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the persons who has studied them, and I am
very glad to know that Mr. Littlefield and his
friends propose to establish in Massachusetts a
system of co-operation based upon the English
success and free from the difficulties which have
heretofore obstructed success in America. If
they should ask my advice, I should say that I
do not know much about it, but that I have
studied the matter carefully for fifty years and
am satisfied of two or three things.

First, that the American workman has in his
very blood the passion to wander. He is cer-
tainly a descendant of the emigrant; and he has
the emigrant life in his veins. While, therefore,
an English co-operative store is well-nigh sure
that most of its co-operators want to stay in that
place until they die, the manager of the Ameri-
can co-operative store must remember that some
of the best fellows in it may want to go to Duluth
or Seattle to-morrow and to take with them all
that they have invested. The English plan must

[57]



, THE PEOPLE*



be adapted to this habit, or it will not suc-
ceed.

Second, I am quite sure that the co-operative
system must be so arranged as to provide simply
for the essentials of life. The co-operative
store may deal successfully in wood, coal, flour,
thread, needles, and other things which every-
body wants; but it had better not attempt the
general or fancy trade. The same rule applies
in matters of government ownership. The
State is wise which owns canals, which everybody
needs. The State is not wise which undertakes
to own the dwelling-houses, because one family
wants one sort of house and another family
wants another.

Third, and chiefly, the English co-operative
stores all started with a moral or idealistic theory
at bottom. The founders did not say, "Go to,
you shall save money" first. They said first,
"Let us help each other." Holyoake, who is not
suspected of being over-religious, said squarely
that it would be a good thing if churches would
take upon themselves the business of buying in
common for the worshippers. I believe the
Ruggles Street people here have had the wit to
do this already. And this is what Mr. Little-
field proposes at Haverhill. He and his friends
will succeed now, according to me, if they keep

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CO-OPERATION AND COAL

this eternal principle in the forefront of their
plans. Do not say, "We will be richer if we
bear each other's burdens," but do say, "Our
lives will be larger, the State will be more pros-
perous, civilization will go forward, and the
kingdom of God will come if we can contrive
some simple way in which, for the essentials of
physical life, men shall bear each other's bur-
dens." All this is set forth at length in Mr.
Lloyd's book, in Mr. Cooke's book, and, as I
have modestly intimated, in my own book,
"How They Lived at Hampton." There is a
curious story about this book that I will tell, even
at the risk of the suspicion of egotism. But I and
the readers of this column are a sort of family
group who can say some things to each other
which we would not proclaim to mankind. I
wrote "Hampton" in 1888, and sent it to the
American Sunday-School Society in competition
for a premium which they offered.

Another man got the premium. So I pub-
lished the book myself, and I have myself been
very glad I did so. When it was published,
the newspaper press, which at that time had very
few people connected with it who had the cour-
age of their convictions, was very much afraid
of the book. They did not know what it meant,
and were afraid that it recommended anarchy.

[59]



, THE PEOPLE"



So it happened that the book was never recom-
mended by anybody to anybody except by Mr.
George Holyoake, who honored it so far that he
reprinted it in England. In America, however,
it had to work its own way. It has been a very
interesting thing to me to observe that the sale of
it has been in separate copies, as one workman
after another heard of it and wrote his private
letter to ask for it. It has been to me a valuable
illustration of the indifference which the public
pays to what are called the literary judgments of
the press. On the other hand, it has been an
illustration of the certainty that, in the long run,
the people who want that "sort of thing" will
find that "sort of thing." I think that this is
one of the wise maxims of President Lincoln.

FIRE AND WATER.

A NEW LAKE.

AN old-fashioned traveller who thinks he
knows his own country well, and espe-
cially his own county, finds himself on
. a comfortable old-fashioned railroad
which we have in Massachusetts, on his way to
his Alma Mater, Amherst College.

He had just laid down the American Journal,



CO-OPERATION AND COAL

which he had read to the 24th page, and he says
to himself, This must be near their home, and he
gets his handkerchief ready to wave it as they
pass Jabez Hinds's house. Hinds was his chum
in college. He always does wave it as they go
by.

"Thirty-seven miles, Clinton Station, forty
miles, Boylston, here we are," he says. "Why
no! what is there? What in thunder is that
wall, what are those carts digging? Porter,
what has become of West Boylston?" The
porter does not know. The brakeman does not
know. The conductor comes along, and he inti-
mates that old Mr. Bixby is a fool because he
does not know that the Commonwealth of Mas-
sachusetts happened to want West Boylston and
took it.

The bones of the dead in the graveyard were
tenderly removed to St. John's Cemetery. The
houses were moved or taken down. And a
lake three or four miles long by two or three
miles wide is to take the place of West Boyls-
ton.

Simply, a million people of Massachusetts,
more or less, wanted more water to drink, and
to wash their carriages and to flush their sewers.
They went to the State House and said they
wanted it. "All right," said the Legislature.

[61]



, THE PEOPLE*



And as soon as the great dam is finished, say next
April, the water which those million people need
will be filling up the Wachusett Reservoir.

Now, I might go to any swell club in Boston,
or I might go down State Street and stop ten
of the most intelligent men in the town, and say
to them that within three years the State has
taken the property of a thousand men for the
public good of the people of the State. I might
say to them, "You could not wash your faces if
the State did not do such things." And I should
find that not one man in the ten knows, or indeed
cares, that a town has been swept out of exist-
ence that he might wash his face.

So simply and easily are such things done all
the time when there is a public necessity.

Pray, why should Mr. Knickerbocker, when I
meet him at Sherry's, or Mr. Girling, when I
meet him at the Somerset Club, be so horrified,
when I tell him that the State of Pennsylvania
must take a few square miles of coal fields and
use them for the public good? He is living
every hour of his life in a system which depends
on such use of such power. Why does he call
me all sorts of nicknames, "Anarchist," "Social-
ist," "Jacobin," and the rest, because I propose
to do on a small scale what has been done a
thousand times on a larger scale?
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CO-OPERATION AND COAL

Who made the Central Park? And where is
the power that made Central Park?

Who made the Pennsylvania Railroad, and
where is the power that took a strip of land from
Philadelphia to Pittsburg to make it?

And why is not a coal fire as necessary as a
ride from the Delaware River to the Ohio, or
a wash-basin full of water?



HIS MAJESTY THE PEOPLE.

WHEN this monarch takes the throne
he finds that he has some jobs on
hand which selfish monarchs have
neglected. It is not that men
have not thought of them. But they have not
taken them to heart as His Majesty the People
does.

Four thousand years ago there was an empe-
ror in Egypt who established granaries for the
people by which in time of famine he could pro-
vide for them, even if there were bad crops for
many years. But he did this only to screw
money out of his subjects.

When the Roman people took their own gov-
ernment into hand, their magistrates had wit
enough to provide the great storehouses of food



, THE PEOPLE"



which lifted the masses of men wholly above the
danger of bad voyages or bad harvests.

The same thing happened here. So soon as
the great grain States found the dangers of the
inherited systems, they placed their great grain
elevators directly under the charge of the State.
The constitutions of the States of the northern
Mississippi made such provision for the eleva-
tors, that in any State it is possible for the people,
whenever the people needs, to provide a food
supply for an indefinite future.

His Majesty the People is now learning, in this
city and in all the leading cities, that the people
must not live in the hand-to-mouth fashion which
has so utterly broken down.

His Majesty must do with his fuel what for
a generation he has done with the national treas-
ury.

Seventy-five years ago, if a man went to Uncle
Sam's head servant and said, "Mr. Madison,
you owe me a thousand dollars," that poor beg-
gar had to say, "Well, come in a fortnight and
I will save up all that comes in, and you shall
have it." This is what my coal dealer says to
me to-day.

But now Uncle Sam lays by in his treasury
one or two hundred millions of gold, more if
there be need, so that a poor scrubbing woman

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CO-OPERATION AND COAL

in the Patent Office shall be paid as soon as her
job is done.

His Majesty the People must take that lesson
to heart. His Majesty will not leave to the Big
Bear, or the Little Bear, or the Middle Bear
the storage of his fuel. Exactly as Uncle Sam
has now saltpetre in store which would carry
him through ten years of war, His Majesty the
People will have coal in store and on tap, if a
railway breaks down, or a harbor freezes up,
or a gang of operatives quarrel.

The same common sense which made His
Majesty the People store water for the daily
use of the City of New York may guide His
Majesty to keeping in store for them a twelve
months' supply of coal. It is an investment quite
as safe as little kegs of gold are.

OLD-FASHIONED FUEL.

GEORGE STEPHENSON, the locomo-
tive Stephenson, was standing with
an English nobleman one Sunday
morning on the terrace in front of this
gentleman's palace. A train of cars swept
through the valley. Stephenson asked the other
what he supposed was dragging the train.
"Why, one o f your engines, of course !"

[6 5 ]



, THE PEOPLE"



"Oh, yes," said Stephenson, "one of my en-
gines, of course, but what drives the engine?"

"Why, the steam, of course; the steam drives
the piston, and the piston turns the wheels."

"Yes, yes, of course, and what makes the
steam?"

"Does not the fire make the steam?" said the
puzzled listener.

"Why, of course, but what is the fire? The
fire is God's own sunlight and sunshine as He
packed it away a hundred thousand years ago in
the ferns and mosses and brakes and trees of
Lancashire morasses so that it might be unpacked
to-day and boil the water to change it to steam,
to drive the piston which turns the wheels, so
that the train may go."

That is, in fact, one way in which the good
God provides us all to-day with our daily bread.

For others, He provides it to-day ready made.
And while I put on my arctic boots and my fur
gloves, my Cousin Miranda in Jamaica has her
tiny, pretty walking shoes, the same she wore at
Newport, and is carrying her sunshade, for fear
she should be burned. She has her sunshine on
tap, and it is fresh brewed.

At the same moment it happens that the State
of New York, from a droll preference for canned
sunshine, spent last year some 999,000,000 dol-
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CO-OPERATION AND COAL

lars in its infirmaries, and hospitals, and asylums
of twenty different names, when in Florida and
Texas the glorious sun in to-day's heat is warm-
ing the rich people who choose to go so far and
meet him. There are in the State "institutions"
thousands of men, women, and children who
will be shut up indoors for the next five months
who would be better out-of-doors, would be hap-
pier out-of-doors, would get well if they were
out-of-doors. And five dollars apiece for each
would carry each one of those men, or women,
or children there, and when they were there, they
could rake in their own gardens, and see their
own strawberries grow, and send home fresh
flowers to their cousins in flat number 39 in West
Two Thousand and Seventh Street.

Nothing but a queer superstition in favor of
the sunshine which is packed away in coal, for-
bids our establishing our public institutions where
the good God is ready to warm them, and where
their inmates can become outmates by living
in the open air. It is probably too late this year
to set on foot the transfer of persons of delicate
lungs from the public infirmaries, where they
will die this winter, to an open air infirmary at
the South, where they would get well. But it
is not too late to get on foot our measures for
the future.

[67]



WE, THE PEOPLE'



BETTER AND BETTER.

THE general enthusiasm with which the
President's plan for the coal difficul-
ties has been met goes a great way in
insuring the success of the measure
proposed. Even better than this, it gives to the
country at large and to all persons interested in
the study of governrnent a new illustration of the
fitness of our Constitution to meet exigencies as
they arise. It is an illustration of what has be-
come fairly an American proverb, the important
truth that "some things may be done as well as
others."

The Constitution has been pronounced by
high authority to be the most remarkable work
ever struck off by any company of men in so
short a time. It is remarkable, not only for
what it does say, but for what it does not say.
It is remarkable for the American People, be-
cause for them it has given some new definitions
for the discussion of the science of government.
Every American now knows what is meant when
he speaks of national issues and of national leg-
islation, and of what is meant when he speaks of
local administration and local issues. There
are not ten men in Europe who have any defini-
[68]



CO-OPERATION AND COAL

tions of the corresponding words which ap-
proach the accuracy of the definitions given for
our half the continent in the Constitution of the
United States. That is to say, the Constitution
provides for the year 1902 as well as it provides
for the year 1 802. Not in words. No ! If you
please, the men who made the Constitution did
not know enough, nor did they foresee with ac-
curacy enough to write down in words systems
which would meet the exigencies of to-day. Had
there arisen in the convention any man who
would say, "I have been trying an experiment
with a stone which looks like coal, but does not
seem to be coal; and the result of my experiment
is that I think in 1903 the seaboard States will
depend upon this hard black stone, which does
not seem to be coal, for fuel, and I should like
arrangements made in the Constitution which
will enable all those States to obtain a supply of
this mineral at a fair price. I propose that the
Constitution shall enforce measures which will
prevent greediness or selfishness, or any other
device of Satan, from hindering such provision,"
if any man had made this proposal, I think he
would have been set down as a crazy man, and
Dr. Rush would have been sent for to take him
in charge. No such prophet appeared. It was
not necessary to send any one to Bedlam, and the

[69]



, THE PEOPLE*



Constitution does not mention the word "coal"
or "fuel" or "mines."

All the same it proves that the President of
the United States is able to speak the word
"peace," and his word is heard. More power-
ful than a king, more powerful than parties, with
a language which could not have been foreor-
dained and with a power which could not be
grounded in words, the President of the United
States meets the great exigency.

Such success as this ought to shut the mouths
forever of all literalists, of all people who wish
to carve this or that in letters graven in stone or
in bronze. It is better that some things should
not be written down than that they should be.
It is as true as it ever was that the letter of the
instrument kills, and that only the spirit gives
life. Such a success, again, gives warrant to
believe that the nation is not endangered by the
various steps which make it smaller and smaller
by every year.

But little more than a century ago the Supreme
Court of the United States met once a quarter
for more than two years, and no case was brought
before it for decision. The court which was to
hear all cases between State and State, which was
to hear appeals in all cases between the citizen
of one State and the citizen of another,

[70]



CO-OPERATION AND COAL

was not called upon for such action in any
one of the first nine of its quarterly sessions.
So little was the communication between
Massachusetts and Georgia or between Rhode
Island and Connecticut that their interstate
relations did not command the attention of
the Supreme Court. To-day a merchant from
Maine goes through a dozen States or more
on his way to New Orleans, transacts his busi-
ness there, and is back at his home before the
week has closed. Or, if he be more hardly
pressed, he sends word of his need to his New
Orleans correspondent, and receives an answer
before half an hour has expired. Or a citizen
of New York finds that the winter is going to be
cold, and he takes the invalid members of his
family to Southern Florida, leaves them there,
and is back in his office before his neighbors
know that he has been away.

At the first impression it would seem that the
instrument of union which was made for thirteen
States as far parted as were the States in 1787
could not be adapted to a compact little nation,
where from one corner to another the citizens
can talk with each other or can visit each other
as neighbors, where they have the duties, the
privileges, and the dangers of neighborhood life.
May it not happen, perhaps, that with greater



WE, THE PEOPLE''



intimacy there shall be more causes of dissension,
and that what was possible in the way of union
where distances were so great may prove to be
impossible when time and space are annihilated?
No! Whatever the theorists might guess, it
proves, in fact, that the nearer men are to each
other, and the more necessary they are to each
other, the more certain is it that their union will
hold if it is a union meant for the common ad-
vance and for the general welfare. The victory
in this matter of coal makes it easier to promise
success in other national matters of which the
fathers in 1787 did not dream the preservation
of the national forests, the irrigation of the na-
tional deserts, the prevention of contagious dis-
ease. Or, to speak in general, the welfare of all
the people is easier and more certain if the nation
succeeds in establishing peace where there has
been war, in the regions between the Susquehanna
and the Delaware.

THE PRESIDENT'S ARBITRATION.

AS the November number of the Record
goes to press, President Roosevelt's
great court of arbitration has opened
its sessions in the city of Washington.
The court has white paper to write upon, and
although it is established by no statute, it is a

[72] '



CO-OPERATION AND COAL

great moral power. From its decisions there
may well arise more humane and civilized ar-
rangements for daily duty in the mines, a more
humane and intelligent direction of the legisla-
tion of Pennsylvania of the duties of property
holders, a more humane and intelligent direction
of the distribution of fuel among the people on
the Atlantic side of the Appalachian mountains.
It is by no accident that in the legislation of
hundreds of years the product of mines has been
regarded in all civilized nations as under the
especial control of the State. The arrangements,
even of feudal nations, with all their folly and
stupidity, have been made in the understanding
that the State has a certain duty with regard to
the products of mines, which it does not assume
in the distribution of the annual products of the
farm. There has, therefore, never been any
opportunity so good as this for an American
State to establish the principles of co-operation
between laborers and capitalists as that which
presents itself now in the reorganization of the
mining region, so small in comparison, of the up-
lands between the Delaware and the Susquehan-
na. Co-operative effort is by no means unknown
in America. In our New England life it was a
matter of common life and common law, from
the beginning, that the freeholders of the town

[73]



WE, THE PEOPLE*



turn out in person with their oxen and horses
and spades and pickaxes, to work upon the roads
of the town. It was a matter of course from the
beginning that the taxes of the town supplied
the schoolhouse, as the people of the town built
the roads. From the very beginning, it was
taken as a matter of course that the light-houses
of the State should be paid for by the State ; and
as soon as the State made itself a part of the
nation, the nation assumed the oversight of the
whole establishment for lighthouses, for buoys
and of lightships and all conveniences for com-
merce. No ship of the line so great and no
fisherman so insignificant that admiral or fisher-
man should pay a penny to Massachusetts Bay,
or to the United States when the United States
came into existence, as a fee for a light-house
which was established for the public good.

In all matters where all are concerned, the
common law of this nation requires that all shall
live for each and each for all. The methods of
co-operation have been tried in the last century
in the different Christian nations of the world
with varying success. Co-operative manufac-
ture has attained its best results in France, where
the great co-operative establishment at Guise is
perhaps one of the largest in the world. A better
illustration, however, perhaps, is that at Le Claire,

[74]



CO-OPERATION AND COAL

in Illinois, where the great co-operative company
instituted by Mr. Nelson carries on its manufac-
ture. I should say that our greatest success in
America as yet is not so much in co-operative
manufacture as it is in co-operative insurance,
and in the admirable and inestimable establish-
ments in the large cities, where men co-operate
for the building of their own houses. In Eng-
land co-operation in trade so that the work-
man is partner in the establishment which sells
him his cloth, his food and his fuel has been
singularly successful.

The gentlemen who are sitting in the high
tribunal created by President Roosevelt's suc-
cess have it in their power to show how the true
principles of co-operation can be applied to the
mining of coal. It will require all the practical
knowledge of experts in mining to arrange the
detail of this system. But the principles of it
have been well laid down by George Holyoake
in England, by Mr. William B. Weeden in
Providence and by Mr. Henry D. Lloyd of Chi-
cago. Very briefly stated, they are these :

i. Capital as capital has a right to a certain
annual interest, to be paid to those who do not
give any personal attention to the direction of
the industry, but who do furnish the tools of
operation, the machinery of what is generally

[75]



, THE PEOPLE"



called the "plant." He who does this may go to
the Falkland Islands or to the Antarctic conti-
nent, and may reside there in a convent for ten
years, and still he is entitled to a certain regular
interest on the capital with which he sets forward
and maintains the enterprise.

2. The man of affairs, the entrepreneur, the
ingenious supervisor of methods and manager
of the concern, has his share in the profit of the
enterprise and is entitled to have it paid him
on a regular system.

3. The intelligent workman, who brings his
skill to the control of the matter, and the laborer,
who is a different person, intelligent, or not intel-
ligent, who brings his muscle, his weight, the
machinery of his fingers and such intelligence as
he can contribute to the daily product, all these
are entitled to their share in the profits, and they
must bear their share in the failures.

A true system of adjustment involves an ar-
rangement by which each of those parties shall
receive his share of the results of the chief enter-
prise. It is difficult, but it is not impossible, to


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Online LibraryEdward Everett HaleWe, the people : a series of papers on topics of to-day → online text (page 4 of 15)