Ralph Waldo Trine.

The Insurance register (life) ... containing a record of the yearly progress ... online

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Author of

In Tune with the Infinite, What All the World's

a-Seeking, Character-Building

Thought Power, etc.




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Ck>PTRIGHT, 1906, BT


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This little volume deals with certain facts and forces in
connection with both our individual lives and our common
social life. It deals with the tatter first It will have
principally three types of readers. The firsty that large
class of open and fair-minded people who love justice and
honour J who believe in the great principle of equal oppor-
tunities for all and special privileges for nonCy who believe
thai one great class of people are not to be used simply a^s
a grist for another clasSy who believe that there is nothing
justy or wiscy or safcy much less common-sensey in per-
milting a social and political state where there are little
groups of men and families grown so enormously rich
and pcrwerftd \hM their very riches and privileges and
excesses become a meruice to their own welfarcy as well as
to that of the people at large and to the very State itself.

The secondy that class, perhaps comparatively smally
possibly already much larger than we realizCy whose mem -
bers have been so long schooled in privilege on their ovm
party or from their ancestors, or from their assodationSy
that they come aMually to believe that they in some way
are better than the rest of the people, that somehow it waSy
or is intendedy that they be sort of custodians of the welfare


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vi Preface

of other and less favoured people^ and that they become
dispensers of bounty to them in the degree that it will not
affect their own accumvlatioTis^ or ea^e and proprietary
standing. By them the booh will be strongly critidsedy but
their criticisms will be honesty the same as their pre-
judices are honest.

The third will be the class — though the readers of the
book from this class will be very small — wh^ by fair
means and fouU chiefly foul, and dishonest, and devilish,
manipulate to get the great natural properties that should
be owned by and administered for the welfare of all the
people into their own hands for their own personal and
excessive enrichment, who debauch and poison as they go,
who are criminals in practice and many at heart, though
eminently ^^ respectable'^ and smooth and suuve and
plausible in their methods, and who strike out vigorously
and viciously at everything that would present truthfully
and impartially the forces that are at work in our social
state, and that would seem to disturb or menace or curtail
their privileges and their methods; who own a portion
of the public press for the direct and deliberate promotion
of their ends, or who in one form or another influence or
control sufficiently some other portions — though not all
by any means — as to have it belittle and belie any and
all attempts to present true conditions and feasible remedies
to the people. The book will be criticised by them, con-
demned even as being something given to exaggerating
sonditions or dangerous to the social order — there are
numbers of expressions and forms that form sort of

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Preface viz

stock phrases thai are always ready and at perCs point
for this purpose. The major portions of the criticisms
and statements from those of this class will be falsehoods —
deliberate and vicious — and the interesting part of it is
that they know they are suchy even while they are uttering

It perchance may not be unwise or amiss to say that
those of the class first mentionedy as well a^ that portion
of the public press that is not owned or controlledy or
whose policies are not shaped by, or their cues taken from^
the forces of greed and privilege and public debauchery y
but that stand true to the higher manhood and for the
higher public welfare, while they wUl agree with and
sanction the general purpose of the little book, will not
agree with the author in all particulars. Nor is such
to be expected.

Agaiuy it may not be amiss to say by way of foreword,
that on the part of those or rather manyy in the Academic
worldy the little book wiU not be ax^cepted, on the ground
of its being not ^^sdentificy^ or '^ scholarly"^ (or orthodox ?)
but ^^popvlar.^^ The author wishes to acknowledge at once
this criticismy and to state most frankly that he has not
aimed to make it academic, or technicaly or orthodox,
but that he has deliberately aimed to make it a simplcy
concrete little volume along the lines with which it deals,
^' popular,'^ in the sense of its being for that splendid
great ^^ common people ^^ that has made this, as well as
every nation of importance and power in the world's
history, and upon whose welfare all depends; and who.

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via Preface

moreover, are now getting such awakenings, as well as
facts and forces into their ^possession, as wiU yet save
and redeem the nation, and with it iheir own great
common interests.

Sunnyhrae Farm
Oroton Landing^ N* Y.
November i« 190S

G>ll^e professors moan because no one reads their bloodless and
wordy books on economies, but economics when dealt with stra^ht
from the shoulder by men who know the facts is to-day more popular
than the most popular fiction, more inta*esting than the most into*-
esting travels, better selling than any other form of literature. This
is significant. The American people are gathering facts for future
action. They want to be absolutely sure before they act, and then,
get from under. — From a Current Exchange.

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I. With the People : A Revelation 3

n. The Conditions that Hold among Us 16

ni. As Time Deals with Nations 83

IV. As TO Government 92

V. A Great People's Movement 100

VI. Public Utilities for the Public Good 117

Vn. Labour and Its Uniting Power 188

Vin. Agencies Whereby We Shall Secure

THE People's Greatest Good 235

IX. The Great Nation 289

X. The Life of the Higher Beauty and

Power 316

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xV DREAM, or a vision, or fancy, I know not; but it
seemed to be amid surroundings unknown before and
yet it seemed very like this world. But there was a
difference — to travel one had in thought but to see
one's self in a desired locality, or in the presence of the
desired person, and he was there.

It seemed to be where one could look for a long dis-
tance, yet it was not a hill, and men and women were
coming and going. It seemed to be neither day nor night,
for one could discern no sun nor moon, neither were
there stars, and yet it was light.

And I heard heavy trampings as of men clad in
coarse nailed boots. I looked and presently I beheld the
form of a man, but bent, and he looked closely to the
ground before him as he walked. Though he seemed
tired, weary, and as if he would be glad to lie down and
sleep for a thousand years, yet he seemed to be hurrying
along as if he might be late to something. In his hand he
carried a pail.

And as I looked I saw others, and still others. Some
were coming, some were going. All seemed encased in the
same coarse garments, many were weary, and all seemed
bent toward the ground and all were hurrying along.


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In the Fire of the Heart

And as I wondered pityingly — for pity seemed to
pervade all things then — there appeared before me one
who seemed to come to satisfy my questionings. He
was not one of those I was looking upon» although it
seemed as if at one time he might have been. His face
was as if at sometime he had known great suflFering,
but there was now a look of strength and compassion^
there was such beauty in his face that I wondered at it
all. Moreover he seemed to know all things and my
thoughts as quickly as I knew them myself. I was about
to make inquiry of him when he approached nearer
and said: *^ These are of a company numbering many
millions upon the earth who do Its heaviest and most
important work. Were they not to go to their work daily
the industries of the world would stop, and great suffering
and privation would result.^' Why do they seem so eager
I thought, and why are they bent so to the ground?

*^ Their work is heavy. Their hours are long. They
have but little time with their families, for they must
work diligently and faithfully while work lasts, for
later on work stops and for some, for weeks, and for
some, for months, there is no work, and their pay were
they to work every day in the ye^r is not enough to keep
them in comfort.'*

But why I thought, and I contemplated the vast
millions made from industry even in my country every
year, is their pay so small ?

He smiled; it seemed to be a pitying smile, but he
did not answer my thought, and I knew not at the time
why he smiled and said nothing.


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In the Fire of the Heart

While I was meditating upon all this I heard a great
commotion as if outside of great gates, and I heard
voices and the cries of excited men by the score. My
companion said, '" These are men out of work. A few
are to be taken to-day, though it will be scarcely one
from a score, and the others will tramp on as they have
for many weary days to other works.'*

Scarcely had the noise subsided and the eager
multitude of men gone on its way when I heard excited
and angry shouts. I looked and beheld a man not yet
in the prime of life. His face was haggard and white
and as he ran he was followed by a crowd of shouting
and excited men and boys. I heard a dull sound and
then I saw a stone fall to the ground and one comer of it
was wet and very red. I saw the man stagger and fall
forward, and from the back of his head blood flowed.
A woman rushed from the crowd. '^ It's John, I feared
the look in his eyes this morning." She kissed the white
face and with her lower skirt wiped the bruised and
bleeding head. And the child she carried in her arms
looked on in wonder.

Then I heard the clang of a gong and horses
hoofs striking the hard pavement, and as the rapidly
gathering crowd separated I noticed that the man's
form was very thin. My companion said: *^ Long out of
work and with hungry mouths to haunt him, he has
stolen bread. It's common.*

And I saw — I knew not whence they came or
whither they went — a large company that seemed to be
neither men nor women for they were not grown, nor


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In the Fire of the Heart

were they erect. They did not seem to be children, for
they had neither children's faces nor movements.
**These were children/* said my companion, "put to work
before their time. Some are old and broken now, and
though still young, are scarcely able to keep up in the
race, and from them a brood still worse will come.**
But there are not so many, I ventured. '*In your country
alone there are at this moment nearly two million/*
God, Heaven and Hell, I cried, if —

"Wait,** he said, and before he had spoken his thought
I heard a commotion as of doors breaking open, and
under lurid lights and amid strains of coarse quick
music I saw bedraggled and flushed faced and harsh
voiced women that were pushing and pulling one another,
and when one fell others seemed even with vile words
to kick and beat her. With a sense of horror, I thought.
What is this?

"This is a low dance hall. They are fighting for a
brute of a man.** I heard the same music and the same
noise and revel from other places. I looked and saw
place after place of the same type. So many, I said,
and how came they here ? "In this section are over a
thousand to-night and there will be to-morrow; the
ranks are always full. They start in different ways and
from many different places.** I looked at a group with
whom were still traces of refinement. The faces were
some marred, but the hair of some had great beauty
in its colour. "These,** he said, "were employed in laige
and well-known stores and establishments at wages so
small that when food was gotten, all was gone. They


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In the Fire of the Heart

struggled for a while, many bravely, but they grew
weary when they could make no headway, for the
grace, the attraction, the fire and the dreams of youth
were with them. Men were ready to give them money.
For a while they found the way less hard and dreary.
They never dreamed of these places; but all find their
way here intime.^' All? I said. "Sometimes a rough
black wagon carries a rudely stained box out through a
long street and through a gateway edged with drooping
trees, and some are spared these resorts/* Then I
became conscious again of the sights and ounds about

So horrible it all seemed, that I said, cursed be greed
and those that — **Lightly,** he said, **a wealthy owner
of one of the large establishments in which some of
these were at one time employed, has built a most
beautiful chapel in one of our large churches and has
just had it dedicated to Christ. In all charity he is most
liberal.** I sat musing but I could not comprehend. Then
anger seemed to vie with reason, when I was brought
again to myself by the sound of horse's hoofs hurrying
by. They drew a strange looking wagon. It was followed
by two rattling carriages that were drawn by poorer
looking horses. In the first was a gentle looking woman
and with her were three children. In the second were
women who looked something like those that were in the
places about us, but they seemed to be of a more gentle
type. "I said/' volunteered my companion, "that some-
times a rudely stained box is carried out through a long
street, and some are spared these resorts. She was so


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In the Fire of the Heart

gentle and beautiful and was filled with such compassion
and kindness. So young, only in the early twenties. The
care of the family fell largely upon her, but she was
never strong and by and by she fell weary. Then kind
gentlemen helped her, though they received more than
they gave. She went away for a time, but her help never
failed to reach the little home. By and by she returned,
but all hands were raised against her, and her fine sensi-
tive spirit could not stand before it. Again she went
away and soon the White Plague came to be her com-
panion, but it did not stay with her long. She seemed
not to care, nor had she any fear. From her savings
a letter carried each fortnight the same old help to the
little home, until two days ago, from a public institution,
where even with a sad and sweet smile she left it, her
body with a little envelope enough to bury it, was sent
back to her mother's home.'' And as I thought of her
bravery, her goodness, and her youth, then "All hands
were raised against her" rang in my ears and anger
seemed to seize me. "It is the way of the world," he said,
**but few are wise enough or themselves stainless enough
to unders and.' But we all have our failings and none
are perfect, I volunteered. I wept and found relief, then
involuntarily I cried, Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
"Jesus was wise and full of compassion, and more,
his ovm life was without error ^

And as I pondered and repeated to myself his words,
my companion seemed to be forgetful of my presence
and stood looking out into the space before us, while a
strange expression covered his face. I looked at him but


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In the Fire of the Heart

said nothing. Presently and without any other move-
ment, even of the head, he placed his hand upon my
forehead and said, "yonder! " My surroundings seemed
changed and it was not as on the earth* I looked and
beheld a company in very white garments and in their
midst was one who seemed as if she had come a long
distance, for she walked as if weaiy, and as she turned
her face I saw that it was sad, and yet not sad, for joy
was in it.

And two were leading her by the hand and they
went along a path that was very bright and that
became brighter as they went. And there walked beside
them one whose form was not that of a woman and
He was clothed with a greater light. I wondered upon it
all and when I perceived again I saw that some were
seated and others were reclining as on a bank. Then
He whose form was not that of a woman bent over
and kissed the forehead of the one; and I saw Him no

Looking again I could no longer distinguish from
the others the one that had been led. And I thought
— she must be rested now. And immediately they
seemed to be joined by hosts of others, and among them
were little children and young men and maidens, but
I saw no aged there. I must have slept, for when I re-
called my surroundings my companion was taking
his hand from my forehead and as he did so I heard
him say, "They are returning.'' I looked and saw the
strange looking wagon and the two rattling carriages
as they retraced their course along the road. "And her


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In the Fire of the Heart

mother never knew it/' said my companion. "And may
she not until she is welcomed and cared for by the one
who was welcomed and cared for to-day, and then to
know will not hurt her." I am grateful for this revelation,
I said. Would that all could have witnessed it. "All,"
he replied, "who, imperfect themselves are prone to
judge or condemn another. Henceforth you shall be a
better man." Amen and amen, I shouted, and so loudly
it seemed as the whole city must hear. Then I thoughts
but I did not feel ashamed.

I heard a low rumble, the grinding as of iron upon
iron, a sudden jerking sound. A crowd quickly gathered.
A woman rushed through it and bore something from
the track. There was blood upon the track. The form
was limp and blood trickled down upon her dress.
Pale and trembling, she bore it through a door, the
entrance to a long dark passageway. My companion
said: **To-morrow they will cart it away to the Potter's
Field. He was such a bright lad, and of great promise."
But the father ? I said, "He is away to his work." But the
father's work ? "You do not understand," he said, and
again he smiled. But surely, I persisted, there should
be no Potter's Field in a country such as this. "In your
own great city," he said, "one in every ten is buried in
the Potter's Field. This year many thousands will be
hauled there. It is the last indignity the poor fight against
but the living must have bread and they cannot help it."
The crowd still looked at the blood upon the track,
but the car had moved on.

What a place, I thought, for a child to play, for the


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In the Fire of the Heart

street was not wide, and it seemed to be very dirty and
it was very hot, and many teams were going and coming,
and through them cars that seemed never to end their
clanging, were threading their way. The noise and now
and then the smells were something frightful. '^Look
about you" he said- I looked and in the one block there
were over a hundred children at play- Why do they
play here ? Why do they not go to the parks, and to the
prairies about the city, and out into the country? And
again he smiled and said nothing. The air was close
and it seemed as if we were in some strange place under-
ground where there was no light nor air, only noise
and conunotion and smells indescribable.

And I saw a little cortege similar to the one we had
seen before but it was longer as it threaded its way
along. "Another victim of the plague." The plague ?
"The White Plague. This time it is a mother. She
worked until a few days ago. Last year the father went
with it and two children. Three are left. In the same
tenement over a dozen have gone with it in a third as
many years. This is its home. These houses, these rooms
were built for it. From here it spreads itself throughout
the city. Three times as many take it here as in other
parts." I said. Why have they not houses with more
light, more air, more open space ? And again he smiled,
and said nothing. It seemed as if my brain were on fire
and I longed for full breaths of pure air. "We must
change," said my companion, and turning he led the

There was the mingling of sounds as if pieces of fine

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In the Fire of the Heart

metal were striking one another in the air; and out from
under the shade of wide-spreading trees and along a
smoothly paved road a low hanging carriage rolled,
almost without noise. In it were four men. All looked
so comfortable, so big, and so well-to-do. Hope
seemed to seize me and I said, if only these men knew
of the conditions we have been witnessing, they would
go to their relief. My companion listened, but he did not
seem to share in my enthusiasm, and at the time I knew
not why. "One,'' he said, "is owner of the mills from
which you saw the coarsely booted and clothed men
with pails in their hands coming and going, the men
whose wages enable them to live only in the most meagre
comfort if they work every day in the year which they
never do. Very large sums are saved by closing the mills
for a portion of each year and even when they are run-
ning, some work always on part time only."

"His companion on the seat with him is owner of
works where many hundreds of children and many
women are employed. Though others manage the works
for him, they have machinery which children can tend
that saves a million a year over what adult labour would

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Online LibraryRalph Waldo TrineThe Insurance register (life) ... containing a record of the yearly progress ... → online text (page 1 of 23)