way. The discussion of Fourierism arose thus
Mr. Brisbane, on his return from Europe, renewed the agitation of his subject. The Tribune of August 19th, 1846, contained a letter by him, addressed to the editors of the Courier and Enquirer, proposing several questions, to which answers were requested, respecting Social Reform. The Courier replied. The Tribune rejoined editorially, and was answered in turn by the Courier. Mr. Brisbane addressed a second letter to the Courier, and sent it direct to the editor of that paper in manuscript. The Courier agreed to publish it, if the Tribune would give place to its reply. The Tribune declined doing so, but challenged the editor of the Courier to a public discussion of the whole subject.
"Though we cannot now," wrote Mr. Greeley, "open our columns to a set discussion by others of social questions (which may or may not refer mainly to points deemed relevant by us), we readily close with the spirit of the Courier's proposition. * As soon as the State election is fairly over--say Nov. 10th-we will publish an entire article, filling a column of the Tribune, very nearly, in favor of Association as we understand it; and, upon the Courier copying this and replying, we will give place to its reply, and respond; and so on, till each party shall have published twelve articles on its own side, and twelve on the other, which shall fulfill the terms of this agreement. All the twelve articles of each party shall be published without abridgment or variation in the Daily, Weekly, and Semi-weekly editions of both papers. Afterward each party will, of course, be at liberty to comment at pleasure in his own columns. In order that neither paper shall be crowded with this discussion, one article per week, only, on either side, shall be published, unless the Courier shall prefer greater dispatch. Is not this a fair proposition? What says the Courier? It has, of course, the advantage of the defensive position and of the last word."
The Courier said, after much toying and dallying, and a preliminary skirmish of paragraphs, COME ON! and, on the 20th of November, the Tribune came on. The debate lasted six months. It was conducted on both sides with spirit and ability, and it attracted much attention. The twenty-four articles, of which it consisted, were afterwards published by the Harpers in a pamphlet of eighty-three closely-printed, double-columned pages, which had a considerable sale, and has long been out of print. On one side
we see earnestness and sincerity; on the other tact and skill One strove to convince, the other to triumph. The thread of argument is often lost in a maze of irrelevancy. The subject, indeed, was peculiarly ill calculated for a public discussion. When men converse on a scheme which has for its object the good of mankind, let them confer in awful whispers-apart, like conspirators, not distract themselves in dispute in the hearing of a nation; for they who would benefit mankind must do it either by stealth or by violence.
I have tried to condense this tremendous pamphlet into the form and brevity of a conversation, with the following result. Neither of the speakers, however, are to be held responsible for the language employed.
Horace Greeley. Nov. 20th. The earth, the air, the waters, the sunshine, with their natural products, were divinely intended and appointed for the sustenance and enjoyment of the whole human family. But the present fact is, that a very large majority of mankind are landless; and, by law, the landless have no inherent right to stand on a single square foot of their native State, except in the highways. Perishing with cold, they have no legal right to a stick of decaying fuel in the most unfrequented morass. Famishing, they have no legal right to pluck and eat the bitterest acorn in the depths of the remotest forest. But the Past cannot be recalled. What has been done, has been done. The legal rights of individuals must be held sacred. But those whom society has divested of their natural right to a share in the soil, are entitled to Compensation, i. e. to continuous opportunity to earn a subsistence by Labor. To own land is to possess this opportunity. The majority own no land. Therefore the minority, who own legally all the land, which naturally belongs to all men alike, are bound to secure to the landless majority a compensating security of remunerating Labor. But, as society is now organized, this is not, and cannot be, done. "Work, work! give us something to do! anything that will secure us honest bread," is at this moment the prayer of not less than thirty thousand human beings within the sound of the City-Hall hell. Here is an enormous waste and loss. We must devise a remedy and that remedy, I propose to show, is found in Association.
H. J. Raymond. Nov. 23d. Heavens! Here we have one of the leading Whig presses of New York advocating the doctrine that no man can rightfully own land! Fanny Wright was of that opinion. The doctrine is erroneous and dangerous. If a man cannot rightfully own land, he cannot rightfully own anything which the land produces; that is, he cannot rightfully own anything at all. The blessed institution of property, the basis of the social fabric, from which arts, agriculture, commerce, civilization spring, and without which they could not exist, is threatened with destruction, and by a leading Whig paper too. Conservative Powers, preserve us
Horace Greeley. Nov. 26th. Fudge! What I said was this: Society, having divested the majority of any right to the soil, is bound to compensate them by guaranteeing to each an opportunity of earning a subsistence by Labor. Your vulgar, clap-trap allusion to Fanny Wright does not surprise me. I shall neither desert nor deny a truth because she, or any one else, has proclaimed it. But to proceed. By association I mean a Social Order, which shall take the place of the present Township, to be composed of some hundreds or some thousands of persons, who shall be united together in interest and industry for the purpose of securing to each individual the following things: 1, an elegant and commodious house; 2, an education, complete and thorough; 3, a secure subsistence; 4, opportunity to labor; 5, fair wages; 6, agreeable social relations; 7, progress in knowledge and skill. As society is at present organized, these are the portion of a very small minority. But by association of capital and industry, they might become the lot of all; inasmuch as association tends to Economy in all departments, economy in lands, fences, fuel, household labor, tools, education, medicine, legal advice, and commercial exchanges. My opponent will please observe that his article is three times as long as mine, and devoted in good part to telling the public that the Tribune is an exceedingly mischievous paper; which is an imposition.
H. J. Raymond. Nov. 30th. A home, fair wages, education, etc., are very desirable, we admit; and it is the unceasing aim of all good men in society, as it now exists, to place those blessings within the reach of all. The Tribune's claim that it can be accomplished only by association is only a claim. Substantiate it. Give us proof of
its effi.acy. Tell us in whom the property is to be vested, how labor is to be remunerated, what share capital is to have in the concern, by what device men are to be induced to labor, how moral offenses are to be excluded or punished. Then we may be able to discuss the subject. Nothing was stipulated about the length of the articles; and we do think the Tribune a mischievous paper.
Horace Greeley. Dec. 1st. The property of an association will be vested in those who contributed the capital to establish it, represented by shares of stock, just as the property of a bank, factory, or railroad now is. Labor, skill and talent, will be remunerated by a fixed proportion of their products, or of its proceeds, if sold. Men will be induced to labor by a knowledge that its rewards will be a certain and major proportion of the product, which of course will be less or more according to the skill and industry of each individual. The slave has no motive to diligence except fear; the hireling is tempted to eye-service; the solitary worker for himself is apt to become disheartened; but men working for themselves, in groups, will find labor not less attractive than profitable. Moral offenses will be punished by legal enactment, and they will be rendered un frequent by plenty and education.
H. J. Raymond. Dec. 8th. Oh-then the men of capital are to own the land, are they? Let us see. A man with money enough may buy an entire domain of five thousand acres; men without money will cultivate it on condition of receiving a fixed proportion of its products; the major part, says the Tribune; suppose we say three-fourths. Then the contract is simply this:-One rich man (or company) owns five thousand acres of land, which he leases forever to two thousand poor men at the yearly rent of one-fourth of its products. It is an affair of landlord and tenant-the lease perpetual, payment in kind; and the landlord to own the cattle, tools, and furniture of the tenant, as well as the land. Association, then, is merely a plan for extending the relation of landlord and tenant over the whole arable surface of the earth.
Horace Greeley. Dec. 10th. By no means. The capital of a mature association would be, perhaps, half a million of dollars; it