Charles Henry Ham.

Manual training : the solution of social and industrial problems online

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basis of general culture, or it is valueless to the country
in which it flourishes. So of the fine arts ; they can ex-
ist legitimately only as the natural outgrowth and em-
bellishment of the useful arts.* In the due order of de-
velopment the useful precede the fine arts. Theodoric
began the reconstruction of the exhausted Roman civili-
zation from the top, and his work was a complete failure,

* "But it is one thing to admit that aesthetic culture is in a high
degree conducive to human happiness, and another thing to admit
that it is a fundamental requisite to human happiness. However
important it may be, it must yield precedence to those kinds of cult-
ure which bear more directly upon the duties of life. As before
hinted, literature and the fine arts are made possible by those activi-
ties which make individual and social life possible; and manifestly
that which is made possible must be postponed to that which makes
it possible." "Education," p. 72. By Herbert Spencer. New York:
D. Appleton & Co., 1883.



of course, because it had no foundation. It was like the
Greek and Roman philosophy, it had no basis of things
to rest upon. Hence the order evoked from chaos by
the great Ostrogoth to chaos soon returned.

Charlemagne also attempted to reconstruct a worn-out
civilization through the revival of polite literature and
the fine arts. He assembled at his court distinguished
litterateurs from all parts of the world, with the view
of reviving classical learning. He established a normal
school called " The Palatine," whence classically trained
teachers were sent into the provinces. He constructed
gorgeous palaces, some of which were ornamented with
columns and sculptural fragments, the spoil of the earlier
architectural triumphs of Italy. But he did not found
schools for the education of the common people. The
common people were serfs. The theory of Plato still
prevailed, namely, that the majority is always dull, and
always wrong; that wisdom and virtue reside in the
minority. In pursuance of this theory, which happens,
curiously enough, to inure to the exclusive benefit of its
inventors and supporters, education was confined to a
small class. The training of the masses was wholly neg-
lected, and they were poor, ignorant, and brutal. The
state of mediaeval society is graphically summarized by a
modern historian :

" In the castle sits the baron, with his children on his
lap, and his wife leaning on his shoulder; the troubadour
sings, and the page and the demoiselle exchange a glance
of love. The castle is the home of music and chivalry
and family affection ; the convent is the home of relig-
ion and of art. But the people cower in their wooden
huts, half starved, half frozen, and wolves sniff at them
through the chinks in the walls. The convent prays and


the castle sings; the cottage hungers and groans and

Enterprise was the slave of superstition and ignorance.
Some monks in Germany desired to erect a corn -mill,
but a neighboring lord objected, declaring that the wind
belonged to him. The useful arts were unknown and un-
studied except by the monks, and their practice of them
was confined chiefly to fashioning utensils for the use
of the altar. Mankind lay in a state of intellectual and
moral paralysis. Feudalism emasculated human energy.
One art only flourished the art of war. The pursuit of
any of the useful arts, beyond that of agriculture, by the
serfs, was impracticable, since sufficient time could not be
spared from feudal strife for the proper tillage of the
soil. The vassal was always subject to summary call to
arms. If in the spring the noble wished to fight, the
fields remained implanted ; if he wished to fight in the
fall, the harvest remained ungathered. The serf, there-
fore, led a precarious life. If he escaped death in battle,
he was still quite likely to die of starvation. In the fer-
tile plains of Lombardy, in the first half of the thirteenth
century, there were five famines 1

Nothing happens without due cause. The misfort-
unes suffered by the people of Europe during the Mid-
dle Ages did not fall upon them from the clouds. The
moral darkness which veiled the face of justice, and the
intellectual stupor which prevented scientific and art
researches, are not inexplicable mysteries. The vices,
the cruelties, the poverty, an,d the pitiable supersti-
tions of that time were the product of a false phi-

* "The Martyrdom of Man." By Winwood Reade. New York :
Charles P. Somerby, 1876.


losophy, an odious social caste, and a state of general

It happens that for hundreds of years of this period
of wretchedness and crime there was in the heart of
Europe an industrious, cultured, prosperous, and happy
people. Their religion forbade the taking of usurious
interest under terrible moral penalties ; it also forbade
" all distinctions of caste," and enjoined full social equal-
ity. They were the friends of education. " To every
mosque was attached a public school, in which the chil-
dren of the poor were taught to read and write." They
established libraries in their chief cities, and were the
patrons of the sciences and of the useful arts in all their
forms. In a word, to the general prevalence of super-
stition and ignorance in Europe the Moors in Spain con-
stituted a glowing exception.

"Wherever the Saracen went he carried science and art.
He honored labor, and genius and learning followed in
his footsteps. Taught by learned Jews, he studied the
works of the ancient philosophers, and preserved and ex-
tended their knowledge of astronomy, chemistry, alge-
bra, and geography. Cordova was the abode of wealth,
learning, refinement, and the arts. Its mosques and pal-
aces were models of architectural splendor, and its indus-
tries employed 200,000 families. Seville contained 16,000
silk-looms, and employed 130,000 weavers. The banks
of the Guadalquivir were thickly studded with those
gems of free labor, manufacturing villages. The dyeing
of silk and wool fabrics .was carried to great perfection,
and the Moorish metal-workers were the most expert
of the time. The Saracen invented cotton paper, intro-
duced into Spain cotton and leather manufactures, and
promoted the cultivation of sugar-cane, rice, and the mul-


berry. Nor did lie neglect agriculture in any of its
branches ; he created a new era in husbandry. His king-
dom in Spain was the richest and most prosperous in the
"Western world ; indeed, its prosperity was in striking
contrast with the poverty and misery of the peoples by
whom it was surrounded. Under the third caliph its
revenue reached 6,000,000 sterling, a sum, as Gibbon
remarks, which in the tenth century probably surpassed
the united revenues of all the Christian monarchs. But
these industrious, cultured people were the descendants
of invaders, and the Spaniards, under the influence of a
blind and unreasoning impulse of religious and patriotic
zeal, drove them from the soil they had literally made to
" blossom like the rose," and themselves relapsed into a
state of indolence, ignorance, and poverty.

From the effects of the persecution of a race of artif-
icers, and the proscription of the useful arts, Spain has
never recovered. She has since always been, and is to-
day, a striking exemplification of the verity of the prop-
osition that stagnation in the useful arts is the death of
civilization. In the last half of the seventeenth century
the people of Madrid were threatened with starvation.
To avert the impending calamity the adjacent country
was scoured by the military, and the inhabitants com-
pelled to yield supplies. There was danger that the
Royal family would go hungry to bed. The tax-gath-
erer sold houses and furniture, arid the inhabitants were
forced to fly ; the fields were left uncultivated, and mul-
titudes died from want and exposure. During the sev-
enteenth century Madrid lost half its population; the
looms of Seville were silenced ; the woollen manufact-
ures of Toledo were transferred by the exiled Moriscoes
to Tunis ; Castile, Segovia, and Burgos lost their manu-


factures, and their inhabitants were reduced to poverty
and despair.*

Two leading causes contributed to reduce the people
of Europe during the Middle Ages to a state of moral
obliquity, intellectual torpor, and physical incapacity
the repressive force of authority and the atrocious phi-
losophy of contempt of man formulated by Machiavelli.
The one forbade scientific investigation, the other stran-
gled the spirit of invention in the grip of enforced igno-
rance. Authority chilled courage, and contempt withered
hope. Italy governed the world, and her rule consisted
of a menace and a sneer. Under this regime of cruelty
and cynicism man shrunk into a state of moral cowardic-3
and intellectual lethargy.

The political maxims which bear the name of Machia-
velli were not invented by him. "When he formulated
them, in 1513, they had been in force in Italy a thousand
years. These maxims explain the fact of the existence
of a period of the world's history known as " the Dark
Ages." The chief of them divides the human race into
three classes, the members of the first of which under-
stand things by their own natural powers; the second
when they are explained to them ; the third not at all.
The third class embraces a vast majority of men ; the
second only a small number ; the first a very small num-
ber. The first class is to rule both the other classes, the
second by craft and duplicity, the third by authority,
and, that failing, by force. Other maxims assume the
despicable character of all men, and justify falsehood,

* "The Intellectual Development of Europe," Vol. II., Chap. II.
By John William Draper, M.D., LL.D. New York: Harper &
Brothers; "History of Civilization in England," Vol. II., Chap. I.
By Henry Thomas Buckle. New York : D. Appleton & Co., 1864.


duplicity, cruelty, and murder, in the ruling class. A
single proposition shows the infamy of the whole system,
namely, " There are three ways of deciding any contest
by fraud, by force, or by law, and a wise man will
make the most suitable choice."* These are maxims not
of civilization but of barbarism. They involve a state
of slavery, and where slavery exists the useful arts de-
cline, and ultimately perish. And so it was in the Mid-
dle Ages.

Several great events led to the emancipation of the
people of Europe from the joint reign of authority and
contempt. The learning of the Jews and Saracens
their knowledge of the arts and sciences gradually
spread, and occupied the minds of cloistered students,
giving to them an intellectual impulse. The Crusades,
pitiful and prolific of horrors as they were, shed a great
light upon Europe. They brought the men of the West
face to face with a practical progressive civilization a
civilization that " filled the earth with prodigies of hu-
man skill." The Crusaders were told that they would
be led against hordes of barbarians. What astonishment
must have seized them when they stood under the walls
of Constantinople and beheld its splendors ! Nor was
their surprise less, doubtless, in the character of the foe
they encountered. They had expected to meet with
treachery and cruelty; they found chivalry, courtesy,
and high culture.f

These surprises and contrasts profoundly impressed
the Crusaders, and they returned to Europe relieved of

* " The Prince," Chap. XVIII. By Niccolo Machiavelli.

f "The Intellectual Development of Europe," Vol. II., pp. 135,
136. By John William Draper, M.D., LL.D. New York: Harper
& Brothers.


many illusions, and notably of the fallacy that the wealth
of Eastern princes was destined to supply the waste of
their own squandered estates. They returned, too, to
find a new civilization in process of development. Two
hundred years of comparative freedom from the repres-
sive force of feudalism changed the face of the country
and the character of its people. During the absence of
the nobles, in the Holy Land, a middle class sprung into
existence, possessing the qualities which always distin-
guish that class thrift and prudence. The mortgaged
estates of the Crusaders had fallen partly into their
hands, and partly into the hands of the Crown. Towns
had sprung up, and a commercial class and a manufact-
uring class had been formed. The artisan became a fac-
tor in the social problem. He offered his wares to the
lords and ladies of the castles, and they bought them-
selves poor. As Emerson says, "The banker with his
seven per cent, drove the earl out of his castle." In the
eleventh century nobility was above price, in the thir-
teenth it was for sale, and soon afterwards it was offered
as a gift.

The invention of printing, the art preservative of all
arts, removed the seal from the lips of learning. The
desire to conceal is no match for the desire to print.
Thenceforth, through the medium of types, the voice of
genius was destined to reach to the ends of the earth ;
and, more important still, every discovery in science, and
every invention in art, became the sure heritage of future

The discovery of America was the crowning act of
man's emancipation. In sweeping away the last vestige
of the theory on which patristic geography was based,
Columbus freed mankind. In the cry of " land ho !"


with which he greeted the new continent, he sounded
the death-knell of intellectual slavery. His was the last
act in a series of acts which struck off the shackles of
thought, and let in upon the long night of the Middle
Ages the clear light of day. Leonardo da Vinci took up
the interrupted work of Archimedes, and the science of
mechanics made rapid progress. At last it was correctly
observed that " experiment is the only interpreter of nat-
ure," and the development of natural philosophy began.
Bruno was still to be burned, and Galileo imprisoned.
But the persecutors of those great men were no longer
moved by mere blind zeal. They believed and trembled,
and in seeking to drown the truth in the blood of the
votaries of science, they rendered it more conspicuous.
By the light of the flames which consumed the body of
the too daring philosopher a thousand scientists studied
the stars, the earth, and the air.

The invention of printing paralyzed authority, and the
discovery of America gave wings to hope. A few manu-
scripts could be locked in vaults or burned, but millions
of books must inevitably, ultimately, find their way to
the people. Books were, therefore, the sure promise of
universal culture the precursor of the common school.
The discovery of another continent startled the people of
Europe from the deep sleep of a thousand years, and sent
a fresh current of blood surging through their veins. It
seemed like a sort of new creation, and appealed power-
fully to the imagination. And it is always the imagina-
tion that " blazes " the path to glorious achievements. It
is through the imagination that men are moved to " crave
after the unseen," and through the imagination that the
human mind becomes big with " bold and lofty concep-
tions." A new world having been discovered by one man,


it was natural that all men should be put upon inquiry.
Hence the era of investigation, the resulting discoveries
of science, and their innumerable applications, through
the useful arts, to the fast multiplying needs of man.




The Standing Army a Legacy of Evil from the Middle Ages. It is
the Controlling Feature of the European Situation. Its Collateral
Evils: "Wars and Debts. The Debts of Europe Represent a Series
of Colossal Crimes against the People ; with the Armies and Na-
vies they Absorb the Bulk of the Annual Revenue. The People
Fleeing from them. They Threaten Bankruptcy ; they Prevent
Education. Germany, the best-educated Nation in Europe, losing
most by Emigration. Her People will not Endure the Standing
Army. The Folly of the European International Policy of Hate.
It is Possible for Europe to Restore to Productive Employ-
ments 3,000,000 of men, to place at the Disposal of her Educators
$700,000,000, instead of $70,000,000 per annum, and to pay her
National Debts in Fifty-four Years, simply by the Disbandment
of her Armies and Navies. The Armament of Europe Stands in
the Way of Universal Education and of Universal Industrial Pros-
perity. Standing Armies the Last Analysis of Selfishness ; they
are Coeval with the Revival during the Middle Ages of the Greco-
Roman Subjective Methods of Education. They must go out
when the New Education comes in.

THE mediaeval period conferred upon man two great
blessings a new continent and the art of printing. It
also left a legacy of evil. With the partition of Europe
into great States the modern age began, and it began
with this inheritance of evil from the Middle Ages the
standing army.

The feudal lords wrecked their estates and sacrificed
their lives during the Crusades, and a middle class arose
and united with the kings in the government of the


State. But this alliance was of short duration ; it soon
gave way to an alliance which proved to be enduring
an alliance between the aristocracy and the kings.

By the ruin of feudalism thousands of serfs were set
free. Trained to arms, it was easy to make soldiers of
them. They were accordingly converted into merce-
'nary troops mustered into the service of the new alli-
ance as guards of the modern State. Thus the standing
armies of the "great powers" originated. This legacy
of evil has so increased in magnitude that it is, to-day,
the dominant feature of European public economy, and
the portentous fact of the social problem.

The standing armies of Europe number two million five
hundred thousand men, and their naval auxiliaries con-
sist of three thousand vessels, thirty thousand guns, and
two hundred thousand men. This is the mammoth evil
bequeathed to Europe by the Middle Ages, and out of
it many collateral evils have sprung, as wars, debts, and
exorbitant tax levies.

Thirty years ago the national debts of the govern-
ments of Europe had risen to $9,000,000,000. Since that
time they have doubled ! The cause of this vast increase
is easy to find. It consists chiefly of four great wars,
namely, the Crimean war of 1854-56, the Franco-Sar-
dinian war against Austria in 1859, the German-Italian
war of 1866, and the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-72.
These wars were waged to maintain what is termed the
balance of power ; they involved no principle affecting
the rights of man. "Whatever their issue, no gain could
hence accrue to the people of Europe. And this is the
nature of most of the wars in which the standing armies
of Europe have been employed since their organization.
But the European budget shows that they are the over-


shadowing feature of the European governmental sys-

The annual revenue of the States of Europe is about
$1,725,000,000. Of this sum $700,000,000 is devoted to
the support of the standing armies and navies, and as
much more is required to meet the interest charge on
the debts created in the prosecution of wars waged to
maintain the balance of power! Thus, of the aggregate
of European revenue, the sum of $1,400,000,000 is de-
voted to the purely supposititious theory that the sub-
jects of the great powers are inflamed with an intense
desire to cut one another's throats, while the small sum
of $325,000,000 is left for the support of the civil serv-
ice, comprising all the strictly legitimate objects of gov-
ernment, and including education !

The national debts of Europe represent a series of
colossal crimes against the people. They were incurred
in the prosecution of unnecessary wars, and for the sup-
port of unnecessary standing armies. With relation to
these debts the people are divided into two classes one
class owns them and the other class pays interest on
them. This relationship comprehends future generations
in perpetuity. Every child born in Europe inherits
either an estate in these debts or an obligation to con-
tribute towards the payment of the interest upon them.
Thus the fruits of a great crime have been transmuted
into a vested right in one class of people, and into a
vested wrong in another class.*

* "For instance, I have seven thousand pounds in what we call
the Funds or Founded things; but I am not comfortable about the
founding of them. All that I can see of them is a square bit of
paper, with some ugly printing on it, and all that I know of them is
that this bit of paper gives me the right to tax you every year, and


If the European standing armies and navies had not
been raised and kept up, and if the revenue devoted to
their support had been expended for schools, there would
not now be an uneducated person in Europe. If these
standing armies and navies were now disbanded, and the
revenue at present expended for their support diverted
to the support of schools, and so applied continuously
for half a century, there would not be, at the end of that
period, an illiterate person in Europe.

Under existing conditions the debts of the European
nations cannot be paid. But vast as the sum of them is,
their payment is not only possible, but practicable in a
very short time. Disband the standing armies and navies,
and continue the present rate of taxation, and there would
be an annual surplus revenue of $700,000,000. Apply
this sum, together with the surplus of the interest appro-
priation, accruing through the resulting yearly decrease
of the interest charge, to the liquidation of these debts,
and they would be extinguished in about twenty years.
But if the period during which provision is made for
the extinguishment of these debts be extended to fifty-
four years, and, meantime, the present rate of taxation be
maintained, there would be released and rendered avail-
make you pay me two hundred pounds out of your wages; which is
very pleasant for me ; but how long will you be pleased to do so ?
Suppose it should occur to you, any summer's day, that you had bet-
ter not ? Where would my seven thousand pounds be ? In fact,
where are they now ? We call ourselves a rich people ; but you see
this seven thousand pounds of mine has no real existence it only
means that you, the workers, are poorer by two hundred pounds a
year than you would be if I hadn't got it. And this is surely a very
odd kind of money for a country to boast of." " Fors Clavigera,"
Part I., p. 67. By John Ruskin, LL.D. New York: John Wiley
& Sons, 1880.


able for educational purposes, annually, the sum of

What is the purpose, it may be inquired, of these cal-
culations? Their purpose is to show what the armies
and navies of Europe cost, and what they stand in the
way of. They cost so much that not a dollar of the
national debts of Europe can be paid while they con-
tinue to exist. They cost so much that the people who
are taxed to support them are fleeing from them as from
a scourge. They cost so much that the decline of the
nations which support them has already begun, and this
decline can be arrested only by their disbandment.

That the nations of Europe are declining is shown by
the statistics of emigration. The foundation of national
prosperity is manual labor. There must be a solid basis
of industrial growth for the superstructure of elegance,
refinement, luxury, and culture. Manual labor is as es-
sential to triumphs in literature, music, and the fine arts
as the foundations of the Brooklyn Bridge, buried in the
earth, are to the beautiful arch which spans the great
river. And in the strife for supremacy between the
nations of the world the maintenance of these triumphs
depends, also, upon manual labor.* The real flower of a

* " Now, therefore, see briefly what it all comes to. First, you
spend eighty millions of money in fireworks [war], doing no end of
damage in letting them off.

"Then you borrow money to pay the firework-maker's bill, from
any gain-loving persons who have got it

' ' And then, dressing your bailiff's men in new red coats and cocked
hats, you send them drumming and trumpeting into the fields, to
take the peasants by the throat, and make them pay the interest on

Online LibraryCharles Henry HamManual training : the solution of social and industrial problems → online text (page 20 of 30)