Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Proofreader: Chris Clayton
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I MAKE no apology for writing this chapter upon Preachers and Churches. In our day every institution is open to criticism, and rightly and necessarily so; and although—if this should meet the eyes of preachers—many of them will doubtless consider it presumption on my part to attempt even to deal with such a subject, let it be so. We live in England, and not in Russia—plutocratic England, it is true, but with Democracy getting a good grip. And if by writing this I simply lay myself open to criticism, it may still be the case that I shall have served some small purpose by helping to make clear what it is we object to in orthodox preachers, with their orthodox doctrines and congregations. It cannot be that I am wholly correct—it may be I am very wrong; but feeling strongly upon the subject, and often indulging on Labour platforms in sentiments identical with those I have here given expression to, I now venture (upon invitation) to place before another audience the views I hold, as well as those I condemn.
At the outset, I desire to say that I am fully alive to the fact that there are
who cannot be covered by the general terms of censure I have made use of in what follows. I am happy in possessing the close friendship of not a few who, I am quite sure, are not merely as devoted as any men and women on earth to the cause of truth and righteousness, but strive continuously to make right-doing prevail in every sphere of life. But it is just these who, more than others, feel and know what a terrible responsibility rests upon preachers and teachers as a whole; and who also know, to their sorrow, how shamefully deficient the Churches are in supplying the much-needed correction, and stimulus, and light.
The Churches set up a claim to be the moral and spiritual guides of humanity, to whom all men should look for guidance as to their conduct in this life, and qualifications for life hereafter. The question I propose to examine is: Do they fulfil these functions?
In a complex society like ours, where the average person, on reaching girlhood or boyhood, must perforce begin work of some kind to obtain a maintenance, a very large share of one’s time, thought, and energy must of necessity, under present conditions, be devoted to the mere work of obtaining a living. Indeed, it is the paramount question, by the side of which all others fall into comparative insignificance. Consequently, if guidance is needed anywhere, it is in connection with the means whereby a livelihood is to be obtained. The virtues—including honesty, sobriety, and obedience to superiors—are all emphasized in the Sunday schools, Bible classes, and churches; exactly how to apply them being, of course, too great a task.
and urgent advice to “flee from the wrath to come,” and find salvation by reliance upon the sacrifice in the crucifixion of Jesus, sums up the teaching of the average school, church, and chapel. Where does this land a man? Judging by a lengthened experience, I unhesitatingly declare that I find that the average church or chapel goer, who is influenced primarily by what he obtains from its functions, becomes a narrow, saving, squeezing creature, taking little or no part in the vigorous life of the community, but very commonly becoming, by his isolated action, a source of weakness in any real democratic movement. If he takes part in municipal or political life, he usually does so on the flimsiest party lines. He generally attributes the cause of the poverty of the poor to their utter degradation, caused by their dissolute habits, brought about by their unchecked evil tendencies, the human heart being desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. Very rarely is he connected with a trade union. As a rule, he is most loyal to the injunction, “Servants, obey your masters,” and will side with his kindred “brethren” to blackleg against his fellows.
The tricks of trade he necessarily becomes familiar with; and, like a business man, he not only indulges in them, but becomes an expert thereat. He will attend a prayer-meeting and bless God for the good things of life, and pray for the salvation of the poor sinners in the slums, and will take, as evidences of God’s blessing in return, the possession of a few more shares that will pay ten per cent.; and if fifteen per cent.—why, the more cause for thankfulness, of course! Let none tell me I am concocting a case; such men can be counted by thousands. And why? Because that upon which they have been fed is devoid of real vitalising force. Instead of giving moral discernment to enable a man to understand how, where, and when moral or, if you will, religious principles should be applied, the preachers land him in a complete fog. Beholding those who are held in high esteem in the Churches, that they include the bankers and stock-jobbers, and the company promoters and capitalists and landlords, he follows them rather than the simple carpenter’s Son. Between such select and exalted personages and mere Labour agitators, trade unionists, Socialists, &c., there is, as surely there ought to be, he concludes, a great gulf.
The Church is in a helpless backwash having lost the true courage, mental and moral vigour, power of discernment, and hence capacity, to apply what humanity now demands. The parsons, clergymen, and ministers are, for the most part, a feeble folk, who, daring not to lead, are therefore bound to follow.
Other men labour, and in the course of years the Church slowly is dragged along; for the pioneers of righteousness we must look elsewhere than to so-called Christians. The man who is truly religious wants no driving to do his duty. He does not try to make all manner of excuses for the exploiters of the industrious community, and pile up the trifling misdeeds of an unfairly handicapped proletariat.
whose religion enabled them to understand between right-doing and wrong-doing, and furnished them with the requisite courage to face all foes, would never be content with the sunny complacency of the average parson in the midst of the life-destroying conditions of our industrial centres.
Shame, say I, and a thousand times shame, upon so feeble a religion as that which can tolerate the awful social life which exists in London at this very time. There are not less than four hundred thousand persons in London alone in a state of semi or actual starvation. There are among these at least a hundred thousand adult males out of work; tens of thousands of women, having no one to rely upon to support them, but in multitudes of instances being responsible for children (or aged or crippled relatives) in addition to themselves, who, over and over again in the course of a year, are deprived of the means of obtaining a livelihood; tens of thousands of children setting off to the Board schools every morning with less than a tenth part of that which is necessary for physical sustenance. Scores of miles of streets, with wretched dens in the background, furnish enormous rents—to whom? To the men of the world? No; to the rich members of your congregations, the great subscribers of your salaries O preachers! who turn up at your church or chapel service and follow you in praying, “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, as in heaven, so upon the earth.” Can they, do you think, believe that there is anything in heaven corresponding to the wretched slum-dwellers of Whitechapel or Spitalfields? Are there any in heaven corresponding to these Christian rent-takers, who wax fat at the expense of the downtrodden? What are you ministers and plutocratic members of the rich churches and chapels doing to make earth like heaven? Why, it would need an entire change in the basis of society, and the means whereby incomes are obtained. Are these religious plutocrats and preachers trying to change the basis of society, so that better conditions shall prevail? Assuredly not. On the contrary, they are determined opponents of those who do try to make such changes.
The fact is, preachers and congregation are bound hard and fast in a system that is grossly materialistic, utterly soulless in good, and without a single noble aspiration. The Hobbs and Co. Liberator phenomenon indicates how completely swamped is the average Nonconformist soul. Not only did it make haste to get rich, but by the most damnable means that the most cunning Jews and Gentiles combined could devise. Morality! Religion! Where is the religion or the morality in taking ten per cent. usury? Yet who among the orthodox in faith and practice objects to ten or more per cent.? Honesty! Righteousness! Who that believes in the doctrines of Jesus can uphold an industrial system whose very basis from top to toe is ten per cent.?
is an apostolic injunction; but how many ministers or members of our swell churches and chapels believe it? “Yes, but even Hobbs and Wright worked,” some will say. Ah, so they did; as did also Mr. Charles Peace of burglar notoriety—the latter with less scoundrelism than the former.
The average preacher or church-goer does distinctly believe, not only that it is right to eat without working, but to get fed, clothed, housed, insured, and buried into the bargain. Who among them condemns as a religious duty the taking of interest and rent? And if these are defended, and I can get sufficient interest or rent to keep me and mine without working, what religious principle comes in after that to say I must work?, Or, am I to work like the Yankee millionaire—on six days a week endeavouring to amass the biggest fortune on record, entirely irrespective of how many will be ruined; and on Sunday attending church, receiving the blessing of the minister, and helping to carry the collecting-plate to show how godly I am? If ever Deity was insulted, it is by these devourers of widows’ houses, who receive direct sanction and approval from orthodox exponents of orthodox religion. Let none rise to say, “Oh, but we would never endorse the enormities of the Liberator Company.” If not, where, then, would you stop? The whole shoal of interest-takers and stockbroking gamblers are specimens of the same type in embryo. Not so successful as the millionaire, perhaps—why? Because they lacked opportunity. Never had the brains to scheme like the others, and the courage to come down a resounding crash at the end. Why? Because they hadn’t had time to go far enough. The difference isn’t in kind; it is only in degree. As in the time: of Nahum, so now, to describe London we must indeed say, Woe to the bloody city! it is full of lies and robbery.”
I do not state or imply that all this is done hypocritically; what I do say is “that the truth is not in them.” Christians need to be “born again.” Orthodox religion is acquiescing in an irreligious condition of Society. Christianity is made part and parcel of the national commercialism, and wholly subservient to the individualistic acquisitiveness of the age. The Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man have come to be mere threadbare phrases when used by an ordinary religionist. Church or chapel is regularly attended, not indeed to obtain guidance out of the industrial and social wilderness, but to maintain tradition and keep up appearances. Some Christians positively believe, doubtless, that religion consists in church-going, hymn-singing, and muttering over the words found in the Prayer Book, or offered up by the minister; failing to realise that these are but the means to an end. If they are used as the end itself, then indeed does moral darkness assert itself.
It does appear to be the case that with industrial England, as with pastoral Israel, in the time of Amos, the outward ritual is made the chief concern. At that time the Mosaic ritual was jealously attended to, but the message was
and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer Me burnt offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from Me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let justice run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” (Amos v. 21-24). This is a sweeping condemnation of fashionable church-going whilst the state of Society is unsound. See verse 11 of the same chapter: “Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses,” &c.
Now, it was not the custom even in brutal Israel for one man to literally knock another down in order to take his wheat from him. There were more refined methods of exploitation then as now—though, doubtless, modern civilisation even in Christian England, could give the old Jews many points, and beat them at legalised robbery; and it is this legal robbery that is here condemned as much as any other kind.
But nothing puts the case more clearly than the condemnation by Jesus of the orthodox professors of religion of His time (see St. Matt. xxiii. 13, 14)—
“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”
No language could be stronger, and yet this was directed against the respectably religious of that day. These Pharisees have their exact counterpart to-day in England.
I know the risk I run by any attempt to deal with the subject of future salvation. But with a keen remembrance of the influence orthodoxy exercised over me—of the years of unrest, of the flimsiness and mimicry, with its pretences of solemnity and make-believe solidity,—I feel bound to deal with the subject. I know many young men who have striven hard to find “salvation”; and with blind guides to lead them, many years were spent in finding what ought to have been reached in a few months. The talk about the one thing needful under orthodoxy (it will be noted that I continually guard myself by referring to “orthodoxy”) means nothing more than fixing attention upon Jesus as the Saviour, He having been sacrificed to reconcile mankind to the Father. I make no comment upon this doctrinal point. What I want to expose is the demoralising effect produced by the individual being taught that salvation for him consists in reflecting upon and believing in his acceptance with God, because of Christ’s sacrifice, irrespective of the life he leads. “No one says this,” some will cry. Yes; but, indeed,
and the effect is to cause the individual to think of himself or herself, and to value, out of all proper proportion, his or her own personal salvation. Selfishness begins this, and with selfishness it usually ends. Whilst one can admire the energy put forth and the trouble taken in the voluntary street-corner preachers and singers, one can only pity those who speak, as well as those who may in any way be influenced by what is said. A million times over is the same story told—personal salvation by faith in Christ. It seems to me it would be a truly religious act if all such received a severe castigation for wasting so much time trying to assuage the sorrows primarily brought about by a vicious industrial system, instead of boldly tackling that industrial system itself.
Salvation surely consists in living in accordance with Divine harmony,—in loving order and living it,—in hating disorder here on earth, and striving might and main to remove it so that earth may be more like heaven. Oh, the unworthiness of followers of Jesus being primarily concerned about their poor little souls! He that seeks to save his soul on these lines will lose it; but he that will lose his own life by working for the salvation of the community—all such must be saved. Up! off your knees, young men! Let us have more effort directed to the removal of evil! Don’t go continually begging of God to do that which you ought to do! This world is wrong, and wants righting, and you and I are responsible for doing our share towards righting it. What horrible villainy have you been guilty of, that half your time needs be taken up in praying for forgiveness? The man that loves righteousness will seek to live righteously, and all such are already saved. His duty is to be at work removing the cause of wrong-doing.
A little less time spent at orthodox mission meetings, and more time spent in helping on effective industrial organisation, to ensure right-doing in the business of life, is sadly needed just now. This orthodox mission work is exactly what our exploiting plutocrats rejoice in. It is so gracious of them to give an occasional ten pounds to keep a mission going, that they may with reasonable safety exploit an additional twenty from their employes, and still receive the praise and blessings of the faithful.
“Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth” (St. James v. 1-4).
What have our
who go to church and chapel regularly, to say to St. James? Dare they claim to be better than those whom James condemned? If so, in what way? And if not, are they not condemned by the book in which they pretend to believe? Not that I am affirming that every rich man is necessarily a candidate for hell. What I do contend is that, be we rich or poor, if our mental and moral standard is such that we continue to support the present hellish system,—which the ordinary capitalist upholds, and is sanctioned in upholding by the average Church,—then we are violating every genuinely religious principle.
I am not condemning religion, but the lack of it. Religion to me consists of those ethical principles that serve as a guide in all matters of conduct—social, political, and industrial alike; and the essence of the whole thing is this: the choice between a life whose actuating motive shall be self, either in acquiring wealth, renown, prestige, or power, and a life which shall have primary regard for the well-being of the community as a whole. To do this is to engage in making it possible for “His kingdom to obtain on earth as in heaven.” If I am asked, “Do I think that all that is necessary is a perfected industrial machinery on Socialistic lines?” I say emphatically, “No! I don’t think that is all.”
I do distinctly believe in the necessity for Socialism out and out, and that it is my duty to work for its realisation. But I know also that something more than good machinery is necessary, if really good results are to be obtained. I desire to see every person fired with a holy enthusiasm to put a stop to wrong-doing. Before this is possible, individuals must submit themselves to much and severe discipline. The baser sides of our nature must be beaten down that the higher and nobler side may develop. Regard for the brethren (brethren meaning all) must be the mainspring of our action; the development of the highest possible qualities in ourselves is undoubtedly a religious duty, but for this chief reason—that we may be of the greater service.
“He that would be greatest among you, let him be servant of all.”
This to me is the ideal test and standard. As Jesus was the servant of mankind, so I, as follower of Jesus, must learn to be of use. The irreligious man is not the only deliberate maker of mischief, but equally so the indolent and useless man. Swedenborg has well said—
“All religion has relation to life, and the life of religion is to do good.” Further: “Heaven consists of those of all nations who love God supremely, and their neighbours as themselves. Hell is the assembly of the selfish—of all who love themselves supremely and gratify their lusts at any cost to others.”
The astounding anomaly of our time is the complete separation of religious principles from every-day industrial life. Spiritual pastors teach the young to regard God as the common Father; and when the young become of age to reflect upon the shameful inequalities created and maintained by our social system, they are discouraged by their elders from trying to alter it, and are treated as agitators and destroyers of the peace.
Honesty demands a frank statement that the so-called religious of our time are
They make a pretence of championing His cause; but in reality the Socialist agitator and the Trade Union organiser is doing far more than the preachers and the Christians, the Missionary Societies and the Bible Societies to make Christ’s gospel prevail. The Churches are afraid of Socialism. Why? Because the wealthy in their congregations are anti-Socialists. If any say this is not so, then it will not be difficult to give an effectual reply by quoting instances where the minister has seen the light and dared to proclaim the truth, and where the men who “have great possessions” (relatively) have very soon taken their departure. I have heard of complaints from one or two such ministers that they not only lost the employer class by their boldness, but that they did not succeed in securing the adhesion of any counteracting proportion among the workers. There is less to be surprised at in this than some seem to think. The Churches having gone astray worse than lost sheep; are not likely very easily to win back Democracy. Whether they will ever do it or not is an open question.
The clergyman is undoubtedly at a serious discount as an adviser. “Serve him right,” say I. Nor will he ever redeem his position except by honest effort on behalf of Democracy. Not that Democracy will suffer materially if this is not done. The greatest trouble is past. Democracy is learning how to provide for itself, and never was the Democracy so truly religious as now. And it is gradually getting more so. This religious evolution will increase as the bad environment is altered on one side, and the ethical gospel is lifted up and followed truthfully on the other.
I know that many preachers contend that industrial and economic matters are nothing to them; theirs is a religious work, and men must be left to themselves to find out how to apply religious truths. “If they were to take sides, it would mean the break-up of the Church,” and so on. To endorse a religion apart from principles that are to guide our every-day behaviour is monstrous. If one’s religion does not compel one to take sides in favour of a righteous basis of society, the sooner it ceases to encumber the earth the better for all concerned. A minister who can’t find time to make up his mind as to the direction in which he should travel on industrial and economic matters, will probably not find time to be of any practical use to the world, nor yet to the denomination to which he may belong. I am fully aware of the fact that by
many who might have been disposed to consider the possibility of some mild action favourable to Democracy, now stand off. To such let me say: I have purposely avowed myself a Socialist here, so that those who read this may know what to expect from those on whose behalf I can speak. We do not want, and will not have a parson’s patronage, or goody-goody advice. If there is to be a rapprochement it can only be by the parson getting off his high horse, stopping his goodyism, and meeting men and women frankly as such. If he doesn’t, he’ll get left high and dry for a certainty.
I am not here demanding that every parson who is to be of use shall be an out-and-out Socialist right off. I aim telling him that we workmen who happen to be Socialists are adding largely to our numbers every month, that the whole trend of modern effort in our Trade Unions, Co-operative Societies, Town and County Councils, and Parliament is distinctly socialistic, and if parsons and ministers want to stop it, they had better refurbish their weapons. I can easily understand that some genuine men among the clergy will be disquieted by wondering whether the Socialists are coming round their way for a general sharing-out arrangement, and so they are slow to make a move. Such is the enlightenment that exists in these quarters! Let me hasten to reassure all such that if they are able to subscribe to the following very mild statement of John Ruskin, they need not be seriously alarmed:—
“So far am I from invalidating the security of property, that the whole gist of my contention will be found to aim at an extension in its range, and whereas it has long been known and declared that the poor have no right to the property of the rich, I wish it also to be known and declared that the rich have no right to the property of the poor” (“Unto this Last”).
That surely should be a self-evident proposition to the mind of a moralist, but it goes rather a long way, as it would mean nothing less than a righteous distribution of wealth. It is to be hoped that no preacher will ask what business is this to him. Surely “Thou shalt not steal” is emphatic enough, and when we add Carlyle’s trifle to it, “Thou shalt not be stolen from,” it gains a little in clearness. The Church will doubtless concern itself in a few generations to come about such an elementary subject as the enforcement of honesty. We workmen contend that honesty of distribution should become a fact. Forty-nine-fiftieths of present-day poverty, and the bulk of the crime and villainy that now disgrace our country, would disappear, if the Society thieves were to disappear.
But timid Christians and their preachers are likely to reply that, “to bring about such a change is impossible; human nature won’t admit of it.” If not, what becomes of the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come . . . as in heaven so upon the earth”?
please be frank enough to say so. Some of us, when we say the Lord’s Prayer, do indeed mean it, amongst whom I am glad to be one. I am not willing to be included with those cowards who say it is impossible of realisation. Whatever is right we are bound to work for, even if its fruit is in the dire and distant future. We believe that the Lord’s Prayer is not only realisable, but we are of those disciples who will make it so. This done, the question of a “living wage” will be settled.
As yet in this Christian land we haven’t been able to establish a living wage, even when it means nothing more than a sufficiency of material necessities to maintain life. Many in connection with the Churches have recently said that a living wage is impossible, i.e., that it is impossible in this “religious” country to see that each of God’s children, our own brothers and sisters, shall be as well fed as a horse. Let Carlyle again be heard:—
“There is not a horse in England, able and willing to work, but has due food and lodging, and goes about sleek-coated, satisfied in heart. And you say, ‘It is impossible.’ Brothers, I answer, if for you it be impossible, what is to become of you? It is impossible for us to believe it to be impossible. The human brain, looking at these sleek English horses, refuses to believe in such impossibility for Englishmen. Do you depart quickly; clear the ways soon, lest worse befall. We for our share do purpose, with full view of the enormous difficulty, with total disbelief in the impossibility, to endeavour while life is in us, and to die endeavouring, we and our sons, til we attain it, or have all died and ended!” (“Past and Present”).
This is the correct spirit in which the modern crusade against our social villainies is to be conducted. It is especially the work of the Church to set the pace. It ought, but we don’t expect it will; and yet, I feel sure that those young men and women who are certain to be touched by the devotion and fervour of our modern crusaders, will not require much converting to our side. They are too noble to remain in the ranks of the inactive and selfish. They, too, will come forth to join in the noble work of social reconstruction. We have a glorious and an inspiriting work in hand—nothing less than the purifying of the industrial and social life of our country and the making of true individuality. For, let it be clearly understood, we Labour men are thoroughly in favour of the highest possible development of each individual. We seek no dead level of uniformity, and never did. Our ideal is: “From each according to his capacity, to each according to his needs.” We can’t reach that right off; but when we have done so, we shall not be “far from the kingdom.”
To engage in this work is to be occupied in the noblest work the earth affords; to do it well, we want not only men and women of good intention—the Churches have these now—we shall want men and women of sound sense who will understand the science of industrial economics, as well as of the highest standard of ethics. To mean well is one thing, to be able to do well is a better thing, and we cannot do well except by accident, unless we know something of the laws that underlie and control the forces with which we shall have to deal. By way of indicating what we hope to reach, it may prevent fear and trembling if I say it is neither more nor less than that set forth by
in his “Autobiography,” where he says:—
“The Social Problem of the future we considered to be, how to unite the greatest individual liberty of action with a common ownership in the raw material of the globe, and an equal participation for all in the benefits of combined labour.”
Nothing very awful in that surely, and yet there is sufficient to revolutionise modern Society! What does a really religious man care how far it goes? To him the one important question is, “Is it right?” Does duty demand that he shall endorse it and work for its realisation? To me all other duties sink into comparative insignificance. I will yield to none if I know it in facing the straight path, and honestly endeavouring to walk in it, and therefore I dare not take my eyes off this big problem.
Much has already been done in removing barriers. The work of the Trade Unionists for the last sixty years has borne good fruit. In the early years of the present century, Capital had complete sway. Unrestricted industrial competition was the accepted gospel universally applied in Great Britain. In Parliament the landed aristocracy had complete power. In industrial life, the then infantile but now powerful plutocracy had undisputed control. The law was against combination, consequently there were few Trade Unions. Neither was there anything in the nature of Factory Acts. And what was the result? Our industrial history of that period is the blackest page in England’s life. Not only men, but women and children had to work fifteen to sixteen hours a day. Children, too, of six, even five years of age, were called to the mills at five o’clock in the morning; if they were a minute late, an overseer with a slave-driver’s lash stood there to thrash them and the girls and women like dogs. Some power of revolt existed, and this country owes more than it thinks to the revolutionary course of the early Trade Unionists. We still have England’s industrial prestige maintained by child labour at ten and eleven years of age.
In thousands of instances the standard of life is such that when a man is in full work, so little does he earn that the wife and mother must not only get up herself at five o’clock in the morning, but must also wake her children, and
to leave it with some nurse, while she, the mother, must go to the mill, reaching there at six, to take her stand by the men, work all day, and return home at night to commence house duties, and this because the family would starve if she did not. Oh, Church people! if ever a crusade were needed it is here in England now. The honour of our country is left with us to guard. For humanity’s sake, let us see to it that we wipe out these accursed blood-red stains.
There is much to be proud of in Britain’s history, but whilst such conditions remain we cannot wait to comment upon the work done in face of so much waiting to be done? Who shall do it? Every man and every woman is expected to contribute a share. The social salvation of the entire community is the religious duty in which you preachers and people are called upon to engage.
Oh! rich women of the Churches, have you no social political duty? You, who spend so much on your own persons, have you no care for the body of Society? And you women of the middle classes, who have a great power, will you not use that power to wipe out these stains on our national and Christian character? If you take up a determined stand in connection with the Churches, they will be compelled to become active. The work will be done with or without you, but quicker with you than without you.
Women! who shall one day bear
Sons to breathe New England air,
If you hear without a blush
Deeds to make the roused blood rush
Like red lava through your veins,
For your sisters now in chains,
Answer! are ye fit to be
Mothers of the brave and free?
To the women already in the Socialist movement, I can say with full assurance that you are stimulating and ennobling the men, as well as doing your own share of ardent advocacy of sound principles. These few remaining years of the nineteenth century shall yet see great and glorious changes made in the removal of the causes that produce poverty, and therefore crime and suffering. To help in this work should be our greatest desire and chief delight, and the success of this work will mean: International solidarity, and world-wide fraternisation.